Publius Cincius Slavius, whose name appears on the base of the sculpture, built the Pine Cone statue that now resides in the Court of the Pine Cone (Cortile della Pigna) in the Vatican, in the 1st century AD. The piece was originally a fountain that resided in the Temple of Isis in Campo Martius next […]

In the West everyone knows the story of the Croat, Marco Polo, who traveled from Italy to the court of Kublai Khan in China in the 13th century. Whilst it has become a fairly common belief that Marco Polo, in fact, didn’t go to China, but instead took his stories of China from merchant sailors, […]

Two days ago some friends and I decided to make the pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca, on the outskirts of the city of Bologna. The route extends from the gate of the old city walls, the Porto Saragossa, all the way up the hills surrounding the city and on to […]

Bologna is a city in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy which, as with much of Italy, is full of points of historical interest. For better or worse the city is often overlooked by the millions of tourists that flock to Italy every year, however, this should not detract from Bologna’s importance. The city is home […]

Note: Yamada is the family name and Nagamasa is the given name following the Japanese naming system. Japan in the 16th and 17th century is often portrayed as a nation closed off to the world. However, the process of seclusion did not happen over night but rather over several years. Even during Japan’s 250 years […]

In England all school children learn of the Norman conquest of 1066. The story is of a war between three claimants to the English throne: Earl Harold Godwinsson of Wessex, Duke William the Bastard (later known as the Conqueror) of Normandy, and King Harald Hardrada of Norway. The King of England, Edward the Confessor died […]

Today there is a high social focus on healthy eating. Television is flooded with programmes detailing various peoples eating disorders from anorexia through to people too fat to leave the bed. However, in 18th century France there was a man who could put both ends of the spectrum to shame for this man was apparently […]

The Icelandic Sagas are some of the greatest works of literature ever devised. They tell the stories of the first Viking settlers on Iceland, based on real people, and written in the manner of Lord of the Rings (Tolkien in fact used the sagas as inspiration for his writings). One of my favorite of the […]

The Vikings (from the Old Norse víkingr meaning “to go on expedition”)were a people famous for their skill as raiders and explorers. In the 9th century these Scandinavian peoples had earned the fear and respect of the European nations as they launched raids and conquests establishing themselves in colonies across Europe. One of the most […]

An interesting article about the dating of the eruption of Pompeii through the coins uncovered there. From Roma Invicta The Inconvenient Coin: Dating the Destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum.