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00033x00~1.jpg
61 viewsIONIA, Ephesos.
PB Tessera (20mm, 5.41 g)
Oleiculture scene: male figure standing right, holding stick and knocking olives from tree to right; star and crescent between; behind, stag(?) standing left; [...]POV above
Blank
Gülbay & Kireç –

Scenes of the olive harvest are entirely unknown on coinage, but some mosaics and Greek vases illustrate the practice. See in particular an Attic black figure neck amphora in the British Museum (ABV, 273, 116) depicting two men using sticks to knock olives from a tree.
1 commentsArdatirion
Caesar_Mosaic.jpg
1) Julius Caesar Mosaic47 viewsCreated this for the Ides of March COTD thread on March 15, 2013, so I thought I would add it to the gallery.
RM0020
1 commentsSosius
CrispusRIC17.jpg
1404a, Crispus, Caesar 317 - 326 A.D. 38 viewsBronze AE 3, RIC 17, aEF, Cyzicus mint, 3.196g, 19.9mm, 315o, 321 - 324 A.D.; Obverse: D N FL IVL CRISPVS NOB CAES, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right; Reverse: IOVI CONSERVATORI, Jupiter standing left holding Victory on globe in right and scepter in left, eagle with wreath in beak to left, X / IIG and captive right, SMKD in exergue; scarce (RIC R3). Ex FORVM.


De Imperatoribus Romanis;
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors and their Families

Crispus Caesar (317-326 A.D.)

Hans Pohlsander
SUNY Albany

Crispus was the oldest son of the emperor Constantine I and played a fairly important role in the political and military events of the early fourth century. The regular form of his full name is Flavius Iulius Crispus, although the forms Flavius Claudius Crispus and Flavius Valerius Crispus also occur. His mother was a woman named Minervina, with whom Constantine had a relationship, probably illegitimate, before he married Fausta in 307. When Minervina died or when Constantine put her aside we do not know. Nor do we know when she gave birth to Crispus; we may assume, of course, that it was before 307. Some modern authorities, on good grounds, think that it was in 305. Crispus' place of birth must have been somewhere in the East, and it is not known when he was brought to Gaul and when, where, or under what circumstances he was separated from his mother.

Constantine entrusted the education of his son to the distinguished Christian scholar Lactantius, thereby giving a clear sign of his commitment to Christianity. We are not told when Lactantius assumed his duties, but a date before 317 seems likely. Nor do we know how successful he was in instilling Christian beliefs and values in his imperial pupil. No later than January of 322 Crispus must have married a woman named Helena -- not to be confused with Constantine's mother or daughter by the same name- and this woman bore him a child in October of 322. Constantine, we learn, was pleased.

Crispus' official career began at an early age and is well documented. On March 1 of 317, at Serdica (modern Sofia), his father appointed him Caesar. The consulship was his three times, in 318, 321, and 324. While nominally in charge of Gaul, with a prefect at his side, he successfully undertook military operations against the Franks and Alamanni in 320 and 323.

In 324, during the second war between Constantine and Licinius, he excelled as commander of Constantine's fleet in the waters of the Hellespont, the Propontis, and the Bosporus, thus making a significant contribution to the outcome of that war. The high points of his career are amply reflected in the imperial coinage. In addition to coins, we have his portrait, with varying degrees of certainty, in a number of sculptures, mosaics, cameos, etc. Contemporary authors heap praises upon him. Thus the panegyrist Nazarius speaks of Crispus' "magnificent deeds," and Eusebius calls him "an emperor most dear to God and in all regards comparable to his father."

Crispus' end was as tragic as his career had been brilliant. His own father ordered him to be put to death. We know the year of this sad event, 326, from the Consularia Constantinopolitana, and the place, Pola in Istria, from Ammianus Marcellinus. The circumstances, however, are less clear. Zosimus (6th c.) and Zonaras (12th c.) both report that Crispus and his stepmother Fausta were involved in an illicit relationship. There may be as much gossip as fact in their reports, but it is certain that at some time during the same year the emperor ordered the death of his own wife as well, and the two cases must be considered together. That Crispus and Fausta plotted treason is reported by Gregory of Tours, but not very believable. We must resolutely reject the claim of Zosimus that it was Constantine's sense of guilt over these deeds which caused him to accept Christianity, as it alone promised him forgiveness for his sins. A similar claim had already been made by Julian the Apostate. We must also, I think, reject the suggestion of Guthrie that the emperor acted in the interest of "dynastic legitimacy," that is, that he removed his illegitimate first-born son in order to secure the succession for his three legitimate younger sons. But Crispus must have committed, or at least must have been suspected of having committed, some especially shocking offense to earn him a sentence of death from his own father. He also suffered damnatio memoriae, his honor was never restored, and history has not recorded the fate of his wife and his child (or children).

Copyright (C) 1997, Hans A. Pohlsander. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis;An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors and their Families:
http://www.roman-emperors.org/crispus.htm


What If?

St. Nectarios, in his book, The Ecumenical Synods, writes "Hellenism spread by Alexander paved the way for Christianity by Emperor Constantine the Great."

Constantine's upward gaze on his "Eyes to Heaven" coins recall the coin portraits of Alexander the Great (namely coins struck by the Diodochi), which served as prototypes for the divine ruler portraiture of much of the Hellenistic age. The diadem, of which this is the most elaborate type, was adopted by Constantine and the members of his house as a new symbol of sovereignty.

In the Greek Orthodox Church, Constantine the Great is revered as a Saint.

Is it just possible? Constantine, knowing what happened (or thinking that he does) to Phillip II of Macedon—assassinated on the eve of his greatness, in a plot that most likely involved his wife—and possibly his son. . . isn’t it just possible that Constantine is growing obsessively jealous of his ever more successful and adulated son? Imagine the Constantine who has proven time and again (think: Licinius) that he is a completely self-serving liar and a murderer, decides to murder again? Why "must we resolutely reject the claim of Zosimus that it was Constantine's sense of guilt over these deeds which caused him to accept Christianity, as it alone promised him forgiveness for his sins [?] (see: above). A similar claim had already been made by Julian the [Philosopher]."

Perhaps it is time to cease being apologists for the sometime megalomaniacal Constantine. As Michael Grant notes, "It is a mocking travesty of justice to call such a murderer Constantine the Great . . ." (Grant, Michael. The Emperor Constantine. London: Phoenix Press, 1998. 226).


Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.


Cleisthenes
crispus_votV.jpg
1404b, Crispus, Caesar 317 - 326 A.D. (Thessalonica)35 viewsBronze AE 3, RIC 118, VF, Thessalonica mint, 2.740g, 18.0mm, 180o, 320 - 321 A.D. Obverse: FL IVL CRISPVS NOB CAES, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust left; Reverse: CAESARVM NOSTRORVM, VOT V in wreath, TSDVI in exergue.

Flavius Julius Crispus was the son of Constantine I by his first wife. A brilliant soldier, Crispus was well loved by all until 326 A.D., when Constantine had him executed. It is said that Fausta, Crispus stepmother, anxious to secure the succession for her own sons falsely accused Crispus of raping her. Constantine, learning of Fausta`s treachery, had her executed too.


De Imperatoribus Romanis;
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors and their Families

Crispus Caesar (317-326 A.D.)

Hans Pohlsander
SUNY Albany

Crispus was the oldest son of the emperor Constantine I and played a fairly important role in the political and military events of the early fourth century. The regular form of his full name is Flavius Iulius Crispus, although the forms Flavius Claudius Crispus and Flavius Valerius Crispus also occur. His mother was a woman named Minervina, with whom Constantine had a relationship, probably illegitimate, before he married Fausta in 307. When Minervina died or when Constantine put her aside we do not know. Nor do we know when she gave birth to Crispus; we may assume, of course, that it was before 307. Some modern authorities, on good grounds, think that it was in 305. Crispus' place of birth must have been somewhere in the East, and it is not known when he was brought to Gaul and when, where, or under what circumstances he was separated from his mother.

Constantine entrusted the education of his son to the distinguished Christian scholar Lactantius, thereby giving a clear sign of his commitment to Christianity. We are not told when Lactantius assumed his duties, but a date before 317 seems likely. Nor do we know how successful he was in instilling Christian beliefs and values in his imperial pupil. No later than January of 322 Crispus must have married a woman named Helena -- not to be confused with Constantine's mother or daughter by the same name- and this woman bore him a child in October of 322. Constantine, we learn, was pleased.

Crispus' official career began at an early age and is well documented. On March 1 of 317, at Serdica (modern Sofia), his father appointed him Caesar. The consulship was his three times, in 318, 321, and 324. While nominally in charge of Gaul, with a prefect at his side, he successfully undertook military operations against the Franks and Alamanni in 320 and 323.

In 324, during the second war between Constantine and Licinius, he excelled as commander of Constantine's fleet in the waters of the Hellespont, the Propontis, and the Bosporus, thus making a significant contribution to the outcome of that war. The high points of his career are amply reflected in the imperial coinage. In addition to coins, we have his portrait, with varying degrees of certainty, in a number of sculptures, mosaics, cameos, etc. Contemporary authors heap praises upon him. Thus the panegyrist Nazarius speaks of Crispus' "magnificent deeds," and Eusebius calls him "an emperor most dear to God and in all regards comparable to his father."

Crispus' end was as tragic as his career had been brilliant. His own father ordered him to be put to death. We know the year of this sad event, 326, from the Consularia Constantinopolitana, and the place, Pola in Istria, from Ammianus Marcellinus. The circumstances, however, are less clear. Zosimus (6th c.) and Zonaras (12th c.) both report that Crispus and his stepmother Fausta were involved in an illicit relationship. There may be as much gossip as fact in their reports, but it is certain that at some time during the same year the emperor ordered the death of his own wife as well, and the two cases must be considered together. That Crispus and Fausta plotted treason is reported by Gregory of Tours, but not very believable. We must resolutely reject the claim of Zosimus that it was Constantine's sense of guilt over these deeds which caused him to accept Christianity, as it alone promised him forgiveness for his sins. A similar claim had already been made by Julian the Apostate. We must also, I think, reject the suggestion of Guthrie that the emperor acted in the interest of "dynastic legitimacy," that is, that he removed his illegitimate first-born son in order to secure the succession for his three legitimate younger sons. But Crispus must have committed, or at least must have been suspected of having committed, some especially shocking offense to earn him a sentence of death from his own father. He also suffered damnatio memoriae, his honor was never restored, and history has not recorded the fate of his wife and his child (or children).

Copyright (C) 1997, Hans A. Pohlsander. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis;An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors and their Families:
http://www.roman-emperors.org/crispus.htm


What If?

St. Nectarios, in his book, The Ecumenical Synods, writes "Hellenism spread by Alexander paved the way for Christianity by Emperor Constantine the Great."

Constantine's upward gaze on his "Eyes to Heaven" coins recall the coin portraits of Alexander the Great (namely coins struck by the Diodochi), which served as prototypes for the divine ruler portraiture of much of the Hellenistic age. The diadem, of which this is the most elaborate type, was adopted by Constantine and the members of his house as a new symbol of sovereignty.

In the Greek Orthodox Church, Constantine the Great is revered as a Saint.

Is it just possible? Constantine, knowing what happened (or thinking that he does) to Phillip II of Macedon—assassinated on the eve of his greatness, in a plot that most likely involved his wife—and possibly his son. . . isn’t it just possible that Constantine is growing obsessively jealous of his ever more successful and adulated son? Imagine the Constantine who has proven time and again (think: Licinius) that he is a completely self-serving liar and a murderer, decides to murder again? Why "must we resolutely reject the claim of Zosimus that it was Constantine's sense of guilt over these deeds which caused him to accept Christianity, as it alone promised him forgiveness for his sins [?] (see: above). A similar claim had already been made by Julian the [Philosopher]."

Perhaps it is time to cease being apologists for the sometime megalomaniacal Constantine. As Michael Grant notes, "It is a mocking travesty of justice to call such a murderer Constantine the Great . . ." (Grant, Michael. The Emperor Constantine. London: Phoenix Press, 1998. 226).


Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
TetricusIIAntPietas.jpg
1dh Tetricus II25 views270-273

Son of Tetricus

AE antoninianus

Radiate draped bust, right, C P E TETRICVS CAES
Sacr. Implements, PIETAS AVGVSTOR

RIC 259

According to the Historia Augusta: He,1 when a little lad, received the name of Caesar from Victoria when she herself had been entitled by the army Mother of the Camp. He was, furthermore, led in triumph along with his father, but later he enjoyed all the honours of a senator ; nor was his inheritance diminished, and, indeed, he passed it on to his descendants, and was ever, as Arellius Fuscus reports, a man of distinction. . . . The house of the Tetrici is still standing to-day. . . , and in it Aurelian is depicted bestowing on both the Tetrici the bordered toga and the rank of senator and receiving from them a scepter, a chaplet, and an embroidered robe. This picture is in mosaic, and it is said that the two Tetrici, when they dedicated it, invited Aurelian himself to a banquet.
Blindado
coins446.JPG
501. Constantine I Ostia Sol16 viewsOstia
Although Ostia was probably founded for the sole purpose of military defence — since through the Tiber's mouths armies could eventually reach Rome by water — in time the port became a commercial harbour, and a very important one too. Many of the goods that Rome received from its colonies and provinces passed through Ostia. In this role, Ostia soon replaced Pozzuoli (Puteoli, near Naples).

In 87 BC, the town was razed by Marius, and again in 67 BC it was sacked by pirates. After this second attack, the town was re-built and provided with protective walls by Cicero. The town was then further developed during the 1st century AD, mainly under the influence of Tiberius, who ordered the building of the first Forum. The town was also soon enriched by the construction of a new harbour on the northern mouths of the Tiber (which reaches the sea with a larger mouth in Ostia, Fiumara Grande, and a narrower one near to the current Fiumicino international airport). The new harbour, not surprisingly called Portus, was excavated from the ground at the orders of the emperor Claudius; it has an hexagonal form, in order to reduce the waves strength. The town was provided with all the services a town of the time could require; in particular, a famous lighthouse. Archaeologists also discovered the public latrinas, organised for collective use as a series of seats that lets us imagine today that the function was also a social moment. In addition, Ostia had a large theatre, public baths and a fire fighting service. You can still see the mosaic floors of the baths near today's entrance to the town.

Trajan too, required a widening of the naval areas, and ordered the building of another harbour, again pointing towards the north. It must be remembered that at a relatively short distance, there was also the harbour of Civitavecchia (Centum Cellae), and Rome was starting to have a significant number of harbours, the most important remaining Portus.

Ostia grew to 50,000 inhabitants in the 2nd century AD and in time focused its naval activities on Portus. With the end of the Roman Empire, Ostia fell slowly into decay, and was finally abandoned in the 9th century due to the fall of the Roman empire in combination with repeated invasions and sackings by Arab pirates; the inhabitants moved to Gregoriopolis. In the Middle Ages, bricks from buildings in Ostia were used for several other occasions. The Leaning Tower of Pisa was entirely built of material originally belonging to Ostia. A "local sacking" was carried out by baroque architects, who used the remains as a sort of marble store for the palazzi they were building in Rome. Soon after, foreign explorers came in search of ancient statues and objects. The Papacy started organising its own investigations with Pope Pius VII and the research still continues today. It has been estimated that two thirds of the ancient town have currently been found.

