Month: December 2015

Ancient Hairstyles of the Greco-Roman World

From the dawn of civilization to the present day, human hair has seldom been worn in its natural state. Whether cut, shorn, curled, straightened, braided, beaded, worn in an upsweep or down to the knees, adorned with pins, combs, bows, garlands, extensions, and other accoutrements, hairstyles had the power to reflect societal norms. In antiquity, ancient hairstyles and their depictions did not only delineate wealth and social status, or divine and mythological iconography; they were also tied to rites of passage and religious rituals. Hair in the Classical World, now on view at the Bellarmine Museum of Art (BMA) in Fairfield CT, is the first exhibition of its kind in the United States to present some 33 objects pertaining to hair from the Bronze Age to Late Antiquity (1500 BCE-600 CE). The exhibition takes the visitor on a rich cultural journey through ancient Greece, Cyprus, and Rome, in an examination of ancient hairstyles through three thematic lenses: “Arrangement and Adornment”; “Rituals and Rites of Passage”; and “Divine and Royal Iconography.” In this exclusive 2015 holiday season …

Reading Ancient History: Reference Books

In today’s blog post we’ll be looking at Ancient History Reference books particularly five excellent ones which will help any reader to understand the ancient world around the Mediterranean. The Oxford Classical Dictionary If there was ever a book that covered just about everything there was to know about Roman and Greek cultures, this is it. This is the 4th edition of the Oxford Classical Dictionary and it contains around 75 new additions. Though a weighty tome each student studying the classics should have this as a reference book for their studies! Buy it here through AHE’s bookstore.      

Exploring Verulamium, the Roman City of St Albans (UK)

Anyone with an interest in Roman Britain should have St Albans on top of their list of places to visit. I myself visited St Albans twice and enjoyed it on both occasions. A short train ride north of London, St Albans is a must-see site. There are a few remains of the Roman town still visible (Verulamium), such as parts of the city walls, a hypocaust in situ under a mosaic floor, but the most spectacular are the remains of the Roman theatre. In its heyday Verulamium was the third largest city in Roman Britain. The city was founded on the ancient Celtic site of Verlamion (meaning ‘settlement above the marsh’), a late Iron Age settlement and major center of the Catuvellauni tribe. After the Roman invasion of 43 AD, the city was renamed Verulamium and became one of the largest and most prosperous towns in the province of Britannia. In around AD 50, Verulamium was granted the rank of municipium, meaning its citizens had “Latin Rights”. It grew to a significant town, and as such …

Gold Artifacts from the Ancient Philippines

The kingdoms of the ancient Philippines were populated by advanced societies with superior metallurgical technology long before the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan and Spanish explorers in 1521 CE. This fall, New York City’s Asia Society Museum presents an exhibition of spectacular works of gold — including exquisite regalia, jewelry, functional and ritualistic objects, ceremonial weapons, and funerary masks — from collections in the Philippines and United States: Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms. In this exclusive interview, James Blake Wiener of Ancient History Encyclopedia speaks to Dr. Adriana Proser, Senior Curator at Asian Society Museum, about the ways in which this exhibition underscores the place and importance of ancient Philippine craftsmanship and metallurgy.