As if 2020 hadn't hurt us enough already, on Saturday 19th December, we lost one of the greatest Roman scholars, Professor Anthony Birley. The sad news of his passing at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle was announced in a statement released by the Vindolanda Trust on Monday 21st December (see here). Anthony Birley was… Continue reading In memoriam: Anthony Birley (1937-2020)
Antiquity was a very colourful place! The myth of all-white marble classical sculpture that remained uninterrupted for centuries has been put to rest thanks to modern science. Over the past thirty years or so, ground-breaking research in pigmentation have revealed new evidence for painted and ornamented surfaces on classical sculpture. Modern techniques such as X-ray… Continue reading Hadrian in colour, by Danila Loginov
Hadrian's deep concern with consolidating and defining the Empire started very early in his reign. Upon ascending the throne, the new emperor abandoned Trajan's newly conquered provinces beyond the Euphrates and rapidly took the opportunity to carry out his new frontier policy. He first embarked on a quick inspection of the military bases along the… Continue reading AD 120 – The army erects a wooden palisade on the German frontier (#Hadrian1900)
Between the 10th of December 118 and the 9th of December 119, the river boatmen of the Rhône, the nautae Rhodanici, made an offering to their indulgentissimus princeps Hadrian (CIL XII, 1797). They erected a statue of the emperor in the town of Tournus (Tournon-sur-Rhône) between Valencia (Valence) and Vienna (Vienne), at the confluence of… Continue reading AD 119 – The boatmen of the Rhône river erect a statue in honour of Hadrian (#Hadrian1900)
One thousand nine hundred years ago, the city of Tomis, a Greek colony on the west coast of the Euxine (Black Sea), honoured Hadrian with a large bilingual inscription, carved on what was probably the pedestal of a statue carrying the Emperor's effigy. The inscription (CIL III, 7539), found in two fragments in Constanța (Romania), begins… Continue reading AD 120 – The city of Tomis honours Hadrian with a bilingual inscription (#Hadrian1900)
Today (April 21) is the traditional date given for the founding of Rome. According to Roman mythology, the founders were Romulus and Remus, twin brothers and sons of the god Mars and Rhea Silvia. The twins were then abandoned by their parents as babies (because of a prophecy that they would overthrow their great-uncle Amulius)… Continue reading Happy birthday, Roma!
The spectacular Pergamon Panorama exhibition, currently being hosted by the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, is a journey to the ancient Greek city of Pergamon in Asia Minor as it existed in AD 129. It depicts the Roman era under Hadrian, who spent some time in the city. The Panorama was developed in 2011 by the… Continue reading Exhibition: Pergamon 360° Panorama, the ancient city as it looked during the time of Hadrian
Happy 1944th birthday, Hadrian! This year, I decided to bake a honey cake as Hadrian’s birthday cake. Ingredients: 3 eggs 200 grams liquid honey 50 grams spelt flour Instructions: Whip eggs with an electric mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat them until they are stiff and form peaks. Slowly pour… Continue reading Felix dies natalis, Hadriane!
As was the custom at the beginning of every year, annual public vows were made by all magistrates and all priestly colleges for the welfare and safety (salus) of the Emperor. Amongst the collegia inaugurating the new year with oaths were the Arval Brethren (fratres arvales), a highly exclusive priesthood revived by Augustus and centered around… Continue reading The Acts of the Arval Brethren of AD 120 (#Hadrian1900)
In December of the year 119, Hadrian suffered a heavy personal blow. He said farewell to his beloved mother-in-law, Salonia Matidia, who had died in her early 50s. Immediately after her death, Hadrian granted upon her extravagant honours. He arranged for her deification, delivered a speech of praise, turned the commemoration of her death into… Continue reading 23 December AD 119 – Hadrian commemorates his mother-in-law, Salonia Matidia (#Hadrian1900)