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Achilles The hero of the Trojan War, leader of the Myrmidons, slayer of Hector and Greece's greatest warrior, who sadly came unstuck when Paris sent a flying arrow guided by Apollo, which caught him in his only weak spot, his heel. Adonis The impossibly handsome youth whom Aphrodite fell in love with. The goddess kept... [continue reading
Anu (also known as An) is an early Mesopotamian sky god who was later viewed as the Father of the Gods and ruler of the heavens, a position which then passed to his son Enlil. He is the son of the couple Anshar and Kishar (heaven and earth, respectively) who were the second-born of the primordial couple Apsu and Tiamat at the beginning of the world. He was originally... [continue reading
Bucchero wares are a shiny dark grey to black pottery produced by the Etruscans of central Italy from the 7th to 4th century BCE. Used for everyday purposes and as funerary and votive objects, bucchero incorporates many forms from simple jugs to highly decorative pieces of sculpture. Evolution In the 8th century BCE, the Etruscans were already producing... [continue reading
The Merovingian kingdoms were arguably the most important polities to emerge after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, blending Gallo-Roman art and culture with Germanic Frankish customs. In a new landmark exhibition at the MusÃ©e de Cluny in Paris, France --Â Merovingian Times: Three Centuries of Art and Culture -- the grandeur, power, and artistic... [continue reading
The Pax Romana, or Roman Peace, was the idea that the lands governed by the Empire enjoyed long-term stability and prospered because of their submission to Rome. Armies were sent to the frontiers to protect against the invasion of barbarians, whilst those inside the border happily donned the toga and quaffed wine by the gallon. This is the popular vision... [continue reading
Cerveteri (Etruscan name: Cisra or Caisra, Greek: Agylla, Roman: Caere) was an important Etruscan town which flourished between the 7th and 4th century BCE. Located near the western coast of central Italy, around 50 km north of Rome, Cerveteri is today most famous for its thousands of rock-cut tombs which were rich in artefacts and wall paintings depicting... [continue reading
Homo erectus, or ‘upright man’, is an extinct species of human that occupies an intriguing spot within the human evolutionary lineage. These prehistoric hunter-gatherers were highly successful in adapting to vastly different habitats across the Old World, as fossils connected with this species have been found ranging from Africa all the way to Southeast... [continue reading
Gula (also known as Ninkarrak) is the Babylonian goddess of healing and patroness of doctors, healing arts, and medical practices. She is first attested to in the Ur III Period (2047-1750 BCE). Her name (Gula) means 'Great' and is usually interpreted to mean 'great in healing' while Ninkarrak means 'Lady of Kar,' interpreted as 'Lady... [continue reading
At a lecture hosted by the Friends of ANU Classics Museum (Canberra, Australia) in September, I learnt about the Villa of the Papyri. Imagine a villaÂ so big that parts of it havenât been uncoveredÂ yet and big enough to house over 90 sculptures and other artefacts. ThisÂ villa can be found in what was once theÂ ancient Roman city ofÂ Herculaneum... [continue reading
Tarquinia (Etruscan name: Tarch'na or Tarch, Roman name: Tarquinii) is a town located on the western coast of central Italy which was an important Etruscan and then Roman settlement. It is famous today as the site of around 200 Etruscan tombs which were rich in artefacts and decorated with magnificent wall paintings showing lively scenes from mythology... [continue reading
Nergal (also known as Erra and Irra) is the Mesopotamian god of death, war, and destruction. He began as a regional, probably agricultural, god of the Babylonian city of Kutha in the Early Dynastic Period (c. 2900-2700 BCE). As his temple was known as E-meslam, he was known as Meslamtaea ('he who comes forth from Meslam'). He was still associated with... [continue reading