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The Roman Expeditions of the Nile River

Between 62 and 67 AD the Roman emperor Nero sent a small group of Praetorian guards to explore the sources of the Nile River in Africa.

According to most scholars, the expedition was organized to obtain information for a possible conquest of Ethiopia.

Related: The cities founded by the Romans, Amazing Pompeii images, Ancient Pagan Temple of Diana

Weird Italy roman-Exotic-animal-transportation The Roman Expeditions of the Nile River Italian History  romans roman history roman empire Nile river nero Egypt Africa
Exotic animal transportation, Villa del Casale, Piazza Armerina, Sicily, Italy. Rare scene of two separate events on a single tableau, a common narrative technique in Roman visual arts.

It is part of a series of expeditions, conducted between 19 a.C. and 86 AD, aimed at the exploration and acquisition of control of the caravan routes through the Sahara, which guaranteed trade between the Mediterranean coast and sub-Saharan Africa; among these, the Roman expedition towards Lake Chad and the river Niger.

Around 62 d.C. Seneca wrote that Nero had sent some legionaries to the city of Meroe in Nubia, in order to explore the south of that capital. This expedition was commissioned by the Roman emperor to obtain information on equatorial Africa and its possible riches.

Weird Italy Nero-exploration-of-Nile-river The Roman Expeditions of the Nile River Italian History  romans roman history roman empire Nile river nero Egypt Africa


“Are you unaware that among the various” theories explaining how the summer flooding of the Nile occurs there is this one: that the river gushes of the earth and rises with water not from above but from deep within? I heard two centurions whom Nero Caesar, great lover of the other virtues and especially of truth, had sent to search for the source of the Nile. They told how they made a long journey, when they were provided with assistance by the king of Ethiopia, were given recommendations to the neighboring kings, and penetrated further inland. “Then,” they said, “we reached interminable marshlands. The local people had not discovered where they ended, nor can anyone hope to do so: weeds are so entangled with the water and the water “with weeds”, they are impassable either on foot or by boat; only a small, one-man craft can manage on the muddy, overgrown swamp. There, “he said, “we saw two crags from whhich a huge volume of river water cascaded down.” Whether that is the source of the Nile or a tributary, whether it first emerges there or returns to the surface after being swallowed underground in its earlier course, do you not believe that this water, whatever it is, rises from a great lake within the earts? For the earth must contain liquid, both dispersed in many places and concentrated in a single place, to be able to disgorge it with such force. Seneca, Natural Questions, Book VI, On Earthquakes, 8.1, pag. 96-96. L. Annaei Senecae Naturalium quaestionum

In a 1996 article published in the magazine Nigrizia, Giovanni Vantini, a scholar belonging to the order of the Comboni fathers, identified in Meroe the city where the Romans met the king of Ethiopia. According to him, the description of the swamp made by the centurions is a clear reference to the lake No, formed by the confluence of the Bahr el Ghazal with the white Nile.

According to Vantini the expedition possibly arrived also in Ugandan territory, interpreting as a reference to the Murchison Falls, known in the past as Kabalega, the following passage reported by Seneca “We have seen two rocks, from which the force of the river escaped with power “(Ibi, inquit, uidimus duas petras, ex quibus ingens uis fluminis excidebat). The description given by Seneca still corresponds today, according to the Comboni scholar Father Giovanni Vantini, at Lake No, an immense swamp, 2-5 meters deep, formed by the confluence of the river Bahr el Ghazal with the Nile coming from the Equator. The scenario would be that of the Murchison Falls, today Kabalega, where the Nile coming from Lake Victoria, plunges into Lake Albert, with a jump of 100 meters, in a gorge of just 60-70 meters. Some historians, like the great Meroitist F. Hintze, even believe that Nero sent two successive expeditions, because the first of 61 AD, reported by Seneca, speaks of a “king of Ethiopia” who “provided aid and commendatizie” to the centurions. ; the other of 66-67, reported by Pliny, instead mentions a queen (Candace).

