Monday, January 1, 2001

"Ancient Rome"

Being a catalogue of artifacts, descriptions, and speculations describing continental Europe before the "Heinsohn Horizon" (1000 to 1100 years BM).

If there were a book that codified history for the Roman Empire, it would be the "Annales ecclesiastici a Christo nato ad annum 1198 (Ecclesiastical annals from Christ's nativity to 1198)", by Caesar Baronius. It is interesting to note that [] [begin excerpt]: The first volume dealt with Gentile prophets, among whom were Hermes Trismegistus, the supposed author of the Corpus Hermeticum, and the Sibylline Oracles of Rome. Some, it was claimed, had foreseen Christ's birth. This was disputed by post-Protestant Reformation scholars, including Isaac Casaubon in his De rebus sacris et ecclesiasticis exercitationes, XVI. [end excerpt]

* "The Making of Medieval Forgeries: False Documents in Fifteenth-century England" book
(by Alfred Hiatt) [] [pages 162 to 163]:
Valla, in the preface to the first book of his Elegantiae, wrote that "Qui ... libertate spoliari sc existimabant, net fortassc iniuria" (those who ... thought that they had been stripped of their liberty—and perhaps not unjustly), "Amisimus Romam. amisimus regnum, amisimus dominatum" (We lost Rome, we lost the kingdom and dominion), "'per hunt splendidorem dominatum in magna adhuc orbis pane regna-mus Ibi nanquc Romanum imperium est. ubicunque Romana lingua dominatur" (in this more splendid [i.e. linguistic] dominion we reign to this day in a great part of the world ... [f]or Roman imperium is wherever the Roman language rules)."

* "Mapping Ancient Ruins" (2013-12-24, [] [begin excerpt]:
More than a hint of Alberti’s Renaissance resuscitation and incarnation of the ancient city in erudite terms was present in the view that Michel de Montaigne in later took in 1581 pf “studying Rome,” whose plant was at that point still two-thirds uninhabited, by climbing the Janiculum to “contemplate the configuration of all the parts of Rome, which may not be seen so clearly from any other place,” lamented “that one saw nothing of Rome but the sky under which it had stood and the plan of its site” with knowledge of the city only “as an abstract and contemplative knowledge of which there was nothing perceptible to the senses” since the world, “hostile to its long domination, . . . [had] broken and shattered all the parts of this wonderful body and, since even quite dead overthrown and disfigured, the world was still terrified by it, had buried its very ruins”–and lamented the lesser nature of “the buildings of this bastard Rome which they were now attaching to these ancient ruins.”  These sort of maps preserved a city from its own decay, and created a powerful structure and physical design for mediating the past, as much as mark the situation of the city as a nexus of itineraries–such as the “Peutinger” chart (named for the Renaissance humanist who discovered it) depicted the city at the node of ancient Roman roads. [end excerpt]

* "Mapping the Presence of Rome’s Pasts" (2016-04-20, []


More about "Ancient Rome" and contemporary nations [], []
Rome was founded on April 21, 753 BC by Romulus on the Palatino hill. Gunnar Heinsohn points out that coins found in strata attributed to the 950s AD (1050 years BM) carry the longcount attributed to about 360 AD, by which point one can count the years between 750 BC to 350 AD at around 800 years, so that Rome may have been founded at around 2000 years BM.
Another "European" city continuously inhabited for 2000 years includes in the Dagestan region, see more at "Ancient Russian City of Derbent Celebrates 2,000th Birthday" (2015-09-21, []


* "Ancient underground city in İzmit excites archaeology world; A new excavation process will start in April in northwestern Turkey, where officials believe a huge ancient palace lies underground" (2016-03-04, [] [begin excerpt]: Gülşah, who is also the head of the Nicomedia Academy Association, said İzmit was named Nicomedia in the ancient era and was the capital of Rome from 284 to 330. The palace there was built by Diocletian. [end excerpt]

* "Mithras, Jesus and Josephus Flavius" (by Flavio Barbiero) [], also by the same author "A precise chronology of Exodus" []

Map info at [], adapted from "Sulle magnificenze di Roma Antica e Moderna", Book 1 - "Le Porte e le Mura di Roma (The Gates and the Walls of Rome)" by Giuseppe Vasi []. The map link writes, "The walls around the Vatican were initially built in the IXth century and they were almost entirely rebuilt in the second half of the XVIth century by Pope Paul III and by Pope Pius IV; they included Castel Sant'Angelo. In the first half of the XVIIth century Pope Urban VIII built walls on Monte Gianicolo and redesigned the walls of Aurelian in Trastevere."

Map showing a reconstruction of Ancient Rome by Pirro Ligorio (1561) []:
Extracts: [], [], [], [], Tiber Island []
More about the author []

* Folio 18 from Bibliotheque Nationale, MS It. 81, Allegorical map of the City of Rome, showing a personification of Rome as a widow during the Avignon Papacy []. Scanned from Four Gothic Kings, ed. Elizabeth Hallam. [].

Rome is prone to flooding.
* Photo caption ( []: (above) S. Lorenzo in Miranda: XVIIIth century mass pricelist (on the right the coat of arms of Pope Martin V); (below) S. Maria sopra Minerva tablet recording the 1422 flood of the Tiber (in the year 1422 on the day of St. Andrew the water of the Tiber reached the top of this tablet: placed by Pope Martin V in the VIth year of his pontificate)


The "Tabula Peutingeriana" [] is a road map of the Roman Empire made by a monk in Colmar c.1250 AD (750 BM). Facsimile edition prepared 1887 [], full map [], with a restored (though speculative) addition showing the northwestern realm and isles.

* "Explore Peutinger's Roman Map" ( [] [begin excerpt]:
The so-called "Peutinger Map" is the only Roman world map known to have survived antiquity. Preserved in a single, medieval copy now housed in the Austrian National Library in Vienna, the map stretches from Britain in the west to India in the east, covering a series of 11 parchment rectangles totaling over 6.7 meters (22 feet) in length. [end excerpt]
Introduction to the Exhibition [].

