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Biographies of famous people from August 1

Biographies of historical figures and personalities

Biographies of famous people in history and celebrity

  • Biography of Calamity Jane
  • Biography of Gaston Doumergue
  • Biography of Luigi Carlo Farini
  • Biography of Giancarlo Giannini
  • Biography of Herman Melville
  • Biography of Leoluca Orlando
  • Biography of Yves Saint Laurent
  • Biography of Adriano Sofri


May 1, 1852
August 1, 1903
Legendary old West character, adventurer and first female gunslinger, Calamity Jane, whose real name is Martha Jane Cannary-Burke, was born on 1 may 1852 in Princeton, daughter of Charlotte and Robert, the first of six children. In 1865, the Cannary family leaves Missouri to Montana, Virginia City: along the way, mother Charlotte died of pneumonia. Arrived in Virginia City, Robert & sons moving to Utah in Salt Lake City, where he died in 1867.
At that point, Martha Jane, only 15 years old, takes the reins of the family, and after taking his brothers and sisters in Fort Bridger, Wyoming, devotes many works to provide for their livelihood; becomes, then, a dishwasher, a Cook, a maid, a nurse in a herd leader, and sometimes does not give up prostitution.
In a context such as that of the West in which the woman may just be an educator and mother, devoid of life in society, Martha stands for rebellious behavior: addicted to alcohol and gambling (often depicted as dressed as a man, from an or jodhpurs), profligate adventuress, precisely because of its bad reputation is not in a position to conclude many jobs also, because often gets fired. When you find the wagon trains, for example, the herd leader and Chief caravaners don't see kindly to his amoral behaviour, blocking his use of alcohol.
Without formal education and instruction, totally illiterate, Martha does not give up to participate in the military clashes with the native Indians. It is during one of these conflicts, between 1872 and 1873, which-according to legend-you earn the nickname of Calamity Jane, in Wyoming in Goose Creek. In 1876, Martha settled in the Black Hills, South Dakota. Here becomes friends with Dora DuFran, for which he works occasionally, and, during one of the trips, caravans have a way to get in touch with Charlie Utter and especially James Butler Hickok, also known as Wild Bill Hickok.
Their relationship, however, is still a subject of controversy: there are those who argue that there was a strong passionate love, and who believes that Wild Bill had, for him, a vivid antipathy. He, however, died on 2 August 1876 (which at the time was married to Agnes Lake Thatcher), killed during a poker game.
Calamity Jane, after the disappearance of man, claims to have been married to him, and that he was the father of her daughter Jean, born three years earlier: there are, however, testimony and documents confirming the birth of the child.
In 1881 Calamity Jane buy a ranch in Montana, in Miles City, along the Yellowstone River; married with the Texan Clinton Burke, moved to Boulder, and in 1887 she gives birth a child, Jane. After working, among other things, to the "Wild West Show of Buffalo Bill as Narrator of stories, Martha takes part in the Pan-American Exposition in 1901.
Even in the last years of his life, without knowing an appreciable financial security and having to deal with poverty, to be generous and help others, up to compromise their safety. Dies, on August 1, 1903 in a room in the Calloway Hotel, just fifty years, depressed and alcoholic. His body was buried beside the corpse of Hickok in Deadwood, South Dakota, in Mount Moriah cemetery, in a mass grave.



August 1, 1863
June 18, 1937
Gaston Doumergue was born in Aigues Vives, in the French Department of the Gard, on 1 August 1863, by a Protestant Christian family. Completed legal studies working as a magistrate in colonial Indochina and Algeria before turning to journalism and, especially, to politics. Elected to the House in 1893 as radical-Socialist MEP, from 1902 to 1905 is Minister of colonies in Government Combes and yet, until 1910, trade and industry in a first stage, and then of public instruction and fine arts.
In 1910 he became Senator and in December 1913, he was entrusted with the Presidency of the Council until June 1914. In the years that followed is back at the helm of the dicasteries of the colonies and trade, in the Governments of Aristide Briand, René Viviani and Alexander Ribot. The latter, in March 1917, sends it in Russia because it will deter the Kerensky Government from defining, apart from France, peace agreements with Austria and Germany, but did not succeed.
In 1923 rises to the Presidency of the Senate, preparatory to the role fully charged state. In May 1924 the "sign of the lefts" gets an electoral victory, but internal divisions do not allow election as head of State of its candidate Paul Painlevé. This creates the conditions that lead to the identification, in place of Painlevé, Gaston Doumergue, on June 13, 1924 is elected President of the French Republic, the 12th, as well as the first Protestant confession. Remains in Office the entire seven years, until 1931.
Doumergue adopts for a policy of economic stringency, beginning with fire, grooms and postilions grooms assigned to the Presidency. In addressing the serious financial problems that lead to the fall of franco, he reveals the nature of his liberal economic concepts: first the national currency devalues the actual value and then gives a strong impetus to industrial growth, especially in the field of steel and cars. Shall also adopt measures in favour of workers, with the result that, while the United States live a dramatic moment with the stock market crash of 1929, France enjoys a decent social well-being and tranquility that will last until 1932-well beyond the expiration of his presidency-the year in which the repercussions of the "Black Friday" in New York will be felt heavily.
In foreign policy, a strong pulse imprints Doumergue to colonialism, especially with victory in Morocco in the Rif War.
After the Parisian uprisings of February 1934 is called again to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers in a Conservative Government of National Unity (in mature age Doumergue abandons positions approaching those of moderate Conservatives), a position which he reluctantly accepts and holds until November 8.
Gaston Doumergue, who for his personable and ways for its plump joviality is called "Gastounet", is the first Bachelor President, but also the first to marry being sent, although only twelve days before leaving office. The function is held in the Elysee Palace. His wife, Jeanne Marie Louise Gaussal, a wealthy widow and is, in fact, his long time lover.
After the last experience of Government withdraws in the birthplace of Aigues Vives where three years later, on 18 June 1937, shuts down at the age of seventy-four years. His wife Jeanne, fifteen years younger, will live up to the 1963 publication of novels under the pseudonym of "Gilles".


The "ombra di Cavour"

October 22, 1812
August 1, 1866
Luigi Carlo Farini was born in Russi, in Ravenna, the Papal States, on 22 October 1812. Medical student in Bologna, where she received a degree, he devoted himself to his passion for politics is among the earliest members of the "Young Italy" by Mazzini.
Because of his subversive activities in 1843 is expelled from the Papal States and repairs in France. He returned to Italy in 1845, on the eve of the advent to the papacy of Pius IX, and publishes the famous "Manifesto", in which he denounces the lack of freedom in the domains of the Church and calling for the start of a season of reform. At the same time he met and became friends with Massimo d'Azeglio.
His hostility towards the Papal State is meanwhile to fall with the election of Pope Pius IX, Pope, that is, the first words spoken from the loggia of Saint Peter's square are: "great God, bless the Italy!". And the announcement of his political program.
In the first Liberal Government wanted by Pius IX in 1848, Luigi Carlo Farini is vested with the General Secretary of Home Affairs Minister and the first war of independence, goes to represent the Papal Government took the campo di Carlo Alberto. He was then elected Deputy and Minister Pellegrino Rossi, Pope, gives the general direction of health.
With the escape in Gaeta, bitter, resigned from his Government posts and sided in favor of the monarchy. He moved to Turin, in 1850 he published "the Roman State from 1815 to 1850", a historical dissertation heavily critical of the Democrats which is also translated into English by William Gladstone, one of the most eminent statesmen of the 19th century.
In 1851 Massimo d'Azeglio, become head of Government, called Faith as Minister of education. Subsequently Cavour approaches, which fully shares ideas and projects. His support for the Piedmontese statesman is such that the name "shadow of Cavour".
In 1859, after the Armistice, he was appointed dictator of "Emilia", a name which he assigns to that land which includes the duchies of Parma and Modena and the Papal Legations ex of Ferrara, Bologna, Ravenna and Forlì, beginning to work towards their annexation to Piedmont.
In 1860, in the post of Interior Minister, inaugurates, along with Prime Minister Cavour, the Kingdom of Italy. With the plebiscite in southern Italy and the subsequent annexation of the Kingdom of the two Sicilies (1860-1861), Farini was appointed Lieutenant General of the southern provinces.
In 1862, after the resignation of Rattazzi, becomes Prime Minister, but is an experience short because his health problems soon forced him to abandon.
Suffering from a serious mental illness, Luigi Carlo Farini dies in Fourth, on August 1, 1866, in 54 years.
Other works by Luigi Carlo Farini, "Italy's history from 1814 to the present days" and three volumes of "Correspondence".


