Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Summer Update!

Hey Friends!!

I hope you're all having an awesome summer, beating the heat, and spending time with your family, your friends, or just enjoying nights with no homework. I know I am!

I wanted to give a quick update on my summer. I just got back from a month in Italy, where I visited so many archaeological sites, ancient History museums, and delicious restaurants, that I can't believe how much I was able to pack into a few short weeks. I'm still going through my more than 2000+ photos that I took while I was there. Here are a few:

Here's a cool example of a combination of Egyptian and Roman religions coming together.
Anubis is shown wearing a Roman soldier's tunic.

The temple of Hera at Paestum, along with two others, are some of the best preserved Greek temples in the world!
Not bad for about 2,500 years old.

This Roman mosaic from Pompeii may or may not express your feelings when you realize summer's almost over :P

The well-preserved amphitheater in the Roman city of Puteoli (modern Pozzuoli) actually shows how wild animals were kept in cages for the gladiator shows in ancient times. 

The ancient Roman city of Saepinum still shows how a small mountain town of the Samnite tribe was taken over and rebuilt by the Roman conquerers.  

Not such a bad view - Overlooking the Bay of Naples, including the modern city of Naples and the ancient city of Pompeii, as seen from the summit of Mt. Vesuvius. 
 
This ancient Sardinian statue actually looks like a stone C3PO!

The ancient city of Tharros was originally a Phoenician colony, then conquered by Carthage, and taken over by the Romans. 

The local Bronze Age people of Sardinia built these cool tower fortresses called Nuraghi between 2400-1600 BCE

I had to take a pic in front of the ancient village of Su Nuraxi in Sardinia. 

Even though I already have so many, one more picture of the Colosseum wouldn't be so bad...

I booked a special appointment to visit the Domus Aurea, the palace of the Roman Emperor Nero.
It was buried, and it now an active underground archaeological dig

Once his massive, luxurious palace was completed, Emperor Nero declared, "Finally, I can live like a human being!"


Finally, as promised, I want to give a shout-out to Teddy! He went to Istanbul with his family and sent a couple of snapshots of what looks like an amazing trip!

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque, is one of the largest landmarks in Istanbul

Clearly Teddy is putting the vast amounts of ancient history he learned last year to good use!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Barbarians at the Gates: The Goths Invade

Explore some of the reasons that caused the Roman Empire to fall apart in the 4th and 5th Centuries A.D. There wasn't one simple reason, but instead a combination of factors.








In the 5th century A.D., the Roman Empire fell apart. There were two main factors that led to the downfall of the world's mightiest empire: corruption and weakness within the empire, and invasions from several barbarian tribes. In class we looked at the Goths, a tribe from Eastern Europe that began migrating into the Balkan area of what is today Bulgaria, Romania, and the former Yugoslavia.

Some key points of discussion:
  • The Goths sack the city of Rome in 410 A.D.
  • The Emperor Valens was killed in a losing battle against the Goths in 378 A.D.
  • The Roman Empire adopts Christianity as the official religion
  • The Goths covert to Christianity under their chief Fritigern
  • The Romans treat the Goths very harshly as they enter the Empire

Monday, June 13, 2016

Rome Unit Essential Questions

1. How did the location, geography, and climate of Rome affect the development of civilization there?

The location of Rome influenced civilization there because Rome was in the center of Italy so domination of the entire peninsula was easy. Rome was in the center of the Mediterranean Sea so they could control trade in the Mediterranean.
  • 15 miles from the sea --> Protection from pirates
  • Located on the Tiber River --> Water for irrigation
  • Central Italy, center of the Mediterranean Sea --> Great trading location
The geography of Rome was that the city was surrounded by seven hills so it could be easily defended. Rome was on the Tiber River so the Romans could trade along it, but far enough inland so a naval attack would not be easy.

The climate of Rome was a warm Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot, dry summers so a small amount of grain could be grown, but Egypt still produced the most grain in the Mediterranean. Like the Greeks, the Romans could grow grapes and olives for wine and oil to trade.

