Videos

Caesar in Gaul: Makin’ Waves (56 BC)

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

If you are new to RAE, then welcome to the show. If you’ve been around before, then you probably have realized our fascination with the one and only Gaius Julius Caesar.

When we came across a way to share more about the man who was without a doubt so impactful on the Res Publica Romana (Roman Republic), and what would become the Imperium Rōmānum (Roman Empire) after his assassination, there was no way to pass it up.

So, without further ado, we bring to you Caesar’s Gallic Wars!

Vercingetorix Throws Down His Arms at the Feet of Julius Caesar, by Lionel Noel Royer (1899).

 

In case you missed our previous posts from Caesar’s invasions of Britain, you can check out Part I and Part II.

The Gallic Wars were a series of military campaigns waged by the Roman Proconsul Julius Caesar against several Gallic tribes. Rome’s war against the Gallic tribes lasted from 58 BC to 50 BC and culminated in the decisive Battle of Alesia in 52 BC, in which a complete Roman victory resulted in the expansion of the Roman Republic over the whole of Gaul (mainly present-day France and Belgium).

Although Caesar portrayed this invasion as being a preemptive and defensive action, most historians agree that the wars were fought primarily to boost Caesar’s political career and to pay off his massive debts. The Gallic Wars are described by Julius Caesar in his book Commentarii de Bello Gallico, which remains the most important historical source regarding the conflict.

We hope you enjoyed all the video presentations about Caesar. Be sure to check back with us soon for we never know who, or where, we’ll journey.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Roma Condita: Celebrating Rome’s Founding

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

From the world of Ancient Rome there are many things in which to be celebrated or actually were celebrated. The month of Aprilis (April) celebrates the birth of Emperors Septimius Severus (11 April 145 AD) and Marcus Aurelius (26 April 121 AD) along with the festivals of Veneralia (1) and Fordicidia (15).

If you haven’t yet got on the Roman party-train you need to jump aboard, for there’s plenty of stops to celebrate and there’s plenty of tickets available for everyone. But without a single event, no of this would happen nor would this website exist.

Today we are going to witness the impactful event that was the Roma Condita (Founding of Rome)!

Aeneas flees burning Troy by Federico Barocci, 1598 (Galleria Borghese, Rome).

One thing the Romans were certain of was the day Rome was founded, and that day is today – 4 April. What they were not so certain of was the year in which their city was established as several dates had been proposed by ancient authorities.

This is a reason they preferred to date their years by the presiding Consuls rather than using the formula Ab Urbe Condita (AUC). Dionysius of Halicarnassus, a Greek historian and teacher of rhetoric who flourished during the reign of Caesar Augustus, stated the following:

the Greek historian Timaeus, the first to write a history of the Romans, stated that Rome was founded in the 38th year prior to the first Olympiad, or 814 BC; Quintus Fabius Pictor, the first Roman to write the history of his people, stated Rome was founded in the first year of the eighth Olympiad, or 748/7 BC; Cincius Alimentus claimed Rome was founded in the fourth year of the twelfth Olympiad, or 719/8 BC; and Cato the Elder calculated that Rome was founded 432 years after the Trojan War, which Dionysius stated was the first year of the seventh Olympiad, or 752/3 BC.

Dionysius himself provided calculations showing that Rome was founded in 751 BC, starting with the Battle of the Allia, which he dated to the 1st year of the 9th Olympiad (390 BC), then added 119 years to reach the date of the primary Consuls, Junius Brutus and Tarquinius Collatinus, and then he added the combined total of the reigns of the Kings of Rome (244 years) to arrive at his own date, 751 BC. Even the official Fasti Capitolini offers its own date, 752 BC.

Building what would become The Eternal City, as Romulus plows the boundary (inset).

The most familiar date given for the foundation of Rome, 753 BC, was derived by the Roman antiquarian Titus Pomponius Atticus, and adopted by Roman scholar Marcus Terentius Varro.

Varro created a timeline of Roman History by using a combination of a list of Roman Consuls, together with a little bit of historical license to allow for periods of dictatorial rule.

Therefore Varro’s timeline is known to be slightly inaccurate, but nobody has ever provided sufficiently trustworthy evidence to propose a different calendar. Therefore his system is accepted as the standard chronology.

Despite the inaccuracies of Varro’s work, the recent discoveries by Andrea Carandini on Rome’s Palatine Hill have also yielded evidence of a series of fortification walls on the North Slope that can be dated to the middle of the 8th Century BC. According to the legend, Romulus plowed a sulcus (furrow) around the hill in order to mark the boundary of his new city.

The she-wolf feeding the twins Romulus and Remus, the most famous image associated with the founding of Rome.