* "Complete Tabula Peutingeriana -a Roman Road Map compared with a modern map" ( [] [begin excerpt]:
A Very Ancient Document -
Drawn in 1265 by a monk from Colmar and made up of 11 parchments scrolls measuring approximately 34 cm high by 6,74 m. long when assembled, this document was discovered in 1494 by Konrad Meissel, alias Celtes, and given in 1507 to an Antiquarian of Augsburg, Konrad Peutinger.
This document appears to be a planisphere describing the world as it was known in Antiquity. Indeed several disappeared localities, like Pompeii or Herculanum, are indicated and other places, such as Hatra in Iraq or Tegea in Greece, bear their Roman names which were lost during the Middle Ages. In addition, several notes refer to ancient ideas, such as a wide river "flowing" under the Sahara, or Alexander's conquests. Moreover, the localities are connected by roads with distances marked in Roman numerals indicating the miles (1480 m.) or, west of Lyon, the Gallic leagues (2220 m.)
Large cities are represented by thumbnails of variable size and a special importance is given to the thermal cities. The metropolises of this map are Rome [], Constantinople [] and Antiochia []. Immediately below the metropolises in size are Nicomedia (Izmit) [], Nicaea (Iznik), Aquileia [] and Ravenna []. Ancyra (Ankara) [] seems to be a town of the same size as Ravenna but its name was not written. The same applies to Alexandria [].
Moreover, the map seems to indicate some maritime or river ways without clearly marking their departure or arrival destinations. For instance a ferry could exist in the Southern Peloponnese, with a destination of either Crete or Cyrenaica, and Ostia, the harbour of Rome, is positioned exactly opposite Carthage []. There is also a reference to a riverway between Ostiglia and the Adriatic Sea or Ravenna. A route by ferry
This leads one to the conclusion that the Peutingerian Table, is the result of successive copies and overprints carried out at various times from one or several ancient originals. The oldest information probably goes back to before 79 AD since Pompeii is indicated. Other temporal indications can be drawn from Jerusalem which is named Aelia Capitolina, name given in 132 AD and from Constantinople, the name commonly used since the 5th century for Byzantium. [end excerpt]


* "World's oldest computer is more ancient than first thought: Antikythera Mechanism was created in 205 BC, study claims" (2014-11-28, []


* "The Cutthroat Politics of Public Health in Ancient Rome" (2016-04-22, []


* "Sculpture of ancient Rome: The shock of the old" (2013-05-02, [] [begin excerpt]:
It must have been bliss to be an archaeologist during the 18th Century, when the Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum were rediscovered. Take the Villa of the Papyri outside Herculaneum: 85 sculptures were uncovered at this site alone between 1750 and 1761.
But it could be awkward too. Imagine how the excavators must have felt when they unearthed the most infamous of these sculptures in the presence of the king of Naples and Sicily on a spring day in 1752. Carved from a single block of Italian marble, it showed the wild god Pan making love to a goat. With his right hand, Pan grabs the nanny goat’s tufted beard, yanking forward her head so that he can stare deep into her eyes. The king was not amused.
Unlike most of the 18th-Century finds from Herculaneum and Pompeii, the sculpture was hidden away, available to view only with the monarch’s permission. Yet, from the moment of its discovery, the statue generated curiosity as well as horror. It quickly became a fashionable sight for Englishmen gallivanting around Europe on the Grand Tour. The 18th-Century English sculptor Joseph Nollekens produced a terracotta replica from memory – though his bug-eyed animal is far more surprised by Pan’s attentions than the Roman goat, which seems almost complicit.
Without realising, Nollekens had stressed the scene’s undertones of bestiality and rape – even though the original may have appeared much less violent to the Romans. Different cultures view the same things in different ways. Art that we consider shockingly erotic or violent was commonplace in the Roman world. [...]
Today it is tempting to view the sculpture as a piece of vile erotica – but I’m not so sure. The Villa of the Papyri also contained a library full of hundreds of scrolls, suggesting that the man who owned the sculpture was sophisticated and well-read. [...]
These sculptures aren’t lewd, but they are extraordinarily violent. While we can appreciate the way in which the sculptor arranged a chaotic subject into coherent forms, they still seem like strange choices for garden ornaments, by our standards. So does a nearby marble statuette of a pot-bellied Hercules, clearly the worse for wear following a drunken banquet, about to take a pee. [...]
It is a similar story with the famous Laocoon, that tangle of thrusting limbs, lightning-quick sea serpents and agonised expressions that has haunted the Western imagination ever since it was discovered in Rome and deposited in the Belvedere courtyard of the Vatican by Pope Julius II in 1506. This moving marble sculpture of the Trojan priest Laocoon and his two sons struggling to escape from the coils of their fate, forever frozen in the throes of anguish, has inspired countless artists and writers, from Michelangelo to Dickens.
It puzzles me that the Romans, who valued integrity and gravitas, were so obsessed with gore. After all, their gladiatorial games and spectacles in the arena involving wild beasts and condemned criminals were nothing but a form of ritualised human sacrifice. Ancient Rome was a curious mixture of civilisation and barbarism.
As the sculpture of Pan and the goat attests, sex pervaded Roman culture as much as violence. A year and a half ago, I visited Pompeii, while filming a BBC documentary series called Treasures of Ancient Rome. While it wasn’t surprising that one of the town’s brothels was painted with sexually explicit frescoes, I did find it bizarre that so many buildings were decorated with plaques depicting erect phalluses.
It used to be thought that these pointed the way to one of Pompeii’s many brothels: according to some estimates there were as many as 35 in a town with a population of around 12,000 people. But most scholars now believe that the phallus functioned as a kind of amulet, warding off evil forces.
This would explain its ubiquity in contexts that we might find surprising: in the exhibition at the British Museum, for instance, there is a curious object known as a ‘tintinnabulum’, or wind chime, consisting of a winged phallus (with lion feet, as well as its own phallus and phallus tail), from which five bells have been suspended. Although it was discovered in Pompeii, a similar object would not have looked out of place in the Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum, tinkling from the boughs as visitors looked at the sculpture of Pan having sex with a goat. [end excerpt]
Photo captions:
- Phallic cymbal []: The tintinnabulum or wind chime is a phallus with wings, lion’s feet and hanging bells. (Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei)
- Urine trouble now... []: This AD 1-79 marble statuette depicts an undignified Hercules relieving himself while under the influence of Bacchus, the wild god of wine.


