Sunday, 27 February 2022

The Five Good Emperors

The five Good Emperors refers to the succession of Nerva (96–98 CE), Trajan (98–117), Hadrian (117–138), Antoninus Pius (138–161), and Marcus Aurelius (161–180). They presided over the most majestic days of the mighty Roman Empire.
After the death of Marcus Aurelius in 180, the empire quickly descended into chaos which was not ended until the assassination of Commodus (December 31, 192 AD) and the triumph of Septimius Severus. With Commodus' murder, the Nerva–Antonine dynasty came to an end. Turmoil continued until the 'Year of the Five Emperors'. The Roman Empire would never be as great again.


Antoninus Pius

Marcus Aurelius

Friday, 25 February 2022

U.K. Metal detectorist unearths rare gold 'Crispus' thrymsa

A metal detectorist landed the coin, dating from 650-700AD, in a field in South Cambridgeshire. It measures half an inch in diameter and weighs 1.3grams. It is one of just eight known examples of the 'Crispus' thrymsa and worth over £10,000. The design of the coin is based on an obsolete Roman coin of the emperor Crispus from the 4th century AD. The most famous discovery of thrymsas was at the Sutton Hoo ship burial in 1939.

Thursday, 24 February 2022


Botticelli's Birth of Venus
In Roman mythology, Venus was the goddess of love, sex, beauty, and fertility. She was the Roman counterpart to the Greek Aphrodite. The Roman Venus had many abilities beyond the Greek Aphrodite; she was a goddess of victory and even prostitution. According to Hesiod, Aphrodite was born of the foam from the sea after Saturn castrated his father Uranus and threw his genitals into the sea.

Her beauty became a source of tension among the gods, all of whom wanted to take her as wife. To calm matters, Zeus decided that Aphrodite would marry Hephaestus, the crippled smith god.
Hephaestus fashioned a magic girdle to ensure her fidelity. However, she proved unfaithful and had multiple affairs with both mortals and gods. Some of her offspring were the Cupids (Erotes) who were a collection of winged love deities who represented the different aspects of love. Images of Venus can be found in countless forms from sculptures to mosaics to shrines and even domestic murals and frescos. Venus, due to her beauty and sexual nature, was often depicted nude. Venus continued to be a popular subject matter for artists into modern times.

Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Trump's Eagle - Aquila - SPQR

Jaws flapped about Trump's use of the Nazi eagle.
Students of history would recognize the Nazi eagle as that stolen from the Romans. The Nazi swastika was also hijacked from ancient sources. The word swastika comes from the Sanskrit svastika, which means “good fortune” or “well-being."
An aquila, or eagle, was a prominent symbol used in ancient Rome, especially as the standard of a Roman legion. A legionary known as an aquilifer, or eagle-bearer, carried this standard. Each legion carried one eagle.
The eagle was very important to the Roman military, beyond merely being a symbol of a legion. A lost standard was considered an extremely grave event. The Roman military often went to great lengths to protect a standard and to recover it if lost. In the aftermath of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest the Romans spent decades trying to recover the lost standards of the three destroyed legions. SPQR stood for Senatus Populusque Romanus. The meaning was "The Senate and People of Rome". No legionary eagles are known to have survived.

Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Tutankhamun's dagger made from Meteorite

Analysis of a dagger found in Tutankhamun's sarcophagus found the blade is made of iron from a meteorite. The dagger has a finely embossed gold handle with a crystal pommel. It was encased within a golden sheath. The blade contains high levels of nickel, along with traces of cobalt and phosphorus. Researchers were able to match the chemical composition to a meteorite which was found in 2000 on the Maras Matruh plateau in Egypt, 150 miles west of Alexandria.
Ancient Egyptian royal archives from 1,400BC mention royal gifts of iron in the period immediately before Tutankhamun's reign. Tushratta, King of Mitanni – a kingdom in northern Syria and Anatolia – sent iron objects to Amenhotep III, the grandfather of Tutankhamun.
Hieroglyphic term for iron, it translates as “iron from the sky”.
The high manufacturing quality of Tutankhamun's dagger blade suggests a mastery of iron working in his time. The 13 inch long (34.2cm) dagger was found lying beside the right thigh of King Tutankhamun's mummy. It was likely handed down from his father. Ancient Egyptians believed iron from meteorites had magical powers that could usher souls into the afterlife. To the ancient Egyptians, meteorites were gifts from the gods. Egyptians considered the sky divine, so anything that fell from it would have been seen as a gift from the gods – if not a physical piece of one.

Kamil crater in southern Egypt
They believed that the gods had bones made of iron. (and flesh of gold, skin of silver and hair of lapis lazuli) There is no evidence of iron smelting in the region until nearly 1000 years later, so there is no question where the metal came from. Tutankhamun’s daggers

Monday, 21 February 2022

Mars Ultor 'the Avenger'

Augustus, 27 BCE – 14 CE, Denarius (Silver, 3.85 g)
At the battle of Philippi, Octavian vowed to avenge the assassination of Caesar. Octavian set plans in motion to build a temple honoring the god Mars Ultor 'the Avenger'. While Rome had succeeded in conquering most of the civilized world, they had never succeeded against Parthia. The Parthian Empire was spread across Central Asia and posed a formidable challenge. Rome fought and lost to Parthia three times, the most devastating in 53 BCE. Crassus, the leader of the Roman army, was killed and Rome was humiliated, with the Roman standards of the Legions lost to the Parthians.
The loss of a legion's standard the Aquilae (Eagle) was taken as a huge moral defeat. Romans would spend decades fighting to recover them. Julius Caesar and Mark Antony both attempted to reclaim the Roman standards by force but failed due to heavy battlefield losses. After ascending the throne, Augustus wanted to reclaim them. Through conquering Armenia, he was able to secure a strong offensive position against the Parthians. The Parthian king felt threatened, and proposed a truce to Augustus, offering to return the Roman standards and any surviving prisoners of war. Augustus agreed and he hailed the return of the roman standards as a major victory against the Parthians. He used his coinage to celebrate the triump.

