Mausoleum of Augustus: Restoration and Updates are Coming

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

Have we got some big news for you. On 16 January 2017, it was shared that an Italian telecommunications company has contributed €6-million for its restoration.

The company was not named, unfortunately, but its director promising an elaborate multimedia show that will tell the story of Augustus and ancient Rome. If you care to read the article from The Telegraph you can do so here.

This got us excited about what lies ahead for the resting place of Augustus, Rome‘s 1st Emperor. Back on 6 June 2016, we wrote an article called Mausoleum of Augustus: Resting Place for Rome’s Original Emperor.

With all the good news we thought it’d be a perfect time to revisit the Mausoleum of Augustus!

Mausoleum
Mausoleum of Augustus on the Campus Martius.

As we venture from East to West and from North to South, it’s always nice to just get back home. In this case we do not mean Texas, we are talking about Rome.

Plan_Rome
Location of the Mausoleum of Augustus in the Campus Martius on the banks of the Tiber.

The mausoleum is a large tomb built by the Emperor Augustus in 28 BC on the Campus Martius in Rome, Italy. The mausoleum is located on the Piazza Augusto Imperatore, near the corner with Via di Ripetta as it runs along the Tiber.

The grounds cover an area equivalent to a few city blocks, and nestle between the Church of San Carlo al Corso and the Museum of the Ara Pacis. The interior of the mausoleum is not open to tourists.

augustus-mausoleum-orig
Original design for the Mausoleum of Augustus.

The mausoleum was one of the original projects initiated by Augustus following his victory at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC. The mausoleum was circular in plan, consisting of several concentric rings of earth and brick, planted with cypress trees on top of the building and capped by a conical roof and a 15 ft-tall bronze statue of Augustus.

Vaults held up the roof and opened up the burial spaces below. The completed mausoleum measured 295 ft in diameter by 137 ft in height.

entry-arch
The arched entryway to the Mausoleum of Augustus.

A corridor ran from the entryway into the heart of the mausoleum. Here there was a chamber with 3 niches to hold the golden urns enshrining the ashes of the Imperial Family.

The traditional story is that in AD 410, during the sack of Rome by Alaric, the pillaging Visigoths rifled the vaults, stole the urns and scattered the ashes, without damaging the structure of the building. In the Middle Ages the tumulus was fortified as a castle— as was the mausoleum of Hadrian, which was turned into the Castel Sant’Angelo— and occupied by the Colonna family.

Inside Plan
Inside plan of the mausoleum.

After the disastrous defeat of the Commune of Rome at the hands of the Count of Tusculum in AD 1167, the Colonna were disgraced and banished, and their fortification in the Campo was dismantled. The area thus became a ruin.

augustus
Augustus – “I found a Rome of bricks; I leave to you one of marble.”

In the early 20th Century the Mausoleum of Augusts was made into a concert hall. It was not until the 1930s that the site was opened as a preserved archaeological landmark along with the newly moved and reconstructed Ara Pacis nearby.

The restoration of the Mausoleum of Augustus to a place of prominence was part of Benito Mussolini‘s ambitious reordering of the city. This stripping away of everything modern upon the ruins and monuments of Rome was his attempt to connect the aspirations of Italian Fascism with the former glories of the Roman Empire.

Mussolini viewed himself especially connected to the achievements of Augustus, seeing himself as a “reborn Augustus” ready to usher in a new age of Italian dominance. We all know Augustus, and that Mussolini was no Augustus.

Quirinal Fountain
Quirinal Fountain

Twin pink granite obelisks also once flanked the arched entryway, but have since been removed. One now stands at the Piazza dell’Esquilino (on the northwest side of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore) and the other at the Quirinal Fountain.

Even though the monument was to be the final resting place of The First Emperor, Augustus was not the original person laid to rest there.

Included among those whose remains were laid inside the mausoleum before the death of Augustus were: Marcus Claudius Marcellus, who was the 1st to be buried there in 23 BC; Marcus Agrippa in 12 BC; Nero Claudius Drusus in 9 BC; Octavia Minor, the sister of Augustus in 9 or 11 BC; then Gaius (4 AD) and Lucius (2 AD), grandsons and heirs of Augustus.

After the death of Augustus, the mausoleum hosted the ashes of: Livia, wife of Augustus; GermanicusAgrippina the Elder; Julia Livilla, Agrippina’s daughter; Nero, son of Germanicus; Drusus Caesar, son of Germanicus; CaligulaTiberius; Drusus Julius Caesar, son of Tiberius; Antonia Minor, mother of Claudius; Claudius; Britannicus, the son of Claudius; the embalmed body of Poppaea Sabina wife of Nero;  Julia Domna, who was later moved to the Mausoleum of Hadrian; and Nerva, the last Emperor for whom the mausoleum was opened.

Inside
Inside the mausoleum

At the original time of this article (almost a year ago) Rome Commissioner Francesco Paolo Tronca had approved a €6-million preliminary project to complete restoration work at the Mausoleum of Augustus. Funding was to serve to finish structural work on the monumental tomb including covering it, building a circular catwalk around it, and preparing it to open for public visits.

This commitment to restoring Rome’s historical monuments not only benefits tourism, but it also keeps alive remnants from a dominate world culture for future generations. Keeping Rome’s past intact benefits everyone.

Painting
Painting showing a contemporary view of the Mausoleum of Augustus.

With the Telecom Italia’s €6-million for restoration and upgrades, both inside and out, this monument should be a new tourist draw for Rome. Having once been 1 of the key monuments in the history of mankind, the Mausoleum of Augustus is set to reclaim that title.

Tourists will be immersed in the most sensational story of humanity, from imperial Rome to the beginnings of Christianity and the Baroque period,” said Giuseppe Recchi, the president of Telecom Italia.

We hope you enjoyed our trip to the Romani Patriae and look forward to having you back again. Make sure to check us out on Facebook and Twitter as well.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

 

References:

Dal Maso, Leonardo B. Rome of the Caesars. Bonechi: Florence, 1974.

Lanciani, Rodolfo. Pagan and Christian Rome. 1892. On-line.

Young, Norwood; P. Barrera. Rome and Its Story. J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd: London, 1951.