* "The Exotic Animal Traffickers of Ancient Rome; Thousands of bears, panthers, leopards, lions, and elephants were killed in the Colosseum—but how did they get there in the first place?" (2016-03-30, []


* "Ancient artistry uncovered: Exquisite 1,700-yo Roman mosaic unveiled in Israel" (2015-11-17, []


Roman Britannia (Great Britain)
* "Fake map of Roman Britain" ( [] [], full image []:

* It's amazing that the art in the following photo resembles early Christian Slavic art. Photo caption ( []: A mosaic floor. It's at Lullingstone Roman villa in Kent.

* Photo caption ( []: Remains of the theatre at St Albans (called Verulamium by the Romans). It was Roman Britain’s only theatre with a stage. 2,000 people could sit inside.

* "Flooding find: First UK Roman road discovered in 150 yrs" (2016-01-03, []

* Ancient Conduit in Westcheap, built during the rule of Rome, image from "James Brindley and the Early Engineers" []

* "Rental of the lands of Worcester Cathedral Priory" []: The British Library possesses the largest collection of medieval cartularies in Britain. The newest addition to our holdings is a rental that was made for Worcester Cathedral Priory. Dating to 1240 (with some later additions), it contains records of the possessions of this major monastic foundation and the revenues to which it was entitled. It formed the exemplar for the ‘Registrum Prioratus’, dating to the early 14th century, which remains at Worcester Cathedral, as Muniments, A.2.

* "Camulodunum (camvlodvnvm)" (retrieved 2016-04-04, [], photo caption: Roman Mosaic found at the Middleborough House, Colchester

Pre-Roman Britannia (?)
* "Ancient Britons mummified their dead like Egyptians" (2015-10-01, []. Despite the sensationalist headline, the process of mummification does not resemble the process used by the KMT (Egyptian) embalmers. Where in stratigraphy do the skeletons belong to? What is the stratigraphy of ancient swamplands? As there are no Roman-style artifacts reported discovered alongside peat-bog mummies, these burials could be from before the advent of the Realm of Roma, and reflect the culture of Pan-Celtica across Europe and Central Asia.

* "Britain's Pompeii: Bronze Age stilt houses found in English quarry" (2016-01-12, UPI Newswire) []

* "A brief history of the ancient Pict Kingdoms of Scotland" (2016-03-30, []
A Pictish warrior holding a human head; nude, body stained and painted with birds, animals and serpents carrying shield and man's head, with large curved sword.
Drawn by John White, 1585-1593,
The following text is taken from K. Sloan, 'A New World: England's First View of America' (London, BM Publications, 2006), pp. 153-55:
Immediately after his engraving of ‘The Marckes of sundrye of the Cheif mene of Virginia’ ('America, pt. I, pl. XXIII), Theodor de Bry published an appendix to his illustrated edition of Harriot’s 'Briefe and true report'. He gave two explanations for the inclusion of these images which he stated he had received from John White, ‘fownd as hy did assured my in a oolld English cronicle, the which I wold well sett to the ende of thees first Figures, for to showe how that the Inhabitants of the great Bretannie haue bin in times past as sauuage as those of Virginia’. In the first ‘trvve picture of one Picte’ (Pl. I) he noted ‘In tymes past the Pictes, habitans of one part of great Bretainne, which is nowe nammed England, wear sauuages, and did paint all their bodye after the maner followinge . . . And when they hath ouercomme some of their ennemis, they did neuer felle to carye a we their heads with them.’ Their women ‘wear noe worser for the warres than the men’.As Joyce Chaplin has commented in Chapter 4, White’s fantastically painted warriors and Harriot’s captions written for them seemed to be indicating that the English should have no fear of the North Carolina Algonquians, since they were much more civilized than the earlier inhabitants of Britain itself. The Indians were partially clothed, not naked, and decoratively tattooed and painted their bodies with patterns resembling gilding on armour or with identifying marks of their ‘Princes’ (similar to a badge, emblem or coat of arms), rather than painting themselves all over as ancient Picts had done. The contemporary English historian John Speed argued that the name Pict meant ‘painted or stained’ and believed that they went naked so as not to cover up their ‘painting and damasking’ which made them look more terrible in war. The Picts took heads as trophies, and they and their neighbours, men and women, bristled with weapons. The phrases ‘Brytish Empire’ and ‘Greate Briteigne’ were beginning to be used with more regularity during this period, with Elizabeth claiming sovereignty over England, France, Ireland and Virginia. There has been a great deal of debate concerning how much the Picts and their neighbours represented by White, Harriot and de Bry were intended to refer to the Scots or to the ‘wild and savage’ Catholic Irish whom the English were currently attempting to evict and subdue in order to plant English settlers on Irish land that Queen Elizabeth claimed to rule. The English had been no less savage themselves in these attempts, with Humphry Gilbert lining the path to his tent with Irish heads and books published with illustrations celebrating similar grisly victories. Andrew Hadfield (p. 175) has noted: ‘It was a commonplace that Ireland was at the same stage of development as England had been when conquered by the Romans, the invaders in each case providing much needed law, order, and civilization.’ If the Picts represented the Scots or drew parallels with the Irish, then history was reassuring, as the English would provide the same civilizing process for the Indians as the Romans had done for them and they would have a much easier time of it, as White’s images of the Indians indicated they were already a civic society with their own organized government, agricultural society and religion.
John White was not the first to depict ancient Picts or Inuit in watercolour in England; Lucas de Heere made drawings of Stonehenge and of ancient Britons when he visited London in 1575 and drew the Inuit brought there by Frobisher the following year. De Heere was part of a circle of Dutch and Flemish Protestant refugees in London in the 1560s and 1570s with a larger circle of correspondents on the continent, which included Ortelius, the publisher Christopher Plantin, the botanist Clusius and many artists – Ketel, Gheeraerts, de Critz, Hoefnagel and Hogenberg. They were all well known to John Dee, Philip Sidney and other members of their circle, including William Camden. Ortelius, in London in 1577 to learn about Frobisher’s voyages, persuaded Camden to write his history of Britain. It was undoubtedly in this milieu in the mid-1570s and on the receipt of a commission to paint a gallery of costumes of different nations that de Heere was inspired to create the two albums of watercolours of people of ancient and modern Britain that are now in the British Library (with a Dutch description) (see fig. 95) and the University Library of Ghent (in French). Both included drawings drawn from life, from prints and possibly from early manuscripts, and both included images of Irish and of ancient Picts, described as ‘les premiers Anglois comme ils alloyent en guerre du tems du Julius Cesar’. The title of the Dutch manuscript in the British Library translates as a ‘Short Description of England, Scotland and Ireland’ and is followed by a ‘Short Description of the English Histories Compiled from the Best of Authors’. The latter may have provided the source for White’s images of the Picts. De Heere’s and White’s Picts are not identical but are similar enough to make one wonder whether they knew each other or at least shared a common source – White’s ‘oolld English cronicle’ (see above), which was probably a fairly explicit description or manuscript illustration in a classical source. Stuart Piggott has argued that the captions for this group of engravings in de Bry’s publication (which may have been written by de Bry, Harriot or White) seem to cite descriptions from two Greek authorities, Herodian (fl. AD 235) and Dio Cassius (AD 160–230), on the Severan campaigns against the Caledonii and Maetae of North Britain in AD 208–9. These texts were available to scholars: John Stow published a Summarie of Englyshe Chronicles in 1565 and William Camden printed them in full in his Britannia of 1586. Herodian mentions the iron torcs, the sword chain is mentioned by Diodorus Siculus, and the narrow oval shield, twisted torcs, nakedness, head-hunting and body painting are all described. Herodian wrote: ‘They paint their bodies with sundry colours, with all kinds of animals represented in them.’
It is also worth noting that the paintings and tattoos on this Pict in particular resemble some of the more elaborate sculpted and gilded decorations on court armour of the period, which employed similar fantastic beasts on shoulders, helmets and breastplates. Engraved by de Bry, 'America', I, Pictes, pl. I:‘The truue picture of one Picte’


