Weissenburg, Germany

Weissenburg is the modern name of a Roman town in the latter half of the First Century AD. Trajan founded the location as BiricianaJustice of Trajan when he was emperor. The settlement lay on the border of the Roman Empire and on the Tabula Peutingeriana. This military garrison bordered the Danube, having mostly soldiers and a few merchants.

The Danube was a portion of the Limes Germanicus; fortifications that bounded the ancient Roman provinces. The Limes Germanicus was divided into three parts: Germania Inferior (Lower Germanic Limes), Germania Superior (Upper Germanic Limes), and Raetia (Rhaetian Limes – where Weissenburg was located).

Augustus was the first emperor who began to build fortifications augustus_caesar___poster_by_wildbuddhaalong the border. Construction began shortly after the devastating Roman defeat at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD. Initially there were a greatBattle of Teutoburg Forest number of Limes Germanicus. They were connected to form the Upper Germanic Limes along the Rhine and the Rhaetian Limes along the Danube. Later these two walls were joined to form a single border. From the death of her 1st Caesar (14 AD) until after 70 AD, Rome accepted the Germanic frontier as the water-boundary of the Rhine and upper Danube.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAWeissenburg boasts of being “patrimony of humanity” even for this, but not only. The modern suburb grew around the perimeter without Romano Invade, but by transforming the area into a public park. There is a reconstruction of an ancient life-size door, like a toy with a plaque dated “ab urbe condita” (of the city).

There has been many changes in Weissenburg over the years. FromTower in Weissenburg a Roman fort, to a Benedictine monastery, to a Nazis prison camp, this city has seen it all. Located in the Bavarian state, Weissenburg is a modern link to Germany’s past.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Dacian Fortresses of the Orastie Mountains

Built in murus dacicus style, the six Dacian Fortresses of the Orăștie Mountains, in Romania, were created in the 1st centuries BC and AD as protection against Roman conquest.

Their extensive and well-preserved remains present a picture of a vigorous and innovative ancient civilization.

The Dacian rulers became increasingly involved in the internal politics of the Roman Empire, and suffered accordingly from punitive expeditions. This entered a new phase in AD 86, which marked the beginning of a series of Roman-Dacian wars.

In the spring of 101 the Roman Emperor Trajan, having secured his Rhine frontier, took the offensive against the Dacians. Decebalus unified the Dacian kingdoms and concentrated his forces in the Orašţie Mountains, where he submitted to Trajan. An uneasy distribution of territory ensued, broken in 105 when Decebalus seized the Roman governor Longinus. This time he could not hold the Dacians together against the powerful Roman army. His capital and his fortresses were overwhelmed and Decebalus himself committed suicide to avoid capture. This campaign is graphically depicted in the reliefs running round Trajan’s Column in Rome.

Dacia became a Roman Imperial province, and its fortresses were slighted. New Roman towns were created, but none of them on the site of the Dacian settlements, with the exception of Sarmizegetusa, which was given the resounding Roman name Colonia Ulpia Traiana Augusta Dacica Sarmizegetusa. Dacia was to remain part of the Roman Empire until 274, when the Emperor Aurelian abandoned it in the face of irresistible pressure from the Goths.

In 1999 UNESCO designated the six fortresses that formed the defensive system of Decebalus as World Heritage Sites. The fortresses are as follows: Sarmizegetusa Regia, Costeşti-Cetăţuie, Costeşti-Blidaru, Piatra Roşie, Bănița and Căpâlna.

All the sites are in Hunedoara County , except for Căpâlna, which is in Alba County.


Yesterday I received a message from Matthew Rodriguez, the ChiefMattRod of Technology, at Rome Across Europe. Thus far he has been a bit shy to contribute articles, but apparently he just could not resist this one (MattRod, just like myself, is a tad obsessed with proper grammar usage).

RAE: So what do you have for for Rome Across Europe today?

MR: Here’s something that’s perfect. The word decimate is usually used to mean complete and utter destruction. But did you know that it originally meant to reduce by ten percent? In Roman times, when a cohort of soldiers was found guilty of misconduct, it wasn’t practical to execute all 480 of them. Instead, they were broken into groups of ten and made to draw lots. Drawing the short straw meant a painful death at the hands of your comrades.

RAE: Where did you come across this?

MR: It was actually a grammar article about too often misused words. I’ll get you the link.

RAE: That does make more sense since “deci” (as in “decimal”) is the root.

MR: Those Romans sure new their stuff.

RAE: Sir, please feel free to contribute more if all your ideas are winners like this one!

