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Everything posted by guy

  1. guy

    Relax with the Roman Baths

    Thank you for reading my post. I think we forget that the Roman bath complex was really a combination of bath, spa, gym, library, community center, and food court. I would, therefore, expect the Roman bath complex to be a rowdy and crowded place. Seneca lived above a bath complex and had this to say in Moral Letters to Lucilius (56): https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Moral_letters_to_Lucilius/Letter_56
  2. Another exciting find: a city buried by sand. This site, the "Lost Golden City" is near Luxor, Egypt. It dates back to the reign of Amenhotep III who reigned from 1391-1353 BCE. It is amazing the amount of archaeological material found since the dig began in September 2020, including colored pottery, jewelry, scarab amulets, a bakery with ovens, etc. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-56686448 The city is believed to have been founded by Amenhotep III, one of ancient Egypt's most powerful rulers Summary: It is hard to believe that this city was around more than a thousand years before Cleopatra and Marc Anthony had their relationship. guy also known as gaius
  3. This is a recent discovery of a salt complex sheds light on the economy of Neolithic (later Stone Age) Britain almost 6000 years ago: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/archaeology/yorkshire-salt-archaeology-neolithic-britain-b1824440.html https://www.fr24news.com/a/2021/03/how-a-new-archaeological-find-in-yorkshire-could-rewrite-british-prehistory.html Summary: As I've written before in a previous post dealing with Mayan salt production, it is easy to forget today about the importance of salt in ancient times, from preserving food to seasoning. By being able to preserve the food, it removed the dependence on local production and allowed food transport over long distances. guy also known as gaius
  4. Here's a beautiful ancient Roman cameo of Augustus that came to my attention. Beautiful detail, for sure: Medallion on which the head of the Emperor Augustus stands out in high relief. Augustus, wearing the crown of oak leaf, is seen from the front, the bands falling from the occiput, and spreading over the flat forehead, towards the shoulders, the left of which is draped. In the eleven small holes distributed on the crown were perhaps fixed tassels or gold leaves. http://medaillesetantiques.bnf.fr/ws/catalogue/app/collection/record/ark:/12148/c33gbcvrx Summary: This piece, which is thought to be contemporary or near-contemporary with Augustus (reigned 23 BCE - 14 AD), helps to validate our image of him (or at least the image he wanted to portray). guy also known as gaius (Thanks to Garth Harney @Optimus Princeps for bringing this to my attention.
  5. The year 251 AD was a disaster for the Romans. The Gothic forces, under Cniva, defeated the Roman forces at the battle of Abritus in modern-day Bulgaria. Both the Emperor Decius and his co-ruling son Herennius Etruscus were killed in battle. Before the disastrous battle, Cniva besieged Philoppolis (Plovdiv, Bulgaria). One unfortunate resident left a hoard of coins for safety, never to return: http://archaeologyinbulgaria.com/2021/04/01/large-silver-coin-hoard-hidden-during-251-ad-goth-invasion-of-roman-empire-discovered-in-bulgarias-plovdiv/ Summary: This is another example of numismatic evidence sometimes filling the gaps of an incomplete history. The year 251 AD was certainly one of crisis. Not only were an emperor and his co-ruling son killed, but the Sassanid King Shapur I, possibly sensing instability in the empire, decided to wage war on Rome with the intend of capturing Antioch. Excellent review about the turmoil of the third century that led up to the Battle of Abritus: guy also known as gaius
  6. Although I'm a religious skeptic, this article from a religious source has some interesting insights: Also related is the Alexamenos graffito, thought to be an early depiction of Jesus (as a crucified donkey-headed figure): https://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2021/04/roman-drawings-of-crucifixions-and-what-they-tell-us/ Summary: I find it interesting that Alexamenos, the man who is mocked in the image, is dressed as a slave. This would be consistent with my hypotheses that the Jesus movement would have its greatest appeal to the least historically studied segments of society: the underclass, women , and slaves. The Jesus movement would not be initially embraced by the ruling elite. Modern historians of ancient Rome, whose source material would mostly deal with these elites, would underestimate the movement's pervasiveness throughout the lower and less powerful classes. The Jesus movement would also contrast with the Mystery Cults, which could be potentially more exclusionary both by gender and social position. guy also known as gaius
  7. guy

