Take care that thou art not made into a Caesar, that thou art not dyed with this dye; for such things happen. Keep thyself then simple, good, pure, serious, free from affectation, a friend of justice, a worshipper of the gods, kind, affectionate, strenuous in all proper acts. Strive to continue to be such as philosophy wished to make thee. Reverence the gods, and help men. Short is life. There is only one fruit of this terrene life, a pious disposition and social acts. Do everything as a disciple of Antoninus. Remember his constancy in every act which was conformable to reason, and his evenness in all things, and his piety, and the serenity of his countenance, and his sweetness, and his disregard of empty fame, and his efforts to understand things; and how he would never let anything pass without having first most carefully examined it and clearly understood it; and how he bore with those who blamed him unjustly without blaming them in return; how he did nothing in a hurry; and how he listened not to calumnies, and how exact an examiner of manners and actions he was; and not given to reproach people, nor timid, nor suspicious, nor a sophist; and with how little he was satisfied, such as lodging, bed, dress, food, servants; and how laborious and patient; and how he was able on account of his sparing diet to hold out to the evening, not even requiring to relieve himself by any evacuations except at the usual hour; and his firmness and uniformity in his friendships; and how he tolerated freedom of speech in those who opposed his opinions; and the pleasure that he had when any man showed him anything better; and how religious he was without superstition. Imitate all this that thou mayest have as good a conscience, when thy last hour comes, as he had.
Return to thy sober senses and call thyself back; and when thou hast roused thyself from sleep and hast perceived that they were only dreams which troubled thee, now in thy waking hours look at these (the things about thee) as thou didst look at those (the dreams).
Caesar Augustus is a huge focus for a lot of our articles since he was Rome’s 1st Emperor. Augustus set a lot of precedence with his accomplishments for the Imperium Rōmānum, and as the Pater Patriaehe also showed Romans how they should conduct themselves personally.
From the many acts, achievements or architecture that Imperātor Caesar Dīvī Fīlius Augustus provided from his legacy we decided to explore a victory monument.
Today we are taking a closer look at the Tropaeum Alpium (Victory Monument of the Alps)!
We understand that this deals with Ancient Greece and not Rome, but we love it anyhow. If anything, the Romans were able to learn how to fight from those elite warriors of Sparta.
Today we present to you Ancient Black Ops – The Spartans!
For those not familiar with what 300 Spartans were able to do against the Persian Empire of Xerxes I over the course of 3 days, we hope this helped. It is totally worth your while to check out 300, we have seen it more times than we can remember but we still love it.
We hope you enjoyed today’s visit and look forward to having you join us again.
If any man should propose to thee the question, how the name Antoninus is written, wouldst thou with a straining of the voice utter each letter? What then if they grow angry, wilt thou be angry too? Wilt thou not go on with composure and number every letter? just so then in this life also remember that every duty is made up of certain parts. These it is thy duty to observe and without being disturbed or showing anger towards those who are angry with thee to go on thy way and finish that which is set before thee.
Although not always original, Roman Engineering was famous for its accomplishments and the improvements made older concepts, ideas and inventions. Part of the reason the Romans were able to do so much was because of their consistency and documentation of their units of measurements.
In the spirit of the creativity of Ancient Rome, we present to you the Naumachia Augusti!
The naumachia (naval combat) in the Ancient Roman word referred to both the staging of naval battles as mass entertainment and the basin or complex in which this took place.
The first known naumachia was given by Julius Caesar in Rome in 46 BC on occasion of his quadruple triumph. A basin was dug near the Tiber capable of holding actual biremes, triremes and quinqueremes, Caesar made 2000 combatants and 4000 rowers, all prisoners of war, fight.
In 2 BC on the occasion of the inauguration of the Temple of Mars Ultor (Mars the Avenger), Augustus gave a naumachia based on Caesar’s model. This was the creation of the Naumachia Augusti.
Known mainly due to Res Gestae Divi Augusti, Augustus created a basin on the right bank of the Tiber where 3000 men, not counting rowers, fought in 30 vessels with rams and a number of smaller boats. Writing about his accomplishments was the Emperor Augustus could ensure his would be remembered and, in the case of his naumachia, he was right.
In his Res Gestae Divi Augusti, Augustus proclaimed:
I gave a show of naval battles to the people across the Tiber in which place is now the grove of the Caesars, with the site having been excavated 1800 feet in length, 1200 feet in width, in which thirty beaked ships, triremes or biremes, and many smaller ships fought among themselves; in which fleet around 3000 men, excluding the oarsmen, fought.
The aforementioned basin measured 1800 x 1200 pedes (Roman feet) which would be about 583 x 388 yards. Pliny the Elder continues sharing details of the Naumachia Augusti.
In his Natural History, Pliny tells us that there was a rectangular island in the center of the basin which was connected to the shore by a bridge. This was probably where the privileged spectators sat.
Pliny stated that the basin had to have a depth of about 5 feet, the minimum to allow ships to float, and therefore a capacity of about 7,062,933 cubic feet. The Aqua Alsietina, specially built by Augustus in 2 BC, could fill it in 15 days.
A waterway provided ships access to the naumachia from the Tiber, passed by a movable bridge (pons naumachiarius). Considering the size of the basin and those of a trireme, the 30 vessels used should not have much room for maneuver on the water.
Taking into consideration the size of the basin and the dimensions of a trireme (approximately 115 x 16 feet), the 30 vessels used would hardly be able to maneuver. Knowing that the crew of a Roman trireme was approximately 170 rowers and 50 to 60 soldiers, a simple calculation allows us to see that to achieve the number of 3000 men the vessels of Augustus’ fleet would have to have held more combatants than an actual fleet.
The spectacle thus focused less on the movement of the vessels than the actual presence of them in the artificial basin, and the hand-to-hand combat which developed. Around the Naumachia Augusti there was a wood dedicated to the grandchildren, Gaius and Lucius Caesar, and perhaps the gardens.
There are several theories as to the precise location of the site; the latest of which places it between Via Aurelia in the north and the church of San Francesco a Ripa in the southeast, in the loop of the Tiber. The republican viaduct discovered in the Via Aurelia near San Crisogono may also have served as a conduit for the basin.
The basin did not last very long. During the reign of Augustus it was partly replaced by the Nemus Caesarum (Sacred Forest of the Caesars), later renamed “Forest of Gaius and Lucius” for the grandsons of Augustus. This vast area was probably built upon by the end of the 1st Century AD.
According to Sextus Julius Frontinus in De aquaeductu, the water supply for the Naumachia of Augustus was specially constructed, with the surplus used to water neighboring gardens in the Trans Tiberim. This was the Aqua Alsietinaaqueduct, remains of which have been found on the slopes of Janiculum (the 8th Hill of Rome) below the monastery of San Cosimato.
The Naumachia Augusti was just one of many social projects given to Rome on behalf of Augustus. As the Original Emperor, Augustus was simply beginning to put his personal stamp on not only Rome but the entire Empire.
We hope you enjoyed today’s visit to Rome and discovering a venue not known to most in modern times. Our goal is to share and explore as much as possible with you each day, and with any luck we accomplished by today’s adventure.
Be sure to stop back again soon to see what we have in store for you. In all honesty, we don’t even know what’s coming.
Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!
Coarelli, Aedes Fortis Fortunae, Naumachia Augusti, Castra Ravennatium: la Via Campana Portuensis e alcuni edifici nella Pianta Marmorea Severiana, Ostraka 1, 1992, 39-54.
The ruins of Leptis Magna are located in Khoms, Libya, 81 mi east of Tripoli, on the coast where the Wadi Lebda meets the sea. The site is one of the most spectacular and unspoiled Roman ruins in the Mediterranean.
The city appears to have been founded by a group of local Berbers and Phoenicians sometime around 1000 BC. The town did not achieve prominence until Carthage became a major super power in the Mediterranean Sea in the 4th Century BC.
At the end of the Third Punic War in 146 BC Leptis Magna then became part of the Roman Republic. During the reign of Augustus, Leptis Magna was classified as a Civitas libera et immunis (free community) over which the governor had an absolute minimum of control.
Leptis Magna remained as such until the reign of the Roman Emperor Tiberius, when the city and the surrounding area were formally incorporated into the empire as part of the province of Africa. It soon became one of the leading cities of Roman Africa and a major trading post.
Leptis achieved its greatest prominence beginning in 193 AD, when a Berber native son, Lucius Septimius Severus, became Emperor. He favored his hometown above all other provincial cities, and the buildings and wealth he lavished on it made Leptis Magna the 3rd-most important city in Africa, rivaling Carthage and Alexandria.
Under Arab domination since 640 AD Leptis disappeared, and by the 10th Century the city was forgotten and fully covered by sand. Today, the site of Leptis Magna is the site of some of the most impressive ruins of the Roman period.
In the Imperial Era, amphitheatres became an integral part of the Roman urban landscape. As cities vied with each other for preeminence in civic buildings, amphitheatres became ever more monumental in scale and ornamentation. Imperial amphitheatres comfortably accommodated 40,000–60,000 spectators. They featured multi-storied, arcaded façades and were elaborately decorated with marble and stucco cladding, statues and reliefs, or even partially made of marble.
