Image Album - Præfatio

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The Cumaean Sibyl 

was the priestess presiding over the Apollonian oracle at Cumae, a Greek colony located near Naples, Italy. The word sibyl comes (via Latin) from the ancient Greek word 'sibylla', meaning prophetess. There were many sibyls in different locations throughout the ancient world. Because of the importance of the Cumaean Sibyl in the legends of early Rome as codified in Virgil's Aeneid VI, and because of her proximity to Rome, the Cumaean Sibyl became the most famous during the Roman Republic and Empire.

Publius Vergilius Maro

(October 15, 70 BC – September 21, 19 BC), usually called Virgil or Vergil in English, was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He wrote three of the most famous poems in Latin literature, the 'Eclogues' (or Bucolics), the 'Georgic's, and the epic 'Aeneid'. A number of minor poems, collected in the Appendix Vergiliana, are sometimes attributed to him. He is the greates of all Latin poets'

Imperātor Caesar Dīvī Fīlius Augustus

(23 September 63 BC – 19 August 14 AD) was the founder of the Roman Principate and considered the first Roman emperor, controlling the Roman Empire from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. He was born Gaius Octavius into an old and wealthy equestrian branch of the plebeian gens Octavia (the gens of Gnaeus Octavian Gracchus). His maternal great-uncle Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC, and Octavius was named in Caesar's will as his adopted son and heir, then known as Octavianus (Anglicized as Octavian).

Nerō Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus

(15 December 37 AD – 9 June 68 AD) was the last emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. He was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius and became Claudius' heir and successor. Like Claudius, Nero became emperor with the consent of the Praetorian Guard. His suicide in 68 is an important factor in the story of Gracchus.

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

(15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philosopher, cultural critic, poet, philologist, and Latin and Greek scholar whose work has exerted a profound influence on Western philosophy and modern intellectual history - particularly with regard to the nature of ancient Greek and Roman culture. He began his career as a classical philologist before turning to philosophy. He became the youngest ever to hold the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel in 1869, at the age of 24.


A Tale of the Christ is a novel by Lew Wallace published by Harper & Brothers on November 12, 1880, and considered 'the most influential Christian book of the nineteenth century'. It became a best-selling American novel, surpassing Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) in sales. The book also inspired other novels with biblical settings, and was adapted for the stage and motion picture productions. 

The Fellini Satyricon

is a 1969 Italian fantasy drama film written and directed by Federico Fellini and loosely based on the Roman author Petronius's 'novel' 'Satyricon liber', ('The Book of Satyrlike Adventures'), written during the reign of the emperor Nero, and set in imperial Rome. The film is divided into nine episodes, following the scholar Encolpius and his friend Ascyltus as they try to win the heart of the young boy Gitón, whom they both love, within the film's depiction of a surreal and dreamlike Roman landscape and culture.


is a British-American-Italian historical drama television series created by John Milius, William J. MacDonald, and Bruno Heller. The show's two seasons were broadcast on HBO, BBC Two, and RaiDue between 2005 and 2007. They were later released on DVD and Blu-ray. Rome is set in the 1st century BC, during Ancient Rome's transition from Republic to Empire.

Quo Vadis

a Latin phrase meaning "Where are you going?" is a 1951 American epic film made by MGM in Technicolor. It was directed by Mervyn LeRoy and produced by Sam Zimbalist, from a screenplay by John Lee Mahin, S. N. Behrman and Sonya Levien, adapted from the classic novel Quo Vadis (1896) by Henryk Sienkiewicz. The novel had previously been made into an Italian film Quo Vadis (1924). The music score was by Miklós Rózsa and the cinematography by Robert Surtees and William V. Skall. The title refers to an incident in the apocryphal Acts of Peter; see Quo Vadis (novel).