Weird Italy the-great-hunt-villa-casale The Roman Expeditions of the Nile River Italian History  romans roman history roman empire Nile river nero Egypt Africa
Roman mosaic at Villa del Casale, Sicily. Author: Urban

Pliny the elder

Another expedition, recorded by Pliny the Elder in 67, was probably intended to gather information for a possible conquest by Nero of what is now Sudan.

These are the names of places given as far as Meroë: but at the present day hardly any of them on either side of the river are in existence; at all events, the prætorian troops that were sent by the Emperor Nero under the command of a tribune, for the purposes of enquiry, when, among his other wars, he was contemplating an expedition against Æthiopia, brought back word that they had met with nothing but deserts on their route. The Roman arms also penetrated into these regions in the time of the late Emperor Augustus, under the command of P. Petronius, a man of Equestrian rank, and prefect of Egypt. That general took the following cities, the only ones we now find mentioned there, in the following order; Pselcis, Primis, Abuncis, Phthuris, Cambusis, Atteva, and Stadasis, where the river Nile, as it thunders down the precipices, has quite deprived the in- habitants of the power of hearing: he also sacked the town of Napata. The extreme distance to which he penetrated beyond Syene was nine hundred and seventy miles; but still.

Pliny the elder, Naturalis Historia, Liber VI, XXXV, 181

But all this difference is lately determined by the Report of those Travellers whom Nero sent to Discover those Countries, who have related that it is 862 Miles from Syene in this manner : from Syene to Hiera-Sycaminon, Fifty-four Miles ; from thence to Tama, Seventy-five Miles ; from Tama to the Euonymites Country, the first of the Ethiopians, 120 ; to Acina, Fifty-four; to Pitara, Twenty-five; to Tergedum, 106 Miles. That in the midst of this Tract lieth the Island Gagandus, where they first saw the Birds called Parrots; and beyond another Island called Attigula they saw Monkeys ; beyond Tergedum they met with the Creatures Cynocephali. From thence to Napata Eighty Miles, which is the only little Town among all the beforenamed ; from which to the Island Meroe is 360 Miles. They reported, moreover, that about Meroe, and not before, the Herbs appeared greener ; and the Woods shewed somewhat in comparison of all the way besides ; and they espied the Tracts of Elephants and Rhinoceroses.

Pliny the elder, Natural history, book VI

Images: 1 , 2 , 3 (from Le Musée absolu, Phaidon, 10-2012)

Crucified like Jesus two thousand years ago | The second case in the world discovered in Italy

A multidisciplinary – anthropological, taphonomic and genetic study – conducted in collaboration between researchers from the University of Ferrara and Florence has allowed to analyze and interpret the lesions present on a human skeleton coming from a Roman burial

The exhibit was discovered by the then Archaeological Superintendence of the Veneto during the archaeological emergency excavations conducted in 2006-2007 on the occasion of the laying of the pipeline in La Larda di Gavello, near Rovigo.

The deposition had taken place in an isolated burial without any trousseau. The biological and genetic profile of the individual indicates that it was a man who died at 30-34 years of frail physique and short stature.

“In the specific case, despite the poor conditions of conservation – says Professor Emanuela Gualdi, of the Department of Biomedical and Surgical Sciences of Unife – we have been able to demonstrate the presence of signs on the skeleton that indicate a violence similar to the crucifixion”.

“The right heel (the only one preserved) shows unequivocally a lesion peri mortem (breakthrough) from the medial side (entrance hole) .The lesion then crosses the heel to the outer side of the foot, confirming the hypothesis of an execution through crucifixion “, adds Dr. Nicoletta Onisto, from the Department of Biomedical and Surgical Sciences of our University.

“This type of execution – continued Professor Ursula Thun Hohenstein of the Department of Humanistic Studies in Unife – was generally reserved for slaves, and the same topographical marginalization of the burial leads one to think that it was an individual considered dangerous and neglected by the society in which he lived. who refused him even after death. ”

“The importance of the discovery lies in the fact that it is the second case documented in the world, although in fact this brutal type of execution has been perfected and practiced for a long time by the Romans, the difficulties in preserving the damaged bones and, subsequently, the interpretation of traumas. hinder the recognition of victims of crucifixion, making this testimony even more precious “concludes Thun.

