The Reforms of Augustus, Rome’s First Emperor

The mausoleum of Augustus in Rome / Photo by ryarwood, Wikimedia Commons “I found a city built of sun-dried brick. I leave her clothed in marble.” By Donald L. Wasson / 05.25.2016 Professor of Ancient/Medieval History Lincoln College Introduction Emperor Augustus (27 BCE – 14 CE) accomplished much during his time on the Roman throne, far more than many of[…]

The History of Medicine in Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome

Dated to the New Kingdom (c. 1570 – c. 1069 BCE), and specifically to c. 1200 BCE, the text is written in demotic script and is the oldest treatise on anorectal disease (affecting the anus and rectum) in history. / Photo by Ibolya Horvath, British Museum, Creative Commons The history of medicine is a long and distinguished one, as[…]

The Reforms of Diocletian and Constantine in the Later Roman Empire

The peristyle (courtyard) of Diocletian’s palace The reforms of Diocletian and Constantine “preserved” the empire, but changed it radically. By Dr. Lynn Harry Nelson Emeritus Professor of Medieval History The University of Kansas The Reforms of Diocletian, 284-305 CE Laureate bust of Diocletian / Photo by G.dallorto, Museo Archaeologico, Wikimedia Commons Political Diocletian divided the[…]

The Valerio-Horatian Laws of the Roman Republic and Plebeian Recognition

In response to drastic unjust debt and legal principles the Plebeians deserted their positions in society and left the Army refusing to fight in 494 BCE. The laws restored the right of appeal to the people and introduced measures which were favorable to the plebeians. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 10.05.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief[…]

Roman Law, from the Twelve Tables to the Corpus Iuris Civilis

The historical importance of Roman law is reflected by the continued use of Latin legal terminology in many legal systems influenced by it, including common law. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 10.05.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction Roman law is the legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years[…]

Octavian Augustus: ‘First Citizen’ of the Roman Empire

The Age of Augustus, the Birth of Christ, by Jean-Léon Gérôme, c.1852 / Getty Images, Creative Commons Augustus was the “first among equals”, though of course equality was in so sense an accurate description of either him or ancient Roman life. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 10.04.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction Augustus was a[…]

Who Was Julius Caesar?

Vincenzo Camuccini’s depiction of the death of Julius Caesar / Getty Images, Creative Commons Caesar made politics and power his life’s ambition.   By Dr. Sarah Midford (left) and Dr. Rhiannon Evans (right) Midford: Lecturer, School of Humanities Evans: Senior Lecturer, Ancient Mediterranean Studies La Trobe University Posterity will be staggered to hear and read[…]

Tribunes in Ancient Rome: The Voice of the People

Gaius Gracchus Weeping Before his Fathers Statue, engraved by B.Barloccini, 1849 Tribunes protected the plebs from any abuses by magistrates and received loyalty in return. By Mark Cartwright / 12.07.2016 Historian Introduction A Roman coin depicting a citizen voting. Silver denarius of L. Cassius Longinus, 63 BCE. (Archaeological Museum, Tarragona, Spain) / Photo by Mark[…]

The Mithraic Mysteries in Ancient Rome

Tauroctony statue / Photo by Carole Raddato, Creative Commons Mithraism was a mystery cult in the Roman world where followers worshipped the Indo-Iranian deity Mithras. By Dr. Pierre A. Thomé / 06.10.2015 Professor of Graphics and Illustration Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts Introduction The Mithraic Mysteries, also known as Mithraism, were a mystery[…]

The Rites in the Mysteries of Dionysus: The Birth of the Drama

A wall of the triclinium, traditionally interpreted to represent the stages of initiation to the cult. Silenus holding a lyre (left); demi-god Pan and a nymph sitting on a rock, nursing a goat (centre); woman with coat (right). Fresco of the mystery ritual, right, Villa of the Mysteries, Pompeii, Italy. / Photo by Yann Forget,[…]

The Roman Senate: An ‘Assembly of Old Men’ Influential to the End

A fresco by Cesare Maccari (1840-1919 CE) depicting Roman senator Cicero (106-43 BCE) denouncing the conspirator Catiline in the Roman senate. (Palazzo Madama, Rome) / Wikimedia Commons The institution outlasted all emperors, and senators remained Rome’s most powerful political movers. By Mark Cartwright / 12.12.2016 Historian Introduction The Roman Senate functioned as an advisory body[…]

