22 January 2012
Hadrian (Museo Arqueológico, Sevilla)
In the early Summer of 128, the Roman emperor Hadrian visited Lambaesis, the base of the Third Augustan Legion. As it happens, a substantial part of the speeches he delivered, survive. Much of it consists of topical praise, but the text is nevertheless interesting, because we can recognize that Roman legions were as hierarchically organized as Roman society in general.
My article on the subject was published in originally published as “Hadrian and his Soldiers. The Lambaesis Inscription“, in: Core of the Legions. The Roman Imperial Centuria = Ancient Warfare Special 2010. Because the publisher is a friendly person, it is now available online: here.
16 May 2009
The Roman fort at Bu Njem; oasis in the distance
My favorite site in Libya is Bu Njem, ancient Gholaia: a well-preserved fort of the Limes Tripolitanus. Today, this area is arid, but it has not always been that way. By building all kinds of dams, the emperor Septimius Severus changed the entire ecosystem and converted this area into a fertile zone, where sufficient food was produced to feed the soldiers in the fort.
The French archaeologists who excavated the site, first had to remove all the sand, but the rewards were great: besides the remains of the ancient buildings, there were several interesting inscriptions and dozens of ostraca, which document daily life in Gholaia.
My photos have been online since 2006, but I revisited the site last year. The new photos and an improved text are now available here. The satellite photo is also worth looking at: here.