Tag Archives: Ancient Rome

Game of Thrones Season Finale: A True Roman Ending

Posted on 18. Jun, 2015 by in Roman culture

Anyone that knows me and my blogger style know that I love looking at pop culture and seeing

how Ancient Rome or the Latin language resonates within it. So this week is no exception, I will

be looking at the Season Finale of Game of Thrones. Just like everyone else that watched it, I

was excited and pumped! So let’s do this…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~XXXXXXXXXXXXXSpoilers Below.XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX~~~~~~~~~~~~

So, here we go! Now while I want to talk and dish about all the fan theories concerning this

scene- let’s just focus on the scene and what it mimics from ancient history.

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Now if I was a meaner person I would have entitled this post: Et Tu Olly? But that may have made some people quite upset.


Here is the scene I want to focus on- and you guess it- Jon Snow’s “final” scene (no pun

intended). Here is a clip from HBO’s Game of Thrones:

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Now, I couldn’t have been the only one that noticed the UNCANNY resemblance to ANOTHER

famous stabbing murder-right? Julius Caesar? March 15th 44 B.C.E? In the theater of Pompey?

Here is a clip from HBO’s Rome:

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So, let me get this straight…

Jon Snow vs. Julius Caesar

1. Both men in power- Lord Commander vs. Dictator or Rex (King).


2. Both “Murdered” by stabbing (Jon Snow was stabbed by four knives before losing

consciousness & Julius Caesar was stabbed 23 times.)

3. Stabbed by “friends” or “brothers.”

4. Both betrayed by one person they thought wouldn’t betray them (Jon Snow-Olly & Caesar-


Morte di Giulio Cesare ("Death of Julius Caesar"). By Vincenzo Camuccini, 1798

Morte di Giulio Cesare (“Death of Julius Caesar”). By Vincenzo Camuccini, 1798

*However, it should be noted that Olly was a show creation and not part of the books. What

other purpose does Olly serve in the series other than an empathetic reminder of the cruelty of

Wildlings AND to serve as a Brutus type figure.

5. Both considered “traitors.” Jon Snow betrayed his Night Watch and Brothers. He betrayed

their ultimate neutrality in the book. Caesar betrayed the senators by betraying the Republic.

Ironic Moments:

1. Jon Snow is ultimately betrayed by Bowen. “The final straw for Bowen (Old Pomegranate) is

when Jon reads aloud a letter sent by Ramsay Bolton and Jon states intention to march on House

Bolton at Winterfell, threatening the neutrality of the Night’s Watch. Bowen and fellow

conspirators stab Jon Snow several times” Bowen who is known as the Old Pomegranate, which

is considered a food of the Underworld and Pluto.

La Mort de César (ca. 1859–1867) by Jean-Léon Gérôme, depicting the aftermath of the attack with Caesar's body abandoned in the foreground as the senators exult

La Mort de César (ca. 1859–1867) by Jean-Léon Gérôme, depicting the aftermath of the attack with Caesar’s body abandoned in the foreground as the senators exult

2. Caesar’s last words is a topic of much discussion. However,Suetonius reports that it was

Greek “”καὶ σύ, τέκνον” meaning “You too, child?” I find this to be somewhat ironic, because

Brutus is not a child. Thus, this term child must be a term of endearment or Caesar’s thoughts on


2a. For Jon, he does not utter last words- but it is not hard to imagine that he thought something

similar with Olly delivering the final blow.


This, as always, was fun to write and explore. If you would like to see some other comparisons I have found between Ancient Rome and GoT (Game of Thrones) here.

Monthly Latin Spotlight Text: 12 Caesars

Posted on 06. May, 2015 by in Latin Language

Salvete Omnes!

Welcome to the second Monthly Latin Spotlight Text Post! By this I mean to summarizes a text of Latin in all its major facets and include an excerpt from the text with Latin and English. This week I thought we would spotlight one of the most interesting, juicy, and somewhat gossipy book from Roman Antiquity.


