.    ANCIENT ROME    .




Art of Classical Rome: The Empire



59-17 AD

Roman Writer



43-17 AD

Roman Writer



42-37 AD

Emperor of Rome



20-40 AD

Jewish Hellenistic Philosopher



20 BC - 63 AD

Mother of God



18 BC - 21 AD

Germanic Warrior Chief



5-65 AD

Roman Writer



5-33 AD

Israelite Baptist


*Before Christ


Anno Domini* 


4-30 AD





Evangelist of Christ




Evangelist of Christ




Emperor of Rome




Emperor of Rome




Emperor of Rome




Emperor of Rome




Emperor of Rome




Jewish General




Emperor of Rome




Roman Writer




Jewish Rabbi





Emperor of Rome




Roman Historian




Roman Writer




Jewish Rabbi




Emperor of Rome



Greek by biology, Egyptian by geography and Roman by sociology, Ptolemy used perfect argumentation to prove the geocentric hypothesis, that the Earth was at the center of the cosmos and all revolved around it. He was beautifully wrong, of course, but his writ was taken as holy for 1,500 years. As a side note, he codified longitude and latitude, too. (BC)


Greek Scientist




Emperor of Rome




Emperor of Rome




Roman Scientist




Emperor of Rome




Emperor of Rome




Catholic Priest




Emperor of Rome




Christian Reformer




Emperor of Rome




Founder of Eastern Monasticism




Writer of Catholic Liturgy




Emperor of Rome




Writer of Orthodox Liturgy



Greek Scientist



Apostle of the English



Leader of the Visigoths



Apostle of the Irish












Leader of the Huns




Leader of the Ostragoths




Last Emperor of Rome





The famed statue of Augustus Caesar, showing his authority and his dignity




The Gemma Augustua, an outstanding ivory carving showing Augustus being crowned by the gods




The greatest aquaduct, the Pont du Gard in southern France (Gaul), built by the Romans when they built cities there




The famed Roman Circus Maximus, grand stadium of the chariot races




The most famous stadium in the world: The Roman Colosseum




The Inside of the Colosseum revealing the underground passages where animals and gladiators were kept before going out




The Colosseum at night, in an time-delay photograph




Downtown Rome at the time of its Glory




The Colosseum was only the most famous amphitheater, others were built all around the Roman World




'Bread and Circuses': An animal has been released to help the guy on the left while the people cheer in the background





A new fad: Columns glorifying an emperor's exploits: On left is Marcus Aurelius and on right is Trajan




Arch of Septimus Severus in Rome- classic Roman architecture




Emperor Hadrian built a huge palace complex for his private residence outside Rome, here are its outdoor baths




Hadrian's Wall in northern England, the boundary of the Empire




The great Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius in Rome, the only statue of an Emperor still standing in its original spot




The fortress of Masada, last stand of the Jews against the Romans in Israel AD 70




Another Tell in Israel, this time shown with the ruins of a Roman city OUTSIDE!




The famous piece of Roman architecture, the Pantheon




The most famous dome in the world: the Pantheon Roof




The famous Palace of Diocletian, built across the Adriatic Sea in modern Croatia, he administered the East from here





A journey to the far province of Roman Judea


The city of Hebron in Roman Judah, modern Israel. This is how a large city in the Holy Land looked in the time of Christ




In Roman times, Bethlehem was a small fortress town, with an Inn that was full




In the New Testament, 3 Wise Men (Magi) came from far lands guided by the Star of Bethlehem




The Original Christmas Day- Jesus' birth in the nativity outside Bethlehem




The city of Nazareth in Roman Judea, city where Jesus grew up, becoming a carpenter




Jesus' first public ministry, where at the request of his Mother, he turned Water Into Wine




The most famous teaching of Christ: The Sermon on the Mount at Jerusalem, 'Seek the Kingdom of God'




The Last Supper, where Jesus gave the Eucharist, his Body and Blood, to the Apostles




Israel- the Garden of Gethsemane- where Jesus Christ was arrested by the Roman after being betrayed by Judas




Christ brought before the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, who will wash his hands of the situation




