A rare and intact 2,000-year-old Roman sundial was discovered in central Italy, engraved with the name of the man who commissioned it.
Researchers from the University of Cambridge made the find during an excavation in the Roman town of Interamna Lirenas, near Monte Cassino. Inscribed on the sundial is the name Marcus Novius Tubula, an unknown plebeian tribune to Rome, in Latin.
It is claimed this sheds new light on Rome’s relationship with other regions. Interamna Lirenas, founded in 312 BC and abandoned in 6th Century AD, was about 130 km (81 miles) from Rome.
The name and lettering style place the sundial’s inscription at about 1st Century BC when citizens were granted full Roman citizenship.
Dr. Alessandro Launaro, the lecturer at the Faculty of Classics at Cambridge, said the ancient town was “not a town of remarkable prestige or notable influence”.
Therefore, he said, the discovery showed “the level of involvement in Rome’s own affairs that individuals hailing from this and other relatively secondary communities could aspire to”.
The limestone sundial, found in a roofed theatre, is thought to have represented a celebration of Marcus Novius Tubula’s election to the political office of the plebeian tribune.
The concaved face is engraved with 11-hour lines intersecting three-day curves, which indicate the season with respect to the time of the winter solstice, equinox and summer solstice.
The needle which cast a shadow to show the time “is essentially lost” but part is preserved under a lead fixing.
It is believed the sundial was left behind at a time when the theatre and town were being scavenged for building materials during the Medieval to the post-Medieval period.
Exquisite 2,000-year-old sapphire ring thought to have belonged to Roman Emperor Caligula
The Roman emperor Caligula, who had been governing for four years from AD 37 until his assassination, was said to own an exquisite 2,000-year-old ring of Sapphire.
The sky blue hololith, made from a single piece of the precious stone, is believed to have been owned by Caligula. The face engraved into the bezel is thought to be his fourth and last wife Caesonia, who was said to be so beautiful Caligula paraded her naked in front of his friends.
The reason for Caligula’s assassination could stem from the extravagance of spending, especially on precious stones, which depleted the Roman treasury.
There are even rumors that Caligula also incestuous relationships with sisters in the royal family and adultery with the wives of allies.
Worth mentioning, this ancient sapphire ring has a woman’s face engraved on it. According to the Daily Mail, this woman is Caesonia, Caligula’s fourth wife.
Caesonia possesses the beauty of tilting the water, tilting the city. Emperor Caligula even once naked his wife and march in front of friends for people to admire. However, “beautiful fate”, Caesonia was killed shortly after Emperor Caligula was assassinated.
The sapphire ring is said to have attracted attention during an exhibition of more than 100 gems held by jewelry company Wartski next week in London, England. Its value is about USD 7,000 – USD 750,000.
The auction became a major concern for gem collectors around the world. People from Japan even lined up outside Wartski’s premises days before the exhibition was first approved.
The “Caligula Ring” is in the Earl Marlund Gems “Marlborough Gems” from 1637 to 1762. This is a collection of 800 gems carved by George Spencer, the 4th earl of Marlborough, into the late 18th century, early 19th century.
They were sold in 1875 by John Winston Spencer-Churchill, 7th Earl of Marlborough, to fund the repair of the Blenheim Palace.
“This ring is one of the precious pieces of the” Marlborough Gems “collection. It is made entirely of sapphire. Very few of these rings still exist and I bet this is the best one of you. find.
We believe it belongs to Emperor Caligula and the face that appears on the ring is his fourth wife, Caesonia, “said Kieran McCarthy, director of Wartski.
Possible Shrine Dedicated to Romulus Found in Roman Forum
The resting place of the legendary founder of the city, Romulus, could be tombs located under the Roman Forum.
On a Roman Forum, Colosseum Archeological Park Manager Alfonsina Russo said Monday, a hypogeum or underground temple and tomb structure with a tuff sarcophagi connected to what looks like an altar.
Archaeologists are believed to have uncovered an area devoted to the first King of Rome and a rock sarcophagus, measuring 4.6ft, which are believed to date back to the 6th century BC. The Space is believed to be part of a votive area called a heroon devoted to the founder of Rome, Romulus, she said.
The sarcophagus, made out of the same tufa rock that built the Capitol, is around 1.40 meters long and is believed to date back to the sixth century BC, she said.
The find was made next to the Curia-Comitium complex, a few meters away from the famed Lapis Niger, which Romans thought had brought bad luck because it was linked to the death of Romulus, Russo said. She said she would present the discovery to the media on Friday.
“This is an extraordinary discovery,” Russo told reporters on Monday.”The forum never ceases to yield amazing fresh treasures,” she said.
The discovery was made during a dig that “started about a year ago to celebrate and commemorate the discoveries made by famed archaeologist Giacomo Boni at the beginning of the 20th century,” Russo said.
