Maps of Ancient Rome and The Roman Empire



Maison Carrée, a Roman temple dedicated to Gaius Julius Caesar and Lucius Caesar. Built during the period of 269-16 BC,


San Paolo Fuori le Mura – Portico



Temple of Saturn




The temple of Hercules - Ancient Rome


Temple of the 12 Virgins





Ancient Roman Architecture










The Roman Forum


The Roman Forum (Latin: Forum Romanum, Italian: Foro Romano) is a rectangular forum (plaza) surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space, originally a marketplace, as the Forum Magnum, or simply the Forum.


It was for centuries the center of Roman public life: the site of triumphal processions and elections, venue for public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiatorial matches, and nucleus of commercial affairs. Here statues and monuments commemorated the city's great men. The teeming heart of ancient Rome, it has been called the most celebrated meeting place in the world, and in all history.[1] Located in the small valley between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, the Forum today is a sprawling ruin of architectural fragments and intermittent archeological excavations attracting numerous sightseers.


Many of the oldest and most important structures of the ancient city were located on or near the Forum. The Roman kingdom's earliest shrines and temples were located on the southeastern edge. These included the ancient former royal residence, the Regia (8th century BC), and the Temple of Vesta (7th century BC), as well as the surrounding complex of the Vestal Virgins, all of which were rebuilt after the rise of imperial Rome.








The Roman Forum from the Capitoline Hill, looking east. In the foreground are the foundations of the Basilica Julia; also visible is the Temple of Castor and Pollux (right), Temple of Vesta (center), and the Colosseum (background). Rome, Italy.









Temple of Mars

In a dominant place in the Forum of Augustus stands this Temple to Mars, the god of war. A sketch show what it would have looked like in the days of Augustus (early 1st century B.C.)





An insula dating from the early 2nd century A.D. in the Roman port town of Ostia Antica






Insula ( Apartment Buildings)


In Roman architecture, an insula (Latin for "island," plural insulae) was a kind of apartment building that housed most of the urban citizen population of ancient Rome, including ordinary people of lower- or middle-class status (the plebs) and all but the wealthiest from the upper-middle class (the equites). The traditional elite and the very wealthy lived in domus, large single-family residences, but the two kinds of housing were intermingled in the city and not segregated into separate neighborhoods.[1] The ground-level floor of the insula was used for tabernae, shops and businesses, with the living space upstairs. Like modern apartment buildings, an insula might have a name, usually referring to the owner of the building


Ostia Antica Insula of Serapis ( 4 mins)

Built under Hadrian, the ground floor of the Insula of Serapis (III.10.3) at Ostia Antica had shops gathered round a courtyard together with a shrine to Serapis added in the early third century. A substantial brick staircase led to the upper floors and the apartments, while next door was a bath-house, reached through the Insula of Serapis. Clearly this was more than just an apartment block and served multiple functions for the immediate community.







The Pantheon dome. The coffers for the concrete dome were poured in molds, probably on the temporary scaffolding; the oculus admits the only light.






The Pantheon – (from Greek: "to every god") is a building in Rome, Italy, commissioned by Marcus Agrippa as a temple to all the gods of Ancient Rome, and rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian in about 126 AD.


The building is circular with a portico of large granite Corinthian columns (eight in the first rank and two groups of four behind) under a pediment. A rectangular vestibule links the porch to the rotunda, which is under a coffered, concrete dome, with a central opening (oculus) to the sky. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon's dome is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome. The height to the oculus and the diameter of the interior circle are the same, 43.3 metres (142 ft).


It is one of the best preserved of all Roman buildings. It has been in continuous use throughout its history, and since the 7th century, the Pantheon has been used as a Roman Catholic church dedicated to "St. Mary and the Martyrs" but informally known as "Santa Maria della Rotonda." The square in front of the Pantheon is called Piazza della Rotonda.


The Pantheon was a beautiful building in honour of the Olympic gods. It is the most well-preserved building in ancient Rome. The original Pantheon was built in 27 B.C. It was rebuilt in 609 A.D., most likely because of a fire. Pope Boniface received it as a gift from the emperor. The interior of the Pantheon is a circle, 43 m in both directions. It has a hemispheric dome with a skylight, or oculus, on the top, measuring 8.9 m in diameter.












