Sarcophagus Fragment, Roman, ca. 240-250 CE, The Art Institute of Chicago

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Emperor Nero's gate discovered in Cologne

Yet again, another wonderful discovery of a Roman site. Many modern cities in Europe have been continuously inhabited since Roman times, so most traces of their ancient past have been covered up over the centuries (think London and Paris). So, more often than not, it's a new subway or construction project that ends up shedding light on the history buried below. Discoveries made this way will only continue to become more frequent in my opinion. Some good examples are in Rome and Naples, which are both expanding their inadequate subway systems. New discoveries in Naples where recently discussed in a fascinating article in Archaeology Magazine.

Speaking of Nero, I'm almost done with a wonderful biography on him. Nero, The End of a Dynasty by Miriam Griffin is a wonderfully researched look into the reign of one of Rome's most notorious emperors. The book is unique in the fact that it is not a chronological account of Nero's life, but more of a critique on his reign and himself as a man. The first part of the book goes into depth about all aspects of his Principate, ranging from his dealings with the Senate to his extravagant artistic endeavours. In the second part of the book, his eventual downfall is reviewed with scholarly precision. I definitely recommend Nero, The End of a Dynasty if you are looking to learn more about Nero and also looking for something other than a mere collection of chronological facts.