International class

August 1, 1942
Giancarlo Giannini was born in La Spezia on August 1, 1942. He graduated as an engineer in Naples, then studied acting in Rome at the Accademia Nazionale d'Arte Drammatica Silvio D'Amico. Theater debut at age 18 with "In memory of a lady friend", by Giuseppe Patroni Griffi. In 1960 also comes his first international success, thanks to "Romeo and Juliet" by Franco Zeffirelli, represented at the Old Vic in London.
In 1965 Giancarlo Giannini debuted at the cinema with "Libido and mud on the Metropolis" and on television, where his face becomes known to the general public due to its portrayal of the protagonist of "David Copperfield", shot by Director Anton Giulio Majano.
The following year (1966) works alongside Rita Pavone and for the first time with Lina Wertmuller, "Rita the mosquito", a title which will be followed by "don't tease the mosquito" (1967). With Lina Wertmuller was born a happy and lasting partnership that will lead to the realization of a number of quality jobs. Galvin Meanwhile by Ettore Scola is called "Dramma della gelosia-tutti i particolari in cronaca", 1970.
During the 70 's the consecration takes place: the most representative titles are "Mimì metallurgico ferito nell'onore (1972)," Film d'amore e d'anarchia meaning: stamattina alle 10, in via dei Fiori, nella nota casa di tolleranza "(1973, for which he won the best actor award at the Cannes Film Festival)," Travolti da un insolito destino nell'azzurro mare d'agosto "(1974)," seven beauties "(1975, for which he is nominated for an Oscar) "The end of the world in our usual bed in a night full of rain" (1978), "blood between two men for causing a widow-suspected political motives" (1978). With these films-by Lina Wertmuller-often paired with Mariangela Melato, Giancarlo Giannini's face becomes the icon of Italian male, rude and boorish, and conveyed by the effect stereotipante, goes around the world gaining international notoriety.
The considerable dramatic qualities Giannini have way of speaking even in "La prima notte di quiete" (1972, by Valerio Zurlinie) and "the innocent" (1976, by Luchino Visconti).
During his long and distinguished career Giannini plays in an extraordinary way and chameleon-like characters of all kinds of different Italian dialects, as well as in English. During the 80 's working internationally, chosen by directors such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder ("Lili Marleen", 1981) and Francis Ford Coppola ("life without Zoe", an episode of New York Stories, 1989).
In the years ' 90 ranges from action movies ("Palermo Milano solo andata, 1995"-"scorched earth", 1999) at the cinema so called lighter ("fried breaded" Castaneda 1996), to the civil commitment ("Giovanni Falcone", 1993).
After the 2000 appears more frequently in tv dramas like "General Dalla Chiesa" or "Il Maresciallo Rocca", but never fails to attend the big Hollywood productions like "Hannibal" (2001), "Man on Fire" (2004), "Casino Royale" (2006), "Agent 007-Quantum of Solace" (2008).
The stature of interpretative Giancarlo Giannini also excels in voice acting: the official voice is Al Pacino, but has also lent her voice to Jack Nicholson in "the Shining" (1980) and "Tim Burton's Batman (1989), in the role of the Joker.


Metaphors of adventures

August 1, 1819
September 28, 1891
At the time when the author died, had been almost completely forgotten, then the masterpiece of 1851 "Moby Dick" was revived in 1921 with a biography of Raymond Weaver; Today, the novel is considered one of the greatest masterpieces of the 19th century. Its author is Herman Melville, writer, poet and literary critic, born on August 1, 1819 in New York. Friend of Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Moby Dick" as Melville's other works were inspired by the later production.
He studied in New York and the passion for adventure while listening to the stories of his father Allan, wealthy merchant from expansive character, which in the past had traveled a lot. In his father's stories were often featured figures such as huge waves and ships dashed as straw. After a life spent in substantial economic tranquillity, in the summer of 1830, the parent activity fails: Allan Melville later manifests a mental illness that led him to death. The brother tries to resume his father's Affairs, but fails: the family is composed of eight children between brothers and sisters (Herman is the third): poverty reduced and moved to the village of Lansingburgh, the Hudson River.
Here permanently leaves school Herman to start working in the company of an uncle; He then worked in his older brother's shop and then as a teacher in a small school.
The lack of a working stable perspective, coupled with the desire to travel, pushing the future writer to embark as a cabin boy on a ship docked at the port of New York, leaving for Liverpool. It's the June 1839: Melville crosses the ocean and arrives in London. Then return home with the same ship. This trip will inspire his novel "Redburn: his first trip" (Redburn: His First Voyage), published ten years later.
Returned home and resumed the teaching profession. At the beginning of the year 1841 enlisted as a sailor again: from the port of New Bedford (Massachusetts) on the whaling ship Acushnet, headed toward the Pacific Ocean. The trip will last a year and a half. Once reached the Marquesas Islands (French Polynesia), Melville deserted; the story of "T V" (Type) as its continuation "Omoo" will be witness to this incident.
After a stay in the Society Islands, Melville heads to Honolulu, where he remained for four months working as a clerk in an Office. Then joins the crew of the American frigate "United States", sailing towards Boston, with a stopover at a Peruvian port in October 1844. Will describe this experience with the ship as "Neversink" (the unsinkable) in "White Jacket or the world seen on a battleship" (White Jacket: or, The World in a man-of-war, 1850).
The August 4, 1847 in Boston, Herman Melville, Elizabeth Shaw bridal event that terminates at seafaring adventures of the writer. The couple settled in New York where he remained until 1850, when purchasing a farm in Pittsfield (Massachusetts); right in February of the same year he began to write "Moby Dick," the work that will project in the history of American and world literature.
During the thirteen years of Pittsfield, Melville lectures at schools, with mostly his adventures in the South seas.
His works fail to reach a wide audience, so Melville would not have gained much from his activity as a writer. Economically very had to wife's family; afterwards will also work as a customs officer in New York, where he moved with his wife.
After an illness lasting several months, Herman Melville died at his home in New York, in the early morning hours of September 28, 1891. His body is interred in the Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.


Sicilian Renaissance

August 1, 1947
Say her name means pronouncing the name of the city of Palermo: only with other sounds. During his term the Mayor Leoluca Orlando has tried to give credit and hope to the citizens of palermitani operating on the soil of concrete social fabric and territory, fighting lawlessness and degradation of some neighborhoods, working on the level of solidarity and focusing on modern concepts such as those of administrative efficiency and municipal machine operation.
Born on August 1, 1947 Orlando studied for some years in Germany and England. Cassazione and Professor of regional public law at the Law Faculty of the University of Palermo, is the author of numerous scientific papers and monographs.
But the field of activity where Leoluca Orlando has always stood out is of course politically. Legal Adviser of the President of the region Piersanti Mattarella, from 1978 to 1980 municipal councillor from 1980 to 1993, he was elected Mayor for the first time on July 16, 1985. During his tenure, opened in Sicilian city that was renamed "Palermo spring", to indicate a sense of profound renewal, but also institutional morality that has marked his work.
Following is the founder and national coordinator of the now disappeared "movement for democracy – the net", that party was distinguished for his role as "sponda" in Italian politics against corruption and malfeasance; elected Deputy in 1992 waived the parliamentary mandate following his re-election as Mayor of Palermo, in the administrative consultation of November 21, 1993, in the first round, with 293 thousand votes (75.2 per cent). That's the complaint period of downtown Orlando "Pamm", the interplay between the various actors of the underworld (the abbreviation is the acronym of the terms "business, politics, mafia and Freemasonry"), as well as massacres and criminal acts, might seriously affect the development of a social democratic process in Italy, and Sicily, and is also able to affect other regions in Italy and abroad.
After these tough battles on the field Leoluca Orlando in 1994 decided to tackle the European challenge. He was elected MEP 149,976 reporting preferences. In July 1994 the Strasbourg Parliament is called to be part of the Committee on Civil Liberties and internal affairs and the Committee on agriculture, fisheries and rural development. It has also been named regional President of ANCI, the Association that deals with common problems.
His heart it is understood has always fought in particular for the city of Palermo. In 1997 occurred again in defiance of popular consent for the umpteenth time. And people awarded: elections of grossed 207,448 preferences.
The following year he inaugurated the reopening of Teatro Massimo after twenty years of "restoration", a euphemism that was actually the eternal State of precariousness, and therefore also of inactivity, that's true heritage is represented by his historic theater.
On 18 December 2000 Orlando resigned to run for President of the region of Sicily. An appointment missed the beloved Mayor of Sicily, which, despite nearly one million votes, it failed to enter the region. It is also member of the Sicilian Regional Assembly for Sicily, the year 2010 will be the free trade area in the Mediterranean.
In 2006, together with Antonio Di Pietro, occurs with the party elections "Italy of values" by supporting the centre-left. Romano Prodi, the new President of the Council, appoints Minister for Leoluca Orlando Italians in the world.
Part of the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Leoluca Orlando has worked as a consultant on behalf of the OECD and in favour of Mediterranean countries. Married, father of two daughters.
In 2012 back to the post of Mayor of Palermo after the local elections in May.