As the Empire grew, most of its amphitheatres remained concentrated in the Latin-speaking western half, while in the East spectacles were mostly staged in other venues such as theatres or stadia. A large number of modest arenas were built in Roman North Africa, where most of the architectural expertise was provided by the Roman military.
Spectacles involving animals, venationes, survived until the 6th Century, but became costlier and rarer. After the end of venationes, the only remaining purpose of amphitheatres was to be the place of public executions and punishments.
After even this purpose dwindled away, many amphitheatres fell into disrepair and were gradually dismantled for building material, razed to make way for newer buildings, or vandalized. Others were transformed into fortifications or fortified settlements, such as at Leptis Magna.
The Roman amphitheater of Leptis Magna was capable of seating 16,000 spectators. Unlike most Roman amphitheaters, it is built below the ground.
There were reports that Leptis Magna was used as a cover for tanks and military vehicles by pro-Gaddafi forces during the 2011 Libyan civil war. When asked about the possibility of conducting an air-strike on the historic site, NATO refused to rule out the possibility of such an action saying that it had not been able to confirm the rebels’ report that weapons were being hidden at the location.
We hope you enjoyed today’s journey to the Asia Minor. We look forward to having you join us again.
Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!
Bullo, Silvia. Provincia Africa: le città e il territorio dalla caduta di Cartagine a Nerone. Editore L’Erma di Bretschneider. Roma,2002. ISBN 8882651681.
De Miro, Ernesto & Antonella Polito. Leptis Magna. L’Erma di Bretschneider, Rom 2005, ISBN 88-8265-309-9.
In the past we have covered many topics, from Places and Items of Interest to Religion / Mythology and everything in between. It’s time to explore something new, something we’ve not really gotten into before.
Today we bring to you a new topic, the Laws of the Land, as we present the Leges Iuliae!
In 59 BC the Lex Iulia de Repetundis was introduced. This Law restricted the number of ‘gifts’ that a Rector Provinciae could receive during his term in a provincia, and also ensured that Governors balanced their accounts before leaving a province.
Sets regulations known as the Lex Julia Municipalis came for the Italian municipalities in 45 BC. The Tabulae Heracleenses are a significant example of this defining the boundaries of lands belonging to various temples.
Under Augustus, the Leges Iuliae of 18–17 BC attempted to elevate the morals of the upper classes in Rome while also increasing their numbers. This 2-pronged approach began with the Lex Iulia de Maritandis Ordinibus to increase the population by encouraging marriage and having children. It was then followed up with the Lex Julia de Adulteriis that established adultery as both a private and public crime.
To encourage population expansion, the Leges Iuliae offered incentives to marriage and imposed disabilities upon the celibate. Marrying-age celibates and young widows who wouldn’t marry were debarred from receiving inheritances and from attending public games.
Augustus then instituted the “Law of the Three Sons” which held those in high regard who produced 3 male offspring. As with most pre-20th Century societies, Rome held male offspring (and those who produced them) in the highest of regards.
The year 18 BC also brought about the Lex Iulia de Ambitu, penalizing bribery when acquiring political offices, and the Lex Iulia de Maritandis Ordinibus, limiting marriage across social class boundaries. The latter of the pair was seen as an indirect foundation of concubinage and would later be regulated by Justinian.
In 17 BC, the Lex Iulia de Adulteriis Coercendis was created to punish adultery with banishment. The 2 guilty parties were sent to different islands (dummodo in diversas insulas relegentur), and part of their property was confiscated.
Roman law allowed fathers to kill their daughters and their partners in adultery. Husbands could kill the partners under certain circumstances and were required to divorce adulterous wives.
Augustus himself was obliged to invoke the law against his own daughter Julia and had her relegated to the island of Pandateria, and again against his niece Julia the Younger.
It was stated that Augustus was stricter for his own relatives than the law actually required. This makes sense if you are trying to change the way things are done for people are more apt to take someone seriously who will punish his or her own family.
To encourage and strengthen marriage, Augustus created the Lex Papia Poppaea in 9 AD. This was seen as an integral part of the Julian Laws for the Lex Papia Poppaea explicitly promoted offspring, within lawful marriage, thus also discriminating against celibacy.
Later updates were made to the Julian Laws by various Emperors. All changes though were based on, and frequently quote from, the actual text of Augustus’ laws.
In the 3rd Century AD Ulpian adjusted the Lex Iulia relating to marriage. Senators and their descendants were forbidden to marry freedwomen, actresses, or whose father or mother been actors; other freeborn persons were forbidden to marry a common prostitute, or a woman caught in adultery, or one condemned in a public lawsuit, or one who had followed the profession of the stage.
