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Photos

The Nerva-Antonines in Florence

The Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence is one of the oldest and most famous art museums in the world. In addition to Renaissance masterpieces including works from Botticelli, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, the Uffizi houses one of the world’s most important collections of ancient Roman and Greek statues. The Medicis’ interest in ancient art started with the founder of the family Cosimo I de’ Medici (1519-1574) and grew over nearly four decades. The antiquities were stored and displayed in several rooms in Palazzo Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti where they could be admired by the visitors to the court. The antiquities were later transferred to the Uffizi.

Most of the ancient statues and busts are displayed on the u-shaped second floor of the museum. The wide corridors are filled with numerous portraits of the members of the different imperial dynasties including those of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty.

Nerva (ruled 96 – 98 A.D.)

Bust of Emperor Nerva in lorica military cloak and paludamentum, Greek marble, 96 – 98 AD. Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
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Interviews Travel

Beyond Dubai: The Ancient UAE

“Dubai tries so hard to promote this image of an ultra-modern city that they almost seem to suppress its past.”

Dubai is a city that elicits sharp opinions. While its shopping malls, glittering lights, luxury hotels and villas, and iconic futuristic architecture continue to attract large numbers of tourists and business investors, many others simply avoid Dubai, convinced that it is nothing more than yet another mirage in the vast Arabian desert. In this exclusive interview with James Blake Wiener of Ancient History Encyclopedia (AHE), Dr. David Millar, author of Beyond Dubai: Seeking Lost Cities in the Emirates, discusses why he wrote a book about the United Arab Emirates’ ancient, hidden treasures and where one can find them.

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Travel

Stunning Nemrut Dagi and the Kingdom of Commagene

Today we have another contribution from Timeless Travels Magazine in which Dr Christine Winzor writes about the colossal stone heads at Nemrut Dağ, Turkey.

Head of Zeus Ahuramazda with head of Antiochus I behind. Photographer: Alkans Tours, Nicholas Kropacek
Head of Zeus Ahuramazda with head of Antiochus I behind. Photo © Alkans Tours, Nicholas Kropacek

The colossal stone heads at Nemrut Dağ, with their distinctive array of crowns and caps, are among the most iconic images of Turkey. Many guidebooks and tour agencies stress the importance of visiting this monument – sometimes referred to as the Throne of the Gods – at either sunrise or sunset to appreciate fully the spectacular illumination and reflection of the suns rays on the sculptures and tumulus. Others specifically advise against visiting at these times on the grounds that inevitably you will share this impressive event with a large crowd of other spectators, thereby spoiling the sense of majestic isolation.

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Education

Ancient Music and Instruments from the Mediterranean

Music had always been an important part of life for many ancient cultures. It weaves its way into ritual and entertainment. Let’s explore ancient music of the Mediterranean, particularly Rome, Greece and Egypt and discover instruments used back then which have shaped the instruments that we have today.

Mosaic depicting street musicians
Mosaic depicting musicians, signed by Dioskourides of Samos. The mosaic shows an episode from a comedy since the figures are wearing theatrical masks. The figures are playing musical instruments often connected with the cult of Cybele: the tambourine, small cymbals and the double flute. The mosaic was found in the so-called Villa of Cicero near Pompeii and dates to the 1st century BCE. It was made with tiny tesserae, in a technique called opus vermiculatum. (Naples National Archaeological Museum). Photo © Carole Raddato
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Photos

Art and Sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: Marble Head of Antinous

This week’s sculpture from Hadrian’s Villa is a marble head of Antinous, one of the ten marble images of Antinous found there.

Antinous, from Hadrian's Villa, late Hadrianic period 130-138 AD, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome
Antinous, from Hadrian’s Villa, late Hadrianic period 130-138 AD, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome

This portrait of Antinous is conserved in the Palazzo Massimo alle Terme in Rome. It is related to a coin type minted in the city of Adramyttium in Mysia (modern Edremit, Turkey) by an individual called Gessius (his name appears on the reverse of the coin). The coin was struck with the head of Antinous on the obverse and the words ΙΑΚΧΟC ΑΝΤΙΝΟΟC (Iacchos Antinous). Antinous is portrayed as Iacchos, a minor Dionysian deity (also epithet of Dionysus) associated with the Eleusinian Mysteries (Hadrian first took part in the Mysteries in about 124 AD and again in late summer 128 AD together with Antinous). The British Museum holds such a coin with the Eleusinian goddess Demeter on the reverse.

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Education

10 Ancient Greek Inventions & Discoveries Still Used Today

Though this post only discusses 10 ancient Greek inventions and discoveries, there are, in fact, many more attributed to them.