Jesus carrying the Cross on the 'Via Dolorosa' in Jerusalem to Mt. Golgotha (Calvary) outside of town




Good Friday. When Jesus was crucified




Easter Sunday. The Resurection and then Transfiguration of Christ




Jerusalem after the Crusifixion




The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, built on the site of the manger Jesus was born in

Also, the oldest church in the world- built in Romanesque style in the 300's (remember churches were illeagal)





Famed Fresco from inside the church, with Jesus enthroned




Not even this holy site is spared from the violence of modern times





"Here Jesus Christ was born to the Virgin Mary"

The lamps are hung by the Catholic, Orthodox and Armenian churches




When Christianity was illegal, Christians gathered and prayed in the catacombs underneath Rome

They also painted masterpieces on the ceilings and walls of the catacombs




The Church of the Holy Sepulchure in modern Jerusalem- built on the old cave that Jesus was buried in





Surprisingly, neither Israel or Italy has the oldest church in continual use. Recall Christianity was illegal until the 300s.

For that we go to Armenia, where Gregory the Wonderworker brought Christianity, and Armenia became the

first Christian nation. This church is called Echmiadzin



***Battle of Teutoberg Forest***

Sides: Romans vs. Germans

Time: 9 AD

Place: north of Munster, Germany

Action: Roman expansion began moving into the northern forests of Germania beyond the Rhine and Elbe rivers. The tribes sporadically revolted, and in 9, over 15,000 soldiers under Publius Varus were sent, along with German mercenaries under Arminius, to secure the frontier. After some fighting, Arminius, who the Germans call Hermann, experienced an awakening of heart. With his men, he realized there were things more important than payment and social benefits, and abandoned the Romans. But this was not enough. The line was drawn, and Hermann had drawn it. Now the Germans struck at the Romans in the Teutoberg Forest, and struck mercilessly, again and again, and the Romans lost their way. Soldier's families were not spared, and all was soon lost. Varus took his own life. Upon hearing about the tragedy, Augustus wrung his hands, saying, "Varus, give me back my legions!"

Casualties: c. 14,000 Romans

Consequence: While the Romans would enter the forests of Germania many times, and conduct punishing assaults on the tribes there, the lands beyond the Rhine and Danube rivers would remain permanently outside the suzerainty of the Empire.


***Siege of Masada***

Sides: Romans vs. Israelites

Time: 73

Place: Dead Sea, Israel

Action: When the province of Judea rebelled against Roman rule in 66, Nero's order to have his statue worshiped as a god-idol in the Temple in Jerusalem being the last straw, the legions marched under Vespasian and Titus. When Jerusalem fell in 70, the rebellion was over, but one fortress town in the mountains near the Dead Sea, Masada, refused to surrender. The 10th Legion surrounded the tall fortress, but it was well defended and well-provisioned. It could hold out for years in a siege. So the Romans went to work building an amazing 660 ft. high ramp. They butted the ramp against the wall of the fort, and rolled a multistory siege tower slowly but inexorably up. Its bottom level had a battering ram, and its top had ballistas to give cover to those operating the ram. When the smashing began, the Jewish resistance knew it was only a matter of time. Their commander, Eleazar ben Yair, ordered every last fighter to take his own life rather than be taken prisoner, which they did.

Casualties: 953 Jews

Consequence: Masada ended Jewish resistance, and many Jews were exiled from the area of the former Kingdom of Israel. Some went east to Babylon, others south to Egypt, and across north Africa. By the middle ages, many were in Spain and Italy, and beginning in the 14th century, many moved to Poland, Russia and Germany. When the Zionist movement began in the 19th century, and especially after 1945 and the Holocaust, many came back, full circle as it were, to recreate Israel.


***Revolt of the Iceni***

Sides: Romans vs. Britons

Time: 60

Place: north of London, England

Action: The Roman conquest of Britannia was led by Emperor Claudius. But a decade later, Boudicca, queen of the Iceni tribe, led a revolt that attracted her neighbor tribes to revolt as well. Londinium and other towns were sacked. The legions marched from Anglesey in Wales and met the rebels with pila javelins, which cut down the first line, and then they advanced upon them with their swords until a rout of the rebels was attained. Boudicca drank poison and the revolt was over.

