The Arch of Roman Emperor Constantine the Great

Speakers: Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker. Video produced by Dr. Naraelle Hohensee, Dr. Steven Zucker and Dr. Beth Harris By Dr. Andrew Findley / 09.27.2016 Assistant Professor of Art History and Humanities Ivy Tech Community College The Emperor Constantine, called Constantine the Great, was significant for several reasons. These include his political transformation of[…]

Potions and Poisons: Tracing the ‘Witch’ and Practice of Magic to the Graeco-Roman World

The Oracle, 1880, Camillo Miola (Biacca). Oil on canvas, 42 1/2 x 56 1/4 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 72.PA.32 Our idea of an old witch making evil potions can be traced back to a more benign Greek origin (later morphed by the Romans). By Shelby Brown / 10.19.2015 Classical archaeologist and classicist Education Specialist for Academic and Adult Audiences[…]

The Transformation of Rome’s Forum Boarium Over the Centuries

Forum Boarium in the Imperial Age, Lanciani FUR, tab. XXVIII, detail “A very popular area exists that borders the bridges and the Circus Maximus, named for an ox located there”. – Ovid, Fasti (VI, 477-8) With the Forum Boarium the ancients defined a level zone that included the eighth and eleventh Augustan districts, located between[…]

Final and Largest of Rome’s Imperial Fora: The Forum and Markets of Trajan

Apollodorus of Damascus, The Forum of Trajan, dedicated 112 C.E., Rome Apollodorus of Damascus, The Markets of Trajan, 112 C.E., Rome By Dr. Jeffrey A. Becker / 12.09.2015 Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Studies Binghamton University An emperor worth celebrating Marble bust of Trajan, c. 108-117 C.E., 68.5 cm high (The British Museum) (photo: Chris Stroup, CC[…]

Tomb of the Scipios and the Sarcophagus of Scipio Barbatus

Plaster cast of the Tomb of Scipio Barbata in-situ, early 3rd century B.C.E. (original, Vatican Museums) (photo: Caterina A., by permission) By Dr. Jeffrey A. Becker / 12.09.2015 Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Studies Binghamton University Image and status Veristic male portrait (similar to Head of a Roman Patrician), early 1st Century B.C.E., marble, life size[…]

The Gemma Augustea: Cameo of Augustus

Upper register (detail), Dioskourides, Gemma Augustea, 9 – 12 C.E., 19 x 23 cm, double-layered sardonyx with gold, gold-plated silver (Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna) By Dr. Julia Fischer / 08.08.2015 Lecturer of Art History Georgia Southern University Head (detail), Augustus of Primaporta, 1st century C.E. (Vatican Museums) Private art Gemma Claudia, 49 C.E., 120 x 152 cm without[…]

Augustus of Primaporta: Imperial Power in Imagery

By Dr. Julia Fischer / 08.08.2015 Lecturer of Art History Georgia Southern University Augustus and the power of images Augustus of Primaporta, 1st century C.E., marble, 2.03 meters high (Vatican Museums) Today, politicians think very carefully about how they will be photographed.  Think about all the campaign commercials and print ads we are bombarded with[…]

The Eternal Guffaw: John Leech and The Comic History of Rome

Detail from John Leech’s illustration “Tarquinius Superbus makes himself king” featured in The Comic History of Rome – Internet Archive At the beginning of the 1850s, two stalwarts from the heart of London-based satirical magazine Punch, Gilbert Abbott à Beckett and John Leech, cast their mocking eye a little further back in time and published The Comic History of Rome.[…]

Once a Thief: The Vyne Ring of Senicianus

By Dr. Peter Kruschwitz / 11.29.2017 From The Petrified Muse Professor of Classics Fellow of the Pontifical Academy for Latin (Pontificia Academia Latinitatis) University of Reading I have been looking at the Latin inscriptions of Silchester recently, and in that context I came across a very remarkable item: the so-called Vyne ring. The Vyne ring, around a seal depicting (and naming) the[…]

The Maison Carrée: Ancient Roman Temple in Nîmes

Maison Carrée, c. 4-7 C.E., Colonia Nemausus (modern Nîmes, France) By Dr. Jeffrey A. Becker / 12.09.2015 Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Studies Binghamton University The so-called Maison Carrée or “square house” is an ancient Roman temple located in Nîmes in southern France. Nîmes was founded as a Roman colony (Colonia Nemausus) during the first century B.C.E. The Maison[…]

Byzantine Amphora with Christian Inscription Discovered in Roman Trimammium Fortress

The six-line inscription in Ancient Greek found on the fragment of a 6th century AD Byzantine amphora in the Trimammium Fortress in Northeast Bulgaria. Photo: Ruse Regional Museum of History By Ivan Dikov / 01.09.2018 Part of an Early Byzantine amphora with a fully preserved inscription in Ancient Greek dedicated to Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary[…]

The Ara Pacis Augustae (Altar of Augustan Peace)

Ara Pacis Augustae (Altar of Augustan Peace), 9 B.C.E. (Ara Pacis Museum, Rome, Italy) By Dr. Jeffrey A. Becker / 11.23.2015 Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Studies Binghamton University Ara Pacis Augustae (Altar of Augustan Peace), 9 B.C.E. (Ara Pacis Museum, Rome, Italy) (photo: Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) The Roman state religion in microcosm The festivities of[…]

Sacrifice Preparation as Communal Ritual in Ancient Rome

Preparations for a Sacrifice, fragment from an architectural relief, c. mid-first century C.E., marble, 172 x 211 cm / 67¾ x 83⅛ inches (Musée du Louvre, Paris)  [note: the date for this relief from the Louvre’s website—beginning of the second century C.E.—is at odds with the Louvre’s publication of its catalog, Roman Art from the Louvre (2009)[…]

