This Week In History

Disaster in Alexandria – July 21, 365 AD

In Alexandria, Egypt, the historian Ammianus Marcellinus described the events of July 21, 365 AD as “slightly after daybreak, and heralded by a thick succession of fiercely shaken thunderbolts, the solidity of the whole earth was made to shake…and the sea was driven away. The waters returning when least expected killed many thousands by drowning. Huge ships…perched on the roofs of houses… and others were hurled nearly two miles from the shore…”. The epicenter of the undersea earthquake was near the plate boundary called the Hellenic Arc, near Crete, and scientists propose it might have actually been two tremors in succession, the larger possibly being a magnitude of 8.0 in modern measurements. Nearly all of the coastal towns in Crete were destroyed by the earthquake as it pushed up parts o...

Ludi Apollinares – July 13

In 212 BC, during the Second Punic War, the Romans were suffering crushing defeats against Hannibal and the Carthaginians, despite one good victory at Syracuse. Frustrated, they consulted with Marcius, an ancient seer, for his reading of the Sibylline Oracles and the Carmina Marciana. He advised them to hold games in honor of the Greek god of the sun, Apollo, for his aid in banishing the Carthaginians from Italy. The games were called the Ludi Apollinares. This  is a category of  roman republic coins. The oracle laid out the management of the games. The praetor urbanis was responsible for supervising the games. Ten men were assigned the sacrifices according to Greek rites. The senate, under advisement of the oracle, set the payment to the praetor as 12,000 ases to be used for the sacrifice...

Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus – July 6, 83 BC

Numa Pompilius, after defeating the Italic Sabines in Rome, decided he and his Etruscans were going to settle the area to show their superiority. Most of the temples and shrines on the southern hilltop of the Capitoline Hill were destroyed so as to make room for the massive Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, which was to be visible from all the hills in the entire city. Construction began under the first king of the Etruscan dynasty, Tarquinius Priscus during early 6th Century BC. Nothing is mentioned in written records about progress under the second king, Servius Tullius. Tarquinius Superbus picked up the project again during his reign as the third king, but was interrupted by the death of his father. He was not able to finish the project before he was banished from Rome, ending the Etru...

The Flavian Dynasty – July 1, 69 AD

In 66 AD, a revolt was occurring in the Roman province of Judaea. Jews were rebelling and the governor of the province was killed in the fighting. Cestius Gallus, governor of Syria arrived in September with Legio XII Fulminata to restore order. He was able to take back parts of Judaea, but failed to take the Temple Mount after a nine-day siege and fell back to the coast. He was ambushed on the way, and of the 30,000 troops at his disposal when he arrived, escaped with heavy losses and died in Syria in 67, leaving Judaea lost as a Roman province. Nero replaced Gallus after his death with Gaius Licinius Mucianus as governor of Syria, and charged Titus Flavius Vespasianus, who was stationed in the area of Judaea with crushing the rebellion. Vespasian arrived in 68 AD with two legions, eight s...

Battle of Lake Trasimene – June 24, 217 BC

Unrest within the city government in Saguntum led to the assassination of the supporters of Carthage in 219 BC. Hannibal responded by laying siege and eventually took over the Iberian city with diplomatic ties to Rome. It was on the boundary between the two empires, where the liberty of the city should be preserved, as agreed between Rome and Hasdrubal the Fair. This triggered the Second Punic War between Hannibal and the Carthaginians and the Roman Republic in 218 BC. This is a category of  hannibal coins. Hannibal began to move through the Alps and invaded northern Italy in Spring 218 BC, surprising the Romans and gathering support of the Gallic tribes along the way. The Roman consul, Publius Cornelius Scipio, moved to block Hannibal at Ticinus in November, but was defeated and wounded i...

The Sacking of Rome – June 16, 455 AD

The Vandals were living in the Roman province of Hispania Baetica during the reign of King Gunderic. After Gunderic’s death in 428 AD, his half-brother, Genseric (or Gaiseric), was elected king. He wanted to greatly expand the power and influence of his people, but was suffering from numerous attacks by their neighbors, the larger Visigoth tribe. After being attacked by another neighboring tribe, the Suebi, Genseric decided to move to North Africa, even though he was victorious in this battle. At the time, the Roman governor of North Africa, Bonifacius, was having disputes with Aetius, an accomplished Roman general and Master of Soldiers stationed there. By 429, Genseric had moved all of his people, between 20-80,000 of them, to the new lands and taking advantage of the Roman divided force...