Mausoleum of Augustus Restoration Project to Begin”. Archaeology News Network. 04 March 2016.

Squires, Nick. “Giant mausoleum in Rome that held the remains of the emperor Augustus to be restored after decades of neglect”. The Telegraph. 16 January 2017.

Wartburg Castle

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

It’s time to take a look at another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today we’re in the countryside of Germania as we explore Wartburg Castle!

Wartburg Castle blends superbly into its forest surroundings and is in many ways “the ideal castle”. Although it contains some sections of great antiquity, it acquired the current layout over the course of 19th Century reconstructions.

Today the castle continues to be a symbol of the nation’s past and present, standing as a splendid example of what this fortress might have been at the peak of its military and seigneurial power. What makes Wartburg Castle such a magnet for memory, tradition, and pilgrimage is that it stands as a monument to the cultural history of Germany, Europe, and beyond.

Wartburg Castle is perched at a height of some 1,312 feet above the delightful countryside, south of the city of Eisenach in Thuringia in central Germany. Its varied aspect and the sense of harmony it evokes are only 2 of its attractions for visitors.

Lutherans the world over know of the castle as the very place where Martin Luther made his translation of the Bible. The veneration of Saint Elizabeth, which extends far beyond the frontiers of Germany, includes Wartburg Castle where she lived and worked.

 

The patronage of Hermann I, Landgrave of Thuringia, occupies an extraordinary place in the creation of a national literary tradition. In poetry and in legends, Wartburg Castle, the medieval Court of the Muses, bears an undying reputation through the names of Walther von der Vogelweide and Wolfram von Eschenbach.

 

Wartburg Castle is also associated with the beginnings of a bourgeois and democratic nation, through the content and effects of the Wartburg festival of German students’ associations. From the very earliest days of its existence, this fortress of the Landgraves of Thuringia has repeatedly acted as a venue for and witness of historic events and activities worthy of renown as a monument to national and world history.

 

The artistic and architectural importance of the palace, built in the latter half of the 12th Century, is no less significant. In execution and ornamentation, it is unrivalled and represents one of the best-preserved secular constructions from the late Norman period to be found on German soil. Thanks to this broad range of religious content and historic data, and because of its significance in the history of the arts, Wartburg Castle attracts around half a million visitors every year, from all over the world.

How This Relates To Ancient Rome:

Germania was the Roman term for the geographical region in north-central Europe inhabited mainly by Germanic peoples.

It extended from the Danube in the south to the Baltic Sea, and from the Rhine in the west to the Vistula. The Roman portions formed two provinces of the EmpireGermania Inferior to the north (present-day Netherlands, Belgium, and western Germany), and Germania Superior to the south (Switzerland, southwestern Germany, and eastern France).

Germania was inhabited mostly by Germanic tribes, but also Celtsearly SlavsBalts and Scythians. The population mix changed over time by assimilation, and especially by migration. The ancient Greeks were the first to mention the tribes in the area.

Later, Julius Caesar wrote about warlike Germanic tribesmen and their threat to Roman Gaul, and there were military clashes between the Romans and the indigenous tribes. Tacitus wrote the most complete account of Germania that still survives.

The origin of the term Germania is uncertain, but was known by Caesar’s time, and may be Gallic in origin.

We hope you enjoyed today’s adventure. We look forward to sharing more World Heritage Sites, along with many other explorations.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

First Time In Paris? We Haven’t Been Yet Either

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

It was about 2 years to the day that my wife and I had planned out the trip of a lifetime to Paris. We had planned to spend Christmas and New Years in Paris, France not Paris, TX.

It was to be an adventure since neither of us had ever been before. But that trip never happened for not too long after we found out that we were going to have a child, and that the due date of the baby was to be 2 weeks before our vacation.

Trip over.

Since we haven’t yet traveled overseas due to the arrival of our son on 29 November 2015, today we revisit our plan for traveling to Paris!

Eiffel Tower New Years
Fireworks above the Eiffel Tower on New Year’s Eve.

When we began the planning, after securing our airfare and hotel accommodations, we were about a year away from the trip. Questions were coming hard and fast.

What are we interested in seeing? How do we want to travel? Do we want to get plane tickets own their own, or bundle them together with the hotel?

Do we want to stay in one location the entire trip, or move about? Are we traveling on a budget? The questions can go on and on.

NotreDameDeParis
Notre Dame de Paris

The first question, sites we want to see, was fairly easy to answer. We want to see it all!

 

Seriously though, Jenn and I want to get the best from our first Paris experience. We are tourists and we want to see the major tourist locations: Notre Dame de Paris, Arc de Triomphe, The Louvre, and The Eiffel Tower.

Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe

These are just obvious. However, we were not against becoming part of the “City of Lights” and strolling off of the tourist path.

To make lasting memories, the plan will be to experience as much as we possibly can. Hopefully this can also be accomplished in the most cost efficient means available.

To do so, the next most important decision is the location in which to stay. This is where some speed bumps will arise.

arrondissements-paris
Arrondissements of Paris

Paris is a very large city. As most cities of a similar size, like London or New York, the city is broken up into smaller districts.

The Parisians call their smaller areas Arrondissement (neighborhoods). They are divided up into 20 of these municipal areas.

If you imagine a spiral, how it starts in the center and continues to loop clockwise around from there, this is how the Arrondissements are formed.

The River Seine divides Paris almost in half, thus creating a Right (North) Bank and a Left (South) Bank. The Right Bank contains the following Arrondissements: 1-4, 8-12, and 16-20 while the Left Bank contains Arrondissements: 5-7 and 13-15.

Louvre
The Louvre

One would think that it would not be so challenging to choose which Arrondissements to stay in due to the breakdown. Well that is not the case.

Each neighborhood has its own feel and its own charm. Plus there is at least 1 attraction in each neighborhood that visitors want to see.

From sites that I have gone through, it appears all of the districts are safe. If you have yet to visit “The City of Love” then here are brief descriptions of each.

1st Arrondissement

PalaisRoyalParisColonnes
The Colonnes de Buren in the Cour d’Honneur of the Palais-Royal.

