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Siege of Clunia, 75 BC

Siege of Clunia, 75 BC

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Siege of Clunia, 75 BC

The siege of Clunia (75 BC) saw Sertorius rebuild his army while being besieged by Pompey and Metellus, and then escape to join his new army (Sertorian War).

The campaign of 75 BC saw Sertorius suffer a series of setbacks. His most able subordinate, Hirtuleius, was defeated and killed by Metellus, possibly at Segovia. His less able subordinate Perpenna was defeated outside Valentia, and the city fell to Pompey. Pompey then attempted to defeat Sertorius’s main army before Metellus could arrive to share the glory, but the resulting battle of Sucro was an inconclusive clash. Both sides were ready to resume the battle on the second day, but Metellus them arrived and Sertorius decided not to risk a battle against both armies. A second inconclusive battle followed soon afterwards at Saguntum or the Turia.

In the aftermath of this second battle Sertorius decided to retreat into the mountains. He took refuge in a strong city. This isn’t identified by name by Plutarch, but the summary of Livy for this year has Sertorius besieged in Clunia, in the upper reaches of the Duero valley.

Sertorius behaved as if he was prepared to resist a siege, repairing the city walls and strengthening the gates. However his real plan was to attract Pompey’s and Metellus’s attention while his agents and allies raised a new army. Pompey and Metellus fell for the trick. They settled down to besiege Clunia, and allowed any of the Spanish who attempted to leave the city to escape. In fact most of these Spanish ‘refugees’ were actually messengers, taking Sertorius’s orders to his allied cities.

After an unspecified period of time Sertorius’s new army was ready. A message was sent to Clunia, and Sertorius was easily able to cut his way through the Roman siege lines and join up with his new forces.

After escaping from Clunia, Sertorius used his new army to ambush his enemies supplies, out march them and generally confuse them. Eventually Pompey and Metellus were forced to retreat into winter quarters, with Pompey remaining in northern Spain but Metellus retreating to Gaul. From his winter camp Metellus issued a proclamation putting a price on Sertorius’s head. Eventually Sertorius was indeed assassinated, but by one of his subordinates, Perpenna, who then attempted to continue the war.

Siege of Clunia, 75 BC - History

I n the year 66 AD the Jews of Judea rebelled against their Roman masters. In response, the Emperor Nero dispatched an army under the generalship of Vespasian to restore order. By the year 68, resistance in the northern part of the province had been eradicated and the Romans turned their full attention to the subjugation of Jerusalem. That same year, the Emperor Nero died by his own hand, creating a power vacuum in Rome. In the resultant chaos, Vespasian was declared Emperor and returned to the Imperial City. It fell to his son, Titus, to lead the remaining army in the assault on Jerusalem.

Roman Centurian
The Roman legions surrounded the city and began to slowly squeeze the life out of the Jewish stronghold. By the year 70, the attackers had breached Jerusalem's outer walls and began a systematic ransacking of the city. The assault culminated in the burning and destruction of the Temple that served as the center of Judaism.

In victory, the Romans slaughtered thousands. Of those sparred from death: thousands more were enslaved and sent to toil in the mines of Egypt, others were dispersed to arenas throughout the Empire to be butchered for the amusement of the public. The Temple's sacred relics were taken to Rome where they were displayed in celebration of the victory.

The rebellion sputtered on for another three years and was finally extinguished in 73 AD with the fall of the various pockets of resistance including the stronghold at Masada.

". the Jews let out a shout of dismay that matched the tragedy."