Roman Illyria
* Information collected from posts by Mikolaj at [] [begin excerpt]: After Croats under Vojnomir smashed Avars they become „vassal“ of Franks. Vojnomir was Charlemagne ally. Also in Dalmatia we have many early Croatian archaeological site. In one site (Crkvina as I remembered?) we found elite Frankish swords which Croats used. Latin wasnt mainly spoken language in Dalmatia, generally speaking.
There lived Romanized Illyrians as majority. Dalmatia (with Islands), Pannonia were Croatorum in 7th century and are Croatorum in 21th century.  Bosnia also belong to Croatia once. Same as coast to the half Albania. When Croats smashed Avars they become rulers in area. They were warlike Slavs. Unusual but explaindable (Gothic and Irannic influences and their path). Croats smashed Franks more than once, Venetians more than once(google King Branimir and battle of Makarska, battle in which Venetian Doge was killed), Genoese, Arabs more than once, Magyars more than once, Greeks (under Trpimir who was my favourite Croatian king but sadly Croats dont have hi monument-he also smashed Venetians), Mongols. Croats smashed Bulgars in their prime time. When Bulgaria conquered Rašica, Serbs fled to Croatian king Tomislav. Later Croatian King Tomislav smashed Bulgars somewhere in Bosnia. Croats smashed Ottomans as nobody bussiness.
They came in 600 AD century, have had duchies, Kingdom in 10th century. Later they have union with Hungarians. Et cetera. Croats dont have much of Byzantine influence because of Rome. Franks were dying. Byzant was in war with Arabs. Before with Persians, Avars, Slavs  et cetera. Space was open to new force in Mitteleuropa as Germanic people called Croatia.
I saw some Gothic jewlery from Zadar. But, sadly, in Croatia we have small numbers of archaeologcial sites where Goths elite lived. We have in Nikshich, Narona, Skradin and Knin. Those places where Goths elite soldiers were. From there they controled Dalmatia. Goths came in Dalmatia in late 5th century. Croats, according to DAI came in 7th century. Time gap is 150 years. To be excat when we look archaeological data 135 years. In those 135 years, between Goths and Croats, came Avars, cca. 100 years afther Goths. But Avars were not Goths and Croats. They didnt settled. They raided. In and out. Goths stayed in Dalmatia for 60 years and Avars raided Dalmatia for 30-40 years. Only one place in Croatia where Avars settle is in Pannonia. One site. Sadly we cant know did Goths stayed in Dalmatia. Possibly some did. But we have zero evidence for that claim.  Except mine (joke): that Croatian women are more beutifull than average  European women because Goths when coming from Ukraine to Croatia gather all pretty womens. Those genes are now in Croatian women. Goths didnt touch Dalmatia. They repected internal system. In Zadar we didnt find any Goth weapons. But in Nikshich (border to east), Narona (control of naval way), Skardin (naval way which isnt protected with Islands), Knin (crossroads and link of Dalmatia with interior) et cetera, we found weapons. So, sadly Goths didnt stayed.
On another hand, Liburni, Dalmatae, Histri (and others Illyrians) did stayed. They introduced some culture to newcommers-Croats. In old Croatian center Nin,  we have graves of Liburnians and Croats, burried together. Not burn as we found on another side of Drina. Drina was border for about 3500 years between east and west. That was border of Illyricum. Illyrians were west, Thrachians were east. Goths were west, Gepids were east. Generally speaking. Croats bastion of Chatolicism. On another side of Drina we have Orthodoxy.
If you mean on Thomas of Split who called Croats Goths we need to look who say that and for what reason. Thomas was „Latin“ scholar from Dalmatia. So anyone who didnt know Latin was not good enough for him. Slavs in that time have liturgy in Slavic language. Croats came from north. Avars, Huns came from north. But they raid. Goths came but didnt ruined Dalmatia. Same as Croats. We can also discuss was there and Arianism in early Croats. Thomas saw it as heresy. Same as Bogumilism. So he mock them. He called Croats Goths because ot their heresy. Also Croats came from Azov sea, Ukraine, Poland, Bavaria, Czeh, Slovenia. So perhaps Thomas knew that Goths came from Ukraine. Also Croats as Goths ruled Dalmatia because Byzanitine ruler Herclius invited them in 600s AD.
In the end, lets not insult history. Croats were first known Slavic tribe. Croatian chakavian dialect is oldest known Slavic dialect. No offence to women and Italians here but you know how they say in Croatia: „Italian on ship is like women on ship-bad luck!“ Its myth  that Slavs cant sail. Croats sailed to Marocco, England, India et cetera. DAI (Chapter 31) say that WhiteCroatia  is also called „Great“ and is still heathen- it is often attacked by Pech-enegs, Turks and Franks and is able to gather resources inferior to thoseof Dalmatian Croatia, which could muster 60 000 mounted soldiers,100 000 foot soldiers and 180 ships. White Croatia, mean-while, has no ships because it lies thirty days journey from the sea which is called „dark“. Early Croats were rulers of „Sinye more“-old Croatian name for Adriatic sea. [end excerpt]


