Fifty shades of Pompeii: Erotic wall paintings reveal the x-rated services once offered at ancient Italian brothels
Wall paintings in a historic Pompeii brothel have revealed the amorous activities of ancient Italians.
The 'Lupanar of Pompeii' is decorated with centuries-old wall paintings depicting explicit sex scenes.
The sex house was once a hangout for wealthy businessmen and politicians before the Roman city was famously wiped out by a volcanic eruption in 79 AD.
Researchers believe the erotic paintings depicting group sex and other acts may have indicated the services offered by prostitutes.
The Lupanar of Pompeii was the centre point for the doomed city's thriving red light district.
The ancient Roman brothel was originally discovered in the nineteenth century.
It was closed, but was recently re-opened to the public in October 2006.
While the brothel is neither the most luxurious nor the most important historic building in what remains of Pompeii, it is the most frequently visited by tourists from across the world.
Prostitutes at the brothel were not exclusively women.
Men, especially young former-slaves, sold themselves there too - to both men and women.
The erotic lives of Pompeii's prostitues were recently illustrated by Western University professor, Kelly Olson.
Professor Olson focuses her work on the role of women in Roman society, and the apparent open sexuality visible in the many frescos and sculptures.
The Classical Studies professor travelled to the ancient city last month as a featured expert on Canadian broadcaster CBC's programme 'The Nature of Things'.
Speaking of life in ancient Pompeii brothels, she said: 'It's not a very nice place to work.'
'It's very small, dank and the rooms are rather dark and uncomfortable,' she told CBC.
'Married men could sleep with anyone as long as they kept their hands off other men's wives,' she said.
'Married women were not supposed to have sex with anyone else.'
The building is located in Pompeii's oldest district.
The two side streets that line the brothel were once dotted with taverns and inns.
CAUGHT RED HANDED
Upon entering the building, visitors are met by striking murals of erotic scenes painted on the walls and ceilings.
In each of the paintings, couples engage in different sexual acts.
According to historians, the paintings weren't merely for decoration - they were catalogues detailing the speciality of the prostitute in each room.
Two thousand years ago, before the devastating volcanic eruption, prostitution was legal in the Roman city.
Slaves of both sexes, many imported from Greece and other countries under Roman rule, were the primary workforce.
The Unesco World Heritage Site is of special importance because, unlike other Pompeii brothels at the time, the Lupanar of Pompeii was built exclusively for prostitution appointments, serving no alternative function.
Its walls remain scarred by inscriptions left by past customers and working girls.
Researchers have managed to identify 120 carved phrases, including the names of customers and employees who died almost two thousand of years ago.
Many of these inscriptions include similar phrases to those one would find in a modern day bathroom, including men boasting of their sexual prowess.
On the top floor of the building sit five rooms, each with a balcony from which the working girls would call to potential customers on the street.
Much like in ancient Rome, researchers speculate that Pompeii prostitutes were required to legally register for a licence, pay taxes, and follow separate rules to regular Pompeii women.
For example: When out on the street, Pompeii's working girls wore strict attire - they wore a reddish brown coat at all times, and dyed their hair blonde.
Prostitutes were separated into different classes depending on where they worked and the customers they served.
Though the historic sex site has been 'closed for business' for some time, that hasn't stopped some raunchy holiday makers attempting to re-christen the building.
In 2014, three French holidaymakers were arrested for trespassing after breaking into the brothel ruins for a late night sex romp.
A Frenchman and two Italian women, all aged 23 to 27, allegedly broke into the Suburban Baths to fulfil their fantasies inside a former brothel that is still decorated with centuries-old wall paintings depicting explicit sex scenes.
But authorities brought the group's middle-of-the-night threesome to a premature end.
Chemical weapons first used by Persians against Roman army almost 2,000 years ago
It is the oldest evidence yet of chemical warfare - a 1,800-year-old pile of bodies found in a tunnel.
The remains belong to 20 Roman soldiers, killed by a mixture of gases pumped into the tunnel by their Persian enemies.
They were part of a city garrison and had dug a tunnel to attack the besieging Persians - who were digging their own tunnels to undermine the city walls.
The Persians (King Darius, centre) at the Battle of Issus, 1st century B.C, from a Roman mosaic. The Persians attacked a Roman garrison using lethal gas
Clues left at the scene revealed the Persian were lying in wait as the Romans dug the tunnel - they then pumped in toxic gas - produced by sulphur crystals and bitumen - to kill all the Romans in minutes.