2. How were the Romans influenced by Greek culture and ideas?

The Romans were influenced by Greek culture and ideas by using variations of Greek gods, and the Romans wore clothes that were similar to the Greeks. Wealthy Romans often spoke Greek, and their children were taught by Greek tutors. The Romans also took the idea that all cities should have some of the same buildings like an amphitheater and a forum. The Romans also used the idea that armies should be professional and well paid. The Romans also admired Greek art, architecture, and literature.

3. How was the Roman Republic founded and organized?

The myth of Rome's founding included the story of Romulus and Remus. The reality was that Rome began as a small fishing village which developed into a monarchy. Later, the Etruscans conquer the Romans and rule them. 
The Roman Republic was founded after one of the Etruscan kings was especially cruel and the Romans rebelled and threw the Etruscans out of Rome. The Romans did not want one person to take power again so they used a republic where the citizens from rich and poor classes elected leaders who made decisions for the benefit of both classes. There could be a dictator if there was an emergency, but after the emergency passed they went back to the republican system.

The main offices of the Republic included the consuls, senators, tribunes, and the citizens’ assembly.

Julius Caesar
4. Who was Julius Caesar and what effect did he have on the Roman Republic?

Julius Caesar was Roman general who conquered Gaul (France) for Rome. Julius Caesar thought that the republic wasn’t working and he thought that Rome needed a centralized government and that he should be in charge.

Julius Caesar had himself declared a dictator for life. Many Senators thought that Julius Caesar was going to get to much power and be like one of the Etruscan kings, so they assassinated him thinking that it would restore the Roman Republic but after a civil war Octavian Caesar became emperor of Rome. The Republic never came back.

Augustus Caesar
5. Who was Augustus Caesar and what were his major accomplishments?

Augustus Caesar was Julius Caesar’s nephew and adopted son. After Julius Caesar died there was a civil war. During the war Augustus (then called Octavian) defeated all his political rivals and had himself crowned “emperor.” Rome had grown during the civil war: Egypt was now entirely under Roman control.

A few of his accomplishments were that he built roads to connect the empire, and he had a fire department. He built Roman cities in conquered lands to spread Roman culture and change the barbarians into proper Roman citizens. There was a period of 200 years of peace begun by Augustus. Augustus rebuilt many temples, started a police force, and gave out food to the poor.


6. What were some of the successes and failures of the Roman Empire?

Some of the successes of the Roman Empire were they conquered the entire Mediterranean area and spread their culture around a lot of the known world. The Romans also built roads, aqueducts to carry water to cities, and used other people’s ideas to a much bigger purpose like using Etruscan arches and making the Coliseum. The Romans built the strongest army and greatest engineering masterpieces in ancient history.

Some of the failures of the Roman Empire were there were occasionally emperors who were mentally unstable and made very bad decisions for the Roman people. The Romans also persecuted people who didn’t worship Roman gods. There also was a very big difference between rich people and poor people, plus the Romans allowed slavery to exist. The Romans built an empire that became too vast to manage and eventually lost control over most of their territory.


7. How did the Roman Empire come to an end?

The Roman Empire ended when the borders got so long that armies couldn’t stop all the barbarians who wanted to invade Rome. Wave after wave of Gothic and Germanic tribes invaded Roman territory. Civil war also killed a lot of men who could fight the barbarians. Eventually barbarians got to the city of Rome itself and sacked it. Major rebellions broke out against Roman control in most of the foreign territories. Lastly, in 410 A.D. and again in 476 A.D., the Goths sacked the city of Rome itself.

Internally, the Roman Empire had tremendous money problems and eventually went broke. The government could no longer pay foreign soldiers to defend against attack. Bad leaders made the situation worse, and the empire broke apart.

8. What were some of the most important contributions of the Romans?

One of the most important contributions of the Romans was the republican form of government that we use today. We have a senate like the Romans and we elect our leaders.

Another contribution of the Romans was in the area of architectural engineering. We use arches now and columns in our government buildings.

