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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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.

<em>Battle of the Romans and Barbarians (Ludovisi Battle Sarcophagus)</em>
Battle of the Romans and Barbarians (Ludovisi Battle Sarcophagus)

Romans fight barbarians on this chaotic coffin, which shows signs of a turn in artistic trends.

Maritime Theatre at Hadrian’s Villa
Maritime Theatre at Hadrian’s Villa

A lavish Roman house in miniature, explore the innermost sanctum of the emperor Hadrian’s villa.

A virtual tour of Hadrian’s Villa
A virtual tour of Hadrian’s Villa

Explore Hadrian’s Villa in 3D and learn about Hadrian from the emperor himself.

Selected Contributors