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About Komet

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  • Birthday 11/20/1983

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    ancient Rome, numismatics, Roman topography, 3D modeling, computer programming, data maintenance and dissemination, football

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  1. I'd like to see some evidence of this. I have studied Trajan's forum as recently as two years ago, and there was no mention of this revelation in my class. James Packer is one of the most esteemed Roman architectural historians. I'd like to know who challenged him. As of the Giuseppe Grande map of about 2005, the Temple of Saturn is still there: link This is the most accurate topographical map of ancient Rome published so far, including many pieces of the Forma Urbis. For more info about Packer's book, part of it is available on google books: http://books.google.com/books?id=aT7WobHFY...BupDnBA#PPP1,M1
  2. Komet

    Google Earth Revives Ancient Rome

    Impressive work, though because of atrociously slow loading I've only been able to see the terrain and monuments layers. I get the impression that the selection of monuments was made to limit the more conjectural buildings, although a few seem to have slipped through. Also, some buildings have interiors while others haven't. Is there a rationale behind this? Yes and no. The model wasn't created all at one time by one institution. It started out a decade ago as the brainchild of Bernie Frischer and Diane Favro while Bernie was still with the UCLA Cultural VR Lab before he moved to his current position of director of the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at UVA, taking the project with him. The original project included much of the Forum Romanum, some of the buildings had interiors. I guess that was probably based on funding, level of knowledge of what the interiors were like, and time. Eventually, other monuments were added by various institutions. UCLA added the Colosseum and I think the Basilica of Maxentius. The basilica is only a few years old, I think, (it predates my work on the project), and may have been completed by UCLA while IATH maintained the project. The basilica is a technically better model than a lot of the older, original stuff, and has a very well done interior. Much of the generic architecture you see, including the Palatine and most of the temples not in the forum, and practically all of the Campus Martius were derived from laser scans of the Plastico several years ago, but post-dating the original UCLA models. There is a much better quality version of the Circus Maximus in Rome Reborn 2.0. That was completed about a year ago by people at a university in Bordeaux, France. I believe there are also plans to license several high quality bath complexes from someone else, but I'm not certain. It has been about six months since I have worked with IATH, so I am out of the loop. One of their next big projects is a reconstruction of Hadrian's Villa, which I hope to work on.
  3. Komet

    Google Earth Revives Ancient Rome

    That's a good question about the domestic structures. The Regionary catalogs contain a listing of the the important monumental features of each of the 14 Augustan regions of the city. Unfortunately it is impossible to know the precise number of houses or insulae in each region because no one really knows what the definition of an insulae is. The word means different things in different contexts. Sometimes insulae refers to a block; sometimes a building of apartments; sometimes an individual apartment. It's impossible to put a precise figure of domestic structures into each region, so a lot of the "filler" architecture is conjectural. The Google Earth model of Rome does not contain accurately modeled brick insulae because it is technically impossible. They're in Rome Reborn 2.0. http://www.romereborn.virginia.edu/gallery.php
  4. Komet

    Google Earth Revives Ancient Rome

    I worked on this project doing topographical research and 3d modeling and texturing for almost a year and I'd like to address this issue. While it is true that the Plastico was originally developed as a propaganda piece, with the hills and monuments being about 20% higher than they are in the physical model than they were in reality, the digital terrain is based on scientific data and the buildings were calibrated to the digital terrain. The Plastico rarely represents insulae that were greater than 4 stories tall, but we know that many were as tall as 6 or 8 floors. In Rome Reborn 2.0, all of the insulae were procedurally created and are typically more accurate than the ones depicted on the Plastico. Keep in mind that Gismondi continued to work on his model through the early 1970's, much after the end of Fascism.
  5. Cool. Economic relationships between Rome and other kingdoms, particularly Han China and the Parthian Empire, is something that has interested me for quite some time. I wrote two papers on the subject, one of which somehow was quoted in the China Daily a few years ago. Wacky.
  6. Komet

    Numismatists rejoice!

    I did find an article titled "M. Porcius the Wine Merchant" by Robert J. Rowland, Jr. (Historia, Jun. 1969), in which the author described MPC the wine merchant as having been a wealthy Licinian cousin of MPC Uticensis, and perhaps the son of the consul of 118. Because this son had been named Marcus (like his father, the consul of 118) and had died in Gallia Narbonensis, Rowland identified him with the MPC wine merchant whose amphorae (stamped with his name) were found in Gallia Narbonensis. I mention this, because Komet earlier in this thread said: "that particular coin is in fact attributed to a M. Porcius Cato, who was perhaps a wine seller." It would be interesting to know if this is the same MPC wine merchant. By the way, I just want to give Komet here a hail for posting the link to the University of Virginia Art Museum's numismatics collection. Komet -- Ethan -- your digitalization project looks like a quite an amazing undertaking and certainly a useful research tool for students and scholars! As I stated previously, numismatics leaves me flummoxed. So I hope, Komet/Ethan, that you'll be patient with my question: How do we know for certain that the MPC coin discussed here was minted in 89 BCE? (Barring any obvious date imprinted on the coin, of course -- which I couldn't see in the picture.) Could the coin in question possibly have been minted a couple of years earlier -- which would then coincide with the dates given by Broughton for when a Marcus Porcius Cato was serving in the office of Monetal? -- Nephele Thanks for your interest in the site! That's a very good question. I can't answer it for that particular coin since most of my studies have dealt more specifically with coins of the breakaway Gallic Empire than Republican coinage. However, I can address the issue more generally. Crawford undoubtedly studied thousands of coins. While it tends to be easier to date Imperial coins (because the legends tend to contain titles and years), coins without clear indicators of year can be identified by a wide study of other coins, epigraphy, and historical sources to place individual coins into a more precise context. That work is incredibly meticulous and the study of hoards often takes years. A trained numismatist can look at the details of the engraving and portraiture in order to confidently determine whether the same hand or shop is responsible for the production of different coin types. Each engraver has a particular style of engraving letters, facial features such as eyes, hair, etc. In some cases, it can be determined that the same die was used to stamp multiple coins, not just the same engraver. So here's a hypothetical situation. Suppose in his studies of Republican coins, Crawford noticed that the same engraver carved the obverse of a different coin. Perhaps the reverse of that coin is a precise match to a reverse of a different coin minted at one of the shops maintained by one of the other of the three moneyers in Rome that we know from an inscription was active during the consulship of Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo, which we know from other various sources was about 89 B.C. It's somewhat circular, but numismatics is the method by which most of the chronology of Roman history has been established.
  7. Komet

