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Book Review: Women Warriors

April 22, 2019

Back when I was in graduate school, I studied what I considered “pop culture” in antiquity: folklore, sexuality/gender, slavery – basically cultural history, right? My dissertation was about mentions of Amazons in four specific Greek and Roman authors. A book like Pamela D. Toler’s Women Warriors: An Unexpected History might seem right up my alley, but I can also be harsh on such books when they don’t meet my expectations...

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The Mysterious Pantheon

April 15, 2019

At the end of April 2019, Rome Reborn® will release “The Pantheon” as a new app that allows us to see what it likely looked like in 320 CE when it was still being actively used and protected by Romans. While this essay is meant as a general introduction, it looks at some complex issues that historians are still working through today. My main point will be to stress the irony that this best-preserved of Rome’s ancient buildings has also been one of its most enigmatic...

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Book Review: The Mammoth Book of Roman Whodunnits

April 8, 2019

I know that the last book I reviewed was also an anthology of historic mysteries, but since I’m pulling books from my own collection for these reviews, we’re going to have a few of these to start us off. Think of it as a good way to explore a lot of authors quickly. Today we return to editor Mike Ashley in his 2003 collection The Mammoth Book of Roman Whodunnits.

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The Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine

April 1, 2019

One of the Rome Reborn® applications lets us look at the Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine. I asked my family and friends if they knew what that was; no one did. So today, I want to lay out some more information about what it was so when you go use the program, you might appreciate the amazing recreation even more. This huge structure may also be listed as the Basilica of Maxentius, the Basilica Nova, and even The Basilica of Constantine; I’ll simply be calling it the Basilica of Maxentius...

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An Introduction to Constantine

March 25, 2019

Rome Reborn® presents a 3-D virtual Rome set in 320 CE, when Constantine was in ascension but not yet sole ruler of the Roman world. To define Constantine as emperor is to ignore the complexities of his life and of the world that created and later bowed to him. Numerous books have been written about this man, but today I want to refresh my memory and yours with an overview of his political career...

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The Via Sacra Revealed

March 18, 2019

The Forum Romanum is not just a row of buildings. One would obviously need walkways or even roads to navigate the area. Let’s look at one such street you can still see and walk along today, even though it may well be the oldest surviving road in Rome: the Via Sacra...

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March 15th in Roman History

March 11, 2019

This week, I want to draw your attention to an important date in Roman history: March 15, the Ides of March, the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 bce. While the murder of a would-be king in late Republican Rome would be noteworthy for historians, March 15 was more than that, so today I want to dig a bit deeper into the assassination and the date itself to try to figure out the benefits and challenges the murderers faced on that particular date...

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Television Review: The Nero Files

March 4, 2019

When I can, I want to be timely with these essays on Rome Reborn®, so when I learned about a new episode of the PBS series Secrets of the Dead, I wanted to watch and re-watch the show before bringing it to your attention. If you watched it, I hope you will join this website and participate in our discussion. If you’d like to see it, you may stream it free for a limited time on PBS here...

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Comment on Recent Criticism in Social Media

February 27, 2019

As founder of Flyover Zone Productions, the publisher of Rome Reborn, and as Director of the project since its inception in 1996, I write to comment on the recent criticism of Rome Reborn in social media by Prof. Sarah Bond. First, let me thank her for all the kind words about the academic quality and aesthetic beauty of our Rome Reborn applications. She raises two issues: (1) giving credit on the current website for work done in the past by collaborators on earlier versions of the Rome Reborn reconstruction of ancient Rome; and (2) making the results of the project Open Access (i.e., available to end users at no cost)...

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Book Review: Classical Whodunnits

February 25, 2019

For my first book review on Rome Reborn, I’m going back in time to 1997’s Classical Whodunnits: Murder and Mystery from Ancient Greece and Rome. 15 of the 20 short mysteries in this collection were written for this collection, but the earliest one, Breni James’ “The Gateway to Death,” was originally published in 1955. The span of dates in this collection, along with the continued publication today of mysteries set in the classical world, proves that there has been a market for ancient investigators for more than half a century, and if current sales are proof, the market is holding steady...

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Forum Basics

February 18, 2019

With Rome Reborn you can visit the Roman Forum and look at all of the buildings and structures that existed in 320 ce. The concept of forum and the Roman Forum have a long history. In future articles, I’ll look at the history, design, uses, and stories of the Roman Forum in detail, but today let’s get basic. We’ll begin by just laying out what a forum is, its purpose, and a brief recounting of the history of the Forum in Rome...

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February 11th in Roman History

February 11, 2019

Finding specific dates for events in Roman history is a challenge for many reasons; therefore, most of these Roman calendar essays will examine religious festivals or governmental events that have been widely accepted as dated approximately correctly. However, when I find a date that seems accepted by many ancient historians for a particular person or event in Roman history, I want to bring that to your attention. This week, I want to draw your attention to a couple of Romans associated with the date of February 11th...

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