Trajan's Market


Trajan's Market (Mercatus Traiani) is a large complex of ruins in the city of Rome, Italy, located on the Via dei Fori Imperiali, at the opposite end to the Colosseum. The surviving buildings and structures, built as an integral part of Trajan's Forum and nestled against the excavated flank of the Quirinal Hill, present a living model of life in the Roman capital and a glimpse at the continuing restoration in the city, which reveals new treasures and insights about Ancient Roman architecture.


Thought to be the world's oldest shopping mall, the arcades in Trajan's Market are now believed by many to be administrative offices for Emperor Trajan. The shops and apartments were built in a multi-level structure, and it is still possible to visit several of the levels. Highlights include delicate marble floors and the remains of a library.


Trajan's Market was probably built in 100-110 AD




The Colosseum










The Colosseum is an immense stadium, constructed circa CE 70-72, that remains a world-famous landmark today. At 48 meters high, 188 meters long, and 156 meters wide, it could seat 50,000 people. Upon its completion, a 100-day celebration was held. During these feasts, 11,000 Jews, Christians, slaves and over 5,000 animals were killed.


In the centre of the Colosseum was a wooden stage, covered with about 15 cm of sand to soak up blood. The walls had 80 entrance arches, called vomitoria. There were four entrances specifically for emperors.


The “Seating” was by social status, First tier, The Emperor & Senators, on the Second tier, the Noblemen - Third tier,  Soldier & Citizens , and above that, Slaves, and at the Top, the worst seats, were the Women…












Ancient Rome – Sports and Games








During the Roman Empire, a wide variety of toys existed: dolls made of cloth or wax (sometimes with movable joints), wooden swords, hobby horses and stilts. In addition to board games, many Roman children played a dice-like game with knucklebones (from a sheep or goat). Each throw of four bones had 35 different scoring possibilities, with the lowest being a throw known as “the dog”. Speaking of dogs, Romans kept a number of animals as pets: dogs, cats, ducks, geese, mice, and for the especially privileged children, monkeys.





Model of ancient Rome in the Imperial era, showing the Circus Maximus foreground.








Circus Maximus


The Circus Maximus (Latin for great or large circus, in Italian Circo Massimo) is an ancient Roman chariot racing stadium and mass entertainment venue located in Rome, Italy. Situated in the valley between the Aventine and Palatine hills, it was the first and largest stadium in ancient Rome and its later Empire. It measured 621 m (2,037 ft) in length and 118 m (387 ft) in width, and could accommodate about 150,000 spectators. In its fully developed form, it became the model for circuses throughout the Roman Empire. The site is now a public park.









Roman Theatre of Merida ( Now Spain)


According to an inscription, the Roman Theatre of Merida was built in 16 BC by order of Agrippa, a general and friend of emperor Augustus. The ancient theatre could house up to 6,000 spectators. In later centuries the theater underwent several restorations which introduced new architectonic elements and decorations. The structure was restored to the current state in the 1960s-1970s.














Palmyra – ( now Syria)

Palmyra - City of a Thousand Pillars


Palmyra was an ancient city in central Syria. In antiquity, it was an important city located in an oasis 215 km northeast of Damascus[1] and 180 km southwest of the Euphrates at Deir ez-Zor. It had long been a vital caravan stop for travellers crossing the Syrian desert and was known as the Bride of the Desert. The earliest documented reference to the city by its Semitic name Tadmor, Tadmur or Tudmur (which means "the town that repels" in Amorite and "the indomitable town" in Aramaic) is recorded in Babylonian tablets found in Mari.


Set amid the desert savannah of Syria are the proud remains of the unique and mysterious metropolis of Palmyra. The legendary ancient city was built in this vicinity due to the existence of an oasis, Tadmur, and today, around 30,000 people live in the surrounding area.

The shortest and fastest route from the Mediterranean to Mesopotamia and Persia travels directly past the Tadmur Oasis thus, it was only a question of time until an important trading post was founded there and later a flourishing cultural and economic centre developed.