The Capitoline She-Wolf: Rome’s Eternal Symbol

Coin (didramma) from the “Romano-campana” series, Herakles and the wolf suckling the twins, 265 B.C.E., silver coin (Capitoline Museum, Rome) By Dr. Jaclyn Neel / 01.22.2016 Assistant Professor of Classics and Ancient History Temple University Rome’s eternal symbol? If one could choose any animal to become one’s mother, how many people would choose a wolf?[…]

Sarcophagi of the Spouses at the Louvre and Rome

Sarcophagus of the Spouses, Etruscan, c. 520-510 B.C.E., painted terracotta (Musée du Louvre) Author does not wish to be identified Sarcophagus of the Spouses (Louvre) The freedom enjoyed by Etruscan women One of the distinguishing features of Etruscan society, and one that caused much shock and horror to their Greek neighbors, was the relative freedom enjoyed[…]

The Temple of Portunus in Rome

By Dr. Jeffrey A. Becker / 12.09.2015 Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Studies Binghamton University Temple of Portunus (formerly known as Fortuna Virilis), travertine, tufa, and stucco, c. 120-80 B.C.E., Rome The Temple of Portunus is a well preserved late second or early first century B.C.E. rectangular temple in Rome, Italy. Its dedication to the God[…]

Ancient Roman Still Life Painting

Still Life with Peaches and Water Jar (left), Still Life with a Silver Tray with Prunes, Dried figs, Dates and Glass of Wine (center), and Still Life with Branch of Peaches, Fourth Style wall painting from Herculaneum, Italy, c. 62-69 C.E., fresco, 14 x 13 1/2 inches (Archaeological Museum, Naples) By Dr. Lea K. Cline / 04.22.2017 Assistant Professor of Art[…]

Roman Wall Painting Styles

Example of a Fourth Style painting, before 79 C.E., fresco, Pompeii By Dr. Jessica Leay Ambler / 08.08.2015 Professor of Humanities Southern New Hampshire University Why Pompeii? View of Mount Vesuvius from Pompeii Paintings from antiquity rarely survive—paint, after all, is a much less durable medium than stone or bronze sculpture. But it is thanks to the ancient Roman[…]

Roman Funeral Rituals and Social Status: The Amiternum Tomb and the Tomb of the Haterii

Tombs along the Via Appia, Rome Author does not wish to be identified To say that the ancient Romans thought a lot about funerary ritual and post-mortem commemoration is an understatement. Abundant textual evidence records complex, performative rituals surrounding death and burial in ancient Rome while significant expenditures on visual commemoration—elaborate tombs, funerary portraits—defined Roman[…]

The Forum Romanum (Roman Forum) and Imperial Fora

View of the Forum from the slope of the Capitoline to the Palatine Hill By Dr. Jeffrey A. Becker / 12.09.2015 Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Studies Binghamton University Forum Romanum (Roman Forum) In his play Curculio, the Latin playwright Plautus offers perhaps one of the most comprehensive and insightful descriptions of the Forum Romanum ever written (ll. 466-482).[…]

Justice and Liberty Have No Better Spokesman than Cicero

By Dr. Gary M. Galles / 09.30.2017 Professor of Economics Pepperdine University ohn Adams said of Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BCE) that “All ages of the world have not produced a greater statesman and philosopher combined.” Anthony Everitt called him an “architect of constitutions that still govern our lives.” Thomas Jefferson said the Declaration of Independence was[…]

Roman Domestic Architecture

Peristyle, Casa della Venere in Conchiglia, Pompeii (Photo: F. Tronchin/Warren, Peristyle, Casa della Venere in Conchiglia, Pompeii, BY-NC-ND 2.0) By Dr. Jeffrey A. Becker / 02.27.2016 Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Studies Binghamton University Domus Introduction Understanding the architecture of the Roman house requires more than simply appreciating the names of the various parts of the structure,[…]

A Candid History of Christmas: First There was Winter

Ave, Caesar! Io, Saturnalia! (1880) by Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1880, with the Praetorian Guard hailing Claudius (veiling himself in a curtain) as the new emperor after the assassination of Caligula. / Akron Art Museum, Wikimedia Commosn By Dr. Bruce David Forbes Chair, Philosophy and Religious Studies Department Morningside College To understand what Christmas has become, first we should consider winter. For the moment,[…]

Rome’s Enduring Arch

Figure 1: Ponte Garibaldi serving as both pedestrian walkway and traffic arterial ( Photo by: Self, 2013) From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (student paper) / 09.06.2013 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction The first arch made an appearance in structural design in the second millennium BC via the Mesopotamians. However, it wasn’t[…]

An Introduction to Ancient Roman Architecture

An example of post and lintel architecture: Hera II, Paestum, c. 460 B.C.E. (Classical period), tufa, 24.26 x 59.98 m By Dr. Jessica Leay Ambler / 08.08.2015 Professor of Humanities Southern New Hampshire University Roman architecture was unlike anything that had come before. The Persians, Egyptians, Greeks and Etruscans all had monumental architecture. The grandeur[…]

The Tiber River: Central to Prosperity and Life in Ancient Rome

The Tiber River / Creative Commons From Dr. Stephen T. Muench (student paper) / 12.03.2015 Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Washington Introduction Figure 1: Ancient Tributaries of the Tiber Legend tells us that Rome was founded by a brother who, along with his twin, was sentenced to death as an infant. They were[…]