001. Constantine I Ostia

RIC VI Ostia 85 S

ecoli
alxmecu.jpg
Alexander the Great13 viewsPortrait of Alexander the Great done in mosaic that is housed at the Museo Nazionale, Naples, Italy. Dated from the late 2nd century. B.C., copy of a painting dated to c. 300 B.C.

Traditionally this scene reresents the turning-point at Issus when Darius fled the battle; but Philoxenus, the artist from whose painting the mosaic was copied, may have incorporated elements from other battles. Alexander's personal moment of peril seems borrowed from the Granicus, and the confrontation also has echoes of Gaugamela.

This mosaic depicts a battle between Alexander the Great and the Persian king Darius, probably the Battle of the Issus River in November of 333 B.C. It is in opus vermiculatum, with over one and a half million tesserae, none larger than 4 mm., in four colors: white, yellow, red, and black. The minuteness of the tesserae enables incredibly fine detail and painterly effects, including remarkable portraits of Alexander and Darius.

See:http://www.hackneys.com/alex_web/pages/alxphoto.htm
Cleisthenes
ATGmosaic.jpg
Alexander the Great, The Battle of Issus River21 viewsThis mosaic depicts a battle between Alexander the Great and the Persian king Darius, probably the Battle of the Issus River in November of 333 B.C. It is in opus vermiculatum, with over one and a half million tesserae, none larger than 4 mm., in four colors: white, yellow, red, and black. The minuteness of the tesserae enables incredibly fine detail and painterly effects, including remarkable portraits of Alexander and Darius.

The border of this huge mosaic consists of large stones in a dentate pattern . In the corners are rosettes. Within the border along the bottom of the picture is a blank brown stripe, which some consider to be part of the picture, balancing the white expanse of sky at the top, while others argue that it is simply part of the frame.

The composition of the mosaic is dominated by the two protagonists: On the left, Alexander, with his head uncovered, rushes forward on his horse Bucephalus. He holds a spear with which he has skewered a Persian soldier, who has rushed to the defence of Darius. With Alexander appear his helmeted Macedonian soldiers, although little remains of them due to damage of the left side of the mosaic. On the right Darius, wearing a Persian cap, stretches out his hand to his wounded defender, while his charioteer whips the horses to flee toward the right. Around him are his Persian soldiers who mill in confusion in the background, their faces filled with fear and determination. One Persian, however, to the right of the dying defender of Darius, is intent upon Alexander, and holds his sword in his hand, ready to attack.

There are many details which emphasize the terror and confusion of the battle. The horse of the Persian defender of Darius collapses beneath him while he writhes in agony on Alexander's spear. Below Darius in his chariot, a Persian soldier, staring in horror at this scene, attempts to hold a rearing horse. The hindquarters of this horse project into the middle ground of the picture, giving it a sense of depth. To the right, a soldier is being crushed under the wheels of Darius' chariot. His face is reflected in the shield which he holds. Further to the right appear the terrified horses of the chariot team, trampling upon another unfortunate Persian.

The composition of the mosaic is dominated by diagonals. The center is dominated by the intersecting diagonals of the Persian speared by Alexander and the Persian restraining the rearing horse. Two other sets of intersecting diagonals are provided by the figures of Darius and his charioteer and by Alexander and the wounded Persian. The lances in the background of the picture also carry on the diagonal motif.

The setting of the battle is very stylized. In the background appears a tree with bare twisted limbs whose diagonals continue the unifying compositional motif of the mosaic. The tree also serves as a formal vertical counterweight to the Persian king and his charioteer, who rise above the battle fray. In the foreground are discarded weapons and rocks, which serve to define the space between the viewer and the battle scene.

The Alexander mosaic is thought to be based on a painting which Philoxenus of Eretria created for King Cassander of Macedonia. The painting is described by Pliny the Elder as representing "the battle of Alexander with Darius." Certain inconsistencies in the mosaic point to its derivation from another source. In the center of the composition appears a helmeted head to the right of the rearing horse. Two lance shafts come from the left and abruptly stop behind this he‡d. To the right of the same head appears a head of a horse and beneath this are the hindquarters of another horse, neither of which is logically completed. Among the four horses of Darius' chariot there are parts of a white horse which do not fit together anatomically. Above these horses is a Persian soldier who appears to have two right hands, one on his head and the other raised in the air. These details provide evidence that the mosaicist misunderstood details of the original.

Nevertheless, the overall effect of the mosaic is masterful. The expert blending of the colors of the tesserae and the careful control of the overall composition create a scene which comes to life with all the horror and confusion of battle. The Alexander mosaic is a truly great work, unmatched in the history of Roman art.

See: http://www.hackneys.com/alex_web/pages/alxphoto.htm
Cleisthenes
Praeneste_-_Nile_Mosaic_-_Section_9_-_Detail_2.jpg
ancient roman mosaic18 viewsJames b4
Praeneste_-_Nile_Mosaic_-_Section_2_-_Detail.jpg
ancient roman mosaic18 viewsJames b4
palestrinamosaic.jpg
ancient roman mosaic24 viewsJames b4
VEX_2006_3_14.jpg
ancient roman mosaic34 views1 commentsJames b4
glass_tesserae_1.jpg
BCC cg3 (27 pcs)46 viewsThese are colored glass tesserae found
on the dunes and along the beach at
Caesarea Maritima in the early 1970's.
Average size is approx. 1.0 x 0.7 x 0.8 cm.
Average weight is around 1.0 gm. Dating
is problematic. However, several buildings
from the late Roman and early Byzantine
periods have been excavated there and
shown to have remnants of glass mosaics
on the walls and on what would have been
the ceilings of the structures.
1 commentsv-drome
Mosaic.jpg
Britain, Bath, Aquae Sulis, Mosaic26 viewsDisplayed in the Baths.

This wonderful mosaic is one of many fascinating exhibits dotted around the museum.
maridvnvm
Chedworth Dining room mosaic 1.jpg
Britain, Chedworth Villa, 04, Dining room and ante chamber30 viewsChedworth Roman Villa, Yanworth, nr Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, Gread Britain

One of the largest Roman villa sites found in the UK. Found and initially excavated by the Victorians. Still being excavated today.
maridvnvm
Chedworth Dining room mosaic 2.jpg
Britain, Chedworth Villa, 05, Dining room and ante chamber , Mosaic detail27 viewsChedworth Roman Villa, Yanworth, nr Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, Gread Britain

One of the largest Roman villa sites found in the UK. Found and initially excavated by the Victorians. Still being excavated today
maridvnvm
Chedworth Dining room mosaic 3.jpg
Britain, Chedworth Villa, 06, Dining room and ante chamber, Mosaic and hypercaust 30 viewsChedworth Roman Villa, Yanworth, nr Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, Gread Britain

One of the largest Roman villa sites found in the UK. Found and initially excavated by the Victorians. Still being excavated today
maridvnvm
Chedworth Dining room mosaic 4.jpg
Britain, Chedworth Villa, 07, Dining room and ante chamber, Mosaic detail 32 viewsChedworth Roman Villa, Yanworth, nr Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, Gread Britain

One of the largest Roman villa sites found in the UK. Found and initially excavated by the Victorians. Still being excavated today
maridvnvm
Chedworth Baths Changing room 1.jpg
Britain, Chedworth Villa, 13, Bath complex, Mosaic detail64 viewsChedworth Roman Villa, Yanworth, nr Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, Gread Britain

One of the largest Roman villa sites found in the UK. Found and initially excavated by the Victorians. Still being excavated today
maridvnvm
City-of-Olympos-in-Antique-Lycian-Area-4_The_Building_with_mosaics-Bilt_in_5th-cent-AD-s.jpg
City of Olympos in Antique Lycian Area #04, The Building with mosaics, Bilt in 5th century A.D.65 viewsCity of Olympos in Antique Lycian Area #04, The Building with mosaics, Bilt in 5th century A.D.quadrans
Croatia_Italy_Vacation_069_opt.jpg
Croatia, Pula - Floor Mosaic308 viewsAll that remains is a floor mosaic depicting the Punishment of Dirce.Legatus
cyprus 2.JPG
Cyprus, Pafos, Roman Mosaic in "The House of the Century"1256 viewsMosaic in "The House of the Century"1 commentsJeroen
cyprus 1.JPG
Cyprus, Pafos, Roman Mosaic in "The House of the Century" (Detail)947 viewsDetailJeroen
Elmais_Mosaic.jpg
Elymais Mosaic30 viewsNote that coins were combined virtually so relative sizes might be off by +/- 10%

Elymais was a semi-independent state of the 2nd century BC to the early 3rd century AD, frequently a Parthian vassal, and located at the head of the Persian Gulf in the present-day region of Khuzestan, Iran. Elymais was conquered by Ardashir and became part of the Sassanian Empire. Very little is known about Elymais other than infomation yielded from its coins.
Sosius
France_436_St_Romain_en_Gal_mosaics.JPG
France, St Romain en Gal188 viewsmosaicvacationchick
France_435_St_Romain_en_Gal_mosaic.JPG
France, St Romain-en-Gal208 viewsmosaicvacationchick
France_434_St_Romain_en_Gal_mosaic.JPG
France, St Romain-en-Gal208 viewsmosaicvacationchick
France_427_St_Romain_en_Gal_frescoes_and_mosaics.JPG
France, St Romain-en-Gal211 viewsfrescoes and mosaicsvacationchick
France_440_St_Romain_en_Gal_mosaics_and_pillars.JPG
France, St Romain-en-Gal195 viewsmosaics and pillarsvacationchick
France_439_St_Romain_en_Gal_mosaics.JPG
France, St Romain-en-Gal199 viewsmosaicvacationchick
France_438_St_Romain_en_Gal_mosaics.JPG
France, St Romain-en-Gal209 viewsmosaicsvacationchick
FUENGIROLA_-_Parque_Yacimiento_Romano_1.JPG
Fuengirola- Roman Complex28 viewsThe complex was discovered in 1970 when the town of Fuengirola was making a new railroad, and is dated back to the I and V century.

The excavation area consist of 2 areas, Industrial and Termal zone.

The Industrial zone consist of 2 large living rooms, and 8 columns in a pair of 2 series with 4 columns. Within the Industrial area and to the north there are 4 central pillar ovens and a 5th smaller one. All these represents the access corridor (praefurnium) and combustion chamber. The ovens are made basically from Amphoras and common ceramics.

The Termal zone consist of several units corresponding to heated rooms, and several other rooms which not yet have been determined. The Termal is ruled by a large square in which there have been circular swimming pool with a diameter of 4,70 m, deep 1,50 m, and with 4 small steps. There has also been a porched room witk mosaics and 2 ovens ((Praefurnium) to heat op the thermaes.

Yacimiento romano, descubierto en 1970 mientras se realizaban las obras de una nueva línea de ferrocarril.
En este paraje, después de diversas excavaciones, se han hallado valiosos restos arqueológicos, entre los que cabe mencionar una escultura realizada en mármol, conocida popularmente como la venus de Fuengirola, una pequeña factoría para salar el pescado y un edificio termal de pequeñas dimensiones

El yacimiento se ubica en la margen derecha del arroyo Pajares (en la confluencia con la variante de Fuengirola), entre la vía del tren Fuengirola-Málaga y el Barrio de los Pacos. El complejo arqueológico se encuentra dividido, artificialmente, por la referida carretera en dos grandes áreas, norte y sur.

El terreno excavado, situado en el área sur del yacimiento, presenta dos espacios constructivos: zona industrial y zona termal.
La zona industrial se compone de dos grandes habitaciones, desarrollándose, en la más meridional, un conjunto de ocho piletas en dos series de cuatro; más al sur una extensa nave cuya planta permanece aún incompleta. Las estructuras existentes presentan diversas huellas de reparaciones y reutilizaciones. Dentro del complejo industrial, y al noreste de las habitaciones reseñadas, se ubican cuatro hornos de pilar central y un quinto de pequeñas dimensiones. Todos ellos presentan corredor de acceso (praefurnium) y cámara de combustión. El material producido en dichos hornos se compone, básicamente, de Ánforas y de cerámica común.

En la zona termal, situada en el extremo noreste del área sur del yacimiento, presenta varias dependencias, correspondientes a habitaciones calefactadas, y otras estancias, aún no definidas, que se desarrollan hacia el norte y oeste. De todo el conjunto cabría resaltar la sala de planta cuadrada en la que se inscribe una piscina circular de 4,70 metros de diámetro y 1,50 metros de profundidad, con cuatro pequeñas exedras-accesos. Así mismo habría que indicar la presencia de una sala porticada decorada con mosaicos y de dos hornos (Praefurnium) para la calefacción de las termas. La cronología del yacimiento se estima entre los siglos I y V de nuestra era.

John S
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Fuengirola- Roman Complex33 viewsThe complex was discovered in 1970 when the town of Fuengirola was making a new railroad, and is dated back to the I and V century.

The excavation area consist of 2 areas, Industrial and Termal zone.

The Industrial zone consist of 2 large living rooms, and 8 columns in a pair of 2 series with 4 columns. Within the Industrial area and to the north there are 4 central pillar ovens and a 5th smaller one. All these represents the access corridor (praefurnium) and combustion chamber. The ovens are made basically from Amphoras and common ceramics.

The Termal zone consist of several units corresponding to heated rooms, and several other rooms which not yet have been determined. The Termal is ruled by a large square in which there have been circular swimming pool with a diameter of 4,70 m, deep 1,50 m, and with 4 small steps. There has also been a porched room witk mosaics and 2 ovens ((Praefurnium) to heat op the thermaes.

Yacimiento romano, descubierto en 1970 mientras se realizaban las obras de una nueva línea de ferrocarril.
En este paraje, después de diversas excavaciones, se han hallado valiosos restos arqueológicos, entre los que cabe mencionar una escultura realizada en mármol, conocida popularmente como la venus de Fuengirola, una pequeña factoría para salar el pescado y un edificio termal de pequeñas dimensiones

El yacimiento se ubica en la margen derecha del arroyo Pajares (en la confluencia con la variante de Fuengirola), entre la vía del tren Fuengirola-Málaga y el Barrio de los Pacos. El complejo arqueológico se encuentra dividido, artificialmente, por la referida carretera en dos grandes áreas, norte y sur.

El terreno excavado, situado en el área sur del yacimiento, presenta dos espacios constructivos: zona industrial y zona termal.
La zona industrial se compone de dos grandes habitaciones, desarrollándose, en la más meridional, un conjunto de ocho piletas en dos series de cuatro; más al sur una extensa nave cuya planta permanece aún incompleta. Las estructuras existentes presentan diversas huellas de reparaciones y reutilizaciones. Dentro del complejo industrial, y al noreste de las habitaciones reseñadas, se ubican cuatro hornos de pilar central y un quinto de pequeñas dimensiones. Todos ellos presentan corredor de acceso (praefurnium) y cámara de combustión. El material producido en dichos hornos se compone, básicamente, de Ánforas y de cerámica común.