* "Magic spells found next to 2,000-yr-old Serbian skeletons in ancient Roman city" (2016-08-10, [] [begin excerpt]: The discovery was made in Kostolac in eastern Serbia at the foot of a coal-fired power station where construction was due to take place.
The site was once home to the ancient Roman city Viminacium in the province of Moesia.
Dankovic said the team of archaeologists suspect the scrolls, which are written in Aramaic, are magic as they mention demons “that are connected to the territory of modern-day Syria.” [end excerpt]


* "An Impressive 2,800 Year Old Farm House was Uncovered in Rosh Ha-‘Ayin" (2014-12, [] [begin excerpt]: An impressive farm house, 2,800 years old, which comprised twenty-three rooms, was exposed in recent weeks during archaeological excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority is carrying out in Rosh Ha-‘Ayin before the city is enlarged in an initiative by the Ministry of Construction. According to Amit Shadman, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “The farm, which is extraordinarily well-preserved, extends across an area of 30 × 40 m and was built in the eighth century BCE, the time of the Assyrian conquest. Farm houses during this period served as small settlements of sorts whose inhabitants participated in processing agricultural produce. The numerous wine presses discovered in the vicinity of the settlement indicate the wine industry was the most important branch of agriculture in the region. A large silo, which was used to store grain, shows that the ancient residents were also engaged in growing cereal.”
According to Shadman the building continued to be used during the Persian period (also known as the Time of the Return to Zion) in the sixth century BCE, and in the Hellenistic period as well which began in the country with the arrival of Alexander the Great, one of the greatest military leaders of antiquity. With Alexander’s victory over the Persian army in 333 BCE he embarked upon numerous successful military campaigns. His campaign in Israel did not encounter any special difficulties and the country opened its gates to the great warrior.
Evidence of a Greek presence in the region was uncovered on one of the floors of the building in the form of a rare silver coin bearing the military leader’s name – ΑΛΕΞΑNΔΡΟΥ. One can also discern the image of the god Zeus on that side of the coin, while the head of Heracles appears on its reverse. [end excerpt]
Photo caption: The face of Heracles.

* "They're not secret anymore! The ancient Jewish catacombs in Rome that have been off limits for decades will finally open to the public; The Jewish catacombs open to the general public for the first time on Sunday; Previously only private tours could visit the tunnels beneath a Rome vineyard; Discovered in 1918, the ancient catacombs date back to the second century" (2016-04-30, [], photo caption: Dating back to the period between the second and third centuries they are thought to have remained in use until the fifth century

photo caption: Tourists will have the chance to see artwork and inscriptions in Hebrew, Greek and Latin


* Trajan coin minted in commemoration of the conquest of Parthia [], Armenia and Mesopotamia [].
* A coin of Trajan, found in the Ahinposh Buddhist monastery in Afghanistan, together with coins of Kanishka. []


* Pompeii artifacts and venetian glass [] []


* "Golden discovery: Archaeologists discover astonishing haul 'linked to Alexander the Great' in network of tombs in Bulgaria; Beautifully-preserved treasures found in Bulgarian historical site; Thracian artefacts are more than 2,000 years old; May be linked to Phillip II of Macedon, Alexander the Great's father" (2012-11-12, []
The beauty of ancient Greece - 330-300 BCE Thrace. Photo: Bronze Portrait of Seuthes III found in a stone-lined pit in front of the entrance to his royal tomb in Bulgaria. The Ruler of the most powerful Thracian tribe, the Odris. Unearthed in 2004.


* "British villa fit for an emperor: Experts finally solve puzzle of Roman ruins at Lullingstone" (2010-08-19, [], photo captions:
- High-ranking: A coin featuring the head of Pertinax Publius Helvius after he was made Roman Emperor in AD193

- Luxury: An elaborate mosaic at Lullingstone Roman villa near Orpington, Kent. Experts believe it was the home of Pertinax, a former Roman Emperor


Celtic Pagano art -
- []: Relief of the Celtic God, Sucellus and his wife, Nantosuelta from Sarrebourg. Photograph attached to article at []

Celtic Christian art -
- ( []: St Chad gospels Vellum AD 700–800. Used by permission of the Chapter of Lichfield Cathedral. Full image []
- ( []: St John's Rinnagan crucifixion plaque, AD AD 700–800. Full image []


Mosaics of Ancient Roman Empire
* []: An ancient Roman mosaic in El Jem Museum in Tunisia
* []: Plato’s academy. Second style. Early 1st century B.C. Naples, National Archaeological Museum. From Pompeii (Villa of T. Siminius Stephanus). A group of philosophers - characterised by the typical garments associated with Greek orators and philosophers of the classical period. In the background there is a view of the acropolis of Athens. The sacred gateway with vases, the tree and the votive column, are all typical of a mythological landscape.


