In a now famous remark, Edward Gibbons observed that ‘of the first fifteen emperors Claudius was the only one whose taste in love was entirely correct’, meaning heterosexual. If Gibbon was right, the Roman Empire was ruled for almost 200 consecutive years by men whose homosexual interests, if not exclusive, were sufficiently noteworthy to be included for posterity.

Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality by John Boswell.

“But,” added W.C. Firebaugh in 1966, “Claudius was a moron.”

Roman Emperor Dressed As Egyptian Pharaoh in Newfound Carving

An ancient stone carving on the walls of an Egyptian temple depicts the Roman emperor Claudius dressed as an Egyptian pharaoh, wearing an elaborate crown, a team of researchers has discovered.

In the carving, Emperor Claudius, who reigned from A.D. 41 to 54, is shown erecting a giant pole with a lunar crescent at the top. Eight men, each wearing two feathers, are shown climbing the supporting poles, with their legs dangling in midair.

Egyptian hieroglyphs in the carving call Claudius the “Son of Ra, Lord of the Crowns,” and say he is “King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Lord of the Two Lands.” The hieroglyphs say he is raising the pole of the tent (or cult chapel) of Min (an ancient Egyptian god of fertility and power) and notes a date indicating a ritual like this took place around the summertime researchers say. Read more.


October 13th 54 AD: Claudius dies

On this day in 54 AD, the Roman Emperor Claudius died in Rome aged 63. Claudius was the fourth emperor after the Empire was consolidated by the first emperor Augustus. Tiberius, the second emperor, was Claudius’s uncle, and the young Claudius came to power after Tiberius’s successor, the insane Caligula, was assassinated by his own guard. Claudius proved a much more moderate and even-tempered leader than his predecessor, despite having previously been excluded from power due to his health problems. The new emperor had a strained relationship with the Roman Senate, who believed they did not have enough power under Claudius. However, the fourth emperor is responsible for several notable achievements, perhaps most importantly the Roman conquest of Britain, which greatly added to the territorial power of the Roman Empire. After his wife Messallina was executed for plotting against him, Claudius married his niece Agrippina. However, Agrippina had ambitions and supporters of her own, and feared Claudius would name his own son as his heir rather than her son Nero. Emperor Claudius died the day after holding a sumptuous banquet, and Roman opinion believed he was poisoned by Agrippina herself in order to secure her son’s succession. She was successful, and Nero became Roman Emperor, thus beginning the brutal rule of one of Rome’s most infamous emperors.

UK unveils rare Roman helmet mistaken for bucket

LONDON (Reuters) - A rare Roman cavalry helmet dating from Emperor Claudius’ invasion of Britain nearly 2,000 years ago was unveiled on Tuesday after painstaking restoration lasting nearly a decade.

The so-called Hallaton Helmet was found 10 years ago during the excavation of an Iron Age shrine at Hallaton in Leicestershire, central England.

At the time, archaeologists used to finding more instantly recognizable gold and silver coins joked that they had unearthed a fairly modern “rusty bucket.”

In fact what they had found was a treasure of considerable importance which experts said pointed to the close relationship between Roman invaders and some native Britons. Read more.


The Roman Emperor

The roll of Emperors spans more than 500 years of Roman History. All of those listed below bore the title; ten of the most famous are pictured above. The list has been simpilfied by excluding certain usurpers, claimants and co-emperors of little importance. The emperors’ reigns varies enormously. The Golden Age of Augustus lasted 41 years, and Theodosius II served for 42 years; but in the troubled years of 68-69 AD, Galba, Otho and Vitellius averaged less than six months on the throne. By the end of the 4th Century, during the reign of Honorius, the empire had been permanently divided, with separate rulers for the West, in Rome, and for the East, in Constantinople. 


