Monday, February 28, 2005

Burano Horse

Telegraph : "Burano horses were a breed used by the Ancient Greeks and Etruscans in wartime to pull carts laden with battlefield and siege machinery. Their strength and enormous lung capacity enabled them to drag massive loads at speed over great distances without rest."

Rome explored in new Science Channel program WHAT THE ANCIENTS KNEW

The World's Most Influential Civilizations are Explored in The Science Channel's Three-Part Series, WHAT THE ANCIENTS KNEW, Beginning Monday, March 14: "On Monday, March 14, viewers travel the globe to see sites of some of the world's earliest inventions, beginning with those of ancient Rome. Roman scientists and engineers were the first to be deployed to conquered provinces, and it was their ingenuity that linked the vast Roman Empire together with sophisticated bridges and roads, solidifying Roman rule over a swath of territory that in its heyday extended from Scotland to Syria. Masters of incorporating innovations from the cultures they dominated, the Romans spread the concepts of clean water distribution and sewer systems -- as well as the ubiquitous Roman bath -- to far-flung outposts of the empire. The Romans used the aqueduct to distribute water, the catapult to defend their cities, and the hypocaust (the first radiant heat apparatus) to heat the Roman baths. They also invented double-pane glass, public bathrooms and one of the first prototypes of industrialization -- a water-powered flour factory that could feed a minimum of 12,000 people each day. The Romans used concrete to build almost everything and made use of a drum crane for building projects, which allowed them to use a measly four pounds of lifting pressure to lift an astonishing 4,000 pounds."

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Trophies and tombstones: Commemorating the Roman soldier

by Valerie M. Hope

"Hundreds of tombstones and funerary monuments record the life and death of Roman military personnel, but the vast majority of these monuments appear to commemorate soldiers who died in camp rather than on the battlefield. How were the victims of warfare disposed of and in what ways were the graves marked and the loss of life recorded? In comparison with the Greek world there seems to have been little desire to record the individual sacrifices made in Roman warfare. Triumphs and trophy monuments were methods of recording victories but not the true carnage of battle. Here this public, cleaned-up image of warfare is placed alongside the practicalities of disposing of the dead and the sense of public loss. This paper also evaluates the extent to which individual identity (as celebrated by peacetime military tombstones) was subsumed to the state in times of conflict and then explores the few exceptional occasions when ?war memorials? that commemorated and named the dead were constructed."