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Romans weapons of war

Romans weapons of war

Rome was an empire and to build an empire requires war and to win a war you need weapons. Weapons come in many different forms. The weapon of words the weapon of fear and just plain old weapons made of metal and wood. The roman army had to find weapons to fit their tactics and fighting style and through time they found what worked best. The Gladius a short sword usually about 18 inches long and 2 inches wide with a double-edged blade used for thrusting at short range used in the parts of close courters combat that sometimes came in battle and made longer weapons useless. For the long range Featured imageweapon they used a javelin with a long thin iron shank with a barbed tip and a heavy shaft these features gave this weapon a armor piercing ability that was devastating when used in the right way they were even hard to throw back because the barbed tip kept it from being pulled out of things and the initial throw would often bend the shank making it impossible to use again. These were also used in formations to create a spikey wall that they could ram up against an enemy with.Featured image Most romans carried two pilum and threw them as they charged enemy soldiers. They wore many other weapons from other forms of spears to daggers that were placed on them in the chance that they get disarmed. It was these weapons that made the romans so fearsome in battle but even more then the weapons was how they used them and how they used them was to completely dominate their enemy to form one of the world’s great empires.


“Mainz Gladius” by Jononmac46 – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

“Uncrossed gladius”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

“Legionary Weapons and Equipment.” Legionary Weapons and Equipment. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2015.

“Roman Weapons.” Roman Weapons. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2015. <;.

“Heavy Metal from the Ancient Romans.” Heavy Metal from the Ancient Romans. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2015. <;.

“Pile of Roman Armor, Weapons Discovered in U.K.” National Geographic. National Geographic Society, n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2015. <

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Women in Ancient Rome

Women in ancient Rome had a unique position when compared to women of other cultures. “Unlike some other ancient cultures such as the Greeks who had formed a creation myth where woman was a creature secondary to man and, more specifically, in the form of Pandora, a bringer of unhappiness and vices, the Romans had a more neutral approach where humanity, and not specifically the male, was created by the gods from earth and water (” Roman women were educated and went to school. In different ancient writings, it is suggested that girls and boys were educated together. Upper class women seemed to have been well educated but most are not remembered for their educational endeavors. In religious affairs, women could participate very little. “Of this exclusive religion of the family, the father was the high-priest…. Before the family altar women had no independent place. They took part in the ceremonies only through their fathers or husbands (Women in Early Roman Law).” They usually had marriages arranged for them and generally noble women would marry younger to ensure she was a virgin (  They could refuse the match, but only if they could prove their expected husband had a bad character. “For it was a lasting principle of Roman law that not only connubium (right of intermarriage), but also consent, were necessary to a valid tying of the nuptial knot. The term “consent” here included not only the woman’s consent but his also in whose power she was (Couch).” After she married, she left the legal protection of her father and she and her children came under the rule of her husband. Marriage did not require a ceremony, even though it was customary to prove they had married. Divorce was unusual but occurred usually on the grounds of adultery. “Here all that was necessary was simply an expression of a desire or commandy by the husband that the wife should no longer dwell in his house (Couch).”  The woman would leave her husband’s house and take her dowry, and it was socially acceptable. Remarriage and concubinage was also common among the Romans.

Roman_fresco_with_a_Woman_on_a_Balcony_-_Getty_Villa_CollectionFresco of a Roman woman on a balcony

Women, if free, were considered citizens but could not hold any sort of political office or vote. There was little difference in status between a noble woman and a freedwoman, but only freedwomen could work outside of the home as a noble woman was expected to rely on her husband to provide for her. In the early empire, daughters had the same rights as son, even if they played different roles. “[I]n the inheritance of her father’s estate the daughter took an equal share with the son, provided she had not by marriage left her father’s family (Couch).” But through all of this they were not recognized by public law. They could not own property, witness in court, or make wills (Woman in Early Roman Law).  During a woman’s adult life, especially if she was an aristocrat, she was expected to be able to run a large household, which included entertaining guests, living frugally, and producing clothing. Women were not expected to be idle and took an active part in business. Women could own their own land and help in their husband’s businesses to earn their own living. “Lower class Roman women did have a public life because they had to work for a living. Typical jobs undertaken by such women were in agriculture, markets, crafts, as midwives and as wet nurses (” Women also enjoyed active social lives. They traveled around the city, gathering in streets with friends, attend religious ceremonies, and visit baths. “In our eyes these seem very trivial privileges; but if we call to mind the absurd restrictions place upon the movements of Greek and other women of antiquity, we must confess that these trifling concessions were a great stride towards that perfect equality of the sexes finally reached in Rome (Couch).”


