Raven Kamali Writes Roman Historical Fiction

Raven Kamali Writes Roman Historical Fiction
and Launches Her New Book
 
I was born in Iran into a family of historians and poets, so I grew up loving both disciplines. When I migrated to Australia, the first history book I bought was Thucydides’s History of The Peloponnesian War from the Penguin Classics series. I enjoyed it so much that I read it multiple times. The next book was Polybius’s. Now I had to read every book on the Punic Wars and my favorite hero, Scipio Africanus the Elder. Several books later, I enrolled at the University of Queensland to study ancient history and the classical languages of Latin and Greek. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life as the veil to the past lifted, and I stepped into the ancient world.
Raven Kamali - Author of 'The Dark Side of Glory'
After my gradunation, it was time for me to make a career choice: become an ancient historian or a novelist. As a busy mum, I couldn’t do both, so I chose the latter. And I had a dream. I wanted to write a historical novel that was relevant to our times. The inspiration for the story was primarily based on my personal experience and reading Josephus. The Battle of the Teutoburg recorded by Tacitus, Cassius Dio, and Velleius Paterculus added the necessary dimension I needed to advance the plot.
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Thus, I began my journey and wrote The Dark Side of Glory. A powerful novel of love and friendship, deceit and treachery, hatred and vengeance, and political intrigue that tells the story of a young Jewish woman facing unimaginable horrors for refusing to bow to religious fanaticism.

Raven Kamali writes on
'The Fall of The Roman Republic'
Read this article at https://tinyurl.com/RavenKamaliRomanRepublic

Read Raven Kamali's Reflections on “The Dark Side of Glory” at
http://romanancienthistory.blogspot.com/2020/12/reflections-on-dark-side-of-glory.html

Links
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 Copyright © 2020 David Lee
 


Save Ancient Studies Alliance

 "Save Ancient Studies Alliance (SASA) is an international nonprofit founded in 2020 by David Danzig. Its goal is to document and combat the decline in ancient studies, ancient studies is a broad term encompassing areas such as Classics, Archaeology and Ancient History. It has several programs for doing this such as Book Clubs and ArchaeoGaming livestreams. Roman History has partnered with them and been added to their Port Ancient; a directory of organisations dedicated to the promotion of ancient studies"

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Shadow of the Eagle

Shadow of the Eagle: An epic adventure of Ancient Rome
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Will Britain take him in... or mark him as its enemy?
 
Faustus Valerianus is the son of a Roman father and a British mother, a captive sold among the spoils after Claudius's invasion.
 
Now both parents have died within a month of each other, and so he sells the family farm and enlists, joining legendary general Agricola's campaign to conquer the entirety of the British Isles culminating in a devastating battle amongst Caledonia's dark mountains.
 
But Faustus will have to contend with more than ferocious British warriors and whip-cracking elements. For the bonds of blood can weigh heavy on one's soul. The call of his mother's true people. His father's restless shadow. Faustus must carry them with him...
 
 

Journey to Britannia: From the Heart of Rome to Hadrian's Wall, AD 130

New Book - Order Now
Journey to Britannia:
From the Heart of Rome to Hadrian's Wall, AD 130

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'An erudite and fascinating work' Jan Morris, New York Times

'An artful combination of history, archaeology and the imagination' Mary Beard, New York Review of Books

'Riley manages to bring multi-faceted, polygot and multi-cultural Roman Britain to vibrant life for specialists and generalists' Country Life

It is AD 130. Rome is the dazzling heart of a vast empire and Hadrian its most complex and compelling ruler. Faraway Britannia is one of the Romans' most troublesome provinces: here the sun is seldom seen and 'the atmosphere in the country is always gloomy'.

What awaits the traveller to Britannia? How will you get there? What do you need to pack? What language will you speak? How does London compare to Rome? Are there any tourist attractions? And what dangers lurk behind Hadrian’s new Wall?

Combining an extensive range of Greek and Latin sources with a sound understanding of archaeology, Bronwen Riley describes an epic journey from Rome to Hadrian's Wall at Britannia's – and the empire's – northwestern frontier. In this strikingly original snapshot of Roman Britain, she brings vividly to life the smells, sounds, colours and textures of travel in the second century AD.

