Why does a thumbs-up gesture mean “okay”? : Any Roman gladiator movie worth its salt always includes the obligatory Colosseum combat scene where the fate of a beaten warrior is given by the thumbs-down signal – or the thumbs-up if he wants him to live. But is this really the origin of this signal ?
On the 28 March 1930 after 1,599 years, ten months and seventeen days the great city of Constantinople officially became Istanbul. It was on this day that the Turkish Post Office formally changed the name by which it had been informally identified since some time in the 13th century. A Long History A Greek City There has been a town on the site of modern Istanbul since at least the 7th century BC, when it was settled by Greeks. They...
A motley combination of Anglo-Saxon, Latin, and Germanic dialects, the English language (more or less as we know it) coalesced between the 9th and 13th centuries. Despite this we use a lot of Latin phrases to this day. In this article we look at some of the more common Latin phrases that we should all know.
On Christmas Day 1982 local Diver Richard Keen spotted the remains of a large wreck sticking out from the mud directly between the pierheads of St Peter Port harbour. It turned out to be the largest, most complete, seagoing Roman ship surviving outside the Mediterranean.
On the 21st April 753 BC, according to Plutarch, the city of Rome was founded. In this article we look at the myths and legends surrounding the foundation of the ‘Eternal City’.
Unlike Guernsey the Roman presence in Jersey is not so clear cut. In this article we look at some of the new emerging evidence for Roman ‘occupation’ in Jersey or ‘Andium’ as it was probably know by the Romans.
On the 10th January 49 BC Julius Caesar led one of his legions across a small stream called the Rubicon, thus defying the Roman Senate and breaking the Lex Cornelia Majestatis that forbade a general from bringing an army out of the province to which he was assigned. Turning to his lieutenants just before he crossed, Caesar remarked bitterly, ‘Jacta alea est’ (The die is cast.)
On the 23rd April 303 AD in Nicomedia, (near today’s Istanbul), St George of dragon fame was beheaded on the orders of the Roman emperor Diocletian. As you’re no doubt aware he went on to become the patron saint of Englend, and quite a few other places as well as it happens. The story of his life and death is no less fascinating.
Archaeologists exploring sewers and cesspits at Herculaneum in 2013 made the startling discovery that, contrary to the long-held belief that ancient Romans survived on a basic diet of bread and olive oil, they in fact enjoyed a rich variety of fish, fruit and spicy dishes
Jersey is unique in many ways but there is one that is particularly curious. Of all the channel Islands it seems to have had the most treasure hoards of all. The latest, the Catillon II hoard, had over 70,000 coins in it plus 2 golden torqs. Even more curious is that 4 similar hoards were all buried at the same time – the mid 1st Century B.C. So what was going on?
The calendar we use today is little different to that decreed by Julius Casear over 2,050 years ago. In this article we look at the details surrounding this historic and seminal event.
It looks like Jersey may have been an offshore banking centre for far longer than anyone has suspected. In June 2012 two metal detectorists uncovered a hoard of a staggering 70,000 late Iron Age and Roman coins. Their incredible find has since turned out to be the largest hoard ever found in Jersey.
How did the Romans do the calculations necessary for construction and other purposes using Roman numerals?
The Romans were skilled architects and engineers the likes of which the world had not seen before. They built huge elaborate and perfectly balanced structures that are not only still standing but still in use 2,000 years later. However their number system, whilst useful, was anything but straight forward. So how did the Romans manage to do the calculations necessary for construction using this rather unwieldy number system ?
For Monty Python fans the question “What have the Romans ever done for us ?” will recall the irreverent comedy of the film ‘The Life of Brian’ . There is a serious question behind this frivolous skit. The Roman Empire and the culture it exported was the most advanced the world had ever seen. Indeed after the fall of the Roman Empire it never got back up to the same level, in Western Europe, until many centuries later.
“Beware the Ides of March!”, the augur Spurinna had warned a few days before the 15 March in 44 BC , but the great Julius Caesar had brushed him aside. Was he not, at 55, the most powerful man in the civilised world?