En la zona termal, situada en el extremo noreste del área sur del yacimiento, presenta varias dependencias, correspondientes a habitaciones calefactadas, y otras estancias, aún no definidas, que se desarrollan hacia el norte y oeste. De todo el conjunto cabría resaltar la sala de planta cuadrada en la que se inscribe una piscina circular de 4,70 metros de diámetro y 1,50 metros de profundidad, con cuatro pequeñas exedras-accesos. Así mismo habría que indicar la presencia de una sala porticada decorada con mosaicos y de dos hornos (Praefurnium) para la calefacción de las termas. La cronología del yacimiento se estima entre los siglos I y V de nuestra era.

John S
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Fuengirola- Roman Complex29 viewsThe complex was discovered in 1970 when the town of Fuengirola was making a new railroad, and is dated back to the I and V century.

The excavation area consist of 2 areas, Industrial and Termal zone.

The Industrial zone consist of 2 large living rooms, and 8 columns in a pair of 2 series with 4 columns. Within the Industrial area and to the north there are 4 central pillar ovens and a 5th smaller one. All these represents the access corridor (praefurnium) and combustion chamber. The ovens are made basically from Amphoras and common ceramics.

The Termal zone consist of several units corresponding to heated rooms, and several other rooms which not yet have been determined. The Termal is ruled by a large square in which there have been circular swimming pool with a diameter of 4,70 m, deep 1,50 m, and with 4 small steps. There has also been a porched room witk mosaics and 2 ovens ((Praefurnium) to heat op the thermaes.

Yacimiento romano, descubierto en 1970 mientras se realizaban las obras de una nueva línea de ferrocarril.
En este paraje, después de diversas excavaciones, se han hallado valiosos restos arqueológicos, entre los que cabe mencionar una escultura realizada en mármol, conocida popularmente como la venus de Fuengirola, una pequeña factoría para salar el pescado y un edificio termal de pequeñas dimensiones

El yacimiento se ubica en la margen derecha del arroyo Pajares (en la confluencia con la variante de Fuengirola), entre la vía del tren Fuengirola-Málaga y el Barrio de los Pacos. El complejo arqueológico se encuentra dividido, artificialmente, por la referida carretera en dos grandes áreas, norte y sur.

El terreno excavado, situado en el área sur del yacimiento, presenta dos espacios constructivos: zona industrial y zona termal.
La zona industrial se compone de dos grandes habitaciones, desarrollándose, en la más meridional, un conjunto de ocho piletas en dos series de cuatro; más al sur una extensa nave cuya planta permanece aún incompleta. Las estructuras existentes presentan diversas huellas de reparaciones y reutilizaciones. Dentro del complejo industrial, y al noreste de las habitaciones reseñadas, se ubican cuatro hornos de pilar central y un quinto de pequeñas dimensiones. Todos ellos presentan corredor de acceso (praefurnium) y cámara de combustión. El material producido en dichos hornos se compone, básicamente, de Ánforas y de cerámica común.

En la zona termal, situada en el extremo noreste del área sur del yacimiento, presenta varias dependencias, correspondientes a habitaciones calefactadas, y otras estancias, aún no definidas, que se desarrollan hacia el norte y oeste. De todo el conjunto cabría resaltar la sala de planta cuadrada en la que se inscribe una piscina circular de 4,70 metros de diámetro y 1,50 metros de profundidad, con cuatro pequeñas exedras-accesos. Así mismo habría que indicar la presencia de una sala porticada decorada con mosaicos y de dos hornos (Praefurnium) para la calefacción de las termas. La cronología del yacimiento se estima entre los siglos I y V de nuestra era.
John S
FUENGIROLA_-_Parque_Yacimiento_Romano_4.JPG
Fuengirola- Roman Complex33 viewsThe complex was discovered in 1970 when the town of Fuengirola was making a new railroad, and is dated back to the I and V century.

The excavation area consist of 2 areas, Industrial and Termal zone.

The Industrial zone consist of 2 large living rooms, and 8 columns in a pair of 2 series with 4 columns. Within the Industrial area and to the north there are 4 central pillar ovens and a 5th smaller one. All these represents the access corridor (praefurnium) and combustion chamber. The ovens are made basically from Amphoras and common ceramics.

The Termal zone consist of several units corresponding to heated rooms, and several other rooms which not yet have been determined. The Termal is ruled by a large square in which there have been circular swimming pool with a diameter of 4,70 m, deep 1,50 m, and with 4 small steps. There has also been a porched room witk mosaics and 2 ovens ((Praefurnium) to heat op the thermaes.

Yacimiento romano, descubierto en 1970 mientras se realizaban las obras de una nueva línea de ferrocarril.
En este paraje, después de diversas excavaciones, se han hallado valiosos restos arqueológicos, entre los que cabe mencionar una escultura realizada en mármol, conocida popularmente como la venus de Fuengirola, una pequeña factoría para salar el pescado y un edificio termal de pequeñas dimensiones

El yacimiento se ubica en la margen derecha del arroyo Pajares (en la confluencia con la variante de Fuengirola), entre la vía del tren Fuengirola-Málaga y el Barrio de los Pacos. El complejo arqueológico se encuentra dividido, artificialmente, por la referida carretera en dos grandes áreas, norte y sur.

El terreno excavado, situado en el área sur del yacimiento, presenta dos espacios constructivos: zona industrial y zona termal.
La zona industrial se compone de dos grandes habitaciones, desarrollándose, en la más meridional, un conjunto de ocho piletas en dos series de cuatro; más al sur una extensa nave cuya planta permanece aún incompleta. Las estructuras existentes presentan diversas huellas de reparaciones y reutilizaciones. Dentro del complejo industrial, y al noreste de las habitaciones reseñadas, se ubican cuatro hornos de pilar central y un quinto de pequeñas dimensiones. Todos ellos presentan corredor de acceso (praefurnium) y cámara de combustión. El material producido en dichos hornos se compone, básicamente, de Ánforas y de cerámica común.

En la zona termal, situada en el extremo noreste del área sur del yacimiento, presenta varias dependencias, correspondientes a habitaciones calefactadas, y otras estancias, aún no definidas, que se desarrollan hacia el norte y oeste. De todo el conjunto cabría resaltar la sala de planta cuadrada en la que se inscribe una piscina circular de 4,70 metros de diámetro y 1,50 metros de profundidad, con cuatro pequeñas exedras-accesos. Así mismo habría que indicar la presencia de una sala porticada decorada con mosaicos y de dos hornos (Praefurnium) para la calefacción de las termas. La cronología del yacimiento se estima entre los siglos I y V de nuestra era.

John S
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Greece, Delos - Mosaic Floor in the Maritime Quarter246 viewsInterestingly this mosaic floor features the symbol of Tanit a Carthaginian goddess.Lloyd T
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HARBOUR, TRAJAN, AE Sestertius (Portus Trajani)175 viewsPortus Trajani
Æ Sestertius (26.66g, Ø35mm, 6h). Rome mint. Struck AD 104-111.
Obv.: IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS V P P laureate draped bust of Trajan facing right.
Rev.: (PORTVM TRAIANI around, S C in ex.), Basin of Trajan's harbour (Portus Traiani), near Ostia, surrounded by warehouses, ships in centre.
RIC 471 (R2); Cohen 305; BMC 770A; Foss (Roman Historical Coins) 104:59
ex Jean Elsen Auction 95; ex coll. A. Senden: "L'architecture des monnaies Romaines".

Due to the vulnarability of Portus Claudii, witness the events of 62 AD when a violent storm destroyed some 200 ships in the port, Trajan built a second one farther inland behind the port of Claudius. The work was carried out in the years 100-112 AD, and included improvements of the Claudian harbour. It was a hexagonal basin enclosing an area of 39 hectares, and communicating by canals with the harbour of Claudius, with the Tiber directly, and with the sea. The capacity of the harbour was much enlarged, and many new warehouses were built around it, remains of which may still be seen: The fineness of the brickwork of which they are built is remarkable. The sides of the hexagonal basin were over 350 m, the maximum diameter more than 700 m., and 5m deep. The bottom was covered with stones, at the north end gradually sloping upwards, to reach a depth of only one meter at the edge of the basin.

The basin could contain more than 100 ships that did not moor alongside the quays, but at a straight angle. It was surrounded by a few wide treads (total width c. 6 m.). On the quays was a wall, with five narrow doorways (1.80) on each side of the hexagon. The doorways are too narrow for wagons. Apparently the goods were unloaded and carried by slaves. This can also be seen on several reliefs and mosaics. The wall facilitated the control of the flow of goods, for the Customs Service and the levying of import duties (the portorium).

The hexagon may have been designed by Apollodorus of Damascus, the architect of Trajan's Market in Rome. No other harbours are known with this shape, suggesting that it was chosen not only for practical purposes, but also for aesthetic reasons.

Portus was the main port of ancient Rome for more than 500 years and provided a conduit for everything from glass, ceramics, marble and slaves to wild animals caught in Africa and shipped to Rome for spectacles in the Colosseum.
3 commentsCharles S
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Israel, Hamat Gadar, Ruins of Synagogue10 viewsHamat Gader was already a well known health and recreation site in Roman times, mentioned in Strabo, Origen and Eunapius, as well as the Rabbinic literature. Construction of the bath complex began in the 2nd century by the 10th Roman Legion, which was garrisoned in nearby Gadara. The ancient Hebrew name means hot springs of (the ancient city of) Gadara. Gadar today is nearby modern Umm Qais. The Arabic name El-Hamma preserves this, and the name of the tel located near the site, Tel Bani, is a corruption of the Latin word meaning "baths." The empress Aelia Eudocia composed a poem praising the qualities of the multiple springs which was inscribed so that visitors could see it as they went into the pool. The mosaic pavement recovered from the 5th century Hamat Gader synagogue, is now installed in the entrance hall of the Supreme Court of Israel.


Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hamat-gader-archeol-site-synagoge.jpg
Joe Sermarini
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Israel, Jerusalem, Supreme Court Entrance Hall - Mosaic from Hamat Gader Synagogue 10 viewsA section of the mosaic pavement recovered from the ancient Hamat Gader synagogue, now installed in the entrance hall of the Supreme Court of Israel.

Hamat Gader was already a widely known health and recreation site in Roman times. It is mentioned in Strabo, Origen and Eunapius, as well as the Rabbinic literature. Construction of the bath complex began in the 2nd century by the 10th Roman Legion, which was garrisoned in nearby Gadara. The site includes a Roman theater, which was built in the 3rd century CE and contained 2,000 seats. A large synagogue was built in the 5th century CE. The empress Aelia Eudocia composed a poem praising the qualities of the multiple springs which was inscribed so that visitors could see it as they went into the pool.
Joe Sermarini
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Israel, Sepphoris - 'Mona Lisa' Mosaic214 viewsPart of a Roman mosaic, usually dated to the early 3rd-century CE, from the dining room floor of a mansion in the upper town at Sepphoris. When it was first excavated, the Israeli press named it 'the Mona Lisa of the Galilee'. Over-hype, maybe, but it is certainly attractive.Abu Galyon
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Israel, Tzipporri - Tzipporri Mosaic194 viewsA mosaic found in Tzipporri, Israel.aarmale
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Italy, Aquileia - basilica189 viewsBasilica is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the Saints Hermagora and Fortunatus and was built in the first half of the 11th century by Patriarch Poppo in Romanesque style. Upper parts and roof were built by Markward von Randeck in 14th-15th century in Gothic style.
Mosaics from 4th century were hidden under the floor until 1909.
Johny SYSEL
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Italy, Aquileia - mosaic floor200 viewsJonas swallowed by sea monster
Post-Theodorian South hall (end of 4th century)
Mosaics were originally part of Theodorian complex destroyed by Attila. Basilica was built on its site in 1031 and mosaics remained untouched under the floor.
Johny SYSEL
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Italy, Aquileia - mosaic floor203 viewsPost-Theodorian South hall (end of 4th century)
Mosaics were originally part of Theodorian complex destroyed by Attila. Basilica was built on its site in 1031 and mosaics remained untouched under the floor.
Johny SYSEL
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Italy, Aquileia - mosaic floor199 viewsscene of the Good Shepherd with the Mystic Flock
Christ is portrayed as a beardless young man bearing the lost lamb upon his shoulders. In one hand he holds the syrinx, symbol of the gentless he takes cere of his flock with.
Post-Theodorian South hall (end of 4th century)
Mosaics were originally part of Theodorian complex destroyed by Attila. Basilica was built on its site in 1031 and mosaics remained untouched under the floor.
Johny SYSEL
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Italy, Aquileia - mosaic floor195 viewsFishing scene describes the preaching of the Apostles ("Follow me and I will make you fishers of men":Matthew 4,19). The fishes represent the people listening to the good news, the boat is symbol of the church, the net represents the kingdom of heaven ("The kingdom of heaven is like big net that was cast into the sea...": Matthew 13,47).
Post-Theodorian South hall (end of 4th century)
Mosaics were originally part of Theodorian complex destroyed by Attila. Basilica was built on its site in 1031 and mosaics remained untouched under the floor.
Johny SYSEL
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Italy, Aquileia - mosaic floor190 viewsRam and battle between Cock and Tortoise. The Cock is symbol of the light of a new day, thus representing Christ, the "light of the world". The tortoise, whose Greek name means "dweller of the darkness", is instead of the symbol of Evil.
Post-Theodorian North hall (middle of the 4th century)
Johny SYSEL
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Italy, Aquileia - mosaic floor193 viewsPost-Theodorian North hall (middle of the 4th century)Johny SYSEL
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Italy, Herculaneum, Central Thermae22 viewsThe tepidarium has a vaulted ceiling. The floor has partly collapsed, showing sections of the hypocaust beneath, bus is decorated with a fine mosaic depicting a triton surrounded by dolphins

From my visit to Herculaneum in August 2015
maridvnvm
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Italy, Herculaneum, House of the Neptune mosaic17 viewsThe House of the Neptune mosaic is named after the stunning mosaic that dominates the centre of the back wall. The mosaic shows Neptune and Amphitrite surrounded by a decorative motif.

From my visit to Herculaneum in August 2015
maridvnvm
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Italy, Herculaneum, House of the Neptune mosaic - nymphaeum13 viewsOn the far end wall of the court of the House of the Neptune mosaic is a nympheum. It is surmounted by the head of Silenus accompanied by two marble theatrical masks.

From my visit to Herculaneum in August 2015
maridvnvm
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Italy, Herculaneum, House of the Skeleton17 viewsAdjoining the triclinium is a small courtyard containing a mosaic lararium

From my visit to Herculaneum in August 2015
maridvnvm
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Italy, Herculaneum, Mosaic of Neptune and Amphitrite 13 viewsThe mosaic of Neptune and Amphitrite.