Close to the former Agora, the central square in which the city's inhabitants held their weekly market since the 1st century A.D., is one of Palmyra's architectural landmarks, the Tetrapylon. This structure consists of four square pedestals and was rebuilt in 1963. Only one of the 16 columns is original and they once held numerous statues.

In 106 A.D., under Emperor Trajan, Palmyra became a province of Rome. The city was obliged to provide military aid which was something that was to have far-reaching consequences. Due to its military responsibilities, the city lost its political neutrality but the Romans honored the city's loyalty with many fine buildings and various improvements to the centre of the city.








Partially excavated ruins of Roman City, harbor, Nura Sardinia Italy




Exposed and open to the elements, all that remains of Nora’s patrician villas are intricate mosaic floorings.




Ancient Roman Temple of Antas called Sardus Pater, Fluminimaggiore - Sardinia, Italy






Temple of Concord in Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples - At Segesta, see one of the best-preserved Greek temples in the world



Ancient Greek theater of Taormina

Ruins, and archaeological museum, of Syracuse



Ancient Roman Ruins & Greek Temple - Sicily - The best preserved in the World!!


7 Stunning Ancient Sights in Sicily


A few samples of extensive Roman Mosaics at Piazza Armerina:









Tunisia Roman Amphitheatre










The Via Appia (Appian Way)


In 312 BCE, during the Second Samnite War, the censor Appius Claudius Caecus began the construction of a new road connecting Rome with Capua, at that time the most important traffic hub of southern Italy, with the initial aim of enabling the advance of the Roman army southward.


The roadway was subsequently extended to Beneventum (Benevento) first, then to Venusium (Venosa) and finally arrived in Brundisium (Brindisi).


No Roman road ever reached the importance held by the Ancient Appian Way. The abundance of trade and the consequent  high anthropic frequentation along its route facilitated the emergence of multiple economic and productive activities such as mutationes, mansiones, caupone, tabernae, hospitia, thermal complexes, such as the one at Capo di Bove, and suburban villas with agrarian functions and residential annexes, such as Villa dei Quintilii.


The road connecting the city of Rome to the southern parts of Italy, remains usable even today.



Greco-Roman Trispastos ("Three-pulley-crane"), the simplest crane type




Groma - Roman Surveing Equipment




Roman Surveing Equipment

The high proficiency in the use of crude surveying instruments as measured by modern-day standards




Vitruvius wrote of the Chorobates an instrument used for leveling hydraulic gradients to cities and houses.



The Cement molded  dome of Tempio di Venere e Roma





The first known bricks came from ancient Palestine and the city of Jericho. Then, the Romans were the first to use bricks fired in hot kilns.





Ancient Roman Cement and Bricks


Roman Concrete (also called Opus caementicium) was a material used in construction during the late Roman Republic through the whole history of the Roman Empire. Roman concrete was based on a hydraulic-setting cement with many material qualities similar to modern Portland cement. By the middle of the 1st century, the material was used frequently as brick-faced concrete, although variations in aggregate allowed different arrangements of materials. Further innovative developments in the material, coined the Concrete Revolution, contributed to structurally complicated forms, such as the Pantheon dome.


Cement that would cure more quickly was created when the ancient Romans realized that adding pozzolanic earth made it waterproof and solid. The first use of reinforced concrete also likely occurred during this time, when builders added metal bars into the concrete to give it added strength.


Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, a Roman architect and engineer in the 1st century BC wrote his "Ten books of Architecture" - a revealing historical insight into ancient technology. Writing about concrete floors, for example:


"First I shall begin with the concrete flooring, which is the most important of the polished finishings, observing that great pains and the utmost precaution must be taken to ensure its durability".  - "On this, lay the nucleus, consisting of pounded tile mixed with lime in the proportions of three parts to one, and forming a layer not less than six digits thick."


And on Pozzolana:


"There is also a kind of powder from which natural causes produces astonishing results. This substance, when mixed with lime and rubble, not only lends strength to buildings of other kinds, but even when piers are constructed of it in the sea, they set hard under water."