"Ancient Roman" technology
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* "50 CE: A Steam Engine in Ancient RomeHero's Aeolipile (50 CE)" ( []:
Hero’s Aeolipile (50 CE)

In STEEPS categorization, this is a Scientific, Technological and Political counterfactual. In 50 CE, could Hero of Alexandria have invented the first practical steam engine for water pumping and transport, sixteen hundred years before impulse steam turbines were invented by Giovanni Branca (1629) and John Wilkins (1648)? It certainly seems so.
Hero was a prolific author (with seven known books) and an illustrious engineer. We think he invented the first vending machine, the first syringe, the first wind-powered machines, and many other mechanical contraptions. Most famously, he built a primitive rotary (reaction) steam engine, the Aeolipile, and published diagrams on it (right) in his work Pneumatica. He even used this device to open temple doors. Hero may not even have been the first inventor of this device, as an aeolipile was mentioned (though whether it had a rotating engine was not described) by the Roman engineer Vitruvius in the 1st century BCE in his incredible book on ancient engineering, De architectura.
Two thousand year old Ctesbius pump and fire (power water jet) hose, found in a copper mine in Spain (Museo Arqueológico Nacional de Madrid)

Hero also improved the efficiency of the hand water pump, which was originally invented by the Greek engineer Ctesibius circa 200 BCE.  The Romans even used Hero’s pump and a mechanical fire hose, to put out fires. Look at this amazing example (left) of Ctesibius’s/Hero’s pump, the sipho, described in ancient texts by Pliny and Vitruvius, found in perfect condition after two thousand years underground. It was used by Roman Vigiles, or firefighters, to put out fires, from a cistern pulled by horses, and filled by hand bucket brigades (right).
Ctesibius/Hero’s Water Pump and Forced-Jet Fire Hose, Used By Roman Firefighters

It is easy to argue that Hero’s version of the water pump, combined with a more efficient steam engine, could have led him to the steam engine’s first great application, steam-driven water pumping, an advance so valuable we think it would have found its way into broad use in Roman cities, regardless of social opposition. A significant benefit for any such technology would likely have been needed, because by the time of Empire, the Romans were mistrustful of technology. They only allowed it to proceed when it obviously served their goals.
In 2015, Theodosis Tassios published that Hero must have connected his Aolipile to his pump, creating the world’s first (impractical) steam-driven water pump. He was always looking for ways to make practical technology. Amazingly, all Hero would have needed to do, to make his aolipile practical, would have been to turn its rotating ball into a small windmill rotating on an axle inside a single output jet from his boiler. Alternatively, and less powerfully, even a system of multiple steam jets hitting cup-shaped windmill blades inside the power chamber might have been sufficiently efficient (picture right).

Either approach would have created the world’s first impulse turbine, and a practical rotary steam-driven water pump. A better way to pump water up into cisterns would have greatly improved Roman water works and aqueducts, which were highly valued by Roman nobility, and provided better irrigation for their fields, more Roman plumbing, baths, toilets, and sewer systems. Another obvious benefits of this pump, for any family that had one, would not just have been cisterns of water on the roof, providing pressurized water, but cisterns of hot water on the roof, for the baths of Roman nobility. The still-hot effluent from the boiler could have been collected in a separate cistern, and periodically pumped up by same water pump into insulated hot water cisterns on the roofs of Roman villas, and in the massive Roman public baths, which were heated by both wood and coal. Both the Greeks and the Romans used cork, asbestos, cavity walls, air gaps, and even special bricks for insulation. So insulated hot water cisterns for pump effluent is an obvious way to improve the value of the pump. With benefits like these it’s very easy to argue that steam-powered water pumps would have spread rapidly throughout both the Republic and Empire.
Hero’s Wind-Powered Organ

Do you think Hero could not have made the mental leap to from a spinning aeoliphile to a steam turbine? I would argue he was just one dream away from it. Recall that Hero built the first wind-powered machines. Look at this one (right), which he used to run the first wind-powered organ. In this particular artist’s conception, those blades look just like today’s steam turbine blades! I’d love to see the Mythbusters gang, or a curious craftsperson, build an impulse turbine version of the aeolipile, using a scaled down version of the blades from Hero’s wooden windmill. Hero would likely have built his first turbine blades out of bronze, or even wood in a prototype, but he would have soon moved to iron, then the toughest substance then known. He would likely have placed his boiler over a Roman blacksmith’s hearth, the hottest fires in Alexandria at the time. I bet that engine, hooked to his pump, would have pumped water like crazy, and been vastly superior to hand-chain water pumps used at the time. Anyone want to build one?
Hero’s steam-driven water pump, with adequate wood, collected by slaves, would have created great water pressure for whole neighborhoods in Roman cities. Such pumps would be much more efficient at filling high cisterns than the hand-operated chain pumps being used at the time. High water cisterns, as all Roman engineers knew, are a massive energy storage device. The flow of water from high to low cisterns, in plumbing, can be used not just for irrigation, baths, and sewers, but to run all kinds of small engines, to saw wood, to grind bread, and many other things. In addition to Pneumatica, Hero would have written a followup book, Hydraulica, on the flow of water to do even more useful things, as water is a noncompressible fluid of far higher density than air. Hero’s hydraulic engines could have run at first with water wheels, which were prevalent at the time, but his team would soon learn to use their newly invented spinning turbine blades, operating inside water pipes rather than inside steam boiler nozzles.
Having a way to get across their Empire faster would also have been of huge interest to Roman leaders. Thus it’s easy to imagine that steam powered propellers (turbines) for Roman warships would have been an another early experiment with these engines by nobility-backed engineers. The first military steamships might even have emerged ahead of the water pump, since improving the speed of Roman triremes was of great military interest. Seeing a way to much better aqueducts and plumbing would be nice, but having faster ships would have been vital to both the Republic and Empire.
Roman triremes had 170 rowers, and were generally very light, but many had massive front ends for ramming other ships. Most were optimized to run at six knots for very long distances across the Mediterranean. Steam turbines for ships were eventually invented by Charles Parsons for the British navy, in 1884. The top speed of Parson’s first steam-powered ship was 34 knots. I’d also love to see someone put Hero’s nearly-discovered impulse steam turbine engine on trireme, adding an external “windmill propeller” to the axle, another plausible early mental leap, to see if it would reliably run faster than six knots. I bet a version could easily be built that would run twice as fast, for very long distances. Anyone want to build one?
Tassios has also published arguments that Greek engineers could have invented the steam engine circa 200-100 BCE. That may be true, but with our current knowledge of history, Hero gets our vote as the most likely engineer to make a practical steam engine in ancient times, as we can see how close he was to harnessing this great natural energy source. He was close enough for us to cry a little that it was missed.
Digital Reconstruction of the Antikythera Mechanism, built circa 205 BCE (Courtesy Tony Freeth, 2013)