    Ancient Roman dolls

    These dolls found in tombs of young girls give some insight into the lives of a young elite female. https://daily.jstor.org/girls-and-dolls-in-the-roman-empire/ https://laughingsquid.com/an-ancient-roman-articulated-doll-found-in-the-sarcophagus-of-a-mummy-of-an-eight-year-old-girl/ Summary: A society will impart its culture and expectations to younger generations by formal education, but also thru game and play. guy also known as gaius
  8. Despite being conquered by the ancient Romans, the Basques were able to maintain some level of autonomy, both in culture and in government. They have remained unique also in language and genetics: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-03/upf--toa032621.php Map showing the Basque region which includes northern Spain and south western France. Summary: I never appreciated the unique culture, language, and even genetics of the Basque people. Below is an interesting further explanation: https://erenow.net/common/the-basque-history-of-the-world/3.php#:~:text=The Romans sent in additional,defeated the Basques as well. guy also known as gaius
  9. Look like an interesting link: https://en.qantara.de/content/baalbek-reborn-temples-virtual-3d-tour-of-the-roman-temples-at-baalbek-lebanon Summary: Baalbek, Lebonon was the site of possibly the world's largest Roman temple complex, housing the temples of the Roman goods Bacchus, Venus, and Jupiter. It is wonderful to see reconstruction efforts despite political instability and a pandemic. guy also known as gaius
  10. Here is an intriguing story from 2014 that I somehow missed: the Beachy Head Lady, a mysterious sub Saharan African living in Roman Eastbourne. The story begins during a study known as the Eastbourne Ancestors project near the south coast of England. The study examined 300 sets of previously-ignored human remains, hopefully gaining more insight into the lives of the people. These seemingly-unremarkable remains had been stored in the basement and were mostly from two Anglo-Saxon cemeteries. Most of the remains were excavate in the 1990s, but there were specimens from the 1890s. One set of remains, however, was different from the others. Eastbourne Museums Heritage Officer Jo Seaman recounts, “During that process we came across two boxes which said ‘Beachy Head, something to do with 1956 or 1959’, and that was about it. We opened it up and inside there was a very well-preserved human skeleton.” 1. Initial inspection by an osteoarchaeologist reported that the remains belonged to a young female who was about five feet tall. The bones were then sent for routine reconstruction. 2. Caroline Wilkinson, an expert in reconstruction, was asked to perform a forensic facial reconstruction. Upon seeing the skull, she immediately asked, “Oh my, you realize you’ve got a sub-Saharan African here?” This, of course, prompted further interest and studies. 3. Radiocarbon dating was done. It established that the Beachy Head Lady lived around 200 to 250 AD. There are other examples of Africans at this date in Britain (such as the Ivory Bangle Lady found in York). The Beachy Head Lady, however, was unusual because Sub-Saharan Africa was not part of the Roman Empire. 4. Isotope analysis was also utilized. It indicated that the Beachy Head Lady grew up in southeast England. (Thru the isotope analysis of teeth and possibly bone, researchers would be able to determine that the Beachy Head Lady consumed a diet derived from that area during her earlier growth and development. See the second video below for a good explanation of isotope analysis.) Jo Seaman concluded: "Whether that means that she's first generation we don't know. She could possibly have been born in Africa and brought over here at a very young age, but it's just as likely that she was born here. This is a fantastic discovery for the south coast. We know this lady was around 30 years old, grew up in the vicinity of what is now East Sussex, ate a good diet of fish and vegetables, her bones were without disease and her teeth were in good condition.” https://museumcrush.org/the-mystery-of-beachy-head-lady-a-roman-african-from-eastbourne/ Summary: The finding of the Beachy Head Lady skeleton generated great interest. This is another example of the use of science and various means of investigation to fill in the parts of a previously unknown, but fascinating history. One can only imagine why this sub-Saharan woman lived in Roman Britain. guy also known as gaius
  11. (Source: Wikipedia): Reconstruction of an Iron Age warrior's garments representing a Vandalic man, with his hair in a ***"Suebian knot" (160 AD), Archaeological Museum of Kraków, Poland. https://www.heritagedaily.com/2021/03/discovered-polands-largest-pottery-production-centre-from-roman-period/138225 (Source: Wikipedia): Migrations of the Vandals from Scandinavia through Dacia, Gaul, Iberia, and into North Africa. Grey: Roman Empire. Summary: This finding supports the notion that many Germanic tribes had developed long-lasting and stable communities (requiring pottery production, for example). Many of us forget that the Vandals originated in Poland and even in southern Scandinavia, before migration brought them to the Iberian peninsula and eventually Northern Africa. Below is a video in Polish on the dig (I think): guy also known as gaius Translation of description: A video showing the archaeological excavations in the pottery production center from the Roman period in Wrzępia ***The Suebian knot (German: Suebenknoten) is a historical male hairstyle ascribed to the tribe of the Germanic Suebi. The knot is attested by Tacitus in his 1st century AD work Germania, found on contemporary depictions of Germanic peoples, their art, and bog bodies. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vandals#:~:text=The Vandals were a Germanic,Africa in the 5th century.
