Recent Posts

The Matriarch and the Rebel

Eucleia, the ancient Greek female personification of glory and good repute, is the youngest of the Charites. At least two statue bases in the sanctuary were votive offerings by a woman named Eurydice. One of the inscriptions, dating back to 340 BC, reads “Eurydika daughter of Sirras to goddess Eukleia.” Eurydice is the paternal grandmother of Alexander the Great. Her great-granddaughter, a niece of Alexander the Great, was also named Eurydice. Both women were as far removed from the stereotypical docile and subdued image that Eucleia represented.

Augurs of Rome, Masters of the Birds

Cycles of nature were at the core of the ancient practice of divination to decipher the will of the gods. Many different methods of divination were practiced in antiquity, such as dream interpretations (oneiromancy), interpreting the entrails of slaughtered animals (haruspicy), and augury (ornithomancy) which interprets the movements and activities of birds. Augury in particular became famously influential in the Roman empire.

Sensational Lives of Ancient Courtesans

One day, the 19th century courtesan Esther Guimond was traveling through Naples when she was stopped for a routine examination of her passport. When asked her profession, she quietly and discreetly told the official that she was a woman of independent means. Seeing the puzzled look on the official’s face, she exasperatedly declared, “Courtesan! Take care to remember it!”

Germanicus and Agrippina: An Imperial Love Story

Caligula’s parents, Germanicus and Agripinna, provided the genetic lynch-pin between the two most powerful dynasties in Rome, as well as celebrity, nobility and glamour. They were beloved by the Emperor and the empire alike. From the glowing reports on Germanicus and Agripinna, it was hard to believe that Caligula was their son.

The Assassination Of Commodus

Commodus, the son and heir of the distinguished “philosopher emperor” Marcus Aurelius, was a failure as a Roman emperor despite all the influences and privileges that would have prepared him for the position from a very young age. He was appointed co-emperor of Rome and ruled alongside his father when he was just 16 years old and became the sole emperor after the death of his father in 180 AD. What then followed were years of brutal misrule which precipitated civil strife that ended 84 years of the Roman empire’s stability and prosperity and led to several assassination attempts on his life.