The MQ City of Rome Blog focuses on the history of ancient Rome. The city was founded in myth in the year 753 BCE and became the first metropolis, with an empire stretching from Scotland to the Sahara and from the Atlantic Ocean to the Euphrates (Iraq).

This semester's blog explores many fascinating topics about Ancient Rome including: the Pantheon, Roman Real Estate Moguls, Temples, and the Rock (not actually the people's champion). For more ancient insights, consult the oracle at Delphi, or just read the blog posts below.

Just like Netflix, the editors of Macquarie Session 2 2019, have published a fine selection of blogs for your binge-reading pleasure. Each post has been created by a student at Macquarie University as part of their research undertaken under the direction of Professor Ray Laurence in the Department of Ancient History (in AHIS 313).

All topics for the posts were picked by students and researched by students with some guidance. The content of the posts devised by students studying the City of Rome was then edited by student Professional and Community Engagement (PACE AHIS 392) interns to create the final versions of the posts that appear here. The students developed their own view of Rome through these topics. Expect to find some lively ideas, even some puns (good or bad), and a shift away from the formalities of academic writing to make the study of the city of Rome accessible to a wider public.

Leading on from this, while these posts contain some material that is inaccessible to the wider public or teachers of HSC Ancient History in New South Wales, because it is hidden behind a paywall, they are all hyperlinked to open access translations of ancient sources and, where possible, to further information. This was done to enable teachers and students (and anyone else reading this blog) to dig deeper into the history of ancient Rome.

Porta Carmentalis: A Coalescence of Mythos, Tragedy and Triumph

Jackson Dehring

All roads lead to Rome, but some pass through a gate born in legend, attached to superstition, and celebrated in glory.

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Porta Collina: A Herald of War

Nathan Tsang

An entryway marked by a bloody period in the closing years of the Roman Republic, marred with constant war.

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Porta Esquilina: A Metamorphosis in Stone and Soil

Dominique Bezzina

The transformation of a meagre entryway amidst a city’s macabre memories into a grand portal surrounded by the idyllic gardens of Roman aristocracy.

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Thumbs Up for Female Gladiators

Laura Irving

Female gladiators - who would have thought it? We generally think of gladiators as being big, strong males like Russell Crowe in the movie Gladiator. However, the evidence for the existence of female gladiators, though scarce, is very convincing!

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Religion and Power: The Julio-Claudian Quindecemviri

Ewan Coopey

Introduction The Quindecemviri Sacris Faciundis (XVVIRI S. F. in inscriptions) was a very important priesthood in Ancient Rome. Translated as the ‘board of fifteen for the performance of sacred rites’ (short and to the point as always…), the college was one of the four great priestly colleges. Dionysius of Halicarnassus...

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Quindecemviri, Bull’s Blood, and the Taurobolium

Paul Statheos

Taurobolium This semester I worked as a research intern on the City of Rome project, investigating a Roman priesthood known as the quindecemviri (the ‘fifteen men’, although they actually numbered beyond sixteen by the imperial period). These priests were responsible for overseeing the centennial ludi saeculares festival, certifying foreign cults,...

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The Pantheon!

Tamlin Creighton-See

Immediately after hearing that hallowed name images of domes, grand open spaces and columns are brought to mind (and porticos too if you know your terminology!). Few buildings have captured the imagination of the world quite like the Pantheon, with its unique architectural design, its many mysteries, and its sheer...

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The Richest Man in History? Crassus and Real Estate in Late Republican Rome

Darcy Cowan

Marcus Licinius Crassus was one of the most powerful men in Rome during his day, but how did he get this power? Remarked upon as one of the richest men in history, Crassus used events in Rome to his advantage by buying up cheap housing that had been ravaged by...

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AEDES DIVI IVLII: The Temple of the Deified Julius

Siobhan Christie

Julius Caesar left his mark on the world, but nowhere more than Rome itself, where he was immortalised in the Temple of Divus Julius. The temple was not only an exhibition of Caesar's deification, but a symbol of Imperial Rome. Siobhan Christie takes us through what the temple would have...

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The Temple of Janus Geminus

Lee Treadwell

Ancient Rome was a city of a wide range of shrines and temples dedicated to the numerous gods of the Roman religion. The general concept of religio was there for all to see, from the shrines dedicated to the gods of the household to the capitol of Jupiter Optimus Maximus....

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Fallen from Grace: The Victims of the Tarpeian Rock

Zachary Hale

The Ancient Romans are notorious for their creative methods of killing people: crucifixion, decimation, and the dreadful damnatio ad bestia ….

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Domitian -- Our Lord, God and Master Builder

Uri Bronotte

Domitian was the Roman emperor from 81 to 96AD. He was the third and last of the Flavian emperors after his father Vespasian and his brother Titus. Domitian was ultimately assassinated in 96AD by a member of the imperial staff (Suet. Dom. 17). After his death, Domitian was given damnatio...

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Apollo: Foreigner in Rome

Isaac Roberts and Patrick Brewer

This week, we have a double episode! Isaac Roberts and Patrick Brewer both discuss the presence of arguably the most important Hellenic god in Rome; Apollo. But how did a Greek god become a naturalized Roman? Let’s take a look at Apollo’s presence in Rome, both physically and conceptually. Gods...

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Foundations for a triumphal arch, but which victory might it commemorate?

Kiri Hatzipantelis

This week Kiri H. discusses the attempts by scholars to interpret the meaning of the foundations of an arch excavated in the Forum Romanum. Much remains uncertain and debate is likely to continue!