The art of living

August 1, 1936
June 1, 2008
A name that has become a logo, the unmistakable sound of the three words that make up its name can only mean, in all languages, one thing: fashion. Well, Couture. Yes, because Yves Saint Laurent, as well as being one of the fathers of French fashion is also the man who made the Haute Couture on his trademark, a lifestyle that its boutique has spread worldwide, infecting thousands of people.
Born in Algeria on August 1, 1936 as all talent shows an early passion for art that would lead him to glory. The attraction for tissues and for cable tray is very strong in him, and so, instead of loitering or spend time to kick a ball (possibly also lordarsi clothes), impratichisce with fabrics, textiles and needles. Where? None other than the House of Dior, where, after graduating from the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture in Paris, replaces the master Christian Dior, died of a heart attack at a hotel in Montecatini. A great responsibility, whereas at the time Dior had already "Dior"; But Yves doesn't flinch.
She throws herself headlong into the work and thus his first collection, called "Keystone". But even in his wildest dreams rosei the young designer could hope it to be so successful, so much so that on the covers of newspapers specializing we speak of him as a child prodigy. Unfortunately something unexpected comes to stop the Idyll, to temporarily freeze the downhill road that seemed no more obstacles. His country of origin in fact calls him to perform military service: a very serious break its commitments which will mean the end of her relationship with the Dior House (la maison will replace him with Marc Bohan).
Fortunately Yves is not discouraged, decided to pursue her vocation. Back in Paris in 1962 and in the blink of an eye presents the first collection under his own name, characterized by the choice of very simple and stylized lines, without frills. All these remain impressed with the quality of workmanship of the clothes, a peculiarity that the French designer will always detail atternzione.
But there is another element which raises many controversies on the Saint Laurent collection: trousers for women. A stylistic choice that puts him at that time out of any scheme, making him a true revolutionary. Yves Saint Laurent is the woman, gives new dignity and new dimensions of freedom, the freedom that comes from being able to confidently choose what to wear. Without forgetting its beautiful suits, close to Chanel model.
Years to come there will be nothing but the final consecration. Work-obsessed and withdrawn (if not Misanthrope), this fashion genius has put in place an impressive array of innovative transactions, many of them inspired by its great culture.
In 1965, for example, turns vinyl fabric for raincoats rigorous cut, inspired by Mondrian. In 1966 creates clothes from air pop art. The collection for autumn winter 1971-72 has taffeta dresses that hark back to the works of Marcel Proust. The Ballets Russes were the inspiration for the 1976 collection, which the New York Times calls "revolutionary, destined to change the course of fashion." In 1979 draws referring to Picasso and Matisse in 1981, without forgetting the Arab world of origin, to which the French stylist has always looked, leaving deeply influence.
In 1966 finally gives birth to a line of ready-to-wear, and in 1972 to a line of cosmetics and perfumes, which are also kissed by great success.
In January 2002 the now elderly French stylist has announced in a press conference that moving would leave high fashion. The glorious Maison the Avenue Marceau, therefore, has closed its doors.
To justify this decision, Pierre Berge, his partner in life and work long, explained: "couture is over. It is not an art that hangs like a painting. But it's something that makes sense if accompanied by the art of living. Today, long jeans and nike, the art of living does not exist anymore ".
After a long illness he died in Paris on the night of June 1, 2008, at the age of 71 years.


Its prisons

August 1, 1942
About Adriano Sofri means inevitably talk about what, in many quarters, and in a very authoritative, has been defined as a kind of "Dreyfus affair" Italian. And equate "Sofri Case" with that of the poor French officer means none other than qualify as scandalous shouting justice before the High Court of history.
Inevitable then retrace the steps that led to this veritable "wrongs" legal and institutional.
Adriano Sofri, born on August of 1942, in the 1970s was the greatest exponent of the extra-parliamentary leftist movement "Lotta Continua", but the genesis of his incarceration, however, date back to the episode of the famous murder Calabresi, generated on climate of the 1970s.
More precisely, the entire engine was the bomb that exploded on 12 December 1969 at the Banca Nazionale dell'Agricoltura in P.zza fountain, in the heart of Milan. Sixteen people died in the attack. Police, carabinieri and accused the Government of "anarchists". After various investigations, was summoned to the police station for an interview just a railroad man named Giuseppe Pinelli, an exponent of anarchism. Was the alleged culprit. Unfortunately, one night three days later, during one of several interviews in which he had been subjected, Pinelli died smashed in the courtyard of the police headquarters. From that moment, the tragic pantomime took place that sought to establish the causes and responsibility for the death. The Commissioner interpreted the gesture in front of the press, like suicide, caused by a sense of guilt of Papadopoulos and his feeling now on the ropes. The anarchists and the left instead, the Commissioner accused Calabresi of having "committed suicide" poor Pinelli.
Regarding the massacre later the police designated as guilty anarchist Pietro Valpreda dancer, then exonerated after a grueling process that lasted years (today it is known that a decisive role can be attributed to fascist groups).
In any event, returning to Pinelli, constant struggle unleashed a violent propaganda campaign against Calabresi. Sofri on his journal sought to compel the Commissioner to the lawsuit, only tool, according to the leader of Lotta Continua, to open an investigation into the death of an anarchist.
Calabresi sued actually fight continues and, in 1971, he began the long-awaited trial. Police and carabinieri were called to testify. But even as the trial drew to a close, the examining magistrate was taken off the case because Calabresi's lawyer claimed to have heard the judge declare to be convinced of the guilt of Mr.
In those circumstances, therefore, it was impossible to go forward and the process deflated on himself as an airless balloon.
The consequence was that on the morning of May 17, 1972, the Commissioner Calabresi was murdered on the street in Milan. Struggle continues immediately becomes suspect number one. In 1975 he was made a new trial that ended with the conviction of LC for defaming the Commissioner Calabresi. The ruling held that police officers had actually lied to endorse the thesis of Calabria, but Papadopoulos was dropped from the following an "illness", a term that the most vocal critics of the ruling have always claimed to be vague and not well defined.
The first arrest of Sofri and Pietrostefani, bowsprits (the other two leaders of Lotta Continua accused of having taken part in the murder), occurred in 1988, at the age of sixteen by facts, following confessions exposed to the public prosecutor's Office "regretted" Salvatore Marino, he too snug in the warm "the Organization fight continues. Marino claims to be the guy driving the car served for the attack. The perpetrator instead, according to Marino's reconstruction, without any direct or other contradictory testimony would Bowsprits. Pietrostefani and responsibilities of Sofri would instead of "morality" as being the charismatic leader of the movement and those who dictated orders, would have been the agents.
Sofri's interpretation as "authorized representative" is signed by those who, in these years, denied direct involvement of leaders (i.e. be conscious agent), but ascribe a moral responsibility as "bad teacher." A figure that, at least according to his personality, he would time astray consciences and influenced his followers with wrong theories.
Marino, therefore, declaring himself guilty and denounced his alleged accomplices after weeks of nightly meetings with the police, ever recorded.
After an endless series of debates and processes, which has always seen losing defensive line (which has the puzzling, given that the Supreme Court itself, in its highest expression i.e. the sections together, had felt completely unreliable claims Marino and had fully acquitted defendants), Adriano Sofri, Giorgio Pietrostefani and Ovidio Bompressi have delivered spontaneously to the Pisa prison. The Supreme Court has finally issued against them sentenced to 22 years in prison.
In the end, the protagonists of the story, guilty or innocent, who are serving their sentences in over thirty years after the fact.
We must also stress that the verdict, however, is based on the words of a single "repented". The vast movement of opinion that has been created for Sofri, then, argues that Marino's words are largely belied by the facts and without any feedback.
On the occasion of the publication of a book of Sofri "more hotels", and taking up the theme of a duty which should be duly granted Grace to Sofri (considering the time spent but also what Sofri has proven to be in these years, i.e. an intellectual of great thickness, not counting his direct involvement in Yugoslav war), but that Sofri itself is far from asking , Giuliano Ferrara wrote on Panorama words that we would like to bring back almost entirely: "[...] Still you can't pull out of jail one as well, one that does not move a finger for itself in the sense of the corny convenience, one that respects but prefers to fight in its own way the annihilation of his own existence rather than grant a centimeter of its sense of integrity, it is really painful. Painful in civil sense, and very frustrating.
It is obvious that the final criminal verdicts are not discussed anymore except in historical site. It is obvious that no one can claim to be free because it is as much a nice guy or because he has many friends in Italy and worldwide. It is obvious that this is not the only case of a justice that is made in unrighteousness, and should be completed by a constitutionally measure of grace. These are little pearls of tautologies case studies from moral or handicapped simple gossip. The problem is not of Adriano Sofri, who does not claim anything as this book demonstrates in an indirect way, but perfect. The prisoner you cut your nails, play football, reads, writes, watching tv, and the fact that most of the public alive imprisonment in perfect compliance with regulations prisons, his word has a space not intrusive and not overwhelming weight spread around him, for the mysterious ways of misunderstanding of human anguish of self and of envy, even an aura of privilege. The problem is ours, is the community of those who are out and don't know what to make of their power of grace, not of what's inside and did not even have time to think, write, communicate as you see one whose window looks out from five and a half years on a concrete wall.
That strange, morally ambiguous affair, that the failure to State clemency if Sofri. The State has the privilege of filling the right with grace, but do not exercise because the prisoner in the prison of Pisa has the strength to act as a free man, because the Vulgate wants a social citizen wounded by a conviction that proclaims unfair, but not abused debased nor humiliated, not usurping the outrageous privilege of a populous and productive solitude.
If the ground and power yield Sofri in whatever form, is industrierebbero in many of those who have the responsibility to decide for the best. If he's holding up without albagia, in the style of these great pages, also stylistically unique phenomenon in the history of the vast prison, all European literature remains stationary in mid-air, and no that is not a step back. What you don't ask for it has already given all the grace that can.
Those who should give it to him, grace, still do not know where to go to look for her. President Ciampi, Berlusconi, Minister of Justice: until when will you abuse your distraction? ".
Towards the end of November 2005 Adriano Sofri was hospitalized: would have been impressed by Mallory-Weiss Syndrome, which causes severe esophageal disorders. The occasion was granted the reprieve for health reasons. Since then remained under house arrest.
His sentence shall begin on January 16, 2012.
Adriano Sofri, "Memory", Sellerio
Adriano Sofri, "future perfect", alternative press
Adriano Sofri, "prisons", Sellerio
Adriano Sofri, "More Hotels", Mondadori
Piergiorgio Bellocchio, "who loses is always wrong", "diary" # 9, February 1991
Michele Feo, "who's afraid of Adriano Sofri?", "the bridge" August-September 1992
Michele Feo, "From prisons" homelands "bridge" August-September 1993
Carlo Ginzburg, "judge and historian", Einaudi
Mattia felt, "the prisoner: a brief history of Adriano Sofri", Rizzoli.
Extracted from the website: under Creative Commons License.