The least populated, but most expensive, of the 20 Arrondissements is right in the center of Paris. What’s here? The Louvre Museum, Palais-Royal, Tuileries Garden, Forum des Halles, Bourse du Commerce, and the upscale Place Vendôme.

The Palais-Royal is opposite the Louvre. The larger inner courtyard, the Cour d’Honneur, has since 1986 contained Daniel Buren‘s site-specific art piece Les Deux Plateaux, known as Les Colonnes de Buren.

2nd Arrondissement

The Paris Bourse

Primarily a business district, the 2nd, aka the smallest Arrondissement, is also home to a number of historic shopping arcades. What’s here? The Paris Bourse, the Bibliothèque nationale de France, lots of cafés and delivery trucks.

The Paris Bourse  is the historical Paris stock exchange, known as Euronext Paris from 2000 onward. The Bibliothèque nationale de France is the National Library of France, and is the national repository of all that is published in France.

3rd Arrondissement

The main entrance of the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM), or National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts.

Another small Arrondissement, the 3rd contains the northern part of the historic Marais district. What’s here? The Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, the Picasso Museum and the Carnavalet Museum.

The Place des Vosges, originally Place Royale, is the oldest planned square in Paris and one of the finest in the city. It is located in the Marais district of Paris, and was a fashionable and expensive square during the 17th and 18th Centuries.

The Musée Picasso is an art gallery located in the Hôtel Salé in rue de Thorigny, dedicated to the work of the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso.  The Carnavalet Museum is dedicated to the history of the city, and occupies 2 neighboring mansions: the Hôtel Carnavalet and the former Hôtel Le Peletier de Saint Fargeau.

4th Arrondissement

Place des Vosges
Place des Vosges

The 4th is the oldest part of Paris. With designer boutiques and fancy cuisine, lots of hipsters have taken to this area.

What’s here? Notre-Dame, the Place des Vosges, City Hall and the Gothic Tour St-Jacques. To contrast all the historic buildings is the modern Centre Georges Pompidou.

Notre-Dame de Paris, or simply Notre-Dame, is a medieval Catholic cathedral widely considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. It is among the largest and most well-known church buildings in the world.

5th Arrondissement

Arènes de Lutèce, the most important remains from the Gallo-Roman era in Paris.

The 5th, or Latin Quarter, holds the renowned Sorbonne University. The school brings a more youthful crowd.

What’s here? The Panthéon, the Val-de-Grâce, the Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, the Cluny Museum, Jardin des Plantesand the Roman-era Arènes de Lutèce and Thermes de Cluny.

The Arènes de Lutèce was a Roman amphitheater that could once seat 15,000 people and was used to present gladiatorial combats. The Thermes de Cluny are a Roman Bath complex built by the influential guild of boatmen of 3rd Century Roman Paris (Lutetia), as the consoles on which the barrel ribs rest are carved in the shape of ships’ prows.

6th Arrondissement

Church of Saint-Sulpice
Church of Saint-Sulpice

The iconic 6th is what Paris’s Left Bank is all about. It is popular with locals and visitors alike, which makes it a popular place to stay.

What’s here? The Jardin du Luxembourg, the Odéon Theatre, the Church of Saint-Sulpice, and the 11th Century Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

The Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe is 1 of France’s 6 national theatres. Saint-Sulpice is a Roman Catholic church, only slightly smaller than Notre-Dame, and is dedicated to Sulpitius the Pious.

7th Arrondissement

Les Invalides
Les Invalides

The 7th is filled with government institutions and major landmarks. This is also quite an upscale Arrondissement.

Being expensive overall, if money is any concern of yours then this is not the place to stay. What’s here? The Eiffel Tower, the Invalides (with Napoleon‘s Tomb), the Musée d’Orsay, the Musée Rodin, the Musée du Quai Branly, the Palais Bourbon, and the UNESCO Headquarters.

Les Invalides (The National Residence of the Invalids) is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building’s original purpose.

8th Arrondissement

Élysée Palace
Élysée Palace

Another Arrondissement loaded with tourist attractions. The 8th is like Oprah-rich.

This is where fashion meets Sex and the City finale. What’s here? The Champs-Élysées (probably the world’s most famous boulevard), the Place de la Concorde, the Arc de Triomphe, Grand Palais, Petit Palais, the Élysée Palace, Madeleine church, and Monceau Park.

The Place de la Concorde is the major public squares in Paris, at the eastern end of the Champs-Élysées. The Élysée Palace has been the official residence of the President of France since 1848.

9th Arrondissement

Église de la Sainte-Trinité

A multifaceted Arrondissement, the 9th holds prestigious boulevards in the south and not so prestigious red light district (Pigalle area) in the north. The Rue Saint-Denis is where senior citizen prostitutes can be found.

What’s here? The former Opéra Garnier, the Galeries Lafayette, and Sainte-Trinité.

The Galeries Lafayette is an upmarket French department store chain, with its flagship store is on Boulevard Haussmann. The Église de la Sainte-Trinité is a Roman Catholic church of the Second Empire period, built as part of the beautification and reorganization of Paris under Baron Haussmann.

10th Arrondissement

Facade of the Church of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul.

The 10th is noted as being very “down to earth”. It is spread out too, so it is no wonder that both of Paris’s main railway stations (the Gare de l’Est and Gare du Nord) are found in the 10th.

What’s here? Canal Saint-Martin and Saint-Vincent-de-Paul.

The Canal Saint-Martin is a 2.8 mile long canal connecting the Canal de l’Ourcq to the river Seine, and runs underground between Bastille (Paris Métro) and République (Paris Métro). The Church of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul is a church dedicated to Saint Vincent de Paul.

11th Arrondissement

Church of Saint-Ambroise
Church of Saint-Ambroise

A very low profile Arrondissement, known around the city as the Oberkampf, the 11th is mostly residential. This Right Bank district is better known for its nightlife than its landmarks, so it may feel a little too “festive” for a first time visitor to Paris.

What’s here? The Cirque d’Hive and the Church of Saint-Ambroise.

The Cirque d’Hiver (Winter Circus) has been a prominent venue for circuses, exhibitions of dressage, musical concerts, and other events, including exhibitions of Turkish wrestling and even fashion shows. The church of Saint-Ambroise was named after its neighborhood, the quartier Saint-Ambroise.

