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July 2016 Museum Listings

By popular demand, Ancient History Encyclopedia will share news, on a monthly basis, about select museum exhibitions and events of interest to our global audience via AHetc. Exhibitions are arranged in alphabetical order by geographical location and region within this post: the Americas, United Kingdom, Europe/Middle East, and East Asia/Oceania. Here is a taste of what is on show at major museums around the world in July 2016:

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Wandering Along the Colonnade of the Gymnasium of Salamis, Cyprus

Once a thriving port city on the island of Cyprus, the legendary birthplace of Aphrodite, Salamis offers a tantalizing glimpse into the vast history of the island. The ruins of the ancient city occupy an extensive area (one square mile) extending along the sea shore against the backdrop of sand dunes and a forest of acacias.

According to ancient Greek tradition, Salamis was founded after the Trojan War by the archer Teukros, son of King Telamon, who came from the island of Salamis. Half-brother to the hero Ajax, Teukros was unable to return home from the war after failing to prevent his half-brother’ suicide, leading him to flee to Cyprus where he founded Salamis. After its legendary beginnings, Salamis later became one of the most important cities on the island and the seat of a powerful kingdom. Archaeologists believe that Salamis was first established by newcomers from the nearby site of Enkomi following the earthquake of 1075 BC. The city was subsequently controlled by the Persians until the arrival of Alexander the Great into Asia Minor. Following the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC Salamis came under the control of the Ptolemaic dynasty until its incorporation into the Roman Empire in 58 BC. The importance of the city is reflected in archaeological findings dating back to the Late Geometric periods (8th century BC) to Byzantine times (6th century AD).

Salamis was affected by destructive earthquakes. The earthquake of 76-77 AD was among the most destructive, with a magnitude between 9 and 10. Salamis took the brunt of this earthquake, and fell into ruin. The Jewish insurrection of Artemion in 116 AD further devastated the city. Salamis was rebuilt by the emperors Trajan and Hadrian who embellished it with lavish public buildings.

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The Hellenistic World at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Stretching from the beaches of the Adriatic Sea to the banks of the Indus River, Alexander the Great’s empire was the largest the world had ever seen when he died in 323 BCE. His empire broke into several smaller kingdoms soon after, but his enduring legacy can be found in signs of Hellenistic cultural diffusion in ancient artifacts that survive today. The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s latest exhibition, Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World, is a testament to this cultural interaction and the footprint Alexander left in history far beyond what his imagination could have conceived.

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AHE Launches History et cetera Video Series

A new series of entertaining and educational videos created by Ancient History Encyclopedia, in co-production with Past Preservers, will expand and enhance the availability of online resources pertaining to the study of the ancient world.

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Ancient History Encyclopedia (AHE), a nonprofit, digital humanities website focused on global ancient history, announced today that they are launching a series of videos under the title History et cetera with Past Preservers. This new series will bring fresh and engaging video content to Ancient History Encyclopedia, offering the “YouTube generation” expert knowledge on a variety of topics related to history, archaeology, and much more. This video series is designed to appeal to students, educators, and history enthusiasts alike.

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The Summer Solstice and its Celtic Traditions

In 2016, the Summer Solstice will be celebrated on the 20th of June in the Northern Hemisphere. The Summer Solstice occurs when the axial tilt of the earth is at its closest to the sun. It has more hours of daylight than any other time of the year, making it the longest day of the year.

People across the world will mark the event in various ways. While different ancient cultures had different traditions, some of the most time-honoured and world-famous were those undertaken by the Celtic people.

The Summer Solstice was one of eight sacred Celtic days where the Celts would take time to celebrate through a variety of customs. They used ‘Natural Time’ taking their lead from the Solstices and Equinoxes to determine the seasons. This is in contrast to the Gregorian calendar that has been adopted today.

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Roman mosaic floor from Villelaure, France with Diana and Callisto Surrounded by
Hunt Scenes, A.D. 3rd century. Gallo-Roman mosaic, colored marble, limestone, and glass tesserae. D: 296.6 × 271.8 × 6.4 cm (116 3/4 × 107 × 2 1/2 in.) Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Phil Berg Collection. Image courtesy of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Phil
Berg Collection.

The Grandeur of Roman Mosaics

Roman mosaics decorated luxurious domestic and public buildings across the empire. Intricate patterns and figural compositions were created by setting tesserae — small pieces of stone or glass — into floors and walls. Scenes from mythology, daily life, nature, and spectacles in the arena enlivened interior spaces and reflected the cultural ambitions of wealthy patrons. Introduced by itinerant craftsmen, mosaic techniques and designs spread widely throughout Rome’s provinces, leading to the establishment of local workshops and a variety of regional styles.

Drawn primarily from the Getty Museum’s collection, Roman Mosaics across the Empire  at the Getty Villa in Los Angeles, California, presents the artistry of mosaics as well as the contexts of their discovery across Rome’s ever growing empire — from its center in Italy to provinces in North Africa, southern France, and ancient Syria. In this exclusive interview, James Blake Wiener of Ancient History Encyclopedia speaks to Dr. Alexis Belis, assistant curator in the Department of Antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum, about the various kinds of mosaics found within the former Roman Empire.

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Inscription Theatre Leptis Magna Libya. By Papageizichta. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2c/Inscription_Theatre_Leptis_Magna_Libya.JPG

How Many Lives Could an Inscription Live?

Thanks to our partnership agreement with the EAGLE Portal, Ancient History Encyclopedia (AHE) will be republishing select EAGLE stories, on a periodic basis, which illuminate special topics pertaining everyday life and culture in ancient Rome. We hope that you enjoy these ancient vignettes, and we also encourage you to explore EAGLE’s massive epigraphic database.

When we think of ancient inscriptions we instinctively associate them with the idea of a message engraved in stone meant to be delivered to eternity. In theory, it was so also in the mind of the ancient Romans, but, as we know, theory does not always match practice: evidences from the whole of the Roman empire show that inscriptions suffered in antiquity a surprisingly high mortality rate, in some instances even higher than that of the Romans themselves.

Headless statue of a togate man from the theater of Lepcis Magna

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