Family Ties – June 8, 218 AD

Marcus Opellius Macrinus was born c.165 AD in Mauretania-Caesarea to parents in the Roman equestrian class. His education allowed him to eventually join the senatorial class. He was a respected lawyer and enjoyed becoming an important bureaucrat under Septimius Severus. Under Caracalla, he was appointed prefect of the Praetorian Guard. Caracalla clearly trusted Macrinus to a great extent, but began to make changes when it was rumored a prophesy told that Macrinus would depose the emperor and take the position for himself. Caracalla reassigned some of the staff of Macrinus, but must not have been aware of the full prophecy, since Macrinus still held his position. In 217, Caracalla, Macrinus and the Praetorian Guard were in the eastern provinces, preparing to campaign against the Parthians. ...

Joan of Arc Captured – May 23, 1430 AD

The Hundred Years’ War began in 1337 between the English under the House of Plantagenet and the French under the House of Valois, for the French throne. In 1380, Charles VI was crowned King of France through inheritance at the age of 11, but was under regency of his four uncles until his 21st birthday and ruled until his death in 1422. His uncles were the Dukes of Burgundy, Berry, Anjou, and Bourbon. Charles VI, suffered from periods of insanity and was at times unable to rule. As such, Louis, who was the king’s brother, Duke of Orléans and Count of Armagnac, fought for guardianship over the royal children and the regency of France itself with the king’s cousin, John, the Duke of Burgundy. This conflict ultimately resulted in the kidnapping of the royal children and the assassination in 14...

Church vs. State – May 3, 495 AD

Pope Gelasius I was elected after the death of Pope Felix III on March 1, 492 AD. At the time of his election, there was tension between the East and West, caused by the repudiation of the Henoticon by Felix. The Roman Emperor Zeno I issued the Henoticon in 482 to reconcile the differences between the Chalcedonian Christians and the Miaphysite Christians, by endorsing the condemnations of Eutyches and Nestorius at the Council of Chalcedon, and approving the twelve anathemas of Cyril of Alexandria, but avoiding the definition of whether Jesus Christ had one or two natures. With this, Zeno was trying to appease both sides, but instead failed to satisfy either. This is a category of  papal coins. In response, Felix had written two letters – one to Zeno and one to Acacius, the Patriarch of Con...

Marc Antony, Jr. – April 30, 30 BC

Marcus Antonius (Marc Antony) was father to four boys and four girls through his five wives: Fadia: None Antonia: Antonia Prima Fulvia: Marcus Antonius Antyllus, Iullus Antonius Octavia: Antonia Major, Antonia Minor Queen Cleopatra VII: Alexander Helios, Cleopatra Selene II and Ptolemy Philadelphus Marcus Antonius Antyllus, Antyllus being a Greek nickname for “archer”, was the first son and born c.43 BC. His mother died when he was around three years old and Marc Antony then married Octavia Minor, sister of Octavian. In 37 BC, Marc Antony and Octavian (along with Lepidus) signed the Treaty of Tarentum, renewing the five-year triumvirate agreement. As part of the treaty, Marcus Antonius Antyllus, only six at the time, was betrothed to Julia, the only daughter of Octavian, and was only about...

Easter Sunday

Pontius Pilate was the fifth prefect of Judaea, and governed during the reign of Roman emperor, Tiberius. The four Christian Gospels all agree Pilate did not want to have Jesus Christ executed, but relented to the crowds who demanded it. The Gospels tell: Matthew: Pilate symbolically washes his hands to show he didn’t want to be held responsible for the execution of Jesus and was only doing what was demanded of him. Mark: Jesus was innocent of plotting against the Roman Empire and Pilate agreed and didn’t want to condemn him. Luke: Not only did Pilate find Jesus innocent of plotting against the Empire, but Herod Antipas of Galilee agreed. John: Quotes Pilate as saying “I find no guilt in Him [Jesus]” and asks the Jews if he should be freed. Matthew 22:15-22            Paying the Imperial T...

Death of Antoninus Pius – March 7, 161 AD

Titus Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus was born September 19, 86 AD to Titus Aurelius Fulvus and Arria Fadilla near Lanuvium, Italy. Antoninus’s father and grandfather were both consuls in Rome and in 130 AD, he held the position as well. Sometime between 133 and 136 he became the proconsul of Asia. Nearing the end of his life, the emperor Hadrian adopted Lucius Aelius Verus in 136 in expectations of passing along the throne to him. When Aelius died unexpectedly of an acute illness on January 1, 138, Hadrian had a problem – no heirs and failing health himself. On February 25, he adopted Antoninus, who was married to Faustina Senior, with the understanding he would in turn adopt Faustina’s nephew, Marcus Aurelius, and Lucius Verus, the son of Aelius. On July 10, Hadrian died and An...

Lost Password

Register