Given recent events here in the US, there have been a lot of statements made about our political future, often with implicit or explicit comparisons to one of the most famous societies in antiquity: the Roman Republic. Often the narrative is, once a democratic norm has been shattered, it puts us on an irreversible course … Continue reading The decline of the Roman Republic
According to tradition, in the early days of ancient Rome, King Numa Pompilius established a religious institution: the Vestal Virgins. The Vestal Virgins were chaste priestesses of Vesta, the goddess of home and hearth. Their duty was to maintain the sacred flame in the temple of Vesta. The Romans believed that as long as the … Continue reading The soul of the Roman Empire
Yesterday was the anniversary of the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453, for which apparently there is now a Muslim debate about whether it fulfilled Muhammad's charge for Muslims to conquer that city. I can't say I have any opinion in that particular matter. But something I do find interesting is that, in describing the event, … Continue reading When did the Roman Empire actually fall?
After my post on the Bronze Age collapse and resulting discussion, I looked at other material about the collapse of civilizations, but after doing that, realized that I have some thoughts about what might be necessary for developing a theory about why collapses happen, what areas of expertise you need to have a chance at formulating … Continue reading On theories of why civilizations collapse and our own times
"Now that we can use DNA to tell whether the babies were male or female, we're starting to revise the commonly held assumptions about infanticide in the Roman world," said Kristina Killgrove, a bioarchaeologist at the University of West Florida, who was not involved in the research. As horrifying as the killing of newborns seems … Continue reading Ancient Rome Infanticide Practices Did Not Favor Boys After All, DNA Study Suggests