Dr Simon James, who solved the whodunnit mystery 70 years after the bodies were discovered in Syria, said: "It's very exciting and also quite gruesome. These people died a horrible death.
"The mixture would have produced toxic gases including sulphur dioxide and complex heavy petro-chemicals. The victims would have choked, passed out and then died.
"I believe this is the oldest archaeological evidence of chemical warfare ever found. This is the beginning of a particularly nasty history of killing that continues up to the modern day."
Dr James, a researcher at the University of Leicester who presented his discoveries to a meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America, said the 20 soldiers died not by the sword or spear but through asphyxiation.
They had been part of a large Roman garrison defending the empire outpost city of Dura-Europos, on the Euphrates river in modern day Syria, against a ferocious siege by an army from the powerful new Sasanian Persian empire in around AD 256.
There are no historical texts describing the siege but archaeologists have pieced the action together after excavations in the 1920s and 1930s, which have been renewed in recent years.
Evidence shows the Persians used the full range of ancient siege techniques to break into the city, including mining operations to dig under and breach the city walls.
Roman defenders responded with 'countermines' to thwart the attackers. It was in one of these narrow, low galleries that a pile of 20 Roman soldiers was found, apparently stacked up neatly and still with their weapons, in the 1930s.
Counterattack: The Roman assault party were dead in minutes
Dr James returned to the 'cold case' mystery while also conducting new fieldwork at the site in an effort to understand exactly how they died and came to be lying where they were found.
He said: "It is evident that, when mine and countermine met, the Romans lost the ensuing struggle.
"Careful analysis of the disposition of the corpses shows they had been stacked at the mouth of the countermine by the Persians, using their victims to create a wall of bodies and shields, keeping Roman counterattack at bay while they set fire to the countermine, collapsing it and allowing the Persians to resume sapping the walls.
"But this doesn't explain how they died. For the Persians to kill twenty men in a space less than 2 metres high or wide, and about 11 metres long, required superhuman combat powers - or something more insidious."
Finds from the tunnel revealed that the Persians used bitumen and sulphur crystals to get the fire burning - and this was to prove the vital clue.
Dr James believes the Persians placed braziers and bellows in their gallery, and when the Romans broke through, they added the chemicals to the fire and pumped choking clouds of dense, poisonous gas into the Roman tunnel.
Dr James said: "The Roman assault party were unconscious in seconds, dead in minutes. The Persians must have heard the Romans tunnelling and prepared a nasty surprise for them.
"This is the most likely explanation of how they came to die in such a small space.
"There are ancient history texts that mention Greeks using a technique like this against the Romans, using smoke generators in a tunnel, but this is the first physical evidence of this actually happening.
"One of the surprising things is that people tend to think these eastern empires were not very good at siege warfare.
"But quite clearly the Sasanian Persians were just as good as the Romans. They were very sophisticated and very determined and they knew exactly what they were doing.
"They were clearly clever and ruthless but they were no more nasty than everybody else at the time. The Romans were phenomenally brutal when it came to warfare."
In the end the Persian mines failed to bring the walls down, but it is clear that the Sasanians somehow broke into the city and routed the Romans.
Dr James recently excavated a 'machine-gun belt', a row of catapult bolts, ready to use by the wall of the Roman camp inside the city, representing the last stand of the garrison during the final street fighting.
The defenders and inhabitants were slaughtered or deported to Persia and the city was abandoned for ever.
Roman prostitutes were forced to kill their own children and bury them in mass graves at English 'brothel'
The babies of Roman prostitutes were regularly murdered by their mothers, archaeologists have found.
A farmer's field in Hambleden, Buckinghamshire, yielded the grisly secret after a mass grave containing the remains of 97 babies - who all died around the same age - was uncovered.
Following a close study of the plot, experts have decided it was the site of an ancient brothel and terrible infanticides took place there.
The Yewden Villa excavations at Hambleden in 1912. Archaeologists at the site have found the remains of 97 babies they believe were killed by their prostitute mothers
With little or no effective contraception available to the Romans, who also considered infanticide less shocking than it is today, they may have simply murdered the children as soon as they were born.