Casualties: Romans: 400, Briton rebels: over 10,000

Consequence: Britannia was quiet for decades.


***Battle of Mons Graupius***

Sides: Romans vs. Caledonians

Time: 84

Place: near Aberdeen, Scotland

Action: The Roman governor of Britannia, Agricola, heard of an uprising of the Celts in the north. He sent his men to forestall it with cavalry. The Caledonians had chariots, but these were defeated by the cavalry, and then the infantry was felled as well, ending any potential for a revolt.

Casualties: Romans: 360, Caledonians: 10,000

Consequence: Britannia would see other skirmishes, and finally in 122, Emperor Hadrian ordered construction of a wall across the island, just south of the English-Scottish border of today. The wall still stands in many places.


***Dacian Campaign***

Sides: Romans vs. Dacians

Time: 106

Place: Dacia (modern Romania)

Action: At the zenith of the Roman Imperium, Emperor Trajan moved to conquer the area northeast of Greece. The Dacian tribe had been raiding across the Danube into Roman territory, and Trajan sent in the legions in the year 101. They built a bridge of boats over the Danube and crossed. The Dacians surrendered but when the legions left they reorganized their forces. In 106 they moved into raiding again, and this time Trajan saw red. The legions built an actual bridge across the mighty river, and moved in force. The Dacians went on the run, and the Romans smashed their headquarters to pieces and hacked away the men one by one. With no relief in sight, the Dacians committed mass suicide.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: After this campaign, Trajan moved into Arabia, Assyria and Mesopotamia, and under his rule, recalled by Trajan's Column still standing in Rome, the Imperium achieved its greatest extent.





***Marcomannic (Germanic) War***

Sides: Romans vs. Germans

Time: 180

Place: Germania (present day Slovakia)

Action: In the battle portrayed at the beginning of the movie Gladiator (2000), Emperor Marcus Aurelius and General Maximianus (Maximus in the movie) led a decisive Roman victory against a coalition of Germanic tribes including the Marcomanni and the Quadi, who had been involved in border skirmishes for many years. Emperor Marcus Aurelius had been battling them on and off for almost a decade. At the forest of Laugaricio, they vanquished the coalition. 

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: In the movie, Emperor Marcus Aurelius is treacherously murdered by his son Commodus, who then becomes emperor. The more likely story, however, is that he died of fever in Vindobona (modern Vienna) sometime after the battle. In either case, upon his death, the 300-year long decline of the Empire began.


***Battle of Edessa***

Sides: Romans vs. Persians

Time: 260

Place: The Roman East (modern southeastern Turkey)

Action: After nearly a century of decline, the Roman Empire fought a border war with the reinvigorated Persian Empire, now called the Sassanian Persians, under Shah Shapur I. It ended in utter disaster and is a symbol of how far decay had set in the previous 80 years. It began when Shapur boldly led forces into the eastern part of the Empire, sacking Antioch. Meanwhile, the Romans had not good leadership- the imperial purple was worn by a revolving door of men, usurpers, and whoever could kill the current emperor and take it by force did. Emperor Aemilianus held the scepter for three months after declaring himself general following a victory in battle against the Germans. He marched into Italy and his forces killed the current emperor. He was then assassinated in turn by how own men when another general, Valerian, began his own 'march on Rome' with a larger force. It was Emperor Valerian who met the Persians in battle, after many of his soldiers caught the plague en route. He was routed and the entire Roman army was captured, including the emperor.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: Shapur spared the lives of the Romans and transported them to Susa, the ancient capital, where they built a feat of engineering known as Caesar's Dam. As for Valerian, he was humiliated by being used as a footstool by Shapur, and then was slaughtered and stuffed, though sources differ as to if and how. Either way, this was a low point, a nadir, for the forces of the SPQR. It was 14 years later that a strong emperor, Diocletian, finally reigned in the political chaos.