Our only first-hand account of the Roman assault on the Temple comes from the Jewish historian Josephus Flavius. Josephus was a former leader of the Jewish Revolt who had surrendered to the Romans and had won favor from Vespasian. In gratitude, Josephus took on Vespasian's family name - Flavius - as his own. We join his account as the Romans fight their way into the inner sanctum of the Temple:

". the rebels shortly after attacked the Romans again, and a clash followed between the guards of the sanctuary and the troops who were putting out the fire inside the inner court the latter routed the Jews and followed in hot pursuit right up to the Temple itself. Then one of the soldiers, without awaiting any orders and with no dread of so momentous a deed, but urged on by some supernatural force, snatched a blazing piece of wood and, climbing on another soldier's back, hurled the flaming brand through a low golden window that gave access, on the north side, to the rooms that surrounded the sanctuary. As the flames shot up, the Jews let out a shout of dismay that matched the tragedy they flocked to the rescue, with no thought of sparing their lives or husbanding their strength for the sacred structure that they had constantly guarded with such devotion was vanishing before their very eyes.

Most of the slain were peaceful citizens, weak and unarmed, and they were butchered where they were caught. The heap of corpses mounted higher and higher about the altar a stream of blood flowed down the Temple's steps, and the bodies of those slain at the top slipped to the bottom.

When Caesar failed to restrain the fury of his frenzied soldiers, and the fire could not be checked, he entered the building with his generals and looked at the holy place of the sanctuary and all its furnishings, which exceeded by far the accounts current in foreign lands and fully justified their splendid repute in our own.

As the flames had not yet penetrated to the inner sanctum, but were consuming the chambers that surrounded the sanctuary, Titus assumed correctly that there was still time to save the structure he ran out and by personal appeals he endeavored to persuade his men to put out the fire, instructing Liberalius, a centurion of his bodyguard of lancers, to club any of the men who disobeyed his orders. But their respect for Caesar and their fear of the centurion's staff who was trying to check them were overpowered by their rage, their detestation of the Jews, and an utterly uncontrolled lust for battle.

Most of them were spurred on, moreover, by the expectation of loot, convinced that the interior was full of money and dazzled by observing that everything around them was made of gold. But they were forestalled by one of those who had entered into the building, and who, when Caesar dashed out to restrain the troops, pushed a firebrand, in the darkness, into the hinges of the gate Then, when the flames suddenly shot up from the interior, Caesar and his generals withdrew, and no one was left to prevent those outside from kindling the blaze. Thus, in defiance of Caesar's wishes, the Temple was set on fire.

While the Temple was ablaze, the attackers plundered it, and countless people who were caught by them were slaughtered. There was no pity for age and no regard was accorded rank children and old men, laymen and priests, alike were butchered every class was pursued and crushed in the grip of war, whether they cried out for mercy or offered resistance.

Through the roar of the flames streaming far and wide, the groans of the falling victims were heard such was the height of the hill and the magnitude of the blazing pile that the entire city seemed to be ablaze and the noise - nothing more deafening and frightening could be imagined.

There were the war cries of the Roman legions as they swept onwards en masse, the yells of the rebels encircled by fire and sword, the panic of the people who, cut off above, fled into the arms of the enemy, and their shrieks as they met their fate. The cries on the hill blended with those of the multitudes in the city below and now many people who were exhausted and tongue-tied as a result of hunger, when they beheld the Temple on fire, found strength once more to lament and wail. Peraea and the surrounding hills, added their echoes to the deafening din. But more horrifying than the din were the sufferings.

The Temple Mount, everywhere enveloped in flames, seemed to be boiling over from its base yet the blood seemed more abundant than the flames and the numbers of the slain greater than those of the slayers. The soldiers climbed over heaps of bodies as they chased the fugitives."

Josephus' account appears in: Cornfield, Gaalya ed., Josephus, The Jewish War (1982) Duruy, Victor, History of Rome vol. V (1883).

Transition to the Roman Republic

The transition of Rome from a monarchy to a republic led to severe internal social tensions. This lack of control over the city led neighboring tribes to siege the city and reduce its power. This is why Rome had to ratify its identity in numerous occasions during the first seventy years of the Republic.

The early years of the Republic are of political turmoil. The population was divided, certain wanted a monarchy, others a republic, others favored the king of Clusium, Lars Porsenna, and others wanted to form part of the Latin civilization. The nobles who had overthrown the king and his family had not come to an agreement regarding the type of government that would replace the monarchy.