"Scythians" and "Sacae" | two renderings of Skudat, the name of the nomads of the Central Asian plains.

"Scythians" (Greek Σκύθης) and "Sacae" (Old Persian Sakâ): two renderings of Skudat ("archers"?), the name of the nomads of the Central Asian plains.
Scythian archer on an Athenian dish
The Central-Asian steppe has been the home of nomad tribes for centuries. Being nomads, they roamed across the plains, incidentally attacking the urbanized countries to the south, east and west.
The first to describe the life style of these tribes was a Greek researcher, Herodotus, who lived in the fifth century BCE. Although he concentrates on the tribes living in modern Ukraine, which he calls "Scythians" (Σκύθης), we may extrapolate his description to people in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and possibly Mongolia, even though Herodotus usually calls these eastern nomads "Sacae".  In fact, just as the Scythians and the Sacae shared the same life style, they had the same name: in their own language, which belonged to the Indo-Iranian family, they called themselves Skudat , which probably means "archers". The Persians rendered this name as Sakâ and the Greeks as Skythes or Skythai. The Chinese called them, at a later stage in history, Sai.
Tribes are, almost by definition, very loose organizations. Every now and then, new tribal coalitions came into being, and sometimes, new languages became prominent among the nomads from the Central-Asian steppe.
Scythian arrowheads
The oldest group we know of is usually called Indo-Iranian. (The old name "Aryan" is no longer used.) There are no contemporary reports about their migration, which can only be reconstructed from later languages. It is reasonably certain that at the beginning of the second millennium BCE, the speakers of the Proto-Indo-Iranian language moved from Ukraine to the southeast. From an archaeological point of view, their migration is attested in the change from the Yamnaya culture into the Andronovo culture.
They invaded the country that was later called Afghanistan, where they separated into an Iranian and an Indian branch. The first group settled in Aria (a name that lives on in our word "Iran"), where they settled after 1000 BCE; the second group reached the Punjab c.1500 BCE. From the second millennium on, three groups of languages can be discerned: the Indian group (Vedic, Sanskrit...), the Scythian group (in the homeland on the steppe), and the Iranian group (Gathic, Persian...). Even when, in the sixth century, the Achaemenid empire was at its most powerful and the Persians lived in comfortable towns, they still remembered their earlier, nomadic life style, as Herodotus points out:
The Persian nation contains a number of tribes, and the ones which Cyrus assembled and persuaded to revolt were the Pasargadae, Maraphii, and Maspii, upon which all the other tribes are dependent. Of these, the Pasargadae are the most distinguished; they contain the clan of the Achaemenids from which spring the Perseid kings. Other tribes are the Panthialaei, Derusiaei, Germanii, all of which are attached to the soil, the remainder -the Dahae, Mardi, Dropici, Sagarti, being nomadic.note
A second group of nomads known to have gone south may be the tribe of the Cimmerians. Their name Gimirru, which was given to them by the Assyrians, may mean "people traveling back and forth". The Cimmerians destroyed the kingdoms of Urartu (an old name for Armenia) and Phrygia (in Turkey) in the last quarter of the eighth century BCE. A group that Herodotus identifies as Scythians even reached Ascalon in Palestine. According to Herodotus, they ruled the northwest of Iran (which Herodotus calls Media) for twenty-eight years. We have no idea what
Map of the world of the Scythians
In the sixth, fifth and fourth centuries BCE, the Persians discerned several nomadic tribes on the Central-Asian steppe. As we have seem, they called them Sakâ. We know the names of these tribes from Persian royal inscriptions and can add information from Herodotus and other Greek authors.
  • The Sakâ haumavargâ ("haoma-drinking Sacae") were subjected by Cyrus the Great. Herodotus calls them Amyrgian Scythians. Haoma was a trance inducing drink, made from fly agaric. Because his mushroom does not occur south of the river Amudar'ya (Oxus), we must assume that these nomads lived in Uzbekistan. Herodotus informs us that they were archers and wore trousers and pointed caps. He also mentions their use of the battle ax (which they called sagaris).
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The Sakan leader Skunkha (right) on the Behistun relief
The Sakâ tigrakhaudâ ("Sacae with pointed hats") were defeated in 520/519 BCE by the Persian king Darius I the Great, who gave this tribe a new leader. One of the earlier leaders was killed, the other, named Skunkha, was taken captive and is visible on the relief at Behistun. (It is possible that Darius created a new tribe from several earlier tribes.) Herodotus calls the Sakâ tigrakhaudâ the Orthocorybantians ("pointed hat men"), and informs us that they lived in the same tax district as the Medes. This suggests that the Sakâ tigrakhaudâ lived on the banks of the ancient lower reaches of the Amudar'ya, which used to have a mouth in the Caspian Sea south of Krasnovodsk. The pointed hat is a kind of turban.
  • The Apâ Sakâ ("Water Sacae") are also known as the Pausikoi, as Herodotus prefers to call them. Later authors, like Arrian of Nicomedia (in his Anabasis) and Ammianus Marcellinus seem to known them as the Abian Scythians.note Still later, we encounter them as the Apasiaki, first east and later southwest of Lake Aral. They must be situated along the ancient lower reaches of the Amudar'ya.
  • The tribe that Herodotus calls "Massagetes" must have been called something like Mâh-Sakâ in Persian, which means "Moon Sacae". This is a bit confusing, because it is known that the Massagetes venerated only one god, the Sun. The Massagetes were responsible for the death of the Persian king Cyrus the Great (in December 530). From Herodotus' description, it is clear that they lived along the Syrdar'ya (Jaxartes).
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A mounted archer
The nomad tribe known as Dahâ, which means "robbers", is mentioned for the first time in the Daiva inscription of Xerxes; he must have subjected them. In the quotation above, Herodotus calls the Dai a Persian subtribe, but they can not have lived in Persia proper, because they are mentioned in the Anabasis of Arrian as living along the lower reaches of the Syrdar'ya. In the days of the Macedonian king Alexander the Great, they were famous for their mounted archers. It is possible that this tribe desintegrated after the fall of the Achaemenid Empire; one of the tribes that came into being was that of the Parni, who went south in the third century BCE and founded the Parthian empire.
  • The Sakâ paradrayâ ("Sacae across the sea") were living in Ukraine. These are the nomads that the Greeks called Scythians. In (514 or) 513 BCE, king Darius launched a disastrous campaign against the Sakâ paradrayâ. Herodotus gives a long description of their way of life and discerns many tribes in the neighborhood.
    • The Royal Scythians lived in the southern part of Ukraine, immediately north of the Greek towns.
    • The Scythian-Farmers seem to be identical with the archaeological culture known as Chernoles, which has been identified with the Iron Age Slavs.
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An eagle attacking a sturgeon (copy of a piece from the Witaszkowo Treasure)
Perhaps, we may identify the Neuri with the Milograd culture, the archaeological remains of which have been found on the confluence of the rivers Dnepr and Pripyat, north of modern Kiev. It has been suggested that they were the ancestors of the Balts.
    • Herodotus' story about the Man-eaters received some confirmation with the excavation of  human remains that were gnawed at by human jaws; these excavations were along the river Sula, to the southeast of Kiev.
    • The Argippaeans are sometimes identified with the ancestors of the Calmucs.
    • The Issedones may be identical to the Wu-sun who (according to Chinese texts) lived on the shore of Lake Balchash.
  • The Sauromatae are mentioned by Herodotus as the descendants of Scythian fathers and Amazon mothers. Of course, this is a legend, but the tribe did exist and was to move to the west after 130 BCE. In the process, they assimilated the Royal Scythians mentioned above. In the late first century BCE, the Sarmatian coalition consisted of four tribes:
    • The Iazyges, which had once lived on the shores of the Sea of Azov, were now living on the northern bank of the Danube. They were to move to what is now eastern Hungary, where they settled in c.50 CE. They were defeated by the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (in 175).
    • The Urgi lived on the banks of the Dnepr, south of Kiev.
    • The Royal Scythians were still living in the south of Ukraine and had become the most important Sarmatian tribe. They and the Urgi became known as the Sarmati. The Romans seem to have accepted their settlement in eastern Hungary, but the situation was sometimes tense. The Sarmati were, for example, responsible for the destruction of the Twenty-first Legion Rapax in 92.
    • The Roxolani initially lived between the Don and the Dnepr but settled on the lower reaches of the Danube, where the Iazyges had been living before they migrated to Hungary.
A Scythian shield emblem in the shape of a stag
A Scythian shield emblem in the shape of a stag
Eagle-shaped scythian brooche
A gilded disk from the Astrakhan area
Sakâ tigrakhaudâ. Relief from the eastern stairs of the Apadana at Persepolis.
The steppe nomads frequently attacked the urbanized regions to the east, south or west. Usually, this created great havoc, although after some time, they went back to their homeland. It was necessary for the attacked states to defend themselves. The Indians thought that they did not need walls because they were protected by the Himalayas but still, in c.110 BCE, the valley of the Indus was run over. The Chinese built the "Wall of ten thousand miles" to protect themselves. The rulers of the Achaemenid empire, from Cyrus the Great to Alexander the Great, may have built walls as well. One of these is mentioned in the eighteenth sura of the Quran and in medieval legend, and may be identified with known archaeological remains in Golestan (Iran). Both Cyrus and Alexander built garrison towns along the river Syrdar'ya or Jaxartes; our sources call them Cyreschata and Alexandria Eschatê.
A Tatar khan with a pointed cap
Nomadism continued to exist into the first and second millennium CE. Several tribes may be mentioned. The Alani (whose language lives on in modern Ossetian) are known from the first century CE; they lived in modern Kazakhstan. Later, they moved to the west, being pushed forward by the Huns, which are known from Chinese texts as the Xiung-nu. Later tribal formations were the Avars, the Chasars, the Bulgars, the Turks, the Magyars, the Cumans, the Tatars, the Mongols and the Cossacks.
  • J. Harmatta, "Herodotus, historian of the Cimmerians and the Scythians" in: Hérodote et les peuples non Grecs. Neuf exposés suivis de discussions (Entretiens sur l' Antiquité classique, tome XXV) (1990 Genève), 115-130.
  • Stephanie West, "Scythians" in: Egbert Bakker, Irene de Jong and Hans van Wees (eds.), Brill's Companion to Herodotus (2002 Leiden), pages 437-456
Published for educational purposes from the website: Ancient History Encyclopedia under Creative Commons License.

