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The Antonine Wall is the northernmost boundary of the Roman Empire. An exercise in military engineering nearly 2,000km from Rome, it was designed and built explicitly as an example of the might of Emperor Antoninus Pius. Though half the length... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2015 at Bread & Circuses
Novels about the Battle of Teutoburg Forest – the battle in AD9 where three Roman legions under Public Quinctilius Varus were wiped out by a coalition of Germanic tribes under the rebel Cheruscan leader Arminius – do not have an... Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2015 at Bread & Circuses
Pliny is all well and good, but I confess that I have always found it difficult to visualise what it must have been like to watch Vesuvius erupt. There are, of course, the news reports of Vesuvius in 1944 (this... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2015 at Bread & Circuses
I have been meaning to mention this for days, but Mike Bishop is running a brilliant series on Hadrian's Wall - everything you ever wanted to know. It starts here with "When was Hadrian's Wall Built". It is a must... Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2015 at Bread & Circuses
A musical curiosity - an orchestral work from 1972 by the German composer Hans Werner Henze. Thanks to DD for passing over. Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2015 at Bread & Circuses
A great film by Falkirk Council about the discovery of the Bridgeness Slab on the Antonine Wall: Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2015 at Bread & Circuses
It is easy to become cynical about what appear to be numerous new plans for the Antonine Wall especially with the dreaded phrase "five year plan". There is an inevitability to the way that these projects fade away. But councils... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2015 at Bread & Circuses
The first Alderney Literary Festival takes place next week. For those who are able to come, I will be speaking about Herculaneum: "Bringing the Dead of Herculaneum to Life," on Saturday, 21 March at 1530. I will also be speaking... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2015 at Bread & Circuses
Interesting news from Historic Scotland about the launch, in April 2016, of an Antonine Wall app. It will use augmented reality to help visitors visit the site. The technology draws on the Bavarian museums service, which created an earlier similar... Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2015 at Bread & Circuses
Roman relations with India are fascinating. I have blogged about it on and off over the years. There is news in a couple of Indian papers today about the discovery of several Roman coins in Vellalore in Coimbatore. There are... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2015 at Bread & Circuses
Just before Christmas I mentioned that I had spent a chunk of the last nine months working with the Scottish Qualifications Authority, best-known for coordinating school exams in Scotland, on its papers for classical studies. At the time I posted... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2015 at Bread & Circuses
Those with longer memories will recall late Roman, fifth century hoard found in Rhineland Palatinate that was instantly dubbed the legendary Nibelung treasure. It made the deadlines in February last year (previous posts here and here). I had been curious... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2015 at Bread & Circuses
A splendid review in the New Statesman of the computer game Total War: Attila: The game offers no sympathy to the plight of Rome, its fall is not seen as being tragic in any way. If you’re a very good... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2015 at Bread & Circuses
Via Vesuvio Live, a brilliant video produced by Melbourne Museum that shows how Vesuvius erupted and how it destroyed Pompeii in August AD79. Well-worth a look: Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2015 at Bread & Circuses
News has been rather quiet on the Battle of the Harzhorn front - the battle in AD238 between the Romans under Maximinus Thrax and the Germanic tribes, uncovered in 2008. My last post on the subject was a year ago.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2015 at Bread & Circuses
There has been a great deal of excitement about the news yesterday that a new technique might help scholars reads the carbonised scrolls from the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum. I thought it worthwhile pulling together the better articles. The... Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2015 at Bread & Circuses
The special exhibition this year at the Kalkriese Museum focuses on Germanicus, either the best emperor Rome never had or a preening self-important idiot. Either way, it was Germanicus who (eventually) defeated Arminius after the Battle of Teutoburg Forest. Ein... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2015 at Bread & Circuses
An article in the Milngavie and Bearsden Herald about new plans to capitalise on the Antonine Wall. The views of businesses are currently being canvassed: Businesses are being urged to help build on the popularity of the Antonine Wall and... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2015 at Bread & Circuses
There was a good piece, a couple of days ago in the Times, about the Frome Hoard and the Emperor Carausius (AD286-293), also known as the Squatter Emperor. Inevitably behind the firewall, Jack Malvern's piece has (thankfully) been reprinted in... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2015 at Bread & Circuses
A rather good article in German newspaper Die Welt about the Battle of Teutoburg Forest ahead of a documentary which was shown yesterday afternoon - perfect Christmas fare... or something like that. For those who speak German and who missed... Continue reading
Posted Dec 28, 2014 at Bread & Circuses
I have spent a chunk of the last six months working with the Scottish Qualifications Authority, best-known for coordinating school exams in Scotland, on its papers for classical studies. It has been both a privilege to do so and a... Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2014 at Bread & Circuses
An interesting article in the Osnabrücker Zeitung looking at the basement of the museum in Kalkriese with Susanne Wilbers-Rost. While the highlights of the museum are well-known, it is a useful insight into the bits and pieces that have been... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2014 at Bread & Circuses
Much like a drum solo, the prog rock theme continues for a second day... I hadn't come across German ELP knock-off band Triumvirat or its version of the life of everyone's favourite rebel slave on the 1975 album Spartacus. MB... Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2014 at Bread & Circuses
A curiosity that I had long heard about, but never actually got my hands on is Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of Spartacus, a 1992 follow up to his immensely successful The War of the Worlds. It is pretty hard to... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2014 at Bread & Circuses
A rather depressing piece in Die Welt this week, that suggests that Germans are no longer learning about Arminius and the Battle of Teutoburg Forest at school: Bis in die NS-Zeit war dieser Gründungsmythos des deutschen Volkes weit verbreitet. Mit... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2014 at Bread & Circuses