Archaeologists say locals may have systematically killed and buried the helpless youngsters on the site.
Measurements of their bones at the site in Hambleden show all the babies died at around 40 weeks gestation, suggesting very soon after birth. If they had died from natural causes, they would have been different ages.
Archaeologist Dr Jill Eyers, who lives locally, has been interested in the site for many years. She put together a team to excavate the site and is writing a book about her findings.
She said: 'Re-finding the remains gave me nightmares for three nights.
'It made me feel dreadful. I kept thinking about how the poor little things died. The human part of the tale is awful.
‘There were equal numbers of girls and boys. Some of the babies were related as they showed a congenital bone defect on their knee bones, which is a very rare gene.
'It would account for the same woman or sisters giving birth to the children as a result of the brothel.'
One of the infant skeletons found during the dig. Scientists believe the site was used to dump the bodies of prostitutes' babies because of a lack of contraception
The Yewden villa at Hambleden was excavated 100 years ago and identified as a high status Roman settlement.
It is now covered by a wheat field, but meticulous records were left by Alfred Heneage Cocks, a naturalist and archaeologist, who reported his findings in 1921.
He gave precise locations for the infant bodies, which were hidden under walls or buried under courtyards close to each other.
However, the matter was not investigated further until now. Cocks' original report was recently rediscovered, along with 300 boxes of photographs, artefacts, pottery and bones, at Buckinghamshire County Museum.
Dr Eyers was suspicious that the infants were systematically killed because they were unwanted births - a suspicion which has been confirmed by Simon Mays, a palaeontologist who has spent the past year measuring the bones.
Distressing: Part of one of the baby's skulls which was found at the site
Dr Eyers said 'He proved without doubt that all the infants were new-born. They were all killed at birth and all at the gestation period of between 38 and 40 weeks.
‘There are still little bits of the jigsaw to be pieced together. We want to see final figures of boys and girls and the relations to ascertain what sort of group we have here.
‘We also found a family of five buried in a well. Did they die in a fire or were they murdered?
‘There is another site about a mile down the river which we know nothing about but I think there must be a connection.'
The find has been compared to the discovery of the skeletons of 100 Roman- era babies in a sewer beneath a bath house in Ashkelon, southern Israel, in 1988.
Invaders' hidden culture of death and debauchery
Ruling with an iron fist: A typical Roman soldier
Nearly 2,000 years ago it was the Romans who were enjoying the pleasant climate and farming bountiful crops in this corner of south-east England.
The nearest Roman town was St Albans - or Verulamium - a busy market on Watling Street with its own gladiator theatre.
Life was tough, disease rife and hygiene for the poor dreadful, but the climate is thought to have been warmer than now, making farming easier.
The Roman name for Hambleden is lost to antiquity but the people would have been a mixture of native Celts and Roman settlers, most of them farmers growing wheat and barley and a mixture of other crops.
Living in houses made mostly of wood, some would have travelled the length of the empire in the army and settled in the fertile Thames Valley, but most would never have travelled any distance from home.
Despite the bloody image of the Roman Empire, Britain was - especially in the south - a peaceful and prosperous place for most of the period of the occupation.
Pottery found in Hambleden comes from modern-day Italy, France, Belgium and Germany, showing the trade which the Empire brought.
But it also brought a culture of debauchery and death - even to a tiny village near the Thames, or 'Tamesis' to the Romans - with gladiators a day's boat trip away in London ( Londinium), brothels, and unwanted babies left to die in the open.
The famously well-preserved remains at Pompeii revealed a city rife with brothels signposted with erotic frescoes tempting passers-by with phrases such as 'Hic habitat felicitas' (Here happiness resides) or 'Sum tua aere' (I am yours for money).
Unlikely as it seems, it is entirely possible that Hambleden could have supported a brothel, as it is so close to the Thames, a busy waterway bringing trade to and from London.
The two-storey building was a few hundred yards from the river, with plenty of signs of wealth in the coins and pottery found in the grounds.
The remains of writing tablets and stylae, used to write, were also found, telling of a place with extensive contact with the wider world.
Dr Simon Mays, a skeletal biologist at English Heritage, has examined the Hambleden Roman infant bones
Literacy was a sign of affluence, and rich men and women were in frequent correspondence with each other.
Correspondence found at Hadrian's Wall shows how they bickered over dinner parties, gossiped about friends and discussed fashion in notes to each other.