***Battle of the Milvian Bridge***

Sides: Constantine vs. Maxentius

Time: 312

Place: outside Rome

Action:  Diocletian's reforms included splitting the Empire into units like West and East, and delegating regional responsibility to other emperors and vice-emperors. Two such were Maxentius, ruler of Italy, and Constantine, ruler of Gaul and Britannia. When Diocletian died, a power struggle ensued. Maxentius was the favorite, he had 25,000 more men in his ranks than Constantine. But Constantine, while marching from Gaul to Italia, he "had been pondering the misfortunes that befall commanders that invoke the help of many different gods, and decided to seek divine aid in the forthcoming battle from the One God." At noon, he saw a cross of light imposed over the sun, and the message, "Through this sign, conquer." According to Eusebius, not only Constantine, but the whole army saw the miracle. That night, Constantine dreamed Christ appeared to him, and told him to make a replica of the sign he had seen in the sky. He placed Chi Rho (CR), the first two letters of the name Christ, on the shields of his soldiers, and marched into Italy. His forces defeated opponents in one battle after another, and instead of waiting for Constantine to get to Rome, Maxentius met him at the Milvian Bridge, and was defeated. His forces clamored across a pontoon bridge across the Tiber, but it collapsed and Maxentius himself died in the river.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: When Constantine marched into the city, he did not take revenge on Maxentius' supporters. Also he did not, as was longstanding tradition, make a final stop at the Temple of Jupiter at the end of his victory parade. He was coming to the realization that something else entirely was involved in the order of things. A year later in 313, Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, making legal the religion of the God he believed he saw on the face of the sun, and in his dreams. He himself was baptized into Christianity, and a new chapter in the history of Europe began.


***Battle of Strasbourg***

Sides: Romans vs. Alemanni

Time: 357

Place: Eastern France at the Rhine river

Action: The German Alemanni had been making raids across the Rhine. Emperor Julian moved to intercept them and conducted on and off fighting for a year. When the Alemanni crossed the Rhine at present day Strasbourg, they outnumbered the Romans and moved in on the Roman cavalry, stabbing the horses before the riders. But the Roman infantry fired barrage after barrage of artillery, bows and slingshots., wearing them down. The Romans and their (other) German auxiliaries then went on the offensive, driving the Alemanni out into the forests. Many drowned in the river in escape.

Casualties: Romans 243, Alemanni: 6,000

Consequence: So many skirmishes occurred between the Romans and Alemanni, that the name of this particular German tribe survives in the French name for Germany: Allemagne.


***Battle of Ctesiphon***

Sides: Romans vs. Persians

Time: 363

Place: near Baghdad, Iraq

Action: Six years after winning at Strasbourg, and a century after the humiliation of Edessa, Emperor Julian went on the offensive against Sassanian Persia. They loaded 1,000 supply boats into the Euphrates River, to provision the legions marching into Mesopotamia. After moving the army, and the boats, across canals to the Tigris, they marched on the Sassanian capital, Ctesiphon. Shah Shapur II fled after a skirmish, but Emperor Julian could not break through the capital's fortifications, and had to withdraw. He burned his supply boats and the army marched back west. However, the Persians did not let them go. They saw weakness, and acted. Using hit and run tactics, they harried the Romans, and in one night raid, Julian himself was killed.

Casualties: Persians: unknown, Romans: 83,000

Consequence: This was the second time a Roman ruler was killed fighting Persia. Like before, it revealed Rome's increasing weakness.


***Battle of Adrianopole***

Sides: Romans vs. Goths

Time: 378

Place: northeast Greece (present Edirne, Turkey)

Action: As Troy was located on the strategic straits leading from the Mediterranean to the Sea of Marmara, Constantine had decreed a new city to be built on the site of the small Greek town of Byzantium, located on the straits leading from the Sea of Marmara into the Black Sea. These places are the dominant points in the area, and today Constantinople separates Europe from the Middle East. It became the second Rome- the second capital of the Empire, the jewel of the east. Now an Asiatic force was on the move west into Europe, the Huns. They did battle with the German Goths northwest of the Black Sea, who fled with their entire tribes to take refuge and regroup from the storm. Eastern Emperor Valens rejected the Ostrogoths request to cross the Danube into Roman territory and settle. But they did anyway, 2,000,000 strong. Visigoths, Sarmatians (Slavs) and Alans joined them, and Valens marched out with the legions from Constantinople to their makeshift camp at Adrianopole. But the Goths built the first great wagon laager, an encirclement of connected wagons to make a base camp that could be defended in hostile territory. The Gothic cavalry was away, and Valens decided to begin the fight without his infantry yet in battle formation- and tired from the 126 mile march. A general attack began, but the Gothic cavalry returned just then, and swiped in "like a thunderbold." Now the Gothic infantry emerged from the laager, and began a rout of the Romans. Valens was cut down and killed in the chaos.

