Category: roman empire

The Moon Star Flag: How Turkey’s Flag Came To …

The Turkish national flag is mostly red, with a white star and a crescent in the center. Ottoman Sultan Selim III formalized the look in 1793, but the flag is actually much older.

The crescent-and-star combination has been used in Turkey since Hellenistic times (400s to 100 BCE). It likely came from ancient Mesopotamian iconocraphy. Ancient depictions of the symbol always show the crescent with horns pointing upward and with the star placed inside the crescent, for reasons that have been lost to time. When it came to Turkey, they gave it their own meanings. For Byzantium the moon symbolized Diana, also known as Artemis, the patron goddess of the city.

In 1453, when the city was conquered by the Ottoman Empire, the flag remained unchanged. With time, it became not just Istanbul’s flag but the Ottoman flag, with its design formalized in 1793 and its status as national flag formalized in 1844. Turks affectionately call the flag “ay yildiz” – the “moon star” flag.

Many nations that were once part of Ottoman Empire adopted the star-and-crescent when they gained independence, including Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria. In the 1900s the symbol became associated with not just the Ottomans, but with Islam in general, and many states that were never part of the Ottoman Empire adopted it too, including Pakistan, Malaysia, and the Maldives. Pretty amazing that an ancient Mesopotamian symbol is flown around the world today.

The Creation of Rotterdam

What would become the important port city of Rotterdam has been inhabited since at least the Roman period. It was part of the frontier province Germania Inferior, and there is evidence of wooden locks, trenches, and ditches built by the Romans to control water levels. After the Romans withdrew in the second half of the 200s CE, the population steeply declined. Partially because sea levels rose, making much of the region uninhabitable.

It was not until 900 CE that pioneering farmers returned to the riverbanks of the Rotte River, or “Muddy Water” River. Archaeologists have found the remains of six farmsteads, dating from 950 to 1050 CE. Life in Rotta Village was difficult: flooding was always a threat, and attempts to drain the peat they farmed on just caused the ground level to sink when drained, making flooding even worse. Unable to make a living, Rotta Village was abandoned around 1050.

It was thanks to a local noble looking to protect his nearby lands that Rotterdam ever came to be. In the year 1270, the Count of Holland, Floris V, ordered the construction of a single sea wall to protect the region from floods. The resulting dike was 1,300 feet long, 23 feet wide, and nearly five feet high. It was constructed across the Rotte River, not far from the now-abandoned Rotta Village.

A town sprang up after the dike was built. Because it was close to the North Sea and the River Rotte, the area was between two trade systems: the Baltic Region which included Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, and the north Atlantic coastal area, which included France, England, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Because the new dike blocked direct passage to the Rotte River, traders had to unload their goods and reload them on the other side, or temporarily store them in Rotterdam. This made Rotterdam an important port and market for staple goods, such as beer and textiles, which people had to buy no matter the difficulty in getting it across the dike. It also developed a fishing industry, selling its herring along the trade systems it linked. And the rest, as they say, is history!

Unique Roman Washing Bowl Found In Netherlands

This bowl’s shape is what makes it such a special find. The bronze bowl is decorated in the shape of an eagle’s wings, with a head on the rim. 

Found in a grave with three cremated remains, it likely dates to the 300s CE. It’s a very fancy bowl. The only known Roman bowl with this particular shape, in fact. So researchers think it likely belonged to a high-status individual, perhaps an important member of the Roman army staff.

The Sea Dragon and The Dolphin

This fresco was found in Pompeii, with its colors amazingly preserved.

It survived a volcanic eruption by almost two thousand years. But it was destroyed by the recent fire at Brazil’s National Museum in Rio de Janeiro.

Annoyed Roman Lady Didn’t Enjoy Sitting Still …

This bust was found in Rome, and dates to between 98 and 117 CE.

ROMAN EMPEROR: ROMAN emperors ruled over the I…

ROMAN EMPEROR: 

ROMAN emperors ruled over the Imperial Roman Empire starting with Augustus from 27 BCE and continuing in the Western Roman Empire until the late 5th century CE and in the Eastern Roman Empire up to the mid-15th century CE. The emperors would take different titles such as Caesar and Imperator but it was always their command of the army which allowed them to keep their seat on one of history’s most prestigious and long-lasting thrones.

Prior to the birth of the Roman Empire in the latter part of the first century BCE, there had existed many empires among these were the Assyrian, the Babylonian, the Persian, and the Macedonian. All of these had great leaders such as Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes, and, of course, Alexander the Great. Yet, history tells us these great men were all called kings; the term emperor was never used. In contrast, the Roman Empire was different, for it didn’t have a king; it had an emperor, and one must search both the Roman Republic and the Empire, almost one thousand years of history, to discover the reasons for the difference.

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The Lakshmi of Pompeii

But wait, you’re thinking – Lakshmi is a Hindu goddess, right? She is, the goddess of wealth, fortune and prosperity and the wife of Vishnu.

But this particular Lakshmi figurine was found in the ruins of Pompeii. It is beautiful proof of the trade links between the Roman Empire and the other great civilizations of their day.

Massive Roman Library Found In German City

A large ancient wall, clearly Roman, was first unearthed in the German city of Cologne in 2017. It is not that surprising to find Roman buildings there. Cologne is one of Germany’s oldest cities, founded by the Romans in 50 AD under the name Colonia, or “colony.” What made the find interesting was its size, and the strange small niches built into the wall. 

After comparisons with Roman ruins elsewhere, archaeologists think they have figured out the mystery. The building was a Roman library. The niches were to hold scrolls. Rather a lot of scrolls; it is estimated the library could have held up to 20,000 scrolls.

The building would have been slightly smaller than the famed library at Ephesus, which was built in 117 CE. Cologne’s library was also likely built later, in the mid-100s CE. Located in the middle of the city, near the forum, Cologne’s library was intended for public use. And it was popular enough that eventually an extension was added!

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The earliest known thimbles, made of bronze, were found at Pompeii and Herculaneum. That means thimbles have been around since at least 79 CE.

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