The study, entitled “A multidisciplinary study of calcaneal trauma in Roman Italy: a possible case of crucifixion?” Was published by the journal Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences.

The article is available at the following links:


https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12520-018- 0631-9

Architecture Under Fascism: E.U.R.

EUR is an acronym for Esposizione Universale Roma and is a perfect example of fascist architecture. Fascist architecture became popular under Benito Mussolini’s rule of Italy from 1922 to 1943.

Continue reading Architecture Under Fascism: E.U.R.

Cities built by the Romans (The big list)

The list of cities built by the Romans over the centuries is impressive.

Some of the following cities may have been founded by other people, but have gained importance only with the Romans. The list is incomplete and it will be updated. If you find some mistake or if you have any suggestion, please comment below.Weird Italy lazio Cities built by the Romans (The big list) Italian History Magazine  rome romans roman empire roman cities paris london list history cities built by the romans

Thanks to /r/History for the help!

Cities founded by the Romans


Aosta (Augusta Praetoria)
Aquileia (destroyed by Huns)
Belluno (Belum)
Bologna (Bononia)
Caserta (Calatia)
Cremona (Cremona)
Ferrara (castrum bizantino was a Roman camp; Ferrara appears first in a document of the Lombard king Desiderius of 753 AD.)
Forlì (Forum Livii)
Iglesias (Ecclesia)
Lecce (Lupiae)
Macerata (Maceria or Macera)
Massa (Massa)
Monza (Modica)
Oristano (Aristius )
Pavia (Ticinum)
Piacenza (Placentia)
Pistoia (Pistorium, Pistoria or Piastoriae)
Pordenone (Portus Naonis)
Potenza (Potentia)
Ragusa (Rogos)
Reggio Emilia (Regium Lepidi)
Rimini (Ariminum)
Rome (obvious)
Salerno (Salernum)
Torino (Augusta Taurinorum)
Vicenza (Vicetia, Vincentia or Vicentia)
Concordia Sagittaria (Iulia Concordia – thanks to Ramon_Cogoleto)
Oderzo (Opitergium – thanks to Ramon_Cogoleto)

Cherchell (Cesarea)


Schwechat (Ala Nova)
Fischamend (Aequinoctium)
Leibnitz (Flavia Solva)
Lienz (Aguntum)
Vienna (Vindobona)
Wels (Ovilava – thanks to justutis)
Enns (Lauriacum – thanks to justutis)
Zollfeld (Virunum – thanks to justutis)
Salzburg (Iuvavum – thanks to forgetaboutmary)
Zirl in Tirol (Teriolis)
Linz (Lentia)
Wallsee-Sindelburg bei Amstetten (Ad Iuvense)
Pöchlarn  (Arelape)
Traismauer (Augustianis)
Zwentendorf an der Donau (Asturis)
Tulln an der Donau (Comagena)
Zeiselmauer-Wolfpassing (Cannabiaca)


Tongeren (Atuatuca Tungrorum, thanks to Yavanaril)


Osijek (Mursa – thanks to djaponja)
Sisak (Siscia- thanks to djaponja)
Rijeka,Trsat (Tarsatica- thanks to djaponja)
Ploče (Pretoria- thanks to djaponja)
Metković (Narona- thanks to djaponja)
Omišalj (Fulfinum – Mirine- thanks to djaponja)
Karin (Corinium- thanks to djaponja)
Kistanje (Burnum- thanks to djaponja)
Šćitarjevo (Andautonia- thanks to djaponja)
Čitluk (Aequum- thanks to djaponja)
Crikvenica (Ad turres- thanks to djaponja)


Lyon (Colonia Copia Claudia Augusta Lugdunum)
Paris (Lutetia Parisiorum)
Metz (Divodurum)
Beauvais (Caesaromagus)
Châlons-en-Champagne (Catalauni)
Amiens (Samarobriva)
Besançon (Vesontio)

