Alexander the Great is as much a historical figure as he is a legend. Today it is sometimes hard to separate the myth from the man, and even during his lifetime the line between man and mythical hero was vague. The facts we know about Alexander are impressive and it is no wonder that so many fantastic stories sprang up regarding his exploits. He was a master tactician; he conquered the Persian Empire and expanded the boundaries of Greek culture all the way to the Indus River. Authors and generals, both ancient and modern, have studied his tactics and victories. Pompey and Caesar are just a few of the famous men that tried to emulate his greatness. Not only was he a military genius, he was also a playboy. He was young, dashing and oh so handsome. It didn't hurt that he died young either, adding to his legendary appeal.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Posted by Primvs Pilvs at 7:02 AM
Friday, September 18, 2009
I love Roman coins. The first Roman 'thing' I remember seeing was a collection of Roman coins being sold at a flee market. I was just a kid at the time and didn't know the first thing about the ancient world, but I do remember that the coins I saw looked just like American coins! Roman coins are extremely valuable from historical and archaeological perspectives, since they give us a documented chronology of important events and give us a terminus post quem for dig sites. Coins are also important from an art historical perspective; Roman coins have been the best, and in some cases only, way to assign names to the countless statues of emperors and other important persons. I consider ancient coins invaluable for the reasons above, but they also offer something for the non-scholar. When looking at Roman coins, one can't help but see the similarity between today's currency and that of the ancient world. Ancient coins are great for education because they are so familiar and they can help teach that people in the ancient world weren't that much different than us.
Posted by Primvs Pilvs at 12:02 PM
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
If you walked through any city or town during the time of the Greeks or Romans, you would be confronted with statues of all shapes and sizes. Many statues have come down to us through the ages, but some archaeological sites offer better evidence than others as to what the ancient city looked like. When the Persians sacked Athens in the 5th century BCE, they sacked the acropolis, destroying temples and statuary. The ruins the Persians left behind were buried by the Athenians after the war and in more recent times archaeologists have uncovered these same statues, giving us an idea of just how crowded the acropolis once was with them. Other Greek sites such as Olympia and Delphi were congested with statuary, as is attested by literary sources and archaeological remains. Rome followed suit and crowded its forum and beyond with statues of famous men and gods. Statues ranged in size and material, but the most prominent were life size or larger, usually made of bronze or marble. Colossal statuary also existed and two famous examples come to mind that were both made of bronze. One was the Colossus of Rhodes, completed in 280 BCE and considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The other is the Colossus of Nero. Less famous perhaps, this statue was the ultimate manifestation of Nero's arrogance and vanity and was converted to represent the sun god Helios after Nero's death. Most people aren't familiar with this statue but everyone knows of the building that stood next to it. The Flavian Amphitheater was nicknamed the "Colosseum" because of its proximity to the giant statue.
Posted by Primvs Pilvs at 6:14 PM