Marble statue of Octavian displayed at the Chiaramonti Museum, Braccio Nuovo (New Wing).
Ancient History

Octavian’s Reign: How Rome’s First Emperor Thwarted Assassination

December 27, 2019

When Octavian became the leader of Rome, his main goal was not to anger the people and be assassinated as his predecessor, Julius Caesar, had been. Therefore, Octavian’s reign was focused on consolidating power while at the same time maintaining the illusion that he did not have the absolute control that characterized a monarchy. Octavian turned out to be a clever strategist, brilliant leader, and fascinating man. […]

Marble bust of emperor Caligula
Ancient History

Caligula: The Embodiment of Cruelty

December 9, 2019

At the time of his accession as emperor, Caligula was greeted with enthusiasm. Soon, people discovered just how cruel (and possibly insane) he was. What made Caligula one of the most infamous emperors in the history of ancient Rome? […]

Tiberius Portrait - Bust of 2nd Roman Emperor
Ancient History

Tiberius: Ancient Rome’s Reluctant Emperor

December 9, 2019

Tiberius was somewhat reluctant to take charge of the Roman Empire after the death of Augustus. His reign was marked by insurrection in Germany, betrayal by trusted commanders, and seclusion on the island of Capri. Follow the dramatic story here. […]

Caesar Augustus, first emperor of Ancient Rome. Old bronze statue in the Imperial Forum
Ancient History

Augustus: Paving the Way for Hereditary Succession

November 19, 2019

How did the Roman Empire end up with so many maniacal leaders? The answer lies in the actions of Rome’s very first emperor, Augustus, and the precedent he established for how emperors were selected. […]

The Flavian family, depicted on The Triumph of Titus, by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema
Ancient History

The Flavian Emperors Encounter Roadblocks after a Smooth Start

November 1, 2019

The reign of the Flavian emperors began with Vespasian and then his son Titus, both of whom brought stability to Rome after years of strife. Eventually, though, disaster struck, peaking with the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and followed by Titus’s abrupt death. His brother Domitian took over, a reckless leader with some eccentric hobbies. […]

Cameo of Emperor Augustus wearing a gorgoneion and a sword-belt
Ancient History

Evaluating Augustus’s Legacy: Monarchy or Republic?

October 21, 2019

One of Rome’s most influential leaders also ran a brilliant public relations and self-marketing campaign. Therefore, when assessing Augustus’s legacy, we must keep in mind that his main goal was to avoid assassination, which meant playing down his power and king-like qualities. We’ll take a look at his autobiography as well as the one blemish on an otherwise flawless reign. […]

The Roman emperor Augustus as pontifex maximus, with his head veiled for a sacrifice, National Museum of Rome.
Ancient History

Unpacking the Titles of Augustus: Wordplay and Double Meanings

October 21, 2019

What’s in a name? A lot, as we discover when exploring the many titles of Augustus, Rome’s first emperor. Discover the hidden meanings and oxymorons packed within these names, which were designed to assert his authority while simultaneously presenting him as a modest, benevolent figure. […]

The Castlestrange Stone at Castlestrange, Co. Roscommon, Ireland
Ancient History

Survey the Beginning of Celtic Art

October 20, 2019

“Celtic art” is an inexact term given that recent scholars are uncertain about the distinct ethnic identity of the Celts. Art historians prefer to talk about the La Tène style because of the archaeological finds in western Switzerland. Nevertheless, the ancient La Tène or Celtic style of art is distinct and fascinating. Let’s delve in. […]

Carynax from Tintignac
Ancient History

An Introduction to Celtic Artifacts

October 20, 2019

Two archaeological sites in Central Europe are associated with the rise of the Celts: the Hallstatt culture in western Austria, and the site at La Tène, in western Switzerland. Rooted in the 1st millennium B.C., the culture at La Tène produced much spectacular art associated with the Celts. Explore some of the artifacts from this fascinating culture. […]

Grianan of Aileach, a hillfort at Inishowen in County Donegal, Ireland.
Ancient History

Understanding the Old Model of the Celtic Identity

October 20, 2019

Historians learn about a culture by studying both written texts and material objects. The archaeological story is richer, but also much more complicated than scholars used to think. In fact, recent scholarship has had a revolutionary impact on our understanding of the Celts. Let’s investigate the old model of the Celtic identity. […]

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