Casualties: Goths: unknown, Romans: 40,000

Consequence: "The plain was covered with carcasses, strewing the mutual ruin of the combatants; the groans of the dying men were intense." Adrianople was one of the largest battles of the era. Though the Romans lost, they would, as was typical, regroup under Theodosius and secure the area. But the offer was made to many Goths to remain as allies in exchange for the land to settle on.


***Battle of Frigidus***

Sides: Theodosius vs. Arbogast

Time: 394

Place: Trieste, northeastern Italy

Action: One thing the hiring of German soldiers did was confuse an already confused situation between east and west emperors. One such leader, Arbogast, a Germanic Frank, having just suppressed a rebellion in Gaul at the behest of Emperor Theodosius I, promptly executed the western emperor, when he tried to force him out of the area when the rebellion was staid. He even set up a scholar, Eugenius, to take his place as western emperor! Now Theodosius went after Arbogast, hiring 20,000 Visigoths under Alaric and some Vandals to help against the Franks. On the north shore of the Adriatic, the forces met, and Arbogast won the day, but the next day, high winds blew dust and sand into the eyes of the Franks, "almost knocking them down" according to Grant, and the Vandal leader, Stilicho, skillfully struck the heart of the Frankish force. It was a rout, and Arbogast took his own life rather than be caught.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: Theodosius put the Vandal leader in charge of the military defense of the Western Empire, and retired to Constantinople, where he soon died. The barbarians, however, learned of their true power over Rome. The capital was moved to Ravenna, considered a safer location for the western emperor, but the pope remained in Rome.


***First and Second Visigoth Sack of Rome***

Sides: Visigoths vs. Rome

Time: 408

Place: Rome

Action: When Theodosius died, Stilicho, the Vandal leader, remained the defender of the Empire. Alaric and the Visigoths made incursions into Italy but he drove them back every time. But now the Western Empire wanted to claim land from the Eastern Empire, specifically the Pretorian Prefecture of Illyricum, centered on Salonika in Greece. After a mess of barbarians under the Visigoth leader Alaric came across the Rhine to organize as a fighting force to achieve this twisted goal, the Senate decided to call it off. But the barbarians wanted to be paid anyway. Stilicho argued to the Senate they should indeed pay them off under the condition they would just to go away, but they deliberated too long before voting to pay, and it wasn't much. Alaric was inflamed, and political chaos started in the city. Eastern Emperor Arcadius died of an illness, and Western Emperor Honorius was persuaded not to go east to oversee the change of power by Stilicho, but Honorius believed Stilicho was going to go to put his son on the throne. A mutiny in the Roman army started, fomented by a power hungry general, Olympius, who declared Stilicho an enemy of the state. The Vandal leader hid out in a church but was discovered and executed. Olympius now led the legions against all barbarian elements in Italy, and a general massacre began. The Vandals and others moved north and joined Alaric's Visigothic forces. Alaric marched against Rome in 408 and starved the city out until they paid a hefty ransom including 5,000 pounds of gold, 30,000 pounds of silver, some silks, and some pepper.

Casualties: unknown.

Consequence: Pope Innocent I went to Ravenna to convince Emperor Honorius to make a deal with Alaric whereby the Goths would be given a permanent homeland in the northern provinces of Rhaetia (Switzerland) and Noricum (Austria), and elevate Alaric as an official general. Honorius refused and insulted Alaric in a letter. The Goths advanced on Rome again, and burned its granaries at Portus. Now the Senate voted to replace Honorius, and Alaric departed to Ravenna to depose him and install the new emperor. But the Eastern Emperor sent reinforcements just in time to save Honorius. Now Alaric asked for negotiations and Honorius agreed. But just as they were being finalized, a Gothic force loyal to Honorius attacked Alaric's forces, and Alaric's patience was at an end.


