Rome

Basilios Bessarion and the Great Revival of Letters

Basilios Bessarion and the Great Revival of Letters

On January 2, 1403, Roman Catholic Cardinal Bishop Basilius Bessarion was born. The titular Latin Patriarch of Constantinople, Bessarion was one of the illustrious Greek scholars who contributed to the great revival of letters in the 15th century. One of the most learned scholars of his time, Bessarion spread knowledge of Greek language and learning by building a personal library that included a large collection of Greek manuscripts, by his patronage of…
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Antonio Bosio and the Rediscovery of the Roman Catacombs

Antonio Bosio and the Rediscovery of the Roman Catacombs

On May 31, 1578, the Catacombs of Rome were discovered by accident. A sepulchral chamber was opened by some laborers digging for pozzolana earth. Ecclesiastical historian Caesar Baronius was one of the first to visit the new discovery. Fifteen years later, in December 1593, 18-year-old Antonio Bosio began a lifetime exploring the catacombs researching them for his volume, Roma Sotterranea. Antonio Bosio – Background Information Antonio Bosio was born in Malta about the…
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Me Miserum! – The sad beautiful Poetry of Ovid

Me Miserum! – The sad beautiful Poetry of Ovid

On March 20, 43 BCE, Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso, better know as Ovid, was born. Ovid lived during the reign of Augustus. He composed both epic and elegiac poetry, some of which contributed to his exile from Rome in 8 CE. Back in high school, I remember that we had to translate from some of Ovid’s stories of his Metamorphosis from Latin. However, later we also turned to his rich and…
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Constantine and the Battle at the Milvian Bridge

Constantine and the Battle at the Milvian Bridge

On October 28, 312 AD, the Battle of the Milvian Bridge between the Roman Emperors Constantine I and Maxentius took place. Constantine won the battle and started on the path that led him to end the Tetrarchy and become the sole ruler of the Roman Empire. According to historians, the battle marked the beginning of Constantine’s conversion to Christianity and thus fostered the rise of Christianity. Not only Just Another One of those Roman…
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Pliny the Elder and the Destruction of Pompeii

Pliny the Elder and the Destruction of Pompeii

On August 25, 79 AD, Roman author, naturalist and natural philosopher Pliny the Elder died, while attempting the rescue by ship of a friend and his family from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that had just destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Unfortunately, there don’t exist contemporary pictures or portaits of Pliny the Elder. Thus, I decided to show you an also imaginary picture of the destruction of Pompeii instead. “Fortes…
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Marius and the Battle of the Raudine Plain

Marius and the Battle of the Raudine Plain

On July 30, 101 BC, the Battle of the Raudine Plain took place, which resulted in the Roman victory of Consul Gaius Marius over the invading Germanic tribe of the Cimbri near the settlement of Vercellae in Cisalpine Gaul. The entire tribe of the Cimbri was virtually wiped out and the plans of the Germanic tribes of an invasion of Rome was put to an end. “[Now a danger occurred] that threatened Italy from…
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Donato Bramante and the Invention of the High Renaissance Style

Donato Bramante and the Invention of the High Renaissance Style

On April 11, 1514, Italian architect Donato Bramante passed away. He introduced Renaissance architecture to Milan and the High Renaissance style to Rome, where his plan for St. Peter’s Basilica [3] formed the basis of design executed by Michelangelo.[1] His Tempietto (San Pietro in Montorio) marked the beginning of the High Renaissance in Rome (1502) when Pope Julius II appointed him to build a sanctuary over the spot where Peter was allegedly…
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Marcus Tullius Cicero – Truly a Homo Novus

Marcus Tullius Cicero – Truly a Homo Novus

On January 3, 106 BC, Roman philosopher, politician, lawyer, orator, political theorist, consul and constitutionalist Marcus Tullius Cicero was born. Besides his work as politician, he is widely considered one of Rome’s greatest orators and prose stylists. His influence on the Latin language was so immense that the subsequent history of prose in not only Latin but European languages up to the 19th century was said to be either a reaction against or…
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Roman History by Theodor Mommsen

Roman History by Theodor Mommsen

On November 30, 1817, German classical scholar, historian, jurist, journalist, politician and archaeologist Theodor Mommsen was born. Mommsen was one of the greatest classicists of the 19th century. His work regarding Roman history is still of fundamental importance for contemporary research. Mommsen received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1902 for being “the greatest living master of the art of historical writing, with special reference to his monumental work, A History of…
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The Codex Justinianus and the Origins of Modern Jurisdiction

The Codex Justinianus and the Origins of Modern Jurisdiction

On November 16, 534 AD, the second and final revision of the Corpus Juris Civilis, also referred to as the Codex Justinianus, a collection of fundamental works in jurisprudence, issued from 529 to 534 by order of Justinian I, Eastern Roman Emperor, is published. The four parts of the Codex Justinianus constitute the foundation documents of the Western legal tradition. Actually, the history and development of Roman law as the legal system…
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