Ancient City of Tauric Chersonese and its Chora

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

It’s time to take a look at another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Last week we were in Greece to uncover the Paleochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessalonika.

Today we’re traveling all the way to the Ukraine as we check out the Ancient City of Tauric Chersonese and its Chora!

Remains of the theatre from the ancient city of Tauric Chersonese.

Tauric Chersonese and its chora are the remains of an ancient city, founded in the 5th Century BC as a colonial settlement of the Dorian Greeks, located on the Heraclean Peninsula in south-west Crimea. The polis and extended chora of Tauric Chersonese form an outstanding example of an ancient cultural landscape, consisting of a Greek polis and its agricultural hinterland established as part of colonist activities in the 4th and 3rd Century BC.

The significant archaeological ruins of the city retain physical remains constructed between the 5th Century BC and the 13th Century AD laid out on an orthogonal grid system. The basic orientation of this orthogonal grid continues into the wider landscape where fragments of a vast land demarcation system of 400 equal allotments in an area of 24,710 acres have been preserved.

The Ancient City of Tauric Chersonese and its chora is an exceptional example of a peripheral center of movement of people which acted as an important gateway to the north-eastern parts of the Greek trade influence, including the Crimea and the Scythian state. The city maintained its strategic role over almost 2 millennia and provides a unique example for the continuity and longevity of a mercantile outpost connecting the different Black Sea trade routes.

The site features several public building complexes and residential neighborhoods, as well as early Christian monuments alongside remains from Stone and Bronze Age settlements; Roman and Medieval tower fortifications and water supply systems; and exceptionally well-preserved examples of vineyard planting and dividing walls.

How This Relates to Rome:

Beginning in the 6th Century BC, colonies of Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome and the Byzantine Empire, such as Tyras, Olbia and Chersonesus, were founded on the northeastern shore of the Black Sea. These colonies thrived well into the 6th Century AD being known as the most productive wine center of the Black Sea and remained a hub of exchange between populations north of the Black Sea.

The 1935 Basilica, named as such since the true name has never been discovered.

Chersonesus was subject to Rome from the middle of the 1st Century BC until the 370s AD, when it was captured by the Huns.

It became a Byzantine possession during the Early Middle Ages and withstood a siege by the Göktürks in 581. Byzantine rule was slight, and there was a small imperial garrison more for the town’s protection than for its control.

Its isolation made it a popular place of exile for those who angered the Roman and later Byzantine governments. Among its more famous “inmates” were Pope Clement IPope Martin I, and the deposed Byzantine Emperor Justinian II.

Thanks for taking the tour with us today. We hope you’re inspired to take further adventures within the Roman Empire.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Plato’s Best (and Worst) Ideas

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

Today we go back before the Founding of Rome to Ancient Greece as we see Wisecrack‘s take on Plato’s Best (and Worst) Ideas!

Roman copy of a portrait bust by Silanion for the Academia in Athens (c. 370 BC).

Few individuals have influenced the world and many of today’s thinkers like Plato. He created the original Western university and was teacher to Ancient Greece’s greatest minds, including Aristotle.

But even he wasn’t perfect. Along with his great ideas, Plato had a few that haven’t exactly stood the test of time. Wisecrack gives a brief rundown of a few of Plato’s best and worst ideas.

We hope you enjoyed today’s philosophical journey and look forward to having you back soon. Be sure to check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Paleochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessalonika

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

It’s time to take a look at another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Last week we were in Croatia to uncover the Cathedral of St James in Šibenik.

Today we’re traveling all the way to Greece as we check out the  Paleochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessalonika!

Rotunda of St George

Founded in 315 BC, the provincial capital and sea port of Thessalonika was one of the initial bases for the spread of Christianity. Among its Christian monuments are fine churches, some built on the Greek cross plan and others on the 3-aisled basilica plan.

Constructed over a long period, from the 4th to the 15th Century, they constitute a diachronic typological series, which had considerable influence in the Byzantine world. The mosaics of Thessalonika’s monuments (such as the Rotunda, Saint Demetrius and Hosios David [Latomou Monastery]) are among the great masterpieces of Early Christian art.

The monuments of Thessalonika inscribed on the World Heritage List are public edifices of various functions, religious, secular, military, including the 2.5 mi long city walls. Because of their outstanding design and major artistic value these monuments are included among the most significant of the Byzantine period.

Walls of Thessaloniki

Throughout the Byzantine era, the city constituted a cultural center that determined the developments not only in immediately surrounding but also in neighboring areas. It played an active or even competitive role in artistic trends originating in Constantinople.

