Velsen


New at LacusCurtius & Livius

There’s no particular reason to put online this drawing by Graham Sumner, except for the best reason of all: that I like it. What you see is the Roman naval base at Velsen, just west of Amsterdam, which was in use during the reign of the emperor Tiberius. It is almost certainly identical to the fort named Flevum mentioned by Tacitus. You can read more about it here, or in Edge of Empire.

You can order Edge of Empirehere.

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Brother? What Brother?


Character Assassination

In ancient Rome, prominent individuals could fall victim to the ultimate punishment of damnatio memoriae, a curse on their memory by senatorial decree. One famous victim was the short-lived emperor Geta (r. 211), whose statues were smashed and whose name was removed from inscriptions and documents after he had been murdered by his brother and co-ruler, Caracalla. Even a tondo from Egypt, showing the imperial family in happier days, sports a conspicuous gap where the face of the young ruler used to be.

Literature

• Friedrich Vittinghoff, Der Staatsfeind in der römischen Kaiserzeit. Untersuchungen zur „damnatio memoriae“ (Berlin 1936)
• Eric Varner, Mutilation and Transformation: Damnatio Memoriae and Roman Imperial Portraiture (Leiden – Boston 2004)
• Harriet I. Flower, The Art of Forgetting: Disgrace and Oblivion in Roman Political Culture (Chapel Hill, NC 2006)
• Florian Krüpe, Die Damnatio memoriae. Über die Vernichtung von Erinnerung. Eine Fallstudie zu Publius…

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Messalina, Empress And Harlot


Character Assassination

“Other animals become sated with venereal pleasures,” Pliny the Elder remarked in his Natural History; “man hardly knows any satiety”. As a case in point, he told a story about Messalina, the wife of the Roman Emperor Claudius, who challenged a prostitute to a contest in sexual stamina, “and outdid her, after continuous intercourse, night and day, at the twenty-fifth embrace”.

The historian Tacitus and the biographer Suetonius tell similar tales about the empress’s rampant sexual behaviour, portraying a woman who was completely out of the control of her imperial husband. Messalina was eventually executed after Claudius found out that she had married another man and was plotting to overthrow him… At least, that is the story preserved in the ancient sources. Whatever the truth may have been, Messalina was certainly described in the blackest terms possible by male authors who abhorred independent-minded women with desires of their own.

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Menai Strait, Anglesey Roman site


Antiquarian's Attic

 ‘Important’ Roman site found at Llanedwen, Anglesey
Archaeological work on the banks of the Menai Strait has revealed evidence of what has been described as “a Roman site of some importance”.
The site at Llanedwen, Anglesey, revealed “an unusual amount of high status material, suggesting a Roman site with links to the military”.

The Gwynedd Archaeological Trust says road works and a honeycomb of buildings were found, but no defensive ditches.
Pottery and coins found were also discovered at the site.
The works at Trefarthen was funded by historic monuments agency Cadw.
Artefacts have yet to be analysed but it is believed they show the military site was in use from the 1st Century shortly after the Roman invasion through to the end of the 4th Century.
The site is located opposite Caernarfon, which is home to  Segontium, a major part of the Roman military presence in Wales.
Dave…

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Silchester Iron Age finds reveal secrets of pre-Roman Britain


Ancientfoods

Topic: More on Silchester-Olive stone pre Roman:

A single olive stone unearthed at the ancient town of Silchester is among the extraordinary finds that are leading archaeologists to rewrite British history.

By the gap in a hedge bordering the entrance off a muddy lane in Hampshire, the young diggers on one of the most fascinating archaeological sites in Britain have made a herb garden: four small square plots. The sudden blast of sunshine after months of heavy rain has brought everything into bloom, and there’s a heady scent of curry plant and dill, marigold and mint.

Many of the plant seeds are familiar from Roman sites across Britain, as the invaders brought the flavours and the medical remedies of the Mediterranean to their wind-blasted and sodden new territory, but there is something extraordinary about the seeds from the abandoned Iron Age and Roman town of Silchester.

The excavation run…

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