Roman ingots to shield particle detector. "Around four tonnes of ancient Roman lead was yesterday transferred from a museum on the Italian island of Sardinia to the country's national particle physics laboratory at Gran Sasso on the mainland. Once destined to become water pipes, coins or ammunition for Roman soldiers' slingshots, the metal will instead form part of a cutting-edge experiment to nail down the mass of neutrinos." [Via]
The Ancient Theatre Archive: A Virtual Reality Tour of Greek and Roman Theatre Architecture offers photos, panoramas, detailed descriptions, and, in several instances, virtual tours of classical theatre sites across Europe. (Tours require Quicktime to view.) The Met offers a basic overview of the differences between Greek and Roman theatrical architecture. For more theatres and related theatrical imagery, visit John Porter's one-stop catalog of online visual resources, Skenotheke.
Rome's Ancient Aqueduct Found. "The long-sought aqueduct that delivered fresh, clean water to Rome nearly 2,000 years ago, is found beneath a pig pasture northwest of the Italian city."
Economic crisis, mounting national debt, excessive foreign commitments -- this is no way to run an empire. America needs serious strategic counseling. And fast. It has never been Rome, and to adopt its strategies no -- its ruthless expansion of empire, domination of foreign peoples, and bone-crushing brand of total war -- would only hasten America's decline. Better instead to look to the empire's eastern incarnation: Byzantium, which outlasted its Roman predecessor by eight centuries. It is the lessons of Byzantine grand strategy that America must rediscover today.
Archaeologists find graveyard of sunken Roman ships. Information on how such a shipwreck is discovered available from the Aurora Trust site.
The Roman Empire's Lost Highway: French amateur archaeologist Bruno Tassan fights to preserve a neglected 2,000-year-old ancient interstate in southern Provence.
"Soon were the lofty peaks of Corcyra lost to view;Founded by Trojans, populated by Chaonians, a sanctuary dedicated to Asclepius, colonized by the Greeks and Romans, sacked by the Goths, ruled by the Slavs, the Byzantine Empire and the Turks, taken by Manfred of Hohenstaufen, purchased by the Most Serene Republic of Venice, invaded by Ali Pasha and Suleiman the Magnificent, eventually becoming a place of refuge for the likes of Casanova and for hunters and painters, the ancient city of Butrint, a microcosm of Mediterranean history, is a World Heritage Site within a National Park which includes a Wetland of International Importance all of which is being kept alive by a partnership of local, national and international organizations . Come and explore Butrint. [more inside]
We coasted along Epirus, and coming to the Chaonian
Harbour, we drew near Buthrotum, that hill city."
- The Aenid - Book III, Virgil (trans. Cecil Day Lewis)
The Ancient World's Longest Underground Aqueduct. "Roman engineers chipped an aqueduct through more than 100 kilometers of stone to connect water to cities in the ancient province of Syria. The monumental effort took more than a century, says the German researcher who discovered it." How Did the Romans Accomplish Such a Feat? [Via]
The History of Rome A breezily-told, yet surprisingly thorough podcast covering the entire history of Rome from Aeneas onward. 15 minute episodes, updated weekly, he's currently up to the Catiline Conspiracy of 62BC.
Is history repeating itself? Note quite 2000 years ago, the Roman hegemony got its first black leader - a former senator whose father was African and mother was white. Septimius Severus inherited a failed military campaign in Iraq and an ailing economy. He first resolves the situation in Iraq, undertakes a number of new building projects, stamps out governmental corruption, raises taxes to pay for wage increases (and kicks British arse a few times). Ultimately though, it all might have only hastened the Empire's decline.
Imago Urbis: Giuseppe Vasi’s Grand Tour of Rome is a rich and innovative geographic database that projects Vasi's 18th century engravings of Roman architecture onto the contemporary map of Giambattista Nolli [previously] with supplementary modern satellite, photographic and mapping overlays together with copious background detail. The work was undertaken by researchers at the University of Oregon (announcement) [via]
Physicist Howard Wiseman has a hobby, history. On his website he has three history subsites, filled with lots of information: 1) Ruin and Conquest of Britain 2) 18 Centuries of Roman Empire 3) Twenty Centuries of "British" "Empires". Especially informative are his many maps. As he says himself: "Drawing historical maps of all sorts has been a hobby of mine since my mid teens. Now I can do it digitally, and inflict it upon the world!"
