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Tag Archives: Ancient Rome

The tainted glory of the gladiator

By Ben Potter The sun rises high over Rome’s Amphitheatrum Flavium, the mightiest arena in the world. Only the colossal statue of Nero, which one-day will lend the stadium its eternal pseudonym, dwarfs it. The 50,000 strong crowd of men and women, young and old, rich and poor, are tightly coiled; one giant organism ready

The Only Library Ever Recovered from Antiquity

By Wu Mingren, Contributing writer, Ancient Origins The Villa of the Papyri is the name given to a private house that was uncovered in the ancient Roman city of Herculaneum. This city, along with nearby Pompeii, is perhaps best remembered for its destruction during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Because of this

Beware the Ides of March

“Beware the Ides of March.” You may here that phrase today because the 15th of March is referred to as the ‘Ides of March’ and marks the anniversary of the assassination of Julius Ceasar in 44 BC. Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general, Consul, statesman, and notable author of Latin prose. He was both

The Golden Rule

By Ben Potter All that glitters may not be gold, but that hasn’t stopped the shiny yellow stuff from being relentlessly pursued throughout mankind’s civilized existence. Twinkling goodness aside, gold has the virtue of being malleable, ductile, resistant to tarnishing, abundant, easily extracted and, above all else, useless! Well, perhaps not totally, but it is

Cato: The Roman Ron Paul?

By Ben Potter During his own era Marcus Porcius Cato (234-149 BC) was known as ‘Cato the Censor’, for his role in maintaining the census, supervising public morality, and overseeing certain aspects of the government’s finances. In times after, however, he was commonly referred to as ‘Cato the Elder’, in order to distinguish him from

Saturnalia: The Party don’t Stop

by Anya Leonard Catullus (XIV) describes it as “the best of days.” Seneca complains that the “whole mob has let itself go in pleasures” (Epistles, XVIII.3). Pliny the Younger writes that he retired to his room while the rest of the household celebrated (Epistles, II.17.24). It was a time when people rejoiced, visited friends, gave