Voices

If he had been just a kindly chap, nobody outside his family would have noticed

Nature Studies by Michael McCarthy: The missing contribution to the great debate of our age

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.

Lie back and think of Genghis: Conn Iggulden reveals the inspirations behind his historical fiction

The best thing about writing historical fiction is that the story has already been told. All Conn Iggulden – the bestselling author of 'The Dangerous Book for Boys' – has to do is imagine the gory details...

Somerset haul of coins is declared treasure

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.

Top 10 clues to the real King Arthur

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.

The Empire Stops Here, By Philip Parker

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".

Nemesis, By Lindsey Davis<br />Falco: The Official Companion, By Lindsey Davis

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.

World's best-preserved gladiatorial relics are discovered in the suburbs of York

Eighty skeletons &ndash; including one apparently killed by a large carnivore &ndash; found close to city centre

Pompeii's X-rated art will titillate a new generation

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.

Party Of The Week: Clash of the Titans bash ushers in the summer season

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.

The best historical pranks and hoaxes

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.

Lava bread, anyone? Pompeii snack bar rises from the ashes after 2,000 years

The Roman 'thermopolium' destroyed by Mt Vesuvius in AD79 has been restored. Michael Day reports

Hadrian's Wall in giant light show

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.

Cracking the codex: Long lost Roman legal document discovered

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.

British film-makers uncover Trajan's hidden Roman aqueduct

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.

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
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Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn