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…

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…

On Augustus

If you go into google and start typing “Augustus whe..” the search engine helpfully prompts with “Augustus where are my legions”. Indeed the online world of Roman memes is littered mainly with two major types of Augustan memes- one centered around Augustus’ claim of having found Rome a city of bricks and having left it…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Vivid: Frescoes from an Emperor’s House

The House of Augustus, Emperor of Rome, lies on the Palatine Hill. In the olden days the Palatine Hill was top real estate and it was no surprise that the man who referred to himself as “Princeps” (First/ foremost) had his house located there. However strategic location apart, the house was built and decorated very…

Ulixes Stolatus

(“Ulysses in a Stola/ Petticoat” Caligula describing Livia) Empress of Rome: The Life of Livia by Mathew Dennison I am not sure this should be considered a proper book review. What I write below is just a collection of my thoughts on the subject (and by collection I don’t mean a nice organised, cogent collection-…

The House of Augustus- Part VII- Ancient Roman Sites in Rome

For all the power that Octavian wielded over the course of his long life, he was a man who believed in maintaining a very modest public profile. Unlike some of his descendants and successors who believed in a lavish and sumptuous existence and built large palaces on the palatine (thereby the term palatial), Augustus insisted…

A Theatre & A Temple- Part III of Ancient Roman Sights in Rome

So you are walking on a road in Rome and you suddenly come across this building on your left. What do you think of immediately. “Oh! It’s the Colosseum!” you remark, only slowly realising that the building while looking a lot like the Colosseum from some points is also quite different from it. Congratulations! You…