History for the Rest of Us

Vexillum

Vexillum

Jul 14, 2014

A portion of a Roman Legion on detached duty as a temporary task force, carried a standard called a Vexillum. These detached units became know as vexillatio derived from the name of the standard they bore. Vexillum comes from the Latin word velum, meaning sail, curtain, or awning. The vexilla (plural of vexillum) were ‘little sails’ or flag-like...

Temple of Concord

Temple of Concord

Jun 6, 2014

Dedicated to the Roman goddess Concordia (goddess of concord and harmony), the Temple of Concord was vowed in 367 BC to commemorate reconciliation between patricians and plebians after the Aventine Secession. The Licinian laws, expanding the civil rights of the commoners or ‘plebians’, had been proposed and were eventually accepted despite great...

Deborah, Israelite Prophetess – Summary

Deborah, Israelite Prophetess – Summary

May 5, 2014

Deborah was the fourth Judge of pre-monarchic Israel, and only female Judge mentioned in the Bible. She was a prophetess of the God of the Israelites, a counselor, warrior, and wife. Some refer to her as the ‘Mother of Israel’. After 20 years of oppression at the hands of Jabin, king of Canaan, Deborah incited a rebellion, rallied 10,000 troops to...

All Roads Lead to Rome – Milliarium Aureum

In 20 BC, Augustus, as curator viarum or inspector-in-chief of a road or roads, erected the Milliarium Aureum. This monument was most likely a marble column sheathed in gilded bronze and was adjacent to the Rostra on the opposite side from the Umbilicus Urbis. A huge marble cylinder matching this description was found in 1835 near this location. All roman roads...

Rediscovery of Machu Picchu

Rediscovery of Machu Picchu

Jul 18, 2013

On July 24, 1911, Hiram Bingham III, a lecturer at Yale University, was led by Melchor Arteaga to a site Melchor called Machu Picchua (“old mountain”), a largely forgotten Inca city. Bingham wrote, “The morning of July 24th dawned a cold drizzle. Arteaga shivered and seemed inclined to stay in his hut. I offered to play him well if he showed...

Great Fire of Rome

Great Fire of Rome

Jul 13, 2013

On July 19, 64 AD the Great Fire of Rome began in the merchant area of the city and burned for six days. Three of Rome’s fourteen districts were ‘leveled to the ground’ and seven others were reduced ‘to a few scorched and mangled ruins’ according to Tacitus. There are contradictory accounts explaining the cause of the fire. Rumors...