Gaius Suetonius Tranqullus

Name: The Twelve Caesars
Also Known As: De vita Caesarum (Latin: About (or On) the Life of the Caesars)
Date: 121 AD
Author(s):  Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus or simply referred to as Suetonius
Type of Text: Historic, Opinion Piece &  Gossip/
Genre: Biography
Twelve Caesars.

Twelve Caesars.

The book contains twelve biographies of Julius Caesar and the first 11 emperors of the Roman Empire. These 11 other emperors include: Augustus, Tiberius. Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian.
Type of Latin: 
Classical Latin
Distinguishing Features:
The book can be described as racy, packed with gossip, dramatic and sometimes amusing. There are times the author subjectively expresses his opinion and knowledge. Regardless of the former,  The Twelve Caesars is considered very significant in antiquity and remains a primary source on Roman history.
Where is it today:
The oldest surviving text is referred to as M or Codex Memmianus (or Paris, lat. 6115), the oldest extant manuscript, written at Tours ca. 820 and apparently with no direct descendants. By direct descendants, it means that they are no other manuscripts that follow or descend from it.
In Pop Culture:
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Robert Graves, though most famous for his historical novels I, Claudius and Claudius the God (later dramatized by the BBC) obtained most of his material for his books from Suetonius’ The Twelve Caesars. There series is currently in the works to be adapted by BBC & HBO for a new miniseries.
Courtesy of Louis le Grand & WikiCommons.

Courtesy of Louis le Grand & WikiCommons.

Incitato equo, cuius causa pridie circenses, ne inquietaretur, viciniae silentium per milites indicere solebat, praeter equile marmoreum et praesaepe eburneum praeterque purpurea tegumenta ac monilia e gemmis domum etiam et familiam et supellectilem dedit, quo lautius nomine eius invitati acciperentur; consulatum quoque traditur destinasse. (Caligula LV.III)
He used to send his soldiers on the day before the games and order silence in the neighbourhood, to prevent the horse Incitatus from being disturbed. Besides a stall of marble, a manger of ivory, purple blankets and a collar of precious stones, he even gave this horse a house, a troop of slaves and furniture, for the more elegant entertainment of the guests invited in his name; and it is also said that he planned to make him consul. (Caligula LV.III)

5 Amazing Libraries of the Ancient World

Posted on 14. Apr, 2015 by in Roman culture

In Honor of National Library Week ( in the U.S), I would like to take a moment and honor some of ancient libraries. Some of these libraries are well known and others are rarely discussed. I do hope you like the list! Make sure to comment which libraries should have made the list and why!

1.)Library at Timgad

Trajans Arch within the ruins of Timgad. Courtesy of WikiCommons and PhR61.

Trajans Arch within the ruins of Timgad. Courtesy of WikiCommons and PhR61.

Where: Timgad (Modern Algeria in the Aures Mountains), Africa

When: 250 A.D

History: The Library at Timgad was a gift to the Roman people by Julius Quintianus Flavius Rogatianus at a cost of 400,000 sesterces (approximately $800,000 U.S dollars) .

Collection Size: While there is no evidence as to the size of the collection the library harbored, it is estimated that it could have accommodated up to 3,000 scrolls.

Map of the Archeological site of Timgad. Public Library is Purple #46 in the middle of the city.Courtesy of WikiCommons and Dzlinker

Map of the Archeological site of Timgad. Public Library is Purple #46 in the middle of the city.Courtesy of WikiCommons and Dzlinker

Suggested Dimensions: The library occupied a rectangle eighty-one feet long by seventy-seven feet wide. It consisted of a large semi-circular room flanked by two secondary rectangular rooms, and preceded by a U-shaped colonnaded portico surrounding three sides on an open court.Oblong alcoves held wooden shelves along walls that would likely have been complete with sides, backs, and doors. It is possible that free-standing bookcases in the center of the room, as well as a reading desk, might also have been present.