From my visit to Herculaneum in August 2015
maridvnvm
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Italy, Pompeii239 viewsA well-known mosaic in an entryway of an affluent household, but it still never fails to please :-) July 2008Mark Zema
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Italy, Pompeii - Alcove mosaic28 viewsA mosaic in an alcove.

From my visit to Pompeii in August 2015
1 commentsmaridvnvm
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Italy, Populonia - mosaic176 viewsThis mosaic was found already in the early 19 th century, it shows many sea animals and a ship wreck.Franz-Josef M
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Italy, Populonia - mosaic, nearly total view139 viewsA famous beautiful mosaic with a ship wreck and many different sea animals, fishes, octopus snail etc.; most animals can be identified. Now in the museum of PiombinoFranz-Josef M
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Italy, Ravenna, Mausoleum of Galla Placidia64 viewsit is describbed as "the earliest and best preserved of all mosaic monuments, and at the same time one of the most artistically perfect"

The building was formerly the oratory of the Church of the Holy Cross and now contains three sarcophagi. The largest sarcophagus was thought to contain the remains of Galla Placidia (died 450). Other is attributed to her husband, Emperor Constantius III. The last sarcophagus is attributed to Galla's son, Emperor Valentinian III, or to her brother, Emperor Honorius.
Johny SYSEL
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Italy, Ravenna, Mausoleum of Galla Placidia138 viewsit is describbed as "the earliest and best preserved of all mosaic monuments, and at the same time one of the most artistically perfect"

The building was formerly the oratory of the Church of the Holy Cross and now contains three sarcophagi. The largest sarcophagus was thought to contain the remains of Galla Placidia (died 450). Other is attributed to her husband, Emperor Constantius III. The last sarcophagus is attributed to Galla's son, Emperor Valentinian III, or to her brother, Emperor Honorius.
1 commentsJohny SYSEL
21320438.jpg
Italy, Ravenna, Mausoleum of Galla Placidia140 viewsit is describbed as "the earliest and best preserved of all mosaic monuments, and at the same time one of the most artistically perfect"

The building was formerly the oratory of the Church of the Holy Cross and now contains three sarcophagi. The largest sarcophagus was thought to contain the remains of Galla Placidia (died 450). Other is attributed to her husband, Emperor Constantius III. The last sarcophagus is attributed to Galla's son, Emperor Valentinian III, or to her brother, Emperor Honorius.
1 commentsJohny SYSEL
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Italy, Sicily, View of Solanto from the ruins of Soluntum (aka Solus, Solous, and Kefra)64 viewsView of Solanto from the ruins of Soluntum (aka Solus, Solous, and Kefra), Sicily

Solus (or Soluntum, near modern Solanto) was an ancient city on the north coast of Sicily, one of the three chief Phoenician settlements on the island, about 16 kilometers (10 miles) east of Panormus (modern Palermo). It lay 183 meters (600 ft) above sea level, on the southeast side of Monte Catalfano 373 meters (1,225 ft), in a naturally strong situation, and commanding a fine view. The date of its founding is unknown. Solus was one of the few colonies that the Phoenicians retained when they withdrew to the northwest corner of the island before the advance of the Greek colonies in Sicily. Together with Panormus and Motya, it allied with the Carthaginians. In 396 B.C. Dionysius took the city but it probably soon broke away again to Carthage and was usually part of their dominions on the island. In 307 B.C. it was given to the soldiers and mercenaries of Agathocles, who had made peace with the Carthage when abandoned by their leader in Africa. During the First Punic War it was still subject to Carthage, and it was not until after the fall of Panormus that Soluntum also opened its gates to the Romans. It continued to under Roman dominion as a municipal town, but apparently one of no great importance, as its name is only slightly and occasionally mentioned by Cicero. But it is still noticed both by Pliny and Ptolemy, as well as at a later period by the Itineraries. Its destruction probably dates from the time of the Saracens.

Excavations have brought to light considerable remains of the ancient town, belonging entirely to the Roman period, and a good deal still remains unexplored. The traces of two ancient roads, paved with large blocks of stone, which led up to the city, may still be followed, and the whole summit of Monte Catalfano is covered with fragments of ancient walls and foundations of buildings. Among these may be traced the remains of two temples, of which some capitals and portions of friezes, have been discovered. An archaic oriental Artemis sitting between a lion and a panther, found here, is in the museum at Palermo, with other antiquities from this site. An inscription, erected by the citizens in honor of Fulvia Plautilla, the wife of Caracalla, was found there in 1857. With the exception of the winding road by which the town was approached on the south, the streets, despite the unevenness of the ground, which in places is so steep that steps have to be introduced, are laid out regularly, running from east to west and from north to south, and intersecting at right angles. They are as a rule paved with slabs of stone. The houses were constructed of rough walling, which was afterwards plastered over; the natural rock is often used for the lower part of the walls. One of the largest of them, with a peristyle, was in 1911, though wrongly, called the gymnasium. Near the top of the town are some cisterns cut in the rock, and at the summit is a larger house than usual, with mosaic pavements and paintings on its walls. Several sepulchres also have been found.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soluntum

Photo by Allie Caulfield from Germany.
Joe Sermarini
Italy- Napoli Museum- Mosaic fontain from Pompeii.jpg
Italy- Napoli Museum- Mosaic fontain from Pompeii50 viewsJohn Schou
Italy- Napoli Museum- Mosaic from Pompeii.jpg
Italy- Napoli Museum- Mosaic from Pompeii52 viewsJohn Schou
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Italy- Pompeii- Big House and house with drain in the corner33 viewsWhat strikes you most about Pompeii - and also Herculaneum for that matter - is that they are both very neatly laid-out cities, very elegant and very orderly. There was running water in the houses, as the numerous indoor fountains would testify. There were public baths - Roman style - with separate entrances for men and women; while the walls of both were decorated with terracotta statues, the women's baths were much more elegant with exquisite floral mosaics. There were separate dressing rooms called apodyterium, cold bath - frigidairium - warm bath - tepidarium - and hot bath - calidarium. The calidarium was heated by a system of double walls and a hollow floor, which provided circulation for hot air and steam. The large cold water basin has inscriptions with names of the donors who funded its construction. There was also the palaestra or the gymnasium and separate areas for ablutions. There were public latrines with running water channels. In fact, the baths take up quite a bit of space in Pompeii and Herculaneum, pointing to the fastidiousness of early Romans when it came to personal hygiene. In Herculaneum, there is even a bronze bath-tub that is still intact.

John Schou
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Italy- Pompeii- Entrance to the house of Fauno39 viewsHOUSE OF THE FAUN (VI,12,2)
With its 3000m² it is the largest house in Pompeii: built over a previous dwelling at the beginning of the 2nd century BC, its current form is the result of subsequent alterations. The entrance on the left leads directly into the public section, the door on the right to the private rooms: an atrium whose roof is supported by four columns, stalls, latrine, baths, kitchen. In the entrance is the Latin message HAVE. The ‘first style’ decoration, the floors of sectile opus, and the mosaic threshold (now at the Naples Museum) highlight the dignity of this house, more similar to the aristocratic Roman domus than local upper class dwellings. In the center of the impluvium is a bronze statue of the ‘faun’ (2nd cent. BC: original in Naples); around it are rooms that held mosaic paintings on the floor and ‘first style’ decorations on the walls. Between the two porticoed gardens is the exedra, the core of the dwelling, with Corinthian columns, stuccoed and painted capitals, a splendid mosaic (now at the N
aples Museum) depicting the victory of Alexander the Great over Darius, King of Persia, which has helped to suggest a connection between the Macedonian ruler and the unknown, educated, and wealthy owner of the
FLOOR PLAN OF THE HOUSE OF THE FAUN Pompeii 2nd Century Courtesy of Professor Barbette Spaeth, Tulane University (Excerpted from Professor Spaeth's accompanying text) This house was among the largest and most elegant of the houses of Pompeii. It took up an entire city block (c. 80 m. long by 35 m. wide or 315 by 115 ft.) and was filled with beautiful works of art, including the famous mosaic depicting Alexander the Great at the Battle of Issus, and wall paintings of the First, Second and Fourth Styles. The decoration of the house is heavily influenced by Hellenistic models. The House of the Faun was originally built in the early second century. In this period, the house was focused around two atria, one a large Tuscan atrium (3), and the other a smaller tetrastyle atrium (10), while the back of the house had a large kitchen garden. The two-atria plan represented an attempt to separate the formal functions of the atrium, i.e., the reception of clients and conduct of business by the patron of the house, from its private functions, i.e., the course of everyday family life. This type of plan is an intermediate step between the simple atrium house, with a single atrium complex, and the atrium and peristyle house. Apparently, the two-atria plan did not prove ultimately satisfactory for the owners of the House of the Faun. In the late second century B.C. they added a peristyle (8) to the north of the original two-atria nucleus, along with a service quarter to the eastern side (12-16), and reception rooms to the north. The rear of the house contained the kitchen garden. To this later period of the house belong its wall decorations in First Style and its famous mosaics. Finally, another peristyle was added around the time of the Early Roman Colony (20), that is, in the early first century B.C. This peristyle included more reception rooms along the south side (17 & 18), and smaller rooms, perhaps for servants, to the north (22) . The center of the new peristyle was occupied by the kitchen garden (19). With these renovations, the house acquired a new focus around the peristyles. The peristyles represented a private retreat for the family, a place where they could relax and entertain special guests. The front part of the house was kept for more formal occasions. The addition of service quarters reflects a further differentiation of function in the house, again separating the daily life of the family from the more public reception areas. The House of the Faun, with its elaborate decoration and extensive plan, represents one of the most important examples of Roman domus architecture of the second to first century B.C.
John Schou
Italy- Pompeii- Entrance to the house of Fauno 1.jpg
Italy- Pompeii- Entrance to the house of Fauno 141 viewsHouse of the Faun. Fauces

FLOOR PLAN OF THE HOUSE OF THE FAUN Pompeii 2nd Century Courtesy of Professor Barbette Spaeth, Tulane University (Excerpted from Professor Spaeth's accompanying text) This house was among the largest and most elegant of the houses of Pompeii. It took up an entire city block (c. 80 m. long by 35 m. wide or 315 by 115 ft.) and was filled with beautiful works of art, including the famous mosaic depicting Alexander the Great at the Battle of Issus, and wall paintings of the First, Second and Fourth Styles. The decoration of the house is heavily influenced by Hellenistic models. The House of the Faun was originally built in the early second century. In this period, the house was focused around two atria, one a large Tuscan atrium (3), and the other a smaller tetrastyle atrium (10), while the back of the house had a large kitchen garden. The two-atria plan represented an attempt to separate the formal functions of the atrium, i.e., the reception of clients and conduct of business by the patron of the house, from its private functions, i.e., the course of everyday family life. This type of plan is an intermediate step between the simple atrium house, with a single atrium complex, and the atrium and peristyle house. Apparently, the two-atria plan did not prove ultimately satisfactory for the owners of the House of the Faun. In the late second century B.C. they added a peristyle (8) to the north of the original two-atria nucleus, along with a service quarter to the eastern side (12-16), and reception rooms to the north. The rear of the house contained the kitchen garden. To this later period of the house belong its wall decorations in First Style and its famous mosaics. Finally, another peristyle was added around the time of the Early Roman Colony (20), that is, in the early first century B.C. This peristyle included more reception rooms along the south side (17 & 18), and smaller rooms, perhaps for servants, to the north (22) . The center of the new peristyle was occupied by the kitchen garden (19). With these renovations, the house acquired a new focus around the peristyles. The peristyles represented a private retreat for the family, a place where they could relax and entertain special guests. The front part of the house was kept for more formal occasions. The addition of service quarters reflects a further differentiation of function in the house, again separating the daily life of the family from the more public reception areas. The House of the Faun, with its elaborate decoration and extensive plan, represents one of the most important examples of Roman domus architecture of the second to first century B.C.

John Schou
Italy- Pompeii- House of Fauno with bronze statuette of Fauno and nice mosaic floor.jpg
Italy- Pompeii- House of Fauno with bronze statuette of Fauno and nice mosaic floor54 viewsFLOOR PLAN OF THE HOUSE OF THE FAUN Pompeii 2nd Century Courtesy of Professor Barbette Spaeth, Tulane University (Excerpted from Professor Spaeth's accompanying text) This house was among the largest and most elegant of the houses of Pompeii. It took up an entire city block (c. 80 m. long by 35 m. wide or 315 by 115 ft.) and was filled with beautiful works of art, including the famous mosaic depicting Alexander the Great at the Battle of Issus, and wall paintings of the First, Second and Fourth Styles. The decoration of the house is heavily influenced by Hellenistic models. The House of the Faun was originally built in the early second century. In this period, the house was focused around two atria, one a large Tuscan atrium (3), and the other a smaller tetrastyle atrium (10), while the back of the house had a large kitchen garden. The two-atria plan represented an attempt to separate the formal functions of the atrium, i.e., the reception of clients and conduct of business by the patron of the house, from its private functions, i.e., the course of everyday family life. This type of plan is an intermediate step between the simple atrium house, with a single atrium complex, and the atrium and peristyle house. Apparently, the two-atria plan did not prove ultimately satisfactory for the owners of the House of the Faun. In the late second century B.C. they added a peristyle (8) to the north of the original two-atria nucleus, along with a service quarter to the eastern side (12-16), and reception rooms to the north. The rear of the house contained the kitchen garden. To this later period of the house belong its wall decorations in First Style and its famous mosaics. Finally, another peristyle was added around the time of the Early Roman Colony (20), that is, in the early first century B.C. This peristyle included more reception rooms along the south side (17 & 18), and smaller rooms, perhaps for servants, to the north (22) . The center of the new peristyle was occupied by the kitchen garden (19). With these renovations, the house acquired a new focus around the peristyles. The peristyles represented a private retreat for the family, a place where they could relax and entertain special guests. The front part of the house was kept for more formal occasions. The addition of service quarters reflects a further differentiation of function in the house, again separating the daily life of the family from the more public reception areas. The House of the Faun, with its elaborate decoration and extensive plan, represents one of the most important examples of Roman domus architecture of the second to first century B.CJohn Schou
Italy- Pompeii- House of Fauno with nice mosaic floor.jpg
Italy- Pompeii- House of Fauno with nice mosaic floor61 viewsFLOOR PLAN OF THE HOUSE OF THE FAUN Pompeii 2nd Century Courtesy of Professor Barbette Spaeth, Tulane University (Excerpted from Professor Spaeth's accompanying text) This house was among the largest and most elegant of the houses of Pompeii. It took up an entire city block (c. 80 m. long by 35 m. wide or 315 by 115 ft.) and was filled with beautiful works of art, including the famous mosaic depicting Alexander the Great at the Battle of Issus, and wall paintings of the First, Second and Fourth Styles. The decoration of the house is heavily influenced by Hellenistic models. The House of the Faun was originally built in the early second century. In this period, the house was focused around two atria, one a large Tuscan atrium (3), and the other a smaller tetrastyle atrium (10), while the back of the house had a large kitchen garden. The two-atria plan represented an attempt to separate the formal functions of the atrium, i.e., the reception of clients and conduct of business by the patron of the house, from its private functions, i.e., the course of everyday family life. This type of plan is an intermediate step between the simple atrium house, with a single atrium complex, and the atrium and peristyle house. Apparently, the two-atria plan did not prove ultimately satisfactory for the owners of the House of the Faun. In the late second century B.C. they added a peristyle (8) to the north of the original two-atria nucleus, along with a service quarter to the eastern side (12-16), and reception rooms to the north. The rear of the house contained the kitchen garden. To this later period of the house belong its wall decorations in First Style and its famous mosaics. Finally, another peristyle was added around the time of the Early Roman Colony (20), that is, in the early first century B.C. This peristyle included more reception rooms along the south side (17 & 18), and smaller rooms, perhaps for servants, to the north (22) . The center of the new peristyle was occupied by the kitchen garden (19). With these renovations, the house acquired a new focus around the peristyles. The peristyles represented a private retreat for the family, a place where they could relax and entertain special guests. The front part of the house was kept for more formal occasions. The addition of service quarters reflects a further differentiation of function in the house, again separating the daily life of the family from the more public reception areas. The House of the Faun, with its elaborate decoration and extensive plan, represents one of the most important examples of Roman domus architecture of the second to first century B.CJohn Schou
Italy- Pompeii- House with nice delphin mosaic.jpg
Italy- Pompeii- House with nice delphin mosaic47 viewsJohn Schou
Italy- Pompeii- House with nice mosaic.jpg
Italy- Pompeii- House with nice mosaic34 viewsJohn Schou
Italy- Pompeii- House with nice mosaic 1.jpg
Italy- Pompeii- House with nice mosaic 146 viewsJohn Schou
Italy- Pompeii- House with nice mosaic and fountain.jpg
Italy- Pompeii- House with nice mosaic and fountain38 viewsJohn Schou
Italy- Pompeii- House with nice mosaic and fountain 1.jpg
Italy- Pompeii- House with nice mosaic and fountain 169 viewsFOUNTAIN
House of the Small Fountain Pompeii Another fountain with mosaic decorations, including abstract and geometric designs, fish, shells, and other sea life.
John Schou
Italy- Rome- Largo (di Torre) Argentina.jpg
Italy- Rome- Largo (di Torre) Argentina47 viewsLargo di Torre Argentina is a square in Rome that hosts four Republican Roman temples, and the reminings of Pompey's Theater. It is located in the ancient Campus Martius.