Verona | Verona, situated on the river Adige in northern Italy

by Mark Cartwright
Verona, situated on the river Adige in northern Italy, was a Roman town probably founded some time in the 2nd century BCE. It was a colonia by 69 CE and the impressive monuments which survive to this day attest to the city's importance. In late antiquity, the emperors Constantine I and Theodoric spent time in Verona, the latter building a palace, and today it is most famous for its magnificent amphitheatre, which was the third largest in the Roman world and which continues to hold important cultural events.
The oldest inscription found at Verona is from a milestone on the Via Postumia and dates to 148 BCE. The history of the town before that time is unclear but, according to both Pliny and Livy, the settlement may have been occupied by the Cenomani Gauls. Both Strabo and Martial describe Roman Verona as a large city, and prominent amongst its citizens were the powerful Gavia family who were also generous patrons of the city. In the mid-1st century CE Verona's citizens received Roman citizenship.
The general plan of the town, laid out in a regular grid pattern, may have been designed by Vitruvius. There were impressive circuit walls constructed by Emperor Gallienus (r. 253-268 CE), and notable architectural highlights include the large 1st century CE amphitheatre, several monumental gates, and a theatre. Catullus, the 1st century CE poet, is one of the town's famous sons. The town continued to be occupied through the Middle Ages but never regained the importance it had enjoyed in Roman times. The town did achieve literary fame, though, when Shakespeare chose it as a location for three of his plays, including Romeo and Juliet. Testimony to Verona's rich architectural legacy is its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Architectural highlights include the large 1st century CE amphitheatre, several monumental gates, and a theatre.


The 1st century CE amphitheatre, known simply as the Arena, is Verona's best preserved Roman monument. Originally there were three tiers of arches reaching a height of 30 metres, but today only two tiers survive except in one small portion where four arches survive of the top tier. The Arena floor is also now 2 metres below ground-level. The external dimensions of the elliptic structure are 152 x 123 metres, which made it the third largest Roman amphitheatre (after the Colosseum and Capua). The building was constructed using a cement and rubble mix known as opus coementicum, brick, and stone blocks from Valpolicella set in square pillars to create an external façade of 72 arches, each spanning 2 metres. These led directly to an interior corridor 4.4 metres wide which runs around the Arena. From this corridor, steps lead upwards at regular intervals and on four different levels to form vomitoria, which give access to the interior cavea. Inside, the seats were arranged in four elliptic rings giving a total of 44 rows of seats. There is also an extensive and still functioning drainage system which has contributed to the excellent preservation of the monument. The Arena was originally used to host gladiator, circus, and equestrian events and, even today, it continues to host concerts and, most famously, an opera season every summer where 20,000 spectators, as in antiquity, enjoy the unique atmosphere of an open-air spectacle.


The Roman theatre nestling into the hill on the left bank of the Adige was first built in the 1st century BCE during the reign of Augustus with conversion to stone probably coming later. It has been partially built over on the right side but originally measured 123 x 152 metres. The semicircular cavea and stage background wall are a typical mix of Roman and Greek architecture. Once again, quality building materials and good drainage systems have allowed for a reasonable preservation and the theatre continues to be used for public performances today.
Arch of Gavi, Verona

Arch of Gavi

The arch also known as the Arco dei Gavi was built in the 1st century CE to glorify and commemorate the powerful Gavi family. Typically, triumphal arches commemorated military triumphs and statesmen, but this is a rare example of such a structure commemorating a private family. Situated to mark the beginning of the Via Sacra, the arch once had family statues in its niches, the inscriptions of which still remain. There is also an inscription: 'Lucius Vitruvius Libertus Architectus' which indicates the architect who constructed it. Beneath the arch is a well-preserved stretch of Roman road with typical polygonal slabs which show the tell-tale parallel grooves of wheeled traffic. The arch was entirely dismantled in 1805 CE when Napoleon considered that it blocked military traffic, but the arch was restored in 1932 CE.

Borsari Gate

The Borsari Gate or Porta dei Borsari was built in the 1st century CE. The gate is built from white Valpolicella stone and was the city's main entrance gate in Roman times. Two arches are flanked by engaged Corinthian columns and topped by an architrave and tympanum. Above are two tiers of smaller arches, six on each level, again with engaged columns and pediments. The inscription relates to the city walls built in 265 CE by Gallienus.
Ponte Pietra, Verona

Ponte Pietra

The bridge known today as the 'Stone Bridge' was built in the 1st century BCE and was one of only two Roman bridges that crossed the Adige. Its original name was the Pons Marmoreus. Floods, warfare, and time have taken their toll on the structure but the two arches nearest the left bank (in white) are original.
Published for educational purposes from the website: Ancient History Encyclopedia under Creative Commons License.

Roman Naval Warfare | the Romans well knew that a powerful naval fleet

by Mark Cartwright
Military supremacy of the seas could be a crucial factor in the success of any land campaign, and the Romans well knew that a powerful naval fleet could supply troops and equipment to where they were most needed in as short a time as possible. Naval vessels could also supply beleaguered ports under enemy attack and, in turn, blockade ports under enemy control. A powerful navy was also indispensable to deal with pirates, who wreaked havoc with commercial sea-traders and even, on occasion, blockaded ports. Naval warfare had its own unique dangers, though, with adverse weather being the biggest threat to success, which is why naval campaigns were largely limited to between April and November.