Jupiter Optimus Maximus

The Capitoline Triad was a group of three deities who were worshipped in ancient Roman religion in an elaborate temple on Rome's Capitoline Hill (Latin Capitolium). Two distinct Capitoline Triads were worshipped at various times in Rome's history, both originating in ancient traditions predating the Roman Republic. The one most commonly referred to as the "Capitoline Triad" is the more recent of the two, consisting of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. The earlier triad, sometimes referred to in modern scholarship as the Archaic Triad, consisted of Jupiter, Mars and Quirinus 

Jesus as Helios

An early 'Christian' depiction of Jesus as the Graeco-Roman sun god Helios in his charriot.

Senatus Romanus

The Roman Senate  was a political institution in ancient Rome. It was one of the most enduring institutions in Roman history, being established in the first days of the city (traditionally founded in 753 BC). It survived the overthrow of the kings in 509 BC, the fall of the Roman Republic in the 1st century BC, and the division of the Roman Empire in 395 AD,.

Roman Sacrifice

The most potent offering was animal sacrifice, typically of domesticated animals such as cattle, sheep and pigs. Each was the best specimen of its kind, cleansed, clad in sacrificial regalia and garlanded; the horns of oxen might be gilded. Sacrifice sought the harmonisation of the earthly and divine, so the victim must seem willing to offer its own life on behalf of the community; it must remain calm and be quickly and cleanly dispatched.
Roman Sestertius

plural sestertii, or sesterce, was an ancient Roman coin. During the Roman Republic it was a small, silver coin issued only on rare occasions. During the Roman Empire it was a large brass coin.
The name sestertius means "two and one half", referring to its nominal value of two and a half asses, a value that was useful for commerce because it was one quarter of a denarius, a coin worth ten asses. The name is derived from semis, "half" and "tertius", "third", in which "third" refers to the third as: the sestertius was worth two full asses and half of a third.

Aedes Iovis Optimi Maximi Capitolini

also known as the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus was the most important temple in Ancient Rome, located on the Capitoline Hill. It had a cathedral-like position in the official religion of Rome, and was surrounded by the Area Capitolina, a precinct where certain assemblies met, and numerous shrines, altars, statues, and victory trophies were displayed.

Aedes Iovis Optimi Maximi Capitolini


Greek: Αἰνείας, Aineías, possibly derived from Greek αἰνή meaning "praised" - was a Trojan hero, the son of the prince Anchises and the goddess Venus (Aphrodite). His father was a first cousin of King Priam of Troy (both being grandsons of Ilus, founder of Troy), making Aeneas a second cousin to Priam's children (such as Hector and Paris). He is a character in Greek mythology and is mentioned in Homer's Iliad. Aeneas receives full treatment in Roman mythology, most extensively in Virgil's Aeneid, where he is an ancestor of Romulus and Remus. He became the first true hero of Rome. 


were public works provided for the benefit of the Roman people (populus Romanus) by individuals of high status and wealth. The word munera, singular munus (cf. English "munificence") means "duty, obligation", expressing the individual's responsibility to provide a service or contribution to his community. Munera are owing to the private largesse of an individual, in contrast to the ludi, "games," athletic contests or spectacles sponsored by the state.
The most famous of the munera were the gladiatorial contests, which began as a blood sacrifice or gift rendered to the dead at funeral games.


was a priest and official in the classical Roman world. His main role was the practice of augury, interpreting the will of the gods by studying the flight of birds: whether they are flying in groups or alone, what noises they make as they fly, direction of flight and what kind of birds they are. This was known as "taking the auspices." Augurs also examined the entrails of sacrificed animals for future portents. The ceremony and function of the augur was central to any major undertaking in Roman society - public or private - including matters of war, commerce, and religion.

Roman Legion

from Latin legio "military levy, conscription", from legere "to choose" was the largest unit of the Roman army, involving from 3000 men in early times to over 5200 men in imperial times, consisting of centuries as the basic units. Until the middle of the first century, 10 cohorts (about 5,000 men) made up a Roman Legion. This was later changed to nine cohorts of standard size (with 6 centuries at 80 men each) and one cohort, the first cohort, of double strength (5 double-strength centuries with 160 men each).