Augsburg (Augusta Vindelicorum)
Bonn (Bonna)
Cologne / Köln (Colonia Agrippina)
Ellingen (Castellum Sablonetum – thanks to UnmercatorGreenland)
Frankfurt am Main (The city district Bonames has a name probably dating back to Roman times—it is thought to be derived from bona me(n)sa – thank to cpsartory)
Mainz (Mogontiacum)
Neuss (Novaesium)
Theilenhofen (Iciniacum – thanks to UnmercatorGreenland)
Trier (Augusta Treverorum)
Weißenburg (Biriciana – thanks to UnmercatorGreenland)
Xanten (Castra Vetera)
Walting (Vetoniana)
Kösching (Castelum Germanicum)
Pförring (Celeusum)
Eining (Abusina)
Stadt Straubing in Niederbayern (Sorviodurum)
Künzing in Niederbayern (Quintanis)
Kellmünz in Schwaben (Caelius Mons)
Kempten im Allgäu (Cambodunum)
Isny im Allgäu (Vemania)
Schlögen (Ioviacum)
Mautern an der Donau (Favianis)


Chester (Deva Victrix)
Chester-le-Street (Concangis)
Cirencester (Corinium Dobunnorum)
Gloucester (Colonia Nervia Glevensium)
Exeter (Isca Dumnoniorum)
Leicester (Ratae Corieltauvorum – thanks to markw1988)
Lincoln (Colonia Domitiana Lindensium)
London (Londinium)
Loughor (Leucarum)
Manchester (Mancunium, Mamucium)
Mancetter (Manduessedum)
Usk (Burrium)
York (Ebocarum, thanks to PhysTom and Furthur_slimeking)
Newcastle upon Tyne (Pons Aelius – thanks to abandoned_trolley)
Corbridge (Coria – thanks to abandoned_trolley)
South Shields (Arbeia – thanks to abandoned_trolley)
Wallsend (Segedunum – thanks to abandoned_trolley)


Komárom (Colonia Claudia Savaria)
Sopron, Ödenburg (Scarabantia)
Mosonmagyaróvár (Ad Flexum)
Győr (Arrabona)
Visegrád (Quadriburgium)
Budapest (Aquincum)
Sz?ny (Brigetio)


Caesarea (thanks to jstein97)


Voorburg (Forum Hadriani – thanks to LaoBa)
Nijmegen (Ulpia Noviomagus – thanks to LaoBa)


Alba Iulia (Apulum)


Nis (Naissus – thanks to kolibri29)
Sremska Mitrovica (Sirmium – thanks to kolibri29)
Kostolac (Viminacium – thanks to kolibri29)


Ptuj (Poetovio)
Ljubljana (Emona)
Celje (Celeia)
Birnbaumer Wald (Ad Pirum)
Ajdovščina (Castra)


Buseira (Circesium)


Astorga (Asturica or Asturica Augusta)
Zaragoza (Cesaraugusta)
Cordoba (Corduba)
Mérida (Augusta Emerita)
León (Legio)
Seville (Hispalis)
Tarragona (Tarraco)
Huesca (Osca, Calagurris)
Valencia (Valentia)
A Coruña (Brigantium – thanks to Highlord)
Lugo (Lucus Augusta – thanks to Highlord)
Palencia (Palantia – thanks to Highlord)
Avila (Ovil – thanks to Highlorda)
Girona (Ullastret – thanks to Highlord)
Ampurias (Emporiae – thanks to Highlord)
Tarragona (Tarraco – thanks to Highlord)
Sagunto (Saguntum – thanks to Highlord)
Murcia (Cigarralejo – thanks to Highlord)
Baza (Baza – thanks to Highlord)
Santinponce (Italica – thanks to Highlord)
Mérida (Emerita Augusta – thanks to Highlord)
Lérida (Toletum – thanks to Highlord)
Albacete (Castellar – thanks to Highlord)
Écija (Astigi – thanks to Highlord)
Astorga (Asturica – thanks to Highlord)
Santander (Portus Victoriae Iuliobrigensium – thanks to Highlord)


Saint-Maurice (Agaunum)
Avenches (Aventicum)
Lausanne (Lousonna)
Nyon (Noviodunum , Colonia Iulia Equestris)
Orbe (Urba)
Yverdon-les-Bains (District. Eburodunum , Ebredunum)
Windisch AG (Vindonissa)
Augst and Kaiseraugst (Augusta Raurica – thanks to caoimhin22)
Winterthur (Vitudurum – thanks to abart)
Zurich (Turicum – thanks to abart)
Arbon in der Schweiz (Arbor Felix)


