It Wasn’t Just Pompeii. Archaeologists Say the Roman Republic and Even an Ancient Egyptian Kingdom May Have Been Ended by Volcanoes

Okmok Caldera, Alaska. Photo by J. Reeder. Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys.

Okmok Caldera, Alaska. Photo by J. Reeder. Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys.

What led to the demise of the Roman Republic?

Experts now believe that the eruption of a remote Alaskan volcano may be partly to blame.

The Okmok volcano erupted early in the year 43 BC, spewing clouds of ash into the atmosphere and blocking the sun’s rays, causing two of the coldest years in the past two and a half millennia. The event triggered a famine that exacerbated existing political tensions in Rome and led to the rise of the Roman Empire, according to a new study published in the journal Proceedings…

Source: It Wasn’t Just Pompeii. Archaeologists Say the Roman Republic and Even an Ancient Egyptian Kingdom May Have Been Ended by Volcanoes

Thousands of ancient artefacts from Roman treasure to shipwreck bounty to be revealed by X-rays

Thousands of artefacts encased in centuries of concrete-like deposits – ranging from Roman antiquities to the contents of a 280-year-old shipwreck – are to have their secrets revealed by a state-of-the-art X-ray system…

Source: Thousands of ancient artefacts from Roman treasure to shipwreck bounty to be revealed by X-rays

Learning from the Gracchi – the “First Socialists” | toritto

A lesson from history for today’s politics It is the year 135B. C  .in the Roman Republic. The Carthaginians had been finally defeated. The Roman Republic itself was already some 375 years ol…

Source: Learning from the Gracchi – the “First Socialists” | toritto

N.B. I’m not currently responding to comments or visiting blogs because of ill-health but I much appreciate your support.

solving an art historical mystery, in the old Library Trinity College Long Room. – Arran Q Henderson

Sheemaker’s “Cicero”

Look at this bust of the great Roman orator, statesman, and lawyer, Marcus Tullius Cicero. It is by the Flemish sculptor Peter Scheemakers (1691-1781) who in the 18th century was commissioned by Tr…

Source: solving an art historical mystery, in the old Library Trinity College Long Room. – Arran Q Henderson

Opium Soaked Tampons Were the Midol of Ancient Rome | Atlas Obscura

Medicinal use of opium was widespread in the United States by the latter half of the 19th century. (Photo: Public Domain/Wikipedia Commons)

On display at the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum is an item that you won’t find in the women’s aisle of your local drugstore today. Among pharmaceutical oddities such as leeches and tinctures, the museum houses a box of early tampons soaked in opium and belladonna.

What’s more, these products were in fact prescribed to women back in the 19th century. “The opium was to relieve pain, and the belladonna was to dilate and relax the vagina,” Elizabeth Sherman, the museum’s executive director, tells The Guardian.

The tradition of lacing women’s products with opiates goes back even further than that, though. In fact, since…

Source: Opium Soaked Tampons Were the Midol of Ancient Rome | Atlas Obscura

Barn conversion leads to amazing find of palatial Roman villa

wiltshirebarn

It was the urge to avoid playing ping-pong in the dark that led Luke Irwin to make one of Britain’s most extraordinary archaeological discoveries in recent years. Without that compulsion, he might never have found out that he lives on the site of one of the biggest Roman villas ever…

Source: Barn conversion leads to amazing find of palatial Roman villa

The real story behind the assassination of Julius Caesar | New York Post

“The Death of Caesar: The Story of History’s Most Famous Assassination” by Barry Strauss (Simon & Schuster)

On Feb. 15, in the year 44 BC, Julius Caesar, the all-powerful ruler of Rome, visited a soothsayer named Spurinna, who “predicted the future by examining the internal organs of sacrificial animals,” among other omens.

As per the ritual, Caesar “sacrificed a bull,” and Spurinna “made the chilling announcement that the beast had no heart.”

Brave Caesar was “unmoved,” but Spurinna said that he feared Caesar’s life “might come to a bad end,” and warned the dictator that “his life would be in danger for the next 30 days.”

He did not say anything about the “Ides of March,” just one difference of many between the version of Caesar’s assassination presented by William Shakespeare and the likely truth, according to Cornell University history professor Barry Strauss’ new book, “The Death of Caesar.” Strauss pored through ancient texts to determine…

Source: The real story behind the assassination of Julius Caesar | New York Post

The Great Persecution – If It Happened Yesterday, It’s History

The first truly organised persecution of Christians came after the Great Fire of Rome in 64 AD under the Emperor Nero. Looking for a scapegoat in the devastating aftermath of the fire, he found it in the Christians. He would blame them for the fire because of their apocalyptic belief that Rome and the world would end by fire. This led to an active and organised campaign against them. The second and third centuries sporadically saw more of the same prosecutions, especially under the reign of Emperors Decius and Valerian. The last and truly terrible persecution of Christians occurred at the beginning of the fourth century. A general edict of persecution, under the authority of Emperor Diocletian, was published on February 24th, 303 AD. Interestingly, on the day before the edict was published, Diocletian ordered…