Sunday, 20 February 2022

Crusader-era gold found off coast in Northern Israel

The coins are gold florins, minted in Florence, Italy, starting in 1252. The ship must have sailed in the last half of the 13th century.
In 2017 30 gold coins were found amid the remains of a Crusader-era shipwreck discovered off the coast of Acre in northern Israel. The city of Acre is on Israel’s Mediterranean coast, north of Haifa. In the 13th century it was one of the most important strongholds left to European Crusaders in the Holy Land. Archaeologists dated the shipwreck's wood to 1250 A.D. But the gold coins showed that the ship likely sailed later than that.

Crusader Fortress : Old City of Acre – Northern Israel
At the siege of Acre, as Christian citizens made a desperate attempt to flee the city, the knights made their doomed last stand. The Mamluks of Egyptian sultan Al-Ashraf Khalil dug tunnels and the castle’s foundation collapsed, burying the doomed Templars. The sultan’s flag soon flew over Acre, and the Egyptian forces systematically dismantled the Crusader city, leaving its seaport in ruin.

Friday, 18 February 2022

Amazing Discoveries

In 2018, a farmer on Crete parked his car on his property outside of Kentri. The earth under his vehicle sank. He found the remains of an extremely rare undisturbed Minoan grave (1400–1200 BC).
The Greek city of Zeugma was one of the Roman Empire’s pivotal trade centers.
It is known for the most breathtaking mosaics from ancient times. In 2014 three new mosaics were found. The most amazing is a scene depicting the nine Muses.
Around 1,800 years ago, a woman was buried on the small island of Sikinos.
Spectactular grave goods marked her as extremely rich. The entire site is a grave good, likely built to protect the woman’s remains.
The mausoleum stood as one of the most impressive and best-preserved in the Aegean.

Thursday, 17 February 2022

Evidence of huge Viking Camp in Lincolnshire

In 2017 archaeologists found evidence of a huge army encampment in Lincolnshire dated to the 9th century. It was established to conquer England.
The camp, set up for the winter of 872 to 873, was home to thousands of Vikings. The army was known as the Great Heathen Army in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of 865. Previous Viking invasions were hit and run, but this one was meant to conquer the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. The Viking camp was on the banks of the River Trent in Torksey and was a strategic and defensive outpost in the winter for part of the military campaign. The Great Heathen Army remained in England for 10 years, conquering all the kingdoms except Wessex. In 871, Alfred the Great of Essex paid the Vikings to leave. In 875, the Vikings attacked Wessex, but King Alfred defeated the Great Heathen Army and united England.
Archaeologists found 300 coins and 50 pieces of chopped up silver, including brooch fragments and ingots. They also found rare hack-gold. Among the coins are 100 Arabic silver coins that probably came from Viking trade routes. Other artifacts include gaming pieces, spindle whorls, fishing weights, needles and iron tools.

Wednesday, 16 February 2022

Greek cops seize head of ancient kouros statue in Nemea

The head of an Ancient Kouros statue, dating to the Archaic period (6th century BC) was confiscated in 2019. A Greek man was arrested in Nemea, in Corinth, southern Greece, for illegal possession of the artifact. He was looking for buyers to sell the head for 500k euro. A kouros is a modern term given to free-standing ancient Greek sculptures that first appear in the Archaic period in Greece and represent nude male youths. In Ancient Greek kouros means "youth, boy, especially of noble rank"

Sunday, 13 February 2022

Expensive Ancient Coins

The record holder for an ancient Greek coin is the facing portrait gold stater of Pantikapaion, which brought $3.2m in a 2012 New York auction. Pantikapaion on the Black Sea coast of Crimea grew wealthy shipping grain from Ukraine’s fields to feed Greek cities. Weighing 9.12 grams, the coin was struck between 350 and 300 BCE. On the reverse a griffin stands over an ear of wheat, surrounded by the first three letters of the town’s name. The obverse shows the bearded head of a satyr.
Syracuse Tetradrachm of Kimon. Greek cities of Sicily during the fifth century BCE brought the art of coin die engraving to levels that would not be seen again for 1300 years. Cities like Syracuse, Akragas, Leontinoi and Naxos competed to celebrate their deities on large silver ancient coins. $3m a record for a Greek silver coin.
Akragas Dekadrachm. Until it was sacked by the Carthaginians in 406 BCE, Akragas (now Agrigento) was one of the largest and wealthiest cities in the Greek world. $2.4m
Dekadrachm of Athens. With only around 40 genuine examples known (and many convincing fakes), the silver dekadrachm of Athens struck c. 467-465 BCE is one of the most desired ancient coins. The obverse depicts the helmeted head of the goddess Athena. The reverse shows an owl, wings outspread. At 42.5 grams, the coin is so large that it pushed the limits of hand-hammered minting. $ 850,000
Gold Stater of Athens. A handful of gold staters and fractions were struck as an emergency wartime issue in 406-407 BCE. Four examples of the 8.6 gram gold stater are known, three of them in museums. The fourth brought $ 783,000 in 2008.