May
09
2009
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What is ancient Herculaneum?

Herculaneum - courtesy slightlywinded - CC-BYNear the fabled Pompeii is Herculaneum, another city buried and frozen in time by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Herculaneum was smaller, much wealthier, and more important to Roman high society, than the now more famous Pompeii. Herculaneum catered to the richest of the rich and the most powerful of the Empire. After the eruption [more...]

Apr
26
2009
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What was the ancient city of Ephesus?

Temple of Hadrian at Ephesus - courtesy Alaskan Dude - CC-BYEphesus was an ancient city on the west coast of Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League and was famed for the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The area of Ephesus was inhabited during the Early Stone Age about 6000 BC. The city [more...]

Feb
10
2009
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What is “the rose-red city half as old as time?”

Siq, Petra - courtesy Argenberg - CC-BY“… match me such a marvel, save in Eastern clime A rose-red city, half as old as time.” ["Petra", John William Burgon] Petra was initially established around the 6th century BC, by the Nabataeans. They were a nomadic tribe who settled in the region and built the foundations of a commercial empire that extended into [more...]

Feb
09
2009
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What is the Pont du Gard?

Pont du Gard - courtesy http2007 - CC-BYThe Pont du Gard is a segment of Roman aqueduct found in the South of France.  It is almost 200 feet high and 900 feet long. The elevated aqueduct bridge was designed to carry the water across the Gardon river valley and was part of a nearly 31 mile long water system that brought water [more...]

Feb
05
2009
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What is Palmyra Syria?

Palmyra: sunset in the ruins - courtesy Ai@ce - CC-BYPalmyra is an ancient city in Syria. Palmyra was once called the “Bride of the Desert,” and was an important stop for caravans. It flourished in Roman times. But this is less about the city than about a woman. Palmyra’s trade began to flounder in the early 3rd century, when the Persians occupied the mouth [more...]

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Feb
05
2009
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What is the Temple of Baalbek?

Baalbek - (notice the size of the man standing by the third column from the left) - courtesy deutsch_laender - CC-BYThis ancient Phoenician city, where a triad of deities was worshipped, was known as Heliopolis during the Hellenistic period. It retained its religious importance during Roman times, when the sanctuary of Jupiter attracted thousands of pilgrims. Baalbeck became one of the world’s greatest and best preserved Roman sites.  It is the largest complex of Roman [more...]

Feb
04
2009
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What is Hadrian’s Villa?

Hadrian's Villa - courtesy marvins_dad - CC-BYHadrian’s villa (Villa Adriana) was a sumptious complex of over 30 buildings, covering an area of at least 300 acres. Much of this has yet to be excavated or has been only partially explored by archaeologists. The grounds were filled with full-scale reproductions of the emperor’s favorite buildings from Greece and Egypt. Hadrian’s Villa was [more...]

Feb
02
2009
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What was the Port of Ancient Rome?

The beautifully preserved theatre at Ostia Antica - courtesy closelyobserved.com - CC-BYThe ancient Roman Port of Ostia was situated at the mouth of the Tiber River. According to legend, Ostia was founded by the fourth king of Rome, Ancus Marcius, who was thought to have ruled in the late seventh century BC. So far no archaeological remains have been found in Ostia dating from this period. [more...]

Jan
15
2009
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What were Roman baths?

baths of diocletian - courtesy antmoose - CC-BYIn modern Western culture, we think of bathing as a private activity.  But in ancient Rome, bathing was a communal and social activity. This was conducted in facilities that in some ways are similar to  modern spas or health clubs.  In the 4th century there were at least 900 bath establishments in Rome. There was [more...]

Jan
15
2009
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How many aqueducts supplied the city of Rome?

Trevi Fountain - (once an aqueduct terminus) - courtesy mysticchildz - CC-BYThere were eleven aqueducts which supplied the ancient city of Rome.  When the city population was over a million, these waterworks supplied at least a cubic meter of water for each resident.  That is more than our modern water systems provide. The first was constructed in 312 BC and the last was added in 226 [more...]

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