What went on inside the Hambleden villa is, of course, a matter of conjecture. But there is little doubt that the find of so many babies' skeletons proves that Roman Britain shared another part of the empire's culture - infanticide.
Illegal today, it was the opposite for the Romans, with the law making a child under two entirely the property of its father, to be disposed of as he saw fit - and if it was deformed, it was compulsory to put it to death. A letter from a Roman citizen to his wife, dating from 1BC, demonstrates the casual nature with which infanticide was often viewed:
'I am still in Alexandria. ... I beg and plead with you to take care of our little child, and as soon as we receive wages, I will send them to you. In the meantime, if (good fortune to you!) you give birth, if it is a boy, let it live; if it is a girl, expose it.'
In 374 - after Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the empire - the practice was banned. The Romans may have done much for us - but they left a very dark secret in the Home Counties.
The discovery of a hoard of 100 ancient coins could prove the Romans conquered more of the South West than thought, it has been claimed.
It had been believed that Exeter, in Devon, was the last major outpost of the ancient empire.
But the chance find of the treasure and evidence of a huge settlement further west may force historians into a rethink.
As one of the 'most significant Roman discoveries for many decades', it has challenged the theory that fierce resistance from local tribes to the invaders stopped them from moving any further.
Exciting: The discovery of a hoard of 100 ancient coins, like this one pictured here, could prove key to unlocking how much of the South West of England was controlled by the Romans
Sam Moorhead, of the British Museum, said: 'It is the beginning of a process that promises to transform our understanding of the Roman invasion and occupation of Devon.'
The Roman coins were unearthed by two metal detector-wielding amateur archaeological enthusiasts.
Danielle Wootton, the University of Exeter's liaison officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme which looks after items found by the public, was tasked with investigating the find.
After carrying out a geophysical survey last summer, she said she was astonished to find evidence of a huge settlement on the site which, for security reasons, has only been located as 'several miles west of Exeter'.
It included at least 13 round-houses, quarry pits and track-ways covering a minimum of 13 fields, the first of its kind for the county.
The excavation of the site will star in the forthcoming BBC2 series Digging For Britain, which starts on August 24.
Discovery: The chance find outside of Exeter, in Devon, was much further west than it was previously thought the Romans had settled
Ms Wootton said: 'You just don't find Roman stuff on this scale in Devon. this was a really exciting discovery.'
She carried out a trial excavation on the site, and has already uncovered evidence of extensive trade with Europe, a road possibly linking to the major settlement at Exeter, and some intriguing structures, as well as many more coins.
But she said most exciting of all was that her team had stumbled across two burial plots that seem to be located alongside the settlement's main road.
She added: 'It is early days, but this could be the first signs of a Roman cemetery and the first glimpse of the people that lived in this community.'
Not enough excavation has been done yet to date the main occupation phase of the site, but the coins that were found range from slightly before the start of the Roman invasion up until the last in 378AD.
The Romans reached Exeter during the invasion of Britain in AD 50-55, and a legion commanded by Vespasian built a fortress on a spur overlooking the River Exe.
This legion stayed for the next 20 years before moving to Wales.
A few years after the army left, Exeter was converted into a bustling Romano-British civilian settlement known as Isca Dumnoniorum, complete with Roman public buildings, baths and forum.
It was also the principal town for the Dumnonii, a native British tribe who inhabited Devon and Cornwall.
It was thought that their resistance to Roman rule and influence, and any form of 'Romanisation' stopped the Roman's settling far into the South West.
For a very long time, Exeter was believed to be the limit of Roman settlement in Britain in the south west, with the rest inhabited by local unfriendly tribes.
Some evidence of Roman military occupation had been found in Cornwall and Dartmoor, but they were thought to be protecting supply routes for resources such as tin.
Ms Wootton added: 'We are just at the beginning really, there's so much to do and so much that we still don't know about this site.
'I'm hoping that we can turn this into a community excavation for everyone to be involved in, including the metal detectorists.'
Legion of the Damned: Did Boudicca's curse cause 6,000 of Rome's fiercest warriors to vanish without trace?
Over the course of its majestic, turbulent and bloody 1,000-year history, Ancient Rome gave rise to many extraordinary stories which live on to this day.
