History for the Rest of Us

Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra – Summary

Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra – Summary

May 7, 2014

Zenobia had a deep understanding of affairs of state, and her husband’s successes (recovery of the Roman East), were said to have been due to her counsel. She became Queen of Palmyra when her husband died in 267. Within two years she had conquered Egypt and expelled the Roman prefect, who was beheaded when he attempted to reclaim the territory. Zenobia...

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...

Mercuralia – Festival of Mercury

Mercuralia – Festival of Mercury

May 14, 2013

Mercuralia was a Roman celebration that was also known as the ‘Festival of Mercury’. Mercury, was a Roman messenger god whose attributes were mainly borrowed from the Greek god Hermes although there are myths regarding Mercury that are distinctly Roman. He was a god of trade, thieves, and travel. The name is closely related to merx, mercari, and...

History of Fruitcake

History of Fruitcake

Nov 29, 2012

According to culinary legend, ancient Egyptians created the first version of the fruitcake for placement on the tombs or in the coffins of friends and relatives, perhaps as a food that could survive their journey into the afterlife. If the Egyptians felt the same way I do about fruitcake, they must have thought those friends and relatives were going somewhere...

Ludi Plebeii

Ludi Plebeii

Nov 12, 2012

The Ludi Plebeii or Plebeian Games, were mentioned as early as 216 B.C. They may have first commenced in conjunction with the completion of the Circus Flaminius which was finished in 220 B.C., but some scholars believe they began as early as the 5th century B.C. The Ludi Plebeii continued to be held until the fourth century A.D. They originally were held on...