The consuls, which would later replace the leadership of the Roman kings, was not put in place immediately, but many years later.

Many historians believe that in the first stages of the Roman Republic, a praetor maximus was appointed for one year only. Later his duties would be split in two by choosing two consuls at a time to govern Rome. This form of government went on until 449 BC, with the Valeria Horaria law.

The position of chief magistrate was not exclusively for the “patres”, who formed the Roman senate, and controlled the army and the priests since the time of Romulus, as there is evidence that shows plebeians, common civilians, becoming consuls up until 485 BC. The political instability led the strongest factions to form alliances between themselves.

From 485 BC, the patricians no longer allowed commoners to take part in the government and began to control all civil and religious matters.

More than 400 athletes have been inducted into the Boston College Varsity Club’s Hall of Fame. That’s a lot of incredible competitors, and we rabid BC fans embrace every one of them. But of all the many thousands of athletes who have donned the maroon and gold, who are the very best? To find out, we assembled a panel of experts and tasked them with identifying the 25 greatest BC athletes of all time. After many, many hours of analyzing statistics, debating intangibles, and reviewing eras, the panel settled on the following group of exceptional Eagles. Of course, a subjective exercise like this will invariably leave some people disappointed. We very much welcome your thoughts on who we missed. Tell us who’s on your list and why, and we’ll publish the best of your responses in an upcoming issue.

MEET OUR PANEL: Donna Bennett, John Kane, Derrick Knight ’03, Barry Gallup ’69, and Reid Oslin ’68.

The Battle Of Athens – When WWII Veterans stood up to the corrupt Local Government in Tennessee

In 1946, the small town of Athens, Tennessee, became a battleground. A siege was laid on the town jail by a crowd mostly consisting of WWII veterans who decided to take justice into their own hands, as their local politics was plagued by corruption, police brutality and electoral fraud.

The political turmoil had been present before WWII. An influential political figure from Memphis, Edward Hull “Boss” Crump, appointed Paul Cantrell as the candidate for Sheriff in 1936. Cantrell won the election in what became known as the “vote grab of 1936”.

From that point on a system of fees was introduced in the Sheriff’s Office, which meant the officers were paid per arrest. The system proved to be very dysfunctional. Shady arrests were made, often without substantial evidence, which included numerous fines for “drunkenness” and “fee grabbing” from tourists and travelers on a similar pretext.

In the period between 1936 and 1946, it is estimated that the fees amounted to more than 300,000 dollars.

In the meantime, Cantrell ran for State Senate, leaving his trusty deputy, Pat Mansfield, in charge. The racquet worsened, and the local population became increasingly displeased. When several investigations by the US Department of Justice failed to make a dent in the lucrative violation of authority, the situation reached boiling point.

During wartime, thousands of men from McMinn County, which includes Athens, had joined the fight against fascism overseas. The shortage of suitable men had led to the employment of law-enforcement officers who often included ex-convicts with violent criminal records.

As the war ended in 1945, around 3,000 soldiers from McMinn returned home, only to find that the corruptive local government was stronger than ever. Apart from the Sheriff’s Office, the corrupted clique, controlled by E. H. Crump held the local media, schools, and pretty much all of the government institutions.

The U.S. Navy troop transport USS West Point (AP-23) steams past the Statue of Liberty, bound for the New York City docks, while transporting troops home from Europe, 11 July 1945.

The GI’s decided to respond. During the 1946 local elections, they formed a non-partisan political option, stating their candidates. Knox Henry, a decorated veteran of the North African campaign, was elected by the GI party to run against Cantrell who was once again running for Sheriff, while his former deputy Mansfield was holding the chair.

Due to prior scams involved in local elections, the GI’s pointed out their slogan ― Your Vote Will Be Counted As Cast.

