Month: May 2016

Crossing the Rubicon

On 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”).

Destinations Rich in History and Culture

The world contains numerous cultures, traditions, cuisines and languages that make excellent destinations for any history buff.  The featured countries’ rich history and heritage evoke images of the days gone by and lure hundreds of tourists to taste their interesting cultures. Get a Taste of Italian Culture Known for its rich art and architecture, Italy has inspired the architecture of many Western nations. Be it Michelangelo’s statue of David or Leonardo da Vinci’s eternal portrait of the Mona Lisa, these artworks are beyond excellence and people from across the world still stand in large queues to glimpse these masterpieces. Some of the world’s famous structures like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Colosseum and Sistine Chapel call Italy their home. It’s not just the art and architecture that attracts thousands of tourists to this beautiful country — it’s also a love for traditional Italian music and dance. Hordes of music lovers, singers, and musicians gather from different corners of the world to be part of country’s rich heritage. You will be amazed to know that today’s world-famous opera has …

Paleolithic Caves in Iraqi Kurdistan

There are two Paleolithic caves in Iraqi Kurdistan (the northeast area of the Republic of Iraq): Hazar Merd and Shanidar. Iraq, the cradle of civilization, has become a dangerous destination for tourists. Instead of discussing their deep archaeological details, I will you take on a cyber-tour to see these caves. Hazar Merd Group of Caves Hazar Merd Cave (Kurdish: هه زار ميرد ; Arabic: هزار مرد) is located in the area where I live. Each and every day, when I go to work at 8 AM, I see the mountain which houses the cave. It is located within the Governorate of Sulaymaniyah. It lies 13 km (35°29’39.22″N;  45°18’37.66″E) to the west of modern-day Sulaymaniyah city, Kurdistan Region, Iraq. It is not a single cave, but rather a collection of adjacent caves of various sizes within a cliff of a small mountain. The usual destination for tourists is two caves; the largest cave (see the image below) and an adjacent cave to the left of it (Ashkawty Tarik in Kurdish, “the Dark Cave”), where most of the excavation …

The Art of Ancient Dion

Enjoying a privileged and bucolic position on the eastern slopes of Mount Olympus, the ancient Greek city of Dion prospered for thousands of years as a sacred center for the cult of Zeus and as the gateway to Macedonia. Gods and Mortals at Olympus: Ancient Dion, City of Zeus, now on show at the Onassis Cultural Center in New York, N.Y., examines the development and trajectory of Dion, from a small rural settlement to a thriving Roman colony, through the presentation of remarkable archaeological artifacts not seen outside of Greece. In this exclusive interview, James Blake Wiener of Ancient History Encyclopedia speaks to Dr. Dimitrios Pandermalis about this exhibition and Dion’s importance in the wider Greco-Roman world.

The 115 AD Earthquake in Antioch

Exactly 1900 years ago¹, Hadrian survived a violent and devastating earthquake while wintering in Antioch during Trajan’s campaign in the east. Hadrian had been in Syria since January 114 AD as imperial legate (envoy to the emperor), and as such, had taken up residence in Antiochia ad Orontem (Antioch on the Orontes). The city served as headquarters for the Parthian wars. Trajan had returned from a campaign in Armenia when disaster struck in the morning of December 13th of 115 AD. The earthquake in the Orontes valley, of an estimated magnitude of 7.5 on the Moment Magnitude scale (MMS), almost totally destroyed Antioch, Daphne and four other ancient cities including Apamea. It was felt all over the near East and the Eastern Mediterranean up to Rhodos and triggered a tsunami that hit the harbour city of Caesarea Maritima in Judea. Antioch on the Orontes was one of the most important cities of the Graeco-roman period. It was founded in 300 BC by Seleucus I, one of Alexander the Great’s generals, and became the Seleucids’ capital …

Visiting the Roman Baths in Bath, England

In the heart of southern England, the city of Bath emerges from the countryside with picturesque stone buildings and neoclassical Georgian architecture. I recently visited the city’s Roman baths, which were built nearly two millennia ago and continue to impress over a million visitors each year.