Annum novum faustum felicem vobis!

I would like to wish you all a happy, prosperous and inspiring New Year!

Here are some New Year’s wishes from a Roman oil lamp which was traditionally given as present for New Year’s Day.

Terracotta oil lamp, on the discus a winged Victory holds a shield on which is inscribed Happy New Year, surrounded by New Year’s gifts.
British Museum

This Roman lamp was made in Italy in around 50-100 AD to celebrate the New Year. On the discus, a winged Victory holds a palm-branch (a symbol of success) in one hand and a circular shield in the other. The goddess is surrounded by New Year gifts, including coins, dates and a fig.

The shield bears an inscription with New Year’s wishes for happiness:

annu(m) / novum / fau(s)tum / felice(m)
“A happy and prosperous New Year”

The coin beneath her left wing shows the two-faced deity Janus, the Roman god of doors, passages and beginnings who gave his name to the month of January. Janus was seen as symbolically looking back on the old year and forward to the new year. This idea became tied to the concept of transition from one year to the next.

RIC II 62. Hadrian. AD 117-138. AV Aureus. Rome.
IMP CAESAR TRAIAN HADRIANVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right / P M TR P COS III, Janus, standing facing, naked to waist, fold of drapery over left arm, holding sceptre in right hand. 

2017 will see the commemoration of the 1900th anniversary of the accession of Hadrian to the imperial throne and therefore the start of my Hadrian1900 project. I will not be the only one celebrating. The Archaeological Museum of Seville in southern Spain is planning to host an exhibition starting in October (more info here).

In addition the Hadrian’s Wall recently announced a new wall-wide Roman cavalry exhibition running from April to September. The Hadrian’s Wall exhibition will also feature one of the largest Roman Cavalry re-enactments ever seen in the UK (more info here).

Video: Why you must visit Hadrian’s Wall in 2017 by the Telegraph Travel.

Finally, in case you missed them, here are the posts that received the most reads in 2016.

5 most-read blog posts of 2016 on Following Hadrian:

  1. A taste of Ancient Rome – A Saturnalia feast
  2. A guide to the mosaics along the Roman Baetica Route (Spain)
  3. Crossing the Rubicon
  4. Art and sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: The Lansdowne Relief
  5. The Obelisk of Antinous

5 most-read blog posts of 2016 on Following Hadrian Photography:

  1. Roman Villa Borg
  2. Hattusa
  3. Apollonia (Illyria)
  4. Heriodium
  5. Roman Villa Nennig

Thank you for reading!

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