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NIHIL NOVUM SUB SOLE

1001 deeds, sayings, curiosities and anecdotes of the ancient world

Hispania

Articles referred to the Iberian Peninsula in Antiquity, known in Latin as Hispania, currently Spain and Portugal.

Some Roman public service contractors were fraudsters

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In ancient Rome, and from Republican era, it is leased to private the exploitation of land and resources of the state, which were all conquered by the roman legions, and even strong companies of investors were established for it. This activity generated a space where it was easy to confuse the private with the public and produced some episodes of corruption which to some extent remind current events.

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At the gates of the Roman Empire / At the gates of Europe

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The History does not repeat itself but sometimes some events occur at different times and the have some similarity. See article http://en.antiquitatem.com/cervantes-world-book-day. In these present times they appear occasionally comparisons of the fall of the Roman Empire with the present time of tensions between East and West. More specifically similarities are seen between the events of the year 378 which end with the defeat of the Romans at Adrianople, present-day Edirne in Turkey at the current borders of Greece and Bulgaria and the death of Emperor Valens in battle and the wars in Iraq and Syria, which move millions of displaced fugitives from one place to another.

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Wine, sex and baths ruin our bodies, but… (Balnea vina Venus corrumpunt corpora, sed…)

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According to the moralist scheme of Roman historians and educators, the ancient inhabitants of Rome were austere farmers, who then became addicted to the pleasures and they were corrupted influenced by Greek and Asian luxury after the Punic Wars and the conquest of Greece and East.

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All roads lead to Rome, (Omnes viae Romam ducunt)

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Not today, but two thousand years ago certainly all roads led to Rome, which was the capital of a vast empire. More than 380 major roads or highways with more than 80,000 kms., allowed its legions, its officials, its citizens to go out and go easily to the capital, Rome. It is curious to note how the direction of all the roads marked to Rome as final destination, like rays or spokes of a huge circle. They range from the Pillars of Hercules in Hispania or from the "Hadrian’s Wall" in Scotland to the Euphrates in Mesopotamia, from northern Germany to the North African desert.

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The abduction of Hylas: a very peculiar mosaic of Italica (Spain)

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In Greek mythology there are numerous episodes in which powerful gods fall in love with beautiful mortals and procreate with them heroes, in their half immortal and in other half mortal. Also the goddesses fall in love sometimes with men, who are mortal. For example Venus is the mother of Aeneas, born from the mortal Anchises, from whom the race of Julius (Julius Caesar, Augustus, etc.) descended.

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The Classical Humanism of Cervantes

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World Book and Copyright Day is celebrated on April 23 of every year. Some curious circumstance coincided the day of the death of Cervantes in Spain, of Shakespeare in England, of Garcilaso de la Vega, the Inca, on that day. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) considered it very suitable to celebrate the existence of books and promote reading; so it has been since 1995.

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Cyclopean, colossal, Herculean, gigantic, titanic, pharaonic, monstrous, huge, great work, work of Roman

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The man before "sapiens" was "faber", "man doing (at first crude stone tools), who builds, who produces, who manufactures ...". So we took on earth many thousands of years doing construction generally of adequate proportions to forces and limited capacity of man.

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Octavian Augustus in Hispania (in its two thousandth anniversary)

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Finally the hot summer has given way to sweeter autumn . The summer lasts June, the month of the goddess Juno, the homologous Roman of the Greek Hera, to September, the seventh month of the initial year of ten months. Between the initial month and the end of summer the months of July and August are threshed day to day. July first was called "Quinctilis", ie, the fifth month, and August "Sextilis", ie, the sixth month. The general or "imperator" Julius Caesar gave his name to the fifth and his nephew and first emperor Octavian Augustus gave the name to the sixth.

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Hadrian, a popular Emperor

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The public baths or spas (thermae) are an essential element in the concept of the city, of the Latin “urbs”, the city of the Romans. They built many cities in the territory of the Empire and not all missing or forum or square, or a temple, or basilica (multipurpose palace) or theater or amphitheater or baths.

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Exposure of corpses

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Human beings, unlike other animals, attend their dead and their corpses. This is attested since the Palaeolithic. The ways and customs of the various peoples referred to the fact of death and to treat the bodies, are many and varied. No doubt these rites are the result of confusion that causes death in all living beings; people seek immortality but man finds the decomposition of the body. It is therefore necessary to perform rites to avoid the process of decomposition . In expression of Walter Burkert, the Homo sapiens is a homo sepeliens (from Latin sepelio, burial), a man who buries his dead comrades.

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The Pillars of Hercules

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The mythical hero Hercules (because he does not reach the category of a god) couldn´t imagine that his famous columns representing the two mountains he placed when he opened the strait that separates the Atlantic Ocean from the Mediterranean Sea (Mare Nostrum = our sea, for the Romans), one in Africa, the other in Europe, would actually be, in effigy, naturally, in the pockets and bank accounts of millions of persons all over the world.

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The names of the months are Roman

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Among the many things that the Romans have left us no less important is the calendar with the names of the months, days and seasons. To understand the logic and coherence of the names "september= September; october= October; november= November and december= December," which etymologically means "seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth" we must know that the primitive Roman year had ten months and began in March.

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What is an epigram?

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The word comes from the Latin epigramma, and this from the Greek ἐπίγραμμα (from ἐπί = on and γραμμα =, writing, letter), which means "inscription". Its etymology refers to burial or votive inscriptions on stone or other material, naturally short

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With the ships on the shoulders

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Apollonius of Rhodes gave us the only Greek epic poem that is conserved from Homer to the Hellenistic period, "The journey of the Argonauts". Five centuries have passed and many things have changed. If Homer's gods mingle with the heroes in their struggle, now the work is of men, although the gods, powerful, influence, help but do not mix with them. Actually the poem seems more like a novel and as such should be read.

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The deep caves surprise and attract devout and believer men

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Some natural areas, whether by their hidden beauty, by their silence or by their depth that sink in the bowels of the earth, seem to emanate a strong attraction to humans. Of these places the caves have a special force. Not surprisingly the man dwelt in them during the long night of their childhood as a species.

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