Thursday, 22 April 2021

Emperor Nero

Nero is among the most famous of all Roman emperors – but not for good reasons. During his reign, from 54 to 68 CE, Nero had few accomplishments and many failures. Nero's mother, Agrippina the Younger, (Caligula's sister) dominated Nero's early life until he cast her off. Five years into his reign, he had her murdered. Nero's rule is usually thought that of a tyrant and most Romans thought him corrupt.

Silver denarius of 55/56
He was suspected of starting the Great Fire of Rome in 64 AD in order to clear the way for his new palace complex, the Domus Aurea. It caused widespread devastation and countless mansions, homes and temples were destroyed. The fire is reported to have burned for over a week. Nero seized Christians as scapegoats for the fire and burned them alive.
Nero was famous for devaluing Roman currency for the first time in the Empire's history. He reduced the weight of the denarius from 3.85 grams to 3.35 grams. He also reduced the silver purity from 99.5% to 93.5%—the silver weight dropping from 3.83 grams to 3.4 grams. He also reduced the weight of the aureus from 8 grams to 7.2 grams.
In 65 a conspiracy against Nero failed after being discovered. In March 68, Gaius Julius Vindex, the governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, rebelled against Nero's tax policies. The discontent of the legions of Germany and the continued opposition of the popular Galba in Spain, despite his being officially declared a public enemy were Nero's undoing. The prefect of the Praetorian Guard abandoned his allegiance to the Emperor. When the Senate declared Nero a public enemy it was the end. Nero could not bring himself to take his own life but instead forced his private secretary to perform the task. He died on 9 June 68.
In 2017 excavations at Mount Zion in Jerusalem for the first time discovered a gold coin bearing the likeness of Roman Emperor Nero. The coin had been struck in either 56 and 57 AD. The gold coin (aureus) bears the bare-headed portrait of the younger Nero as Caesar. The coin would have been minted before the city of Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. The archaeologists hypothesized that the gold coin was part of a Jewish store of wealth, amassed before their mansions were razed – along with the rest of the city – by Titus and the Roman legions. The coin was likely hidden prior to the destruction of Jerusalem and overlooked by looting Roman soldiers.
The Siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 was the decisive event of the First Jewish–Roman War. The destruction of both the first and second temples is still mourned annually as the Jewish fast Tisha B'Av. The Arch of Titus, celebrating the Roman sack of Jerusalem and the Temple, still stands in Rome.

See ----->Worst Roman Emperors

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Charioteer Flavius Scorpus

Scorpus (c. 68–95 AD) was a famous charioteer. Scorpus rode for the Green faction during his lifetime and accumulated 2,048 victories. As one of the most famous drivers in Roman history, Scorpus earned huge amounts of money. Sadly Scorpus is also known for dying young, at 26. Scorpus was a slave, as were many charioteers, and was born in Spain.

Eventually he bought his freedom, becoming a libertus (freed slave). Although the cause of Scorpus' death is unknown, it is likely to have been in one of the numerous crashes that occurred during chariot races. The Romans called these naufragia "shipwrecks".
The Circus Maximus (Latin for greatest or largest circus; Italian: Circo Massimo) is an ancient Roman chariot-racing stadium and mass entertainment venue located in Rome. It measured 621 m (2,037 ft) in length and 118 m (387 ft) in width and could accommodate over 150,000 spectators.
See ----->The Highest Paid Athlete in History - Gaius Appuleius Diocles

