The Roman Colosseum
"Not even for you, Antonius, can I stand another day of That Woman. You are aware that I’m ill, but you probably don’t know that I am dying. And I want to die in a properly Roman environment, free from the slighest whiff of That Woman. Oh, what fool you are, Marcus! Without her, you would have won. With her, you don’t have a chance." - Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus
Colleen McCullough’s Antony and Cleopatra
Women of Amphissa (detail) (1887), Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912)
Solstice Full Moon Over Sounion - Greece (by Anthony Ayiomamitis)
Gold Orphic Prayer Sheet
Folded in with the ashes of the deceased in a bronze urn, this lamella provides instructions about the path to be followed in the underworld to ensure salvation. Gold lamellae are quite rare.
The soul of the dead is thirsty, this guides the soul to the correct spring from which to drink (other springs in the underworld cause memory loss). The soul is often asked about its origin and should reply with the formula provided on the sheet.
Source: The Getty Museum
The Standard of Ur
Sumerian, 2600 BCE
shell, limestone, lapis lazuli, bitumen
The original function of the Standard of Ur is not conclusively understood. Woolley’s suggestion that it represented a standard is now thought unlikely. It has also been speculated that it was the soundbox of a musical instrument. Paola Villani suggests that it was used as a chest to store funds for warfare or civil and religious works. It is, however, impossible to say for sure, as there is no inscription on the artifact to provide any background context.
Although the side mosaics are usually referred to as the “war side” and “peace side”, they may in fact be a single narrative – a battle followed by a victory celebration. This would be a visual parallel with the literary device of merism, used by the Sumerians, in which the totality of a situation was described through the pairing of opposite concepts. A Sumerian ruler was considered to have a dual role as a lugal (literally “big man” or war leader) and an en or civic/religious leader, responsible for mediating with the gods and maintaining the fecundity of the land. The Standard of Ur may have been intended to depict these two complementary concepts of Sumerian kingship.