“Women in Ancient Rome – Crystalinks.” Women in Ancient Rome – Crystalinks. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2015.


“Women in the Roman World.” Ancient History Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2015.


“Honors3.html.” Honors3.html. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2015.


Couch, John A. “Woman in Early Roman Law.” Harvard Law Review 8.1 (1894): 39-50. Web. 11 Apr. 2015.



“ Roman Fresco With a Woman on a Balcony “By Dave & Margie Hill / Kleerup (Flickr: Getty Villa – Collection) [CC BY-SA 2.0

<, via Wikimedia Commons>

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Fortune favors the bold! (fortes, inquit, fortuna iuvat).

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Pliny the Younger wrote this now famous quote as Pliny the Elder commanded his ships to sail closer to the flaming Pompeii. Fortune was one of the more popular Roman goddesses, and her favor was sought by many. Fortune is the Roman goddess of luck and chance, creating Rome’s abundance and fertility, as well as the downfall of Rome’s enemies.

According to “Personifications of Eudaimonia, Felicitas and Fortuna in Greek and Roman Art,” by Marina Prusac (2011), gaining the favor of the goddess of Fortune meant a good and happy life. Fortune was responsible for the many things that created a happy life; a fertile marriage brought a happy home and good health, prosperity of the State created wealth and a strong economy.Featured image

She is always depicted with a cornucopia, the horn of plenty, but she was very fickle with her bounty. Fortune’s favor could make or break an Empire; enemies fell before her curses and allies grew strong under her blessings. Emperors claimed her acceptance when they rose to power and lamented her disapproval just before their fall from grace.

According to “Reversed Epiphanies: Roman Emperors Deserted by Gods,” by Olivier Hekster (2009), the Roman Emperor Galba attributes Fortune to his ascension, not himself. Galba declared Fortune had come to him a dream, declaring “that she was tired of standing before his door—and that unless she were quickly admitted, she would fall prey to the first comer.”

Just as Galba had to invite Fortune in, he also had to make an error of sacrifices to lose her favor and therefore the prosperity of Rome. Fortune was a very jealous goddess. Galba mistakenly offered a necklace to the goddess Venus, an offering that was originally meant for Fortuna.

“The next night Fortuna appeared to him in a dream, complaining of being robbed of the gift intended for her and threatening in her turn to take away what she had bestowed” (Hekster, 2009).

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Roman Emperors often minted coins with Fortune’s image to show favor with the Goddess of Abundance and Prosperity.

Galba had fallen from grace, and would be killed shortly after. It was important for the Romans to show that the Goddess had not failed in protecting her favored one, but that, instead, Galba had fallen from her favor. Pliny the Elder shouted for Fortune’s favor on the waves towards Pompeii, but she did not oblige him. Instead, he died on those waves and, like Galba, fell in Fortune’s absence.


Burke, Thomas. The Younger Pliny Reproved.

Elagabalus. Elagabalus Denarius Fortuna.

Hekster. “Reversed Epiphanies: Roman Emperors Deserted by Gods.” Mnemosyne 63 (2009): 601-615.

Prusac, Marina. “Personifications of Eudaimonia, Felicitas and Fortuna in Greek and Roman Art.” Symbolae Osloenses, no. 85 (2011): 74-94.

Steffenheilfort. Deutsch: Fortuna 1855 – Halbrondell Neues Palais Sanssouci.

Younger, Pliney the. Pliney the Younger. Translated by P.G. Walsh. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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Roman Marriage Practices

In Roman society there were a series of laws and customs that characterized the institution of marriage. For example, marriages were often not love matches but rather marriage was used as a means to obtain political or “financial gain.” Marriage thus provided a way to make an alliance that would be helpful later on to the individual. If one could not secure a useful alliance through marriage this could lead to failure in personal wealth or a person’s career. Another custom that characterized Roman marriage was for the groom to give his future wife a present before they were married. “These gifts might be tokens of esteem; they might also be a reward, sometimes substantial, given to the bride for her virginity- a highly valued quality.”