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The Firefighters of Ancient Rome

Jenelle Alcantara

We’ve heard previously about the great fire of Rome in AD 64; now let’s take a look at the men who had to face it! This week, J. Alcantara examines the unsung heroes of ancient Rome, the Vigiles. In a time when the average Roman house was largely wooden, when...

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The Curious Tourist's Guide to Rome: Trajan's Market

Zoe Sims

This week Zoe explores the “World’s First Shopping Mall”, the Markets of Trajan. Through her examination of archaeological and written evidence, Zoe draws parallels to our modern world. Are our shopping habits similar to those of the Romans? Find out this week! Welcome to the Mercati di Traiano! Located at...

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Cementing an Empire

Benjamin Turnell

This week Ben investigates one of the Romans’ most lasting innovations - concrete! Ben provides a solid introduction to Roman Concrete and its significance, even today! A Concrete Jungle The Romans are known for many things. Murder. Assassinations. War. Salad (Caesar - get it?). You can still see temples and...

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Nice Theatre, But Didn't They Kill Caesar Here?

Ewan Coopey

This week, Ewan C. examines the form and function of Rome’s first permanent theatre and its related complex. The site is home to arguably the most infamous betrayal in political history, as well as other, less perilous dramas, yet was also a centre of arts and horticulture. Let’s take a...

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The Fire of Rome AD64: A Firefighter’s Perspective

Hayden Bayne

This week, Hayden B. takes a look at one of the most infamous events in the history of the city of Rome: the fire of AD 64! How and why did this disaster strike? Let’s find out… In July AD 64, Rome burned. It was one of the worst catastrophes...

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2019 Editing Team

Caitlin Dickson is a PACE intern working under Professor Ray Laurence. She is an undergraduate student at Macquarie University studying a Bachelor of Archaeology, but her day job is working as a producer for the ABC. Caitlin has a keen interest in the deep past with a minor in geology and also loves society and culture, with a major in anthropology. She hopes to combine her media skills with her archaeology degree to help make documentaries - or to one day embark on a master's degree.

Jennifer Oliveri is a PACE intern working under Professor Ray Laurence. She is an undergraduate student at Macquarie University studying a Bachelor of Ancient History with a particular interest in Ancient philosophy and languages. After graduating she plans on studying teaching.

Oliver Stack is an undergraduate student studying a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Modern and Ancient History. He has from a very young age enjoyed history and as a result commenced the above degree after high school. He has decided against taking a formal education in history any further, as he is moving into a Bachelor of Laws next year. He has very much enjoyed a focus on Republican Rome, Late Antiquity and Europe in the 20th century.

Chi Yam is a student at Macquarie University studying a Bachelor in Ancient History majoring in Egypt and the Near East, and a PACE student on the City of Rome Project. He enjoys long walks on the beach and rolling dice.

Ray Laurence is Professor of Ancient History. Prior to his appointment at Macquarie in 2017, he held positions at the Universities of Reading, Birmingham and Kent in the UK. His research is centred on the study of Roman Urbanism. He also works on the study of childhood and ageing in antiquity, as well as roads and communications technologies in the Roman Empire. Ray's work often involves the use of innovative techniques, whether drawn from approaches in the Digital Humanities or in Archaeological Science. He has also developed collaborative projects with animators and an animation studio to produce six films, which have been viewed more than 8 million times. He is the editor of the series Studies in Roman Space and Urbanism (Routledge).

2018 Editing Team

Ewan Coopey is a PACE intern working under Professor Ray Laurence. He is an undergraduate student at Macquarie University studying a Bachelor of Ancient History with a focus on Republican Rome and the Early Principate. His passion for all things ancient and medieval arose in childhood, when he would wander through the Roman forts and medieval castles scattered across the British Isles. His research interests include: Ancient Roman religion, cultural transmission within the Empire, Roman auxiliaries, identity in the ancient world, and the province of Dalmatia.

Jack Jones is a PACE intern working under Professor Ray Laurence. He is an undergraduate student at Macquarie University studying a Bachelor of Archaeology, with a double major in geology and palaeobiology. While not intending to do further studies in the ancient world, Jack has always been intersted in history, resulting from the Horrible Histories books he read as a child. However, Jack is more interested in slighlty more ancient pre-human history. Jacks research interests include: life during the Ediacaran, future technologies for the study of palaeobiology and linking stratigraphy to fossil appearances.

Oliver Twyford is a PACE intern working under Professor Ray Laurence. He is an undergraduate student at Macquarie University studying a Bachelor of Ancient History, after which he hopes to progress to postgraduate Classical studies. Oliver has always held a keen interest in humanity's past, reading many fictional and non-fictional historical novels from an early age. However, it was after his travels to the ancient ruins of Europe, in particular, that he wanted to make history more than a hobby. Oliver's research interests include: the late Roman Republic to early Principate, the impact of the Roman conquer of Britain, Spartan culture and ideology, and the evolution of humanity from hunter-gatherers to city-states and nations.

Ray Laurence is Professor of Ancient History. Prior to his appointment at Macquarie in 2017, he held positions at the Universities of Reading, Birmingham and Kent in the UK. His research is centred on the study of Roman Urbanism. He also works on the study of childhood and ageing in antiquity, as well as roads and communications technologies in the Roman Empire. Ray's work often involves the use of innovative techniques, whether drawn from approaches in the Digital Humanities or in Archaeological Science. He has also developed collaborative projects with animators and an animation studio to produce six films, which have been viewed more than 8 million times. He is the editor of the series Studies in Roman Space and Urbanism (Routledge).