Marcus Aurelius and the Thundering Legion

Yesterday, on the anniversary of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius’ death, we saw the equestrian statue of him on the Capitoline Hill in Rome, the only one of its kind that survives intact from antiquity. Today we will look at the city’s other great monument dedicated to him, the giant victory column in the center of […]

The Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius

Today marks the anniversary of the death of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius in 180 AD, a few days after the 19th anniversary of his accession to the throne. His reign is traditionally grouped with that of his four predecessors (Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian and Antoninus Pius), going back to the year 96, as the period of […]

The Ancient Basilica of St Clement

Ten days ago, when the Lenten station was at the basilica of Ss John and Paul on the Caelian hill, we saw some of the rooms of the Roman houses which were discovered underneath the church in 1887. I imagine that the church’s rector who made that discovery must have been inspired by the events […]

The Roman Houses on the Caelian Hill

The Lenten station church in Rome today is a basilica on the Caelian Hill dedicated to two martyrs named John and Paul, brothers killed for their Christian faith by the Emperor Julian the Apostate, who reigned from 361-63. They are said to have been military officers under Constantine, then to have served in the household […]

The Monuments of the Velabrum

Today we tie together a couple of our recent posts, yesterday’s about the Roman custom of the Lenten station churches, and one from last month about the damnatio memoriae of the Emperor Geta. The Lenten station today is held at a church dedicated to the martyred soldier St George, which stands in a low-lying region […]

The Temple of Antoninus Pius and Faustina

On this day in the year 138, the Emperor Hadrian, nearing the end of his life after a protracted illness, formally adopted as his son one Titus Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus, better known to history as the Emperor Antoninus Pius. Going back the days of Julius Caesar, and the transformation of the Republic into […]