This is not surprising considering the fact that Rome was a very sexualized society. However, these gifts were not given after marriage because it was illegal according to Roman law for married partners to exchange gifts. The exchange of gifts between marriage partner was illegal because it did not keep the property of the husband and wife separate. This law meant that if the couple later divorced the woman would not be required to give the gift back to her husband. However, if the gift was given after the marriage started and the couple later divorced then the husband could take the gift back because it wasn’t lawful to give in the first place. This brings up another good point that if a woman started living with her fiance then the couple was considered to be married and no ceremony had to be performed for this to be a legally bound marriage. Marriage without a ceremony meant that the woman still held the title as wife and not concubine unless the woman starting prostituting herself out.

This is why monogamous marriage is an aspect that stayed constant over time. Divorce on the other hand is an institution that changed over time. At first marriage was an institution that was thought to last forever. However, “By the first century BC and subsequently…divorce became common, and remarriage after divorce was quite frequent.” The later toleration and frequency of divorce led some to believe that values had denigrated in Roman society. Although divorce later became acceptable marriage was still an institution that was prized in ancient Rome. This is why even in the event of a divorce remarriage commonly followed.

A marriage ceremony as depicted in this picture was not required in Roman law to be considered legal.


Ad Meskens, latter part of 4th century. Sarcophagus of the Dioscures, detail depicting a marriage. Marble. Database online. Wikimedia Commons. (accessed 9 April 2015).

This picture is the fragment off the front of a sarcophagus showing that even in death marriage was considered to be a special institution.


Statue depiction of Ancient Roman Matrimonium. relief in blue-veined marble with large crystals (probably Proconnesian). Database online. Wikimedia Commons. (accessed 9 April 92015).

Works Cited:

Josiah Osgood. “ “Nuptiae Iure Civili Congruae”: Apuleius’s Story of Cupid and Psyche and the Roman Law of Marriage.” Transactions of the American Philological Association 136, no. 2 (Autumn  2006): 415-44. (accessed April 9, 2015).

Archie C. Bush and Joseph J. McHugh. “Patterns of Roman Marriage.” Ethnology 14, no. 1 (January 1975): 25-45. (accessed April 9, 2015).

Ad Meskens, latter part of 4th century. Sarcophagus of the Dioscures, detail depicting a marriage. Marble. Database online. Wikimedia Commons. (accessed 9 April 2015).

Statue depiction of Ancient Roman Matrimonium. relief in blue-veined marble with large crystals (probably Proconnesian). Database online. Wikimedia Commons. (accessed 9 April 92015).

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The Venationes of Rome

Entertainment in the Roman world revolved around the bloody spectacles that took place in stadiums like the Colosseum.  Festivals would last for days and many different events would take place one after another in an effort to please the crowds and the Emperor.  The most famous were the gladiator battles that would pit slaves, convicts, or prisoners against each other in combat to the death.  Thousands of gladiators were slain in the Colosseum as a means of entertainment.  These battles often took place at the end of a long day which featured other battles and performances in the arena.  One of these early events were the venationes or animal hunts.

Roman animal traders scoured the empire for the best and most ferocious animals that they could find.  Elephants were taken from North Africa, hippos from the Nile, and ostriches from the Sudan.  All of these animals were then shipped over to Rome where they were cared for in anticipation of their big day.  The venationes would feature these animals being hunted by prisoners or even professional hunters.  Other animals were used in the gladiator fights where the aim was to kill the men or at least put on a spectacle.  The venationes were focused on the thrill of the hunt, the death of the hunter would be seen as unfortunate or shameful.  The Roman crowds wanted to experience a hunt without having to go to Africa or Asia.  These events became so popular that most gladiator festivals started with a venatio.


Famous venatore defeating a leopard (

            Over the course of a few hundred years these hunting performances exhausted the wildlife across the Roman empire.  The North African elephants were so popular, because of their tie to the vile Carthaginians, that they were hunted to extinction.  The Nile River delta hippos suffered a similar fate.  Over time the venationes evolved and they began to pit the animals against one another.  Bears from Scotland were chained to lions from Persia in an attempt to prove which was stronger.  Some of the best hunters became famous across the empire and their names were listed with the great gladiators of the time.  The venationes enjoyed nearly 400 years of success in Rome before the animals became too scarce to hunt and then the empire collapsed.  The spirit of the venationes continued throughout the empire and modern performances, like the bull fights of Spain, can be tied to the Roman spectacles of old.