Water Power: Ancient Roman Gravity Aqueducts






Ancient Roman Gravity Aqueducts Designs


The Romans are well known for their many colossal and ingenious works of architecture and engineering but perhaps most of all for their gravity-driven water-distributing and waste-evacuating aqueducts – some of which are still in use today. More than a marvel of ancient plumbing, these aqueducts are also an early example of renewable water power for mines, forges, mills and baths. Water was used in hydraulic mining to prospect for, crush and wash ore and likely to operate hammers to crush ore and water wheels.


The Romans constructed aqueducts to bring a constant flow of water from distant sources into cities and towns, supplying public baths, latrines, fountains and private households. The waste water scoured the public sewers of noxious waste. Some aqueducts served water for mining and processing, manufacturing, mills and agriculture.


Aqueducts moved water through gravity alone, along a slight downward gradient within conduits of stone, brick or concrete. Most were buried beneath the ground, and followed its contours; obstructing peaks were circumvented or less often, tunneled through. Where valleys or lowlands intervened, the conduit was carried on bridgework, or its contents fed into high-pressure lead, ceramic or stone pipes and siphoned across. Most aqueduct systems included sedimentation tanks, sluices and distribution tanks to regulate the supply at need.


Rome's first aqueduct supplied a water-fountain sited at the city's cattle-market. By the 3rd century AD, the city had eleven aqueducts, to sustain a population of over 1,000,000 in a water-extravagant economy; most of the water supplied the city's many public baths. Cities and municipalities throughout the Roman Empire emulated this model, and funded aqueducts as objects of public interest and civic pride, "an expensive yet necessary luxury to which all could, and did, aspire."


Roman Engineering- Aqueducts ( 9 mins)

The development of Roman aqueducts.











Ancient Roman Water Wheels


Frequently used in mines and probably elsewhere (such as agricultural drainage), the reverse overshot water wheel was a Roman innovation to help remove water from the lowest levels of underground workings. It is described by Vitruvius in his work De Architectura published circa 25 BC. The remains of such systems found in Roman mines by later mining operations show that they were used in sequences so as to lift water a considerable height.



Reconstruction of Vitruvius' undershot-wheeled watermill


Ancient Roman Industrial Watermills ( 8 mins)

A description of two ancient Roman watermill complexes, the Janiculum watermill complex at Rome and the Barbegal watermill complex near Arles in southern France. The watermill complex at Barbegal has been referred to as "the greatest known concentration of mechanical power in the ancient world". Apart from water-powered flour mills, water-powered sawmills for cutting marble and stone were also in use in the Roman Empire, for instance the 3rd century Hierapolis sawmill...






Miners at Spain’s Rio Tinto mining complex uncovered a Roman-era water wheel during World War I, a clear reminder that the area provided metals that have supported kingdoms and empires for thousands of years.




Ancient Roman Mine Water Pumps


Roman water wheel used during the first or second century A.D. to pump water out of the nearby mines. For 5,000 years, the metals dug from these mines have provided the wealth that sustained civilizations. - Frequently used in mines and probably elsewhere (such as agricultural drainage), the reverse overshot water wheel was a Roman innovation to help remove water from the lowest levels of underground workings. It is described by Vitruvius in his work De Architectura published circa 25 BC. The remains of such systems found in Roman mines by later mining operations show that they were used in sequences so as to lift water a considerable height.


Sequence of wheels found in Rio Tinto mines



Overshot waterwheels are conjectured to have driven the 16 mills at Barbegal





The sixteen overshot wheels at Barbegal are considered the biggest ancient mill complex. Their capacity was sufficient to feed the whole nearby city of Arles




The Roman Aqueduct and mill Flour Mill at Barbegal – Near Arles in France


The Barbegal aqueduct and mill is a Roman watermill complex located on the territory of the commune of Fontvieille, near the town of Arles, in southern France. The complex has been referred to as "the greatest known concentration of mechanical power in the ancient world". Another similar mill complex existed also on the Janiculum in Rome, and there are suggestions that more such complexes exist at other major Roman sites, such as Amida.


The Roman flour mill at Barbegal is an example of something that, according to some experts, never existed: a Roman water-powered factory. "Barbegal is significant because it calls into question what may be termed the 'technology theory' of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. The theory maintains that the availability of cheap slave labor prevented the Romans from developing alternative sources of power, without which large scale manufacturing is impossible."