Ships & Weapons

Ancient naval vessels were made of wood, water-proofed using pitch and paint, and propelled by both sail and oars. Ships with multiple levels of rowers, such as the trireme, were fast and manoeuvrable enough to attack enemy vessels by ramming. The largest ships were the quinqueremes, with three banks of rowers, two each for the upper two oars and one rower on the lower oar (around 300 in total). Ships could also be fitted with a platform via which marines could easily board enemy vessels - a device known as the corvus (raven). Built for speed, most warships were lightweight, cramped, and without room for storage or even a large body of troops. Such logistical purposes were better achieved using troop carrier vessels and supply ships under sail.
Aside from the bronze covered battering ram below the water-line on the ship's prow, other weapons included artillery ballista which could be mounted on ships to provide lethal salvoes on enemy land positions from an unexpected and less protected flank or also against other vessels. Fire balls (pots of burning pitch) could also be launched at the enemy vessel to destroy it by fire rather than ramming.


Fleets came to be commanded by a prefect (praefectus) appointed by the emperor, and the position required someone with great skill and leadership qualities to successfully marshal a fleet of sometimes unwieldy vessels. The captain of a vessel held centurion rank or the title of trierarchus. Fleets were based at fortified ports such as Portus Julius in Campania which included artificial harbours and lagoons connected by tunnels. Crews of Roman military vessels could be trained in such ports but they were, in reality, more soldiers than sailors as they were expected to act as light-armed land troops when necessary. Indeed, they are typically referred to as miles (soldiers) in documents and funeral monuments, and they also received the same pay as infantry auxillaries and were similarly subject to Roman military law. Crews were typically recruited locally and drawn from the poorer classes (the proletarii) but could also include recruits from allied states, prisoners of war, and slaves. Training was, therefore, a crucial requirement, so that the collective manpower was used most efficiently and discipline was maintained in the frenzy and horror of battle. 
Rome's navy swept away the Carthaginians and Cilician pirates, bringing total domination of the Mediterranean.


Roman naval tactics differed little from the methods employed by the earlier Greeks. Vessels were propelled by rowers and sail to transport troops, and in naval battles the vessels became battering rams using their bronze-wrapped rams. In actual battle, sailing manoeuvrability was limited and so rowers propelled the vessels when at close quarters with the enemy. Sails and rigging were stored on shore which saved weight, increased the vessel's stability, and left more room for marines. The objective was to position the ram to punch a hole in the enemy vessel and then withdraw to allow water into the stricken ship. Alternatively, a well-aimed swipe could break one bank of the enemy's oars and thus disable it. To achieve this sort of damage, the best angle of attack was to the enemy's flank or rear. Therefore, not only was manoeuvrability under oar a necessity but so too was speed. This is why, over time, vessels had more and more rowers, not along the ship's length which would make the ship unseaworthy, but by piling rowers on top of each other. Thus the trireme of the Greeks, with three levels of rowers, had evolved from the brireme with two levels, and the trireme eventually evolved into the Roman quinquereme.

Against Carthage

Rome had employed naval vessels from the early Republic in the 4th century BCE, especially in response to the threat from pirates in the Tyrrhenian Sea, but it was in 260 BCE that they built, in a mere 60 days, their first significant navy. A fleet of 100 quinqueremes and 20 triremes was assembled in response to the threat from Carthage. In typically Roman fashion, the designers copied from, and improved upon, a captured Carthaginian quinquereme. 
The Romans had also recognised the inferiority of their seamanship compared to the much more experienced Carthaginians. For this reason they employed the corvus. This was an 11 metre long platform which could be lowered from the ship's bow on to the decks of enemy vessels and fixed via a huge metal spike. Roman troops (around 120 on each ship) could then board the opposing vessel and make short work of the enemy crew. 
The first engagement where the corvi were employed with great effect was the Battle of Mylae off the coast of northern Sicily in 260 BCE. The two fleets were evenly matched with 130 vessels apiece, but the Carthaginians, not expecting the Romans to be any great shakes at naval warfare, did not even bother to form battle lines. The corvus proved a devastatingly successful attack weapon against the disorganised Carthaginians, and a Roman victory was the result, albeit, an unexpected one. Not only did the commander and consul Caius Duilius have the satisfaction of seeing his opposite number flee his flagship in a rowing boat, but he was also granted a military triumph for this, Rome's first great victory at sea.
Naval Landing


The Battle of Ecnomus, in 256 BCE off the southern coast of Sicily, was one of, if not the, largest sea battles in ancient times, and it would show that Mylae had been no fluke. The Romans, buoyed by their first success, had expanded their fleet so that they now had 330 quinqueremes with a total of 140,000 men ready for battle. The Carthaginians set sail with 350 ships, and the two massive fleets met off the coast of Sicily. The Romans organised themselves into four squadrons arranged in a wedge shape. The Carthaginians sought to entice the front two Roman squadrons away from the rear two and catch them in a pincer movement. However, whether through a lack of manoeuvrability or proper communication of intentions, the Carthaginian fleet instead attacked the Roman rear transport squadron whilst the front two Roman squadrons caused havoc inside the Carthaginian centre. In the close-quarter fighting, seamanship counted for little and the corvii for everything. Once again, victory was Rome's. Carthage lost 100 ships to a mere 24 Roman losses. 
The war dragged on, though, as Rome's immediate invasion of North Africa proved a costly failure. A notable expedition led by Gnaeus Servilius Rufus in 217 BCE cleared Italian waters of Carthaginian raiders and the Romans did eventually defeat the Carthaginian fleet, but largely because they were able to replace lost ships and men quicker in what became a war of real attrition. Victories were mixed with defeat at Drepna in 249 BCE and disasters such as the loss of 280 ships and 100,000 men in a single storm off the coast of Camarina in south-east Sicily, but, eventually, Rome prevailed. The war had cost Rome 1,600 ships but the prize was worth it: domination of the Mediterranean. This sea control became useful in Rome's wars with the successor kingdoms of Alexander in the Macedonian Wars. Between 198 and 195 BCE, for example, Rome repeatedly launched successful sea-borne raids against Philip V of Macedonia's ally Nabis, the Spartan tyrant.

Pompey & Pirates

With the decline of Rhodes, which had for centuries policed the Medtierranean and Black Sea to protect her lucrative trade routes, piracy became rife in the 1st century BCE. More than 1,000 pirate ships, often organised along military lines with fleets and admirals, were now the scourge of sea-trade. They also grew in confidence, acquiring triremes and even raiding Italy itself, attacking Ostia and disrupting the all-important grain supply. In 67 BCE Rome once more amassed a fleet, and Pompey the Great was given the task of ridding the seas of the pirate pest in three years.
With 500 ships, 120,000 men, and 5,000 cavalry at his disposal, Pompey divided his force into 13 zones and, himself leading a squadron, first cleared Sicily, then North Africa, Sardinia, and Spain. Finally, he sailed for Cilicia in Asia Minor, where the pirates had their bases and where they had been dliberately allowed to gather by Pompey for a last decisive battle. Attacking by sea and land, and victorious in the battle of Coracesium, Pompey negotiated a pirate surrender with a sweetener of free land for those who gave themselves up peacefully. The last threat to Rome's complete control of the Mediterranean was gone. 
Eventually, the only threat to Rome was Rome herself and, so it was, civil war ravaged Italy.

Civil War

Now the only threat to Rome was Rome herself and, so it was, civil war ravaged Italy. Julius Caesar emerged the victor, and the remnants of Pompey's fleet became the backbone of the Roman navy, which was used to good effect in the expeditions to invade Britain - the larger second expedition in 54 BCE involved a fleet of 800 ships. Following Caesar's assasination, the fleet came under the control of Sextus Pompeius Magnus, ironically, the son of Pompey. By 38 BCE Octavian, Caesar's heir, had to amass another fleet to meet the threat of Sextus. Giving command to Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, 370 vessels were dispatched to attack Sicily and the fleet of Sextus. Once again, a lack of well-trained seamen forced commanders to innovate, and Agrippa went for brute force over manoeuvrability and employed a catapult propelled grapnel on his vessels. This device allowed ships to be winched into close quarters to facilitate boarding by marines. The weapon proved devastatingly effective in 36 BCE at the 600-ship battle of Naulochos  (Sicily again), and Sextus was defeated.