Common knowledge refers the name of the square to a Torre Argentina, which is not related to the South American country, but to the city of Strasbourg, whose original name was Argentoratum. In 1503, in fact, John Burckhardt from Strasbourg built in via del Sudario a palace (now at number 44), Casa del Bucardo, annexing a tower, called Torre Argentoratina from the name of his hometown.

After Italian unification, it was decided to reconstruct part of Rome (1909), demolishing the zone of Torre Argentina, where the remainings of a medieval tower, Torre Papito or Torre Boccamazzi, and of one temple were to be included in the new buildings. During the works (1927), however, the colossal head and arms of a marble statue were discovered. The archeological investigation brought to light the presence of a holy area, dating to the Republican era, with four temples and part of Pompey's Theater.

The buildings
The four temples, designated today by the letters A, B, C, and D, front onto a paved street, which was reconstructed in the imperial era, after 80 AD fire.

Temple A was built in the 3rd century BC, and is probably the Temple of Juturna built by Gaius Lutatius Catulus after his victory against Carthaginians in 241 BC. It was later rebuilt into a church, whoes aprses are still present.

Temple B, a circular temple with six columns remaining, was built by Quintus Lutatius Catulus in 101 BC to celebrate his victory over Cimbri; it was Aedes Fortunae Huiusce Diei, a temple devoted to the Luck of the Current Day. The colossal statue found during excavations and now kept in the Capitoline Museums was the statue of the goddess herself. Only the head, the arms, and the legs were of marble: the other parts, covered by the dress, were of bronze.

Temple C is the most ancient of the three, dating back to 4th or 3rd century BC, and was probably devoted to Feronia the ancient Italic goddess of fertility. After the fire of 80 AD, this temple was restored, and the white and black mosaic of the inner temple cell dates back to this restoration.

Temple D is the largest of the four, dates back to 2nd century BC with Late Republican restorations, and was devoted to Lares Permarini, but only a small part of it has been excavated (a street covers the most of it).

Teatro Argentina is a 18th century theater, where Gioachino Rossini's The Barber of Seville debuted in 1816, as well as Giuseppe Verdi's I due Foscari (1844) and La battaglia di Legnano (1849).

Located in the Largo Argentina is the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary, a no-kill shelter for homeless cats (of which Rome has many). The presence of the shelter proves to be a point of interest for both tourists and locals, as the historical area abounds with various breeds of cat, cavorting and lounging about on the ancient (and semi-ancient) ruins.
John Schou
ChristPantocratorStCatherines.jpg
Jesus Christ, Pantocrator45 viewsThe iconic image of Christ Pantocrator (Christ, Ruler of All) was one of the first images of Christ developed in the Early Christian Church and remains a central icon of the Eastern Orthodox Church. In the half-length image, Christ holds the New Testament in his left hand and blesses with his right.

The oldest known surviving example of the icon of Christ Pantocrator was painted in encaustic on panel in the sixth or seventh century, and survived the period of destruction of images during the Iconoclastic Disputes that racked the Eastern church, 726 A.D. to 815 A.D. and 813 A.D. to 843A.D., by being preserved in the remote desert of the Sinai, in Saint Catherine's Monastery. The gessoed panel, finely painted using a wax medium on a wooden panel, had been coarsely overpainted around the face and hands at some time around the thirteenth century. It was only when the overpainting was cleaned in 1962 that the ancient image was revealed to be a very high quality icon, probably produced in Constantinople (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christ_Pantocrator).

The Christ Pantocrator Icon at St. Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai

In 544 AD, a cloth bearing an image of Jesus was discovered hidden above a gate in Edessa's city walls. Six years later, an icon was produced at St. Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai.
(See: http://www.shroudofturin4journalists.com/history.htm)

There are startling similarities between the icon and the image we see on the Shroud of Turin. There are, perhaps, too many similarities for it to be a mere coincidence.

The general placement of facial features including eyes, nose and mouth. In fact, when a transparency of the Shroud face is superimposed over the icon, there are no significant variations.

The hair on the left side (your right) falls on the shoulder and swoops outward. The hair on the other side is shorter.

The eyes are very large.

The nose is particularly thin and long. The face is gaunt.

There is a gap in the beard below a concentration of facial hair that is just below the lower lip.

The neck is particularly long.

It is particularly interesting to note that starting about this time a dramatic change took place in the way Jesus was portrayed on coins, icons, frescoes and mosaics. Before this time, Jesus was usually portrayed in storybook settings such as a young shepherd or modeled after the Greek Apollo.

After the discovery of the Edessa Cloth, images of Jesus were suddenly full-frontal facial images.

The story of the Shroud of Turin is fascinating. It began, for me, ironically when I thought the "story" had finally been laid to rest. Carbon 14 dating conducted in 1988 had just proved that the Shroud was medieval. Along with most, I accepted these results--the fact that two of my former Alma Maters (The University of Arizona and Oxford University) were involved in the testing lent a comfortable sense of closure (to give them their due, scientists from the Institut für Mittelenergiephysik in Zurich, Columbia University, and the British Museum were also involved in the tests). I was re-engaged by the Shroud story in 2005 when an article in the scholarly, peer-reviewed scientific journal Thermochimica Acta by an equally eminent scientist, Raymond N. Rogers, of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, subverted the 1988 tests. Very briefly, the sample cut from the Shroud in 1988 was shown not to be valid. In fact, the article noted, the Shroud was much older than the carbon 14 tests suggested. Curiouser and curiouser. . . and I'll leave the story at this juncture. If you are interested, see the following site:
http://www.shroudofturin4journalists.com/pantocrator.htm

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
Gerasa.JPG
Jordan, Jerash (Ancient Gerasa), The Oval Forum in Jerash, and the Cardo Maximus2 viewsThe Greco-Roman city of Gerasa, the Oval Forum in Jerash, and the Cardo Maximus, with modern Jerash in the background.

Ancient Greek inscriptions from the city support that the city was founded by Alexander the Great and his general Perdiccas, who allegedly settled aged Macedonian soldiers there during the spring of 331 BC, when he left Egypt and crossed Syria en route to Mesopotamia. However, other sources, namely the city's former name of "Antioch on the Chrysorrhoas, point to a founding by Seleucid King Antioch IV, while still others attribute the founding to Ptolemy II of Egypt.

After the Roman conquest in 63 BC, Jerash and the land surrounding it were annexed to the Roman province of Syria, and later joined the Decapolis league of cities. The historian Josephus mentions the city as being principally inhabited by Syrians, and also having a small Jewish community.[19] In AD 106, Jerash was absorbed into the Roman province of Arabia, which included the city of Philadelphia (modern day Amman). The Romans ensured security and peace in this area, which enabled its people to devote their efforts and time to economic development and encouraged civic building activity.[20]

Jerash is considered one of the largest and most well-preserved sites of Roman architecture in the world outside Italy. And is sometimes misleadingly referred to as the "Pompeii of the Middle East" or of Asia, referring to its size, extent of excavation and level of preservation.

Jerash was the birthplace of the mathematician Nicomachus of Gerasa (Greek: Νικόμαχος) (c. 60 – c. 120 AD).

In the second half of the 1st century AD, the city of Jerash achieved great prosperity. In AD 106, the Emperor Trajan constructed roads throughout the province, and more trade came to Jerash. The Emperor Hadrian visited Jerash in AD 129–130. The triumphal arch (or Arch of Hadrian) was built to celebrate his visit.

The city finally reached a size of about 800,000 square meters within its walls. The Persian invasion in AD 614 caused the rapid decline of Jerash. Beneath the foundations of a Byzantine church that was built in Jerash in AD 530 there was discovered a mosaic floor with ancient Greek and Hebrew-Aramaic inscriptions. The presence of the Hebrew-Aramaic script has led scholars to think that the place was formerly a synagogue, before being converted into a church.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerash

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Place_ovale_de_Gerasa_new.JPG
Azurfrog, 2 November 2013
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Joe Sermarini
15704aea.jpg
Kings of Axum74 viewsAnonymous (400 - 500 A.D.)
Æ 14
O: BAC + ACA, Crowned bust right, holding cross-tipped scepter
R: +TOV TO APECH TH XWPA, Greek Cross; central punch-hole inlaid in gold, Inscription "May this (cross) please the country."
Munro-Hay 76, BMC Aksumite 316
0.75g


One of the most curious aspects of Axumite coinage is the use of gilding on some of the silver and bronze coins. The amount of gold used would not be enough to significantly change the value of the coin, and the reason for this labor-intensive process remains somewhat a mystery. It is usually found highlighting the portrait of the king or as embellishment of the cross, so it may serve the same purpose as gold tesserae in church mosaics and gold leaf on manuscripts--to reflect the Divine Light shining on the monarch and the church.
2 commentsMat
Manuel_I_(1143-1180)_aspron_trachy_(AE).png
Manuel I (1143-1180) aspron trachy (AE)83 viewsObv.: Christ std. on backless throne Rev: MANVHL [ ] ECPO (Emperor being blessed by Virgin) Field: IC XC (obv.), theta (rev.) Diameter: 29,32 mm Weight: 3,90 gr DOC 13

Christ on the backless throne is also known as the 'Hyperagathos' (being identified as such on a mosaic in the Monastery of the Pammakaristos).
Nick.vdw
markianopolis_domna_unknown.jpg
Moesia inferior, Markianopolis, 17. Julia Domna, HrJ (2013) 6.17.31.01 (plate coin)26 viewsJulia Domna, AD 193-217
AE 18, 4.04g, 17.85g, 30°
obv. IOVLIA DO - [MNA CEB]
Bust, draped, r.
rev. MARKIANO - [POLITWN]
Kybele, in girded double chiton and himation, wearing mural crown, enthroned l.
in remarkable nonchalant attitude, resting with l. arm on tympanon and holding
patera in r. hand; at both sides of throne a lion, the frontal one std.r.
ref. a) not in AMNG
b) not in Varbanov (engl.)
c) Hristova/Jekov (2013) No. 6.17.31.1 (plate coin)

The depiction of Kybele on this coin is very different from the usual boring ones we see on small coins from Markianopolis. Here we must have a creative artist. The ostensibly nonchalant attitude I know until now only from depictions of MATER DEVM. I think it is the sign of a kind of safety and carelessness. We can see SECVRITAS often in a similar position. So even small coins - often overlooked by collectors - can cause a nice surprise.

Pat Lawrence: (1) I've been hunting for, what I think I recall, another Cybele relaxing like that on a provincial coin. Though the sense of security is, I think, a perfectly valid interpretation, I think there's more to it.
The iconographic type, seated with the pair of lions, goes back to her 4cBC cult statue. But it is on a stiff throne and is decidedly blocky, as cult statues often are.
The pictorial type shown on this and (if I recall correctly) some other Greek Imperial coins, where she leans back as if in a landscape setting, probably is related to paintings or reliefs that re-interpreted the cult-statue type to make a 'natural' and womanly Cybele.
This is like taking the medieval, originally Byzantine (as in apse mosaics) Mary and treating her and the baby as the Renaissance did, kneeling in the woods (Filippo Lippi) or playing with him, offering him grapes as Hermes did to baby Dionysos (with the meaning adjusted appropriately).
(2) Sometimes at the Rome mint JD is shown slightly relaxed on her cult-image throne, but so long as you have that carpentry back-rest to the throne, you are dealing with the cult image as prototype.
Jochen's new Marcianopolis I am sure DOES have the same "pictorial" prototype and meaning (Cybele in Nature, her element) as the Anchialos coin.
Jochen
Lixus_in_Morocco.jpg
Morocco, Lixus64 viewsLixus is the site of an ancient Roman city located in Morocco just north of the modern seaport of Larache on the bank of the Loukkos River. The location was one of the main cities of the Roman province of Mauretania Tingitana .

Ancient Lixus is located on Tchemmich Hill on the right bank of the Loukkos River (other names: Oued Loukous; Locus River), just to the north of the modern seaport of Larache. The site lies within the urban perimeter of Larache, and about three kilometers inland from the mouth of the river and the Atlantic ocean. From its 80 meters above the plain the site dominates the marshes through which the river flows. To the north, Lixus is surrounded by hills which themselves are bordered to the north and east by a forest of cork oaks.

Among the ruins there are Roman baths, temples, 4th century walls, a mosaic floor, a Christian church and the intricate and confusing remains of the Capitol Hill.

Lixus was first settled by the Phoenicians in the 7th century BC and was later annexed by Carthage. Lixus was part of a chain of Phoenician/Carthaginian settlements along the Atlantic coast of modern Morocco; other major settlements further to the south are Chellah (called Sala Colonia by the Romans) and Mogador. When Carthage fell to Ancient Rome, Lixus, Chellah and Mogador became imperial outposts of the Roman province Mauretania Tingitana.

