The British Museum, in conjunction with its exhibit on Pompeii and Herculaneum, has released an iOS App for the iPhone ($2.99) and the iPad ($5.99). The application allows users to explores the cities via interactive maps, view objects in high resolution and contextual detail, an in depth timeline, and the aftermath of the eruption (including the city’s later discovery and excavation). The application draws from archaeological discoveries, the remains at the cite, historical sources (specifically the account of Pliny the Younger).
Right now, the application is limited to iOS devices but an Android version is planned to be released in May 2013.
Valentine’s Day has long enjoy a seedy, scandalous history stemming from ancient times. Originally, the Romans celebrated a festival called the Lupercalia on February 13-15. During this annual festival, nearly naked young men would run and strike fertile young women with leather thongs to encourage their changes of successfully conceiving and birthing children.
Lupercalia, of which many write that it was anciently celebrated by shepherds, and has also some connection with the Arcadian Lycaea. At this time many of the noble youths and of the magistrates run up and down through the city naked, for sport and laughter striking those they meet with shaggy thongs. And many women of rank also purposely get in their way, and like children at school present their hands to be struck, believing that the pregnant will thus be helped indelivery, and the barren to pregnancy. (Plutarch).
Later, the Catholic Church banned the Pagan celebration and declared February 14th in honor of Saint Valentine (Valentinus). However, his history is also steeped in mystery. In fact, the Catholic Church removed him from their official calendar of Saints in the 1960s.
The burial remains of a man and a woman from Roman times (more than 1,500 years ago) have been uncovered by archaeologists in Central Italy. The find has inspired romantics and archaeologists alike. The couple was buried holding hands and apparently looking towards one another:
“We believe that they were originally buried with their faces staring into each other.”
The find suggests that relationships between couples was considered an important element not only in life (where ‘love-matches’ were a rare event), but also in the after-life.
“Whoever buried these people likely felt that communicating their relationship was just as important in death as it was in life.”