Middle Empire

By the time of the emperor Trajan, the Roman empire encompassed the whole of the Mediterranean, Britain, much of northern and central Europe and the Near East.

117 - 235 C.E.

videos + essays

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Ancient Sabratha
Ancient Sabratha

A Phoenician trading-post that served as an outlet for the products of the African hinterland, and which was Romanized in the 2nd and 3rd centuries.

Leptis Magna
Leptis Magna

Leptis Magna was one of the most beautiful cities of the Roman Empire, with its imposing public monuments, harbor, market-place, storehouses, shops and residential districts.

Amphitheater of El Jem
Amphitheater of El Jem

The impressive ruins of the largest colosseum in North Africa, a huge amphitheater which could hold up to 35,000 spectators, are found in the small village of El Jem

The Severan Tondo: damnatio memoriae in ancient Rome
The Severan Tondo: damnatio memoriae in ancient Rome

A family drama —Caracalla assassinates his brother and damns his memory.

Rome’s layered history — the Castel Sant’Angelo
Rome’s layered history — the Castel Sant’Angelo

A tomb, a prison, the site of a miracle, papal apartments — this building has as many layers as Rome itself.

The Arch of Septimius Severus, portal to ancient Rome
The Arch of Septimius Severus, portal to ancient Rome

One of the most impressive monuments on the Roman Forum

The importance of the archaeological findspot: The Lullingstone Busts
The importance of the archaeological findspot: The Lullingstone Busts

What do we gain when works come from a well-documented excavation?

Severan marble plan <em>(Forma Urbis Romae)</em>
Severan marble plan (Forma Urbis Romae)

This ancient map served as an administrative tool for one of the largest empires in history.

Bronze head from a statue of the Emperor Hadrian
Bronze head from a statue of the Emperor Hadrian

A bad case of acne or a political statement? Learn about Hadrian’s beard, political image, and accomplishments.

Hadrian: Building the wall
Hadrian: Building the wall

At the remotest point of the Roman Empire, Hadrian erected this fortification—a symbol of control and dominance.

Hadrian: The imperial palace, Tivoli
Hadrian: The imperial palace, Tivoli

The Empire in miniature, see how Hadrian’s Villa served as a space for both business and pleasure.

The Pantheon (Rome)
The Pantheon (Rome)

The Pantheon has one of the most perfect interior spaces ever constructed—and it’s been copied ever since.

Selected Contributors