Nero And Agrippina, Antonio Rizzi

The last member of the Julio-Claudian line to rule the Roman principate was Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus. He was the great grandson of Augustus through his daughter Julia and great great nephew through Augustus’ sister Octavia. The son of Agrippina the younger (sister of Caligula) grew up in exile and poverty in the harsh circumstances of imperial intrigue; and his return to the forefront of the Roman imperial house was unlikely at best. However, the even more likely accession of Claudius allowed the return of exiled members of the Julio-Claudian house, and the eventual marriage between Claudius and Agrippina (uncle and niece) led to the adoption of Nero directly into the imperial line. Nero Claudius Caesar would eventually take precedence over Claudius’ own son Britannicus through the scheming of his mother Agrippina, including the eventual marriage to Claudius’ daughter Octavia. That scheming would also set the stage for Nero to rise as the next emperor unchallenged, as Agrippina methodically took control of the government and placed key supporters into positions of power.

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August 31st 12: Caligula born

On this day in 12 AD, the future Roman Emperor Caligula was born in Italy. Born Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus, he is today known by his nickname Caligula (‘Little Boot’) which Roman soldiers on the German frontier called him when he was a young boy because of hisfootwear. As great-grandson of the first Emperor Augustus the young Caligula was born with imperial blood. After his parents were killed by imperial forces he was adopted by his great uncle Emperor Tiberius and eventually became the third emperor upon Tiberius’s death in 37 AD. With the support of the army he quickly moved to eradicate any challenges to his reign, having Tiberius’s grandson and rival heir executed. As emperor, Caligula lavished Rome with grand games and building projects but soon became despised for his increasing megalomania and apparent insanity that seems to have stemmed from an illness early in his reign. He supposedly tried to humiliate the Senate by making his favourite horse Incitatus a senator. Caligula also reversed previous imperial trend by actively encouraging worship of himself as a god. For example he frequently dressed up as the Roman gods at public games and decreed statues of him should be built in temples. His reign was also brutal in its vicious treason trials and frequent executions of dissenters; he even made it a capital offence to mention a goat in the presence of the very hairy Caligula. Emperor Caligula also had imperial aspirations, and undertook military campaigns in Germany and planned one to Britain. In 41 AD, after a four year reign, the increasingly unpopular Caligula was assassinated aged 29 by his own bodyguards. He was succeeded by his uncle Claudius, who proved a much more even tempered and moderate leader.

“I am nursing a viper for the Roman people”
- Emperor Tiberius


Locusta the Poisoner—Ancient Rome’s Deadliest Assassin,

Perhaps the most feared woman in the ancient world, Locusta was a first century AD assassin who offered her services to wealthy and powerful Roman patricians, politicians, and military leaders.  So infamous were her deeds that her career was detailed by Juvenal, Seutonius, Cassius Dio, and Tacitus.  Born in Gaul (modern day France) Locusta was raised by her mother to be an herbalist, a healer who specialized in using medicinal plants and herbs. However, her career abruptly changed when she moved to Rome in search for greater opportunities, she found that her skills could put to much more lucrative uses killing people rather than healing.  Rome was rife with political intrigue, and skilled assassins were in high demand.

Locusta intensely studied poisonous plants, becoming a “master poisoner” in short time.  She knew of scores of different poisons; poisons that could bring about a heart attack, poisons that could cause a stroke, poisons that affected the nervous system, even poisons that would make it seem like the victim had died of something completely natural, such as the flu or plague.  For several years, Locusta hired out her services to wealthy patrician families and powerful politicians, or whoever was the highest bidder. In 54 AD Locusta was approached by Agrippina, wife of Emperor Claudius, with perhaps the biggest and most important job of her career; to assassinate the Emperor himself.  Agrippina wanted her son from another marriage to be Emperor, and thus Claudius had to go.  On October 13th, Locusta infiltrated Claudius’ palace, distracting a guard by placing a laxative in his drink.  She then tainted a dish of mushrooms, Claudius’ favorite dish, with strychnine.  Claudius consumed the poisoned mushrooms.  A few hours later, he began suffering strong stomach cramps, then he began foaming at the mouth and convulsing. Agrippina appeared to attempt to force Claudius to vomit the poison by sticking a feather down his throat.  Of course, the feather was also poisoned by Locusta with a potent toxin.  Emperor Claudius died a short time later.