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Bar Kokhba: The Jew Who Defied Hadrian and Challenged the Might of Rome

Bar Kokhba: The Jew Who Defied Hadrian
and Challenged the Might of Rome
 
This title will be released on October 30, 2021
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BAR KOKHBA is the search for the truth of the epic struggle between two strong-willed leaders over who would rule a nation. One was Hadrian, the cosmopolitan ruler of the vast Roman Empire, then at its zenith, who some regarded as divine; the other was Shim'on, a Jewish military leader in a district of a minor province, who some believed to be the ‘King Messiah'. It is also the tale of the clash of two ancient cultures. One was the conqueror, seeking to maintain control of its hard-won dominion; the other was the conquered, seeking to break free and establish a new nation: Israel. During the ensuing conflict - the ‘Second Jewish War' - the highly motivated Jewish militia sorely tested the highly trained professional Roman army. The rebels withstood the Roman onslaught for three-and-a-half years (AD 132 - 136). They established an independent nation with its own administration, headed by Shim'on as its president. The outcome of that David and Goliath contest was of great consequence, both for the people of Judaea and for Judaism itself. So, who was this insurgent Shim'on known today as ‘Bar Kokhba'? How did Hadrian, the Roman emperor who built the famous Wall in northern Britain, respond to the challenger? And how, in later ages, did this rebel with a cause become a hero for the Jews in the Diaspora longing for the foundation of a new Israel in modern times? This book describes the author's personal journey across three continents to establish the facts. _BAR KOKHBA_ is lucidly written by the author of the mould-breaking Augustus at War and the acclaimed biographies Germanicus and Marcus Agrippa. Drawing on archaeology, art, coins, inscriptions, militaria, as well as secular and religious documents, Lindsay Powell presents a fascinating account of the people and events at a crucial time in world history
 
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What were the ancient Rome costumes and fashion history?

 What were the ancient Rome costumes

and fashion history?
By Richard Marrison
 
Ancient Roman clothing was simple and evolving. The fashion and costumes of this era mainly consisted of Toga, tunic, and Stola. Togas and Stola were the forms of official or outdoor costumes, while Tunics were indoor and informal costumes.

Wool, linen, silk, cotton, and hemp were the prominent clothing materials produced in the Roman territory. However, Silk and cotton were reserved only for the rich and were imported from India and China.

Like in most of the ancient Empires, clothes in ancient Rome represented the citizen's class and position in the society. Every individual had a specific statement attire to define who they were and what background they came from.

The most interesting fact about the costume and fashion of Ancient Rome was the Romans never wore pants as they found pants a ridiculous and uncivilized form of clothing.

Toga

Toga consisted of a single length of wool cloth, characteristic loose, cut in a semicircle, and draped around the wearer's body without any fastenings. It was worn outermost over a tunic. 
 
 
A portrait of a man wearing Roman Toga

The Toga was a complex form of clothing, and it needed much time and effort to drape it the right way. It was first pleated and draped over the left shoulder and passed across the body under the right arm.

Togas remained the statement garment for the higher classes throughout the Roman empire. Originally both genders wore togas, but gradually the women abandoned them for the Stola.

The Toga was the symbol of Roman citizenship; hence, only free male citizens of Rome could wear it at least sixteen years of age. Slaves and foreigners were forbidden to wear togas.

Based on design, coloration, and occasions, Togas were broadly divided into six types.

Toga Pura
 
This was A plain white toga worn by adult male commoners on formal occasions. Senators not having a curule magistrate also wore Toga Pura. This cloth represented adult male citizenship and its attendant rights, freedom as well as responsibilities.

Toga trabea
 
In ancient Rome, the elite groups of the society wore a toga with a stripe of purple or saffron called toga trabea. The distinct feature of all trabeas was their color. Religion specialists who interpreted the meanings of natural signs wore a toga trabea with saffron or purple stripes. Purple and white striped Toga was worn by Romulus and other consuls at essential ceremonies.

Toga Praetexta
 
The Roman magistrate or free-bourbon youth wore a toga with a reddish-purple border known as Toga Praetexta. Some free-born girls might have worn these as well. It marked their protection by law from sexual predation and bad influence. Boys wore this Toga until age fourteen to sixteen when they assumed the Toga Pura. The girls gave up the garment around the age of puberty.

Toga Candida
 
This was the bleached version of white Toga worn by senators and candidates for public office. The bright white color was achieved by rubbing chalk over the Toga.