Works Cited

Lindstrøm, Torill Christine. “The animals of the arena: how and why could their destruction and death be endured and enjoyed?.” World Archaeology 42, no. 2 (June 2010): 310-323. Religion and Philosophy Collection, EBSCOhost (accessed April 12, 2015).

“Venationes.” The Colosseum. Accessed April 12, 2015.

“Venationes.” Venatio and Venationes. Accessed April 12, 2015.

Wikipedia contributors, “Venatio,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed April 12, 2015).

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Women’s Fashion in the Roman World

Throughout time, clothing has morphed from a sole necessity of survival to a luxury of status. Fashion has defined individual groups of people and put a significant barrier between classes such as nobles and slaves. Several other groups can be ranked through what they wear and how they conduct themselves.

The Roman people loved their material possessions. In fact, there were several types of merchants that came from all over the known world to bring exotic things to the wealthy class. These exotic things could have been part of the cause for that significant barrier clearly observed between wealthy and deprived.


Roman toga diagram

Stolas and togas were mainly worn as the basic form of clothing for the Roman people. Depending on your status, you either added to or took away that basic form.


Ancient Times, Roman- Costumes of All Nations

Women, as well as men, used clothing as a marker of money and rank. Their class could be picked out just from looking at what they were wearing. “Widows were usually distinguished from wives, and the ‘mothers of the family’ from other matrons… Not only veils but also the other garments of women served as indicators of their status and social function” (Sebesta 46). Clothing, whether it was the dye used to color the cloth or how much layering was done, could change how the public saw individuals.

Puella Inguena, a Freeborn girl, would wear a toga praetexta and had braided hair tied with a vita, luna. A toga praetexta was also worn by freeborn boys and could have just been what brothers and sisters alike wore as day-to-day clothing. This kind of toga, as seen in this portrait of a child, was based from an “adult male’s but had a narrow, reddish purple woven border along one long edge” (Sebesta 46).



An adulteress or Adultera “was not permitted to wear the stola and vittae. Instead, according to custom, the woman divorced of promiscuity wore a plain toga. The symbolism behind the assumption of the toga would seem not to be that the woman had assumed the sexual freedom allowed males, but that she ahd lost her status and role as a sexually mature woman in Roman Society” (Sebesta 50).

Viduas (widow) possibly wore a ricinium, stola, and vittae. The ricinium was for everyday wear for women- the equal to a men’s toga. As time passed, the ricinium, now a dark colored material made out of wool, was used as a sign of mourning.


Sebesta, J. L. (2001). Symbolism of the Costume of the Roman Woman. In J. L. Sebesta, & L. Bonfante, The World of Roman Costume (pp. 46-53). Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press.


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The End of Roman Rule in Britain

The questions of when and why did the ancient Roman Empire leave Britain has been discussed among historians for many years. Some historians make the case that it was Rome who abandoned Britain while others suggest it was Britain through various uprisings that abandoned Rome. Looking at history, it appears both arguments have their merits.


Hadrian’s Wall

(“Hadrian’s Wall view near Greenhead” by Mark Burnett. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

Most historians like to point to 409 or 410 CE as the two most likely dates when the Roman military had finally pulled out of Britain permanently. Reasons for Roman abandonment of Britain included the problem of barbarian attacks from various tribal groups at home as well as in Britain. This coupled with various uprisings against Roman leadership from the Britons put a great strain on the Roman military. Uprisings in Britain were not just done by the native Britons themselves. Several times Roman leaders whose power was based in Britain tried to seize imperial authority. The most well-known case involved Roman-Britain general Magnus Maximus, who crossed the Gaul and killed Western Roman Emperor Gratian, thereby becoming ruler of Gaul and Britain. Eventually Maximus was executed by Theodosius in 388. Constant usurpation of Roman emperors led to a lack of coherent policy throughout the Roman Empire, inevitably affecting its rule over Britain and the rest of its vast empire.

In the year 409 CE, the Roman army had proved itself to be very unpopular in Britain causing the Britons to revolt even more. This along with an expulsion of Roman-Britain magistrates could have been the deciding point for Emperor Constantine III to finally call an end to military occupation of Britain. In 410 CE, Emperor Honorius told the Britons after a request for military assistance against invaders such as the Saxons, that Rome was officially done assisting Britain militarily and that they were to be left to defend themselves.


Coin of Constantine III

(“Siliqua Constantine III-RIC 1355” by Classical Numismatic Group, Inc. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)


“Hadrian’s Wall view near Greenhead” by Mark Burnett. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

“The Britons.” Hadrian’s Wall.Web. 11 Apr. 2015. <;.