Distinguishing Features: While the architecture of the Library at Timgad is not especially remarkable, the discovery of the library is historically important as it shows the presence of a fully developed library system in this Roman city, indicating a high standard of learning and culture.

Fate: In the 5th century, the city of Timgad was sacked by the Vandals before falling into decline. It is assumed the library was destroyed at this time.

 2.) Villa of the Papyri

Villa of the Papyri.Courtesy of WikiCommons & Eirk Anderson

Villa of the Papyri.Courtesy of WikiCommons & Eirk Anderson

Where: Herculaneum, Italy

When: Circa 1st century A.D (obviously before 79 A.D.)

History: This villa’s large private collection may have once belonged to Julius Caesar’s father-in-law, Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus in the 1st century BC.

Papyrus discovered at the Villa of the Papyri. Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Papyrus discovered at the Villa of the Papyri.  Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Collection Size:  Around 1800 carbonized scrolls were found in the villa’s top story. Using modern techniques, previously illegible or invisible sections on scrolls have been unrolled are now being deciphered. It is possible that more scrolls remain to be found in the lower, unexcavated levels of the villa.

Suggested Dimensions: Although, this library was not a large public one. It provides insight into a Roman private or semi-public library. The Villa of Papyri is situated north-west of the town and sits halfway up the slope of the volcano Vesuvius without other buildings to obstruct the view.

Distinguishing Features: The only library known to have survived from classical antiquity- although everything was covered in ash.

Fate:  It was buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed the town in 79 AD, it was rediscovered in 1752.

3.) Library at Elba

Palace G at Elba where the palace archive/ library was found. Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Palace G at Elba where the palace archive/ library was found. Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Where: Ebla was one of the earliest kingdoms in Syria. Its remains constitute a tell located about 55 km (34 mi) southwest of Aleppo near the village of Mardikh.

When: 2500 B.C. – 2250 B.C.

History: Elba started as a small settlement in the early Bronze Age (c. 3500 BC), but it developed into a trading empire. Later, it became  an expansionist power that imposed its hegemony over much of northern and eastern Syria. However, Ebla was destroyed during the 23rd century BC; it was then rebuilt. Then again, it was destroyed at the end of the third millennium BC, which paved the way for the Amorite tribes to settle in the city and form the third Ebla. The third kingdom flourished again as a trade center; however, it was finally destroyed by the Hittite king Mursili I in c. 1600 BC.

A clay tablet found in Ebla, Syria. Courtesy of WikiCommons.

A clay tablet found in Ebla, Syria. Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Collection Size: About 1800 complete clay tablets, 4700 fragments and many thousand minor chips were found. The tablets provide many important insights into the cultural, economic, and political life in northern Mesopotamia around the middle of the third millennium BC. They also provide insight into the everyday life of the inhabitants, as well as containing information about state revenues, Sumerian-Eblaite dictionaries, school texts, an archive of provisions and tribute, law cases, diplomatic and trade contacts, Ebla’s hymns, legends, scientific observations, and magic.

Suggested Dimensions: The actual size of the library is uncertain since a majority of the text were found and infrastructure of Palace G was/is still being determined. While this library may have not been a “public library” in the strictest sense, it holds true to be a Palace Archive that may have been open to the public like public records.

Distinguishing Features: The tablets constitute one of the oldest archives and library ever found and there is also tangible evidence of their arrangement and even classification. Furthermore, there was such a sophisticated techniques of arrangement of the texts, coupled with their composition, point to the great antiquity of archival and library practices, which may indeed be far older than was assumed to be the case before their discovery. The Ebla Tablets have thus provided scholars with new insights into the origin of library practices that were in use 4,500 years ago.

Fate: The library is thought to have perished in a fire, but it was in fact a great way to be destroyed!  Many of the tablets had not previously been baked, but when all were preserved by the fire that destroyed the palace, their storage method served to fire them almost as thoroughly as if in a kiln.

4.) Library of Alexandria

The Great Library of Alexandria, O. Von Corven, 1st century. Courtesy of WikiCommons.