You may already be familiar with the myth of Romulus and Remus, the twin brothers who were suckled by a she-wolf. The story goes that, as adults, they decided to establish a new city but disagreed on the location.

After a quarrel about the walls, Remus was killed by his brother and so Romulus named the city after himself. The foundation myth became quite commonly accepted by ancient historians, although modern scholars disagree.

We appreciate you taking this journey with us to discover the Founding of Rome. We look forward to having you join us on future adventures, for we never know where we’ll be heading.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

 

References:

Carandini, Andrea. Rome: Day One. Princeton University Press, 2011. ISBN 978-0-691-13922-7.

Forsythe, Gary. A Critical History of Early Rome: From Prehistory to the First Punic War. University of California Press, 2005. ISBN 978-0-520-22651-7.

Livy. The Early History of Rome. Penguin Books Ltd, 26 May 2005. ISBN 978-0-14-196307-5.

 

Trajan’s Column: Building an Ancient, Mysterious Monument

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

Two years ago yesterday we explored the details of one of the many treasures in Rome from the Imperial Era. In it we took a closer look at Trajan’s Column: A Historical Comic Book.

Today we will take all of that and share it in stop-motion animation as we present National Geographic Magazine‘s take on Trajan’s Column!

Trajan’s Column conveniently located within Trajan’s Forum.

Roman Emperor Marcus Ulpius Traianus, more commonly known as Trajan,  had a triumphal column  built in his honor commemorating his, and ultimately Rome’s, victory in the Dacian Wars.

The structure is about 98 ft in height, or 115 ft including its large pedestal. The shaft is made from a series of 20 colossal Carrara marble drums, each weighing about 32 tons, with a diameter of over 12 ft.

The 620-foot frieze winds around the shaft 23 times. Inside the shaft, a spiral staircase of 185 steps provides access to a viewing platform at the top.

Trajan’s Column around 1896, looking very much the same as it does today.

Ancient coins indicate preliminary plans to top the column with a statue of a bird, probably an eagle. After construction, though, a statue of Trajan was put in place.

This statue of Trajan, however, disappeared in the Middle Ages. On 4 December 1587, the top was crowned by Pope Sixtus V with a bronze figure of St. Peter, which remains to this day.

We hope you enjoyed the video and look forward to having you back again. Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

Until next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Caesar in Britain II – There and Back Again (54 BC)

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

If you are new to RAE, then welcome to the show. If you’ve been around before, then you probably have realized our fascination with the one and only Gaius Julius Caesar.

When we came across a way to share more about the man who was without a doubt so impactful on the Res Publica Romana (Roman Republic), and what would become the Imperium Rōmānum (Roman Empire) after his assassination, there was no way to pass it up.

So, without further ado, we bring to you Caesar in Britain – Part 2!

Caesar’s 2nd Invasion of Britain on the beachhead

 

In case you missed Part I, feel free to take a quick look back here.

During the course of his Gallic Wars, Julius Caesar invaded Britain twice. The original invasion, in late summer of 55 BC, would be considered unsuccessful, gaining the Romans little else besides a beachhead on the coast of Kent.

The next invasion did achieve more. The Romans installed a king, Mandubracius, who was friendly to Rome, and they forced the submission of Mandubracius’s rival, Cassivellaunus.

The bottom line was that no territory was conquered and held for Rome. Instead, all Roman-occupied territory was restored to the allied Trinovantes, along with the promised tribute of the other tribes in what is now eastern England.

As we all know, however, that would not be the end of Julius Caesar. He would go on to campaign in Gallia (Gaul), which we will share with you soon.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Stećci Medieval Tombstones Graveyards

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

It’s time to take a look at another UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Last week we were in the Roman Gaul as we explored the Roman Theatre and its Surroundings and the Triumphal Arch of Orange.

Today we’re headed back to Croatia as we check out the Stećci Medieval Tombstones Graveyards!

Stećci is the name for monumental medieval tombstones that lie scattered across Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the border parts of southern Croatia, western Montenegro and western Serbia. An estimated 60,000 are found within the borders of modern Bosnia and Herzegovina and the rest of 10,000 are found in what are today Croatia (4,400), Montenegro (3,500), and Serbia (4,100), at more than 3,300 odd sites with over 90% in poor condition.

Stećci were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016. It includes a selection of 4,000 Stećci at 28 necropolises – of which 22 from Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2 from Croatia, 3 from Montenegro, and 3 from Serbia.

Appearing in the mid-12th Century, with the first phase in the 13th Century, the tombstones reached their peak in the 14th and 15th Century, before disappearing during the Ottoman occupation in the very early 16th Century.