12th Arrondissement

Bastille Opera House
Bastille Opera House

The 12th is large and mostly residential, but it is affordable and safe with access to major metro lines. What’s here? The Bastille Opera House, AccorHotels Arena, along with the Vincennes.

The Opéra Bastille (Bastille Opera House) is a modern opera house and the main facility of the Paris National Opera, France’s principal opera company. Vincennes is a commune in the Val-de-Marne department in the eastern suburbs of Paris, famous for its castle, the Château de Vincennes, and its park, the Bois de Vincennes.

13th Arrondissement

The Mazarin entrance to the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital.

Largely residential, the 13th is more out of the way from the typical tourist sites. It is home to the city’s largest Chinatown, while Butte-aux-Cailles (Quail Hill) boasts a stretch of restaurants, cafés and bars.

What’s here? The Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrièrel.

Today the Butte-aux-Cailles area assembles a young, trendy and festive Parisian population in its many small bars and restaurants. The Pitié-Salpêtrière University Hospital is a celebrated teaching hospital of Sorbonne University, and is 1 of Europe’s largest hospitals.

14th Arrondissement

Catacombes_de_Paris
Catacombs of Paris

Not considered a lively Arrondissement, the 14th does have its own sleepy charm and quiet streets. What’s here? The Paris Catacombs, Place Denfert-Rochereau, and the Observatoire de Paris (how the 14th Arrondissement got its name).

The Catacombs of Paris are underground ossuaries which hold the remains of more than 6 million people in a small part of the ancient Mines of Paris tunnel network. The Paris Observatory is the foremost astronomical observatory of France, and 1 of the largest astronomical centers in the world.

15th Arrondissement

Tour Maine Montparnasse
Tour Maine Montparnasse

As a hit-or-miss district, the 15th is the largest of the 20 Arrondissements in Paris (both in size and population). Filled mostly with concrete 1970s high-rises, the 15th is not very lively unless you go to where it borders the 7th.

What’s here? Tour Maine Montparnasse and the Parc André Citroën.

Maine-Montparnasse Tower, also commonly named Tour Montparnasse, is a 689 ft office skyscraper located in the Montparnasse area of Paris. Parc André Citroën is a 35 acres public park located on the Left Bank of the river Seine.

16th Arrondissement

Palais de Chaillot
Palais de Chaillot

The 16th has the reputation of being the richest, with lots of Americans living here with their families. It is also viewed as being very safe, but more quiet and residential.

What’s here? The Palais de Chaillot, the Musée Guimet, the Palais de Tokyo, and the Musée Marmottan.

The Palais de Chaillot was also the initial headquarters of NATO, and the buildings now house a number of museums. Musée Marmottan Monet is a museum featuring a collection of over 300 Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works by Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissarro, Paul Gauguin, Paul Signac and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

17th Arrondissement

Pétanque, the outdoor bowling-game, as played in Batignolles.

This is a diverse Arrondissement outside the center of Paris most visited by tourists. The 17th is home to up-and-coming Batignolles area that houses many established French artists and writers.

What’s here? The Batignolles Cemetery, the Square des Batignolles, and the Palais des Congrès.

Batignolles was an independent village outside Paris until 1860, when the Emperor Napoleon III annexed it to the capital. The Palais des congrès de Paris is a concert venue, convention center and shopping mall.

18th Arrondissement

Moulin Rouge
The famous Moulin Rouge

Home of the famous Moulin Rouge, the 18th is like a vintage postcard of Paris. The once bohemian, and still village-like, district is often inundated with tourists.

That being said, avoid any hotel or hostel that is off of the Barbès-Rochechouart or Château Rouge metro stop. This is not the best district for wondering around the desolate side streets at night.

What’s here? Sacré-Coeur Basilica and the Place du Tertre.

Moulin Rouge (Red Mill) is best known as the spiritual birthplace of the modern form of the can-can dance. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, commonly known as Sacré-Cœur Basilica and often simply Sacré-Cœur, is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

19th Arrondissement

Panoramic view of the island within the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont.

Another large Arrondissement, the 19th is a bit out of the way for Paris newcomers. The markets here are interesting to do as a day trip. Come night fall in Belleville, an area bordering the 19th and 20th Arrondissements, there is a large community of young prostitutes.

What’s here? The Parc des Buttes-Chaumont and the Parc de la Villette.

The Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is a public park occupying 61 acres, was opened by Emperor Napoleon III. The Parc de la Villette is another public park which houses 1 of the largest concentration of cultural venues in Paris, including the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie (City of Science and Industry, Europe’s largest science museum), 3 major concert venues, and the prestigious Conservatoire de Paris.

20th Arrondissement

Père Lachaise Cemetery

The final, and mostly residential, Arrondissement is cosmopolitan and has no real attractions. The 20th still gets its fair share of tourists.

What’s here? The Cimetière du Père-Lachaise.

Père Lachaise Cemetery is the largest cemetery in the city (110 acres) and is notable for being the original garden cemetery, as well as the original municipal cemetery.

So now Jenn and I know what we are up against. With some information on our side, finding a place to stay will not seem so daunting.

The key to collecting information on traveling is to get different views. One website may not like a past experience and may downplay what happens to be true.

I found using a more “hip” site and a more “informative” site helped balance things. With the boy now, I’ll probably have to go check out a “family friendly” site.

We hope you enjoyed today’s adventure, and maybe were even inspired to check out Paris for yourself. Whenever our own trip gets set up again, we shall be certain to keep you updated.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

The Constantinian Dynasty: Keeping the Empire Alive

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

As I attempt to bring the best possible content, especially during my hectic work and educational schedule, I have been trying to revisit previous articles in hopes of coming across new information. That did not happen today though.

Today we take a journey down a long, distinguished family tree as we explore the Constantinian Dynasty!

The Battle of the Milvian Bridge (1520–24) by Giulio Romano.

The Constantinian Dynasty was an informal name for the ruling family of the Roman Empire from Constantius I Chlorus to the death of Julian in AD 363. It is named after its most famous member, Constantine the Great who became the sole ruler of the Empire in AD 324.

