21-31 of 31 Results  for:

  • Roman Material Culture x
  • Roman History and Historiography x
Clear all


Iulius Frontinus, Sextus  

Brian Campbell and Nicholas Purcell

Sextus Iulius Frontinus, perhaps from southern Gaul, served as urban *praetor in 70 ce and then assisted in suppressing the revolt of *Iulius Civilis, receiving the surrender of 70,000 Lingones. Consul in 72 or 73, he served as governor of Britain (73/4 –77) where he crushed the *Silures in south Wales, establishing a fortress for Legio II Augusta (see legion) at Caerleon (*Isca (2)), and then attacked the Ordovices. He may have accompanied *Domitian during his German campaign in 82/3, was proconsul of Asia in 86, and was subsequently appointed by *Nerva in 97 as curator aquarum (superintendent of aqueducts). He held his second, *suffect, consulship in 98, and his third, ordinary, consulship in 100, both times with *Trajan. Pliny described him as one of the two most distinguished men of his day (Ep. 5. 1). He died in 103/4.


papyrology, Latin  

J. David Thomas

In comparison with Greek papyri, Latin papyri are uncommon, even when “papyri” is understood in a wide sense so as to include *ostraca and parchment scraps. This is so because the vast majority of papyri come from the eastern Mediterranean, where the language of administration was Greek even under the Roman empire. Latin was in regular use in this area until c. 300ce only in the military sphere; and although *Diocletian made an effort to encourage the use of Latin in the eastern provinces, this did not have any great effect.Since the turn of the 20th century, some 600 Latin papyri have been published, less than a quarter of which are literary. Most come from Egypt, but finds have also been made at Dura-*Europus, Nessana, and *Masada, as well as in the west. Two literary papyri dating from the reign of *Augustus are known: the much discussed elegiac verses from Qasr Ibrim attributed to *Cornelius Gallus1 and a fragment of *Cicero, In Verrem (CPL 20).



Ian Archibald Richmond, John North, and Andrew Lintott

Pomerium—explained in antiquity as meaning what comes after, or before, the wall—was the line demarcating an augurally constituted city. It was a religious boundary, the point beyond which the auspicia urbana (see auspicium) could not be taken (Varro, Ling. 5. 143), and was distinct both from the city-wall and the limit of actual habitation, although it might coincide with the former and was often understood as the strip inside or outside the wall (cf. Livy 1. 44; Plut.Rom. 11). Almost every aspect of the history of the pomerium of Rome is debatable. Our sources refer to an original Palatine pomerium, later extended by Servius *Tullius and then unchanged until *Sulla’s day (sources in Lugli, Fontes 2. 125 ff.); Tacitus (Ann. 12. 24), perhaps following the emperor *Claudius, describes a circuit round the *Palatine. Although this circuit has been thought to result from confusion with the circuit of the *Lupercalia, recent excavations on the north-east slope of the Palatine have revealed a series of ditches and walls from the regal period, which seem from their size to be more of symbolic value than a real system of defence and thus perhaps confirm the literary tradition.


Res gestae  

Nicholas Purcell

Res gestae (of *Augustus). Augustus left four documents with the Vestal Virgins (see vesta) to be read, after his death, in the senate (Suet. Aug.101). One of these was a record of his achievements (Index rerum a se gestarum), in the style of the claims of the triumphatores of the Roman past, which was to be erected on bronze pillars at the entrance of his mausoleum in the *Campus Martius at Rome. This is known to us from a copy, updated after Augustus' death, which was piously affixed (with a Greek translation) to the antae of the front of the cella of the temple of Rome and Augustus at *Ancyra, capital of *Galatia and therefore centre of the imperial cult of the province. Small fragments of other copies have been found at *Apollonia and *Antioch (2) in Pisidia (also in the province of Galatia); it is likely but not established that copies were widely set up in the provinces.



Ian Archibald Richmond, Donald Emrys Strong, and Janet DeLaine

The earliest rostra, or speaker's platform, at Rome lay on the south side of the *comitium; it existed in 338 bce when it was adorned with the prows (rostra) of ships captured from Antium, later with statues and a sundial. The long, straight platform is associated with the second level of the comitium. When rebuilt in the 2nd cent. it had a curved front. *Caesar replaced the republican rostra with a new curved structure (the so-called hemicycle) at the west end of the forum in 44 bce. *Augustus extended the Julian rostra, adding a rectangular platform faced with marble and decorated with bronze prows. The Augustan rostra were called the rostra vetera in contrast with the tribunal in front of the podium of the temple of Divus Iulius (29 bce), also treated as rostra (Frontin. Aq. 129; Dio Cass. 56. 34) with ships' prows from *Actium.



