This Day in Ancient History: ante diem vii kalendas junias

Dacians assault a Roman fortification, from Tr...
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ante diem vii kalendas junias

  • 17 A.D. — Germanicus celebrates a triumph for his victories in Germany
  • 106 A.D. — martyrdom of Zachary in Gaul
  • 107 A.D. — Trajan arrives in Rome and celebrates a triumph for his victories over the Dacians
  • 303 A.D. — martyrdom of Felicissimus, Heraclius, and others at what is now Todi (Umbria)

This Day in Ancient History: ante diem ix kalendas junias

Bust of Germanicus. Marble, copy of the archet...
Image via Wikipedia
ante diem ix kalendas junias

  • Quando Rex Comitavit Fas — the rex sacrorum had to perform some sort of ceremony before the day’s legal business could be conducted (possibly connected to the idea of Regifugium)
  • 15 B.C. — birth of the emperor-to-be-who-never-was Germanicus (brother of the emperor Claudius)
  • 299 A.D. — martyrdom of Donatian and Rogatian

Commemorating Rome on the Danube

Interesting press release from the Austrian Mint:

For some five centuries the River Danube formed an essential part of ancient Rome’s northern border against the barbarian tribes of Germania. The Austrian Mint’s new silver series called “Rome on the Danube” breathes life back into the ruined remains of the towns and forts that played such prominent roles in the life of the Roman Empire in Austria.

The province of Noricum covered about two-thirds of modern day Austrian territory. It had been originally a kingdom of Celtic tribes until it was taken over by the Romans in a peaceful occu-pation under the Emperor Augustus in about 15 B.C. Thirty years later the Emperor Claudius converted Noricum into a regular Roman province and established the city of VIRUNUM as its adminis-trative capital. Military command was vested not in the governor at Virunum, but rather in the commander of the legions standing guard along the River Danube in the north. The governor was ap-pointed by the emperor in Rome. His primary responsibility was for finance and taxation as well as for the administration of Roman law and order. His capital stood on a Roman road connecting it to Aquileia in the south and to Ovilava (Wels) in the north and the Limes or string of forts and towers guarding the Danube border.

Virunum was the cultural centre of life in Noricum with the only great amphitheatre to have been discovered on Austrian territory. Built on the classical Roman system of a rectangular grid of streets with large open forums housing temples and grand basilicas, Virunum was an unfortified township like many other such settlements – a tribute to the Pax Romana (the Roman Peace). The streets were unpaved, but the city had a plentiful supply of water feeding public fountains and a good drainage system with lead piping. On an artificially built terrace above the city were a military camp and an elliptically shaped arena for animal and gladiatorial combat, as well as military exer-cises and training or parades.
The lack of walls rendered Virunum vulnerable to marauding tribes that managed to cross the Danube and raid the rich Roman province of Noricum, and in times of weakness and turmoil the city did fall prey to plundering barbarians. In the early Chris-tian era Virunum had its own bishop and church. Exactly when the city was abandoned we do not know, but abandoned it was. Its noble buildings of stone and marble became quarries for building materials, until the earth itself decently covered over the wounds of its ruins, leaving it to modern archaeologists to re-awaken Roman Virunum once more from its centuries’ long sleep.

The new 20 Euro silver coin shows a profile portrait of the Emperor Claudius, who founded Virunum (“Municipium Claudium Virunum”). In the background one sees a Roman wagon drawn by a pair of horses. It is part of a grave stone from Virunum, pres-ently affixed to the south wall of the church in neighbouring Maria-Saal. The reverse side displays an imaginary street scene. A Roman wagon drives past the portico of a temple. At the back rise the high walls and roof of a grand basilica. In the foreground to the left we find a blacksmith hammering the highly-prized Noric iron into swords for the Roman legions. The name at the base of the coin identifies the city as Virunum.
via the Austrian Mint
The new € 20 silver coin is struck in proof quality only and to maximum mintage of 50,000 worldwide. Each coin comes in an attractive box with a numbered certificate of authenticity. A collection case for the whole series of six coins may be purchased separately.

In September the second coin of the series, “VINDOBONA” (Vienna), will be issued.

Oh Noes! Mortar Falling Off Colosseum!

00000 - Rome - Colosseum
Image by xiquinhosilva via Flickr

A brief AP report is making the rounds detailing something of concern about the Colosseum. Here’s the incipit of a representative piece from the Globe:

Rome archaeology officials say three chunks of mortar have fallen off from the Colosseum but that no one was hurt and tourist visits will go on as normal.

The pieces, covering a total of about a square meter about 10 square feet, occurred about 6 a.m. Sunday, hours before the ancient arena opens to the public.

Archaeology official Roberto Cecchi said the area involved was already scheduled for maintenance and will be further inspected on Monday.

via Chunks of mortar fall off Rome’s Colosseum – Boston.com.

… the Colosseum remains open. I guess they’ll add this to the list of things to take care of with their ‘big restoration plans’

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