The dynasty is also called Neo-Flavian because every Constantinian Emperor bore the name Flavius, similarly to the rulers of the original Flavian Dynasty in the 1st Century. In order to get the full flavor of this dynasty, however, we need to take a look a little farther back.

Laureate head of Diocletian (Istanbul Archeological Museum).

The accession on 20 November 284 of Diocletian, the lower-class, Greek-speaking Dalmatian commander of Carus‘s and Numerian‘s household cavalry, marked a major departure from traditional Roman constitutional theory regarding the Emperor. From the Principate through Diocletian’s accession, the Emperor was known as the Primus Inter Pares (First Among Equals).

Whereas before Emperors had worn only a purple toga and were greeted with deference, Diocletian wore jeweled robes and shoes. He even went so far as to require those who greeted him to kneel and kiss the hem of his robe.

In many ways, Diocletian was the initial monarchical Emperor, and this is symbolized by the fact that the word Dominus (Lord) rapidly replaced Princeps (First in Time or Order) as the favored word for referring to the Emperor. In short, the Dominate represents a time when the Emperors unabashedly showcased their status and authority compared to the earlier Principate.

The Dominate also featured a shift in the Empire’s “center of gravity” from the West (Rome) to the East (Constantinople), particularly after the establishment of Constantinople. Neither Diocletian nor his co-Emperor Maximian spent much time in Rome after 286 AD, establishing their Imperial capitals at Nicomedia and Mediolanum (modern Milan), respectively.

Constantius I Chlorus (Pushkin Museum)

The Constantinian Dynasty properly began with Constantius I Chlorus (Caesar AD 293, Augustus AD 305), an experienced Illyrian soldier and General. The Constantiniani were originally another family of “Barracks Emperors” that is they were proclaimed Emperor by the Legions they commanded.

The dynasty retained and reinforced the monarchical evolution of the Imperial dignity, and sponsored the pivotal Edict of Milan in AD 312. This extended official toleration to Christianity, which had previously suffered considerable persecution under recent Emperors.

Constantine I undertook major reforms of Imperial administration and military organization, founded a new Imperial capital at Constantinople on 8 November 324 AD, summoned the primary Christian Ecumenical Council (First Council of Nicaea in AD 325), and became the paramount Christian Emperor in AD 337.

Constantinian Emperors

Constantine the Great (Capitoline Museums)

Constantine I aka Constantine the Great (Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus): 324 – 337

Constantine was the son of Flavius Valerius Constantius (aka Constantius Chlorus), a Roman Army Officer, and his consort Helena. Acclaimed as Emperor by the Army at Eboracum (modern-day York) after his father’s death in 306 AD, Constantine emerged victorious in a series of civil wars against the Emperors Maxentius and Licinius to become sole ruler of both West and East by 324 AD.

Constantine the Great (mosaic in the Hagia Sophia)

Before Constantine’s death, he divided the Empire into 4 parts governed by Caesares, apparently intending to re-establish the Tetrarchy. He left most of the West to his son Constantine II, the East to his son Constantius II, Italia and the Upper Danube to his son Constans I, and Greece and the Lower Danube to his half-nephew Flavius Dalmatius.

Dalmatius was killed shortly after Constantine’s death. The Empire was then divided into 3 parts (Britannia, Hispania, and Gallia; Italia and Africa; and the East).

 

Constantine II as Caesar on top of the Cordonata (the monumental ladder climbing up to Piazza del Campidoglio), in Rome.

Constantine II (Flavius Claudius Constantinus Augustus): 337 – 340

Constantine II was Emperor of Britannia, Hispania, and Gallia. The eldest son of Constantine the Great and Fausta, after the death of his half-brother Crispus, Constantine II was born in Arles in February 316 AD and raised as a Christian.

In AD 340, Constantine II invaded Constans I’s territory in Italia. He was subsequently defeated and killed at Aquileia, and his provinces passed to the control of the brother whom he had attempted to displace.

 

Bust of Constans I (Louvre)

Constans I (Flavius Iulius Constans Augustus): 337 – 350

Originally Emperor of Italia and Africa, Constans I annexed the provinces of his late brother Constantine II in AD 340, and became Emperor of the whole West. Anger in the Army over the personal life of Constans and the preference for his barbarian bodyguards led the General Magnentius to rebel, resulting in the assassination of Constans in 350 AD.

 

Golden multiplus of Magnentius

Magnentius (Flavius Magnus Magnentius Augustus): 350 – 353

Not born from the bloodline of Constantine, Magnentius was a usurper who ruled the West after Constans. Magnentius’s defeat in AD 353 by Constantius II, the last of the brother Emperors, reunified the Empire under a single Emperor.

 

Bust of Constantius II from Syria (University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology).

Constantius II (Flavius Julius Constantius Augustus): 337 – 361

The 2nd son of Constantine and Fausta, Constantius II ascended to the throne as Emperor in the East. In AD 353, Constantius II defeated the usurper Magnentius at Lyon and became sole Emperor, again uniting West and East.

 

 

Julian on a bronze coin from Antioch.

Julian the Apostate (Flavius Claudius Iulianus Augustus): 355 – 363

Julian became Caesar over the western provinces by order of Constantius II in AD 355, and in this role campaigned successfully against the Alamanni and Franks. Most notable was his crushing victory over the Alamanni in 357 AD at the Battle of Argentoratum (Strasbourg), leading his 13,000 men against a Germanic army 3 times larger.

In AD 360, he was proclaimed Augustus in Lutetia Parisiorum (Paris) by his soldiers thus sparking a civil war between Julian and Constantius. Before the 2 could face each other in battle, however, Constantius died, after naming Julian as his rightful successor.

 

Dynastic relationships

The shrine to Saint Helena of Constantinople (aka Constantine’s mother) in St. Peter’s Basilica (Rome).

Constantius I Chlorus married twice. His earliest wife Helena bore him a son, Constantine I.

Constantine I’s 2nd wife Fausta (daughter of Maximian and Eutropia; sister of Maxentius; half-sister of Constantius I’s 2nd wife Theodora) bore him 3 sons (Constantine II, Constantius II, and Constans I) and 2 daughters (Constantina and Helena).

