antiquity

Augustus and the Foundation of the Roman Empire

Augustus and the Foundation of the Roman Empire

On September 23, 63 BC, Gaius Octavius aka Imperator Caesar Divi F. Augustus, founder of the Roman Empire and first Emperor was born. The Roman Empire as a follow up of the former Roman Republic existed for almost four centuries, before it was divided up into Western and Eastern Roman Empire. While the western port deceased to exist in the 5th century AD, the eastern part continued to prosper for almost a millenium…
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The Fate of Western Civilization at Stake on the Catalaunian Plains

The Fate of Western Civilization at Stake on the Catalaunian Plains

On September 20, 451 AD, (or June 20, 451 according to other sources) the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains also referred to as the Battle of Chalons took place. A coalition led by the Roman general Flavius Aëtius and the Visigothic king Theodoric I against the Huns and their allies commanded by their leader Attila faced each other in a decisive battle that should decide the fate of Europe and the whole Western…
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Johann Ludwig Burckhardt and the discovery of Petra

Johann Ludwig Burckhardt and the discovery of Petra

On August 22, 1812, Swiss traveler and orientalist Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, in the disguise of an arab traveler discovered the ruins of the ancient city of Petra, one of the most compelling archaeological sites in existence, in today’s Jordan. Petra – Location and Meaning Petra is located east of the Arabah, half way between the Gulf of Aqaba and the Dead Sea at an altitude between 800 and 1350 m in a wide…
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Cleopatra – The Myth about Egypt’s Last Pharaoh

Cleopatra – The Myth about Egypt’s Last Pharaoh

On August 12, 30BC, ancient Egyptian pharao Cleopatra VII Philopator, known to history simply as Cleopatra, passed away under myserious circumstances. After Julius Caesar‘s [5] assassination in 44 BC, she aligned with Mark Antony in opposition to Caesar’s legal heir, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (later known as Augustus).[6] To this day, Cleopatra remains a popular figure in Western culture. Her legacy survives in numerous works of art and the many dramatizations of…
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Rome is Burning – Nero and the Great Fire of Rome

Rome is Burning – Nero and the Great Fire of Rome

On July 19, 64 AD, the Great Fire of Rome (Latin: Magnum Incendium Romae) occurred and continued burning until July 26 during the reign of emperor Nero. According to the Roman historian Tacitus three of the 14 city districts were completely burned down, in seven districts only debris and rubble was left from the former buildings, and only 4 districts were not affected. Almost 70 percent of the entire city was destroyed.…
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George Smith and the Epic of Gilgamesh

George Smith and the Epic of Gilgamesh

On March 26, 1840, English Assyriologist George Smith was born. Besides his pioneering work in Assyriology, he first discovered and translated the Epic of Gilgamesh, the oldest-known written work of literature. Moreover, its description of a flood, strikingly similar to the account in Genesis, had a stunning effect on Smith’s generation. “Gilgamesh was called a god and a man; Enkidu was an animal and a man. It is the story of their…
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Marcus Aurelius – the Philosopher on the Emperor’s Throne

Marcus Aurelius – the Philosopher on the Emperor’s Throne

On March 17, 180 AD, Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius passed away. He is often referred to as the philosopher on the emperor‘s throne and considered on of the most important Stoic philosophers. “Constantly regard the universe as one living being, having one substance and one soul; and observe how all things have reference to one perception, the perception of this one living being.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditationes (161-180) Taking Up the Dress…
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Aspasia of Miletus – Greek Philosopher

Aspasia of Miletus – Greek Philosopher

Aspasia was a female Greek philosopher of the 5th century BC. Little is known about her life, but she appears in the writings of Plato, Aristophanes, of Miletus Xenophon and other greek philosophers. It is said that Aspasia‘s teaching should have influenced Socrates, the most important of all Greek philosophers. A Well Known Person in the Streets of Athens Aspasia was born in the Greek city of Miletus (in today’s province Aydın, Turkey)…
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Giovanni Battista Belzoni and the Egyptian Adventure

Giovanni Battista Belzoni and the Egyptian Adventure

On March 2, 1818, Prolific Italian explorer Giovanni Battista Belzoni – also known as ‘The Great Belzoni‘ – discovered the burial chamber of Pharaoh Khafra in the 2nd of the large pyramid‘s of Giza. But, like in all the other burial chambers in the great pyramids, the sarcophagus was empty. Early Years Belzoni was born in Padua, Italy, as the son of a barber. At the age of 16, he moved to…
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The Rediscovery of Laocoön and His Sons

The Rediscovery of Laocoön and His Sons

On January 14, 1506, Felice de Fredis rediscovered the statue of Laocoön and his Sons in his vineyards close to the ruins of Emperor Nero‘s Golden House palace on the Esquiline Hill in Rome. The discovery of the Laocoön made a great impression on Italian artists and continued to influence Italian art into the Baroque period. The Myth of Laocoön and the Greek Sculpture Laocoön was a Trojan priest of Poseidon. The story of…
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