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Travel

The Hadrianic Tondi on the Arch of Constantine

The Arch of Constantine, dedicated on 25 July 315 CE, stands in Rome between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill, at what was once the beginning of the Via Triumphalis. As described on its attic inscription, it commemorates Constantine’s victory at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge on 28 October 312 CE over the tyrant Maxentius who had ruled Rome since 306 CE. It is one of the largest surviving Roman triumphal arches.

The North side of the Arch of Constantine, Rome.

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Photos Travel

Art of Hadrian’s Villa: Headless Statue of Athena

This marvelous piece from Hadrian’s Villa is a headless statue of Athena of the Vescovali-Arezzo Type and made of Luna marble.

Headless statue of Athena of a Vescovali-Arezzo Type (modelled on a bronze prototype of the 4th century BC, from the portico of the pecile at Hadrian's Villa, 138 - 150 AD, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome
Headless statue of Athena of a Vescovali-Arezzo Type, from Hadrian’s Villa, 138 – 150 AD, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome. Photo © Carole Raddato.
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Photos Travel

Roman Villa Borg

Ruins of a grand Roman countryside villa (villa rustica) were discovered by a local school teacher at the end of the 19th century outside the village of Borg in the municipality of Perl (Germany). The villa consisted of three wings covering an area of more than 7.5 hectares. The complex was excavated in the late 1980s and a plan to reconstruct an authentic representation of the buildings as they originally appeared in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD began in 1994. The project was completed in 2008 although further excavation work is still undergoing.

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Photos Travel

Italica: Roman city in Santiponce

Italica is a well-preserved Roman city located in modern-day Santiponce, 9 kilometres north of Seville in Spain. The city was founded in 206 BC during the Second Punic War (218-202) when the Roman commander Publius Cornelius Scipio settled his Italian veterans on this site following a victory at the Battle of Ilipa. Although the nearby town of Hispalis (Seville) would always remain a larger city, Italica became an important centre of Roman culture and was awarded the title of colonia. The name Italica reflected the veterans’ Italian origins.

Coordinates: 37° 26′ 38″ N, 6° 2′ 48″ W

Categories
Culture Education

Happy Birthday Rome!

Felix dies natalis, Roma! (Happy birthday, Rome!) This week on the 21st of April is the traditional date given for the founding of Rome. According to Roman mythology, the founders were Romulus and Remus, twin brothers and supposed sons of the god Mars and the priestess Rhea Silvia. The twins were then abandoned by their parents as babies because of a prophecy that they would overthrow their great-uncle Amulius, but were saved by a she-wolf who nursed them. Romulus killed his brother after a vicious quarrel and went on to establish a city which he named after himself.

The she-wolf feeding the twins Romulus and Remus, the most famous image associated with the founding of Rome. Image © Carole Raddato.
The she-wolf feeding the twins Romulus and Remus, the most famous image associated with the founding of Rome. Image © Carole Raddato.
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Photos

Roman Villa Nennig

Located in the village of Nennig in the delightful Upper Moselle Valley, the Roman Villa Nennig (German: Römische Villa Nennig) houses a richly illustrated gladiatorial mosaic, one of the most important Roman artefacts north of the Alps. Protected by a dedicated building built about 150 years ago and covering an area of roughly 160m2, the mosaic vividly portrays musicians, hunting scenes and gladiatorial contests.

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Exhibitions

Marguerite Yourcenar and Hadrian in Bavay (France)

Last year, the Forum Antique de Bavay, located in northern France, hosted a small exhibition devoted to the book Mémoires d’Hadrien (Memoirs of Hadrian).

The exhibition sheds light on the genesis of Mémoires d’Hadrien and presents archaeological objects and ancient texts. It provides insight into the meticulous work behind Marguerite Yourcenar’s historic novel, compiling postcards and photographs of works and places relating to her subject, studying all the ancient sources with a passionate and serious enthusiasm. On display are books, manuscripts, statuary, portrait busts, and coins, as well as different artefacts from the time of Hadrian and the Antonines. Fifty works are on loan from the Louvre, the British Museum, Hadrian’s Villa, the Museum Ingres in Montauban, the Gallo-Roman Museum of Lyon and the Musée Saint-Raymond in Toulouse. It is the first exhibition in France about Mémoires d’Hadrien.

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Travel

Art from Hadrian’s Villa: Three Mosaic Panels with Bucolic Scenes

This month’s masterpiece from Hadrian’s Villa is a series of heavily restored mosaic panels depicting bucolic scenes with animals.

The first panel depicts a rocky landscape with a flock of goats peacefully grazing by a stream. A standing bronze statue dressed in a long tunic is standing on a rock. It holds a bunch of grapes in its right hand and a thyrsus in his left hand. The statue is probably an image of the god Dionysos meant to evoke a sacro-idyllic landscape. Dionysus was also considered to be a god of fertility and there seems to be a human phallus represented on the tablet next to the statue. The phallus was a symbol of his power, the ability to create new life.

Mosaic panel depicting a landscape with goats and sheeps and a statue of Dionysus holding thyrsus, from the Sala a Tre Navate (Hall with three ailes) in the Imperial Villa at Hadrian's Villa, Vatican Museums (Sala degli Animali)
Mosaic panel depicting a rocky landscape with goats by a stream and a standing statue of Dionysus. Image © Carole Raddato.
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Travel

Ankara’s Cuirassed Statue of Hadrian

Hadrian and his travels have often served as the guiding thread for my own travels. However, my recent trip to Turkey had a different focus, the Hittite civilization, with one of the highlights being a visit to the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara. After dazzling at the magnificent artifacts on display on the main floor of the museum, I discovered that there was also a section dedicated to the Roman period in Ancyra which featured, to my big surprise, parts of a statue of the Roman Emperor Hadrian.

The Roman Theatre of Ancyra, beginning of the 2nd century AD, Ankara. Photo © Carole Raddato.
The Roman Theatre of Ancyra, beginning of the 2nd century AD, Ankara. Photo © Carole Raddato.
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Photos Travel

5 Key Sites Of The Hittite Empire

Although mentioned several times in the Biblical texts, the actual existence of the Hittites was largely forgotten until the late 19th century. With the discovery of Hattusa in 1834, the city that was for many years the capital of the Hittite Empire, the Hittites were finally recognized as one of the Great Superpowers of the ancient Middle East in the Late Bronze Age.

Engraving from a relief at Yazilikaya by French archaeologist Charles Texier (1882). Teshub stands on two deified mountains (depicted as men) alongside his wife Hepatu, who is standing on the back of a panther. Behind her, their son, their daughter and grandchild are respectively carried by a smaller panther and a double-headed eagle. Hittite
Engraving from a relief at Yazilikaya by French archaeologist Charles Texier (1882). Teshub stands on two deified mountains (depicted as men) alongside his wife Hepatu, who is standing on the back of a panther. Behind her, their son, their daughter and grandchild are respectively carried by a smaller panther and a double-headed eagle.