“The End of Roman Britain.” Google Books. Web. 11 Apr. 2015.

“Roman Britain Timeline.” Roman Britain Timeline. Web. 11 Apr. 2015. <;.

“Siliqua Constantine III-RIC 1355” by Classical Numismatic Group, Inc. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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Hellenistic Science

After Alexander the Great conquered Egypt in 331 BCE he influenced the set up a university in Egyptian Alexandria called the museum. As a result of this, “a great center of learning grew up here which was to have much influence for several centuries to come” (Wise, 623). One of the main things that Alexandria was famous for was scientific knowledge (Mathisen, 276). Greek scientific discoveries in math and astronomy would influence how science was viewed not only theoretically but in the practical use of science as well. Prior to this, one of the first people to transform the traditional idea of Greek science as being, “based on imaginative hypothesis and convincing argumentation” to observation based on the natural world and experimentation was Aristotle (Mathisen, 274).

Aristotle called this observation of the natural world natural philosophy and, “considered [such fields as] biology, zoology, astronomy, and chemistry” to be natural sciences (Mathisen, 275). The scientific ideas of Aristotle obviously had a profound effect on Alexander the Great because in 343 Philip II of Macedonia had had Aristotle called to his court to tutor his son Alexander (McClellan and Dorn, 71). The scientific study under Aristotle caused a desire in Alexander the Great to spread Greek Scientific thought and  consequently Ptolemy I opened the museum as part of his, “policy in spreading the Greek culture and making scientific conquest” (Wise, 623). However, this thirst for scientific study would continue in Egyptian Alexandria even after the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE  with several Hellenistic scientists who made great scientific discoveries (Wise, 623). One such individual in the field of mathematics was Archimedes.

Archimedes was educated in Alexandria and developed such concepts as the value of pi, “the method for calculating the area of sphere,” and “the law of hydrostatics.”  He also excelled in showing the physical application of  principles of mathematics. Another one of Archimedes’ great accomplishments is making machines of war, “but he did not make record of them possibly due somewhat to the general adversity of the Greek mind to the practical application of science.” (Wise, 624). This shows that even though practical application of science was already available the scientific community was not accepting of this practical application and as a result many scientists hid their inventions so as not to be ridiculed by their scientific peers. Greek scientists therefore valued pure scientific theory over unreasoned technological development. Hellenistic Greek scientists also valued traditional scientific thought over novel ideas that challenged preconsisting notions. An example of this occurred within the realm of astronomy with the idea of heliocentrism.

“Aristarchus of Samos” came up with the concept of heliocentrism (Witty,105). This concept of claiming that the sun was the center of the universe and that the earth revolved around the sun was rejected by the wider scientific community. The theory that that the scientific community held instead was that of Greek astronomer Hipparchus who proposed, “the universe with the earth at the center…. [and] that the planets move in a circle at the end of an imaginary spoke which itself rotated around the earth” (Wise, 624). Hipparchus’ theory was so pervasive that it lasted throughout the rest of ancient Greece, “in[to] the middle ages and early modern times” (Witty, 105).  However, In the end, even though Aristotle and Alexander the Great had started the world onto the path of observational science and the beginnings of revolutionary ideas through practical applied science, the scientific community was not ready for these ideas at the time. The Hellenistic Greeks did however leave the world as lasting legacy for what would modernly be seen as the beginning of formal scientific thought.

Head of Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great was greatly influenced by Aristotle and Scientific Greek Hellenistic thought.


Leochares. Head of Alexander the Great. ca. 330 BC. Acropolis Museum, Athens.Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. Uploaded by Marsyas. Web.

Bust of Aristotle

Aristotle is the philosopher and scientist that used the term natural philosophy to describe the natural world.


Roman copy after a Greek bronze original by Lysippos. Bust of Aristotle. 330 BC. Marble, the alabaster mantel is a modern addition. National Museum, Rome.Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. Uploaded by Jastrow. Web.

Works Cited

Wise, Charles D.“The Status of Biology in Alexandrian and Graeco-Roman Science.” The American Biology Teacher 27.8 (1965): 623-631. Web.

Mathisen, Ralph W. Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations: From Prehistory to 640 CE. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. Print.

McClellan III, James E. and Dorn, Harold. Science and Technology in World History: An Introduction. 2nd ed. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2006. Print.