We use the Roman alphabet and most of the words in our language come from Latin, as do all of the Romance languages (French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, etc.). 


Roman Emperors: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Once Augustus Caesar established the imperial form of government, Rome was led by four centuries of emperors. Some of those leaders were good, others were pretty awful. Some took power by force, others were the sons or family members of previous emperors, and still others were strong military generals that had the support of the army. All of the emperors in some way pretended that the republic still existed, even though they stacked the Senate with friends and allies, or bullied and threatened the Senators into doing what the emperor wanted.

Using one or several of the following sources, quickly research each Roman emperor on the list. Include their dates, and maybe 5 or 6 bullet points about each emperor's rule. Create a Quizlet about these Roman emperors. Pay attention to each leader's accomplishments, style, and how their reign began and ended.
Caracalla always looked grumpy

  1. Augustus Caesar
  2. Claudius
  3. Nero
  4. Vespasian
  5. Titus
  6. Trajan
  7. Hadrian
  8. Marcus Aurelius
  9. Commodus
  10. Caracalla
  11. Diocletian
  12. Constantine
  13. Romulus Augustulus



Here are some great, reliable resources from which you can find the information you're looking for:

High Rock Media Center: http://www.cavendishsquaredigital.com

Livius.org: http://www.livius.org/misc/list-of-roman-emperors/

De Imperatoribus Romanis: http://www.roman-emperors.org/impindex.htm


Example:

Julius Caesar
100 B.C. - 44 B.C.

  • Roman general and dictator
  • Conquered the province of Gaul for the Romans
  • Reformed the Roman government to benefit the poor
  • Had a romance with Queen Cleopatra of Egypt
  • Assassinated by senators for becoming too powerful
  • Adopted father of Octavian Caesar


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Life in Rome: Engineering an Empire

In the time of the ancient Roman Empire, huge building and engineering projects were undertaken by different emperors who wanted to make their mark. Meanwhile, the rich became even more wealthy as the poor struggled to survive, and the slaves continued to live difficult lives as someone else's property.

First, watch the segments of the video called Engineering an Empire: Rome and make notes on the sheet you downloaded from MyHomework. Especially focus on the segments about aqueducts, roads, the Colosseum, Hadrian's Wall, the Pantheon, and the Baths of Caracalla. Think about what each of these structures' purposes were, and if they are still in existence (even as ruins) today.





Now check out a couple more videos about the life of ancient Romans:









And finally, want to see some truly exciting Roman entertainment? Check out this chariot race scene from the old classic movie Ben Hur (1959)!


And as a bonus, check out this time-lapse video from the Melbourne Museum in Australia showing what it would have looked like to be in Pompeii on the day Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

MFA Field Trip Preview

This week, our cluster will be visiting the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. There, you will see one of the best Egyptian collections outside of Egypt, a huge Greek and Roman collection, and some of the oldest artifacts of human civilization. Here's a preview of selected artifacts that I would like you to notice when we're at the MFA.

If you want to preview even more, the MFA website has a tremendous online gallery, interactive tours, and a very detailed catalog of their immense collection. I highly recommend you take a look...


The first artifact is one of the most important artifacts in all of Egyptian art history. It is a statue of Prince Ankhhaf, who was the brother of one pharaoh and the son of another. He helped to build the great pyramid at Giza around 2500 B.C.E.


What the Museum won't tell you is that the Egyptian government would love to get its hands on this statue to bring it back to Cairo. The problem for them is that it was legally excavated by Harvard and the MFA about 100 years ago. Now the Egyptian government says it would like to "borrow" it. Yeah right!



Here's what the Museum does say about this artifact:

Bust of Prince Ankhhaf
 
Egyptian, Old Kingdom, Dynasty 4, reign of Khafra (Chephre, 2520–2494 B.C.
 