Source: The Great Persecution – If It Happened Yesterday, It’s History

Watch the Destruction of Pompeii by Mount Vesuvius, Re-Created with Computer Animation (79 AD) | Open Culture

A good disaster story never fails to fascinate — and, given that it actually happened, the story of Pompeii especially so. Buried and thus frozen in time by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, the ancient Roman town of 11,000 has provided an object of great historical interest ever since its rediscovery in 1599. Baths, houses, tools and other possessions (including plenty of wine bottles), frescoes, graffiti, an amphitheater, an aqueduct, the “Villa of the Mysteries“: Pompeii has it all, as far as the stuff of first-century Roman life goes.

The ash-preserved ruins of Pompeii, more than any other source, have provided historians with a window into just what life in that time and place was like. A Day in Pompeii, an exhibition held at the Melbourne Museum in 2009, gave its more than…

Source: Watch the Destruction of Pompeii by Mount Vesuvius, Re-Created with Computer Animation (79 AD) | Open Culture

Emperor Caligula is Murdered

January 24th 41 AD

Emperor Caligula is Murdered

The 3rd Emperor of the Roman Empire was a troubled youth named Gaius Julius Augustus Germanicus. We know him better as Caligula or “Little Boots”, a mad and depraved tyrant who ruled for four short years. Believing that he was a living God, he indulged in perverse and bizarre behavior that shocked the Roman populace. If we are to believe all that we read about him, he slept with his sisters and anyone really who taught his fancy, he devised awful new methods of torture, killed prominent Romans for no good reasons and according to legend fed his favourite horse, Incitatus, at his dinner table. The tale of Caligula’s mad affection for his horse went too far when he allegedly…

Source: What happened this month in history. | If It Happened Yesterday, It’s History

Julius Caesar’s genocide in the Netherlands discovery | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Julius Caesar fought battle near Oss

Archaeologists say they found the final proof that Julius Caesar has marched around in what is now the Netherlands. They have identified the location of a battle in 55 BC in which Caesar defeated two Germanic tribes. Which took place at the present village Kessel in the municipality of Oss.

These two tribes were the…

Source: Julius Caesar’s genocide in the Netherlands discovery | Dear Kitty. Some blog

The Death of Rome’s Greatest Orator

December 7th, 43 BC

Marcus Jullis Cicero was the greatest orator of the late Roman Republic. In his capacity, as a statesman, lawyer, scholar and writer, he tried desperately to champion Republican principles and justice in the final civil wars of the Republican period. He exposed much corruption, earning him the scorn of Sulla, which caused him to flee Rome for the safety of Athens. He eventually returned to Rome, after Sulla’s death, and a decade or so later in the year 66 B.C, he would viciously denounce the decadent Catiline, who aimed to overthrow the government. With his own self-importance growing, he alienated important figures in the Senate, which resulted in charges raised against him for ordering the killing of Roman citizens during these turbulent years. He was exiled and eventually invited back by…

Source: What happened this month in history?

Marius and the Volunteer Army

signumnewtop

At Cannae, in Southern Italy, the Army of the Roman Republic faced Hannibal in the 2nd Punic War.

At the time a Roman citizen could not “join” the Army; it was an honor reserved for those of property and standing.  It was expected of those with property and standing.  It was not expected of the poor.  It would be another hundred years before Gaius Marius allowed “ordinary” citizens to enlist.

At the time of Cannae  the standard requirements to become a Roman soldier were very…

Source: Marius and the Volunteer Army

FEATURED: ‘ Israeli Archaeologists Set to Uncover Complete Roman Villa ‘

#AceHistoryNews – Nov.17: The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and the Lod municipality are inviting the public this week to view the most recently discovered parts of a unique villa dating back to the 4th century CE.

“What is special about this discovery is that we’ve almost finished uncovering the whole Roman villa,” said IAA archaeologist Dr. Amir Gorzalczany, to Tazpit Press Service (TPS). The villa was already partially discovered in the 1990s when the Israel Antiquities Authority was inspecting development work prior to the construction of Highway 90.

Gorzalczany described some of the villa’s aesthetic attributes to…

Source: FEATURED: ‘ Israeli Archaeologists Set to Uncover Complete Roman Villa ‘

Byzantine ‘flat-pack’ church to be reconstructed in Oxford after spending 1,000 years on the seabed

Centuries before the Swedes started flat-packing their furniture, the Holy Roman Emperor Justinian had his own version, sending self-assembly churches to newly conquered parts of his empire.

From the Independent.

Now one of the “Ikea-style” churches, which spent more than 1,000 years on a seabed after the ship carrying it sank, is to be reconstructed for the first time in Oxford.

The Byzantine church will be on display at the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology as part of the exhibition

Source: Byzantine ‘flat-pack’ church to be reconstructed in Oxford after spending 1,000 years on the seabed