Flour Mill


The concept was simple, but the application is impressive. Barbegal was an immense flour mill, dating from the 4th century A.D. The power to drive the millstones came from 16 waterwheels, arranged in two parallel rows of eight. Each row ran downhill so that the water dropped from one wheel to the next, driving all eight in turn before running into a drain at the foot of the hill.




Ancient Roman Thermal Baths




Caldarium at Roman Baths




Renewable Geothermal Heat Energy: Ancient Roman Thermal Baths


Ancient Romans used geothermal energy indirectly through the water it heated, particularly in cities like the infamous volcano-buried Pompeii (shown above) for their baths and to heat homes. These thermal energy projects were invariably limited by location and dependent on proximity to places like the area around Mount Vesuvius where hot magma was closer to the Earth’s surface. Romans also created ice using thermal differentials – carving pits, putting in water and covering them during the day so they would freeze at night.


The Baths of Caracalla ( 9 mins)










Ancient Roman Baths - Baths of Caracalla


The Thermae Antoninianae, one of the largest and best preserved ancient thermal complexes, were built in the southern part of the city under the initiative of Caracalla, who dedicated the central building in 216 CE.


The rectangular plan is typical of the "great imperial Bathhouses". The Baths were not just a building for bathing, sports and the care of the body but also a place for walking and for study. Four doors on the northeastern facade were the entrance to the main part of the building. On the central axis may be observed, in sequence, the calidarium, tepidarium, the frigidarium and the natatio, and, on the sides of this axis, other environments, arranged symmetrically around the two other palaestras.


The Baths of Caracalla are one of the rare cases where it is possible to reconstruct, albeit only partially, the original decorative scheme.


The written sources speak of huge marble columns, coloured Oriental marble flooring, vitreous paste mosaics and marbles sheathing the walls, painted stuccoes and hundreds of colossal statues and groups, both in the niches of the walls of the environments and in the more important halls, as well as in the gardens. For supplying water, a special branch of the Acqua Marcia aqueduct, the Aqua Antoniniana, was created.























Ancient Roman Art



History of Ancient Roman Art


Ancient Roman art is usually considered to be much more than just art. Instead, it is defined as the art of Roman civilization, from the period of the first emperor Romulus to the time of Emperor Constantine. The rich history of ancient roman art extends over a period of over 1000 years and is certain worth studying.


A lot of distinctive features of Roman art originated from the art of the Etruscans, the predecessors of the Romans. As Roman ascendancy across Europe, ancient Roman art took up this Etruscan style of art. The Etruscan influence is evident in the Roman temples, murals, sculpture, architecture, and portraiture. The Ancient Roman art was also largely influenced by some of the major aspects of Hellenistic art forms prevalent in the Greek colonies of southern Italy and Sicily. Although Hellenistic art of the Greeks became popular in Rome after the defeat of Corinth in 146 BC, it was not absorbed completely until the rule of the Emperor Hadrian (AD 117-38). The Greek influence on the Ancient Roman art is clearly reflected in the statues, buildings, sculptures, portraitures, and other architecture that was made in the later republic and early Imperial period of the Roman history.


Ancient Roman Art Pt 1/3 ( ? mins)

Ancient Roman Art Pt 1


Ancient Roman Art Pt 2


Ancient Roman Art Pt 3












The Ancient Roman Calendar - Fasti


The calendar as we know it in modern times was created by the ancient Romans, and the names by which we call the months of the year and the days of the week also began during this era. Many of the holidays still celebrated have roots in festivals and events first marked by the ancient Romans.


The Romans borrowed parts of their earliest known calendar from the Greeks. The calendar consisted of 10 months in a year of 304 days. The Romans seem to have ignored the remaining 61 days, which fell in the middle of winter. The 10 months were named Martius, Aprilis, Maius, Junius, Quintilis, Sextilis, September, October, November, and December. The last six names were taken from the words for five, six, seven, eight, nine, and ten. Romulus, the legendary first ruler of Rome, is supposed to have introduced this calendar in the 700s B.C.E.