Coimbra (Municipium Aeminium – thanks to PunchingClouzot)
Póvoa de Varzim (Villa Euracini)


Haïdra (Ammaedara)


Caerleon (Isa Augusta – thanks to Schmillt)

Cities not founded by the Romans but have gained importance with the Romans


Altino (Altinum – thanks to Ramon_Cogoleto)
Ascoli (Asculum)
Avellino (Abellinum)
Bari (Barium)

Brescia (Brixia)
Milano (Mediolanum)
Padova (Patavium)
Como (Comum)
Bolzano (Bauzanum)
Cuneo (Cuneus)
Firenze (Florentia)
Reggio Calabria (Regium Iulium)
Rieti (Reate)
Viterbo (Castrum Herculis)
Civitavecchia (Centumcellae)
Terni (Interamna Nahars)
Lodi (Laus Pompeia)
Mondragone (Sinuessa, Petrinum – thanks to porcellus_ultor)


Tébessa (Theveste)


Bregenz (Brigantia, Brigantium)


Vidin (Bononia)


Senj (Senia- thanks to djaponja)
Split (Salona – thanks to Sp3ctr3)


Bath (Aquae Sulis) – thanks to BigRedS
Canterbury (Durovernum Cantiacorum) – thanks to Furthur_slimeking
Colchester (Camulodunum)
St Albans (Verulamium) – thanks to BigRedS
Salisbury (Old Sarum, Sorviodunum – thanks to oh_him )


Boulogne-sur-Mer (Bononia)
Harfleur (Caracotinum)
Nimes (Nemausus)
Strasbourg (Argentoratum o Argentorate)
Reims (Durocortorum, thanks to njm1314)


Passau (Castra Batava, Batavis, before known as Boiodurum)
Regensburg (Castra Regina)


Lebda (Leptis Magna – thanks to porcellus_ultor)


Skopje (Scupi)


Alphen aan den Rijn (Castellum Albanianae)
Katwijk (Lugdunum Batavorum)
Leiden (Matilo)
Nijmegen (Oppidum Batavorum)
Maastricht (Trajectum ad Mosam)
Utrecht (Trajectum ad Renum)
Valkenburg (Praetorium Agrippinae)
Velsen (Flevum o Phleum)


Belgrade (Singidunum)


Bosra (Nova Trajana Bostra)


Alicante (Lucentum)
Almuñecar (Firmium Julium Sexi – thanks to Highlord)
Barcelona (Barkeno, Barcino, Colonia Iulia Augusta Faventia Paterna Barcino)
Lugo (Lucus Augusti)
Cartagena (Carthago Nova – thanks to El_Kyle)
Granada (Elvira – thanks to Highlord)
Malaga (Malaca – thanks to Highlord)
Cádiz (Gades – thanks to Highlord)
Huelva (Onuba – thanks to Highlord)
Salamanca (Salmantica – thanks to Highlord)
Segovia (thanks to Highlord)


Sion (Sedunum)
Chur (Curia Raetorum)


Évora (Ebora Cerealis – thanks to porcellus_ultor)
Lisbon (Olisipo – thanks to porcellus_ultor)
Braga (Bracara Augusta – thanks to PunchingClouzot)
Bragança (Brigantia)
Leiria (Collipo)
Elvas (Dipo)
Alvor (Ipses)
Lamego (Lamecum)
Loriga (Lorica)
Santiago do Cacém (Mirobriga Celticorum)
Porto (Portus Cale)
Portimão (Portus Hannibalis)
Covilhã (Tritum)


Istanbul (Nova Roma ; Byzantium)
Zeugma, Commagene (Zeugma)

Cities with Roman legendary origins


Liquian (the legendary lost roman legion built this town fleeing from Persia)


Psitrend , Wikipedia , Reddit

Special thanks to all Reddit.com/r/History users for their suggestions and support!

Weird Italy roman-painting Cities built by the Romans (The big list) Italian History Magazine  rome romans roman empire roman cities paris london list history cities built by the romans