Cartouche of Antinous.
Antinous, Epigraphy, Hadrian, Hadrian's Villa, Rome

The Obelisk of Antinous

While Hadrian was visiting the province of Egypt in late 130 AD, his favorite Antinous drowned mysteriously in the Nile River. This tragic event led to the creation of a new divinity: Osirantinous, or Antinous as a manifestation of Osiris, the god who died and was reborn. One of our best primary sources for information [...]

Tondi adrianei on the Arch of Constantine, Northern side - right lateral, LEFT: Lion hunt, RIGHT: Sacrifice to Hercules
Antinous, Hadrian, Italy, Roman art, Roman Portraiture, Rome

The Hadrianic Tondi on the Arch of Constantine

The Arch of Constantine, dedicated on 25 July 315 AD, stands in Rome between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill, at what was once the beginning of the Via Triumphalis. As described on its attic inscription, it commemorates Constantine’s victory at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge on 28 October 312 AD over the tyrant [...]

Representation of the lupercal: Romulus and Remus fed by a she-wolf, surrounded by representations of the Tiber and the Palatine
© Carole Raddato
Hadrian, Rome, SPQR

Felix dies natalis, Roma!

Today (21st April) is the traditional date given for the founding of Rome. According to Roman mythology, the founders were Romulus and Remus, twin brothers and supposed sons of the god Mars and the priestess Rhea Silvia. The twins were then abandoned by their parents as babies (because of a prophecy that they would overthrow their great-uncle [...]

The Engine Room, Centrale Montemartini, Rome
Archaeology Travel, Italy, Museum, Roman art, Rome

When in Rome… a visit to the Centrale Montemartini

During a recent trip to Rome, I paid a long overdue visit to the Centrale Montemartini, an annexe of the Capitoline Museums located on the Via Ostiense just beyond Porta San Paolo. Centrale Montemartini was Rome's first electrical power station when it opened in 1912, and was later converted into a museum of ancient Roman [...]

Detail of fresco on the back wall of the tablinum
Augustus, Italy, Roman art, Roman Frescoes, Roman villa, Rome

When in Rome… visiting the House of Livia on the Palatine Hill

I recently wrote on the series of special events that took place in Rome last year in celebration of the 2000th anniversary of Emperor Augustus’ death. My last post focussed on the 'House of Augustus' (see here) and today I will concentrate on the ‘House of Livia’ in this follow-up piece. First excavated in 1839, [...]

House of Augustus, Perspective Room (room 11), architectural composition with projecting bodies and perspective rendition of colonnades
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA
Augustus, Italy, Roman art, Roman Frescoes, Roman villa, Rome

When in Rome… visiting the House of Augustus on the Palatine Hill

Last year Rome celebrated the 2000th anniversary of Emperor Augustus’ death. To commemorate the date, a series of special events and openings were launched in the Italian capital, including the opening of new parts of the ‘House of Augustus’ and ‘House of Livia’ on the Palatine Hill. After years of restoration works, new lavishly frescoed [...]

Antoninus Pius, Hadrian, Italy, Museum, Roman art, Roman Temples, Rome

The Hadrianeum and the personifications of provinces

Just a short walk from the Pantheon, in Piazza di Pietra, are the majestic remains of the Temple of the deified Hadrian (Hadrianeum) built by Antoninus Pius, Hadrian's adopted son and successor. Of the original temple, only eleven columns with capitals and the cella wall are still visible today. In 1696, during the pontificate of [...]

Hadrian, Hadrian portrait, Italy, Museum, Nerva–Antonine dynasty, Roman art, Rome

The Hadrianic reliefs from the Arch of Portugal (Arco di Portogallo), Rome

About halfway along today's via del Corso, once called via Lata, a large arch of Roman age spanned the street up to the mid 17th century. It was earlier known as the Arcus Hadriani, but from the sixteenth century it was called Arco di Portogallo (Arch of Portual) because it adjoined the residence of the Portuguese ambassador, [...]

Antoninus Pius, Archaeology Travel, Nerva–Antonine dynasty, Photography, Roman Temples, Rome

Photoset: The temple of Antoninus and Faustina, Rome

The Temple of Antoninus and Faustina (Templum Divi Antonini et Divae Faustinae) was  built by the emperor Antoninus Pius in A.D. 141 on the north side of the Via Sacra shortly after the death of his wife, the empress Faustina. When Antoninus Pius died in A.D. 161 (on 7th March), the temple was re-dedicated to [...]

Exhibition, Museum, Mythology, Rome

Monsters and mythical creatures invade Rome (photos)

The Roman National Museum at Palazzo Massimo is hosting a superb and original exhibition called “Mostri, creature fantastiche della paura e del mito” (Monsters, fantastic creatures of fear and myth). The show brings together over 100 works from 40 museums, depicting fantastical creatures, all in a series of dark passages intended to resemble the Minotaur’s [...]