Witty, Francis J. “Reference Books of Antiquity.” The Journal of Library History  9. 2 (1974):101-119. Web.

Leochares. Head of Alexander the Great. ca. 330 BC. Acropolis Museum, Athens.Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. Uploaded by Marsyas. Web.

Roman copy after a Greek bronze original by Lysippos. Bust of Aristotle. 330 BC. Marble, the alabaster mantel is a modern addition. National Museum, Rome.Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. Uploaded by Jastrow. Web.

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The Peloponnesian War

The Peloponnesian War was a war fought between the Greek states of Athens and Sparta that lasted from 431 until 404 BCE (historyofwar). The war went so long because neither power was able to gain power over the other due to Athens’ strength on the sea and Sparta’s power on land.  The war is traditionally split into many parts; the Archidamian War, the Peace of Nicias, The Sicilian Expedition, and the Decelean War. The war was a huge power struggle that changed the Hellenistic world.

The Archidamian War began in 431 and lasted until 421 BCE (Mathisen). “At the start of the war, much of the Greek world was tied to either Sparta or Athens through alliances, leagues or membership of the Athenian empire.” (historyofwar)Sparta would march on Attic, and the Athenians would retreat into the city of Athens, refusing to fight. The Spartans did not have siege technology and the Spartans had no way to capture a walled city besides starvation, betrayal, or surrender. They tried to invade five separate times, but could not gain any ground. The war really started when the Thebes attacked Plataea, the only city that hadn’t joined the Theban dominated Boeotian League, but Plataea did not fall at that time (Historyofwar). A plague struck Attica, stopping the Spartan attacks on the city for a time. The Spartans were able to take Plataea in 427, gain allies in the Macedonians, capture Amphipolis in 424, and kill Athenian general Cleon. In 425, the Athenians responded by capturing 120 Spartans on Sphacteria, the first time that Spartans had ever been forced to surrender. By 421, both sides were willing to negotiate for peace. The Peace of Nicias began.

800px-Map_Peloponnesian_War_431_BC-en.svgMap of Greece at the time of the Peloponnesian War

The Peace of Nicias was named after the Athenian general who negotiated for Athens. The Spartan prisoners were returned, Athens lost the city of Plataea but gained a port from Megara, and Athens kept Nicea. Everything else was returned to the way it was before the war, settling nothing and upsetting many Spartan allies. The treaty was able to last for about six years, but there were constant skirmishes in and around the Peloponnese (Wikipedia). Argos, a powerful state, tried to create a coalition of states with the support of the Athenians. The Spartans tried to break it, but failed and the Spartan king’s leadership skills were questioned (Wikipedia). The largest battle at the time, and during the entire war, was the Battle of Mantinea, where the coalition was defeated by the Spartans. The alliance broke and most states reincorporated themselves into the Peloponnesian League.

The next major event of the war was the Sicilian Expedition. “In the next few years the Athenians took the offensive. They attacked the Sicilian city Syracuse and campaigned in western Greece and the Peloponnese itself (Britannica).” This second period of fighting lasted eleven years, starting in 415. After the Athenians destroyed the city of Melos for not joining the Delian League, Alcibiades, the Athenian leader, tried to gain more power and income by attacking the city of Syracuse. An impossibly large force was suggested to try to dissuade this from occurring, but the proposal passed. One hundred warships, one hundred thirty supply ships, five thousand hoplites, and one thousand three hundred troops were sent to Sicily (Mathisen). Sicily was initially caught off guard, but gained the upper hand, even when the Athenians sent reinforcements. “Aided by a force of Spartans, Syracuse was able to break an Athenian blockade. Even after gaining reinforcements in 413, the Athenian army was defeated again. Soon afterward the navy was also beaten, and the Athenians were utterly destroyed as they tried to retreat (Britannica).” This caused members of the Delian League to begin revolting and Athens lost much of its prestige in the Greek world.