In 31 BCE, near Actium on the western coast of Greece, there occurred one of the most significant naval battles in history. Still battling for control of the Roman Empire, Octavian now faced Mark Antony and his ally, Egyptian Queen, Cleopatra. Both sides amassed a fleet and made ready to attack the other. Mark Antony led a fleet of 500 warships and 300 merchant ships against Octavian's similar-sized force, although Antony had larger and less manoeuvrable Hellenistic-type vessels. Agrippa, still in command, launched his attack early in the sailing season and so caught Antony by surprise. The northern outposts of Antony's forces were the target, a move which created a diversion whilst Octavian landed his army. In any case, Antony refused to be drawn from his fortified harbour in the Gulf of Ambricia. Blockade was Agrippa's only option. Perhaps, Antony was playing for time, waiting for his legions to assemble from around Greece. Octavian, though, would not be drawn into a land battle and dug-in his fleet behind a defensive mole 8 km to the north. As disease ravaged his troops and his supply lines became increasingly threatened by Agrippa, Antony had little choice but to try and break out on the 2nd of September. Not helped by a defector giving Octavian his plans and several generals switching sides, Antony could only muster 230 ships against Agrippa's 400. 
Trireme Ramming
Agrippa's strategy was to hold station at sea and lure Antony away from the coast. However, this would have exposed Antony to the greater manoeuvrability of Agrippa's vessels, so he tried to hug the coast and avoid encirclement. As the wind rose around noon, Antony saw his chance for escape as his fleet was under sail whilst Agrippa's had stowed their sails on shore, standard practice in ancient naval warfare. The two fleets met and engaged and in the confusion, Cleopatra's 60-ship squadron fled the battle. Antony quickly followed suit; abandoning his flagship for another vessel, he followed his lover and left his fleet to be crushed by Agrippa and Octavian's combined forces. Soon after, Antony's land army, now leaderless, surrendered to Octavian with a negotiated peace. The propaganda of the victors predictably blamed Cleopatra and Antony's cowardice for the defeat, but the fact that Antony had engaged Agrippa under sail suggests that, heavily outnumbered, he had, from the start, intended flight rather than combat. 

Rome Stands Alone

Following victory at Actium, the new emperor Octavian, now calling himself Augustus, established two 50-ship fleets - the classis Ravennatium based at Ravenna and the classis Misenatium based at Misenum (near Naples), which were in operation until the 4th century CE. There were also later fleets based at Alexandria, Antioch, Rhodes, Sicily, Libya, Pontus, and Britain, as well as one operating on the Rhine and another two on the Danube. These fleets allowed Rome to quickly respond to any military needs throughout the empire and to supply the army in its various campaigns. In truth though, there was no real naval competition to Rome's fleets. This is evidenced by the fact that in the following centuries, Rome was involved in only one more major naval battle - in 324 CE between emperor Constantine and his rival Licinius - and so, in the ancient Mediterranean at least, after Actium, the days of large-scale naval battles were over.
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Nefertiti | Nefertiti was the wife of the pharaoh Akhenaten of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt.

by Joshua J. Mark
Nefertiti (c. 1370 - c. 1336 BCE) was the wife of the pharaoh Akhenaten of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt. Her name means, `the beautiful one has come’ and, because of the world-famous bust created by the sculptor Thutmose (discovered in 1912 CE), she is the most recognizable queen of ancient Egypt. She grew up in the royal palace at Thebes, probably the daughter of the vizier to Amenhotep III, a man named Ay, and was engaged to his son, Amenhotep IV, around the age of eleven. There is evidence to suggest that she was an adherent of the cult of Aten, a sun deity, at an early age and that she may have influenced Amenhotep IV’s later decision to abandon the worship of the gods of Egypt in favor of a monotheism centered on Aten. After he changed his name to Akhenaten and assumed the throne of Egypt, Nefertiti ruled with him until his death after which she disappears from the historical record.

Youth & Marriage

Even though it appears that Nefertiti was the daughter of Ay, this claim is far from substantiated. Inscriptions refer to Ay’s wife, Tiye (or Tey) as Nefertiti’s wet nurse, not her mother, and nothing is known of Ay’s lesser wife. Ay, in addition to his other duties, was tutor to the young Amenhotep IV and may have introduced the prince to Nefertiti when both were children. Nefertiti and her sister, Mudnodjame, were certainly regular members of the court at Thebes and, whether or not Ay introduced her to Amenhotep IV, the two would have known each other simply for that reason.
Ancient images and inscriptions indicate her early interest in the cult of Aten but, as every Egyptian favored one god or another, there is no reason to believe that she had any ideas relating to monotheism or elevating Aten above the other gods (as has been suggested by some scholars). All that can be stated with certainty is that both sisters were adherents of Aten and may have influenced Amenhotep IV’s interest in that cult from an early age. Any definitive statements regarding her influence on the rise of monotheism in Egypt must of necessity be speculative as there is no conclusive evidence to support it; just as there is little information on her life in general. The historian Peter B. Heller notes:
What is so striking about Nefertiti’s life and work is that, even though her likeness – derived from Thutmose’s bust of her – is one of the best-known and most frequently reproduced in the world, and while she lived at a time when Egypt was the most cultured and most powerful nation on earth, remarkably little is known about her (3).
By the time she was fifteen years old she was married to Amenhotep IV and, after the death of Amenhotep III, she became queen of Egypt. It is at this stage that some scholars claim she most exerted her influence on Amenhotep IV to abandon the ancient religion of Egypt and initiate his religious reforms but, again, this is unsubstantiated.
Nefertiti and Akhenaten were deeply devoted to each other and constantly together.

Nefertiti & Akhenaten

In the fifth year of his reign (some sources claim the ninth), Amenhotep IV changed his name to Akhenaten, abolished the religious practices of Egypt, closed the temples, and decreed Aten the one true god. While it is possible he created monotheism out of a genuine religious conviction, it is more probable that it was a political manoeuver to cut the power and wealth of the priests of the god Amun, whose cult was extremely popular. Throughout the 18th dynasty the cult of Amun had increasingly grown in wealth and prestige so that, by Akhenaten’s time, the cult's priests were almost as powerful as pharaoh. Instituting monotheism, and proscribing the old religion, would have completely restored power to the throne; and that is precisely what it did. The god Aten was now considered not only a powerful god of Egypt but the god of creation, the one true god of the universe.
Nefertiti appears with Akhenaten, the site of Akhetaten (Amarna), the new city dedicated to the god Aten. In the sixth year [of Akhenaten’s reign] Nefertiti’s name was changed to Nefernefruaten which means `Beautiful in beauty is Aten’. Nefertiti lived with Akhenaten in Amarna where he conducted religious services to Aten. (Bunson, 185).
The couple had six daughters: Meritaten, Meketaten, Ankhesenpaaten, Nefernefruaten-tasherit, Neferneferure, and Setepenre, but no sons. With his lesser wife, Kiya, Akhenaten had two sons, Tutankhamun and possibly Smenkhkare (though Smenkhare’s lineage is disputed). Akhenaten married two of these daughters, Meritaten and Ankhesenpaaten (later, Ankhsenamun, wife of Tutankhamun) and may have had children with them (though this is also disputed). What is clear, however, from stele and inscriptions which survived the later purge of their reign, is that the royal couple was deeply devoted to each other and constantly together or with their daughters. Regarding Nefertiti’s physical appearance at this time, Heller writes:
It is surmised that she must have been about four feet, six inches tall, the height of an average Egyptian woman of the time. It is known from her depictions that she often went about scantily dressed, as was customary in the warm climate. Otherwise, she appeared in the traditional garb of a clinging gown tied by a girdle with ends falling in front; at times, she is depicted coiffed with a short wig. She probably had a shaven head to improve the fit of her unusual tall blue crown. It is known that she identified with her husband’s heresy and that, according to Akhenaten’s poetry, he loved her dearly. It is also known that her beauty was legendary (3).
The royal family originally lived at the palace of Malkata in Thebes, which was built under the reign of Amenhotep III but renovated under Akhenaten and re-named Tehen Aten (meaning `the splendor of Aten). The historian Barbara Watterson describes the palace:
The royal apartments were built on an especially grand scale: the king’s bedroom, for example, measured nearly 8 metres by 5 [26 feet by 16.5], and this excludes a raised recess to house the royal bed. The floor in the great hall of the king’s palace was painted to represent a pool in the marshes and that in the palace next door a pool with plants and water birds. The entire ceiling of the great hall was patterned with flying vultures; that of the king’s bedroom with a row of vultures. The ceilings of many rooms in the palace were painted with spirals and interweaving designs, combined with naturalistic forms such as flying birds (151).
Watterson, and others, also point out that the palace was abundant in gold decorations and ornate reliefs. However opulent Malkata was, the new palace at the city the couple founded, Akhetaten, was even grander and, more importantly, served a symbolic purpose in the new religion of Aten. The Egyptologist Zahi Hawass explains:
As part of his religious revolution, Akhenaten decided to leave Thebes and move to a virgin site that would be dedicated to his new cult. The new city was located in Middle Egypt, and called Akhetaten, `Horizon of Aten’. It was laid out parallel to the river, its boundaries marked by stelae carved into the cliffs ringing the site. The king himself took responsibility for its cosmologically significant master plan. In the center of his city, the king built a formal reception palace, where he could meet officials and foreign dignitaries. The palaces in which he and his family lived were to the north, and a road led from the royal dwelling to the reception palace. Each day, Akhenaten and Nefertiti processed in their chariots from one end of the city to the other, mirroring the journey of the sun across the sky. In this, as in many other aspects of their lives that have come to us through art and texts, Akhenaten and Nefertiti were seen, or at least saw themselves, as deities in their own right. It was only through them that the Aten could be worshipped: they were both priests and gods (39).
Egyptian Royal Woman
In her role as part of the divine couple, Nefertiti may also have been co-regent. Akhenaten joined his cartouche (his seal) with hers as a sign of equality and there is evidence that she took on the traditional duties of pharaoh while her husband busied himself with theological reformation and architectural renovations. Images which have survived depict her officiating at religious services, receiving foreign dignitaries, moderating diplomatic meetings, and even in the traditional royal role of the king smiting the enemies of Egypt. None of these images would have been created if there were not some truth behind the stories they depict and so Nefertiti must have wielded more power than any woman in Egypt since the time of Hatshepsut (1479-1458 BCE). From the royal palace at Akhetaten, she sent forth the royal decrees and made the decisions which, according to tradition, were the responsibility of her husband.

