The Portonaccio Sarcophagus

The Portonaccio Sarcophagus is a large sarcophagus that can be found in the Palazzo Massimo, one of the four locations of the Museo Nazionale Romano. It is an impressive piece of second century craftsmanship. The sarcophagus was found in 1931 near the Via Tiburtina and can be dated to around…

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Opus sectile

I was not familiar with the technique called opus sectile until I visited an exhibition in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam about Constantine’s influence on the Christianisation of the Roman Empire. Part of the exhibition was a mosaic depicting a man in a chariot and four horsemen in the colours…

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Filibuster in Antiquity

‘Filibustering’ refers to politicians holding endless speeches in parliament, touching upon all sorts of issues that are more or less off topic. The sole intention is to prevent the debate from being closed so that a vote can be called. As far as I know, we find the oldest known…

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The Republican Roman army

Rome began as a collection of villages on several hills near the river Tiber. Life there was neither comfortable, nor safe. War was always looming. Neighbouring tribes and cultures envied Rome for its favourable position on the Tiber, from which it controlled the salt trade in Central Italy. Rome itself…

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