Roman Slave Market

Within the empire, slaves were sold at public auction or sometimes in shops, or by private sale in the case of more valuable slaves. Slave dealing was overseen by the Roman fiscal officials called quaestors. Sometimes slaves stood on revolving stands, and around each slave for sale hung a type of plaque describing his or her origin, health, character, intelligence, education, and other information pertinent to purchasers. Prices varied with age and quality, with the most valuable slaves fetching prices equivalent to thousands of today's dollars. Because the Romans wanted to know exactly what they were buying, slaves were presented naked. The dealer was required to take a slave back within six months if the slave had defects that were not manifest at the sale, or make good the buyer's loss.


Slave Collar

Some masters, (like Gracchus in 'The Story of Gracchus'), required slaves to wear a distinctive 'slave collar', (usually thin and made of iron). The slave collars used by Gracchus, however, (in 'The Story of Gracchus'), were unique, in being very heavy, and made of silver, with a distinctive medallion.

Master and Slave-boy

No moral censure was directed at the man who enjoyed sex acts with either females or males of inferior status (usually slaves), as long as his behaviours did nor infringed on the rights and prerogatives of his masculine peers. Most significantly, Roman attitudes towards sexuality were grounded in the terms 'penetrator' and 'penetrated'.

Master and Slave-girl

No moral censure was directed at the man who enjoyed sex acts with either females or males of inferior status (usually slaves), as long as his behaviours did nor infringed on the rights and prerogatives of his masculine peers. Most significantly, Roman attitudes towards sexuality were grounded in the terms 'penetrator' and 'penetrated'.

The Warren Cup

is a silver drinking cup decorated in relief with two images of male 'same-sex' acts - one Greek style and one Roman style (as shown). It was purchased by the British Museum for 1.8 million pounds in 1999, the most expensive single purchase by the museum at that time. It is usually dated to the time of the Julio-Claudian dynasty (1st century AD),.

Puer Delicatusias

 an "exquisite" slave-boy chosen by his master for his beauty as a 'toy-boy'. Unlike the freeborn Greek eromenos ('beloved'), who was protected by social custom, the Roman 'delicatus' was in a physically and morally vulnerable position. The 'coercive and exploitative' relationship between the Roman master and the 'delicatus', who might be prepubescent, can be characterized as 'pedophilic' (in modern terminology), in contrast to Greek paiderasteia. The boy was sometimes castrated in an effort to preserve his youthful qualities; the emperor Nero had a puer delicatus named Sporus, whom he castrated and married.

Antinous - (27 November, c. 111 – before 30 October 130) was a Bithynian Greek youth and a favourite, or lover, of the Roman emperor Hadrian. He was deified after his death, being worshipped in both the Greek East and Latin West, sometimes as a god (theos) and sometimes merely as a hero (heros).

 Kritian Boy

The marble Kritios Boy belongs to the Early Classical period of ancient Greek sculpture. It is the first statue from classical antiquity known to use contrapposto, and it is considered to be 'the first beautiful male nude in art' It is possible, even likely, that earlier Bronze statues had used the technique, but if they did, they have not survived and it has been speculated that the statue is a copy of a Bronze original. The Kritios Boy is thus named because it is attributed to Kritios who worked together with Nesiotes (sculptors of Harmodius and Aristogeiton) or their school, from around 480 BC.


is a freedman. Originally a slave, owned by Gnaeus Octavian Gracchus. Terentius was given his freedom and became a 'cliens' of Gracchus, spending the rest of his life working for his former master and his former master's heir. Terentius is mainly responsible for maintaing the vast wealth of the House of Gracchus.


was a young boy whom the Roman Emperor Nero favoured, had castrated, and married.
Sporus derives from the ancient Greek word σπορά spora, meaning "seed, sowing," related to σπόρος sporos, "sowing," and σπείρειν speirein, "to sow." In all references about this story, he is always called Sporus, a male name, when the female would be Spora. The name has 'vulgar' connotations. Nero had Sporus castrated, and during their marriage, Nero had Sporus appear in public as his wife wearing the regalia that was customary for Roman empresses. 

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