Also, a precautionary measure was implemented. Another veteran, Bill White, organized a militia to observe the voting process in case Cantrell and Mansfield tried to rig it again. The veteran militia adopted the name The Fighting Bunch, and pistols were handed out to around 60 men who joined it.

The county election poll opened on August 1, 1946, and involved some incidents. At one of the polling places in Athens, an elderly African-American farmer called Tom Gillespie was refused permission to cast his vote by Sheriff Mansfield’s patrolman, C.M. “Windy” Wise. Wise used racist slurs, despite the presence of a protesting GI poll watcher, and denied Gillespie his right to vote. The deputy then hit Gillespie with a brass knuckle. The farmer dropped his ballot and tried to run away. In response, Wise pulled out his gun and shot him in the back.

The event sparked a few stand-offs between Sheriff Mansfield’s deputies and the GI militia. A crowd gathered in protest at the obvious violation of protocol and the clear intention of the administration to rig the election and keep the office despite the will of the people.

The final straw was the arrest and brutal beating of Bob Hairrell, who was one of the poll watchers. Hairrell protested when a girl was brought in by the deputies to cast her ballot, despite the fact that she had no poll tax receipt and was not listed in the voter registration. The girl also seemed to be underage.

In response to Hairrell’s protest, he was arrested, and the voting process was halted in that polling place. The ballot box, together with the handcuffed GI, was taken to the county jail in the town of Athens.

On hearing this, Bill White ordered his men to break into the National Guard Armory to steal weapons. After looting the armory, White’s fighting bunch prepared for combat. They had 60 Enfield rifles, 2 Thompson sub-machine guns and enough ammo to start a minor war in McMinn County.

When the polls closed, all ballot boxes were transported to Athens jail. Allegedly, White responded to the situation by saying:

“Boy, they doing something. I’m glad they done that. Now, all we got to do is whip on the jail.”

Tennessee Historical Commission marker in Athens, Tennessee, in the southeastern United States. Photo: Brian Stansberry, CC-BY 3.0

A siege began on the county jail. Paul Cantrell, Pat Mansfield, and around 50 or more deputies were caught red-handed while counting the votes without the presence of a second party. The GI’s occupied the second floor of a bank that was located right across the street from the jail. The high ground gave them a strategic advantage, as they were able to return fire with a barrage anytime someone took a shot at them from the jail.

Cantrell and his partners were pinned down. The GI’s knew that the situation had to be resolved quickly before the authorities sent in reinforcements and started a potential bloodbath.

Some deputies who were outside the jail tried to lift the siege but without success. A few of the captives within the building ran out the back door, leaving their weapons behind. White ordered that any escapees should be allowed to pass. But some deputies together with Cantrell and Mansfield refused to surrender.

Then the militia threw Molotov cocktails at the building but failed to create any substantial damage. At one point, an ambulance arrived. White and his men held their fire, as they expected it was to evacuate the wounded from the jail. An immediate ceasefire was in effect. To everyone’s surprise, the ambulance drove off with Cantrell and Mansfield who had slipped out, while leaving their men behind.

White’s top priority now was to secure the ballot boxes. Rumors of reinforcements were circulating among the GIs and time was of the essence. Several dynamite sticks were thrown on the jail, each of them causing damage to the building and its surroundings. Eventually, the doors were breached, and the rest of the deputies surrendered.

In front of the jail, an angry mob gathered, and several of Mansfield’s men were badly beaten, including Wise who had shot Tom Gillespie earlier that day. Riots ensued, causing material damage all over the town. The mob mainly targeted police cars and the deputies’ private vehicles.

McMinn County Courthouse in Athens, Tennessee, located in the Southeastern United States. This courthouse was built in 1966. Brian Stansberry – CC-BY SA 3.0

In the aftermath of the riots, the votes were finally counted and the GI party candidate, Knox Henry, was elected Sheriff of McMinn County.

The event initiated a statewide movement against corrupt politicians installed all across Tennessee and related, in one way or another, to Edward Hull Crump. Even though the GI Local Government tried to deal with the corruption, the fight eventually got the better of them.