MR: My pleasure.

History: The earliest documented decimation occurred in 471 BC during the Roman Republic’s early wars against the Volsci. In an incident where his army had been scattered, Consul Regillensis had Armythe culprits punished for desertion: Centurions, standard-bearers and soldiers who had cast away their weapons were individually killed, while of the remainder, one in ten were chosen by lot and executed.

Polybius gives one of the first descriptions of the practice in the early 3rd century BC:

If ever these same things happen to occur among a large group of men… the officers reject the idea of bludgeoning or slaughtering all the men involved [as is the case with a small group or an individual].
Instead they find a solution for the situation which chooses by a lottery system sometimes five, sometimes eight, sometimes twenty of these men, always calculating the number in this group with reference to the whole unit of offenders so that this group forms one-tenth of all those guilty of cowardice.
And these men who are chosen by lot are bludgeoned mercilessly in the manner described above.

The practice was revived by Crassus in 71 BC during the Third Servile War against Spartacus, and some historical sources attributespartacus part of Crassus’ success to it. The number of men killed through decimation is not known, but it varies between 1,000 (used on 10,000 men), or a cohort of around 480-500 men, meaning only 48-50 were killed.

Julius Caesar threatened to decimate the 9th Legion during the war against Pompey, but never did.

As for modern instances, during the Battle of Breitenfeld (1642), one of many battles of the Thirty Years’ War, Colonel Madlon’s Thirty Years' Warcavalry regiment was the first that fled without striking a blow. Archduke Leopold Wilhelm assembled a court-martial in Prague which decided that the Madlon regiment was to be exemplary punished.

Six regiments which had signalized themselves in the battle, being drawn up under arms, surrounded that of Madlon, which was severely reproached for its cowardice and misconduct, and ordered to lay down its arms at the feet of General Piccolomini.

Here in Texas we have a part in decimation on the receiving end during the Black Bean Episode. A total of 176 beans were placed in a pot, 159 white beans and 17black beans. The Texans were blindfolded and ordered by their Mexican captors to draw beans. Officers and then enlisted men, in alphabetical order, were ordered to draw. After writing letters home to their loved ones, the holders of the black beans were executed by firing squad.

The last recorded case of decimation was In 1918, in the Finnish Civil War, the White troops, after conquering the Red city of Varkaus, summarily executed around 80 captured Reds in what became known as the Lottery of Huruslahti. According to some accounts, the Whites ordered all the captured Reds to assemble in a single row on the ice of Lake Huruslahti, selected every tenth prisoner, and executed him on the spot.

Thanks for supporting Rome Across Europe. Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

City of Valletta

As the capital of Malta, Valletta is a rare urban inhabited site that has been preserved with almost all of its original features.

During the First Punic War of 264 BC, the Maltese people rebeled against Carthage and turned control of their garrison over to the Roman Consul Sempronius. Remaining loyal to Rome during the Second Punic War, the Romans rewarded the Maltese with the title Foederata Civitas, a designation that meant it was exempt from paying tribute or the rule of Roman law. It was at this time that Malta fell within the jurisdiction of the province of Sicily. Punic influence, however, remained vibrant on the islands with the famous Cippi of Melqart, pivotal in deciphering the Punic language, dedicated in the 2nd century BC.

By 117 AD, the Maltese Islands were a thriving part of the Roman Empire, being promoted to the status of Municipium under Hadrian.

When the Roman Empire split into Eastern and Western divisions in the 4th century, Malta fell under the control of the Greek speaking Byzantine Empire from 395 to 870 AD, which ruled from Constantinople. Although Malta was under Byzantine rule for four centuries, not much is known from this period. There is evidence that Germanic tribes, including the Goths and Vandals, briefly took control of the islands before the Byzantines launched a counterattack and retook Malta.

The history of Valletta is linked hand-in-hand to the history of the military and charitable Order of St John of Jerusalem. It was ruled successively by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and the Order of the Knights of St John. The city has undergone no important modifications since 1798, the date when it was abandoned by the Knights of St John.

First Time In Paris?

Previously, Rome Across Europe shared some articles focusing onEiffel Tower New Years travel tips. It was mentioned that my wife and I are going to spend Christmas and New Years in Paris. It will be special since it is in France and not Paris, TX. It will be an adventure since it will also be the first time either of will be in Paris.

Now that we have passed our Arrival and Departure Dates, the searching has begun. We are about a year away from the trip and questions are coming. 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.