Findspot: Giza, Egypt
     Height: 50.48 cm (19 7/8 in.)
     Painted limestone
 
Classification: Sculpture
 
On view in the: Gardiner Martin Lane Gallery (Egyptian Old Kingdom Gallery)

In ancient Egypt, artists almost never created true portraits. This bust of Ankhhaf, therefore, breaks the rule. It is made of limestone covered with a thin layer of plaster, into which details have been modeled by the hand of a master. Rather than a stylized representation, the face is of an individual. From inscriptions in his tomb, we know that Ankhhaf was the son of a king, probably Sneferu, brother of another, Khufu, and that he served Khafre as vizier and overseer of works. In this last capacity, he may have overseen the building of the second pyramid and carving of the sphinx.



Ankhhaf's features are those of a mature man. His skull shows a receding hairline. His eyelids droop slightly over eyes originally painted white with brown pupils. Puffy pouches are rendered underneath. Diagonal furrows set off a stern mouth. Apparently, he once had a short beard made from a separate piece of plaster. It was lost in antiquity, as were his ears. His gaze is that of a commanding and willful man, someone who was accustomed to having his orders obeyed. It was the way he wanted to be remembered for eternity.



Ankhhaf's mastaba was the largest in the great Eastern Cemetery at Giza. His bust was installed in a mudbrick chapel attached to the east side of the tomb and oriented so that it faced the chapel's entryway. The chapel walls were covered in exquisitely modeled low relief. It has been suggested that Ankhhaf's arms were sculpted on the low pedestal on which he sat, thereby making him appear even more lifelike. Passersby left more than ninety models of food and drink for Ankhhaf to enjoy in the afterlife. 



Ankhhaf is unique, and by the terms of the Museum's contract with the Egyptian government, he should have gone to the Cairo Museum. However, he was awarded to Boston by the Antiquities Service in gratitude for the Harvard-Boston Expedition's painstaking work to excavate and restore objects from the tomb of Queen Hetepheres.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition, 1927
Accession number: 27.442
Provenance/Ownership History: From Giza, tomb G 7510. 1925: excavated by the Harvard University-Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition; 1927: assigned to the MFA in the division of finds by the government of Egypt.
(Accession Date: July 7, 1927)


Akhenaten receiving the rays of Aten

One of the most interesting pharaohs ever to rule Egypt was named Amenhotep IV, who later renamed himself Akenaten. This pharaoh changed the Egyptian religion and the style of Egyptian art and even moved the capital city of the kingdom from Thebes to a brand new city he built called Amarna. For that reason, this time in history is called the "Amarna Period."

In the comments, can you describe any specific changes that Akhenaten put in place?



* Egyptian, New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, reign of Akhenaten, 1349–1336 B.C.

Dimensions
    Height x width x depth: 51 x 105.5 x 5.2 cm (20 1/16 x 41 9/16 x 2 1/16 in.)
 
Medium or Technique
    Limestone
 
Classification
    Architectural elements

Accession Number
    64.1944
On view
    Egypt: New Kingdom - 210
Although Akhenaten's religious reforms purged Egyptian art of many of its most familiar manifestations, the king remained fond of the sphinx and often had himself depicted as that fantastic creature - part man, part lion. In Old Kingdom times, the Great Sphinx at Giza probably stood for the king presenting offerings to the sun god, while in the Eighteenth Dynasty the mighty monument was reinterpreted as the sun god Horemakhet, or Horus in the Horizon. Its impeccable solar credentials therefore made the sphinx an appropriate image for Akhenaten at el-Amarna, the city he called Akhetaten, "Horizon of the Sun Disk."



