Rome

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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The Galileo Affair

The Galileo Affair

On February 13, 1633, Galileo Galilei arrived in Rome and was brought before the inquisitor Vincenzo Maculani to be charged for his defence of the Copernican theory in his writings. In the course of the trial, Galilei was found guilty and sentenced to house arrest for the rest of his life. All in all, Galileo is a frequent guest in our blog. Besides his life, we have already reported about his astronomical…
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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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Charlemagne and the Birth of the European Idea

Charlemagne and the Birth of the European Idea

On December 25, 800 AD, Charlemagne also known as Karl the Great was crowned Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire by Pope Leo III in Rome. Thereby, he was the very first emperor of western Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. Prelude Back in the 6th century, the West Germanic Franks had been christianized and Francia, ruled by the Merovingian dynasty, was the most powerful of the kingdoms that succeeded the…
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Gian Lorenzo Bernini – Master Architect and Sculptor of the Italian Baroque

Gian Lorenzo Bernini – Master Architect and Sculptor of the Italian Baroque

On December 7, 1598, Italian architect and sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini was born. He is considered to be the leading sculptor of the baroque age. In addition he designed buildings, painted, wrote plays, and designed metalwork and stage sets. Whenever you are be in Rome, for sure you will find yourself somewhere in the neighborhood of Bernini’s artwork. Family Background and Early Years Actually, not much was publicly known about the life of Gian…
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Veni, Vidi, Vici – according to Julius Caesar

Veni, Vidi, Vici – according to Julius Caesar

On August 2, 47 BC the Roman dictator Gaius Iulius Caesar won the battle of Zela against Pharnaces II. king of Pontus. As the Roman victory was won rather quickly, Caesar wanted to emphasize that very fact by the brevity and conciseness of his report sent to the senate and people of Rome. He only wrote three little words: “Veni, Vidi, Vici.“ I came, I saw, and I won. That’s all. Nobody ever…
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Edward Gibbon and the Science of History

Edward Gibbon and the Science of History

On April 27, 1737, English historian and Member of Parliament Edward Gibbon was born. His most famous work, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was published in six volumes between 1776 and 1788 and is known for the quality and irony of its prose as well as for its scientific historic accuracy, which made it a model for later historians. History is little more than the register…
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St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome

St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome

On April 18, 1506, the foundation stone of the new St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome took place under the guidance of Pope Julius II. A succession of popes and architects followed in the next 120 years, their combined efforts resulting in the present building. Today, St. Peter’s is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and remains one of the largest churches in the world. The Origins of St Peter It is…
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Michelangelo Buonarotti – the Renaissance Artist

Michelangelo Buonarotti – the Renaissance Artist

On March 6, 1475, Italian sculptor, painter, architect, and poet of the High Renaissance Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was born. Michelangelo exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art. He is considered to be the greatest living artist during his lifetime, he has since been described as one of the greatest artists of all time. Despite making few forays beyond the arts, his versatility in the disciplines he took…
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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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