The first question, sites we want to see, is fairly easy to answer. We NotreDameDePariswant to see it all! Seriously though, JennArc de Triomphe 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. These are just obvious. However, we are not against becoming part of the “City of Lights” and strolling off of the tourist path.

To make these a lasting memory for my wife, I want us to be able to experience as much as we possibly can. I hope to accomplish this, also, 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.

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, or neighborhoods, arrondissements-parisArrondissements”, and 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. The Left Bank thus contains arrondissements: 5-7 and 13-15.

One would think that it would not be so challenging to choose which Louvrearrondissements to stay in due to the breakdown. Well that is not the case. Each neighborhood has its own feel, its own charm. Plus there is at least one attraction in each 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: The least populated, but most expensive, of thePalaisRoyalParisColonnes twenty arrondissements is right in the center of Paris. What’s here? The Louvre Museum, Royal Palace, Tuileries Garden, Forum des Halles, Bourse du Commerce, and the upscale Place Vendôme.

2nd Arrondissement: 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.

3rd Arrondissement: 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.

4th Arrondissement: The 4th is the oldest part of Paris. With designer Place des Vosgesboutiques and fancy cuisine, lots of hipsters have taken to this area. What’s here? Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Place des Vosges, City Hall and the gothic Tour St-Jacques. To contrast all the historic buildings is the modern Centre Georges Pompidou.

5th Arrondissement: 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, the roman-era Arènes de Lutèce and the Jardin des Plantes.

6th Arrondissement: The iconic 6th is what Paris’s Left Bank is allChurch of Saint-Sulpice 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.

7th Arrondissement: The 7th is filled with government institutions and Les Invalidesmajor 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.

8th Arrondissement: Another arrondissement loaded with touristÉlysée Palace attractions. The 8th is like Oprah-rich. This is where fashion meets Sex and the City finale. 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.

9th Arrondissement: 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 seniour citizen prostitutes can be found. What’s here? The former Opéra Garnier, the Galeries Lafayette, and Sainte-Trinité.

10th Arrondissement: 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.

11th Arrondissement: A very low profile arrondissement, known Church of Saint-Ambroisearound 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.

12th Arrondissement: The 12th is large and mostly residential, but it isBastille Opera House affordable and safe with access to major metro lines. What’s here? The Bastille Opera House, Bercy Stadium and Bercy Park, along with Vincennes Park.

13th Arrondissement: 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 Buttes aux Cailles boasts a stretch of restaurants, cafés and bars. What’s here? The Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrièrel.

14th Arrondissement: Not considered a lively arrondissement, the Catacombes_de_Paris14th 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).

15th Arrondissement: As a hit-or-miss district, the 15th is the largest ofTour Maine Montparnasse the twenty 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.

16th Arrondissement: The 16th has the reputation of being the Palais de Chaillotrichest, 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.

17th Arrondissement: This is a diverse arrondissement. The 17th is home to up-and-coming Batignolles area that houses many established French artists and writers. What’s here? The Palais des Congrès (a large convention center).

18th Arrondissement: Home of the famous Moulin Rouge, the 18th is like a vintage postcard of Paris. The once bohemian, and still village-Moulin Rougelike, 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.

19th Arrondissement: Another large arrondissement, the 19th is a bit out of the way for first time Paris travelers. 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.

20th Arrondissement: 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.

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.

We shall keep you updated as our trip gets set, until then Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Acropolis of Athens

The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel above the city of Athens and contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historic significance. The word “Acropolis” comes from 2 Greek words; akron (edge, extremity) and polis (city). Although there are many other acropoleis in Greece, the significance of the one in Athens is such that it is commonly known as “The Acropolis” without qualification.

In the 5th century BC, Pericles coordinated the construction of the site’s most important buildings including the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike.

During the Julio-Claudian period, the Temple of Rome and Augustus, a small, round edifice, about 23 meters from the Parthenon, was to be the last significant ancient construction on the summit of the rock. The Romans dedicated a building to Pan, a sanctuary was founded to Apollo, and in 161 AD  the Roman Herodes Atticus built his grand Odeon.


Vaison-la-Romaine, France

Today Rome Across Europe is discussing historical sites of interest. The focus of this article is found in what was Roman Gaul. Now travelers would recognize the location as France.

Situated between the Alps and the Mediterranean is Vaison-la-Romaine. This town is near the main motorway running through theLaureled Apollo house in Vaison-la-Romaine Rhône area and is located in the Haut-Vaucluse region. Vaison-la-Romaine is nestled in a blossoming countryside which is rich in heritage, celebrations and activities as well.