In an open letter signed by several members of the party the disappointment in the system is palpable:

“We abolished one machine only to replace it with another and more powerful one in the making.”

The GI Government collapsed in 1947 and was replaced with a clique similar to the one they had been fighting against.

Babylonian Captivity

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Babylonian Captivity, also called Babylonian Exile, the forced detention of Jews in Babylonia following the latter’s conquest of the kingdom of Judah in 598/7 and 587/6 bce . The captivity formally ended in 538 bce , when the Persian conqueror of Babylonia, Cyrus the Great, gave the Jews permission to return to Palestine. Historians agree that several deportations took place (each the result of uprisings in Palestine), that not all Jews were forced to leave their homeland, that returning Jews left Babylonia at various times, and that some Jews chose to remain in Babylonia—thus constituting the first of numerous Jewish communities living permanently in the Diaspora.

Many scholars cite 597 bce as the date of the first deportation, for in that year King Jehoiachin was deposed and apparently sent into exile with his family, his court, and thousands of workers. Others say the first deportation followed the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadrezzar in 586 if so, the Jews were held in Babylonian captivity for 48 years. Among those who accept a tradition (Jeremiah 29:10) that the exile lasted 70 years, some choose the dates 608 to 538, others 586 to about 516 (the year when the rebuilt Temple was dedicated in Jerusalem).

Although the Jews suffered greatly and faced powerful cultural pressures in a foreign land, they maintained their national spirit and religious identity. Elders supervised the Jewish communities, and Ezekiel was one of several prophets who kept alive the hope of one day returning home. This was possibly also the period when synagogues were first established, for the Jews observed the Sabbath and religious holidays, practiced circumcision, and substituted prayers for former ritual sacrifices in the Temple. The degree to which the Jews looked upon Cyrus the Great as their benefactor and a servant of their God is reflected at several points in the Hebrew Bible—e.g., at Isaiah 45:1–3, where he is actually called God’s anointed.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Adam Augustyn, Managing Editor, Reference Content.

Cultural property?

The Battle of Lapiths and Centaurs © The battle of the Marbles has been fought on many fronts. The weaker arguments do neither side much credit. Both the Greeks and the British have accused each other of not caring properly for their precious charges. And there have been outbreaks of vulgar nationalism (reaching a low point when one Director of the British Museum claimed that the campaign for the return of the Marbles was a form of 'cultural fascism' - 'it's like burning books').

The stronger arguments tend to reveal just how complicated the dilemmas are. There is a powerful case for suggesting that the Parthenon could be better appreciated if it could be seen close to the sculptures that once adorned it. (Though environmental conditions in Athens mean that the original sculptures can never go back on the building itself.) On the other hand, it is undeniable that part of the fame and significance of the Parthenon rests on its wide diaspora throughout the western world.

The likelihood is that we will be debating these issues for many years to come.

Ultimately it comes down to matters of ownership, and how the world's great cultural icons are to be shared. In the performing arts that problem is relatively easy to solve. Shakespeare might have a special connection with Stratford, and Mozart with Vienna - but we can all 'own' their works in performance anywhere in the world.

That is not the case with these blocks of marble. Where do they belong? Is it better or worse to have them scattered through the world? Are they the possession of those who live in the place where they were first made? Or are they the possession of everyone? The likelihood is that we will be debating these issues for many years to come.

His life

Archimedes probably spent some time in Egypt early in his career, but he resided for most of his life in Syracuse, the principal Greek city-state in Sicily, where he was on intimate terms with its king, Hieron II. Archimedes published his works in the form of correspondence with the principal mathematicians of his time, including the Alexandrian scholars Conon of Samos and Eratosthenes of Cyrene. He played an important role in the defense of Syracuse against the siege laid by the Romans in 213 bce by constructing war machines so effective that they long delayed the capture of the city. When Syracuse eventually fell to the Roman general Marcus Claudius Marcellus in the autumn of 212 or spring of 211 bce , Archimedes was killed in the sack of the city.