The monuments of Thessalonika reveal a continuous artistic exchange with the greatest cultural centers of each era (Rome, Constantinople). The city itself was an important artistic center, from its foundation and throughout the Byzantine period.

Wall painting ensembles, mosaics and frescoes, preserved in Thessalonika’s monuments, represent some of the major artistic trends, that have been developed in Byzantine monumental painting from its beginnings (the Rotunda, Saint Demetrius, Hosios David), through the first period after iconoclasm (Saint Sophia) and the Comnenian period (Hosios David frescoes) to its culmination known as the Palaeologan Renaissance (late Byzantine period).

To this last period belong significant monuments such as the Holy Apostles, the chapel of Saint Euthymios in the Church of Saint Demetrius, Saint Nikolaos Orphanos, Saint Panteleimon, the Transfiguration of the Saviour, Saint Aikaterini, Prophitis Ilias, the Katholikon (main church) of the Vlatadon Monastery which reflect all the tendencies of the Palaeologan Renaissance.

How This Relates to Rome:

The city of Thessaloniki in Macedonia, Greece, for several centuries the second-most important city of the Byzantine Empire, played an important role for Christianity during the Middle Ages and was decorated by impressive buildings.

The Battle of Corinth (146 BC) was a battle fought between the Roman Republic and the Greek city-state of Corinth and its allies.

Roman Greece as described here is the period of Greek history affecting its subsequent constituent Roman provinces that followed the Roman victory over the Corinthians, at the Battle of Corinth (146 BC), until the adoption of the city of Byzantium by the Emperor Constantine the Great as the capital of the Roman Empire (as Nova Roma, later Constantinople) in AD 330.

During the 2nd and 3rd Centuries, Greece was divided into provinces including Achaea, Macedonia, Epirus vetus and Thracia. During the reign of Diocletian in the late 3rd Century, the western Balkans were organized as a Roman diocese, and was ruled by Galerius.

Arch of Galerius and Rotunda, Thessaloniki.

Under Constantine I Greece was part of the dioceses of Macedonia and Thrace. The eastern and southern Aegean islands formed the province of Insulae in the Diocese of Asia.

Thanks for taking the tour with us today. We hope you’re inspired to take further adventures within the Roman Empire.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Top 10 Reasons the Byzantine Empire Was Among the Most Successful in History

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

You’d see a lot of changes when looking at a map of present day Europe and comparing it to a 30 year old one. Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine and the Baltic States were all part of the USSR, while Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia were still states.

The Empire at its greatest extent in AD 555 under Justinian the Great (its vassals in pink).

Go back even further and the map looks even stranger. Putting all those different people under the same banner and keeping them that way was and still is next to impossible. Many have tried and most have failed, but the first to even come close were the Romans.

Their inheritors, the Byzantines, managed to keep it together for over 1100 years. By so doing, they creating the longest-living Empire on the continent. Here’s how they did it.

We hope you enjoyed Top 10 Reasons the Byzantine Empire Was Among the Most Successful in History. We look forward to having you back for further adventures.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

How Did The Romans Beat The Greek?- Legions Vs Phalanx, Gladius Vs Sarissa

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

Whenever we have the opportunity to watch a video about something from Ancient Rome, we jump at the opportunity. If it has the ability to showcase anything regarding Ancient Greece versus the Romans in a military capacity, well that’s just icing on the cake.

Today we get that opportunity as we explore How Did The Romans Beat The Greek?- Legions Vs Phalanx, Gladius Vs Sarissa!

Roman Legion on the march

Ancient Rome was originally an Italic settlement dating from the 8th Century BC that grew into the city of Rome, and which subsequently gave its name to the Empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilization the empire developed. The Roman Empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, though still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants and covering 1.9 million square miles at its height in AD 117.

Ancient Roman civilization has contributed to modern government, law, politics, engineering, art, literature, architecture, technology, warfare, religion, language and society. Rome professionalized and expanded its military and created a system of government called Res Publica, the inspiration for modern republics such as the United States and France.


Rome achieved impressive technological and architectural feats, such as the construction of an extensive system of aqueducts and viae (roads). The construction of large monuments, palaces, and public facilities was perfected under Roman rule as well.

Augustus and his Legions

By the end of the Res Publica Romana (Roman Republic) in 27 BC, Rome had conquered the lands around the Mediterranean and beyond. Its domain extended from the Atlantic to Arabia and from the mouth of the Rhine to North Africa.

The Roman Empire emerged with the end of the Republic and the dictatorship of Augustus Caesar. In 92 BC, the initial war against Parthia would spark 721 years of Roman-Persian Wars.

Rome, Parthia and Seleucid Empire in 200 BC.