***Third Visigoth Sack of Rome***

Sides: Visigoths vs. Romans

Time: 410

Place: Rome

Action: Alaric and the Visigoths came over the Seven Hills and burst through Rome's Salarian Gate. They pillaged the city for three days straight. They ransacked the mausoleum tombs of Augustus and Hadrian. They stole things from St. John Lateran, but left St. Peter's alone. The citizens were cut up, taken to slavery and otherwise mistreated. The emperor's sister married one of Alaric's lieutenants.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: No matter how corrupt or misguided or evil the Roman government and populace was, the Eternal City had not been sacked for 800 years. Now it had, and this sent shockwaves throughout the Empire and beyond. St. Jerome said, "If Rome can perish, what can be safe?" And St. Augustine wrote City of God as a response to those who blamed the decayed state of the Empire on the early Christians. A few decades later, the Vandals appeared on the horizon and laid another sack upon the city.


***Battle of Chalons***

Sides: Roman-Gothic alliance vs. Huns

Time: 451

Place: Marne river, northeast France

Action: For a decade, a wave of Asiatic horsemen called the Huns struck fear into the settled peoples of the Roman Empire. Their leader, Attila, was called the Scourge of God. He cared nothing of conquest- only of pillage and destruction. Grant says: "It seemed no one could resist the Huns' swarms of horsemen, who darted around the battlefield, showered their enemy with bone-tipped arrows, before closing in to finish off survivors with swords and lassos." Now the Huns crossed the Rhine and invaded Gaul. They sacked Strasbourg, Worms, Mainz, Cologne, Trier, Metz, Tournai, Cambrai, Amiens, Beauvais, and Reims in quick succession, and threatened Paris and Troyes, but at these locations the bishop was able to make a truce with them, probably by giving them valuables from the churches in exchange for not carrying out the sack. Now Attila's forces broke open the wall of Orleans, when they received the message that the Romans were on the march to them. The Romans at this time were desperate, the core of the legions was made up of Visigothic mercenaries fighting for Rome in exchange for citizenship- a symbol of advanced imperial decay. General Aetius also sought the help of the Visigoths themselves, under Theodoric. The details of the battle of Chalons, on the Catalaunian Plains are hazy, but it is clear that in this last large Roman military movement, the Huns never felt the kind of losses like those they incurred at this battle, in which the Visigoths reigned supreme, though Theodoric was killed in the battle.

Casualties: unknown- very high losses for both sides

Consequence: Gibbon said, "Atilla's retreat across the Rhine confessed the last victory which was achieved in the name of the Western Roman Empire." The Huns moved south later in the year, however, into Italy.


***Battle of Nadeo***

Sides: Germans vs. Huns

Time: 454

Place: Pannonia (western Hungary)

Action: After Chalons, Attila regrouped and with Ostrogoth mercenaries, moved into northern Italy, sacking many towns including Milan. In 452 he sent a letter to Rome demanding the sister of the reigning emperor for marriage, sensing he could then have a claim to the throne. Without compliance in this, Rome would be sacked. Emperor Valentinian III sent a delegation to meet Attila, headed by Pope Leo I the Great. For an unknown reason, Attila retreated after their conversation and Rome was saved. It could be the pope bought him off with a large amount of gold. There is a story that Leo looked into the eyes of the Hun and told him to leave, and that Attila was so impressed with his gravity that he obeyed. He may also have been afraid of the coalition that defeated him at Chalons being reorganized. It is also possible plague broke out in his camp, or that starvation was sweeping the land. But now in 453, the Hunnic army moved north, sacking towns near present day Venice. Attila planned a sacking of Constantinople, but died. In 454 on the plains of Pannonia near the Sava river, all the Germanic tribes of the area mobilized together against the Huns, now led by Attila's son. Led by the Ostrogoths, the Gepids and others stormed from all sides and utterly vanquished the Huns, whose total collapse was effected.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: The Hun survivors returned to Asia.


