According to legend, Ancient Rome was founded by the two brothers, and demi-gods, Romulus and Remus, on 21 April 753. The legend claims that, in an argument over who would rule the city (or, in another version, where the city would be located) Romulus killed Remus and named the city after himself. This story of the founding of Rome is the best known but it... [continue reading]
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Over many centuries and across many territories the Romans were able to win an astonishing number of military victories and their success was due to several important factors. Italy was a peninsula not easily attacked, there was a huge pool of fighting men to draw upon, a disciplined and innovative army, a centralised command and line of supply, expert engineers... [continue reading]
Romulus & Remus being suckled by the she-wolf. In Roman mythology the two demi-god brothers were credited with the founding of Rome in 753 BCE. The sculpture is traditionally dated to the 5th century BCE Etruscans but it may be later. The figures were added in the 15th century CE. (Capitoline Museums, Rome)
published on 28 November 2011
Besides Aeneas, there were always Romulus and Remus. The existence of this second foundation myth posed two important problems to scholars. How strong were its credentials, and how should it be analysed? On the first point, notably, considerable progress has been made in recent times. Since the late nineteenth century many scholars have repeatedly argued... [continue reading]
Sicily: Art and Invention between Greece and Rome is the exhibition catalogue of a landmark show at the Getty Villa in Malibu, California, covering the achievements of an ancient Sicilian golden age that lasted from c. 480-212 BCE. The catalogue’s editors include: Dr. Claire L. Lyons, acting senior curator of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Villa... [continue reading]
published on 30 December 2012
The Arch of Constantine in Rome, built in c. 315 CE to commemorate the Roman emperor's victory over Maxentius in 312 CE. It is the largest surviving example of a Roman Triumphal Arch.
The site of the main sewer, called the Cloaca Maxima located in the Forum Romanum. Believed to be drained around 600 BCE by Tarquinius Priscus, the draining of the area between the Palatine, Capitoline, Esquiline & the Viminal Hills led to the establishment of the Forum Romanum and helped to promote the growth of the city of Rome itself. One of the original... [continue reading]
Slavery was an ever-present feature of the Roman world. Slaves served in households, agriculture, mines, the military, manufacturing workshops, construction and a wide range of services within the city. As many as 1 in 3 of the population in Italy or 1 in 5 across the empire were slaves and upon this foundation of forced labour was built the entire edifice... [continue reading]
Sicily evokes the fiery majesty Mt. Etna, the wine-dark hues of the surrounding sea, and the delicious flavors of arancini and limoncello. Situated at a pivotal intersection between Greece, Italy, and North Africa, Sicily is not only the largest island in the Mediterranean, but the site of over 5,000 years of human history. Few are aware... [continue reading]
published on 16 November 2013
The three remaining Corinthian columns of the Temple of Castor & Pollux in the Roman Forum, Rome. The present temple dates from the end of the 1st century BCE and early 1st century CE but replaced a temple also dedicated to the demi-god twins of Zeus built in 484 BCE.
The Temple of Castor and Pollux in the Roman Forum of Rome was erected in the final decade of the 1st century BCE, replacing the earlier temple to the twin sons of Jupiter which had stood on the site since 484 BCE. Today only the inner concrete core of the podium and three columns survive of this once massive structure. Castor and Pollux... [continue reading]