Hippika gymnasia, the Roman cavalry tournaments

We are used, thanks to literature and cinema, to the image of medieval horsemen engaged in chivalry tournaments. Although this type of competition and its rules are exclusively of medieval invention, in reality similar exercises existed long before, such as the one practiced by the Roman cavalry, probably due to Greek influence. It was called…Continue readingHippika gymnasia, the Roman cavalry tournaments

When Emperor Hadrian destroyed the world’s longest bridge

On 103 A.D. emperor Trajan ordered to build a bridge over Danube river to be used for the crossing and supply of troops in the imminent Second Dacian War against Decebalus, for which he was preparing the biggest army since Augustus’ times, about 150,000 men. The architect Apolodorus of Damascus, to whom the Pantheon is…Continue readingWhen Emperor Hadrian destroyed the world’s longest bridge

Lapis Niger, the shrine where the first known Latin inscription was found, was already a mystery to the Romans themselves

In 1898 the Venetian archaeologist Giacomo Boni was appointed director of the excavations of the Roman Forum at the Italian capital, a position he held until his death in 1925. Among the discoveries he made during that period are an Iron Age necropolis, the Regia (first a barracks and then the seat of Rome’s highest…Continue readingLapis Niger, the shrine where the first known Latin inscription was found, was already a mystery to the Romans themselves

The 5 Great Last Battles of the Western Roman Empire

Historically, the year 476 A.D. is considered to be the end of the Western Roman Empire, its last emperor being Romulus Augustulus. It was not something that happened suddenly but as a result of an evolutionary process initiated centuries ago, along which Rome suffered a progressive weakening for many reasons, some external and others internal,…Continue readingThe 5 Great Last Battles of the Western Roman Empire

Priscus of Panium, the Roman historian who attended a banquet with Attila

The breakthrough of the Huns in Europe shook the foundations of the Roman Empire, which did not hesitate to nickname its chief the Scourge of God for the audacity of trying to conquer Constantinople and Rome itself. The irony is that, since the Hun people were fundamentally nomadic, the primary sources for knowing those facts…Continue readingPriscus of Panium, the Roman historian who attended a banquet with Attila

When Cicero found Archimedes’ tomb in Syracuse.

Archimedes was probably the greatest mathematician of antiquity. He was born in the Sicilian city of Syracuse in 287 B.C., then an independent Greek colony. It is surprising how little we know about him and his life, as well as the oblivion into which he fell a few years after his death. It is known…Continue readingWhen Cicero found Archimedes’ tomb in Syracuse.