The Stećci, mostly carved from limestone, are laid out in rows, as was the common custom in Europe from the Middle Ages. They feature a wide range of decorative motifs and inscriptions that represent iconographic continuities within medieval Europe as well as locally distinctive traditions.

They were a common tradition amongst Bosnian, Catholic and amongst BosnianCatholic and Orthodox Church followers alike, and are often related to the autochthonous Vlach population. The epitaphs on them are mostly written in extinct Bosnian Cyrillic alphabet.

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 EmpireJulius Nepos, ruled his small empire from the palace. The period ends with Avar and Croat invasions in the first 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.

We hope you enjoyed today’s journey. Hopefully you’ll join us again soon to check out another World Heritage Site, or just to see where we’ll be off to.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Revisiting Calvary: Where the Crucifixion of Jesus Took Place

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

As we get closer to the end of the season of Lent, we here at RAE are going back to the past to bring something new today. This article about will have 3 different videos to watch, and will also be supplemented with some data to read.

So kick up your feet as we journey to Calvary!

The Way to Calvary
The Way to Calvary

Most people are at least familiar with the story of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. After he was found guilty by the Jews and condemned under Governor Pontius Pilate, Jesus was made to haul the cross on which he was to be crucified on through the streets of Jerusalem to a mount just outside the city walls.

 

Calvary, also called Golgotha, was a site immediately outside Jerusalem’s walls and just north of Mount Zion according to the Gospels. Calvary as an English name for the place is derived from the Latin word for skull (calvaria or Calvariæ Locus), which is used in the Vulgate translation of “place of a skull”.

This explanation is given in all 4 Gospels of the Aramaic word Gûlgaltâ which was the name of the place where Jesus was crucified.

Calvary
Panoramic view of Calvary as seen today.

The text does not indicate why it was named Calvary or Golgotha, but there are 3 prominent theories. First is that as a place of public execution, Calvary may have been strewn with the skulls of abandoned victims.

This would be contrary to Jewish burial traditions, but not the Romans.

Second is that Calvary is named after a nearby cemetery which matches modern sites. Third is that the name was derived from the physical contour of its location meaning the mount appears to look like a skull.

https://youtu.be/PL-hSwWjSZw

(Crucifixion begins at 30:54)

The Gospels describe it as a place near enough to the city that those coming in and out could read the inscription Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. The location itself is mentioned in all 4 Gospels:

Matthew: And when they came to a place called Gol’gotha (which means the place of a skull).

Mark: And they brought him to the place called Gol’gotha (which means the place of a skull).

Luke: And when they came to the place which is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on the right and one on the left.

John: So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew Gol’gotha.

https://youtu.be/uiZLQHyWWNo

The traditional location of Golgotha derives from its identification by Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, in 325 AD. A few yards nearby, Helena also identified the location of the Tomb of Jesus and claimed to have discovered the True Cross.

Constantine then built the Church of the Holy Sepulchre around the whole site. In 333 AD, the Pilgrim of Bordeaux wrote in the Itinerarium Burdigalense, entering from the east described the result:

On the left hand is the little hill of Golgotha where the Lord was crucified. About a stone’s throw from thence is a vault [crypta] wherein his body was laid, and rose again on the third day. There, at present, by the command of the Emperor Constantine, has been built a basilica; that is to say, a church of wondrous beauty.

Jerusalem is not in Europe so this may be passed our limits. There is a connection with the Roman Empire though, and Easter is almost upon us.

We hope you will join us again here at Rome Across Europe for more fun and exploration.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!Calvary Hill

References:

Ball, Warwick. Rome in the East: The Transformation of an Empire.

Chisholm, Hugh, ed. “Calvary”. Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press, 1911.

Clermont-Ganneau, Charles. Archaeological researches in Palestine during the years 1873-1874.

Hunt, Emily Jane. Christianity in the second century: the case of Tatian. Psychology Press, 2003.

Lande, George M. Building Your Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary Learning Words by Frequency and Cognate. Resources for Biblical Study 41. Society of Biblical Literature, 2001. ISBN 1-58983-003-2.

Lehmann, Clayton Miles. “Palestine: History”. The On-line Encyclopedia of the Roman Provinces. The University of South Dakota, 22 February 2007.

Wilson, Charles W. Golgotha and The Holy Sepulchre, The Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund, 1906.

 

Roman Theatre and its Surroundings and the “Triumphal Arch” of Orange

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

It’s time to take a look at another UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Last week we were in the fatherland of Latium as we visited the Historic Centre of Florence.

Today we’re headed back Roman Gaul as we check out the Roman Theatre and its Surroundings and the Triumphal Arch of Orange!

Roman Theatre and its Surroundings and the Triumphal Arch of Orange (France).

