The Emperor Claudiues, 48 CE

  • Claudius knew a good deal about Etruscan history. Among his many learned researches he had written a 20-volume study of the Etruscans, in Greek, as well as compiling an Etruscan dictionary.

SPQR, p. 114

To describe someone who has written a 20-volume study of the Etruscans as someone who “knew a good deal” about Etruscan history is . . .

Self will just go ahead and call it: the #understatementoftheyear

Stay tuned.

Dense: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 29 March 2017

This week, let’s get into the thick of things.

— Ben Huberman, The Daily Post


The Forest Around Annaghmakerrig: Evening


The Forest Around Annaghmakerrig: Dawn


The Forest Seen From the Lake: Early March

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

212 CE: Emperor Caracalla Grants Full Rights of Citizenship to Every Member of the Roman Empire

The Roman Senate gradually became what we might now describe as a decidedly multicultural body, and the full list of Roman emperors contains many whose origins lay outside Italy: Caracalla’s father, Septimius Severus, was the first Emperor from Roman territory in Africa; Trajan and Hadrian, who reigned half a century earlier, had come from the Roman province of Spain . . .  Rome had been open to foreigners from the beginning.

— Mary Beard in SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, p. 67

The Sabine Women in Mary Beard

Rome was founded by the twins Romulus and Remus who were raised by a she-wolf.

Mary Beard: The Latin word for ‘wolf’ (lupa) was also used as a colloquial term for ‘prostitute’. (lupanare was one standard term for ‘brothel’).

Romulus assassinated Remus and decided his city needed more citizens so he named it an ‘asylum’ and encouraged “the rabble and dispossessed of the rest of Italy to join him.” One particularly clever ploy was to invite “the neighboring peoples, the Sabines and the Latins . . . ” to come to Rome to “enjoy a religious festival plus entertainments, families and all. In the middle of the proceedings, he gave a signal for his men to abduct the young women among the visitors and to carry them off . . . ”

There are many many many depictions of this savage deed so it seems to have exerted a particularly cruel hold on the imagination. Go to the British Museum or Florence (the Uffizi) and there will be depictions in both paintings and sculpture. So in fact it did happen, though the number of women taken varies from “just thirty” (even one is more than enough) to 683.

“This occasion was . . . the very first Roman marriage . . . ” (SPQR, p. 61)

Roman historian Livy stresses that “only unmarried women were seized . . . this was the origin of marriage, not of adultery.” The women were not chosen but taken “at random” and therefore it was clear that the goal was for a higher cause, which was to increase the population by reproduction.


Self doesn’t think the abductions were as impartial as all that because the Sabines were a neighboring people. Which means the Romans must have had a chance to evaluate the suitability of their women for reproduction, beforehand.

And if they didn’t, shouldn’t they have invited way more people to the feast than just the Sabines and the other tribe (whose women are not mentioned at all; why have only the Sabine women come down through history?)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

It IS STILL EASY Being Green!

“. . .  a great time to to bask in the color of spring rebirth . . . “

— Michelle W., The Daily Post

More pictures from the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig!


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