Tales filled with unforgettable, larger-than-life characters who, whether heroes or villains, seem - like Shakespeare's brilliant, but fatally ambitious Caesar - to 'bestride the narrow world like a Colossus, and we petty men walk under his huge legs, and peep about...'
No wonder Hollywood has always loved Rome, whose ferocity, passion and sheer spectacle have given rise to great epic movies from Ben-Hur to Gladiator.
Mystery: The unexplained disappearance of the 6,000 legionaires from Ninth Legion in Scotland is the inspiration behind two competing films
Yet the latest movies inspired by the barbarous magnificence of the ancient world comes not from the heart of Rome, but from a remote northern province on the edge of the Empire, and an ancient legend that continues to haunt the imagination.
A province we now call Scotland, but which the Romans knew as Caledonia.
Both films (still in production) concern the Roman Ninth Legion and the bizarre fate that befell them in the mists of the Scottish Highlands around AD117.
The Eagle Of The Ninth will vie with rival project Centurion, starring British actor Dominic West and Bond girl Olga Kurylenko, to do this epic tale justice.
For the facts, as far as they can be discerned, are as thrilling as they are peculiar.
'Only the faintest rumours ever returned of what had befallen the men'
Wine, women and slaughter: The truth behind Emperor Nero's pleasure palace
In Nero's sadistic world, such barbarity was commonplace. And it was at its most inventive and acute at the parties staged in his fabled rotating dining room.
Lusted after by upper-class women but doomed to a gory end... the brutal life of a British gladiator
This is because the armies of Caesar were advancing north-westwards to France at the time, driving tribal communities towards the coasts.
The Punic Wars were a series of three wars fought between Rome and Carthage from 264 BC to 146 BC. At the time, they were probably the largest wars that had ever taken place. The termPunic comes from the Latin word Punicus (or Poenicus), meaning "Carthaginian", with reference to the Carthaginians' Phoenician ancestry. The main cause of the Punic Wars was the conflict of interests between the existing Carthaginian Empire and the expanding Roman Republic. The Romans were initially interested in expansion via Sicily (which at that time was a cultural melting pot), part of which lay under Carthaginian control. At the start of the first Punic War, Carthage was the dominant power of the Western Mediterranean, with an extensive maritime empire, while Rome was the rapidly ascending power in Italy, but lacked the naval power of Carthage. By the end of the third war, after more than a hundred years and the loss of many hundreds of thousands of soldiers from both sides, Rome had conquered Carthage's empire and completely destroyed the city, becoming the most powerful state of the Western Mediterranean. With the end of theMacedonian wars – which ran concurrently with the Punic Wars – and the defeat of the Seleucid King Antiochus III the Great in the Roman–Syrian War (Treaty of Apamea, 188 BC) in the eastern sea, Rome emerged as the dominant Mediterranean power and one of the most powerful cities in classical antiquity. The Roman victories over Carthage in these wars gave Rome a preeminent status it would retain until the 5th century AD.
So what did the Romans do for us? Archaeologists find cobbled road that was built 100 years BEFORE they invaded
Tim Malim, the archaeologist leading the project, said his team had been brought in to investigate what was believed to be a Roman road.
WHAT THE EXPERTS KNOW ABOUT THE NEWLY DISCOVERED ROAD
Clue to the crucifixion? 2,000-year-old biblical burial box is new 'link to the death of Jesus Christ'
WHO WAS CAIAPHAS?
So, three years ago, when the Israel Antiquities Authority confiscated an ossuary with a rare inscription from antiquities looters, they turned to experts at Tel Aviv University's Department of Archaeology to authenticate the fascinating discovery.
And they say the Austrian site is even more detailed than the well-known Roman ruin, down to the remains of a thick wooden post in the middle of the training area, which was used as a mock enemy for the aspiring gladiators to attack.
1,700-year-old Saints' skeletons prove legendary tale of virgin Christian martyrs who were buried alive in ancient Rome was TRUE
- They belong to Chrysanthus and Daria, who were killed in 283AD
THE MAKING OF TWO MARTYRS
Rome's Pantheon is a building which was originally built as a temple to the seven deities of the seven planets in the state religion of Ancient Rome. Agrippa's Pantheon was destroyed along with other buildings in a huge fire in 80 AD; the current building dates from about 125 AD, during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian, as date-stamps on the bricks reveal.