The ancient sources agree to make of Lixus a counter Phoenician, which is confirmed by the archaeological discovery of material dating from 8th century BC. It gradually grew in importance, later coming under Carthaginian domination. After the destruction of Carthage, Lixus fell to Roman control and was made an imperial colony, reaching its zenith during the reign of the emperor Claudius I (AD 41-54).

Some ancient Greek writers located at Lixus the mythological garden of the Hesperides, the keepers of the golden apples. The name of the city was often mentioned by writers from Hanno the Navigator to the Geographer of Ravenna, and confirmed by the legend on its coins and by an inscription. The ancients believed Lixus to be the site of the Garden of the Hesperides and of a sanctuary of Hercules, where Hercules gathered gold apples, more ancient than the one at Cadiz, Spain. However, there are no grounds for the claim that Lixus was founded at the end of the second millennium BC.

Lixus flourished during the Roman Empire, mainly when Claudius established a Roman Colonia with full rights for the citizens. Lixus was one of the few Roman cities in Berber Africa that enjoyed an amphitheater: the amphitheater at Lixus. In the third century Lixus become nearly fully Christian and there are even now the ruins of a paleochristian church overlooking the archeological area. The Arab invasions destroyed the Roman city. Some berber life was maintained there nevertheless until one century after the Islamic conquest of North Africa by the presence of a mosque and a house with patio with the covered walls of painted stuccos.

The site was excavated continuously from 1948 to 1969. In the 1960s, Lixus was restored and consolidated. In 1989, following an international conference which brought together many scientists, specialists, historians and archaeologists of the Mediterranean around the history and archaeology of Lixus, the site was partly enclosed. Work was undertaken to study the Roman mosaics of the site, which constitute a very rich unit. In addition to the vestiges interesting to discover the such mosaics whose one of sixty meters representing Poseidon. Lixus was on a surface of approximately 75 hectares (190 acres). The excavated zones constitute approximately 20% of the total surface of the site.

This site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on July 1, 1995 in the Cultural category.
Joe Sermarini
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Morocco, Volubilis Maroc animal mosaic48 viewsFranz-Josef M
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Morocco, Volubilis mosaic 46 viewsmosaic of the house of the acrobat, acrobat riding a donkeyFranz-Josef M
IMAG0047mod.jpg
Morocco, Volubilis mosaic52 views Hercules 12 labours and adventuresFranz-Josef M
IMAG0054mod.jpg
Morocco, Volubilis mosaic48 viewsHylas and the nymphsFranz-Josef M
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Morocco, Volubilis mosaic55 viewsBath of DianaFranz-Josef M
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Pompeii Dog Mosaic91 viewsDog Mosaic in a home in Pompeii...2000 years old!1 commentsTitus Pullo
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Pompeii Dove Floor Mosaic53 viewsFloor mosaics in a home in PompeiiTitus Pullo
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Pompeii Mosaics67 viewsFloor mosaics in the house of a Patrician family. Extensively restored they actually allow you to walk on it!Titus Pullo
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Portugal, Algarve, Site of Milreu168 viewsDetail of mosaic.pax
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Portugal, Algarve, Site of Milreu146 viewsremains of roman villa underneath a 16th cent farmer house, mosaic floorpax
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ROMAN EMPIRE -- Time of Augustus49 viewsROMAN EMPIRE -- Time of Augustus (?), Æ17, Cyprus Mint (?) Die axis is 12:00, if the star is oriented above on both sides. Obv.: Capricorn on a globe, star before. Rev.: Scorpion, with a star above it. Reference: RPC 3916.

LOTS OF ARGUMENTS on where this coin come from... I believe CYPRUS. The obverse with star before the Capricorn is similar to the reverse of Augustan denarii (RIC 542). The Capricorn was the birth-sign of Augustus,
and the other coins found under the same mosaic suggest a date of about this time. Scorpions were and are native to Cyprus and Southeastern Europe. The Scorpion on the coin, is probably a second birth-sign, Scorpio. Livia was born January 30th, which makes her an Aquarius. The exact date of Caius Caesar's birth in 20 BC is known to between August 14th and September 13th (Likely Virgo, perhaps Leo). But, Tiberius was born on November 16th, 42 BC. He was a Scorpio. Perhaps, the coin connects to the dynastic relationship celebrated on larger double portrait dupondii. The 17 mm diameter and 2.68 gram average weight of the sixteen examples of this coin in RPC is about equal to the quadrans of Rome. SOME people say it is a TESSERA.... However, one of the leading experts in the field says DEFINITELY NOT!
dpaul7
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Roman mosaic19 viewsA small piece of Roman mosaic comprising of 8 marble tessarae. A fieldwalking find from Leicestershire, UK, c.3rd century AD.mauseus
neptunusfloor.jpg
Spain, Santiponce, Italica.33 viewsItalica is famous for its Mosaic floors. This is from the house of Neptunus. Who knows, perhaps Trajanus was born at this very Place? May, 2002.jmuona
wall.jpg
Spain, Santiponce, Italica.65 viewsFragments of old painted wall. very little is left of this type of structures.
The largest floor mosaics are in the Archelogical Museum in Sevilla but many fine ones were at the orginal site in May, 2002.
jmuona
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Syria, Apameia23 viewsApamea is located on the right bank of the Orontes river about 55 km to the north west of Hama. It overlooks the Ghab valley and was built by Seleucus Nicator, the first king of the Seleucids in Syria in 300 BC. He named it after his parisian wife, Afamea.

The city flourished to an extent that its population numbered half a million. As an Eastern crossroads, it received many distinguished visitors: Cleopetra, Septimus Severus and the Emperor Caracalla. In the Christian era, Apamea became a center of philosophy and thought, especially of Monophostism.

Most of the uncovered ruins in it date back to the Roman and Byzantine ages. It is distinguished for its high walls and the main thoroughfare surrounded by columns with twisted fluting. The street is 1850 meters long and 87 meters wide. The ruins of the Roman theater which have been frequently disturbed, are now a great mass of stone.

Its colonnade (The Cardo Maximus) is 145 meters long. Erected in the 2nd century, it was destroyed in the 12th century by two violent earthquakes; some columns are still standing nevertheless.

To the west of the city, stands the Mudiq citadel, which once formed a defense line along the Orontes.

Fierce battles with Crusaders attempting to conquer it took place in the 12th century, and Nour Eddin finally surrendered it in 1149.

The citadel has huge towers, overlooking the Ghab valley. It also has a Khan (Inn) built by Ottomans in the 16th century which was transformed into an archaeological museum housing Apamea's wonderful mosaics, paintings, and 15,000 cuneiform clay tablets.

Apameia, Syria: Athena / Nike

2nd c. BC. 22mm. Helmeted bust of Athena right / Nike walking left, As SG 5868 but variant legend. aVF. Ex-Sayles
ecoli
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Turkey, Elaioussa Sebaste, Islands off Cilicia, Theater68 viewsElaiussa, meaning olive, was founded in the 2nd century B.C. on a tiny island attached to the the southern coast of Anatolia (in modern-day Turkey) by a narrow isthmus in Mediterranean Sea. During the reign of Augustus, the Cappadocian king Archelaus founded a new city on the isthmus. Archelaus called it Sebaste, which is the Greek equivalent word of the Latin "Augusta." The city entered a golden age when Vespasian purged Cilicia of pirates in 74 A.D. Towards the end of the 3rd century A.D. however its importance began to wane, due in large part to incursions by the Sassanian King Shapur I in 260 and later by the Isaurians. When its neighbor Corycus began to flourish in the 6th century A.D., Elaiussa Sebaste slowly disappeared from history.

The theater, dating to the 2nd century A.D., is small with only 23 rows of seats, whose steps and decorations unfortunately succumbed to centuries of plunder. Next to the theater is the agora, built in all great probability during the imperial period. At the entrance of the agora, which is surrounded by a semi-destroyed defense wall once rose two monumental fountains in the shape of lions. Inside the agora stands a large church, its floor is covered by sand to protect the mosaic pavement. Elaiussa's only temple stands outside the city on a hill overlooking the sea; only two of the Corinthian columns of this temple, which had 12 on the long and 6 on the short side originally, are standing today. A large bath complex among the lemon groves between the temple and the agora was built with a Roman technique little used in Anatolia. The necropolis is the richest and most impressive of cities of ancient Cilicia. The "Avenue of Graves," located on a hill to the north of the city, preserves close to a hundred graves of various shapes and sizes scattered among the lemon trees. The ancient aqueducts that carried water to the ruins from the Lamos ("Lemon") river also adorn the city’s two entrances. The aqueduct to the west of the city in particular is in relatively good condition. Centuries ago the aqueduct actually ran all the way to Corycus.
Joe Sermarini
terrace1.jpg
Turkey, Ephesus - Central Square464 viewsPart of the central square of the terrace houses in Ephesus.memphius
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Turkey, Ephesus - Central square of Terrace Houses561 viewsPart of the central square of the terrace houses in Ephesus.1 commentsmemphius
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Turkey, Ephesus - Curetes Street1268 viewsLooking down Curetes Street named after the priests who presided over the sacred fire of Hestia. The street is paved with marble slabs with sidewalks covered in mosaics.
3 commentsmemphius
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Turkey, Ephesus - Terrace House526 viewsLocated in the ongoing excavation of the upper-class terrace houses. Lovely floor mosaicmemphius
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Turkey, Istanbul, Mosaic Museum54 views9-6-2015
The south-western section of the Great Palace (dated to the reign of Emperor Justinian, 527-65 AD) was excavated in the years 1935-38 and 1951-54 by the University of St. Andrews.
This section comprised a Peristyle courtyard, decorated in Mosaics.
The Austrian Academy of Sciences undertook preservation work on the Mosaics in the years 1983-97.
In the photo above, you can also see the pipes inside the walls that would have water and heating.
Masis
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Turkey, Istanbul, Mosaic Museum51 viewsOutside the Museum is an array of columns, capitals, entablature and even marble Lions.Masis
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Turkey, Yakapinar (Mopsos) - Mosaics depicting Noah's Ark in the Misis Mosaic Museum130 viewsMosaics depicting Noah's Ark from ancient Mopsos in the Misis Mosaic Museum.1 commentsJoe Sermarini
halfshekel.jpg
Tyre half shekel63 viewsLaureate bust of Melkart right

ΤΥΡΟΥ ΙΕΡΑΣ ΚΑΙ ΑΣΥΛΟΥ (of Tyre the holy and inviolable)
Eagle standing left on prow; palm over shoulder, club to the left, flanked by date LM (40) and monogram ΔP to the right.

Tyre; Year 40= 87/86 BC
6.98g

Sear 5921; BMC 225

Ex-HJB Buy or Bid Sale 206, lot 103 (Nov 15, 2018); Ex-Calgary Coin

Removed from NGC holder prior to HJB.
NGC graded Strike 4/5, Surface 3/5; NGC 4278263-010

According to the Mosaic law, every year, Jewish males over the age of 20, paid a half shekel tax in silver to the Temple in Jerusalem. Mention of this tax can be found in the Bible at Exodus 30:15 Of course, at the time of writing there were no coins in circulation and this tax was paid by weight in silver. By the 1st century BC the tax was paid in either the Tyrian shekel (enough for two people) or half-shekel (for himself). The Jewish Talmud required the tax to be paid with a coin of high purity silver. The only ones that conformed to this high standard were the 94% pure silver Tyrian shekels. Even though these coins depict images of Melkart (Phoenician Hercules) and an eagle, they were still accepted at the temple because of the silver content.
4 commentsJay GT4
man1pano.jpg
[1663a] Byzantine Empire: Manuel I Comnenus Megas (1143-1180)---NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH---[1685a] Empire of Trebizond: Manuel I Komnenos Megas (1218-1263 AD)155 viewsManuel I Comnenus Megas (1143-1180). AE billon trachy; Sear 1964; 30mm, 3.91g.; Constantinople mint; aF. Obverse: MP-OV-The Virgin enthroned. Nimbate and wearing pallium and maphorium; Reverse: Maueil standing facing, wearing crown, holding labarum and globe surmounted by Patriachal cross. Ex SPQR.


De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

MANUEL I COMNENUS (A.D. 1143-1180)

Andrew Stone
University of Western Australia

Introduction: Sources
The reign of the emperor Manuel I Comnenus (5 April 1143- 24 September 1180) could well be regarded as a high-water mark of Byzantine civilization. It was the apogee of the so-called "Comnenian Restoration". Politically, the emperor undertook an ambitious foreign policy which has been seen by some, particularly in the light of many ultimate failures, as "misguided imperialism", recent scholarship has come to question this traditional judgment and suggests instead that the the Comnenian foreign policy was rather an energetic seizing of the different opportunities that presented themselves in the rapidly changing constellations of powers of the time. Such measures were made possible by the internal security of the empire under this, its third, Comnenian incumbent, although there were a few other aspirants to the throne, not least among them the emperor's cousin Andronicus. Manuel and other key members of the "Comnenian system", as it has been called, were patrons of rhetoric and other forms of learning and literature, and Manuel himself became keenly interested in ecclesiastical affairs, even if here his imperialistic agenda was a factor as he tried to bring Constantinopolitan theology in line with that of the west in a bid to unite the Church under his crown.

In terms of volume of contemporary material, Manuel is the most eulogised of all Byzantine emperors, and the panegyric addressed to him supplements the two major Byzantine historians of the reign, the more critical Nicetas Choniates and the laudatory John Cinnamus, as primary sources for the student of the period to study. The Crusader historian William of Tyre met Manuel personally, and such was the scope of Manuel's diplomacy that he is mentioned incidentally in western sources, such as Romuald of Salerno. Among authors of the encomia (panegyrics) we have mentioned are Theodore Prodromus and the so-called "Manganeios" Prodromus, who wrote in verse, and the prose encomiasts Michael the Rhetor, Eustathius of Thessalonica and Euthymius Malaces, to name the most important. Manuel, with his penchant for the Latins and their ways, left a legacy of Byzantine resentment against these outsiders, which was to be ruthlessly exploited by Andronicus in the end.

Manuel as sebastokrator
Manuel was born in the imperial porphyry birthchamber on 28 November 1118. He was the fourth of John II's sons, so it seemed very unlikely that he would succeed. As a youth, Manuel evidently accompanied John on campaign, for in the Anatolian expedition of 1139-41 we find Manuel rashly charging a small group of the Turkish enemy, an action for which he was castigated by his father, even though John, we are told, was inwardly impressed (mention of the incident is made in John's deathbed speech in both John Cinnamus and Nicetas Choniates). John negotiated a marriage contract for Manuel with Conrad III of Germany; he was to marry Bertha of Sulzbach. It seems to have been John's plan to carve out a client principality for Manuel from Cilicia, Cyprus and Coele Syria. In the event, it was Manuel who succeeded him.

