History of the Crucifixion

If you’ve ever wanted to know more about the history of the crucifixion during the age of Ancient Rome, here is a fascinating podcast to listen to on Easter.

‘Romulus’ TV Series a Dramatic Look at the Founding of Rome

The birth of the city of Rome is a legend shrouded in mystery, violence, power, family drama, and the supernatural. In other words, it’s the kind of story that is perfect for a television series.

Romulus, a 10-part series airing later this fall, is a dramatic retelling of Rome’s 8th century BC origin story. But rather than tell the children’s story of Romulus, Remus, and the She-Wolf, this series focuses on the primitive tribes from which Rome was born. What’s more, it was filmed entirely in archaic Latin.

“We are not actually narrating the legend of the she-wolf that saves the twins,” explains executive producer Marco Chimenz. “We do have a she-wolf but she’s a guerrilla leader, a woman who leads a group of outcasts to fight against the established power. She already has an idea of Rome, which is an idealised place that can free men and women from fear of nature, of gods and constant oppression and slavery. It’s a very modern ideology.”

Chimenz, who helped create the popular series Gomorrah and Suburra, worked with director Matteo Rovere of The First King to bring Romulus to the screen. This included re-creating the ancient city of Alba Longa as well as consulting with scholars on the Latin script.

 “We have all seen a lot of films and TV series about ancient Rome and they are spoken in English, very often British English, which has become the language for this kind of storytelling,” Chimenz says. “Doing this series in English was not realistic, but doing it in Italian was not realistic either, so we decided to recreate this language. The actors had to learn all the lines and dialogue by heart, which prevented them from improvising.”

Romulus stars Italian actors Andrea Arcangeli, Francesco Di Napoli, and Marianna Fontana as Yermos, Wiros, and Ilia, the three characters through whose eyes we learn about this ancient universe. Hundreds of other actors and stunt performers were also on set for dramatic battle and ritual scenes.

If you enjoyed the HBO series Rome, which first aired in 2005 and is now available for streaming, you will love Romulus. Just make sure you are ready to pay attention! An entire show in Latin is not ideal for the lazy viewer.

The Atlas of Ancient Rome: Your New Favorite Coffee Table Book

Atlas of Ancient Rome

The Atlas of Ancient Rome, a gorgeous, new two-volume set edited by Andrea Carandini, promises to be an “authoritative archeological survey of Rome from prehistory to the early medieval period.” The slip-cased set is available now.

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Ancient Greek Temples and Mozzarella di Bufala in Paestum

Paestum Temple

If you tell a Roman that you are going Paestum for the weekend, invariably he or she will tell you: “Make sure you pick up some mozzarella di bufala.” Paestum and Its Greek Roots and Ruins Paestum is a sight to see without the culinary pit stop. A city known as “Poseidonia” when it was part … Read more

Visiting the Colosseum Dungeons on a Guided Tour [Review]

One of the things you need to know about touring Rome (and many other places in Italy) is that if you want to see something really special, then you’ll have to pay extra for it by going on a guided tour. While tours can certainly eat into your travel budget, they can also transform a trip into something extraordinary.

There are a number of reputable tour companies that can take you down into the dungeons (in groups of 12 or fewer). Last month, I was lucky enough to join The Tour Guy, a small but growing tour guide company, as a guest on its Colosseum-Dungeon tour.

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The 7 Hills of Rome: What Are They and What Can You See?

7 Hills of Rome Map

Rome is a city of many hills. But the seven hills of Rome are the original hills on which the ancient city was founded.

Roman Forum: No Longer Free

Update: Admission to the Roman Forum is included in the combined ticket for the Parco Colosseo Archeological Area Well, it was fun while it lasted. According to the folks at Dream of Italy and Tony Polzer from 3 Milennia Tours, the Roman Forum will begin to charge admission as of March 9th. Tony lays out … Read more

What’s Old Is New Again: Rome’s Via Appia Antica

Now that we’ve entered the Holy Season, tourism to Rome is going to start heating up again quite quickly. Of course, you can follow the pilgrimage throngs around the Lenten Station circuit. Or, you can travel outside the city walls to check out the Via Appia Antica. David Farley’s one-day itinerary along the ancient road … Read more