It would become the longest conflict in human history, and have major lasting effects and consequences for both empires. Under Trajan, the Roman Empire reached its territorial peak.

We hope you enjoyed today’s journey and look forward to having you back again soon. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

The Cathedral of St James in Šibenik

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

It’s time to take a look at another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Last week we were in Britannia to uncover the Heart of Neolithic Orkney.

Today we’re traveling all the way to Croatia as we check out the Cathedral of St James in Šibenik!


The Cathedral of St James in Šibenik (1431-1535), on the Dalmatian coast, bears witness to the considerable exchanges in the field of monumental arts between Northern Italy, Dalmatia and Tuscany in the 15th and 16th Centuries.

The Cathedral of St. James is a triple-nave basilica with 3 apses and a dome (105 ft high inside) in the city of Šibenik. It is the church of the Catholic Church in Croatia, and the see of the Šibenik diocese.

It is also the most important architectural monument of the Renaissance in the entire country. The 3 architects who succeeded one another in the construction of the Cathedral – Francesco di Giacomo, Georgius Mathei Dalmaticus and Niccolò di Giovanni Fiorentino – developed a structure built entirely from stone and using unique construction techniques for the vaulting and the dome of the Cathedral.

It is often mistakenly known as “St Jacob’s”, because Croatian, like many other languages, uses the same name for both “James” and “Jacob”. Dedicated to Saint James the Greater, the Cathedral has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2000.

The form and the decorative elements of the Cathedral, such as a remarkable frieze decorated with 71 sculptured faces of men, women, and children, also illustrate the successful fusion of Gothic and Renaissance art.


How This Relates to Rome:

In 9 AD the territory of today’s Croatia became part of the Imperium Rōmānum (Roman Empire). Emperor Diocletian built a large palace in Split when he retired in AD 305.

During the 5th Century, one of the last Emperors of the Western Roman Empire, Julius Nepos, ruled his small empire from the palace. The period ends with Avar and Croat invasions in the earlier half of the 7th Century and destruction of almost all Roman towns.

Roman survivors retreated to more favorable sites on the coast, islands and mountains. The city of Dubrovnik was founded by such survivors from Epidaurum.

Thanks for taking the tour with us today. We hope you’re inspired to take further adventures within the Roman Empire.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Pompeii – Life and Death in a Roman Town

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

If this is your initial visit with us, we’re very excited to have you. If you’ve been here before, we’re thrilled that you think enough of us to return.

Most of our friends here know that I am presently studying to be a primary or secondary school teacher (whatever school that hires me will make the decision for me) here in the Texas Hill Country. During this time, I’m busy studying so putting out original articles must be put to the back burner for the moment.

Instead, however, we present you renowned author and Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge, Mary Beard presents Pompeii – Life and Death in a Roman Town!

Just in case your are not familiar with Pompeii, it was an Ancient Roman town-city near modern Naples (in the Campania region of Italy). Pompeii, along with Herculaneum and many villae in the surrounding area, was mostly destroyed and buried under 13 to 20 ft of volcanic ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

We hope you enjoyed Professor Beard and her always tantalizing tales of days past. Maybe you’ve even been inspired to make a journey to the Roman ruins yourself.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Heart of Neolithic Orkney

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

It’s time to take a look at another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Last week we were in Britannia to uncover the Ironbridge Gorge.

Today we’re staying in Britannia as we check out the Heart of Neolithic Orkney!

The Standing Stones of Stenness

The Orkney Islands lie 9.3 miles north of the coast of Scotland. The monuments are in 2 areas, some 4.1 miles apart on the island of Mainland, the largest in the archipelago.

The group of monuments that make up the Heart of Neolithic Orkney consists of a remarkably well-preserved settlement, a large chambered tomb, and 2 stone circles with surrounding henges, together with a number of associated burial and ceremonial sites. The group constitutes a major relict cultural landscape graphically depicting life five thousand years ago in this remote archipelago.

The 4 main monuments, consisting of the 4 substantial surviving elliptical stones of the Standing Stones of Stenness and the surrounding ditch and bank of the henge, the 36 surviving stones of the circular Ring of Brodgar with the 13 Neolithic and Bronze Age mounds that are found around it and the stone setting known as the Comet Stone, the large stone chambered tomb of Maeshowe, whose passage points close to midwinter sunset, and the sophisticated settlement of Skara Brae with its stone built houses connected by narrow roofed passages, together with the Barnhouse Stone and the Watch Stone, serve as a paradigm of the megalithic culture of north-western Europe that is  unparalleled.

Excavated dwellings at Skara Brae, Europe’s most complete Neolithic village.