Toga Pulla
 
Romans wore this darkened Toga for mourning at elite funerals.

Toga Picta

 
The most striking of all of the togas were the Toga Picta. Dyed all purple and given gold rim, it was reserved only for generals when they celebrated a Roman triumph and, in the later imperial period, emperors.

Stola
Another formal clothing of Romans was Stola. It was the traditional woolen garment of Roman women, considered the female counterpart to the Toga. Stola, the staple of fashion in ancient Rome, was a long pleated dress that sometimes hung from the shoulder with straps. It represented marital status and was worn only by married women.
 
A statue of Livia with palla and Stola
 
Another formal clothing of Romans was Stola. It was the traditional woolen garment of Roman women, considered the female counterpart to the Toga. Stola, the staple of fashion in ancient Rome, was a long pleated dress that sometimes hung from the shoulder with straps. It represented marital status and was worn only by married women.

The clothing didn't have many varieties like Toga as ancient Rome was highly patriarchal, and women didn't have a broad spectrum of careers. However, Stola was made in different colors, including red, yellow, and blue.

Necklines and hem were decorated with more details and embellishments for higher-class women. For commoners, these would be a simple band of color or pattern. Wealthier Roman women also used expensive jewelry and elaborate hairstyles with the stolas to advertise their social rank and luxury.
 
Tunic

The tunic was an essential garment for both genders and all classes in ancient Rome. However, it was not the official clothing for Romans and was worn only for indoor purposes.


A picture of Roman Tunic - 6th Century AD
 
The Tunic was designed differently for males and females. Males wore loose-fitting ones that began at the neck and ended right above the knee. For women, it could be either loose or fitted, beginning at the neck and extending over a skirt.
 
The male wore a tunic under a toga, whereas it could be worn plain or belted at the waist. Tunic represented the wearer's class in Roman society.
 
Roman senators wore a tunic with broad purple stripes. Members of the equestrian class wore it with narrower stripes, whereas soldiers, slaves, and manual workers generally had tunics to a little above the knee.
 
Women generally wore a long tunic that reached the foot or instep. It was worn underneath the Stola or could be belted at the waist and very decorated.

What kinds of undergarments did the Romans wear?

Under the Toga or Tunic, ancient roman men and women wore an undergarment made up of linen. Men wore a loincloth called perizoma. Women had their version of activewear similar to today's bikini, Strophium being the top piece and Subligaculum being the bottom one.

What were the colors of the Roman clothing?

The prominent colors worn by ancient Roman were white, purple, blue, scarlet, red, yellow, green, brown, and black. Organic dyes were used to produce the required colors and their different shades. Wine, salts, shells, beetroot, sheep urine, lentils, fungus, mosses, flowers, barley malt, insects, and vinegar were the most used organic materials for dyes.
 
Purple was considered as the royal color as mainly emperors wore it. The purple dye was expensive, which was obtained by crushing thousands of shells of Mediterranean murex.

Crimson(extracted from the dried bodies of female insect Kermes ilicis), indigo (extracted from indigo plant), and saffron yellow( extracted from the bright red stigmas of the Saffron crocus) were the expensive dyes. The most common and cheap dyes were yellow( extracted from a European plant called weld), green( extracted from lichens), and black(produced by burning the crushed remains of grapes).

What kind of shoes did ancient Romans wear?
 
As with clothing, footwear too indicated the wearer's social class, rank, and power. Senators wore a unique sandal with four black thongs, whereas the emperors wore the same style but with red thongs. The poor and the slaves wore low-quality footwear, and the prisoners had to wear wooden slippers.
 
Romans primarily wore sandals indoors with socks. While venturing outside, they preferred shoes that entirely covered feet. Roman-style footwear for both genders was similar. Boots were typically made of leather, designed to cover the feet correctly, and fastened in front with thongs.
 
 Roman soldiers wore durable boots called Caligae, which were open-toed boots made with hobnails that gave extra traction.

Accessories of the Ancient Rome
 
Ancient Roman necklace made up of carnelian stone and gold
 
The commonly used accessories in Ancient Rome were jewelry, beads, hair accessories, breast chains, and makeup.

Jewelry
 
Roman jewelry was renowned for its complex design made from colorful gems and glass beads. Diamonds., Sapphires and emeralds were the expensive gems used by the higher ranks alongside gold and bronze. The other materials used were pearl, bone, fossilized wood, and glass.
 
For wealthy men, wearing a single or several rings was remarkable enough. However, they also wore bracelets, collars with pendants, torcs, and brooch pins to secure their cloaks.
 
In contrast, women had more collections of jewelry as it was the expression of power and luxury. Necklaces, amulets, rings, earrings, anklets, and armlets were the classic pieces of jewelry worn by women. Brooch and fibula, a kind of cloth fastener, were also very popular among women.
 
Hairstyling and hair accessories
 
Romans gave hairstyling significant importance in Ancient Rome.
 
Men kept their hair long in early times, but it gradually changed over time. Elaborate curls that frame the face. Sideburns were famous among Roman men. Wearing wigs and dying varieties of dark and light shades became a significant fashion fad among men. 
 
For women, the simpler the hairstyles, the better it was. They allowed their hairs to fall freely, confining only with bands or pins. Buns were also in practice among young women. Wigs were additionally a part of hairstyling fashion to enhance the beauty of women.

Makeup, Cosmetics, and Beauty Care
 
People in ancient Rome were highly conscious of their looks and beauty. They were highly influenced by the beauty trends of the Greeks and Egyptians.

Cosmetics were only concerned for women and applied in private rooms where men did not enter. Wealthy women had easy access to quality cosmetics, whereas working classes were limited to knock-off products.

Christian women avoided cosmetics as they believed in being happy with how God created them. The cosmetic products were made from a rational blend of chemicals and excrement.

Kohl, the critical ingredient for eye makeup, was made up of ashes or soot and antimony. Roman women used colored eyeshadows to enhance the eye.
 
To whiten the face, women opted for chalk and white lead pigment.
 
Red lips were achieved either using bromine or beetle juice. For blushes, women used pretty rose petals, preferably darker red ones.

Roman women also loved to smell excellent and desirable. To overcome the strong smell of the chemicals used in cosmetics, deodorant made from alum, iris, and rose petals were common.
 
Costumes and fashion in ancient Rome were more than a basic need. It was the expression of liberty, a symbol of luxury, advertisement of social rank, and validation of power.
 
Conclusion
 
Ancient Rome was the epitome of progressing modern language, religion, law, art, and architecture. And most importantly, the costumes and fashion of this beautiful era were some of the fascinating aspects of this civilization. 
 
In conclusion, their clothing and fashion were simple, elegant, and practical for the era. Based on the social hierarchy and status, people had to dress appropriately. Clothing was not just a basic survival need, but also the identification of one's gender, status, rank, and social class. Ancient Roman fashion reflects a lot about the social construct and ideology of the people in the era.
 

Roman Clothing and Fashion

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There is plenty of information about military dress in Roman Britain and the rest of the Roman Empire, but the evidence for civilian dress has not been comprehensively looked at since the 1930s. In this richly illustrated survey, Alexandra Croom describes the range and style of clothing worn throughout the Western Empire and shows how fashions changed between the first and the sixth centuries. After a short introduction to the evidence (from archaeology, art and literature), and to the manufacture of clothing and its use in status display, she systematically treats male and female dress, looking at the tunic, toga (for men), mantle (for women) and cloaks; underwear, footwear and specialist wear; hats, hairstyles and jewellery. The book concentrates on the clothing work in the Mediterranean region, but includes a section on provincial fashions. A fine and varied corpus of illustrations (including colour plates) helps to bring the everyday world of the Roman Empire to life.
 
The Toga and Roman Identity
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This book traces the togas history from its origins in the Etruscan garment known as the tebenna, through its use as an everyday garment in the Republican period to its increasingly exclusive role as a symbol of privilege in the Principate and its decline in use in late antiquity. It aims to shift the scholarly view of the toga from one dominated by its role as a feature of Roman art to one in which it is seen as an everyday object and a highly charged symbol that in its various forms was central to the definition and negotiation of important gender, age and status boundaries, as well as political stances and ideologies. It discusses the togas significance not just in Rome itself, but also in the provinces, where it reveals ideas about cultural identity, status and the role of the Roman state. The Toga and Roman Identity shows that, by looking in detail at the history of Romes national garment, we can gain a better understanding of the complexities of Roman identity for different groups in society, as well as what it meant, at any given time, to be Roman.

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Emil Tsenov - Roman Fictional Author

Roman History Blog - Featured Author
 
Emil Tsenov - Roman Fictional Author
Tells the fictional story of the real Roman empress Cornelia Super
 
I was born in 1968 in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria. I currently live in Vienna, Austria, where I work and teach in the areas of Marketing and Strategy. I have an M.A. in English Language and Literature from Sofia University and an MBA from INSEAD, France. My passion is to observe the relationships between people and to analyze the surrounding world in order to understand it better.
 
Author Emil Tsenov
 
My long-standing interest in Roman history and numismatics is reflected in this novel, which is my second book after the short stories collection Gods of The City (2018, published in Bulgarian).  I started collecting Roman coins at the age of 10. The stories behind every coin – the lives of the emperors and empresses in whose name they were struck, the events and deities depicted of the reverses – continue to fascinate me. I am particularly interested in the story of Roman provinces on the Balkans, and “Cornelia” addresses the period of the 3rd century CE in that region. The story in the book was inspired by a true event. In the 1980s a friend of mine, also a coin collector, was offered an antoninianus of the empress Cornelia Supera, the wife of the emperor Aemilianus, in an excellent condition. It turned out to be a fake. I then started thinking “What if someone found a real gold coin of Cornelia Supera? And what if she could tell us her own story? What kind of woman was she?” This is how the whole story unravelled and crystallized in the plot of “Cornelia”.

 
In 2012 treasure-hunters stumble upon an exceptional find near the town of Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria – the tomb of the Roman Empress Cornelia Supera, who remains hitherto almost unknown to history. What they find next to her remains will entangle in a complex knot the destinies of people from different countries and of different social status. Cornelia’s inheritance is desired by American millionaires, English lords and Bulgarian Mafia bosses. At the center of all events is Alex, a professor at a local university, whose big passion are ancient coins. While chasing the unique aureus struck in the name of the Empress, he will have to ask himself many difficult questions and find the answers.
 
 After eighteen centuries of oblivion, Cornelia finds a way to tell her story and to reveal an extraordinary woman – intelligent and with the ambition to change history. Together with her husband, the Emperor Aemilius Aemilianus, she will go through all stages of ascent and fall to sink into the mist of time and to again appear triumphantly from it. Cornelia’s story will shake our understanding of the history of Rome and its Balkan provinces in the 3rd century CE.
 
 
You can buy it as an eBook (epub, mobi, pdf) at www.tsenovbooks.com/en, where you can also learn more about the book and read the first chapters.
 
“Cornelia” is also available as an eBook on Amazon.

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Copyright © 2021 David Lee
 

Book Review - Roman Britain’s Missing Legion

Book Review by the Roman History Blog
 Roman Britain’s Missing Legion
What Really Happened to IX Hispana?
By Dr Simon Elliott 
 
This is an inspiring and gripping piece of detective work of one of the great Roman mysteries of the missing IXth Legion Hispana. This book is a must have for all people interested in Roman history!
 
This book explains the disappearance of 5500 men of the Legion IX Hispana. Simon Eliott hypotheses four key fates in detail in his book for the IXth legion. One, lost or disbanded in Northern Britain, two, lost or disbanded in Southern Britain, three, lost or disbanded in the Rhine or Danube and four, lost or disbanded in the east.
 
The book describes legionaries in detail including armour and equipment. Simon Elliott discusses Caesar in much detail with his second visit to Britian with the IXth Legion. The IXth and three other legions came to Britain with the Claudian invasion and describes the battles and interactions with the Celts. The IXth later established York as their base and saw uprisings both in Northern and Southern Britain. The North had the Caledonians (modern Scots) and Brigantes revolting against Rome and the south had the Hadrianic war or uprising in Londinium (London).

The IXth Legion is sent to the East for the three Jewish wars and is explained in some detail. At one point, six legions were stationed in Judea! Whilst under Trajan and Hadrian the IXth witnessed conquests and uprisings in Armenia and Parthia which is discussed.

Part of the IXth legion was sent to the Rhine and the Danube Frontier and Simon Elliott explains both the Roman Legions and Germanic tribes with their successes and failures on both sides.

Find out what happened to the IXth Legion Hispana in this great book!

Roman Britain's Missing Legion:
What Really Happened to IX Hispana?

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