Archaeological Site of Troy

Almost everyone knows the story of Troy and its downfall. If you don’t know anything, you can always watch the movie with Brad Pitt to familiarize yourself and see a fun film.

Under Roman rule the historic town, which was said to be where Aeneas left to begin what would become Italy, was renamed Ilium by Emperor Augustus. The ruins disappeared with the fall of Rome but has now been found for all to enjoy.

For more information, please check out the UNESCO World Heritage List of the site.

Untill next time, Rome…if you want to!

Ostia Antica, Italy

This was the harbour city of Ancient Rome, and is currently a large archeological site. Set on the Tyrrhenian Sea and the mouth of the River Tiber, Osita Antica was how Rome was brought luxuries from across the Empire.

For more information visit Ostia’s own website – http://www.ostiaantica.beniculturali.it/ – and be sure to have your computer automatically translate the site for you unless you speak Itallian.

Plan Ahead – Don’t Leave Home Without It

Karl Malden AENo, I’m not trying to be the new Karl Malden and talk about American Express traveler’s checks. I’m talking about not leaving home without your cell phone. As many now realize one’s mobile phone is now the proverbial “lifeline” day in and day out. This becomes even more true as we leave our neighborhoods, states, or even countries.

The biggest thing you want to check is that your phone is “International” or “Global” ready. This can be done simply by contacting your service provider.

As I checked with all the major service carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and VirginMobile) they all turned out to be relatively similar. For T-Mobile’s “Go Plan” it was $0.10 / minute or message. For T-Mobile’s “Pay by the Day” plan it was as low $2 / day. All of the carriers mentioned above also had the same, or very similar, coverage ranges in over 200 countries.

A large majority of the world uses an older network standard, GSM. Most carriers in North America use CDMA. If your phone is not capable of handling GSM, then you basically have a small camera with numbers in your pocket or purse and we definitely do not want this to happen.

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The easiest thing to do is check is first see if your destination country supports your phone’s network. Some countries, or areas, simply don’t get cell service so you may just be stuck with land lines. You can contact your provider to enable International Roaming. If your particular model of phone is not “International” or “Global” ready then you can consider purchasing a global phone. Depending on your carrier and model of phone you can also look into adding an International Data Program.

Recently, I contacted AT&T and had an online chat with Jonathan L., Sales Representative. I let Jonathan know that I was looking for a phone in which I could use when traveling in Europe, that would not be my primary phone, and that I did not want to be bound in any contract. Jonathan suggested “getting a basic GoPhone, something relatively simple and inexpensive. Then [I] could fill it with minutes and data as [I] need to.” The only thing I had to pay attention to was the international calling codes. Not too shabby.Cell-Phones--Smartphones

My carrier is Verizon. When I contacted customer support, I got ahold of David J. He informed me that my “phone shows to work where service may be available.” David also notified me that if I add the “Global Data/Voice bundle feature” I can drop the rates lower for calls, texts, and data.

The best feature I found with Verizon was the Global Travel Program. Customers get a new device and charger sent to them prior to travelling abroad. Aside from the shipping cost there’s no fees nor deposits, and you keep your actual phone number with the international phone. This is Verizon’s solution to not having to purchase a new phone when travelling internationally for 21 days or less.

There are lots of different cell phone carriers with serveral different phones and various plans. I am not trying to persuade you to choose one over another. What I want to accomplish is to prepare you before you head abroad with your cell phone. Being prepared and planning ahead is a great way to have a more enjoyable trip. So get out there and Rome…If you want to!

Rome – HBO’s Greatest TV Series

Rome is not only HBO’s greatest series it is quite possibly the best TV series produced. It only lasted 2 season but this period show set up other shows like Vikings and Game of Thrones to thrive.title_Rome_Blu-ray

Rome is set in the 1st Century BCE, during its transition from Republic to Empire. The show has lots of characters but ends up focusing on Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo, a pair of fictional characters, as the lead protagonists. However, we see real historical characters such as Gaius Julius Caesar, Gaius Octavius, Brutus, Mark Anthony,  and Cleopatra.

Not having the luxury of a pre-written novel, the creators of Rome had to pull moments of history and find a way to make a visual story. The show’s creators ended up having to make dialogue from ideas not something already made.

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There are episodes located on youtube.com, but for the full experience I would suggest getting the Rome: The Complete Series on DVD or Blu-ray at the HBO Store. I did and I’ve never been happier when watching a TV show.

If you are searching for 100% historical accuracy, then you will be disappointed. If you want to be visually entertained with a show that provides superb “authenticity” then Rome is the show for you.

Colonia Ulpia Traiana Augusta Dacica Sarmizegetusa

This was the Capital and largest city of Roman Dacia, what is now Romania. The city was later renamed Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa, and is presently known by simply Sarmizegetusa. This on a plain at the foot of the Retezat Mountains in Southern Transylvania, Romania.

I regret that there is no sound for these videos, but that’s what happens when you don’t make something yourself.

This is a virtual reconstruction of the Roman Forum in Ulpia Taiana.

Here is a virtual reconstuction of the Temple of Liber Pater.

There have been many archaeologists to excavate this site including the following: Prof. C. Daicoviciu (1924 to 1936 and again in 1973), Professors D. Alicu and I. Piso (1973), the Archaeological Techniques and Research Centre (ArchaeoTek – Canada) and the Center for Roman Studies (University Babes-Bolyai in Cluj, Romania) under the direction of Professors Andre Gonciar and Ioan Piso (2011 to Present).

Caesar Nerva Traianus Augustus, aka Emperor Trajan, finally defeated the Dacians in 106 AD and a city was built upon the site of the victory. This was most likely done by Fifth Macedonia Legion, since the site of the town was once the location of their camp.

Other ancient structures which have already been identified include: the Amphitheater, a gladiator school, the Goddess Nemesis Temple, the Liber Pater Temple, temples to Aesculap and Hygia, a temple basilica, the “Big Temple”, a temple to the god Silvanus, glass blowers workshops, the Horreum, thermae, the Forum, and a procurator’s office.

Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa is definitely a site to check out. Have fun and remember to Rome…If you want to.

Breaking Down Hadrian’s Wall

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.

The unknown biographer of Emperor 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 Scotland 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.

Vallum Aelium, aka Hadrian’s Wall, is not only the name of the momumental momument it is also a blanket term. That 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.

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 North Tyne, at Chesters, and River Irthing, at Willowford. Although the thickness of the stone portion of the Curtain is not agreed upon, the height has been confirmed to be 4.5 meters.

Military Way

The narrow road immediately behind the Wall Curtain was added in the 2nd century. The way was the direct connection to the forts, milecastles, and turrets built into the Wall Curtain. Romans were known for road making and having the travels be as easy as possible.

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 divations around the forts and crossings across the ditches and through the mounds.

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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. The Wall is waiting for you, so Rome if you want to!