The property is characteristic of the farming culture prevalent from before 4000 BC in northwest Europe. It provides exceptional evidence of, and demonstrates with exceptional completeness, the domestic, ceremonial, and burial practices of a now vanished 5000-year-old culture and illustrates the material standards, social structures and ways of life of this dynamic period of prehistory, which gave rise to Avebury and Stonehenge (England), Bend of the Boyne (Ireland) and Carnac (France).

How This Relates to Rome:

Scotland comes from Scoti, the Latin name for the Gaels. The Late Latin word Scotia (Land of the Gaels) was initially used to refer to Ireland.

By the 11th Century at the latest, Scotia was being used to refer to (Gaelic-speaking) Scotland north of the River Forth, alongside Albania or Albany, both derived from the Gaelic Alba. The use of the words Scots and Scotland to encompass all of what is now Scotland became common in the Late Middle Ages.

The written protohistory of Scotland began with the arrival of the Roman Empire in southern and central Great Britain, when the Romans occupied what is now England and Wales, administering it as a province called Britannia. Roman invasions and occupations of southern Scotland were a series of brief interludes.

Tablet found at Bo’ness (ca. AD 142) depicting Roman Cavalryman trampling Picts.

According to the Roman historian Tacitus, the Caledonians attacked Roman forts and skirmished with their Legions. In a surprise night-attack, the Caledonians very nearly wiped out the whole 9th Legion until it was saved by General Gnaeus Julius Agricola‘s Cavalry.

The Romans erected Hadrian’s Wall to control tribes on both sides of the wall so the Limes Britannicus became the northern border of the Roman Empire. Although the Roman Army held the Antonine Wall in the Central Lowlands for 2 short periods, the last during the reign of Emperor Septimius Severus from 208 until 210, Rome would never control the land known today as Scotland.

Thanks for taking the tour with us today. We hope you’re inspired to take further adventures within the Roman Empire.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Ancient Roman Food – Feeding Soldiers, Gladiators, Plebs and Priests!

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

When most people think of food from Ancient Rome there is a high likelihood that pasta comes to mind, and that makes sense since Italy produces the largest volume of pasta annually in the world (the USA is #2). The point is, however, that pasta as we know it today wasn’t around in Ancient Rome and really wasn’t in Italy until around 1154 AD.

Having said that, today we take a light-hearted look at some of the food of Ancient Rome (be certain to take it with a pinch of salt, and a gallon of garum)!

A table showing some of the common foods eaten by everyday Romans.

Whether you are a Legionnaire, Gladiator, Pleb or Priest, we’ve got something for you to enjoy.

We hope you enjoyed today’s visual exploration. Maybe you might even have been inspired to try to eat like a Roman (maybe not so much the garum though).

In any event…till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Ironbridge Gorge

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

It’s time to take a look at another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Last week we were in France to uncover the Historic Fortified City of Carcassonne.

Today we’re crossing the Chanel from France as we head to Britannia to check out the Ironbridge Gorge!

The Ironbridge Gorge is a deep gorge, containing the River Severn in Shropshire, England. It was first formed by a glacial overflow from the long drained away Lake Lapworth, at the end of the last ice age.

The deep exposure of the rocks cut through by the gorge exposed commercial deposits of coal, iron ore, limestone and fireclay, which enabled the rapid economic development of the area during the early Industrial Revolution.

Originally called the Severn Gorge, the gorge now takes its name from its famous Iron Bridge, the first iron bridge of its kind in the world, and a monument to the industry that began there. The bridge was built in 1779 to link the industrial town of Broseley with the smaller mining town of Madeley and the growing industrial center of Coalbrookdale.

The Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage property covers an area of 550 ha and is located in Telford, Shropshire, approximately 31 mi north-west of Birmingham. The Industrial Revolution had its 18th Century roots in the Ironbridge Gorge and spread worldwide leading to some of the most far-reaching changes in human history.

The site incorporates a 3 mi length of the steep-sided, mineral-rich Severn Valley from a point immediately west of Ironbridge downstream to Coalport, together with 2 smaller river valleys extending northwards to Coalbrookdale and Madeley.

How This Relates to Rome:

The area around Telford was an early settlement in the area thought to be on the land that sloped up from the Weald Moors (an area north of the town center) towards the line along which the Roman Watling Street was built.

The greater area of  Shropshire was listed in Ptolemy‘s 2nd Century Geography names one of their towns as being Viroconium Cornoviorum (Wroxeter), which became their capital under Roman rule and one of the largest settlements in Britain. After the Roman occupation of Britain ended in the 5th Century, the Shropshire area was in the eastern part of the Welsh Kingdom of Powys.

Thanks for taking the tour with us today. We hope you’re inspired to take further adventures within the Roman Empire.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!