Marcus Aurelius: Philosopher Emperor or Philosopher-King?

Marcus’ goal was to become the best – most virtuous – person that he was able to become. Introduction It is very common to hear in both academic circles, as well as more close-knit Stoic circles, Marcus Aurelius (121 – 180 CE) being referred to as the philosopher king. This is not an idea that is heavily[…]

Marcus Tullius Cicero: The Impact of His Oration Millennia Beyond Him

When government runs amok, people have a right to rebel—Cicero honored daring individuals who helped overthrow tyrants. By Jim Powell Introduction Marcus Tullius Cicero expressed principles that became the bedrock of liberty in the modern world. He insisted on the primacy of moral standards over government laws. These standards became known as natural law. Above[…]

The Roman Siege of Masada, 73-74 CE

The siege of Masada, chronicled by Flavius Josephus, was one of the final events in the First Jewish–Roman War. Introduction The siege of Masada was one of the final events in the First Jewish–Roman War, occurring from 73 to 74 CE on and around a large hilltop in current-day Israel. The siege was chronicled by Flavius Josephus, a Jewish rebel leader captured[…]

Cultural Links between Ancient India and the Graeco-Roman World

Long before the arrival of Alexander the Great on India’s north-western border, there are references in early Indian literature calling the Greeks Yavanas. Introduction Cyrus the Great (558-530 BCE) built the first universal empire, stretching from Greece to the Indus River. This was the famous Achaemenid Dynasty of Persia. An inscription at Naqsh-i-Rustam, the tomb of his able successor Darius I (521-486 BCE), near Persepolis, records Gadara[…]

Ancient Roman Invective: Oral Political Assassination

This tactic could set a political foe aside from the whole community and turn the audience against him. Roman invective (uituperatio lat.) was the rhetorical and literary genre that aimed at systematically and publicly blaming a political foe to set him aside from the whole community and turn the audience against him during judicial, forensic and deliberative[…]

Classical and Christian Conceptions of Slavery and Gender, and Their Influence on Germanic Gaul

Roman honor and shame became Christian virtue and shame. The Christian reinterpretation of the classical Roman dichotomy of “honor” and “shame” into “virtue” and “shame” in Late Antiquity did not benefit enslaved men and women equally. Enslaved men experienced a moral elevation of their suffering, which allowed them to recast their vulnerability as a strength[…]

The Roman Gladiator

Without doubt, gladiator spectacles were one of the most watched forms of popular entertainment in the Roman world. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction A Roman gladiator was an ancient professional fighter who specialised with particular weapons and armour. They fought before the public in organised games held in large purpose-built arenas throughout the Roman Empire from 105 BCE to 404[…]

Panem Et Circenses: Ancient Roman Entertainment for Appeasement

“The people are only anxious for two things: bread and circuses.” Introduction Two men ready their weapons. An excited crowd of Romans cheer loudly in anticipation. Both combatants realize full well that this day might be their last. They are gladiators, men who fight to the death for the enjoyment of others. As the two[…]

The Domus Aurea: From the Ashes of Rome, Nero’s ‘Golden House’

The Domus Aurea (Golden House), located between the Esquiline and Palatine Hills, was one of Nero’s most extravagant projects. The Domus Aurea (Latin, “Golden House”) was a large landscaped portico villa built by the Emperor Nero in the heart of ancient Rome, after the great fire in 64 C.E. had cleared away the aristocratic dwellings on the[…]

Julius Caesar in Gaul

Caesar created a new version of ‘Gaul’, expanding geographical boundaries and excluding some areas traditionally ascribed to it.    Where Was Gaul? While we might think of Gaul as the ‘ancient version’ of modern France, the Romans included modern Belgium, parts of the Netherlands and northern Italy in Gaul. Gallia Transalpina meant ‘Gaul beyond the[…]