The Great Library of Alexandria, O. Von Corven, 1st century. Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Where: Alexandria, Egypt

When: It flourished as a major center of scholarship from its construction in the 3rd century B.C until the Roman conquest of Egypt in 30 B.C.

History: The library was created by Ptolemy I Soter, who was a Macedonian general and the successor of Alexander the Great.With collections of works, lecture halls, meeting rooms, and gardens, the library was part of a larger research institution called the Museum of Alexandria, where many of the most famous thinkers of the ancient world studied.


Collection Size:  At its height, the library was said to possess nearly half a million scrolls, and, although historians debate the precise number, the highest estimates claim 400,000 scrolls while the most conservative estimates are as low as 40,000, which is still an enormous collection that required vast storage space. This library, with the largest holdings of the age, acquired its collection by laborious copying of originals.

Courtesy of Makeameme.com

Courtesy of Makeameme.com

Suggested Dimensions: The exact layout is not known. Classical sources describe the Library of Alexandria as comprising a collection of scrolls, a peripatos walk, a room for shared dining, a reading room, meeting rooms, gardens, and lecture halls. It sounds amazing!The library also is known to have had an acquisitions department and a cataloguing department.

Distinguishing Features: It was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world. It was dedicated to the Muses, who were the nine goddesses of the arts ( epic poetry, history, song, lyric poetry, tragedy, hymns, dance, comedy and astronomy). Fun fact: Mark Antony supposedly gave Cleopatra over 200,000 scrolls for the library as a wedding gift, taken from the great Library of Pergamum.

Fate: The library is famous for having been burned, resulting in the loss of many scrolls and books, and has become a symbol of the destruction of cultural knowledge. A few sources differ on who is responsible for the destruction and when it occurred. Although there is a mythology of the burning of the Library at Alexandria, the library may have suffered several fires or acts of destruction over many years. One of these fires is even credited to Julius Caesar.

5.) Library of Pergamum or Pergamon

The reconstructed Temple of Trajan at Pergamon. Courtesy of WIkiCommons.

The reconstructed Temple of Trajan at Pergamon. Courtesy of WIkiCommons.

Where: Pergamum, Turkey (Modern Bergama, Turkey)

When: Built 197 B.C- 159 B.C

History: The Attalid kings formed the second best Hellenistic library after Alexandria, founded in emulation of the Ptolemies.

Collection Size: According to Plutarch, Pergamum’s library was said to  have housed approximately 200,000 volumes.  No index or catalog of the holdings at Pergamum exists today, making it impossible to know the true size or scope of this collection.

Model of the Acropolis in the Pergamon museum in Berlin.Courtesy of WikiCommons &  Wladyslaw Sojka.

Model of the Acropolis in the Pergamon museum in Berlin.Courtesy of WikiCommons & Wladyslaw Sojka.

Suggested Dimensions: The library was situated on the upper acropolis within Pergamum. Ancient accounts claim that the library possessed a large main reading room, lined with many shelves. Manuscripts were written on parchment, rolled, and then stored on these shelves. An empty space was left between the outer walls and the shelves to allow for air circulation. This was was done in order to prevent the library from becoming overly humid in the warm climate of Anatolia. A statue of Athena, the goddess of wisdom, stood in the main reading room.

Distinguishing Features: Pergamum is credited with being the home and namesake of parchment (charta pergamena). The introduction of parchment also greatly expanded the holdings of the Library of Pergamum.

Fate:  Pergamum’s ties to Christianity and the Bible may be one reason for its demise (religious and political reasons not divine). Pergamum is mentioned in the Book of Revelation as the dewelling place of Satan and his throne. The city was damaged badly due to an earthquake in 262 A.D, and sacked by the Goths shortly afterwards. Furthermore, it was invaded by the Persians in the 7th century, but later rebuilt on a smaller scale by Emperor Constans II. Lastly, Pergamon was sacked by the armies of Maslama ibn Abd al-Malik on their way to the siege of Constantinople in 717 A.D