When Nero came to throne, he made Locusta his personal assassin.  Among another of her famous hits was the poisoning of his brother, Britannicus, whom he felt threatened his rule.  Between 55 and 68 AD, Locusta was responsible for removing a number of Nero’s rivals and enemies.  Of course, Nero was not a popular Emperor, and after the burning of Rome he was stripped of his titles and declared an enemy of the state by the senate.  After Nero’s suicide Rome fell into a chaotic civil war as Roman generals and warlords fought for control over the empire.  One of these generals, a short reigning Emperor named Galba, despised Locusta because of her former status as Nero’s chief assassin.  On January 15th, 69 AD, Locusta was dragged from her home into the streets of Rome, and was publicly executed.




extravagant or absurdly uncritical glorification; the act of turning into a pumpkin; becoming a gourd.

Etymology: originally derived from The Apocolocyntosis (divi) Claudii, literally The Gourdification of (the Divine) Claudius,  a political satire on the Roman emperor Claudius, most likely written by Seneca the Younger. The title plays upon “apotheosis”, the process by which dead Roman emperors were recognised as gods. “Apocolocyntosis” is Latinised Greek, i.e. Ἀποκολοκύντωσις, “Gourdification”.


anonymous asked:

i wondered if you could explain how does Hellenic polytheism works? i have tried reading about it but i can't quite seem to grasp the concept. lovely blog by the way.

Hello! :)
I’m sorry this reply is late, I’m (slowly, but surely) working my way through the unanswered questions in my inbox…
Hellenismos is a reconstructionist religion, which means it’s based on the ancient religion of ancient Hellas (Greece). When I say “based on”, it’s because our knowledge of the religion of ancient Hellas is limited, and also there are some parts of the religion that people in this modern day and age frown upon and has been pushed aside for the time being - animal sacrifice is a good example of that. So, Hellenismos has been modernized and adapted to the modern world we live in.
I want to emphasize that it’s quite possible to worship the Hellenic gods without basing your practice on the ancient religion, but then it’s called Hellenic paganism (or polytheism) without the “reconstructionism”.

The term “Hellenismos” was first used by the Roman Emperor Flavius Claudius Julianus Augustus (or just Julian Augustus) to refer to the traditional religion of the hellenes. Emperor Julian (reigned from 361 to 363) was one of the first to attempt to revive the religion after the advent of Christianity.

Hellenismos has a very complex ethical system. These ethical “rules”, or cornerstones/pillars of the faith or whatever you want to call them, make up the base of the religion. It’s really a personal choice, which pillars you choose to focus on. Timothy Jay Alexander, author of a couple of books about Hellenismos, and definitely one of the biggest promoters of this religion, has recognized seven pillars, and these are:

  • Ethike Arete - the practice of habitual excellence (ethics)
  • Eusebia - reverence, loyalty, and sense of duty toward the Gods (of Greece)
  • Hagneia - the maintaining of ritual purity by avoiding miasma
  • Nomos Arkhaios - observance of ancient tradition, (religious) law, and customs
  • Sophia - the pursuit of wisdom, understanding, and truth
  • Sophrosune - the control of self through deep contemplation
  • Xenia - adherence to hospitality and the guest-host relationship

I adhere to all of these in some way or other, but I have chosen to only have five pillars:

  • Xenia
  • Eusebeia
  • Kharis - the reciprocal relationship between a person and the gods
  • Katharmos - the act of purifying oneself, therefore being rid of miasma (miasma: impurity, both spiritual and physical)
  • Sophia

Studying the pillars can give you a significant insight, so if you really want to learn what makes this religion tick, you should start there!

My post about Hellenic rituals might help you, too.

I hope this has helped you on your way to understanding Hellenismos! This is only an explanation of a tiny portion of the whole religion, but if I’m to ever get some sleep, I’ll have to stop it here.

Feel free to ask if you have any other questions!


“In April 1972 Robert and Maureen Plant’s second child was born, a son that Robert named Karac Plant. The name Karac was a form of Caractacus, the Welsh/Britannic general, the son of Cymbaline, who waged a long and heroic struggle against the Roman invasion of Britain in A.D. 43. When Caractacus was finally captured and taken to Rome in chains, the emperor Claudius was impressed by his defiant courage and spared his life. Robert, immersed in the ancient history of Wales and Britain, gave his son a formidable Celtic hero’s name.”

- Hammer of the Gods by Stephen Davis