In my quest to fulfill a jones for antiquity, I came across some Roman Numismatics. There are many great photos of Roman artifacts to be found here. Monetary, military, scroll down, click and scroll some more. It's almost as if ancient Rome has come back to life. (Some art is NSFW)
Piggybacking the opening of the Rome Film Fest, a group of self-styled cultural "terrorists" struck Rome yesterday, dyeing the Trevi fountain red. In an elaborate manifesto, the previously unknown group Azione Futurista is claiming to represent "precarious workers, the unemployed, the elderly, the ill, the student body and workers alike", and have announced that "we are coming with our vermilion to colour the grey of your everyday" - "a blob of colour will bury you all." [more inside]
Wiki City Rome - "anyone with an Internet connection will be able to see a unique map of the Italian capital that shows the movements of crowds, event locations, the whereabouts of well-known Roman personalities, and the real-time position of city buses and trains."
An unexpected treasure trove online... The audioguides for Rome's city museums are available as mp3s! Not only can you find guides to one of the oldest public museums in the world, the Capitoline Museums, but you can also hear several commentaries (including video) on the ancient Roman Altar of Augustan Peace, and download the audioguide of both the Barracco Museum of Ancient Sculpture, and that of the Museum of Rome. Download them before you go and save 5 euros at each museum, but they're *invaluable* even if you listen to them from home! Enjoy!!
Rome Reborn is a digital model of ancient Rome as it might have appeared on June 21, 320 AD, including the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. More info.
The Nolli Plan. In 1748, Giambattista Nolli drew one of the most detailed and accurate maps ever created for the city of Rome. Improving on the Buffalini Plan of 1551 [interactive link to zoom], Nolli’s plan was drawn to an incredible precision, going as far as revealing public interior spaces in a stark figure-ground relationship. The Interactive Nolli Map allows you to overlap transparencies of the modern city to see how little has changed and how precise Nolli’s measurements were. Piranesi’s maps – however fanciful- were also inspired by Nolli’s achievements.
Did the roof of the Pantheon influence Copernicus? Are the planets of the solar system aligned in accordance with a nearly-forgotten hypothesis known (unfairly) as Bode's Law? A fascinating wide-ranging discussion on BLDGBLOG with Walter Murch, the visionary editor and sound designer for such films as The Conversation, Apocalypse Now, The English Patient, THX1138, and many others. [Murch's film work has previously been discussed here and here.]
Trailer For A Remake Of Gore Vidal's Caligula (youtube, not even a little bit work safe)
The Comic History of Rome (1852), illustrated by John Leech (1817-64). Image index. The Victorian Web on John Leech. The John Leech sketch archive from Punch (over 600 images). A recent reprint. via the always great BiblioOdyssey.
Silphium was the wonder plant of the ancient world. Originally identified by Greek colonists in North Africa, the plant - a species of Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) - grew only in a dimunitive area near the coast and could not be cultivated. Silphium was popular as a spice for cooking, but its notoriety stems from its alleged medicinal qualities, particularly its use as an herbal contraceptive (the "I love you" heart symbol may have originated from the shape of silphium's seed pods and its use in sex). So valuable was Silphium that it became an important component of the ancient world's economy and appears on coins. It's also among the first species recorded (by Pliny the Elder) as going extinct, probably by grazing sheep or uncontrolled harvesting. Or is it?
The UBS Bank calculated how long it takes an average worker around the world to earn enough to buy a Big Mac. Workers in Tokyo were the fastest: Tokyo 10 minutes, New York 13 minutes, London 16 minutes, Hong Kong 17 minutes, Paris 21 minutes, Moscow 25 minutes, Rome 39 minutes, Beijing 44 minutes, Manila 81 minutes, Jakarta 86 minutes. Is this a fair comparison? Is it something that will change people's perspective about the rest of the world?
De Architectura, known also as The Ten Books of Architecture, is an exposition on architecture by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio. Originally in Latin, here it is translated into English.
Empire Falls. "They called it 'the American Century,' but the past hundred years actually saw a shift away from Western dominance. Through the long lens of Edward Gibbon's history, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Rome 331 and America and Europe 2006 appear to have more than a few problems in common." By Niall Ferguson, whose views on the American hegemony have been discussed previously.
CDX: great Flash adventure by BBC History (in association with Preloaded) for their "Ancient Rome" series.
Real Time Rome, the MIT SENSEable City Lab’s contribution to the 2006 Venice Biennale, aggregated data from cell phones, buses and taxis in Rome to better understand urban dynamics in real time. via information aesthetics
Real women. The gladiator - epitome of male combat, well, not always male. The gladiatrix (mNSFW) is no myth. The evidence exists.
