Conspicuous Commensuality

I was reading a book on Ancient Mesapotamia yesterday when for the first time in my life I came across the term ‘Conspicuous Commesuality’ in the context of exquisite pottery remains from the Chalcolithic age being found during excavations. Almost as if expecting some bafflement, the author explains that it is a “precursor to ‘conspicuous…

A storm is coming

If you are like me, the words ‘a storm is coming’ would have immediately transported you to Howard Shore’s brilliant opening track for the Return of the King (the third installment of the Lord of the Rings). Anybody who went ‘Game of Thrones’ can please get their coats and leave. However, my title today had…

2772 years ago

Legend has it that Rome was founded on 21 April 753 BCE. It is a legend. Nobody knows for sure when someone put a hut up on the Palatine Hill but we need a date to mark the anniversary of the Eternal city and 21st April it is. The four images below which I captured…

The Roman Theatre of Merida

The Roman theatre of Merida was built during the reign of Augustus. There is an inscription in the theatre which reads M. Agrippa L.F. cos III. trib. pot. III Roughly meaning that Marcus Agrippa, Son of Lucius, three times consul, in the third year of his tribunician powers (built this). With this information, historians have…

Livia’s Garden: One of the world’s earliest nature art masterpieces?

In 1863 archaeologists unearthed magnificent finds from what was called the Villa of Livia at Prima Porta (slightly north of Rome). Livia was the wife of Augustus, the first emperor of Rome. Notably one of the finds from the house was the imposing statue of Augustus that is mostly associated with the emperor. However, another…

Monday Pop Quiz: Water Pump

It’s the start of the working week for most of the world. For those of struggling with Monday blues I thought I’d make life interesting with a little pop quiz. Please look at the images below and choose the correct answer. (Apologies for all the reflection in the photograph- museum lighting is not always best…

Portraits of Augustus (from my 2018 visits)

Roman sculptural portraits (whether in bronze or in marble) existed long before Augustus. Republican time portraiture from Rome depicts a high level of realism. You see people shown with their frowns and wrinkles. This was quite unlike the Hellenistic style which was all idealised and smooth. With his consolidation of power in Rome, Augustus also…