Historians sometimes argue that labor-saving machines weren’t generally needed in a time of slaves, and that most of the early Greeks and Roman philosophers had a bias against them. The first point has some truth but is an overstatement, and the latter point is true but irrelevant. History shows that both Greek and Roman cultures used lots of intricate labor and brain-saving machines when they served their purposes, and there were scores of Greek and Roman engineers like Ctebius and Hero who built such machines. It is true that engineers tended to be miserably poor, because their skills weren’t sufficiently appreciated by nobility. But they invented prolifically. For perhaps the most famous example, see the Antikythera mechanism, an orrery and analogue computer built by the Greeks circa 90 BCE, to get an appreciation of the extent of Greek mechanical ingenuity. The intricacy and intelligence built into this device takes your breath away. Recent scholars think it was built in Greece circa 205 BCE, not 100 BCE as originally estimated.
As we’ve argued, Roman slaves would have been used to collect vast amounts of wood to run Hero’s steam engines. Once Romans were collecting large amounts of wood, steam powered sawmills would have been another obvious next step. See this video of a DeLoach Steam Powered Sawmill from the 1890s. It’s easy to imagine Hero or his team building a primitive version.
1890's DeLoach Steam Powered Sawmill at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture (30:35) []
In addition to speed at sea, the Romans would have wanted to use steam to go faster by land. That too would likely have come soon after the first working steam engine. Let’s see why.
It’s hard for us today to appreciate the immense scale of Rome’s land-based engineering feats. According to, over 700 years, the Romans built over 55,000 miles of paved highways throughout Europe. That’s enough road to encircle the entire Earth, twice! That is a truly incredible feat, and an awesome focus and scale of engineering, when you think about it.
The Appian Way, for the most popular example, was a beautiful flat road which ran for 350 miles across Italy. Roman roads could be made smooth or rough depending on the size of their paving stones and the care taken in construction. See picture of a small section of the Way, with two paving stone sizes, at right.
Section of the Appian Way, with two paving stone sizes

Most obviously, the Romans could have built a steam-powered railroad, as even railroads, surprisingly, were also in common use at the time. Putting a heavy steam boiler on tracks and getting it to turn wheels fitted to a low-friction track is an obvious application, once you’ve got a good engine.
The ingenious Greeks had already built a human-powered railroad, the Diolkos, which ran for 8 km over the Isthmus of Corinth on the Pelepponesian peninsula, for at least seven hundred years, from 600 BCE to 100 CE. Archeologists tell us the Diolkos ferried boats across the isthmus, over an 8 kilometer track rising 75 meters above sea level at the top. This image (left) shows a very large ship being pulled on the Diolkos by slaves. In reality, most ferried ships were probably much smaller, the personal ships of nobility being taken over the hill to save sailing time. The Romans took over the running of this railway when they made Greece into a province in 146 BCE, and soon after they had at least one known railway operating at the Tres Minas gold mine in Portugal, and probably many more we don’t know about, for moving stone and other heavy objects on tracks.
Diolkos railway in Greece (600 BCE to 100 CE)

To run their engines quickly, Roman slaves would also have created a lot of charcoal from wood. Romans used both wood and charcoal for heating, but charcoal burns at up to five times higher temperature than wood, so it is the fastest fuel for steam engines. As it is labor-intensive, it makes sense to make it only when you really need high temperatures, as for blacksmithing, and running steam engines at high speed. Soon they would even have been mining vast amounts of coal, which burns nearly as hot as charcoal but is far easier to mine. Amazingly, the Romans were mining coal and using it to smelt iron in both the Rhineland and Roman Britain by the late 2nd century BCE. The Chinese were also using coal for heating as early as 1,000 BCE.Aeolipile Chariot (Courtesy Jason Torchinsky, 2012,
Aeolipile Chariot (Courtesy Jason Torchinsky, 2012,

The Romans might even have built a steam powered chariot. Take a look at Jason Torchinsky’s sepeculative model of an aeolipile-driven chariot (right). If Hero had created an impulse turbine aeolipile, a variation of this, without the middle support wheels, and with the front wheel relocated directly under the steering rudder, might actually have been fast at traveling Roman roads. The most important roads would have been made particularly flat, and perhaps eventually even asphalted as well. Thus Roman Railroads and Roman Automobiles are an alternative history that very nearly happened. Someone should write this as fictional story and movie. Perhaps this story already exists? Let us know if so!
The impacts of an Industrial Age Rome certainly would not have all been positive. Just like the European Industrial Age, we would have seen massive worker exploitation, deforestation, pollution, mechanized warfare, and many other negative consequences. The Roman Empire itself might have lasted a bit longer as well, though it fell largely because of social and political, not technical reasons. But I think it is easy to argue that a Western Dark Ages, after the fall of Rome, if any, would have been vastly shorter, and as a species, we would have have learned our way out of our industrial age excesses much earlier, moving into today’s information age centuries earlier than we actually did. Foresight matters!