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Monsters on Ancient coins

CRETE, Knossos. Stater (11.93g). about 425 – 360 BCE. Product of a union between Queen PasiphaĆ« and a white bull, the Minotaur was a ferocious man-eating beast, imprisoned in the Labyrinth of Daedalus. Theseus slew the Minotaur. This is a rare coin with less than 20 known.
Crete, Phaistos AR Stater. Mid-Late 4th century BCE. Herakles (his Latin name is Hercules) was the champion monster-slayer. In a fit of madness, Herakles killed his family; to atone for this crime he undertook a series of heroic quests. The Lernaean Hydra was one. Sever one of the Hydra’s heads and two grew back, making the monster hard to kill. Herakles slew the Hydra, helped by his companion Iolaus, who cauterized the neck with a torch as each head was cut off.
SIKYONIA, Sikyon. Circa 335-330 BCE. Bellerophon, riding Pegasus, killed the fire-breathing Chimaera (or Chimaira) with a block of lead impaled on a spear he lodged in the beast’s throat. The fire melted the lead, choking the beast. The Greek city of Sicyon, near Corinth adopted the chimaera as a symbol on coins, which are relatively common, from c. 430 down to about 280 BCE
Cerberus (or Kerberos) is a giant, ferocious three-headed dog who guards the gateway to the land of the dead. He is often depicted as the companion of Hades (or Pluto,) god of the underworld. As his 12th Labor, Herakles wrestles Cerberus into submission and drags him back to the land of the living. Cerberus appears on a magnificent electrum stater of Cyzicus (c. 500-450 BCE).

Saturday, 17 April 2021

Pyrrhic Victory

Bust of Pyrrhos - if “we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined.”
When the Romans broke a treaty with Taras to subdue an adjacent Greek city, Taras expelled the Roman garrison from the captured township. The Romans sought revenge. Taras appealed for help to King Pyrrhos of Epirus in northwestern Greece. Pyrrhos embarked upon the Pyrrhic War of 280-275 B.C.E. A skilled commander, with a strong army fortified by war elephants, Pyrrhus had initial success against the Roman legions, but suffered heavy losses even in victory.

Three battles represent the origin of the phrase “Pyrrhic victory” The battle of Heraclea was a decisive victory for Pyrrhus, who employed a tight phalanx formation with elephant charges.
Though the win was complete, it caused high casualties of Pyrrhus’ best troops.
The next battle of Asculum was a similar result; the Romans attempted to repulse the elephants with war wagons but failed. The Romans withdrew to higher ground. The Romans were worse off, but Pyrrhus lost thousands of men and his best officers.

The battle of Beneventum was either inconclusive, a Roman victory or a victory for Pyrrhus. The Romans repulsed the elephants and send them rampaging through Pyrrhus’ lines. The result drove him from Italy and in 278 B.C.E. Pyrrhos abandoned Taras to its fate.
He returned in 275 B.C.E., but was soundly defeated and returned to Epirus. Three years later Taras was besieged and the city finally fell to the Romans.
A superbly struck example of a rare gold stater from the ancient Greek city state of Taras (Tarentum) in southern Italy, a.k.a. Calabria. The 8.55 g coin dates from 276-272 BC. The obverse shows the head of Zeus. On the reverse an eagle with wings displayed perches on a thunderbolt.
$ 18,000 in VF.
Taras or Tarentum, in Calabria, is modern Taranto in southern Italy.

Friday, 16 April 2021

Nymphaeum Museum in Rome

The Rome headquarters of the National Insurance and Assistance Body for Doctors and Dentists is in the Piazza Vittorio section of the city. 13 feet under the lobby of the country’s leading medical pension fund are the restored ruins of Casa Caligula. After a nine-year excavation, it will open to the public for the first time.

Caligua declared himself a god and spoke of making his horse ´Incitatus´ a senator.
Caligula, officially Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus, is recorded as a sadistic lunatic and one of Rome's worst tyrants. Sources describe his cruelty, sadism, extravagance, and sexual perversion. He was born in the year 12 and spent his childhood in military camps along the Rhine with his father Germanicus, one of the great Roman generals of his time. His mother, Agrippina the Elder, the granddaughter of Augustus himself, used to dress Gaius up as a soldier, down to the caliga sandals on his feet.
In early 41, Caligula was assassinated as a result of a conspiracy by officers of the Praetorian Guard, senators, and courtiers.

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Mosaics of Pompeii

Pompeii has provided valuable insight to the Roman world and most agree it is the richest archaeological site in the world. Fine mosaics were a common feature in the villas of the town and depicted scenes from mythology, the owner’s business interests or animal scenes.

They are of the highest artistic merit.

Plato's Academy Circle
Detail of Musician with tympanon, Villa del Cicerone
House of Neptune

Detail Alexander the Great at the Battle of Issus

Head of Medusa

Detail Satyr and nymph