A brief overview of the legendary and mythical history of the city and its empire, with links to all the articles in this series, and some of the finest paintings.
Rome’s central and most enduring institution, it was the setting for the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BCE. What did it really look like though?
Five years into Nero’s reign as emperor, he had his mother murdered. It was all downhill from there: Rome burned, and so did many Christians.
A battle in which the Romans were overwhelmingly defeated, used later as an icon of German nationalism. And the vicious murder of the wife of the emperor Claudius.
Three senators conspired with thirty others to end Caesar’s passion for royal powers. One artist ignored convention and painted two superb accounts.
Used by Joseph Wright of Derby to symbolise knowledge coming from darkness, by Henry Fuseli for the mysterious even supernatural, and Millet and van Gogh for poverty.
Made dictator for life, Caesar quickly became unpopular to the point where his life was under threat. Paintings by Rubens, von Piloty, and of course Gérôme.
In 3 years, he swung from conventional to highly novel narrative, covering themes of assassination, cynicism, prostitution, and looking.
The story of the assassination of the dictator, told by William Blake, Gérôme, von Piloty, and others.
‘The Opening of the Wallhalla’ is not a scene from Nordic myth. Here’s how Hermann the German got his (incorrect) name, and how nationalism tried to create a modern myth.