Living at the turn of the 1st and 2nd centuries CE, Apollodoros of Damascus was one of the most famous architects of antiquity. He worked for Emperor Trajan, for whom he was extremely useful, e.g. during the so-called Dacian Wars – designed a bridge that was thrown over the Danube to enable the Roman legions to cross the river. In addition, he designed the Trajan’s Forum, the emperor’s triumphal arches in Benevento and Ancona, perhaps he participated in the creation of one of the wonders of ancient architecture – Pantheon1.
Curiosities of ancient Rome (People)
The world of ancient Romans abounded in a number of amazing curiosities and information. The source of knowledge about the life of the Romans are mainly works left to us by ancient writers or discoveries. The Romans left behind a lot of strange information and facts that are sometimes hard to believe.
Poppea Sabina was the mistress and then the second wife of Emperor Nero. Poppaea led a lavish lifestyle and was known as a beautiful, calculating woman. Some of her beauty treatments gained great fame (e.g. baths in donkey’s milk). It was she who persuaded Nero to murder his own mother – Agrippina the Younger. Probably Nero himself led to the death of Poppaea in 65 CE.
Lucius Cornelius Sulla (138-78 BCE) became famous as the first Roman politician who gained unlimited power in practice. After winning the civil war in 82 BCE he appointed himself a dictator without a time frame. Finally, however, of his own free will, he resigned in 79 BCE from office and retired.
Most historians agree that epilepsy is the most likely candidate for Caligula’s disease. There are several details in Caligula’s biography that support this argument. It is suggested that members of Julius’ family suffered from epilepsy. Additionally, several historians point out that during his childhood, Caligula had episodes of sudden falls during which he lost consciousness and had difficulty staying upright. Analyzed from a modern perspective, these episodes may indicate atonic seizures.
Gaius Lalius Sapiens was a Roman politician in the mid-2nd century BCE and friend of the famous Roman leader Scipio Africanus the Younger – the conqueror of Carthage in 146 BCE. Lelius received his nickname Sapiens, meaning “Wise”, from his contemporaries for the decision to abandon the proposal to reform the law on agricultural land.
The first century BCE was an extremely turbulent period in the history of ancient Rome. During this time, there were struggles for power and influence between the populares and the optimates. The main enemies were Gaius Marius and Lucius Cornelius Sulla, who committed a huge number of murders.
The son of Septimius Severus, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, known by the nickname Caracalla, after the Gallic coat he willingly wore, was greatly fascinated by the figure of king Alexander III of Macedon. His fascination was so great that from what the historian Cassius Dio described, he created troops of legionaries, who not only referred to the formation of troops of the conqueror of the Achaemenid Empire with the name phalangarii, but were also recruited from the territories of Macedonia and Thrace, and even their armament was supposed to imitate Macedonian ones (wearing cloth armour and using long spears).
In Roman sources, Mithridates VI Eupator appears to us as the leader of the wars that the Romans had to wage for about 25 years in the East. Mithridates was to strive to create a regional power from Pontus and displace Roman influence from the territories of present-day Turkey. But can we really speak of Mithridates as an aggressor, or rather a victim of Roman imperialism?
Lucius Licinius Lucullus (117 – 56 BCE), is a somewhat forgotten figure. He lived in interesting times, which is why many mentions of him have been preserved by various authors. A great commander, and at the same time a person who was unable to win over the soldiers. This is how Cassius Dio characterized him in his “Roman history”: