If he had been just a kindly chap, nobody outside his family would have noticed
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Friday 24 September 2010
Anyone who saw the Hollywood movie Gladiator will remember its villain: the demented young Roman emperor Commodus, played by Joaquin Phoenix. The most vivid historical picture we have of Commodus is by Edward Gibbon in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; Gibbon hated him because he felt it was with Commodus that the Roman rot set in, after four emperors who had ruled wisely and well, the last being Commodus's own philosopher-father, Marcus Aurelius.
Sunday 29 August 2010
Friday 23 July 2010
A metal detecting enthusiast who found one of the largest hoards of Roman coins in Britain was hoping for a substantial reward yesterday after his find was officially declared to be treasure.
Monday 12 July 2010
The King Arthur we know is one of romance, ephemera and myth. But is he real? Arthur has been in and out of fashion more than denim: one year his veracity is being argued by every archaeologist in Britain, the next he's ignored or derided.
Friday 25 June 2010
This huge, learned and continuously fascinating guide to the periphery of the Roman Empire, "lands that promised victory, booty and glory", starts close to home with Hadrian's Wall, whose troops "represented the Roman military machine at its peak of effectiveness".
Friday 25 June 2010
Friday 11 June 2010
Marcus Didius Falco, that light-footed private eye who makes his chancy way through the patrician villas and noxious alleyways of ancient Rome, first saw the light of day in 1989, in The Silver Pigs, where he ventured to that mist-ridden offshore island of Britannia. The ingredients of the Falco series were established right at the start: as well as convincing historical detail, the novels include surprising murders, a good deal of cynical joshing on the part of the ancient gumsandal and a bold, independent woman who manages to keep him on some sort of rein. When the series started, Falco was unique in detective fiction, but as the books gathered fans, other authors tried their hands at the classical setting.
Monday 07 June 2010
Saturday 15 May 2010
Pompeii's saucy heyday might be a little behind it but the ancient city's power to intrigue, delight and even titillate remains intact – as proved by the hundreds of visitors queuing this weekend for an adults-only viewing of its most-erotic artwork.
Friday 02 April 2010
Former Bond girl Gemma Arterton, who plays a spiritual guide in the 3D epic Clash of the Titans, was spectacularly busy on Monday night. After signing autographs on the red carpet for the film's world premiere in London, she dashed off to perform in her West End show, The Little Dog Laughed, at the Garrick Theatre down the road. She missed out on watching the film but returned in time for the after party, held at the chic restaurant and bar, Aqua London, housed in the former Dickens & Jones department store on Regent Street.
Thursday 01 April 2010
Emperor Constantine had a splendid sense of humour for a Roman, but he couldn't stand criticism. When in the fifth century one of his court jesters boasted that fools and jesters of the court could rule the empire better than the Emperor himself, Constantine decreed that the fools would get their chance at proving this claim.
Saturday 20 March 2010
Tuesday 16 March 2010
On Saturday over 25,000 people visited Hadrian's Wall, packing every rolling hillside, car park and vantage spot to see in a huge illumination ceremony organised by Hadrian’s Wall Heritage.
Thursday 28 January 2010
Dr Simon Corcoran and Dr Benet Salway of the history department at University College London have found fragments of an important Roman law code that previously had been thought lost forever.
Tuesday 26 January 2010
Two British film-makers have discovered what they believe to be the source of the 1,900-year old aqueduct built by the emperor Trajan in the early second century AD.
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