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Whose Empire Is It Anyway?

Whose Empire Is It Anyway?

Was the Roman Empire a beacon of civilisation or a...

Aquae Sulis: Sacred Springs

Aquae Sulis: Sacred Springs

One mild March morning in 2007, a group of friends...

Top Ten Election Winners from the Ancient World

Top Ten Election Winners from the Ancient World

Forget the polls, spin doctors and being 'on messa...

Politicians, People and the Power of Satire

Politicians, People and the Power of Satire

On the morning of 7th January 2015, two Islamist t...

Voting In Ancient Athens

Voting In Ancient Athens

In our world, many of us belong to bodies such as ...

An Iris lesson filmed by Classics Confidential

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The Stanegate Frontier: Life in Roman Britain Before Hadrian's Wall

Vindolanda site showing the fort and vicus. The Stanegate road is the linear feature just to the north of the site.

During the Roman Army’s push into the north of the British Isle (AD 60-84) a road was established which connected the narrow part of northern England between the Tyne and Irthing Valleys. Although the Romans would have had a name for this road which is lost to us we now know it by its old English name as the Stanegate Road (meaning ‘stone road’). The road ran from the Roman fort at Corbridge (Corstopitum or Coria) in the east to the Roman fort at Carlisle (Luguvalium) in the west. It traversed through natural gaps formed by the valleys and was different from most Roman roads as it followed the easiest gradient instead of a straight path as most Roman roads do.

Read more: The Stanegate Frontier: Life in Roman Britain Before Hadrian's Wall

Whose Empire Is It Anyway?

Was the Roman Empire a beacon of civilisation or a mechanism of exploitation? Did it exist to spread peace, prosperity, and enlightenment? Or was it a ruthless system of robbery with violence to enrich the 1%?

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Vespasian: The Man Who Conquered Britain... Then Rome.

When Emperor Claudius invaded Britain  in 43 CE  he chose a loyal and experienced commander-in-chief for a dangerous mission. And he sensibly took with him in his suite aristocrats who might have been a threat if they had been left behind in Rome. But he put two of his four legions under generals of lower social standing, brothers of courage and talent. One, Titus Flavius Vespasianus, had already commanded the Second Legion, Augusta, in Germany  and had previously served in Thrace.

Read more: Vespasian: The Man Who Conquered Britain... Then Rome.

Politicians, People and the Power of Satire

On the morning of 7th January 2015, two Islamist terrorists stormed into the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French, strongly anti-religious satirical newspaper. Armed with assault rifles and shouting Allahu Akbar ('God is the greatest'), they fired up to 50 shots, killing 11 people and injuring a further 11. It soon became clear that the motive for the attack had been anger at the newspaper's controversial depictions of the prophet Muhammad in several issues over the last decade. The following week saw a wave of retaliatory attacks against Muslims across France and a large rally championing freedom of speech in Paris. A series of related shootings in Denmark in mid-February suggests that, sadly, we can expect the effects of this event to continue for a while yet.

Read more: Politicians, People and the Power of Satire

Voting In Ancient Athens

In our world, many of us belong to bodies such as choral societies or sports clubs, where we vote to elect officers and make decisions, but the voting which we first think of is voting to elect people to represent us in Parliament and local councils.

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How To Win An Election In The Roman Republic

 

The UK is deep in the grip of election fever. Party leaders are touring the country in battle-buses, shaking hands, announcing policies, and chasing photo opportunitiesall in the hope of winning over voters. But what did aspiring politicians need to do to get elected in ancient Rome? To answer this question we first need to understand some of the differences between the Roman political system and our own. While some aspects of campaigning persist across the ages, different systems reward different behaviours. In other words, it took different tactics to win a Roman election than it does a British one.

Read more: How To Win An Election In The Roman Republic

Written in the Stars

It may seem strange to modern readers, but one of the great literary sensations of the ancient world was the astronomical poetry of the Hellenistic author Aratus (c 315-before 240). His Phaenomena, a 1154-line poem, describes the constellations and the heavenly spheres, before moving on to the topic of weather signs.

Read more: Written in the Stars