***Vandal Sack of Rome***

Sides: Vandals vs. Romans

Time: 455

Place: Rome

Action: When Emperor Valentinian III died, his successor married his widow to secure his claim to the throne and link himself with the family of Theodosius the Great. His son married the daughter of Valentinian as well. However, this daughter was already promised to the leader of the Vandals, Genseric, who did not take kindly to that, as it terminated his intended future claim to the throne. The Vandals advanced on Rome, and Pope Leo met him. He convinced Gensaric not to 'vandalize' the city, made him promise not to kill people, pillage churches, etc. if only they would open the gates to him. He agreed, and the new emperor fled with his son, demonstrating how little power the political leadership actually had left. Both were killed in shame by a mob of angry citizens. Unfortunately the Vandals did not exactly keep their word. They spent two weeks vandalizing the city, stealing roof plates made of gold and bronze, burning at least one church, and carrying off some people to slavery to their headquarters in North Africa. Despite all this, less brutality was shown to people than without Leo's intervention.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: The Vandals moved on, but the further humiliation of Rome and its protracted decline was clear, and only the last fell swoop was needed, and 21 years later, it happened.


***Ostrogoth Sack of Rome***

Sides: Ostragoths vs. Romans

Time: 476

Place: Rome

Action: In 475 Orestes, the top general in Rome, lead a coup and deposed Emperor Julius Nepos. For reasons unclear, he had his young son crowned instead of himself. This son was named Romulus Augustulus, an eerie name for the last emperor of Rome because it recalls both the first true Roman, Romulus, and the first true emperor, Augustus. When the Odoacer, leader of the paid Ostrogoth mercenaries of the Romans, heard about the change of power, he demanded lands distributed to his tribe in northern Italy. Odoacer called upon all Germanic mercenaries in Italy to rally to his standard, and Orestes (who answered no in his son's name) fled to Pavia, a walled town. Odoacer took the city and executed Orestes, but the bishop was able to save the lives of the people by paying him off. Other Ostrogoths executed Orestes' brother near Ravenna. Now Odoacer marched into the capital and deposed young Romulus Augustalus, exiling him, and ending the Western Empire.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: Odoacer sent the royal vestments to Constantinople as a peace offering to Emperor Zeno, in hopes of his recognizing him as ruler of the west. They compromised on titles, but in reality, all was crumbled at this point. The East would remain, as the Empire of Byzantium, while the west would be divided into 'barbarian kingdoms.'





1st Century


Famed poet of the Roman world, this book (written in 1 AD) is the source of most of our knowledge on Roman mythology, because Ovid actually states, "with the help of the gods (hopefully), I will discribe the changes in the world from the beginning to the present times." Quite a task! Along the way, we are treated to humor, love and fun. The stories of individual gods and famous humans interacting and how that relationship had evolved the 'modern Roman' are entertaining.




1st Century

The Aeneid

Friend of Emperor Augustus, Virgil continues the tradition of Homer in writing the epic of all Roman literature. Here we find teaching of Roman patriotism, loyalty and citizenship ingrained in this legendary story of the beginnings of the City of Rome itself. The exciting story goes back to the Trojan War where, under the eyes of the conspiring Greco-Roman gods, refugees from Troy after the battle make their way to Italy and found the city, as well as have great adventures.




1st Century

On the Good Life

The hero of people who love high culture who are interested in self-discovery, On the Good Life figures out the best course of action, values and cultural highpoints that lead one to a good life. The dignity of the citizen and his relationship to the state is discussed, the value of friendship and what it is, how to give a good speech and the 'Dream of Scipio' are some of the varied and powerful topics tackled by Cicero, probably the best pure writer of the Roman world.



Christian Sacred Text

1st Century

The New Testament of the Holy Bible

The life story and teachings of Jesus Christ, and the foundation of the Christian religion. The Testament begins with the birth of Christ in the manger in Bethlehem, his growing up in Nazareth and all of his teachings, including the Sermon on the Mount at Jerusalem, and following with him as he walked in Galilee. The passion and the crucifiction are revealed as well as the raising of Jesus from the dead and the transfiguration. Finally in Revelation, the last book of the Bible, the prophecy for the return of Jesus and the Judgement Day is fortold.




