Battle of Salamis, by Wilhelm von Kaulbach (1805-1874). 1868; oil on canvas
PD Courtesy of Wikipedia
Battle of Thermopylae Owner: (Photo by Frederic Lewis/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
In light of the renewed interest in the Persian War battles, here are sayings attributed by Plutarch to Leonidas, the Spartan king who led the 300 and allies to the pass at Themopylae: Sayings of Leonidas.
On this day, the ancient Romans continued to celebrate the Festival of Mars. As part of the occasion, the priests of Mars known as salii (from the verb salire to leap), who were appointed for life, carried sacred shields, called ancilia, throughout the city, while they danced, sang hymns for Janus and other gods, and hit the shields with their weapons (swords and spears or some sort of staff). Read More...
Augustus - From the St Petersburg Hermitage. First half of the 1st century A.D. marble.
CC Flickr User thiisbossi
Martius (March), the Roman month devoted to and named after the god of war, Mars, was so filled with celebrations -- fasti -- that there was a special day in it to rest from the festivities. It wasn't exactly like a month with nothing but weekends. There were happy occasions, but there were also fasts and a day for bloodletting. There was even a parade of pines or palms. If it's beginning to sound slightly familiar, it should. Easter and Lenten activities bear striking similarities with the first month of the (pre-Julian calendar) year -- March.
Read more in March Holidays in Ancient Rome.
Although we don't know for sure, this may be the date the great Roman satirist Juvenal (Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis) was born in c. A.D. 55.
Juvenal tells the reader his style of satire covers all aspects of real life, past and present. In reality, the topics center on all aspects of vice. His first satire is called programmatic because it describes what he says he is going to do in his satires. Juvenal sets the mood by saying he is going to get revenge against all the long-winded ramblings of others.
I can't resist saying that if Juvenal could actually avoid the faults of others (wordiness), he would be an interesting addition to the "people" I follow on 140-character-restricted Twitter -- like Julius_Caesar or Aesopus.
In ancient Rome, the second of March was also the second day of the festival of Mars.
Photo Public Domain. Courtesy of Wikipedia.
On this day in ancient Roman history two future emperors, Nero and Antoninus Pius, were adopted -- albeit a century apart in time -- and the Pannonian warrior emperor Valentinian took the throne.
Read more about This Day in Ancient History.
On This Day in Ancient History - February 24
On February 24, A.D. 303 the Great Persecution began with the posting of an edict, probably promoted by Galerius (Caius Galerius Valerius Maximianus) who was Diocletian's Caesar, but signed by all four of the rulers of the Tetrarchy. Paul Keresztes (citation below) says the edict probably included the following provisions:
(a) all churches were to be destroyed; (b) all Scriptures were to be given up and burnt; (c) all, undoubtedly, persisting Christians were to lose all their rights in the courts of justice, whether as plaintiffs or defendants; (d) persisting Christians of high or special standing or position in society or elsewhere were to lose all the rights and privileges that derived from their special standing; (e) persisting Christians of the Imperial household were to lose their personal freedom.
The persecution was supposed to begin the day before on the pagan festival of Terminalia. It was signed on the 23rd, and on that day the Christian church in Nicomedia was destroyed, but the notice wasn't put up until the following day. "From the Great Persecution to the Peace of Galerius," by Paul Keresztes. Vigiliae Christianae, Vol. 37, No. 4 (Dec., 1983), pp. 379-399
"This day in ancient history" caveat: please see Unreliability of Dates.
PD Courtesy of Wikipedia
What do those abbreviations mean? See Julian Dates for an explanation.