These children were nieces and nephews of Maxentius, half-nieces and half-nephews of Licinius (who had married their father’s half-sister), and grandchildren of Maximian.

Constantius I’s 2nd wife Theodora (stepdaughter of Maximian and half-sister of Fausta) bore him 2 sons (Flavius Dalmatius and Julius Constantius) and 2 daughters (Eutropia and Constantia, the wife of Licinius). Julius Constantius’s sons Constantius Gallus and Julian married Constantine I’s daughters by Fausta, Constantia and Helena, respectively.

Constantius II’s daughter Constantia married Gratianus (see below), the son of Valentinian I (see below).

Constantinian Family Tree

To summarize:

Constantius I Chlorus: father (and stepbrother-in-law) of Constantine I, grandfather of Constantine II, Constantius II, Constans I, and Julian the Apostate, father-in-law of Licinius, adopted son and stepson-in-law of Maximian, adoptive brother and half-brother-in-law of Maxentius

Constantine I: son (and stepbrother-in-law) of Constantius I Chlorus, son-in-law of Maximian, brother-in-law of Maxentius, half-brother-in-law of Licinius, father of Crispus, Constantine II, Constantius II, and Constans I, half-uncle and father-in-law of Julian the Apostate

Constantine II: son of Constantine I, grandson of Constantius I Chlorus, grandson of Maximian, nephew of Maxentius, half-nephew of Licinius, brother of Crispus, Constantius II, and Constans I, half-cousin and brother-in-law of Julian the Apostate

Constantius II: son of Constantine I, grandson of Constantius I Chlorus, grandson of Maximian, nephew of Maxentius, half-nephew of Licinius, brother of Crispus, Constantine II, and Constans I, half-cousin and brother-in-law of Julian the Apostate, father-in-law of Gratianus

Constans I: son of Constantine I, grandson of Constantius I Chlorus, grandson of Maximian, nephew of Maxentius, half-nephew of Licinius, brother of Crispus, Constantine II, and Constantius II, half-cousin and brother-in-law of Julian the Apostate

Julian the Apostate: grandson of Constantius I Chlorus, step-great-grandson of Maximian, step-great-nephew of Maxentius, half-nephew and son-in-law of Constantine I, half-cousin and brother-in-law of Constantine II, Constantius II, and Constans I

We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s climb through a most distinguished family tree. We look forward to having you back again for more adventures.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

 

References:

Moore, Scott. The Stemmata of the Neo-Flavian Emperors. DIR, 1998.

Moore, Scott. The Stemmata of the Emperors of the Tetrarchy. DIR, 1998.

Breaking Down Hadrian’s Wall: An Extensive Look

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

In order to provide you with engaging daily content, due to my newly hectic schedule, I have chosen to revisit some articles from early on in RAE’s history. Maybe I missed something or maybe something new has been shared since the article’s original publishing.

In any event, today we’re taking a journey to a familiar place in Roman Britannia as we break down Hadrian’s Wall!

Location of Hadrian’s Wall

An unknown biographer of Emperor Publius Aelius Hadrianus Augustus (aka Hadrian) wrote that “(Hadrian) was the first to build a wall 80 miles long to separate the Romans from the barbarians“, but the true reason(s) for the construction of the wall vary. What we do know is that The Wall was not to divide Roman England from Barbarian Alba since the entire wall resides in England.

Near Morpeth, by William Bell Scott, showing a centurion supervising the building of the wall.
Near Morpeth, by William Bell Scott, showing a Centurion supervising the building of the wall.

The only ancient source for its provenance is the Augustan History. No sources survive to confirm what the Wall was called in antiquity, and no historical literary source gives it a name.

However, the discovery of the Staffordshire Moorlands Pan in Staffordshire in 2003 has provided a clue. A small enameled bronze Roman trulla (ladle), dating to the 2nd Century AD, is inscribed with a series of names of Roman forts along the western sector of the wall, together with a personal name and phrase: MAIS COGGABATA VXELODVNVM CAMBOGLANNA RIGORE VALI AELI DRACONIS.

Bowness (MAIS) is followed by Drumburgh-by-Sands (COGGABATA), until now known only as CONGAVATA from the late Roman document, the Notitia Dignitatum. Next comes Stanwix (VXELODVNVM), then Castlesteads (CAMBOGLANNA).

The village of Aballava has been occupied continuously since Roman times.

These are the 4 of the westernmost forts on Hadrian’s Wall, but excluding Aballava.

RIGORE is the ablative singular form of the Latin word rigor, but can also mean straight line, course or direction. This sense was used by Roman surveyors and appears on several inscriptions to indicate a line between places. So the meaning could be “according to the course”.

Vallum Aelium, aka Hadrian’s Wall, is not only the name of the momumental momument but it is also a blanket term. The term includes 5 distinct elements when viewed in a cross-section from north to south, so from above the big wall to behind it.

There is a Ditch, a Berm with or without obstacles, the Curtain (or Wall itself), the Military Way, and then the Vallum.

Ditch

Out of the local rock, some limestone some volcanic, the ground was formed into a steep V-shape. In order to keep the integrity of the Wall, a small to moderate depression was created to drain water from low-lying areas near the structure.

Berm

This is the narrow portion of ground from the base of the Wall Curtain to the edge of the Ditch. This was approximately a width of 3 meters. In the eastern edge of the Wall, various obstacles have been found on the Berm that would function like stakes.

Wall Curtain

This is the portion made of stone or turf that folks think of when referring to Harian’s Wall. In stone, the Curtain spans from Wallsend to Birdoswald. From turf and timber the Curtain spans from Birdoswald to Bowness-on-Solway.

The Curtain crosses the River Tyne (at Cilurnum) and River Irthing (at Willowford near Banna). Although the thickness of the stone portion of the Curtain is not agreed upon, the height has been confirmed to be just under 15 feet.

Military Way

The narrow road immediately behind the Wall Curtain was added in the 2nd Century AD. The Way was the direct connection to the forts, milecastles, and turrium built into the Wall Curtain.