Greek findings range from astronomy and geography to mathematics and science. Greek interest in the scientific specification of the physical world started as far back as the 6th century BCE. They proved quite versatile in this area. Greece contributed a lot of knowledge to the modern world. Many ancient Greeks hold the title of the Father of Science, the Father of Medicine, or Zoology. Even remarkable leaders like Alexander the Great and Pericles with their innovative and philosophical ideas motivated many others to follow in their footsteps.

10. Water mill

Hydraulic wheel of Perachora
Hydraulic wheel of Perachora
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Education

New Discovery: Unearthing a Neo-Assyrian Grave in Erbil, Iraq

An archaeologist friend of mine once told me: “Less than 5% of the Mesopotamian history has been found, and wherever you dig, anywhere in the land of Mesopotamia, you will discover something.”

This story comes from Erbil (Hawler) Governorate. About 100-200 m away from the Citadel of Erbil (Arabic: قلعة أربيل; Kurdish: قه‌ڵای هه‌ولێر), an old house with a large garden was sold to an investment company. The company demolished the house and started to dig the foundation of a large building in late April 2015.

In response to my questions, Architectural Engineer Sarbast Mahmood Ahmed replied:

We were working 24/7. It was around 10 PM when we were digging the foundation of the building. The caterpillar excavator had reached 6 m in depth. Suddenly, one of the workers noticed that the machine had removed earth in addition to bricks. We stopped digging. After sunrise, we saw that we had unearthed what appeared to be a grave. Part of the grave was damaged while we were digging. Immediately, we informed the General Directorate of Antiquities. A specialized team arrived after a few hours and they prohibited us from further work. They did a short-lived excavation work within a few days together with a French archaeological team. The grave contained the skeleton of a human body. It seems that the corpse was laid on its left side. Nothing else was in the grave, no pottery or gold. The French team took the skeleton allowing for construction work to continue. I have been told that the skeleton was transferred to France using a private airplane. One of the team members told me that the unearthed grave dates back to the neo-Assyrian period. But I do not know whether the skeleton was a male or a female, an adult or a teen.

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Photos

7 Roman Wonders from the Corinium Museum in Cirencester (UK)

Each year Twitter has an event for international Museum Week (#MuseumWeek), which celebrates the many museums, galleries and cultural institutions that make valuable contributions to the arts, history and culture around the world. More than 2,200 museums, galleries and cultural institutions from over 64 countries come together on Twitter for #MuseumWeek including the Corinium Museum in Cirencester in the UK (@CoriniumMuseum).

I re-visited the recently refurbished and extended Corinium Museum earlier this year, and today I invite you to discover 7 ancient Roman treasures from Cirencester (named Corinium Dobunnorum in Roman times), once one of the most important places in Roman Britain, second only to London.

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Education

New Discovery: Clay Tablet & Cylinder Seal from Tell Kunara, Iraq

Panorama view of part of Tell Kunara, where the excavating team of the French National Center for Scientific Research is working. Sulaymaniyah City, Iraqi Kurdistan. 3rd Millennium BCE. The mountain on the background houses the ancient Paleolithic caves of Hazar Merd.
Panorama view of part of Tell Kunara, where the excavating team of the French National Center for Scientific Research is working. Sulaymaniyah City, Iraqi Kurdistan. 3rd Millennium BCE. The mountain on the background houses the ancient Paleolithic caves of Hazar Merd. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin

On Thursday, October 1, I decided to pay Mr. Kamal Rashid, director of the General Directorate of Antiquities in Sulaymaniyah (GDAS), a short visit. He was thrilled and very happy to see me, “Osama have a seat…one of our French teams has just unearthed a clay tablet.” Rashid said. We were at the site of Tell (mound) Kunara (Arabic: تل كنارة; Kurdish: گردي كوناره).

Tell Kunara (35°31’9.06″N; 45°21’35.07″E) was first documented in the 1940s. A survey was conducted by the General Directorate of Antiquities in Baghdad. According to the Archives Department of GDAS, Mr. Sabri Shukri visited, surveyed the location and wrote an official memorandum describing the site on November 10, 1943.

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Behind the Scenes Education

Our Little-Known but Amazing Tools for History Buffs

With several thousand pages, Ancient History Encyclopedia is huge! There are a few features on our site that most people don’t know about, but which are absolutely amazing! So come give our amazing tools for history buffs a try:

Searchable Timeline
We’ve got a searchable timeline of ancient history. Just enter a date range and a few keywords and you’ll see a list of timeline entries. You can even search by event category, such as warfare or philosophy. By searching the world timeline, relationships between events appear that you never knew were there.