The Da Vinci Cup Think of it as a gathering of tribes... There's a lot of ritual involved. It's probably the biggest single unifying event that our species can muster. Forget the Olympics. Not even close. Poor poor China. Keeping the romans entertained since BC.
Some Romans may have lived in ancient China. A few Chinese citizens today in the Gansu province have curly blonde hair and European features. It seems possible now that captured Roman soldiers settled in parts of China. We also know that China and Rome weren't completely isolated from one another. Of course, not everyone agrees.
Something Rich and Strange. Publius Vergilius Maro was certainly a historical figure, but an unusual amount of fantastic trappings seem to have accumulated around him. Sometimes known more as mythical figure than as a poet of myths, he has seen modern revisions both fabulous(previously discussed) and absurd.
The 25 largest empires. The influential British were first, of course. But the original Axis of Evil never beat the Mongols, and Canada holds more territory than Rome at its peak. Watch some amazing animations of the rise and fall of the Mughals in India. (or other examples). Only one official empire remains today, but speculation on new candidates abound.
All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us? Brought peace? Oh. Peace? Shut up!
Roman Emperors, there sure were a lot of them. This online encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on the autocratic rulers of Rome I have come across. It ranges from Augustus to Constantine Dragases, the last emperor in Constantinople. It doesn't include them all, but has most, including my two favorites, Basil II, the Bulgarslayer and Antonius Pius. You can also find the one least deserving of fame, the one with the silliest name and, of course, the completely batshit ones. Also on the site, maps, battles, coins and everybody's favorite subject, genealogy.
Roman ball games and Roman board games. Complete with literary references, ancient artwork, and instructions for playing the games yourself. So let's all sing: Aufer me ad arenam (to the tune of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame").
Teach Yourself the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in 24 Hours. "our desires and our possessions are the strongest fetters of despotism." Is a pithy Gibbon a more palatable one?
Roman Cosmetics Found at Temple Dig: Stunningly well preservered, the cream still bears the fingerprints of whoever used it last, almost 2,000 years ago.
The Vertically Inclined Photographer: Shooting Paris, Rome, the French Riviera and the Loire Valley from a low-flying plane is Patrick Durand's photographic obsession. It's an interesting flat alternative to Horst Hamann's [click on "Gallery" and go to "New Verticals"] tall vertical New York. There's something very exciting about looking at familiar sights from an unfamiliar point of view. [Both sites very, perhaps too Flash.]
Quanto putas mihi stare hoc conclave ? That's "How many prostitutes does it take to change a lightbulb?" in Latin. No, actually it's "How much do you think I paid for this apartment?". Here's hoping, in the wake of the BBC's superb The Roman Way series, written and presented by David Aaranovich, that good old Latin is on its way back, albeit in an Internet, soundbitey way. Those intending to smuggle some into MetaFilter should definitely start here. The owner, for instance, might find Ne ponatur in mea vicinitate useful - "Not in my backyard". And Nihil curo de ista tua stulta superstitione - "I'm not interested in your dopey religious cult" should prove popular in the God threads. Vale!
Budget Orgy Calculator - tis the season for festivities, but all those galas can be a bit hard on the wallet. This handy party planner helps you to calculate your costs in advance and keeps you from forgetting important details.
Similarities between the United States and the Roman Empire. With the comparrison having become common, it is interesting to consider just how much the two really have in common. What would Cicero think?
The Illustrated History of the Roman Empire claims to be the leading on-line resource for Roman history, with over 70mb of content. They have many short essays and lots of graphics and interactive maps. The UI could be better (especially for the maps), but it's a good time sink just the same.
Bloggus Caesari: the weblog of Julius Caesar. This was mentioned in the historical blogs thread in MT the other day by ljromanoff, but those of you who didn't read it shouldn't miss out. Does your favorite historical or fictional character have a weblog?
The Villa Rustica in Hechingen-Stein. Take a stroll through the remains of a 1st to 3rd Century Roman villa in southwestern Germany. Includes a 3D reconstruction and panoramas. I was especially impressed by the heating system.
Patron saint for Internet users? The Pope has given the Internet his blessing (thanks!) and there's talk he is searching for a patron saint for Internet users. Who would you nominate for patron saint of the Internet? St. Berners-Lee of CERN? St. Metcalfe of Ethernet?
Woman Pregnant Twice. An Italian woman is due to give birth in a hospital in Rome this week to a baby girl - before returning three months later to have triplets. If both deliveries are successful, it is thought that this will be the first such case in history.
Vatican's lines too long? The Pope has just closed the door to the bronze Holy Door in St. Peter's Basilica for the next 25 years. I have heard of crowd control but give me a break, can the lines really be that bad?