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 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.

<em>Medea Sarcophagus</em>
Medea Sarcophagus

One of the great myths of jealousy and revenge is carved into this sarcophagus. But why put this story on a coffin?

<em>Pair of Centaurs Fighting Cats of Prey</em> from Hadrian’s Villa
Pair of Centaurs Fighting Cats of Prey from Hadrian’s Villa

Discover the drama of this split second in time, as a centaur flights big cats for his life.

<em>Equestrian Sculpture of Marcus Aurelius</em>
Equestrian Sculpture of Marcus Aurelius

Due to a fortunate case of mistaken identity, this commanding statue was saved from destruction.

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