Kelly Olson

The stola was a long, sleeveless overdress or slip-like garment suspended from shoulder straps that is claimed by literary sources to be the distinguishing garment of the Roman matrona. The stola was worn over the tunic and belted with a cord (see Figure 1). It was a sign that the wearer (perhaps freeborn) was married in a iustum matrimonium. The term is not mentioned by Terence, Cato, or Plautus, and so the garment may not have been commonplace before about 50 bce. It is by no means referred to by all authors even after this date: often the garment of the married woman is referred to in general terms as longa vestis (e.g., Ov. Fast. 4.134), which may refer to her long enveloping tunic, and not the stola at all. It is uncertain whether or not freedwomen wore the stola (see ILLRP 977; = CLE 56; Macr. Sat.



Janet DeLaine

(1) The record-office at Rome (see archives (Roman)), possibly serving the adjacent *aerarium (treasury) of Saturn and built according to CIL 12. 737 by Q. *Lutatius Catulus(1) in 78 bce, but not mentioned in literary sources. It is traditionally associated with the trapezoidal building lying between the two summits of the *Capitol with its main front towards the Campus Martius. On the opposite side, closing the west end of the *forum Romanum, the elevation consisted of a massive substructure of ashlar masonry with an arcade of eleven arches flanked by Doric half-columns above it. A second storey of Corinthian columns, now disappeared, was probably added in Flavian times. A stairway from the Forum climbed through the ground floor of the substructure to the front hall of the building. The first floor contained a service corridor, leading from the top of the porticus Deorum Consentium to two floors of eastern strong-rooms.


Temples of Sant’Omobono  

Nicola Terrenato

Fieldwork around the church of Sant’Omobono in the Forum Boarium has produced some of the most remarkable discoveries illustrating the early phases of the city of Rome. Archaeological remains were accidentally exposed in 1937 during the Fascist overhaul of the neighborhood, when the old buildings surrounding the church were demolished. In the process of reinforcing the foundations of Sant’Omobono, the corner of an Archaic temple podium was exposed, together with remarkable architectural terracottas. Rescue excavations showed the presence of a much larger temple site, so the area was spared and left open for future investigations. Excavations at Sant’Omobono were conducted in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2010s by a variety of archaeologists, employing different methodologies and approaches. None of these investigations had been published in full by 2015, although a multitude of conflicting articles appeared. As a result, understanding of the sequence has always remained problematic and hotly debated. The main phases, as they can be reconstructed on the basis of recent work, are summarized in chronological order in the following sections.


triumphal arches, reception of  

Kimberly Cassibry

Triumphal arches originated in the Roman Empire and have been constructed for over two thousand years. These free-standing portals are more accurately known as arch monuments, commemorative arches, or honorific arches due to their diverse functions. Arcuated shapes allow these monuments to span significant roads; multiple façades create space for dedicatory inscriptions, relief sculptures, and statues. Varied reception of this fundamental design concept—a free-standing portal with words and images—is evident in each commemorative arch. Reception of individual arch monuments can be traced through descriptions, representations, and interventions.

The Roman arches dedicated to the emperors Titus (c. 81 ce), Septimius Severus and his sons (c. 203 ce), and Constantine I (315 ce) have strongly influenced the monument’s modern reception, even though they do not represent the monument’s full range of ancient designs and functions. In major European revivals since antiquity, ephemeral arches have adorned political processions, and permanent monuments have commemorated imperial military victories. In the 20th century, arch monuments arose in cities around the globe, often amid debates about national identity.



Nicholas Purcell

‘Hunts’, involving the slaughter of *animals, especially fierce ones, by other animals or human bestiarii (fighters of wild beasts)—and sometimes of criminals by animals, see below—were a major spectacle at Rome from 186 bce. They displayed the ingenuity and generosity of the sponsoring politician, and the reach of Rome, and its power over nature, in procuring exotic species (lions, panthers, bears, bulls, crocodiles, hippopotamuses, rhinoceroses, elephants): they admitted a privileged city-audience to the glories of traditional aristocratic hunting. Along with gladiatorial fights, they were a principal reason for building *amphitheatres. The emperors gave especially sumptuous displays: 5,000 wild and 4,000 tame animals died at the inauguration of Titus'*Colosseum in 80, and 11,000 at *Trajan's Dacian *triumph (see dacia). Especially in the later 1st cent. ce, criminals might be forced to re-enact gruesome myths (e.g. the killing of *Orpheus by a bear). See gladiators; hunting.


wall of Aurelian  

Rossana Mancini

In 271 ce, nominally in response to the empire’s state of vulnerability, the Emperor Aurelian decided to protect Rome with a curtain wall, a decision that may also have been driven by social pressures in the city and the form of which was motivated by economic limitations. Following its completion by Probus, the wall has subsequently received periodic improvements from Maxentius and Honorius through Theodoric and medieval and Renaissance popes and into the modern period when the walls became partially accessible to the public.When Aurelian succeeded to the imperial throne, in 270ce, northern European tribes posed a serious threat. The most pressing danger was posed by the Juthungi in Noricum, Rhaetia and northern Italy and by the Vandals and Iazygian Sarmatians along the Danube. In 271ce the Juthungi penetrated as far as Umbria, though they were defeated at Ticinum (modern Pavia). It was in that very year that the Emperor .