The Roman conquest came between 125-118 BC. The City of Voconces then had two capitals, Luc-en-Diois Roman Province of Gallia Narbonensis in 20 BCand Vaison-la-Romaine. The Romans turned Vaison-la-Romaine into one of the richest cities of the Narbonne Gaul. It was the homeland of the historian Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus.

Today, there still stand the Gallo-Roman sites of Puymin and Colline de la Villasse. The pair adds up to 15 acres of accessible sites, plus the rich patrician homes of exceptional size (2000 to 5000sqm), baths, shops and gardens.

In this historical area there is a majestic RomanTheatre Theatre. The cavea was built against the hill with a circulating gallery. Spectators could use stairways, the vomitorium, or side-passages to enter or exit. The lower tiers were separated from the orchestra by a small stone barrier.

Roman bridge in Vaison la Romaine, FranceOne should also visit the Gallo-Roman Bridge which spans over the Ouvèze. Said bridge resisted a German bombardment during World War II and the 1992 floods. Apparently, the Romans knew a thing or two about construction.

Another place to visit, and see more artifacts, is the Theo Desplans Museum.Archaeological Museum Théo Desplans This chronological and thematic museum presents objects of everyday life, imperial statues, mosaics and mural paintings.

Hopefully this piece about an off-the-beaten-path town has peaked your interest. Vaison-la-Romaine does not fail to bridge the Roman past to the modern present. On your list of places to visit, one more spot should now be added.

From everybody at Rome Across Europe…Don’t Stop Rome-ing!


Prague, Czech Republic

Novus Annus. Buon Anno! Bonne Année! Feliz Año Nuevo! Glückliches Neues Jahr! Happy New Year! Whether it be in Latin, Italian, French, Spanish, German or English we welcome you to 2015. Last year was great for Rome Across Europe. This year, though, we are making sure everything is bigger and, of course, better.

With this being the premiere for the New Year, we thought it only Stephfitting for Where To? Wednesday to come out of the gates with fireworks. For our first interview of 2015 we have a lady that we could talk with for hours and hours. She is my wife’s cousin, and has become a good friend of mine too. She not only travels a lot for business but also for recreation. Please give a big Rome Across Europe welcome to Mrs. Stephanie Strong!

Rome Across Europe: Welcome Stephanie and thank you for joining us today. In case you did not realize it, you are our first interview of 2015. Congratulations!

Stephanie Strong: Thanks very much for having me!

RAE: So I know you are quite the traveler. You told me before that there are many places you have enjoyed visiting. Where would you like to take us today? No pressure to start the year off strong (hint, hint).

SS: Oh, goodness. Today I would like to talk about one of my favorite cities in Europe, Prague, in the Czech Republic. It was a city that really surprised me with its charm.

RAE: Sounds quite intriguing. What drew you to Prague in the first place?

SS: I was on a family trip and it had been planned in advance withoutPalaces-in-Prague-237 my knowledge, actually. We were in Europe for a little over a month and visited quite a few places, wrapping up in Prague. I knew very little about it before we arrived.

RAE: That would be very surprising. Glad you enjoyed it and wanted to share the experience with us. I know that Prague, and the Czech Republic, were once under Roman control so this is very fitting for our interview.

What stuck out most in Prague that made it the place you wanted to discuss?

SS: I think it was a combination of the people and the contrast of the city. For so long, it had been under communist rule and these beautiful buildings and structures and castles that had been lovingly designed prior to that communist ruling were just crumbling. The people weren’t allowed to have lovely things.

When I was there it was so beautiful to see that they were restoring these things again and trying so hard to make their city vibrant again. The people were all surprisingly friendly and warm. I felt welcome wherever we went.

RAE: When where you there? I imagine it had to be in the late 1990’s?

SS: It was, it was 1997. It’s funny that it’s been so long but it really does feel [like] just a few years ago. The city has [really] stuck with me strongly.

RAE: That does not seem odd. Great places tend to make a lasting impact on a person.

What time of year was it? Do you remember how the weather was?

SS: It was mid-summer when we were there, so June/July, but it was rather cool. I remember a few cold rainy evenings! But there’s nothing like walking across the Charles Bridge on a chilly night with a light rain coming down. Magical.

RAE: You said you felt welcome due to the friendliness of the people. Was there any moment or something special that made you feel that way? Or was it just the overall experience?