Far more details survive about the life of Archimedes than about any other ancient scientist, but they are largely anecdotal, reflecting the impression that his mechanical genius made on the popular imagination. Thus, he is credited with inventing the Archimedes screw, and he is supposed to have made two “spheres” that Marcellus took back to Rome—one a star globe and the other a device (the details of which are uncertain) for mechanically representing the motions of the Sun, the Moon, and the planets. The story that he determined the proportion of gold and silver in a wreath made for Hieron by weighing it in water is probably true, but the version that has him leaping from the bath in which he supposedly got the idea and running naked through the streets shouting “Heurēka!” (“I have found it!”) is popular embellishment. Equally apocryphal are the stories that he used a huge array of mirrors to burn the Roman ships besieging Syracuse that he said, “Give me a place to stand and I will move the Earth” and that a Roman soldier killed him because he refused to leave his mathematical diagrams—although all are popular reflections of his real interest in catoptrics (the branch of optics dealing with the reflection of light from mirrors, plane or curved), mechanics, and pure mathematics.

According to Plutarch (c. 46–119 ce ), Archimedes had so low an opinion of the kind of practical invention at which he excelled and to which he owed his contemporary fame that he left no written work on such subjects. While it is true that—apart from a dubious reference to a treatise, “On Sphere-Making”—all of his known works were of a theoretical character, his interest in mechanics nevertheless deeply influenced his mathematical thinking. Not only did he write works on theoretical mechanics and hydrostatics, but his treatise Method Concerning Mechanical Theorems shows that he used mechanical reasoning as a heuristic device for the discovery of new mathematical theorems.


Total for all zones without repeatables, alchemy or druid chain: 16135

Hellfire Peninsula

Total Reputation Gained: 1805

     ⏆]  Missing Missive (+250 Reputation)  ⏉]  Helping the Cenarion Post (Alliance) (+10 Reputation)  ⏉]  Helping the Cenarion Post (Horde) (+10 Reputation)
       ⏉]  Demonic Contamination (+250 Reputation)
         ⏉]  Testing the Antidote (+250 Reputation)
         ⏋]  The Earthbinder (+10 Reputation)
           ⏌]  Natural Remedies (+350 Reputation)


        Total Reputation Gained: 5635 + repeatable (750) + alchemy quest (250)

           ⏈]  Blessings of the Ancients (+75 Reputation)  ⏊]  The Cenarion Expedition (+0 Reputation)  ⏊]  The Umbrafen Tribe (+250 Reputation)
             ⏊]  A Damp, Dark Place (+250 Reputation)  ⏊]  Saving the Sporeloks (+250 Reputation)  ⏊g2]  Safeguarding the Watchers (+250 Reputation)
             ⏋]  Identify Plant Parts (+250 Reputation) [Repeatable till Honored]
               ⏋]  Uncatalogued Species (+500 Reputation) [Repeatable]
               ⏋]  As the Crow Flies (+150 Reputation)
                 ⏌]  Balance Must Be Preserved (+350 Reputation)
                 ⏌]  Warning the Cenarion Circle (+75 Reputation)
                   ⏊]  Return to the Marsh (+250 Reputation)
                   ⏌]  A Warm Welcome (+350 Reputation)
                   ⏋]  Observing the Sporelings (+250 Reputation)
                     ⏌]  A Question of Gluttony (+250 Reputation)
                       ⏌]  Familiar Fungi (+250 Reputation)
                         ⏌]  Stealing Back the Mushrooms (+350 Reputation)

                      Coilfang Reservoir

                         ⏍]  Lost in Action (+500 Reputation)  ⏒]  The Warlord's Hideout (+500 Reputation)  ⏒]  Orders from Lady Vashj (+500 Reputation) (Removed)
                           ⏒]  Preparing for War (+250 Reputation)
                             ⏒]  Coilfang Armaments Repeatable (+75 Reputation) (Removed)