During this time though, Sparta had decided to take to war on land again in a war called the Decelean war. They fortified Decelea and established a permanent military base. “The Spartans, advised by Alcibiades, decided to occupy a fortress in Athenian territory… on the slopes of Mount Parnes (historyofwar).”They also allied with Persia to get the money to pay for a navy, having to promise to let the Persians reoccupy Ionia if they won (Mathisen). “Over the winter of 412-411 the treaty between Sparta and Persian was renegotiated. This time Sparta agreed not to attack any Persian possession or former possession, not to take tribute from any of them, the Persians agreed not to attack the Spartans, both agreed to help the other, although the exact nature of the help was left unclear, both sides agreed to make war jointly against the Athenians, and only make peace together (historyofwar).”  Athens was desperately trying to recuperate from their defeat and was forced to use its reserve fund of 1,000 talents and demand tribute from allies which increased tensions (wiki). Political upheaval continued to wrack Athens making it weaker (historyofwar). Athens continued to win naval victories, but in 404, the Athenian fleet was destroyed. The Athenians were forced to agree to the terms of Sparta and obey Spartan foreign policy. They were also forced to accept an oligarchic government. Athens was completely ruined and both Sparta and Athens were weakened by the long years of warfare.

The Peloponnesian War changed the power structure and political giants of the Hellenistic world. Athens went from being one of the strongest city states in Greece to being effectively ruined, while Sparta grew into a world power. The power struggle between Athens and Sparta showed the power of Greece and changed the Hellenistic world.


“Peloponnesian War.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2015.


“Peloponnesian War | Ancient Greek History.” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica,

n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2015.


“Second or Great Peloponnesian War, 431-404 BC.” Second or Great Peloponnesian War, 431-404 BC.

N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2015.


Mathisen, Ralph W. Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations: From Prehistory to 640 CE. 2nd ed. New York:

Oxford UP, 2012. Print.

“Map Peloponnesian War 431 BC-en” by Map_Peloponnesian_War_431_BC-fr.svg: Marsyasderivative work: Aeonx (talk) – Map_Peloponnesian_War_431_BC-fr.svg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

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The Holy Pirs of Zoroastrianism

Zoroastrianism was the dominant religion of Persia and other empires in modern-day Iran.  The prophet Zoroaster, or Zarathustra, lived between 1500-1200 BCE in ancient Iran and was the founder of the religion.  He disliked the class-based social structure of Bronze-Age Iranians because it broke apart the commoners and allowed them to be controlled by the priests.  Zoroastrianism revolves around a single god, Ahura Mazda, who gave his sacred rules and writings to his prophet Zoroaster.  One teaching that was handed down was the use of holy sites for pilgrimages to observe holy fire, fire being a dominant part of Zoroastrianism.  These sites are known as Pir and were located all around Persia and ancient Iran.

The main purpose of a Pir was to hold the sacred fires of worship.  Early believers used a simple hearth in their own homes for worship but as the religion grew sacred sites became more popular.  These so-called fire temples were spread across Iran but the main concentration was in Yazd province.  The six main Pirs are located in the mountains above the desert in Yadz.  Each one had a different schedule for pilgrimages so that travelers could enjoy festivals at each site without missing the next one.  Most pilgrimages took place during the summer months and were part of the fire festivals.


Pir-e Sabz or Chak Chak, Yadz (Zoroastrian Sacred Sites)

            Each Pir was constructed differently but they had many similarities.  Each one had an altar for worship and then an inner grotto for greater religious purposes.  The inner grottos were enclosed by large bronze doors with engraved images of Ahura Mazda or Zoroaster.  These inner areas were for specific Zoroastrian members but the outer parts of the fire temple could be enjoyed by all.  Each Pir also had a legend or story that accompanied its founding or location.  For example, the famous Pir-E Sabz is located on the mountain where a Sassanid’s daughter fled from Arab invaders and Ahura Mazda opened the mountain to give her a place to hide.  The fire temple was built in this grotto as a marker of Ahura Mazda’s blessing upon the young girl.  Other Pirs have similar origin stories and small festivals are often held to commemorate these events.  These holy sites are still popular tourist locations and each summer Zoroastrians from all over Asia travel the pilgrimage routes to give devotion to Ahura Mazda and Zoroaster.

Works Cited

“Chak Chak, Yazd.” Wikipedia. April 26, 2014. Accessed March 29, 2015.,_Yazd&oldid=605877689.

Eduljee, K.E. “Pir-e Sabz / Chak-Chak, Pilgrimage in Zoroastrianism.” Zoroastrian Heritage. Accessed March 29, 2015.

Green, Nile. “The Survival of Zoroastrianism in Yazd.” Iran 38:115-22. Accessed March 29, 2015.

Grey, Martin. “Zoroastrian Sacred Sites.” Places of Peace and Power. Accessed March 29, 2015.

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