SS: There is a moment that really stands out to me. I remember being in a big market in the center of Old Town where artisans sold their creations, and there was a leather worker with a stall where he was making bags, briefcases, wallets, etc with this thick, gorgeous leather. I found a small coin purse that I couldn’t leave without, and old-town-square-praguewhen I asked how much it was, he asked in broken English if I was from America. When I confirmed, he wouldn’t let me pay for it. He held my hand and told me to take it, and that he was glad that a girl from America was there to see his beautiful city. It was a moment that was indicative of the older people there that had seen so much in the city’s rich and turbulent history; they were so welcoming to visitors and really wanted to share their city and the work they were doing there.

RAE: That is a perfect story to share! I can understand why you said the people were friendly. Situations do not tend to happen like that here in the states. Not even in Texas.

Do you still have the coin purse?

SS: I do! I don’t carry it daily anymore but I will never get rid of it.

RAE: You had mentioned the Charles Bridge. Is there any other building or place that stood out to you?

SS: Yes. Two places other than the bridge that really stood out were the Jewish Museum, specifically the Pinkas Synagogue, with the Holocaust Memorial as a moving tribute to those that lost their livesPrague-orloj-2011 and the Astronomical Clock in Old Town. It goes off every hour on the hour and people gather just to watch. It’s really special!

RAE: Wow. That sounds amazing.

I know you had to eat somewhere while there. How would you say the food is?

SS: If you find yourself hungry mid-day, there is no shortage of pastries! Being Texan, we all know about the Czech Stop in West. Now imagine that times about a million.

Stop and relax after a day of walking and grab coffee and kolaches or Medovnik (it’s a honey cake with lots of thin layers) and it’s just out of this world.

RAE: Let us be honest, we all love pastries. There is no hiding that.

SS: What’s not to love? They’re all that’s right in the world!

RAE: How about main courses? Do the people there eat 3 large meals, or is it snacking throughout the day?

SS: There are usually two smaller meals and one main meal from what I saw. And there is very little meat, which I think may be a holdover from the past. I know historically, meat was saved for a special meal just once a week.

Now, it’s more available. The Czechs seem to be very big on vegetables and soups and dumplings, which are easy to fill up on! There is very little grazing or snacking, or eating on the go. You sit, you eat, you enjoy the people you’re with. I loved that.

RAE: That sounds like something it would not hurt Americans to try, slowing down a bit.

SS: I totally agree.

RAE: I know that since the fall of communism, and just progress overall, transportation and getting around has become easier there.

How was it for you back then?

SS: We had no problems at all. Taxis and private cars were plentiful, and it’s a great walking city. I felt safe everywhere we went. Roads were in the process of being improved, but there were some bumpy rides!

RAE: It seems that most towns in Europe are made for walking. Maybe people eat more desserts/pastries and drink more since it will just be walked off later?

SS: I think the cities there have been around since before cars and public transportation were the norm, so they were laid out beautifully for easy walking access. I love that about Europe! And I think you’re right, it gives a little more freedom to indulge in those fantastic pastries.

RAE: Is there anything else you would care to share with us today?

SS: One last thing that is one of my best memories of Prague, on the Charles Bridge itself, there are tons of artists painting scenes and Charles_Bridge_640_715selling their wares. One is a man who has been there for years and years who they call the Devil Man. He is a painter, and rumor has it that he’s a former university professor who went mad. He holds a tinyprague1-devil man hand mirror and wears devil horns and paints himself in monochromatic portraits as the devil, making faces into the mirror.

When you approach, he will select the portrait he’ll allow you to buy; you aren’t allowed to pick which color or size or face you’d like. I have a blue one that’s about 5×7 where he’s giving a rare half-smile. I don’t know if he’s still living, but if you’re in the city and on the bridge, he’s worth looking for.

RAE: Good addition! I already had an interest in visiting Prague, but now I am truly sold on it. We shall see if your cousin is on board for that or not.

SS: I hope you two make it over there, it’s such a wonderful place. Thank you for our talk today!

RAE: The pleasure is ours. You made the perfect guest to start out 2015.

I had a feeling how the interview would be, seeing is how we have similar personalities and such, but it went even better than expected.

SS: Can’t wait to see it on the site! GREAT, thank you! I enjoyed it, as I enjoy the site itself. I like getting the updates.

RAE: Well, thank you. That is definitely kind and beneficial to know that our message is out there AND being understood. With that we say goodbye to our very special guest, Stephanie Strong, while we say hello to more interviews in 2015.