* "RAILWAYS IN THE GREEK AND ROMAN WORLD" (by Dr M J T Lewis, University of Hull) (.pdf) []

* "Ancient Greeks were a step away from creating a steam powered water pump" (2016-02-04, []:
The ancient inventors of the Hellenistic era were a step away from creating a water pump driven by steam and a piston that set the beginning of the modern industrial revolution, as stated by professor Theodosis Tassios at the National Polytechnic University Metsovio and honorary professor Michalis Tiverios at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki during an event at the House of Music, entitled "Did the Ptolemaic contemporaries have a steam powered water pump?"
As Theodosis Tassios pointed out, at the time of the Ptolemaic dynasty, scientists had invented one after another all the necessary mechanical elements (bars, pipes, gears, turbines, etc.) that would allow them to use the wind and water energy to create pumps. Thus, they used wind and hydraulic energy. Furthermore, they made the first step to steam driven mechanisms by converting thermal energy into kinetic.
According to Theodosis Tassios, ancient Greeks were very close, namely between 10 and 100 years maximum, to inventing a steam driven water pump, and exactly they would have put the beginning of the industrial revolution long before it occurred. In the end, this happened in 1776, when the Scottish engineer James Watt invented such a water pump.
Professor Tiverios in turn stated that only around 2.5% of the ancient historical texts have been preserved, thus not excluding the probability of the steam machine to have been invented, even if a pump was created in the form of a toy, and of the technology to have been forgotten afterwards. However, no such testimony and evidence have been found, at least to the present day.
Theodosis Tassios, who is also president of the Society for the Study of Ancient Greek Technology, believes that ancient Greeks were very close to the "source" due to their impressive scientific and technological progress but ultimately, they failed to go so far as to use steam to drive a pump and respectively, to create the steam engine.
The two scientists talked about the important work of inventors Ctesibius (3rd century BC, the founder of the school of mathematics and mechanics in Alexandria), Philo of Byzantium (a student of Ctesibius) and Heron of Alexandria (probably the 1st century AD), whose inventions demonstrated the advancement of the Greek applied science and technology. Many of the writings by the Greek engineers and inventors have been preserved in Arabic translations, as stated by professor Tiverios.
Theodosis Tassios emphasized the passion of ancient Greeks for technology, noting that even the Homeric epics talks about automatic vessels and robotic vessels. Later, the combination of cosmopolitanism (especially in Alexandria), the emerging middle class and the interests of the Ptolemaic contemporaries led to significant inventions, as demonstrated by the Antikythera Mechanism (also known as the Antikythera astrolabe). Naturally, the question remains whether these technologies were commonly used or if they were the privilege of a small group of people.

* "Ancient Greek 'Computer' Came with a User Guide" (2016-06-23, []
* "Photos: Ancient Greek Inscriptions Revealed on Antikythera Mechanism" (206-06-23, []:
- Antikythera Mechanism: Divers pulled the first fragments of what became known as the Antikythera mechanism from a shipwreck in 1901. The shipwreck was discovered off the coast of the Greek island Antikythera, and hence led to the device's name. Ever since the discovery, scientists and historians have been trying to learn more about the shoebox-sized device's purpose.
For instance, they now know it was a bronze astronomical calculator that may have helped the ancient Greeks track the positions of the sun and the moon, the lunar phases, and even cycles of Greek athletic competitions. Even so, 82 corroded metal fragments of the Antikythera mechanism contain inscriptions that aren't clearly visible to the naked eye. Here's how scientists have cracked some of these inscriptions.

- Inscriptions Revealed: With new imaging techniques like CT scanning, researchers can finally read some of the text that had previously eluded scholars on the enigmatic Antikythera mechanism. This bronze astronomical calculator was discovered at the site of an ancient Greek ship.
Detail of Fragment 19 where numbers 76, 19 and 223 are clearly visible in this enhanced PTM image.

- Technology reveals the hidden: Techniques like CT imaging (top row) and polynomial texture mapping, or PTM, (bottom row) make it much easier to read the text of the so-called Parapegma Inscription on from Fragment C-1.

- Plate fragments: Here a CT composite image of the plate fragments of the front cover inscription.

- Reversed and Not: The inscription on the back cover shown in a mirror-reversed photograph (left), and a CT composite image (right). The back cover inscriptions seem to be a user manual of sorts, the researchers said.

- Preserved inscription: A CT composite image of the back cover Inscription preserved in the fragment called B.

- Metonic cycle: Fragment B-1 shows part of the back cover. At the right, parts of the Metonic Dial scale inscriptions are exposed. The Metonic cycle was about 19 years, marking a near-common multiple of the solar year and lunar month.

- Bringing clarity: Fragment 19, which is a piece of the device’s back cover, is much more clear in a PTM visualization. With PTM, different lighting conditions can be simulated to reveal surface details on artifacts that might otherwise be hidden.

- Antikythera diagram: This diagram shows how the surviving fragments would have fit into the device. The mechanism was about the size of a shoebox and contained a complex system of gears on the inside, which turned dials on the outside that showed the position of the planets, the lunar calendar and other cosmological cycles.

- Housed in a museum: The 82 known fragments of the Antikythera mechanism are now housed in Greece’s National Archaeological Museum.


* " ‘Made In Roma’: Ancient Romans Proudly Branded Their Products, Ranging From Glassware To Weaponry" ( []

* "10 Fascinating Things You Should Know About The Imperial Roman Legionary" ( []

* "5 Mins Of Majestic Animation Presents Ancient Rome At Its Peak In 320 AD" ( []

* "4th Century Roman Fort Remnants Possibly Discovered Near The Infamous Lancaster Castle In Britain" (2016-06-03, []

* "Carthage Employed Liquid Cooling System For Chariot Races Inside The City’s Circus" ( []

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