This relief was one of a pair flanking a temple doorway. The sphinx on it rests on a plinth, suggesting that it represents a statue. A pair of such reliefs flanking the doorway of a small temple would have evoked the grand avenues of sphinxes that traditionally led up to the entrance pylons of larger Egyptian sanctuaries. Here the sphinx is equipped with human arms and hands to enable him to make offerings to his god, the sun disk, Aten, who appears at the upper left. He wears the uraeus of kingship while behind him (to the left) are two cartouches containing his lengthy official name. The sun's life-giving rays end in so many hands, some holding ankh-signs. Below are three offering stands. To the right, Akhenaten as sphinx raises one hand in adoration while in the other he holds a neb sign, a basket signifying lordship, holding Aten's cartouches. These same cartouches appear a third time in the upper right where they are joined with the cartouches of Akhenaten and Queen Nefertiti, who is thus present in name if not in image. The rest of the inscription describes the "great, living Aten" as "dwelling in the Sunshade temple [called] Creator of the Horizon [which is] in Akhetaten." The temple named here, yet to be located, must be the one for which this block was carved. 



Akhenaten's religious revolution was accompanied by a change in the way pharaoh was depicted, showing a marked departure from the idealized images favored by his predecessors. Even though the king's face has been sadly hacked away, one can still discern his characteristic slanted eyes, long nose, hollow cheeks, drooping lower lip, and pendulous chin.

Provenance: Probably from el-Amarna. By 1964: with Ernst E. Kofler, Lucerne, Switzerland; October 4, 1964: purchased by the MFA from Ernst E. Kofler. 

(Accession Date: October 14, 1964). Credit Line:
Egyptian Curator's Fund

The Giza Plateau
Students should check out the Giza Archives section of the MFA website. As you may know, the Museum and Harvard University teamed up in the early 1900s to conduct archaeological digs in the area of the Giza Plateau, the location of the Great Pyramids. The MFA was the only American museum allowed to dig there. As a result, the evidence gathered from these digs has been some of the most important information uncovered about Egyptian history.



The Giza Archives have the original documents, photos, and writings of the original archaeologists on the dig. Many of the artifacts in the MFA's Egyptian collection can be seen in these photos as they appeared in situ.

Check it out:


The MFA's Greek collection is one of the best in North America. The Museum has an especially large gallery of Greek pottery. We've talked a lot about the different gods, goddesses, and myths that made life in ancient Greece more fun and interesting.

The Greek Sphinx
Most people know the term "sphinx" to mean the more famous giant statue which guards the Great Pyramids of Giza, in Egypt. The Greeks, however, had their own version of a sphinx. The Greek sphinx had the body of a lioness, the wings of an eagle, and the head of a woman. She was famous for demanding the answer to a riddle, and for killing those who were incorrect in their answers. Unfortunately, the MFA's Greek sphinx is without its head, so you'll just have to imagine what she looked like.

A Greek Sphinx: What is the difference from an Egyptian Sphinx?
Upper part of a grave stele: seated sphinx (sphinx and capital)

Greek, Archaic Period, about 530 B.C.

Height: 141.7 cm (55 13/16 in.) 

Marble, either island (sphinx and plinth) or Pentelic (capital)
 
Classification: Sculpture
Catalogue: Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 017; Sculpture in Stone and 

Bronze (MFA), p. 106 (additional published references); Highlights: Classical Art (MFA), p. 159.
 
On view in the: Early Greek Gallery

Sphinx and plinth were carved in island marble separately from the Pentelic marble capital. This plinth was let into a socket at the top of the capital and secured in a bed of molten lead. There is a large socket on the underside of the capital, with a pour hole from the back side. The abacus and the base of the capital are flush with the volutes, and all surfaces have been smoothed, except the plinth of the sphinx, which shows point or punch marks.

The sphinx crouches to the right, with hind-quarters lifted and head turned to the front. The end of her curving tail rests on her right haunch. The hair, originally black, is shown as a mass descending to the shoulders and divided vertically and horizontally by grooves. The feathers of the wings are carved in relief and were painted alternately green, black, red, and blue. The feathers on the breast form a scale pattern, painted in alternate rows of red and green. The rib of each wing and the flat molding at the top of each foreleg are green.
The capital is of lyre design, consisting of two double volutes, with palmettes in all the interstices. It is open in the center and richly decorated with incised and painted designs. The front and ends of the base are enriched with a delicately carved guilloche. The abacus has four-pointed stars set on three-petaled palmettes, three in front and one on each end. The outer sides of the volutes are incised and painted with a large lotus and palmette pattern. Alternating red and black colors complement the form, carving and incision.
Sphinx and capital have been broken into a number of pieces and rejoined, with slight restorations at the joins. There is more restoration in the lower part of the capital than elsewhere, but this is to a great extent supplanted by an extra piece acquired nearly twenty years after the original purchase was first undertaken. The surfaces are very fresh. The fragments with the parts of the dedicatory inscription have the handsome golden yellow patina of the best Pentelic marble.
See: 40.724a-b for inscribed fragments.

