Articles on Rome

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has been described as a Byzantine Emperor in style, positioning Russia as the “third Rome.” In western history books, on the other hand, the Bzyantine Empire is all but ignored, pointing as it does to the east. AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

The Byzantine history of Putin’s Russian empire

Russian president Vladimir Putin draws upon the imperial symbols of the Byzantine Empire to position Russia as the "third Rome." Meanwhile, Byzantium is erased by western history books.
It is commonly thought that anyone in ancient Rome who killed his father, mother, or another relative was subjected to the ‘punishment of the sack’. But is this true? Creative Commons

Mythbusting Ancient Rome: cruel and unusual punishment

From being thrown off a cliff to being sewn into a sack with animals, ancient Rome is notorious for its cruel and unusual punishments. But we must be careful what we take as historical fact.
Art and Seek Workshop participants examining locks of Keats’s hair and the painting P.B. Shelley in the Baths of Caracalla by Joseph Severn. A. Frances Johnson

Courageous quests: Keats, art and refugees

Was John Keats a refugee in his day? A workshop for refugees, migrants and artists took place recently at Keats-Shelley House and the story of the great Romantic poet's life and death hit a nerve.
The Peutinger Table. Reproduction by Conradi Millieri - Ulrich Harsch Bibliotheca Augustana. Wikimedia Commons

Mythbusting Ancient Rome – did all roads actually lead there?

Today the phrase 'all roads leads to Rome' means that there's more than one way to reach the same goal. But in Ancient Rome, all roads really did lead to the eternal city, which was at the centre of a vast road network.
Gregg Henry portrays President Donald Trump in the role of Caesar in the Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park production of ‘Julius Caesar,’ in New York City. Joan Marcus/The Public Theater via AP

Julius Caesar in our times

Some have denounced the New York Public Theater for encouraging violence against President Trump. But the play does just the opposite, warning of the pitfalls of political assassination.
An equestrian statue of a Julio-Claudian prince, originally identified as Caligula. ©Trustees of the British Museum: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license.

Mythbusting Ancient Rome – Caligula’s Horse

The emperor Caligula lavished attention on his favourite horse Incitatus, holding parties for friends in the steed's grand stables. But did he make his horse a consul?
French essayist Michel de Montaigne once described a ceremony between two male lovers at Saint John at the Latin Gate in Rome. Gary Ferguson

A same-sex marriage ceremony in… Renaissance Rome?

Same-sex marriage is not a 20th-century phenomenon; couples have long claimed the right to marry.

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