    The Fate of Paul

    I believe he was beheaded. I doubt Nero would have bothered personally sentencing him to die in the arena. Peter's death seems to be more well-documented, but there's certainly a lot of dogma surrounding that as well. We learn that he asked to be crucified upside-down, but the first person who documents that was Tertullian writing more than a century later.
  8. Komet

    Numismatists rejoice!

    I'm not sure. They're someone else's notes, but I doubt they're incorrect. Do you have a citation for that? If so, I'll change it.
  9. Komet

    Numismatists rejoice!

    Hi. Thanks for identifying the problem. It's hard to QA all 500 coins. I checked the research notes for that collection of Republican coins, and that particular coin is in fact attributed to a M. Porcius Cato, who was perhaps a wine seller. Crawford points out that it should not be confused with the father of Cato the Younger. I have made the appropriate changes to the site.
  10. Hello, I've been a casual reader for years but have rarely posted. In any case I have been working on a digitization project of the University of Virginia Art Museum's collection of Roman (and a handful of Greek) coins. Here's a brief description of the collection: The coins were scanned at 2000 DPI with highly specialized digital cameras and all of the high resolution images are freely available. Additionally, all of the physical and categorical characteristics of the coins have been described, allowing for a wide range of sorting, browsing, and searching capabilities. The website has been in development for about a year and is now officially public at http://coins.lib.virginia.edu . There are essays associated with some of the coins written by graduate students, but due to some Intellectual Property rights issues, I had to temporarily discontinue the link to the Essays section, but hopefully that will be resolved within the next few weeks. Other than that, my chief goal was to develop an intuitive interface that mimics the way numismatists sort data. I wanted the site to be above all a useful tool for students and scholars of numismatists. I hope you like it! URL again: http://coins.lib.virginia.edu -Ethan Gruber University of Virginia
  11. Komet

    Your Favourite Picec Of Roman Art

    From Pompeii...
  12. I wrote a paper for a class on Roman religion last semester concerning the rise of fatalist astrology during the Late Republic (and how it supplanted traditional haruspices as the chief form of divination in Rome) and its heyday during the early Principate, particularly under the reigns of Tiberius, Caligula, Nero, and Domitian. Many belived so strongly in fatalist astrology that certain events manifested directly due to the belief that they had already been fated to happen in the stars. The astrologer Thrasyllus, serving under the court of Tiberius (and also his close personal friend), declared that Caligula would no sooner be ascend the throne of empire than ride a horse over the Bay of Baiae, to which Caligula replied by building a costly pontoon bridge over the bay and riding a chariot across. (Regardless of this incident, though, Thrasyllus would have favored Caligula over the younger and feebler Tiberius Gemellus). Even more severe, at a young age, the emperor Domitian had been foretold the precise day and hour of his death by astrologers. Using this paranoia as a weapon, conspirators against Domitian set out to assassinate him on the precise hour because they believed they were destined to succeed. I figure some people here might find it to be a useful and/or interesting read: Astrology in politics during the Julio-Claudian and Flavian Dynasties
  13. The senate was never intended to be a binding, legislative body. Even in the days of the Tarquins, the senate existed, but only as an ad hoc advisory body to the kings. They could issue decrees, but had no power to enforce them.
  14. Komet

    What's Your Favorite...

    Carrhae, even though it's a loss. It's one of the most detailed battles accounted. If you read Plutarch's Life of Crassus, you'll see he had no chance whatsoever at winning, and his tactics are frustratingly hopeless. I felt sorry for him after he lost his son. It's truly well-written.
  15. Komet

    Expanding The Empire

    About funding-- After the First Punic War, Rome received a war indemnity from Carthage of 3200 talents. The indemnity repayed war debts, but also allowed Rome to fund future campaigns. Rome Received 10,000 talents after the Second Punic War, and then even more (15,000) after defeating Macedonia and dissolving the Antigonid dynasty. By the time of empire, the fiscus, or emperor's personal purse, paid for military expenses, along with other things such as salaries of the imperial staff and social welfare system (grain, water supply, police, etc.). The fiscus was generated from Egypt, which was the emperor's personal honey pot, wealth and taxes from other military provinces, and certain indirect taxes. About ideas for invasion-- Some wars were brought on by Rome's neighbors, like many of the wars early in the Republic. Others were for no legitimate reason, whatsoever. The Third Punic War was one such war. There was no justification for going to war, but Carthage was destroyed and tens of thousands were murdered or enslaved.