See also Cls. Inv. 186.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
1931 and 1939 Purchase Funds, 1940
Accession number: 40.576
Provenance/Ownership History: By date unknown: with Brummer Gallery, Inc., 110 East 58th Street, New York; purchased by MFA from Brummer Gallery, Inc., October 10, 1940, for $ 65,000.00


The ancient Romans copied much of the Greek culture, art, and mythology and adopted it as their own.

This sarcophagus was made to bury the body of a wealthy Roman. The side is a huge and detailed sculpture showing the "triumph of Dionysus." The Greek god Dionysus represented wine and partying, among other things. One day the hero Hercules challenged the god to a drinking contest. Not a good idea.

Hercules lost the contest, the one time in his life he ever lost. If you look at the details, you'll see all kinds of crazy and exotic animals including elephants and giraffes. At the far right, some satyrs are helping Hercules to walk, since he's pretty shaky on his legs.

Roman Sarcophagus from about 220 A.D.

Sarcophagus with triumph of Dionysos
 
Roman, Imperial Period, about A.D. 215–225
 
Overall: 77.5 x 208cm (30 1/2 x 81 7/8in.)

Other (Body): 59cm (23 1/4in.)

Other (lid): 18.5cm (7 5/16in.)

Case (Rolling steel pedestal with wooden skirts/plex-bonnet): 77.5 x 228.6 x 76.5 cm (30 1/2 x 90 x 30 1/8 in.)


Marble, from the island of Proconnesus in the Sea of Marmara near Istanbul



Inscriptions: An inscription along the lower edge reads, "Marcus Vibius Agesilaus Junior made it (i.e. set up this monument?) for Marcus Liberalis, the son of Marcus, the Praetor, his tutor" or "who brought him up."

Classification: Sculpture
Catalogue: Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 244; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 113 (additional published references); Highlights: Classical Art (MFA), p. 108-109.
On view in the: Roman Gallery

The god of wine and dramatic festivals, in full choral attitude, steps into a biga drawn by two Indian elephants with fringed cloths on their backs. He is supported by his companion the satyr Ampelos and attended by the complete Dionysiac train of Sileni, pans, satyrs, maenads, and the exotic animals of his triumph in India.



The inscription reads :M~VIBIO~M~FIL~LIBERALI~PRAET~M~VIBIVS~AGESILAVS~IVNIOR~NVTRICIO~SUO~FEC ("Marcus Vibius Agesilaus junior made (it) for Marcus Vibius Liberalis, son of Marcus, the praetor, his foster-father" ).

The condition is, generally speaking, superb, with the small breaks, missing limbs, and absent attributes apparent from illustrations. The surfaces, particularly of the nude or seminude figures, retain their high polish. There are no restorations of the kind that ruin so many sarcophagi. The sections cracked or broken through have been carefully rejoined, and the missing pieces of the lid hardly detract from the visual sweep and rhythm of the triumphal procession. The three-volume corpus of Dionysiac sarcophagi reveals that very few of these monuments of Greek art in the Roman Empire have their original (or any) lids preserved in any form or condition.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
William Francis Warden Fund, 1972
Accession number: 1972.650
Provenance/Ownership History: By date unknown: collection of an international banker in northwest Europe; by 1972: with Miss Jeanette Brun, Dufourstrasse 119, Zurich 8008, Switzerland; purchased by MFA from Miss Jeanette Brun, June 7, 1972