Romans were known for road making and having the travels be as easy as possible. These physical infrastructures vital to the maintenance and development of the Roman state, and were built from about 300 BC through the expansion and consolidation of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire.

Vallum

This featured a steep, flat-bottomed ditch with an earthern mound on both the north and south sides. The Vallum ran from east (at Newcastle) to west (at Bowness), very close to the Wall Curtain.

There were diviations around the forts and crossings across the ditches and through the mounds.

Hadrianswall-cross-section

Hadrian’s Wall is more than just rock and mortar. There’s a lot more to it. Aside from being the most popular tourist attraction in Northern England, in 1987 it was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail

Touring Hadrian’s Wall is can be done via Hadrian’s Wall Path. Although one can walk or bike, the Wall is more easily accessed by car, bus or taxi.

A great way to see Hadrian’s Wall is by going to Vindolanda. There are tours and museums of the turrets and mileforts.

If you care to read more about Hadrian’s Wall or the forts/towns along it, please check out these articles:

Hadrian’s Wall (#21)

Vercovicium – The Village on the Slope

Corsopitum: Discovering History Daily at the Corbridge Roman Site

Concangis: The Chester-le-Street Roman Fort

Condercum: A Roman Fort That Would Become Newcastle Upon Tyne

Gateshead: A Modern City With Ancient Beginnings

Segedunum: The End of the Line

We hope your enjoyed today’s adventure. Hadrian’s Wall is waiting for you, seize the opportunity.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

 

References:

Burton, Anthony. Hadrian’s Wall Path. Aurum Press Ltd, 2004 . ISBN 1-85410-893-X.

Davies, Hunter. A Walk along the Wall. Wiedenfield and Nicolson, 1974. ISBN 0 297 76710 0.

de la Bédoyère, Guy. Hadrian’s Wall: A History and Guide. Stroud: Tempus, 1998. ISBN 0-7524-1407-0.

England’s Roman Frontier: Discovering Carlisle and Hadrian’s Wall Country. Hadrian’s Wall Heritage Ltd and Carlisle Tourism Partnership, 2010.

Forde-Johnston, James L. Hadrian’s Wall. Michael Joseph, 1978. ISBN 0-7181-1652-6.

Hadrian’s Wall Path (map). Harvey, 12–22 Main Street, Doune, Perthshire FK16 6BJ. harveymaps.co.uk

Moffat, Alistair. The Wall. Birlinn Limited Press, 2008. ISBN 1-84158-675-7.

Tomlin, R.S.O. “Inscriptions” in Britannia, vol. xxxv. 2004.

Wilson, Roger J.A. A Guide to the Roman Remains in Britain. Constable & Company, 1980; ISBN 0-09-463260-X.

A New Look At A Wonderful Experience

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

Due to my new schedule jam-packed full of time consuming activities, I sadly no longer have as much available time on my hands to provide new content here on a daily basis.

However, in order to keep providing daily content I have decided to venture back into RAE’s past. As I sort through our own history here, why not take another look at something previously published to see if we missed anything?

Having said that, today’s journey comes to us from 4 December 2014 when we experienced the greatest person to ever happen to travel. That person was Rick Steves.

There are many people, both living and passed, that I admire for different reasons. I have previously mentioned how I look to Julius Caesar for all he was able to accomplish while having seizures, since I too live with a similar condition.

My Grandma Precious is who I thank for getting me interested in studying history. And I would be lying to myself if I did not mention that I respect former Texas Longhorn Colt McCoy for his athletic ability and hard work ethic.

Last night, due to my very loving wife, I was able to meet the man who inspired me to create this website. He also gave me the idea that possibly traveling and teaching others about culture and history could be an actual career.

This man is Richard “Rick” Steves of the PBS show Rick Steves’ Europe.

1024px-Rick_Steves_On_The_Record

He was giving a presentation in Downtown Austin at the historic Paramount Theatre about his experiences, travel tips, tours, paramount-theatre-austin-texabooks, and anything else one could wonder about when traveling abroad. The evening was a complete delight.

Rick was quite engaging. He was exactly as I imagined him to be from seeing him on his shows. Rick was upbeat, entertaining, and packed full of information.

During his talk there were slides shown on the theatre’s large screen to provide visuals. This was a perfect accompaniment while he Rick Steves Ticketshared, of what I am sure in only a fraction of, the many stories he has.

After the intermission, Rick also had a brief Q and A session. With the theatre being 2 levels, I thought for sure only those closest to the stage would be noticed.

Wrong. Rick made it a point to make sure even those in the balcony, like Jenn and I, had some questions answered.

He came on promptly at 8 o’clock, as scheduled, and the time flew bye. In the lobby there was not only his latest book, Europe Through the Back Door 2015, but he also had a couple of free handouts.

Everything there would provide great information and tips from the veteran traveler, like Rick, to those wondering if traveling was right for them.

With my head spinning from all of the new things I learned, upon the conclusion of his talk Rick said he would meet anyone in the lobby for autographs and pictures. Having done many of these signing sessions before, Rick’s approach was very “European”.

Instead of sitting behind a table, Rick stood in the middle of the room and just rotated in a 360-degree motion. Once a person got an autograph he or she stepped away, Rick kept turning, and a new person filled the void.

Rick Steves Stuff

What a cool thing to do!

Rick Steves was so friendly and enjoyable, I would make sure to see him whenever he returns to Austin. My advice is take the time and see him if he ever comes anywhere near where you live, for it is definitely worth the time and money.

If I had to briefly sum up everything from what Rick shared it would be that a bit of planning and some basic information will make any trip easier and a lot more enjoyable. You may even save some money on the front end so you have more to spend on a special meal or shopping while on your trip.

I feel even more excited and inspired to keep working now. Thanks to my spectacular wife, Jenn, for the ticket and lovely surprise. And another “Thank You” obviously goes to Rick Steves for the lessons.

I appreciate you reading this. Hopefully you’ve been inspired to watch Rick’s show on PBS, get his books, or just travel more in general.