The hypogeum is located below the entrance stairway to the Curia, where Senators met to vote. The new entrance stairs were built in the 1930s by Alfonso Vartoli.
Russo said that scholars believe the altar to have been placed on the spot where ancient Romans believed Romulus was buried.
This is according to a reading of the ancient Roman historian Varo, cited in the poet Horace’s Epodes, the Colosseum Park director told reporters. “It is not an accident,” experts cited by Russo said, “that this underground altar was placed close to the Lapis Niger”.
The excavation and valorisation of this monument to the cult of Romulus and the origins of Rome will be illustrated by Russo and the team of archaeologists and architects who have been involved in the discovery, on Friday 21 February at 11 o’clock in the morning.
A hypogeum or hypogaeum, literally meaning “underground”, from Greek hypo (under) and Gaia (mother earth or goddess of earth) is an underground temple or tomb.
Hypogea will often contain niches for cremated human remains or loculi for buried remains. Occasionally tombs of this type are referred to as built tombs.
Hypogeum can also refer to any antique building or part of building built below ground such as the series of tunnels under the Colosseum which held slaves (particularly enemy captives) and animals while keeping them ready to fight in the gladiatorial games. The animals and slaves could be let up through trapdoors under the sand-covered arena at any time during a fight.
Over 130 Roman Inscriptions Uncovered At Ancient Site Of Mustis In Northern Tunisia
Inscriptions have played a very important role in deciphering the secrets of the past. Archaeologists have uncovered over 130 inscriptions at an important ancient site in Tunisia.
Experts discovered a series of inscriptions at the abandoned city of Mustis. They are expected to provide numerous insights into the history and development of this important ancient metropolis.
A team from the Warsaw University’s Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, in cooperation with Tunisian National Heritage Institute, was surveying the ancient city of Mustis, near Thugga, Tunisia. A number of epigraphic experts were involved in the project.
The mission was led by Professor Tomasz Waliszewski and it finished its work, only recently. During the survey, they found a large number of inscriptions.
During their investigations of the ancient ruins, the team found over 100 inscriptions. They all date to the era when this area was part of the Roman province of Africa. Waliszewski stated that “Our epigraphic team has already inventoried over 130 Latin inscriptions from Roman times” reported The BBC.
The epigraphers found a large number of texts that had been engraved onto buildings and tombstones. Those found on buildings tell the story of Mustis’ development, including the construction of public buildings and temples.
The headstones provide the names of citizens and “other everyday matters of the bustling city’s inhabitants” according to The BBC . The inscriptions are important because they tell us what was important to the citizens and they are a treasure trove for historians.
Moreover, the inscriptions are providing evidence with regard to the political history of the city. Mustis was “a municipium (a town with self-government bodies) at the time of Emperor Augustus” according to the Roman Art Lover. The inscriptions can tell researchers a great deal about the government and institutions of the metropolis. Roman Africa was renowned for its many cities and the texts can also tell us much about the process of urbanization in this part of the empire.
This is not the first time that inscriptions have been found in the area. Waliszewski, estimates “that there are over 500 Latin inscriptions in the Mustis area and nearby” reports The BBC. Some of these celebrate the achievements of emperors such as the North African Septimius Severus.
‘Mustis, or Musti, was first established by Numidians who had created a strong kingdom in the area. This realm was conquered by the Romans in the 2nd century BC after they defeated its king Jugurtha, and it was turned into a proconsular province.
Mustis was turned into a colony, by the conquerors. The famed general Marius “settled some of his veterans at Mustis which was redesigned according to usual Roman patterns” according to the Roman Art Lover.
The colony soon thrived because of its location on key trade routes and was probably a cosmopolitan society. Its economy was mainly dependent on agriculture.
Archaeologists have unearthed several temples, dedicated to Roman gods , such as Ceres, the Roman goddess of farming and cereals. Many villas have also been unearthed in the city that once belonged to the elite. An arch dedicated to the Roman emperor Gordian I was also built in the eastern entrance to Mustis and it can still be seen. Mustis went into decline in the 5th century as the Vandals, first raided and then conquered North Africa.
The Byzantines reconquered the city in the mid-6th century, but it never recovered its former glory. They turned the city into a small fortress, although the remains of a Christian basilica have been found in the ruins of the city.
It also appears that Mustis was a bishopric. The city declined after the Arab conquests and the “last excavated objects found in the city come from 12th century” suggesting that it was abandoned, sometime after that date, according to the BBC.
The ruined city was largely left intact down the centuries and it was re-discovered in the 19th century. In the 1960s many of the remains were restored, such as the Eastern Arch.
It is now part of an archaeological park but the remains in the area have been neglected for years. It is hoped that further research will be undertaken on the site and it is expected that more inscriptions will be found, revealing more about life in ancient Roman Africa.