Conflicting roles for old lead
The use of old lead for shielding increases the sensitivity of our most delicate experiments by orders of magnitude, an increase that is crucial when looking for a reaction that sheds light on new physics. Lead recovered from roofs, old plumbing, and even stained glass windows has been used, but Roman lead from a shipwreck is the best you can find.
posted by Jpfed
on Dec 23, 2013 -
"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."Naturalis Historia
was written by Pliny the Elder
between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian
, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum
, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Dec 16, 2013 -
Geoff Carter's radical view of building in the ancient world, especially the archaeology of the lost timber built environment of Southern England. It is new research into of prehistory of architecture
With the ultimate conclusion that Stonehenge is the remains of a roofed shelter. [more inside]
posted by Mitheral
on May 19, 2013 -
The Corpus Juris Civilis
, also called the Code of Justinian, is a foundational document in (continental) Western law. Perhaps because of its limited impact on the common law, no English translation existed until the 1930s. The best English translation
of the two main parts of the CJC, the Codex Justinianus
and the Novels
, was the life's work of a single Wyoming Supreme Court Justice, Fred H. Blume
. [more inside]
posted by jedicus
on Oct 23, 2012 -
Spanning one-ninth of the earth's circumference across three continents, the Roman Empire ruled a quarter of humanity through complex networks of political power, military domination and economic exchange. These extensive connections were sustained by premodern transportation and communication technologies that relied on energy generated by human and animal bodies, winds, and currents. Conventional maps that represent this world as it appears from space signally fail to capture the severe environmental constraints that governed the flows of people, goods and information. Cost, rather than distance, is the principal determinant of connectivity. For the first time, ORBIS allows us to express Roman communication costs in terms of both time and expense. By simulating movement along the principal routes of the Roman road network, the main navigable rivers, and hundreds of sea routes in the Mediterranean, Black Sea and coastal Atlantic, this interactive model reconstructs the duration and financial cost of travel in antiquity.
posted by Blasdelb
on May 11, 2012 -
If you’ve spent much time in museums—or even leafing through art books—you’ve probably come across something that leaves you scratching your head. You’re not alone. The very funny, if occasionally puerile blog WTF Art History
was created, according to the anonymous art historian who writes it, for “everyone who loves art history but has a sense of humor to know that even great masters create things that leave us asking, WTF?” [via
posted by netbros
on Feb 21, 2012 -
Take oysters, parboile hem in her owne broth, make a lyour of crustes of brede & drawe it up wiþ the broth and vynegur mynce oynouns & do þerto with erbes. & cast the oysters þerinne. boile it. & do þerto powdour fort & salt. & messe it forth.
Three European 14th Century
cookbooks: [more inside]
posted by thirteenkiller
on Dec 27, 2010 -
We see it every day on signs, billboards, packaging, in books and magazines; in fact, you are looking at it now — the Latin or Roman alphabet, the world’s most prolific, most widespread abc. Typography is a relatively recent invention, but to unearth the origins of alphabets, we will need to travel much farther back in time, to an era contemporaneous with the emergence of civilisation itself. The origins of abc
posted by netbros
on Aug 10, 2010 -
is a desert, yes, but if you trace your fingers through the moonlit sand and listen, carefully, you may hear ancient whispers: of Apollo's
love of Cyrene; of prehistoric hunters making Rock Art [1
], back when the Sahara was wet; of Phoenicians subdued by Greeks, of Romans followed by Byzantines, all leaving ruins
that Libya is famous for [Cyrene
, Leptis Magna
, et cetera
]; of desert soldiers in World War II, remembered in Graves
; of the occupying Italians, who responded to Omar Mukhtar's
resistance of the Fascists by rounding Libyans into concentration camps
; of the camps' prisoners, one of whom wrote this famous poem
: "My only illness is the torturing of our young women, with their bodies exposed ... how my speech has become subdued, the humiliation of our noble and leading men and the loss of my gazelle-like horse..."; of more culture
, more memories
from this land that witnessed the wrenching passion of all man's history—whispering in the very dust that made his soul.
posted by Firas
on May 14, 2007 -
All right, but apart from the sanitation
, the medicine
, public order
, a fresh
, and public
, what have the Romans ever done for us?
Oh. Peace? Shut up!
posted by gimonca
on Mar 28, 2005 -
Today is the Ides of March
. What is the Ides of March?
It is March 15th in the ancient Roman calender, the first day of the Roman New Year and the first day of spring. The Roman calender
refered to days by names not numbers, thus each month has an Ide day, although not always on the 15th. The Ides of March is best known as the day Julius Caesar was assasinated in the Senate (44 BC) and made famous by the Shakespeare
line "Beware the Ides of March". It modern times it has come to symbolize foreboding
and bad luck. Iggy Pop sang
about it prophetically with todays current events, and in Rome where it all started it's a good day to Toga Party.
posted by stbalbach
on Mar 15, 2003 -
Modeling the Roman Army.
The author of this site uses CAD software to examine the mechanics and problems of manuevering large masses of men in ancient warfare. Good stuff for people interested in the subject.
posted by moonbiter
on Feb 24, 2003 -
Is this the last days of the Empire, or just the beginning?
America the most powerful country since Roman Empire.
I for sure hope that the good old US of A don´t meet the same destiny as the Roman Empire...But!?
Has there been any country (empire) that survived being the biggest and best(?). Usually i read a lot about Swedens time of glory some couple of hundred years ago, now hoping that my grandchildren won´t read the same about the States.
Should we be worried about what the history tells us?
posted by Ulwen
on Feb 10, 2002 -
2,000 year old Roman "Titanic"
found in the sands 10 yards from the Sicilian shore. The vessel - up to 150ft long and equipped with ancient luxuries including candelabras, a hot tub and religious shrine - is thought to have ferried the Roman super-rich along the Mediterranean coast to various ports en route.
posted by lagado
on Dec 4, 2000 -