Under the rule of Emperor Justinian, in the 6th Century AD, the Lex Iulia on adultery was altered. Adultery now punished with death not only those who dishonor the marriage bed of another, but also those who indulge in unspeakable lust with males.
The same Lex Iulia also punished the offence of seduction, when a person, without the use of force, deflowers a virgin or seduces a respectable widow. The penalty imposed on such offenders was the confiscation of half their estate, if they are of respectable standing, or corporal punishment and banishment in the case of people of the lower orders.
If for no other reasons these laws were made to fit a particular need during a specific time, much like how modern laws are imposed today. The laws may seem over the top or silly as one looks at them from generations ahead, but the people making them were only human.
We hope you enjoyed today’s look into Rome’s legal system. With your feedback we may be inclined to explore more Laws of the Land.
Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!
Boatwright, M. The Romans: From Village to Empire: A History of Rome from Earliest Times to the End of the Western Empire. 2011.
The lateral forces of the groin vaults were held by flanking aisles measuring 75 x 56 ft. The aisles were spanned by 3 semi-circular barrel vaults perpendicular to the nave, and narrow arcades ran parallel to the nave beneath the barrel vaults. The nave itself measured 83 x 265 feet creating a floor roughly 21,528 square ft. The basilica made use of vast interior space with its emotional effect, just like the thermaedid.
Running the length of the eastern face of the building was a projecting arcade. On the south face was a projecting (prostyle) porch with 4 columns (tetrastyle).
Similar to many basilicas at the time such as the Basilica Ulpia, the Basilica Nova featured a huge open space in the central nave.
Instead of having columns support the ceiling the entire building, like other basilicas, the Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine was built using arches. This was a much more common appearance in therma than in basilicas.
Another difference from traditional basilicas is the roof of the structure. While traditional basilicas were built with a flat roof, the Basilica Maxentius was built with a folded roof, decreasing the overall weight of the structure and decreasing the horizontal forces exerted on the outer arches.
The innovative and eye pleasing design of the Basilica Nova could not resist the forces of nature, however, as the south and central sections were destroyed by an earthquake in AD 847. The vault of the nave collapsed in AD 1349 from yet another earthquake.
The color of the building during its prime was white. On the outside wall of the basilica, facing onto the Via dei Fori Imperiali, are contemporary maps showing the various stages of the rise of the Roman Empire which were added during the Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini. A map depicting Mussolini’s “New Roman Empire” was removed from the wall after the war.
The Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine is a marvel of Roman engineering work. It used the most advanced engineering techniques known including innovations taken from the Mercatus Traiani and the Thermae Diocletiani.
At the time of construction, it was the largest structure to be built. That in itself makes the Basilica Nova a unique building taking both aspects from Roman baths as well as typical Roman basilicas.
All that remains of the basilica today is the north aisle with its 3 concrete barrel vaults. The ceilings of the barrel vaults show advanced weight-saving structural skill with octagonal ceiling coffers.
In Ancient Rome a basilica was a rectangular building with a large central open space, and often a raised apse at the far end from the entrance. Basilicas served a variety of functions, including a combination of a court-house, council chamber and meeting hall.
However, there might be numerous statues of the gods displayed in niches set into the walls. Under Constantine and his successors this type of building was chosen as the basis for the design of the larger places of Christian worship.
The likelihood of this theory was that the basilica form had fewer pagan associations than those of the designs of traditional Greco-Roman temples, and allowed large congregations. As a result of the building programs of the Christian Roman Emperors the term basilica later became largely synonymous with a large church or cathedral.
A typical basilica in Ancient Rome would also have 2 rows of shops, along the walls facing each other. This allowed for a Roman Citizen to take care of his shopping, civic needs and worship altogether (no bathing here).
The wrestling events were held here during the 1960 Summer Olympic Games (countries under Communist control did really well). No longer the fabulous building it once was, the basilica now serves only to remind tourists of Rome’s majesty.
We hope you enjoyed today’s discovery and look forward to having you back again for future travels. Stop back again to see where, or what, we’ll be up to.
Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!
Fazio, Michael. Buildings across time: an introduction to world architecture. Boston, Mass.: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2009. ISBN007305304X.
Giavarini, Carlo. The Basilica of Maxentius: the Monument, its Materials , Construction, and Stability. Roma: L’Erma di Bretschneider, 2005.
Roth, Leland M. Understanding Architecture: Its Elements, History and Meaning. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1993. ISBN0-06-430158-3.