The Securing of the Succession 1143
In the article on John II it is related how the dying John chose his youngest son Manuel to succeed him in preference to his other surviving son Isaac. Manuel was acclaimed emperor by the armies on 5 April 1143. Manuel stayed in Cilicia, where the army was stationed, for thirty days, to complete the funeral rites for his father. He sent his father's right-hand man John Axuch, however, to Constantinople to confine Isaac to the Pantokrator Monastery and to effect a donation of two hundredweight of silver coin to the clergy of the Great Church. The surviving encomium of Michael Italicus, Teacher of the Gospel, for the new emperor can be regarded as a return gift for this largesse. In the meantime the Caesar John Roger, husband of Manuel's eldest sister Maria, had been plotting to seize the throne; the plot was, however, given away by his wife before it could take effect. Manuel marched home to enter Constantinople c. July 1143. He secured the good-will of the people by commanding that every household should be granted two gold coins. Isaac the younger (Manuel's brother) and Isaac the elder (Manuel's paternal uncle), were both released from captivity and reconciled with him. Manuel chose Michael Oxeites as the new patriarch and was crowned either in August or November 1143.

Manuel confirmed John Axuch in the office of Grand Domestic, that is, commander of the army, appointed John of Poutze as procurator of public taxes, grand commissioner and inspector of accounts and John Hagiotheodorites as chancellor. John of Poutze proved to be an oppressive tax collector, but was also unsusceptible to bribery. However, this John diverted monies levied for the navy into the treasury, which would, as we shall see, further Byzantine dependence on the maritime Italian city-states of Venice, Genoa and Pisa.

Early Campaigns: 1144-1146
Manuel's first concern was to consolidate the work of his father in securing the eastern frontier. He sent a force under the brothers Andronicus and John Contostephanus against the recalcitrant Crusader prince Raymond of Antioch, which consisted of both an army and a navy, the latter commanded by Demetrius Branas. Raymond's army was routed, and the naval force inflicted no small damage on the coastal regions of the principality. In the meantime the Crusader city of Edessa fell to the Turkish atabeg Zengi. Raymond therefore travelled to Constantinople as a suppliant to Manuel. It was subsequently decided, in the light of Manuel's imperial status, that the terms under which he would marry Bertha of Sulzbach should be improved. Manuel asked for 500 knights, and Conrad happily granted them, being prepared to supply 2000 or 3000 if need be all for the sake of this alliance. Bertha took the Greek name Irene.

The Seljuk sultanate of Rum under Masud had become the ascendant Turkish power in Anatolia. Manuel himself supervised the rebuilding of the fortress of Melangeia on the Sangarius river in Bithynia (1145 or 1146). In the most daring campaign of these early years, after building the new fort of Pithecas in Bithynia, Manuel advanced as far into Turkish territory as Konya (Iconium), the Seljuk capital. He had been wounded in the foot by an arrow at a mighty battle at Philomelium (which had been Masud's headquarters), and the city had been rased; once at Konya, he allowed his troops to despoil the graves outside the city walls, before taking the road home.

Cinnamus relates that the gratutitous heroics which Manuel displayed on this campaign were calculated to impress Manuel's new bride. Manuel and his army were harried by Turks on the journey home. Manuel erected the fort of Pylae before leaving Anatolia.

[For a detailed and interesting discussion of the reign of Manuel I Comnenus please see http://www.roman-emperors.org/mannycom.htm]

Frederick Barbarossa and the "two-emperor problem"
Frederick Barbarossa, who was to become a constant menace to Manuel's designs, had succeeded his uncle Conrad III in 1152, but unlike him proved in the end unprepared to make any territorial concessions in Italy. The origins of this "cold war" between the two empires cannot be dated with any certainty, but there may have been a tendency to date it too early. One school of thought would not date the outbreak of this rivalry to any earlier than 1159-60, the death of Manuel's German wife, Bertha-Irene. About this time there was a scare at Constantinople that Frederick Barbarossa would march on Byzantium, perhaps reflecting a desire on Frederick's part to crusade (which he eventually did, in the reign of Isaac II Angelus). The new Pope, Alexander III, by, as it would seem, offering to grant Manuel the imperial crown, used it as a bargaining chip to play off the emperors of west and east against one another. Manuel may have supported Alexander during the papal schism of 1160-1177 because he was the preferred candidate of Hungary and the Crusader states, both of which he hoped would recognise him as their feudal overlord. By this means he could claim sovereign rights over the crusading movement, and thereby turn it to his advantage. The playing off of Manuel against Frederick continued right up until 1177, the Peace of Venice, whereby Frederick agreed to recognise Pope Alexander, the autonomy of Sicily and of the northern Italian communes. But this result was not a foregone conclusion in the 1160s and early 1170s, and Manuel used Byzantine gold to win supporters in Italy and thereby keep Frederick occupied.

Marriage to Maria of Antioch 1161
Bertha-Irene died in late 1159/early 1160. Manuel sought to strengthen his ties with the Crusader principalities by selecting an eastern Latin princess for his wife. The exceedingly beautiful Maria of Antioch, daughter of Raymond of Antioch, was chosen, and the nuptials celebrated at Christmas, 1161.


Dynastic considerations 1169-1172
Manuel's wife Maria of Antioch gave birth to a baby boy 14 September 1169 in the porphyry marble birthchamber, the cause of great festivities. The infant was crowned emperor in 1171. With the death of Stephen III of Hungary in 1172, Stephen's brother Béla was sent out from Constantinople to assume the throne (though without Sirmium and Dalmatia being surrendered to the Hungarian crown). A husband for Maria Porphyrogenita was therefore required. At first it was proposed that she marry William II of Sicily, who was outraged when she failed to show up at Taranto on the appointed day, the emperor having had second thoughts.


The final months 1180
Manuel took ill in the month of March 1180. During this period of terminal illness the last major religious controversies took place. We are told that Manuel directed that the anathema pronounced against the god of Muhammad be removed from the abjuration against the Islamic faith declared by converts to Christianity. Manuel was opposed by the last patriarch of his reign, Theodosius Boradiotes (1179-1183), as well as, notably, by Eustathius of Thessalonica. Both parties were satisfied in the end upon a reading of the emperor's proposed amendments to the abjuration. This controversy would seem to be a different one from the one alluded to in Eustathius' funeral oration for Manuel, since Manuel is praised by Eustathius for his stance in it, which seems to have revolved around a book written by a convert from Islam that magnified the Father at the expense of the Son (and therefore had Arian overtones). It became apparent that the emperor was dying, and, on the advice of Theodosius, he renounced astrology. As his end approached, he assumed the monastic habit and the name Matthew, demanding that his wife Maria become a nun. Manuel's son Alexius was but eleven, and the minority would prove to be disastrous for Byzantium. Manuel died thirty-seven years and nine months from the beginning of his reign.

General strategies in Manuel's foreign policy
The funeral oration for Manuel by Eustathius of Thessalonica is an interesting document in that it discusses some of the general policies pursued over Manuel's reign. It endorses his policy of dividing his enemies, the Petchenegs, the Sicilian Normans and the Turks, among themselves by using Byzantine gold, a policy of "divide and rule". We have seen how this was applied especially in Italy. Another general policy was to create friendly buffer states on the frontiers of the empire, most notably Hungary (and Serbia) and the Crusader States. Manuel would deliberately underpin the most powerful potentate in each region (the king of Hungary, the king of Jerusalem, the sultan of Konya) and thereby emphasise his own absolute sovereignty. In the funeral oration this granting of autonomy is justified as the reward for good service, as in the parable of the talents. We also see in the panegyric of the 1170s the downplaying of the idea of world rule which was so prevalent in the reign of John. Although Manuel claimed sovereign rights over many of his neighbours, his territorial claims were limited: coastal southern Italy, Dalmatia and Sirmium, coastal Egypt. The Byzantines seem to have come to terms with the reality of nation states and it is in Manuel's reign that they begin to refer to themselves not only as "Romans", but as "Hellenes", in order to demarcate themselves from the barbarians surrounding them.

Manuel's taxation, government and army
Nicetas Choniates roundly criticises Manuel in his history for increasing taxes and lavishing money on his family and retainers, particularly his Latin favourites. We have also seen how money was spent in Manuel's ambitious foreign policy. Mention is made of two towers, one at Damalis, and one next to the monastery of the Mangana, between which a chain could be stretched to block the Bosphorus. Then there was the work done at both the Great Palace and the Palace of the Blachernae, galleries, a pavilion alla Turca and numerous mosaics. He also founded a monastery at Kataskepe at the mouth of the Black Sea, which was endowed from the imperial treasury.

Choniates further criticizes the continuation and spread of the granting of pronoiai, parcels of land, the income from each of which supported a soldier. Many of these were granted to foreigners, for example, Turks captured in the Meander campaigns were settled around Thessalonica. The pronoia would pay not only for a soldier's upkeep, but his expensive equipment, for in Manuel's reign the bow and arrow and circular shield had been replaced by a heavier western-style panoply of armour, large triangular shield and lance. Choniates laments how fashionable a practice it had become in Manuel's reign to forsake the land or one's trade and become enlisted in the army.

Manuel and the "Comnenian system"
Throughout Manuel's reign, as under his father John, the top tier of the aristocracy was formed by the emperor's family, the Comneni, and the families into which they married. The extended family was, however, by now becoming unwieldy, and beginning to lose its cohesion, as the example of Manuel's cousin Andronicus shows. Under Manuel it was degree of kinship to the emperor which determined one's rank, as synodal listings show. So it was that very quickly after Manuel's death the upper tier of the aristocracy splintered into separate groups, each with its own identity and interests.

Literature
The various aristocratic courts, that of the emperor and other key members of the extended family, most notably the sebastokrator Isaac Comnenus the elder and the sebastokratorissa Irene, widow of Manuel's brother Andronicus, attracted literati who would seek to serve under them. Such figures would not only turn their hands to literature, encomia in prose or poetry, expositions on mythology, commentaries on Homer or the philosophers, historical chronicles and even, in this period, romances - the twelfth century is a high point of literary production at Constantinople, so much so that some have even talked of a "Comnenian renaissance" - but they would seek to perform more menial, such as administrative, duties to support themselves. Such men would often come from noble families whose prestige had been eclipsed by the Comnenian upper tier of the aristocracy. Serving under a lord was one way of advancing oneself, entering the Church was another.

The patriarchal church and education
The deacons of the church of St Sophia were a powerful group, the chartophylax being second only to the patriarch. These deacons would either go on to become bishops in the provinces, or possibly first hold one of the professorial chairs associated with the patriarchal church. First there were the "teachers", didaskaloi of the Gospels, Epistles and Psalter. Then there was the maistor ton rhetoron, "master of the rhetors", responsible for delivering speeches in praise of the emperor on January 6 each year and of the patriarch on the Saturday prior to Palm Sunday, as well as for other state occasions. And there was the hypatos ton philosophon, "consul of the philosophers", an office which had lapsed but was revived under Manuel.

Character and Legacy
Was Byzantium of the middle to late twelfth century living on borrowed time? Until recently this was the verdict of many scholars. Yet John II and Manuel had, if there is any kernel of truth in their encomia, at least temporarily reversed the overrunning of Anatolia by the Turks, and Manuel had won Dalmatia and Sirmium from Hungary. But Byzantine collapse was rapid, which is the reason why scholars have searched in the reigns of John and Manuel for the beginnings of the disintegration that occurred under the last Comneni and the Angeli. The history and comments of Nicetas Choniates have been adduced as vindicating this view. The victory of the military aristocracy that the establishment of the Comnenian dynasty represents has been seen as both the reason for the temporary reversal of Byzantine fortunes - government by three very capable autocrats - and of ultimate failure, because of the splintering into factions that oligarchy, such as was present in the Comnenian system, foments. A Marxist interpretation is that the feudalisation of the Byzantine Empire, the depletion of the free peasantry, that began to take place in the middle period was the reason for its ultimate failure. But to the Byzantines at the time Byzantium seemed to be holding its own; the "nations" around were being kept at bay, and even though the panegyric of renovation is less evident than in the reign of John II, the emperor remains despotes, "master" of the oikoumene, "world". Indeed, Manuel would be remembered in France, Genoa and the Crusader States as the most powerful sovereign in the world.

We have mentioned the funeral oration for Manuel by Eustathius of Thessalonica. This contains a series of vignettes of the personal aspects of Manuel. There are commonplaces: the emperor is able to endure hunger, thirst, heat and cold, lack of sleep and so on, and sweats copiously in his endeavours on the empire's part. Although these ideas have been recycled from earlier reigns, notably that of John II, the contemporary historians agree that Manuel was an indefatigable and daring warrior. However, there are more specifically individual touches in the Eustathian oration. Manuel had a manly suntan and was tall in stature. The emperor was capable of clever talk, but could also talk to others on a man-to-man basis. Eustathius makes much of the emperor's book-learning (Cinnamus claims to have discussed Aristotle with the emperor). The restoration of churches was a major concern for Manuel. He also had some expertise in medicine (he had tended Conrad III of Germany and Baldwin III of Jerusalem personally). Manuel showed temperance in eating and drinking, with a certain liking for beer as well as wine, the latter being mixed sour after the manner of ascetics. Likewise, he would not slumber long. He would generally choose walking over riding. The oration closes on the widow and orphan Manuel has left behind. The situation resulting for the Byzantine Empire at this stage, with the vacuum created by Manuel would result in no less than implosion.

Copyright (C) 2003, Andrew Stone.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

Cleisthenes
ManuelStGeorge.jpg
[1663a] Byzantine Empire: Manuel I Comnenus Megas (1143-1180)---NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH---[1685a] Empire of Trebizond: Manuel I Komnenos Megas (1218-1263 AD)131 viewsMANUEL I COMNENUS AE tetarteron. 1143-1180 AD. 19mm, 2.8g. Obverse: Bust of St. George facing, beardless, wearing nimbus, tunic, cuirass and sagion, and holding spear. Reverse: MANVHL-DECPOT, bust of Manuel facing, wearing crown and loros, holding labarum & globe-cross. Simply wonderful style, very sharp for the issue. A gorgeous late Byzantine coin! Ex Incitatus.


De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

MANUEL I COMNENUS (A.D. 1143-1180)

Andrew Stone
University of Western Australia

Introduction: Sources
The reign of the emperor Manuel I Comnenus (5 April 1143- 24 September 1180) could well be regarded as a high-water mark of Byzantine civilization. It was the apogee of the so-called "Comnenian Restoration". Politically, the emperor undertook an ambitious foreign policy which has been seen by some, particularly in the light of many ultimate failures, as "misguided imperialism", recent scholarship has come to question this traditional judgment and suggests instead that the the Comnenian foreign policy was rather an energetic seizing of the different opportunities that presented themselves in the rapidly changing constellations of powers of the time. Such measures were made possible by the internal security of the empire under this, its third, Comnenian incumbent, although there were a few other aspirants to the throne, not least among them the emperor's cousin Andronicus. Manuel and other key members of the "Comnenian system", as it has been called, were patrons of rhetoric and other forms of learning and literature, and Manuel himself became keenly interested in ecclesiastical affairs, even if here his imperialistic agenda was a factor as he tried to bring Constantinopolitan theology in line with that of the west in a bid to unite the Church under his crown.