No matter what, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Book 1; Thought 17

To the gods I am indebted for having good grandfathers, good parents, a good sister, good teachers, good associates, good kinsmen and friends, nearly everything good. Further, I owe it to the gods that I was not hurried into any offence against any of them, though I had a disposition which, if opportunity had offered, might have led me to do something of this kind; but, through their favour, there never was such a concurrence of circumstances as put me to the trial.

Further, I am thankful to the gods that I was not longer brought up with my grandfather’s concubine, and that I preserved the flower of my youth, and that I did not make proof of my virility before the proper season, but even deferred the time; that I was subjected to a ruler and a father who was able to take away all pride from me, and

Pride

to bring me to the knowledge that it is possible for a man to live in a palace without wanting either guards or embroidered dresses, or torches and statues, and such-like show; but that it is in such a man’s power to bring himself very near to the fashion of a private person, without being for this reason either meaner in thought, or more remiss in action, with respect to the things which must be done for the public interest in a manner that befits a ruler. I thank the gods for giving me such a brother, who was able by his moral character to rouse me to vigilance over myself, and who, at the same time, pleased me by his respect and affection; that my children have not been stupid nor deformed in body; that I did not make more proficiency in rhetoric, poetry, and the other studies, in which I should perhaps have been completely engaged, if I had seen that I was making progress in them; that I made haste to place those who brought me up in the

Gifts for the Gods

station of honour, which they seemed to desire, without putting them off with hope of my doing it some time after, because they were then still young; that I knew Apollonius, Rusticus, Maximus; that I received clear and frequent impressions about living according to nature, and what kind of a life that is, so that, so far as depended on the gods, and their gifts, and help, and inspirations, nothing hindered me from forthwith living according to nature, though I still fall short of it through my own fault, and through not observing the admonitions of the gods, and, I may almost say, their direct instructions; that my body has held out so long in such a kind of life; that I never touched either Benedicta or Theodotus, and that, after having fallen into amatory passions, I was cured; and, though I was

Repentace for salvation

often out of humour with Rusticus, I never did anything of which I had occasion to repent; that, though it was my mother’s fate to die young, she spent the last years of her life with me; that, whenever I wished to help any man in his need, or on any other occasion, I was never told that I had not the means of doing it; and that to myself the same necessity never happened, to receive anything from another; that I have such a wife, so obedient, and so affectionate, and so simple; that I had abundance of good masters for my children; and that remedies have been shown to me by dreams, both others, and against bloodspitting and giddiness…; and that, when I had an inclination to philosophy, I did not fall into the hands of any sophist, and that I did not waste my time on writers of histories, or in the resolution of syllogisms, or occupy myself about the investigation of appearances in the heavens; for all these things require the help of the gods and fortune.

Travel With Kids – Rome, Vatican City & the Amalfi Coast

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

After traveling with my wife and infant son to see family for Christmas, I got to thinking “What will traveling be like when our boy’s older? Where will we take him to make some wonderful memories?”

Last week we shared Travel With Kids – Rome to showcase all that can be seen and experienced in the Eternal City while traveling with children. We thought that was a good idea and looked for more videos to share.

Today we present to you Travel With Kids – Rome, Vatican City & the Amalfi Coast!

If you enjoyed today’s adventure and want to see more like it, and maybe even about different locations, check out their site here.

We wish you a great 2017 filled with endless possibilities. Come back soon to see what we have in store for you.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Frontiers of the Roman Empire

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

It’s time to take a look at another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today we’re back in Britannia as we head explore the Frontiers of the Roman Empire!

The Roman Limes represents the border line of the Imperium Rōmānum at its greatest extent in the 2nd Century AD. It stretched over 3,107 miles from the Atlantic coast of northern Britain, through Europe to the Black Sea, and from there to the Red Sea and across North Africa to the Atlantic coast.

 

The remains of the Limes today consist of remnants of built walls, ditches, forts, fortresses, watchtowers, and civilian settlements. Certain elements of the line have been excavated, some reconstructed and a few destroyed.

The 2 sections of the Limes in Germania cover a length of 342 miles from the north-west of the country to the Danube in the south-east. The 73-mile-long Hadrian’s Wall (UK) was built on the orders of the Emperor Hadrian c. AD 122 at the northernmost limits of the Roman provincia of Britannia.

It is a striking example of the organization of a military zone and illustrates the defensive techniques and geopolitical strategies of Ancient Rome. The Antonine Wall, a 37-mile-long fortification in Alba was started by Emperor Antoninus Pius in AD 142 as a defense against the “barbarians” of the north. It constitutes the northwestern-most portion of the Roman Limes.

We hope you enjoyed today’s journey. We look forward to you joining us again soon for further adventures.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Amphitheatre Nîmes (#12)

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

Today we continue examining the list of 52 Ancient Roman Monuments which had been claimed as a “must see” by Touropia Travel Experts. The last location we had checked out was #13 – Roman Arena in Arles.

Today we’re headed to the western portion of the Roman Empire as we head to France to bring to you #12 – Amphitheatre Nîmes!

Nimes Arena with matador statue in the front.

Nîmes is a commune, dating back to Ancient Rome. It is the prefecture of the Gard department in the Languedoc-Roussillon region.

Nîmes was an important Roman town and was supplied with water by the Pont du Gard.

The Nîmes amphitheatre is the best-preserved in France. An amphitheatre is a flat area, surrounded by an area that ascends gradually.

In the ascending area, people can be seated. Today, such structures are used for presentations, but also spectator sports.

In Ancient Rome, these structures were used to entertain the population. Gladiator combats, athletics, and executions were staged there.

Sketch from the 4th Century AD.

Built at the end of the 1st Century AD to seat 24,000 spectators, the Arena of Nîmes was one of the biggest Roman amphitheaters in Gallia. During the Middle Ages a fortified palace was built within the amphitheatre.

Showing the architecture of the arena.

Later a small neighborhood developed within its confines, complete with 700 inhabitants and 2 chapels. In 1863 the arena was remodeled to serve as a bullring and today it hosts 2 annual bullfights as well as other public events.

Middle Ages painting

We hope you enjoyed today’s adventure. Apologies for the briefness, but sometimes short is sweet.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

 

References:

Bomgardner, David Lee. The Story of the Roman AmphitheatreRoutledge, October 2000. ISBN 0-415-16593-8.