                          Total: 1750 Reputation + Repeatable

                          Terokkar Forest

                             ⏋]  What's Wrong at Cenarion Thicket? (starts from Cenarion Refuge) (+25 Reputation)  ⏋]  Strange Energy (+250 Reputation)
                             ⏌]  Clues in the Thicket (first part, together with Strange Energy, of the Terokkar Mana bomb quest chain quest line) (+250 Reputation)
                               ⏌]  Investigate Tuurem (+250 Reputation)
                                 ⏍]  Letting Earthbinder Tavgren Know (+500 Reputation)  ⏍]  Letting Earthbinder Tavgren Know (+500 Reputation)

                              Head of a Roman Patrician

                              Seemingly wrinkled and toothless, with sagging jowls, the face of a Roman aristocrat stares at us across the ages. In the aesthetic parlance of the Late Roman Republic, the physical traits of this portrait image are meant to convey seriousness of mind (gravitas) and the virtue (virtus) of a public career by demonstrating the way in which the subject literally wears the marks of his endeavors. While this representational strategy might seem unusual in the post-modern world, in the waning days of the Roman Republic it was an effective means of competing in an ever more complex socio-political arena.

                              The portrait

                              This portrait head, now housed in the Palazzo Torlonia in Rome, Italy, comes from Otricoli (ancient Ocriculum) and dates to the middle of the first century B.C.E. The name of the individual depicted is now unknown, but the portrait is a powerful representation of a male aristocrat with a hooked nose and strong cheekbones. The figure is frontal without any hint of dynamism or emotion—this sets the portrait apart from some of its near contemporaries. The portrait head is characterized by deep wrinkles, a furrowed brow, and generally an appearance of sagging, sunken skin—all indicative of the veristic style of Roman portraiture.


                              Verism can be defined as a sort of hyperrealism in sculpture where the naturally occurring features of the subject are exaggerated, often to the point of absurdity. In the case of Roman Republican portraiture, middle age males adopt veristic tendencies in their portraiture to such an extent that they appear to be extremely aged and care worn. This stylistic tendency is influenced both by the tradition of ancestral imagines as well as a deep-seated respect for family, tradition, and ancestry. The imagines were essentially death masks of notable ancestors that were kept and displayed by the family. In the case of aristocratic families these wax masks were used at subsequent funerals so that an actor might portray the deceased ancestors in a sort of familial parade (Polybius History 6.53.54). The ancestor cult, in turn, influenced a deep connection to family. For Late Republican politicians without any famous ancestors (a group famously known as ‘new men’ or ‘homines novi’) the need was even more acute—and verism rode to the rescue. The adoption of such an austere and wizened visage was a tactic to lend familial gravitas to families who had none—and thus (hopefully) increase the chances of the aristocrat’s success in both politics and business. This jockeying for position very much characterized the scene at Rome in the waning days of the Roman Republic and the Otricoli head is a reminder that one’s public image played a major role in what was a turbulent time in Roman history.

                              Additional Resources:

                              K. Cokayne, Experiencing Old Age in Ancient Rome (London: Routledge, 2003).

                              H. I. Flower, Ancestor Masks and Aristocratic Power in the Roman Republic (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996).

                              E. Gruen, Culture and National Identity in Republican Rome (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992).

                              D. Jackson, “Verism and the Ancestral Portrait,” Greece & Rome 34.1 (1987):32-47.

                              D. E. E. Kleiner, Roman Sculpture (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994).

                              M. Papini, Antichi volti della Repubblica: la ritrattistica in Italia centrale tra IV e II secolo a.C. 2 v. (Rome: “L’Erma” di Bretschneider, 2004).

                              G. M. A. Richter, “The Origin of Verism in Roman Portraits,” Journal of Roman Studies 45.1-2 (1955):39-46.

                              J. Tanner, “Portraits, Power, and Patronage in the Late Roman Republic,” Journal of Roman Studies 90 (2000), pp. 18-50.

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