Nefertiti’s Disappearance

Around the year 14 of Akhenaten and Nefertiti’s reign, their daughter Mekitaten died in childbirth at the age of 13. An image in relief from the time shows the couple standing over their daughter’s body in mourning. Shortly after this, Nefertiti vanishes from the historical record. There have been many theories offered to explain her abrupt disappearance and, among these are:
  1. She fell out of favor with her husband because she could not produce a male heir and so was replaced by Kiya.
  2. She abandoned the religion of Aten and was banished by Akhenaten.
  3. She committed suicide in grief over the loss of her daughter.
  4. She continued to rule under the name of Smenkhkare until her step-son, Tutankhamun, was old enough to assume the throne.
Of these theories, none of them can be substantiated but the fourth, and even that, many argue, is uncertain. The leading proponent of the Nefertiti-as-Smenkhkare theory is Zahi Hawass who writes:
This king [Smenkhkare] is shown as a male in the company of Meritaten as `his’ queen; however, his throne name was virtually identical to that of Akhenaten’s coregent, now convincingly identified as Nefertiti. Whether this king was Nefertiti herself or an otherwise unattested son of Akhenaten’s (or Amenhotep III’s) he or she died only two years after ascending the throne, and left Egypt in the hands of a young boy named Tutankhaten [later Tutankhamun] (47).
The problems with the other theories are that Akhenaten already had a male heir in Tutankhamun and so would not have deserted his wife on that account (theory one); there is no evidence to support Nefertiti leaving the cult of Aten (theory two); she was still living after the death of her daughter and the throne name of Akhenaten’s successor is the same as hers (theory three). The reason why theory two has long remained popular is because of evidence that the worship of the old gods began to revive toward the end of Akhenaten’s reign and, it is thought, this could not have happened without some kind of royal support or encouragement.
Since it is considered impossible that Akhenaten would have abandoned the religion he created, it is speculated that it was his coregent who was behind this. The revival of the old religious practices, however, could easily have been a grassroots movement by the people of Egypt who had grown tired of being forced to neglect the traditional faith of the land. The Egyptians held that their actions were intimately tied to celestial balance and that their relationship with the gods was of vital importance. In abandoning the old gods of Egypt, Akhenaten would have thrown the universe out of balance and it is quite likely that the former priests of Amun, and those of other cults, finally decided to try to restore harmony to the land on their own, without consulting their ruler. Since it is known that Nefertiti was a devotee of Aten prior even to Akhenaten’s conversion, and that she regularly took part in religious services, as well as the fact that no images or inscriptions give any evidence that she forsook the cult, it is highly unlikely that she would have led a return to the traditional religious practices of Egypt.
The hatred the people had for the new monotheistic religion of their pharaoh is exemplified in its complete eradication after the death of Akhenaten’s successor Tutankhamun. Tutankhamun himself, upon taking the throne, abandoned the religion of Aten and returned Egypt to traditional practice. His successor, Ay, (possibly the same man suggested as Nefertiti’s father) continued his policies but the last pharaoh of the 18th dynasty, Horemheb, went further than either of them. Horemheb, claiming he had been chosen by the gods to restore the true religion of Egypt, tore down Akhenaten’s temples, defaced his stele, and tried to eradicate all evidence that the heretic king and his family had ever ruled Egypt. It is because of Horemheb’ s decrees that so little is known of Nefertiti, and other royals linked with the Amarna Period, in the present day. The wonder, really, is not that so little is known but that, considering Horemheb’s hatred of Akhenaten’s reforms, and his dedication to the mission of erasing the king and his family from history, that modern day scholars have any information on the Amarna Period at all.
Unfinished Head of Nefertiti

Modern-day Controversy

Nefertiti was the subject of controversy, between Egypt and England, when the British archaeologist, Joann Fletcher, claimed to have found the queen’s mummy in 2003 CE. Fletcher’s claim was based on details of a mummy, known by Egyptologists as the “Younger Lady”, which she felt matched depictions of Nefertiti. The Discovery Channel aired Fletcher’s theory as though the mummy of the queen had been positively identified when, in fact, this was hardly the case. As a result, Fletcher was banned from working in Egypt because of an alleged breach in protocol which requires all archaeologists working in the country to first report their findings to the Supreme Council of Antiquities before releasing anything to the international press. Although this ban was later lifted, and Fletcher returned to Egypt, the controversy surrounding the mummy is unresolved. Fletcher’s supporters claim that the “Younger Lady” is Nefertiti while those who side with Hawass maintain the opposite. The very same details are used by both sides to support their claim and it seems unlikely there will be any resolution until some future discovery is made which lends more weight to one side than the other.
Nefertiti has also caused an on-going dispute between Egypt and Germany over the famous bust presently residing in the Egyptian Museum (Neues Museum) of Berlin. Nefertiti’s face is one of the most instantly recognizable images from antiquity, perhaps, only second to her step-son Tutankhamun. Even if one does not know the queen’s name, statuettes and posters of the famous bust have been reproduced world-wide. Even so, when it was discovered in 1912 CE, no one knew who Nefertiti was. The bust would have been remarkable for its beauty, of course, but not for the individual it represents. Because of the decrees of Horemheb, the royal family had been forgotten. Inscriptions from Horemheb’s reign show him as the successor of Amenhotep III, completely erasing the reign of the `heretic king’ and his successors. The bust was created c. 1340 BCE by the court sculptor Thutmosis as a model for his apprentices in their representations (whether sculpture or painting) of the queen. Because it was a model, and never intended for display, only one eye is completed. The Egyptian Museum of Berlin describes the Bust of Queen Nefertiti as “one of the first ranking works of Egyptian art mostly due to the excellent preservation of the colour and the fine modeling of the face…the bust is made of limestone which is covered with modeled gypsum. The eye is inlayed with crystal and the pupil attached with black coloured wax. The second eye-inlay was never carried out” (1).
The bust is housed in Room 2.10 of the Egyptian Museum of Berlin in Germany where it was taken after its discovery at Amarna. Hawass writes, “One day in the winter of 1912 CE, a German archaeologist named Ludwig Borchardt was excavating at Tell al-Amarna when he found a beautiful bust of Nefertiti in the workshop of a sculptor named Thutmosis” (39). What happened after this discovery is an ongoing, often heated, debate between Egypt and Germany.
Since the enforcement of the rules governing antiquities in Egypt was fairly lax in the early 20th century CE (as, in some areas anyway, were the rules themselves) it does not seem there can ever be any way to resolve the dispute. The Germans claim that Borchardt found the bust, made a legal declaration of his find, and then brought the piece back to Germany. The Egyptian claim (as articulated by Hawass) argues that “the German mission covered the head with mud to disguise its beauty so that during the division of antiquities at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo the curator did not notice its remarkable features. Therefore, the bust was allowed to go to the Berlin Museum” (39). The Egyptians, then, claim the bust was obtained illegally and should be returned to Egypt; the Germans, of course, argue it is their legal property and should remain in the museum. Hawass notes that, “Plans were made to return [the bust] to Egypt just before World War II, but Hitler asked to see it before it left the country, fell in love with it, and refused to let it out of German hands” (41). This claim has also been disputed by the German government and the former, and current, director of the Egyptian Museum of Berlin.
In 2003 CE this controversy became more heated when the museum allowed two artists, known as Little Warsaw, to place the bust on a bronze body of a naked woman in order to show what the queen may have looked like. This very poor decision resulted in Egypt renewing its efforts for repatriation of the bust but, as the Little Warsaw exhibit lasted only a few hours, the controversy cooled and the bust remains where it has been since 1913 CE and where it continues to be one of the most popular pieces of art, if not the most popular, in the permanent collection.
Published for educational purposes from the website: Ancient History Encyclopedia under Creative Commons License.


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