Many of our religious celebrations and secular holidays can be traced back to practices and traditions in Ancient Rome and earlier cultures. However, it may come as a surprise to learn that it was Emperor Constantine (272 – 337AD) who decided when Easter should be celebrated.
In the Christian religious tradition, Easter marks the crucifixion of Jesus, the son of God, on Good Friday and his resurrection three days later on Easter Sunday. Although there is speculation among historians about how the Jewish festival of Passover became the basis for the Christian festival of Easter, the intriguing connection is no coincidence.
The Exodus, when God liberated the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt, is said to have taken place sometime between 1450 and 1270 BC. The annual festival of Passover (Pesah/Pesach) has been celebrated in March or April ever since. This means that it would have been a long-held tradition when the new religion of Christianity came along with the birth, and death, of Jesus.
Emperor Constantine, who was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, felt that Easter should not be linked to a festival belonging to a different religion. He decreed that Easter should take place on the first Sunday following the first new moon in Spring – which is why Easter varies every year, sometimes at the end of March and in other years, towards the end of April.
Quite a lot it turns out. It is remarkable how a civilization 2000 years ago on the other side of the world could have influenced not just our science, art, engineering, architecture and culture but also our ways of thinking. Be prepared to learn something new and unexpected about ancient Rome, contemporary society and human nature.
Artisans of Florence Director Thomas Rizzo said the exhibition really resonates in regional communities where practical innovation, teamwork and community is key to success. “It’s a testament to the Roman Empire’s lasting impact on our modern world and way of life, and the practical can-do attitude of the Romans,” Mr Rizzo said.
On until 14 November 2021. Entry is free with museum admission. The exhibition will run alongside Antiquities Revealed, a Queensland Museum travelling exhibition that showcases the Queensland State Collection of real artefacts from ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt.
With so many of us having experienced lockdown due to the Coronavirus this year, it is no surprise that home-baked bread has become a global trend.
In 2013 the British Museum asked renowned chef, Giorgio Locatelli, to recreate a loaf of bread based on an archaeological discovery from Herculaneum in 1930. The carbonised loaf found, scored into eight sections, looks very similar to a modern round loaf, and the ingredients are still used in breadmaking today.
You can watch the video and make the recipe yourself to get a taste of Ancient Rome. Buon appetito!
What does the massive eruption of a volcano in Alaska 2000 years ago have to do with the rise of the Roman Empire? Quite a lot according to scientific research published this week.
Researchers used historical accounts and analyses of ice cores and the geochemistry of tephra, which are natural preservers of the Earth’s history, as evidence that the eruption of Alaska’s Okmok volcano in 43 BCE caused global climatic changes.
These changes sparked the period’s political and social unrest on the other side of the world and ultimately changed the course of history.
Among the best known and important political events in the history of western civilization is the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BCE. This triggered a 17-year power struggle that ultimately ended the Roman Republic and led to the rise of the Roman Empire. At this time the Egyptian Ptolemaic Kingdom also fell.
Written sources describe unusual climate, crop failures and disruption to the seasonal flooding of the Nile in Egypt, famine, disease, and social unrest in the Mediterranean in the two years following the eruption.
Joe Manning, a professor of classics at Yale University and a scholar of ancient Egyptian history says the new research “allows us to rethink ancient history especially with regard to the environment and climate.”