Bayesian Analysis and Free Market Trade within the Roman Empire

Mosaic of amphorae being unloaded from a ship, Ostia / Southampton University, Creative Commons The trade networks of the Roman Empire are among the most intensively researched large-scale market systems in antiquity,       By (left-to-right) Dr. Xavier Rubio-Campillo, María Coto-Sarmiento, Jordi Pérez-Gonzalez, and Dr. José Remesal Rodríguez Rubio-Campillo: Lecturer in Archaeology; Computational Archaeology, The[…]

Italian Theater Basement Yields Hundreds of Ancient Roman Gold Coins

Hundreds of ancient gold coins were unearthed in the basement of a demolished theater in northern Italy. Archaeologists are calling it an “exceptional discovery.” / Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities  By Shannon Van Sant / 09.10.2018 Hundreds of ancient gold coins were found last week in the basement of a former theater in northern[…]

Buried by the Ash of Vesuvius: Pompeii Scrolls Being Read for the First Time

The charred papyrus scroll recovered from Herculaneum is preserved in 12 trays mounted under glass. Here is PHerc.118 in tray 8. The scroll was physically unrolled in 1883-84, causing irreparable damage. (Henrik Knudsen) A revolutionary American scientist is using subatomic physics to decipher 2,000-year-old texts from the early days of Western civilization. By Jo Marchant[…]

The Art of Citizenship: Roman Cultural Identity in Cicero’s Pro Archia Poeta

Cicero Denounces Catiline, fresco by Cesare Maccari, 1882-1888 / Wikimedia Commons Examining Cicero’s views on the construction of Roman identity. By Fisher Wallace Pressman This paper examines Cicero’s Pro Archia Poeta Oratio and the author’s implicit and explicit views on how Roman cultural identity is construct ed. While the speech itself is the legal defense[…]

Yearning for Rome in the Medieval Romanesque

South transept of Tournai Cathedral, Belgium, 12th century / Wikimedia Commons The Romanesque style appeared to be a continuation of the Roman tradition of building, albeit a much simplified and less technically competent version. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 09.14.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction Romanesque architecture is the term that describes the architecture of[…]

The Graeco-Roman-Etruscan Marvel that Was Pompeii

Forum, looking toward Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii Pompeii was not always a Roman town. By the mid-sixth century BCE, both Etruscans and Greeks had settled in the area. By Dr. Francesca Tronchin / 09.02.2018 Independent Scholar of Classical Art and Archaeology Preserved under Volcanic Ash Pompeii may be famous today, with millions of tourists visiting each[…]

The Bacchanalia: Ancient Soteriology in Motion

Bacchanalia (cut), on a frieze / Photo by Roland zh, Wikimedia Commons Practices intimately tied to the soteriological aspirations of their adherents. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 09.10.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction The Bacchanal by Peter Paul Rubens / Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Wikimedia Commons The term Bacchanalia describes the initiatory and celebratory[…]

Augustus to Justinian: General Themes in the Corruption of the Roman Principate

The Roman Forum / Photo by Bert Kaufmann, Wikimedia Commons The best intentions often end in the most spectacular falls. By Zachary Scott Rupley / 05.2009 Adjunct Professor of History East Tennessee State University Conception and Temperament of Emperors; State of the World   [LEFT]: Augustus of Prima Porta, 1st century / Vatican Museums, Wikimedia[…]

Exploring the Roman ‘Imperator’

Lucius Aemilius Paullus, acting as imperator, breaking ties of serfdom / Photo by Marco Prins, Louvre Museum, Creative Commons Imperator (“commander”) was a Roman title, awarded to victorious commanders and emperors. The Greek equivalent is strategos autokrator. By Jona Lendering / 08.10.2015 Historian and Founder Livius Onderwijs Iberian Origin? The Roman word imperator simply means[…]

Rome’s Seat of Passion: The Archaeology and History of the Circus Maximus

Wide view of Circus Maximus, Rome, Italy / Photo by Peter Clarke, Wikimedia Commons The Circus Maximus as evidence to both the flexibility of public spaces and usages by the aristocracy from pre-Roman times through the Roman Empire. By Cody Scott Ames / 04.06.2016 Abstract It is a place where the general public can gather[…]

Social and Economic Corruption in the Graeco-Roman World

Highlighting the evolution of corruption and represents the highlights of the phenomenon from the social, economic and religious perspective.     By (left-to-right) Ciprian Rotaru, Dumitru-Alexandru Bodislav, and Raluca Georgescu Bucharest University of Economic Studies Introduction The phenomenon of corruption can be dated with the rise of mankind. Although it is not an act with[…]