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Remains of weapons, sandals and coins shed new light on Roman conquest of Northwest Iberia

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Republication from  www.exeter.ac.uk  (University of Exeter)

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Reenactment in Spain – Image Credit : Franciscojh -Wikimedia commons

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Newly discovered remains of weapons, hobnails from sandals and coins will help experts piece together the untold story of how the Romans won control of Galicia and Northern Portugal from local tribes for the first time.

Archaeologists have found the oldest evidence yet of the presence of legions in Galicia in the Penedo dos Lobos Roman camp (Manzaneda, Ourense, Galicia). This significant discovery will help to redefine the history of the period.

Until now historians had found few clues about the actions of Roman soldiers in these regions. The findings show some, smaller groups, of legionnaires were probably sent on scouting missions in the area to investigate the landscape, rather than to fight, suggesting the region was already under Roman control by the end of 1st century BC, when the bronze coins found were made.

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Exploring Hadrian’s Athens

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Republication from Following hadrian

 

Hadrian was a dedicated philhellene who admired Greek culture and did his best to be accepted and admired by the Greeks. He visited Greece three times when he was emperor (AD 124/5, 128/9 and 131/2) and he was especially fond of Athens. Pausanias writes that “the Emperor Hadrian generosity to his subjects was bestowed most of all on Athens” whilst Cassius Dio tells about Hadrian’s generosity in a passage referring to his stay: “He granted the Athenians large sums of money, an annual dole of grain, and the whole of Cephallenia”. The philhellenic emperor did all he could to raise Athens to a special position in the Roman Empire and hoped to restore the city to the greatness of its distant past.

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Germanic lands according to Cl. Ptolemaeus (2nd cent. CE)

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A map of the Germanic lands according to Claudius Ptolemaeus (2nd cent. CE)

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Book Review: The Byzantine Wars by John Haldon, History Press, 2008

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At times I receive emails with which my readers ask me to suggest to them some studies, treatises, sourcebooks etc for specific issues of history, military history and engineering/architecture. Due to the unfortunate fact that I do not have the time to answer to each one separately (which is why I also had to disable the comments on the posts), I decided to write some reviews on books that I’ve studied on such topics. The Greek readers know that I’ve written two historical novels on Antiquity, so some readers ask me which my favorite historical novels are; thereby from time to time I’ll also suggest some of these works for the English-speaking and German-speaking readers, especially recent ones and some older.
I will start this new section with a military study that is a work by the well known Byzantinologist John Haldon: The Byzantine Wars.          The Byzantine Empire during her very long history, faced a multitude of enemy states, peoples and nomadic hordes, thus developing the characteristic Byzantine warfare, one of the most advanced of its time concerning the entire planet. Her geographical position at the “crossroads of civilizations”, her weighty heritage from both the Roman and the ancient Greek armies and her confrontation with particularly dangerous enemies in all her borders, led her to always maintain a vigorous and well-organized army, an army of the real “imperial” kind.

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Crossing the Rubicon

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Republication from  followinghadrian.com

On this day (10th January) in 49 BC, Julius Caesar and his troops famously crossed the Rubicon, the river marking the boundary between the province of Cisalpine Gaul and Italy. Taking the 13th Legion over this forbidden frontier constituted an act of treason and triggered civil war in Rome. According to the historian Suetonius, Caesar uttered the famous phrase ālea iacta est (“the die is cast”).

The Green Caesar, Greywacke from Egypt, 1 - 50 AD, Altes Museum Berlin
The Green Caesar, Greywacke from Egypt, 1 – 50 AD, Altes Museum Berlin

Last June, I travelled along the Via Aemilia in the footsteps of Julius Caesar, crossing the river and following the soon to be dictator’s path towards Rome.

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Forum Romanum: Architecture, part II

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Architectural reconstruction of the Forum of Rome.
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