Empire, Oil, and Disaster - blog about my new book

A religious sect getting more and more attention of the world. Jews in the Middle East already have problems with them. Coincidentally, a terrible terract happens in the largest city of the empire. The same religious sect is blamed for it. The year is 64 AD. The sect is Christians. The place is Rome of the emperor Nero.
Beware of September Ides!

Location: United States

Monday, August 29, 2005

Floor plan of a Roman house

This information is everywhere, but just for the record…

A normal Roman house has a front door facing a street with a short passage way behind it. On the right and the left of the passageway behind walls without doors are rooms facing the street that sometimes rented to storekeepers. The name for these rooms is taberna. Does it remind the word tavern? That’s not an accident. These rooms also provide an isolation from the street noise.

The passageway is opening into the atrium – the main reception area. In the middle of the atrium the is a small pool – impluvium – that collects the rainwater coming through the opening in the ceiling – compluvium. On the right and the left side of atrium there are bedrooms – cubiculum – and an open shrine – lararium. The farther end of atrium also has the dining room – triclinium – and the owner study room – tablinum. Triclinium usually has a table and three coaches around it, so that the diners can eat while reclined on them.

Tablinum usually has two entrances – to atrium and to the back part of the house centered around a small garden – peristylium – often surrounded with columns. Around peristylium are bathrooms – latrina, kitchen – culina, and summer triclinium.

A house usually does not has windows and most f the light comes through the openings in the roof – compluvium and roofless peristylium. Remember? Roman houses did not had electricity.


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Lod also Lydea, called later Diospolis (also Lydda, Lud)

Coastal town 10 miles SE from Joppa. Mostly relevant to Book 3. May be encountered in the end of Book 2.
  • The city was first mentioned in Thutmosis III list of towns of Canaan in ~1465 BCE.
  • In Roman period counted as village but have enough population for a city.
  • In 43 BCE Cassius, the governor of Syria, sold inhabotants into slavery.
  • In 66 CE Cestius Gallus, the Roman proconsul of Syria burned it on the way to Jerusalem.
  • In command of John Essene at the beginning of the First Jewish War (66-70CE)
    Vespasian occupied it in 68 CE.
  • In 200 CE emperor Septimus Severus established a Roman city Colonia Lucia Septimia Severa Diospolis (Διόσπολις).
  • The legendary birthplace of St. George; hence its name Georgiopolis in late Byzantine and crusader sources.
[1] See the site "Christus Rex et Redemptor Mundi"


Thursday, August 18, 2005

Was there a glass in Nero’s time?

Yes, there was. It seems that glass was invented about 1500 BC with the first vessels dated roughly to the time of the Egyptian pharaoh Thutmose III (1479-1425 BC, see, e.g. Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia as a general reference). However, it was usually highly colored and produced using the older core technique when molten glass was put around a form made of clay and dung. Although it does not sound very appetizing, the latter was used to make sure the form can be removed later without breaking the vessel.

The glassblowing technique was invented around 1st century BC in Phoenicia and spread widely allowing glass to become an everyday material for windows, vessels and other containers. Also, as a result, by the end of the 1st century colorless glass become the most popular kind, although the older colored varieties were still actively used for luxury items, as well as low quality items when the color was simply a result of polluted materials.