1st Century

The Annals

The Annals contain the history of Rome since the founding. Written after the reign of Nero, the book is a damning account of the imperial mindset, and the dangers of absolutist rule by emperors who are not accountable, as the Senators once were, or at least not to the same degree, to the people. Its surprising how well versed in classical liberalism Tacitus was, he points out the correlation between individual liberty (of thought especially) and moral restraints self imposed by good citizens of a just government.




2nd Century

The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans

An outstanding history of the entire Classical Period told through the biographies of all the famous personages from Greece and Rome, Plutarch's 'Lives' reinvigorated the study of Greek and the classics during the Renaissance period, when original copies were brought to Italy from Constantinople in 1453 upon the Muslim conquest of that city. It became the handbook for the Renaissance gentleman's knowledge of the classics, and all of the American founding fathers had it as a textbook in school.




2nd Century

On the Natural Faculties

This is the famous medical book from old times, as it contains a detailed description and analysis of all parts of the body. Essentially, it is the masterpiece work of human anatomy. Heart, brain, lungs, kidneys, liver, arteries, reproductive systems and all of the other features of the human machine are taken into account in this, another of those long running textbooks that helped re-awaken medical science during the Renaissance in Italy.

Asia Minor



1st Century

The Sixteen Satires

"He simply hangs a series of mortal portraits on the wall and forces us to look at them!" Juvenal lashes out at some of the things about Roman society that we still don't like today- like government corruption and obsession with base things, lowly things, that was such an issue in imperial Rome- like blindly accepting things like lifelong servitude and gladiatorial combat as 'just fine.' Jeuvenal had no trouble picking apart the Roman psyche and laying it out for us to see, too.



Emperor Marcus Aurelius

2nd Century


When an emperor speaks, it does well to listen. Marcus Aurelius presided to 180 AD (you may remember him as the old emperor who died at the beginning of 'Gladiator'). History tells us that he was the most learned man to ascend to the Roman emperorship, and the 'Meditations' are a sublime and outstanding foray into his thoughts. Today, some psychologists prescribe it as a kind of 'self-help' book because it lays out philosophy and life very well. It helps people 'find themselves' as a book of self-reflection of a great man, who overcame obstacles and dealt with other people. A study of human behavior features as one of the main components of this still famous book.



 Traditional Buddhist

The Buddhist Scriptures

3rd Century

There are many schools of Buddhism but certain universal concepts unite all of them. The Buddhist Scriptures is the source of our knowledge of Buddhist values- based on the teachings of Gautama the Buddha, who lived in the 500s B.C. but never wrote anything down. Gautama renounced his wealth and palace life in exchange for complete freedom- setting himself and many later followers of Buddhism onto a lifelong path of meditation... to Nirvana. Here we find the Four Noble Truths to help and embrace in that pursuit.



Saint Augustine

5th Century

City of God

One of the capstone works of Christian philosophy and idealism, this book comforted the hearts of Romans during the Fall of the Empire. It reminded people amongst the chaos that even though things seemed bad in their 'earthly city,' there was the still yet the more important 'heavenly city: the City of God. "That glory which Rome failed to attain will only be realized in the City of God, that heavenly Jerusalem forseen in the Revelation." This towering work shows the power, the richness and the glory of early Christian civilized culture. It also tells the story of the early church and human history, taken in relation to all eternity!



Traditional Jewish

5th Century

The Talmud

Like the Old Testament and The Odyssey, the Talmud was compiled over the course of many centuries. The Talmud encompasses and legislates the essence of Judaism. It is almost impossible for regular people to read the whole thing (its as big as an encyclopedia, and is full of complex spiritual and religious law and text!)--for it was made by Jewish rabbis during the centuries after the dispersion of the Jews from Israel to Mesopotamia, North Africa, Spain and other places in Europe. In its most basic, the Talmud is the saving grace of the Jews because in diaspora, it was difficult to keep the small scattered groups of Jews 'Jewish' at all, so the Talmud teaches people, in fact, their identity as children of Abraham.





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