Situated in the Rhone Valley, the ancient theatre of Orange, with its 338 foot long facade, is one of the best preserved of all the great Roman theatres.

Built between AD 10 and 25, the Roman arch is one of the most beautiful and interesting surviving examples of a provincial triumphal arch from the reign of Augustus. It is decorated with low reliefs commemorating the establishment of the Pax Romana.

Triumphal Arch of Orange (France)

 

We hope you enjoyed today’s journey. Hopefully you’ll join us again soon to check out another World Heritage Site, or just to see where we’ll be off to.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Bucellatum: Roman Army Hardtack

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

When it comes to eating in Ancient Rome, it was pretty much feast or famine. It really came down to what social class you belonged to for the types of food, and how much food, you had available.

Now if you were in the Exercitus Romanus (Roman Army) things were a tad different. You didn’t really have a choice of what to eat since you were supplied food in the form of rations.

So today, we’re bringing you a  staple of a Legionarius (Roman Legionary) ration as we share with you Bucellatum: Roman Army Hardtack!

Roman Soldiers reenacting a campaign, which included rations that could be preserved for a long time.

Bucellatum was the precursor to hardtack, which is a simple type of biscuit or cracker, made from flour, water, and sometimes salt. Inexpensive and long-lasting, it was and is used for sustenance in the absence of perishable foods, commonly during long sea voyages, land migrations, and military campaigns.

Some early physicians associated most medical problems with digestion. Hence, for sustenance and health, eating a biscuit daily was considered good for one’s constitution.

Because it is so hard and dry, hardtack (when properly stored and transported) would survive rough handling and temperature extremes for years if kept dry. To soften hard tack (and make it edible), it was often dunked in wine, brine, coffee, or some other liquid, or cooked into a skillet meal.

We hope you enjoyed today’s outing. Maybe you’ll even be inspired to attempt to make some for Bucellatum yourself.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

References:

“Bucellatum – Roman Army Hardtack”. Pass the Garum, 25 October 2014.

Caesar in Britain (55 BC)

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

If you are new to RAE, then welcome to the show. If you’ve been around before, then you probably have realized our fascination with the one and only Gaius Julius Caesar.

When we came across a way to share more about the man who was without a doubt so impactful on the Res Publica Romana (Roman Republic), and what would become the Imperium Rōmānum (Roman Empire) after his assassination, there was no way to pass it up.

So, without further ado, we bring to you Caesar in Britain!

Edward Armitage’s reconstruction of the Caesar’s 1st Invasion

 

In the course of his Gallic Wars, Julius Caesar invaded Britain twice. The original invasion, in late summer of 55 BC, would be considered unsuccessful, gaining the Romans little else besides a beachhead on the coast of Kent.

This wouldn’t be the last Britannia saw of Julius Caesar, however. He’d be back for more, and we’ll be there to bring it to you.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Historic Centre of Florence

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

It’s time to take a look at another UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Last week we were in Graecia as we visited the Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae.

Today we’re headed home to the fatherland of Latium as we check out the Historic Centre of Florence!

Piazza del Duomo

Florence was built on the site of an Etruscan settlement and the later ancient Roman Colony (Colonia) of Florentia (founded in 59 BC). This Tuscan city became a symbol of the Renaissance during the early Medici period (between the 15th and the 16th Centuries), reaching extraordinary levels of economic and cultural development.

The present historic centre covers 1,249 acres and is bounded by the remains of the city’s 14th Century walls. These walls are represented by surviving gates, towers, and the 2 Medici strongholds: that of Saint John the Baptist in the north, popularly known as “da Basso”, and the Fort of San Giorgio del Belvedere located among the hills of the south side.

The Arno River runs east and west through the city and a series of bridges connects its 2 banks including Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) and Ponte Santa Trinita (Holy Trinity Bridge).

 

Seven hundred years of cultural and artistic blooming are tangible today in the 14th Century Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Church of Santa Croce, the Palazzo Vecchio (Old Palace), the Uffizi gallery, and the Palazzo Pitti (Pitti Palace). The city’s history is further evident in the artistic works of great masters such as Giotto, Brunelleschi, Botticelli and Michelangelo.

The Historic Centre of Florence can be perceived as a unique social and urban achievement, the result of persistent and long-lasting creativity, which includes museums, churches, buildings and artworks of immeasurable worth. Florence had an overwhelming influence on the development of architecture and the fine arts, beginning in Italy, and then in Europe.

It is within the context of Florence that the concept of the Renaissance came to be. This heritage bestows upon Florence unique historical and aesthetic qualities.

Thanks for stopping by. We hope you enjoyed today’s journey and look forward to having you back again soon.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!