According to tradition, the Roman ruler Numa Pompilius added January and February to the calendar. This made the Roman year 355 days long. To make the calendar correspond approximately to the solar year, Numa also ordered the addition every other year of a month called Mercedinus. Mercedinus was inserted after February 23 or 24, and the last days of February were moved to the end of Mercedinus. In years when it was inserted, Mercedinus added 22 or 23 days to the year.



Sundial of Marcianopolis



Shadow of Time Revealed on a Sun Dial




The Sundial of Marcianopolis


Marcianopolis or Marcianople was an ancient Roman city in Thracia. It was located at the site of modern day Devnya, Bulgaria.



Surgical Tools used in ancient Rome





Medicine in Ancient Rome


The ancient Romans took the surgical tools of the Greeks and improved upon them. Cesarean sections were first performed and were often used to save the baby when the mother died in childbirth. The ancient Romans also developed public health programs and welfare programs for the poor. The Romans connected the malaria disease to mosquitoes and drained swamps to rid areas of the disease-carrying insects. Sewers were also created in Roman cities because of the connection the ancient Romans made between sanitation and health.


It combined various techniques using different tools and rituals. Ancient Roman medicine included a number of specializations such as internal medicine, ophthalmology and urology. The Romans favoured the prevention of diseases over the cures of them; unlike in Greek society where health was a personal matter, public health was encouraged by the government at the time; they built bath houses and aqueducts to pipe water to the cities. Many of the larger cities, such as Rome, boasted an advanced sewage system, the likes of which would not be seen in the Western world again until the late 17th century onward. However, the Romans did not fully understand the involvement of germs in disease….







Roman Coins


A Brief History of Coinage

Precious metals have long been valued, treasured, and used as a medium of exchange.  Not until the 7th Century, B.C. did coins begin to make their appearance.  There is some scholarly debate, but it appears the first coins appeared in Lydia in Asia Minor.  The first pieces were ingots of precious metal stamped by merchants indicating a certain purity and or weight.  Rulers in Lydia adopted this practice, and by the end of the 7th Century, B.C., coins were being produced for trade.  These first coins, pictured above, were electrum, a naturally occurring alloy of silver and gold that could be found in placer deposits in the area.  Later, processes were developed to separate the gold from the silver, and coins were issued as bimetallic currency (silver and gold).  The practice started in Lydia quickly spread among the cities of coastal Asia Minor and the islands in the area. During the 6th Century, B.C., the practice spread throughout the Mediterranean with cities developing their own, unique, devices on their coins as a badge of civic pride.  The devices on these coins quickly came to identify their source cities or kingdoms.  Thus the coins served not only as a medium of exchange, but also as a means of promotion or propaganda, a purpose that coins continue to serve today.









History of Roman Numerals

Roman numerals, as the name suggests, originated in ancient Rome. No one is sure when roman numerals were first used, but they far predate the middle ages. Theories abound as to the origins of this counting system, but it is commonly believed to have started with the ancient Etruscans. The symbol for one in the roman numeral system probably represented a single tally mark of the kind people would notch into wood or dirt to keep track of items or events they were counting.,,,










The Roman Abacus

The first portable calculating device, helped speed up the use of Roman arithmetic.








History Channel - Ancient Discoveries - Ancient Power (Documentary 2008) ( 50 mins)







Seven Wonders of Ancient Rome Pt 1 of 4 +++ ( 15 mins)








History Channel - Engineering an Empire - Rome (Complete Documentary Part 1) ( 52 mins)

The Roman Empire was the greatest the world has ever known, stretching from Spain and Britain across north Africa and southern Europe, all the way to the black sea and arabia. Their roads, aqueducts, and various huge stone structures were some of the most technologically advanced structures in the ancient world.


History Channel - Engineering an Empire Rome (Complete Documentary Part 2) (  40 mins)











Spiral Staircase Vatican Museum -  Established in 1506 


The Vatican Museums (Italian: Musei Vaticani), in Viale Vaticano in Rome, inside the Vatican City, are among the greatest museums in the world, since they display works from the immense collection built up by the Roman Catholic Church throughout the centuries, including some of the most renowned classical sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world.













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