It is the start of a new year so it is time to get out and visit new places. Who knows where Rome Across Europe will go next? In either case, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

History: Toward the end of the 1st Century BC, Bohemia was compromised mostly of Germanic tribes. It was then, during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD), that this area came under Roman rule. BohemiaMarcus_Aurelius_equestrian_2d itself was sometimes partly controlled by the Roman empire, and sometimes in conflict with it.

A good example of this would be in the second century when the Germanci tribes fought Marcus Aurelius (161 to 180 AD).
There is so much to love about Prague and  the Czech Republic. From Roman times through the present this is a land full of culture.

A Coronation

It is January 6, 1449 AD. Today Constantine XI Dragaš PalaiologosConstantine_Palaiologos ascends to the throne of the Eastern Roman Empire. His brother John VIII Palaeologus had died childless in 1448. On December 12, 1452, the union of the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches was proclaimed in Constantinople in the presence of the papal legate and the Patriarch Gregory.

In 476 AD the single Roman Empire had officially split into Eastern and Western halves with the fall of Romulus Augustus in the West. Constantine XI would take over his namesake’s (Constantine the 220px-Constantine_I_Hagia_SophiaGreat) capital city of Constantinople in order to rule the East.

Born in Constantinople (February 8, 1405) as the eighth of ten children (the 4th son), Constantine XI was extremely fond of his mother and added her surname (Dragases) next to his own dynastic one when he rose to the imperial throne. Constantine XI spent most of his childhood in Constantinople under the supervision of his parents. He was trained as a soldier and later became governor of Selymbria for a time.

In 1427 the second son, Despot Theodore II of the Morea announced his decision to resign his power in this importantDouble-Headed Eagle Peloponnesian territory, prior to surrendering the role to his brother. When Constantine XI arrived, however, Theodore had changed his mind. It was then agreed that Constantine XI should renew Byzantine efforts to conquer the areas of the Peloponnesus still in Latin hands, thus making an enclave for himself. He attacked Glarentza and finally won the city in 1428 by marrying the ruler’s niece.

By 1430 Constantine XI had conquered Patras and thus controlled the northern Peloponnesus. Two years later his younger brother Thomas annexed the last segments of Achaea, thereby placing all of the Peloponnesus in Byzantine hands for the first time since the Fourth Crusade (1204).

During the absence of his older brother in Italy, John VIII attended the Council of Ferrara-Florence from 1437 to 1440; Constantine XI Constantine XI Palaiologos, the last Byzantine Emperorwas regent in Constantinople (1437-1440). During the following years Constantine XI presided over what was to be the final flowering of Byzantine unity and prosperity in the Peloponnesus.

In 1442 Turks, under Murad, sieged Constantinople which was defended by Emperor John VIII Palaeologos, while Constantine XI fought Turks in island of Limnos. There he lost his second wife, Katherine. Constantine XI then became Despotes of the Morea in October 1443, ruling from the fortress and palace in Mistra. At the time, Mistra was a fortified town known as Sparta or Lacedaemon. Due to its proximity to the ancient city, this was a center of arts and culture rivaling Constantinople.

At the end of 1448, when John VIII passed, Constantine XI succeeded to the imperial throne. He proceeded cautiously regarding the hated agreements for Church union with the Latins, which John had accepted at Florence in hopes of winning Latin aid. Finally, under pressure from Rome, Constantine XI allowed the union to be proclaimed. This act greatly antagonized the bulk of his subjects, while it actually won him little effective help from the Latin West.

With only token help from outside, Constantine XI had to face the empire’s last agony, as the Turkish sultan Mohammed II launched his great siege against Constantinople in early April 1453. The Turks finally broke into the city on May 29, 1453. Constantine died bravely during the ensuing sack.

Legend has it that when the Ottomans entered the Constantinople,fatihsultanmehmetv an angel rescued the Emperor. Said angel then turned Constantine XI into marble and placed him in a cave under the earth near the Golden Gate. This is where the Emperor waits today to be brought back to life again to conquer the city for the Christians. Ahmed Pasha, while serving as ambassador to Russia in 1834, presented Tsar Nicholas with a jewel-encrusted sword supposedly taken from Constantine XI’s corpse.

Constantine XI’s legacy was used as a rallying cry for Greeks during their War for Independence with the Ottoman Empire. Today the Emperor is considered a Greek national hero. During the  and the Greco-Turkish War, under the influence of the Megali Idea. The name Constantine XI was used in Greece as a popular confirmation of the prophetic myth about the Marble King who would liberate Constantinople and recreate the “Lost Empire”.

History can be recorded. Myths can be created. What matters most is that the past is remembered. Here is to Rome and its Emperors. No matter what happens, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!