  12. Thank you for reading my post. My guess is that a sub-Saharan person's presence in Roman Britain reflected the wide trade network that existed beyond the Roman Empire. I've written before about the potential extent of trade and interaction that existed, for example, with India and China: I would not, therefore, be too surprised if they were able to discover evidence of visitors from China and India in ancient Rome. I would be more surprised, however, to find a traveler from China in the more distant reaches of the empire, such as Roman Britain.
  13. Watching Italian TV today, I was reminded that March 25th was the 1600 year celebration of Venice's founding. According to Wikipedia: More information from Wikipedia: With the COVID-19 restrictions, however, any celebration will be delayed. Oh, well, the closest I'll get to Venice this year is the one located in a Nevada desert: guy also known as gaius https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venice
  14. Another interesting find: The five stone anchors found in the river suggest the vessels could have been part of a trading network https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-tyne-56468718 Summary: Great find with interesting implications. I was surprised, however, to see how far north this find in Sunderland, England was. I was also pleasantly surprised to see the coin found at the site. It was of Domitian (reign AD 81-96). Domitian, Rome, AE Sestertius. CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS II, laureate head right / S-C, Spes standing left, holding flower and raising hem of robe guy also known as gaius
  15. Some recent images in the article below of Hadrian's Wall in modern England: Brunton Turret, near Chollerford, one of the best preserved turrets on the Wall, built by the men of the 20th Legion. Additional images in this article: https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/gallery/pictures-parts-hadrians-wall-few-20067083#comments-section guy also known as gaius Nice video
  16. Patara, Turkey is a little known, but a fascinating site. Supposedly, Saint Nicholas was born here. (He would later work at the North Pole under the guise of Santa Claus.) The beaches look nice, but the ancient ruins are fascinating. I few years ago they found the ruins of a lighthouse. They hope to reconstruct this structure, built during the reign of Nero. It was originally 20 m high (60 feet). Experts think it was destroyed by a tsunami (not an earthquake). Modern day site in Patara, Turkey A computer generated image shows what the restored lighthouse of Patara will look like, Antalya, southern Turkey, March 24, 2021. (DHA Photo) https://www.dailysabah.com/life/history/lighthouse-of-antalyas-ancient-patara-to-give-light-again Summary: This is another interesting site to visit, for sure.
  17. Another interesting find in England: https://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/news/gloucester-news/roman-remains-found-under-subway-5225168#comments-section Summary: It is good to know that people are aware of the existence to Roman remains and appreciate the need to investigate them further. Excellent video on the most recent find: guy also known as gaius
  18. This is another example of ancient cultures valuing salt in commerce and possibly a store of value: The first documented record of salt as an ancient Maya commodity at a marketplace is depicted in a mural painted more than 2,500 years ago at Calakmul, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Image credit: Rogelio Valencia, Proyecto Arqueológico Calakmul. http://www.sci-news.com/archaeology/maya-salt-money-09479.html Summary: It is easy to forget today about the importance of salt in ancient times, from preserving food to seasoning. By being able to preserve the food, it removed the dependence on local availability and allowed food transport over long distances.
  19. Interesting hypothesis: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/22/vesuvius-wiped-out-all-life-pompeii-15-minutes-study-pyroclastic-flow-cloud-gases-ash Summary: Interesting hypothesis, but it is not proven, yet. Apparently some residents were able to run to the beach in a failed attempt to escape Pompeii. This probably took more than 15 minutes. guy also known as gaius
  20. Thank you for reading my post. Yea, that was a good video, too. Living in California, I have learned to live in denial. We are all waiting for "the big one." LOL
  21. guy

    Late Roman villa of Caddeddi

    This is another interesting site to visit. It is not well known and is found in the more remote parts of Sicily. The mosaics look fascinating: The Caddeddi villa in rural Sicily is striking for the preservation of several spectacular mosaics, laid in the second half of the 4th century AD. This detail, from room 9, shows a panel featuring a satyr and maenad, companions of the wine-god Bacchus, whose bust featured in the centre of the floor. [Image: R J A Wilson] https://www.world-archaeology.com/issues/issue-105/the-late-roman-villa-of-caddeddi/ Summary: If I get as far south as Sicily, I would want to place this site on my "must see" list ... especially if I wanted to escape the crowds. guy also known as gaius
  22. Getting history correct can be difficult. Here is an interesting article from Lapham's Quarterly: https://www.laphamsquarterly.org/roundtable/first-revisionist-historian/?ca_key_code=FB3LQA3
  23. Interesting article about the Visigoths and the city of Reccopolis, one of at least four cities founded by the Visigoths in Hispania. https://www.archaeology.org/issues/414-2103/features/9442-the-visigoths-imperial-ambitions Summary: This Visigoths have a fascinating history. Fortunately, at least some archaeological evidence survives in the ancient Visigoth city of Reccopolis. guy also known as gaius