In terms of volume of contemporary material, Manuel is the most eulogised of all Byzantine emperors, and the panegyric addressed to him supplements the two major Byzantine historians of the reign, the more critical Nicetas Choniates and the laudatory John Cinnamus, as primary sources for the student of the period to study. The Crusader historian William of Tyre met Manuel personally, and such was the scope of Manuel's diplomacy that he is mentioned incidentally in western sources, such as Romuald of Salerno. Among authors of the encomia (panegyrics) we have mentioned are Theodore Prodromus and the so-called "Manganeios" Prodromus, who wrote in verse, and the prose encomiasts Michael the Rhetor, Eustathius of Thessalonica and Euthymius Malaces, to name the most important. Manuel, with his penchant for the Latins and their ways, left a legacy of Byzantine resentment against these outsiders, which was to be ruthlessly exploited by Andronicus in the end.

Manuel as sebastokrator
Manuel was born in the imperial porphyry birthchamber on 28 November 1118. He was the fourth of John II's sons, so it seemed very unlikely that he would succeed. As a youth, Manuel evidently accompanied John on campaign, for in the Anatolian expedition of 1139-41 we find Manuel rashly charging a small group of the Turkish enemy, an action for which he was castigated by his father, even though John, we are told, was inwardly impressed (mention of the incident is made in John's deathbed speech in both John Cinnamus and Nicetas Choniates). John negotiated a marriage contract for Manuel with Conrad III of Germany; he was to marry Bertha of Sulzbach. It seems to have been John's plan to carve out a client principality for Manuel from Cilicia, Cyprus and Coele Syria. In the event, it was Manuel who succeeded him.

The Securing of the Succession 1143
In the article on John II it is related how the dying John chose his youngest son Manuel to succeed him in preference to his other surviving son Isaac. Manuel was acclaimed emperor by the armies on 5 April 1143. Manuel stayed in Cilicia, where the army was stationed, for thirty days, to complete the funeral rites for his father. He sent his father's right-hand man John Axuch, however, to Constantinople to confine Isaac to the Pantokrator Monastery and to effect a donation of two hundredweight of silver coin to the clergy of the Great Church. The surviving encomium of Michael Italicus, Teacher of the Gospel, for the new emperor can be regarded as a return gift for this largesse. In the meantime the Caesar John Roger, husband of Manuel's eldest sister Maria, had been plotting to seize the throne; the plot was, however, given away by his wife before it could take effect. Manuel marched home to enter Constantinople c. July 1143. He secured the good-will of the people by commanding that every household should be granted two gold coins. Isaac the younger (Manuel's brother) and Isaac the elder (Manuel's paternal uncle), were both released from captivity and reconciled with him. Manuel chose Michael Oxeites as the new patriarch and was crowned either in August or November 1143.

Manuel confirmed John Axuch in the office of Grand Domestic, that is, commander of the army, appointed John of Poutze as procurator of public taxes, grand commissioner and inspector of accounts and John Hagiotheodorites as chancellor. John of Poutze proved to be an oppressive tax collector, but was also unsusceptible to bribery. However, this John diverted monies levied for the navy into the treasury, which would, as we shall see, further Byzantine dependence on the maritime Italian city-states of Venice, Genoa and Pisa.

Early Campaigns: 1144-1146
Manuel's first concern was to consolidate the work of his father in securing the eastern frontier. He sent a force under the brothers Andronicus and John Contostephanus against the recalcitrant Crusader prince Raymond of Antioch, which consisted of both an army and a navy, the latter commanded by Demetrius Branas. Raymond's army was routed, and the naval force inflicted no small damage on the coastal regions of the principality. In the meantime the Crusader city of Edessa fell to the Turkish atabeg Zengi. Raymond therefore travelled to Constantinople as a suppliant to Manuel. It was subsequently decided, in the light of Manuel's imperial status, that the terms under which he would marry Bertha of Sulzbach should be improved. Manuel asked for 500 knights, and Conrad happily granted them, being prepared to supply 2000 or 3000 if need be all for the sake of this alliance. Bertha took the Greek name Irene.

The Seljuk sultanate of Rum under Masud had become the ascendant Turkish power in Anatolia. Manuel himself supervised the rebuilding of the fortress of Melangeia on the Sangarius river in Bithynia (1145 or 1146). In the most daring campaign of these early years, after building the new fort of Pithecas in Bithynia, Manuel advanced as far into Turkish territory as Konya (Iconium), the Seljuk capital. He had been wounded in the foot by an arrow at a mighty battle at Philomelium (which had been Masud's headquarters), and the city had been rased; once at Konya, he allowed his troops to despoil the graves outside the city walls, before taking the road home.

Cinnamus relates that the gratutitous heroics which Manuel displayed on this campaign were calculated to impress Manuel's new bride. Manuel and his army were harried by Turks on the journey home. Manuel erected the fort of Pylae before leaving Anatolia.

[For a detailed and interesting discussion of the reign of Manuel I Comnenus please see http://www.roman-emperors.org/mannycom.htm]

Frederick Barbarossa and the "two-emperor problem"
Frederick Barbarossa, who was to become a constant menace to Manuel's designs, had succeeded his uncle Conrad III in 1152, but unlike him proved in the end unprepared to make any territorial concessions in Italy. The origins of this "cold war" between the two empires cannot be dated with any certainty, but there may have been a tendency to date it too early. One school of thought would not date the outbreak of this rivalry to any earlier than 1159-60, the death of Manuel's German wife, Bertha-Irene. About this time there was a scare at Constantinople that Frederick Barbarossa would march on Byzantium, perhaps reflecting a desire on Frederick's part to crusade (which he eventually did, in the reign of Isaac II Angelus). The new Pope, Alexander III, by, as it would seem, offering to grant Manuel the imperial crown, used it as a bargaining chip to play off the emperors of west and east against one another. Manuel may have supported Alexander during the papal schism of 1160-1177 because he was the preferred candidate of Hungary and the Crusader states, both of which he hoped would recognise him as their feudal overlord. By this means he could claim sovereign rights over the crusading movement, and thereby turn it to his advantage. The playing off of Manuel against Frederick continued right up until 1177, the Peace of Venice, whereby Frederick agreed to recognise Pope Alexander, the autonomy of Sicily and of the northern Italian communes. But this result was not a foregone conclusion in the 1160s and early 1170s, and Manuel used Byzantine gold to win supporters in Italy and thereby keep Frederick occupied.

Marriage to Maria of Antioch 1161
Bertha-Irene died in late 1159/early 1160. Manuel sought to strengthen his ties with the Crusader principalities by selecting an eastern Latin princess for his wife. The exceedingly beautiful Maria of Antioch, daughter of Raymond of Antioch, was chosen, and the nuptials celebrated at Christmas, 1161.


Dynastic considerations 1169-1172
Manuel's wife Maria of Antioch gave birth to a baby boy 14 September 1169 in the porphyry marble birthchamber, the cause of great festivities. The infant was crowned emperor in 1171. With the death of Stephen III of Hungary in 1172, Stephen's brother Béla was sent out from Constantinople to assume the throne (though without Sirmium and Dalmatia being surrendered to the Hungarian crown). A husband for Maria Porphyrogenita was therefore required. At first it was proposed that she marry William II of Sicily, who was outraged when she failed to show up at Taranto on the appointed day, the emperor having had second thoughts.


The final months 1180
Manuel took ill in the month of March 1180. During this period of terminal illness the last major religious controversies took place. We are told that Manuel directed that the anathema pronounced against the god of Muhammad be removed from the abjuration against the Islamic faith declared by converts to Christianity. Manuel was opposed by the last patriarch of his reign, Theodosius Boradiotes (1179-1183), as well as, notably, by Eustathius of Thessalonica. Both parties were satisfied in the end upon a reading of the emperor's proposed amendments to the abjuration. This controversy would seem to be a different one from the one alluded to in Eustathius' funeral oration for Manuel, since Manuel is praised by Eustathius for his stance in it, which seems to have revolved around a book written by a convert from Islam that magnified the Father at the expense of the Son (and therefore had Arian overtones). It became apparent that the emperor was dying, and, on the advice of Theodosius, he renounced astrology. As his end approached, he assumed the monastic habit and the name Matthew, demanding that his wife Maria become a nun. Manuel's son Alexius was but eleven, and the minority would prove to be disastrous for Byzantium. Manuel died thirty-seven years and nine months from the beginning of his reign.

General strategies in Manuel's foreign policy
The funeral oration for Manuel by Eustathius of Thessalonica is an interesting document in that it discusses some of the general policies pursued over Manuel's reign. It endorses his policy of dividing his enemies, the Petchenegs, the Sicilian Normans and the Turks, among themselves by using Byzantine gold, a policy of "divide and rule". We have seen how this was applied especially in Italy. Another general policy was to create friendly buffer states on the frontiers of the empire, most notably Hungary (and Serbia) and the Crusader States. Manuel would deliberately underpin the most powerful potentate in each region (the king of Hungary, the king of Jerusalem, the sultan of Konya) and thereby emphasise his own absolute sovereignty. In the funeral oration this granting of autonomy is justified as the reward for good service, as in the parable of the talents. We also see in the panegyric of the 1170s the downplaying of the idea of world rule which was so prevalent in the reign of John. Although Manuel claimed sovereign rights over many of his neighbours, his territorial claims were limited: coastal southern Italy, Dalmatia and Sirmium, coastal Egypt. The Byzantines seem to have come to terms with the reality of nation states and it is in Manuel's reign that they begin to refer to themselves not only as "Romans", but as "Hellenes", in order to demarcate themselves from the barbarians surrounding them.

Manuel's taxation, government and army
Nicetas Choniates roundly criticises Manuel in his history for increasing taxes and lavishing money on his family and retainers, particularly his Latin favourites. We have also seen how money was spent in Manuel's ambitious foreign policy. Mention is made of two towers, one at Damalis, and one next to the monastery of the Mangana, between which a chain could be stretched to block the Bosphorus. Then there was the work done at both the Great Palace and the Palace of the Blachernae, galleries, a pavilion alla Turca and numerous mosaics. He also founded a monastery at Kataskepe at the mouth of the Black Sea, which was endowed from the imperial treasury.

Choniates further criticizes the continuation and spread of the granting of pronoiai, parcels of land, the income from each of which supported a soldier. Many of these were granted to foreigners, for example, Turks captured in the Meander campaigns were settled around Thessalonica. The pronoia would pay not only for a soldier's upkeep, but his expensive equipment, for in Manuel's reign the bow and arrow and circular shield had been replaced by a heavier western-style panoply of armour, large triangular shield and lance. Choniates laments how fashionable a practice it had become in Manuel's reign to forsake the land or one's trade and become enlisted in the army.

Manuel and the "Comnenian system"
Throughout Manuel's reign, as under his father John, the top tier of the aristocracy was formed by the emperor's family, the Comneni, and the families into which they married. The extended family was, however, by now becoming unwieldy, and beginning to lose its cohesion, as the example of Manuel's cousin Andronicus shows. Under Manuel it was degree of kinship to the emperor which determined one's rank, as synodal listings show. So it was that very quickly after Manuel's death the upper tier of the aristocracy splintered into separate groups, each with its own identity and interests.

Literature
The various aristocratic courts, that of the emperor and other key members of the extended family, most notably the sebastokrator Isaac Comnenus the elder and the sebastokratorissa Irene, widow of Manuel's brother Andronicus, attracted literati who would seek to serve under them. Such figures would not only turn their hands to literature, encomia in prose or poetry, expositions on mythology, commentaries on Homer or the philosophers, historical chronicles and even, in this period, romances - the twelfth century is a high point of literary production at Constantinople, so much so that some have even talked of a "Comnenian renaissance" - but they would seek to perform more menial, such as administrative, duties to support themselves. Such men would often come from noble families whose prestige had been eclipsed by the Comnenian upper tier of the aristocracy. Serving under a lord was one way of advancing oneself, entering the Church was another.

The patriarchal church and education
The deacons of the church of St Sophia were a powerful group, the chartophylax being second only to the patriarch. These deacons would either go on to become bishops in the provinces, or possibly first hold one of the professorial chairs associated with the patriarchal church. First there were the "teachers", didaskaloi of the Gospels, Epistles and Psalter. Then there was the maistor ton rhetoron, "master of the rhetors", responsible for delivering speeches in praise of the emperor on January 6 each year and of the patriarch on the Saturday prior to Palm Sunday, as well as for other state occasions. And there was the hypatos ton philosophon, "consul of the philosophers", an office which had lapsed but was revived under Manuel.

Character and Legacy
Was Byzantium of the middle to late twelfth century living on borrowed time? Until recently this was the verdict of many scholars. Yet John II and Manuel had, if there is any kernel of truth in their encomia, at least temporarily reversed the overrunning of Anatolia by the Turks, and Manuel had won Dalmatia and Sirmium from Hungary. But Byzantine collapse was rapid, which is the reason why scholars have searched in the reigns of John and Manuel for the beginnings of the disintegration that occurred under the last Comneni and the Angeli. The history and comments of Nicetas Choniates have been adduced as vindicating this view. The victory of the military aristocracy that the establishment of the Comnenian dynasty represents has been seen as both the reason for the temporary reversal of Byzantine fortunes - government by three very capable autocrats - and of ultimate failure, because of the splintering into factions that oligarchy, such as was present in the Comnenian system, foments. A Marxist interpretation is that the feudalisation of the Byzantine Empire, the depletion of the free peasantry, that began to take place in the middle period was the reason for its ultimate failure. But to the Byzantines at the time Byzantium seemed to be holding its own; the "nations" around were being kept at bay, and even though the panegyric of renovation is less evident than in the reign of John II, the emperor remains despotes, "master" of the oikoumene, "world". Indeed, Manuel would be remembered in France, Genoa and the Crusader States as the most powerful sovereign in the world.

We have mentioned the funeral oration for Manuel by Eustathius of Thessalonica. This contains a series of vignettes of the personal aspects of Manuel. There are commonplaces: the emperor is able to endure hunger, thirst, heat and cold, lack of sleep and so on, and sweats copiously in his endeavours on the empire's part. Although these ideas have been recycled from earlier reigns, notably that of John II, the contemporary historians agree that Manuel was an indefatigable and daring warrior. However, there are more specifically individual touches in the Eustathian oration. Manuel had a manly suntan and was tall in stature. The emperor was capable of clever talk, but could also talk to others on a man-to-man basis. Eustathius makes much of the emperor's book-learning (Cinnamus claims to have discussed Aristotle with the emperor). The restoration of churches was a major concern for Manuel. He also had some expertise in medicine (he had tended Conrad III of Germany and Baldwin III of Jerusalem personally). Manuel showed temperance in eating and drinking, with a certain liking for beer as well as wine, the latter being mixed sour after the manner of ascetics. Likewise, he would not slumber long. He would generally choose walking over riding. The oration closes on the widow and orphan Manuel has left behind. The situation resulting for the Byzantine Empire at this stage, with the vacuum created by Manuel would result in no less than implosion.

Copyright (C) 2003, Andrew Stone.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
   
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