The Roman Army Knife: Or how the ingenuity of the Swiss was beaten by 1,800 years
The knife is on display at the Greek and Roman antiquities gallery at Cambridge's Fitzwilliam Museum
'The expansion of Rome - which, before 500 BC, had just been a small central Italian state - made some individuals, perhaps like our knife-owner, personally very wealthy.
'This could have been directly from the fruits of conquests, or indirectly, from the 'business opportunities' the empire offered.
'We know almost nothing about the person who owned this ingenious knife, but perhaps he was one of those who profited from the vast expansion of Rome - he would have been wealthy to have such a real luxury item.
'Perhaps he was a traveller, who required a practical compound utensil like this on his journeys.'
The spokesman added: 'While many less elaborate folding knives survive in bronze, this one's complexity and the fact that it is made of silver suggest it is a luxury item.
'Perhaps a useful gadget for a wealthy traveller.'
Modern Swiss Army knives originated in Ibach Schwyz, Switzerland, in 1897 and were created by Karl Elsener.
The knives which provide soldiers with a 'battlefield toolkit' have since become standard issue for many modern day fighting forces thanks to their toughness and quality.
Nationalist Elsener decided to design the knives after he realised the Swiss army were being issued with blades manufactured in neighbouring Germany.
Other popular artefacts include an intricately designed Greek make-up box which was custom made almost 3000 years ago for a women of 'wealth and status'.
The round clay make-up container from Athens dates back to 740BC and experts believe it may have been stored in a grave in the Ancient Greek city for the last 2,700 years.
The six inch high and 12 inch diameter box would have contained precious gems and make up from the era made from a variety of naturally occurring substances.
Historians have pieced together a 2,000-year-old Roman cavalry helmet 10 years after its discovery in an Iron Age shrine and say it sheds new light on the conquering of Britain.
The helmet and its cheek pieces have been painstakingly restored from 1,000 small fragments over three years by experts at the British Museum.
Constructed of sheet iron, the helmet, once decorated with gold leaf, is the only one to have been found in Britain with its silver gilt plating intact and is also one of the earliest ever found in Britain.
Unique: The 2,000 year old silver gilt Roman helmet which was unearthed in a Leicestershire field and painstakingly pieced back together
Metals conservation expert Marilyn Hockey began unearthing the fragments out of a 'big lump of soil' at the British Museum three years ago.
She said: 'Working our way down this enormous lump of clay, we discovered at the bottom some amazing finds ... the emperor cheek piece told us it was something really special.
'To get something straight out of the soil like this is like gold. You can find out so much from it.'
Roman soldiers were fighting men, first and foremost. Constant and rigorous training kept them at peak conditions, and ready for action at any time.
In the mid-Republic each Roman legion had an equivalent complement of allied infantry equipped and modeled after the legion and a three times larger complement of cavalry. The army of the Late Republic and Early to Mid-Empire consisted of legionaries and auxiliaries. The auxiliaries were named so after the earlier allied complement, but with structure and equipment differing from the legionaries. They were non-Roman citizens, recruited mostly from the Roman provinces with less pay than the legionaries, but at the end of their service they would be granted Roman citizenship. In the Late Roman army the distinction was between comitatenses, reserve troops and limitanei, border troops.
The helmet features several scenes of Roman military victory, including the bust of a woman flanked by lions and a Roman emperor on horseback with the goddess Victory flying behind while a cowering figure, possibly a native Briton, is being trampled under his horse’s hooves.
Painstaking: It took experts at the British Museum three years to piece together the 1,000 small fragments of the helmet
An artist's impression of what the complete 'Hallaton helmet' might have looked like, created by the British Museum
It is believed to have been buried in the years around the emperor Claudius’s invasion of Britain in AD43.
Experts claim there is a 'distinct possibility' that it belonged to a Briton serving in the Roman cavalry before the conquest of Britain.
THE ROMAN EMPIRE IN BRITAIN
The first extensive Roman campaigns in Britain started with the armies of Julius Caesar in 55 and in 54 BC, which were largely repelled by the native Celts.
It wasn't until AD43 that Britain was successfully invaded by the armies of Roman emperor Claudius.
He conquered the southern half of Britain, and made it part of the Roman Empire.
The Romans introduced paved roads to Britain - replacing old tracks and paths.
In AD122, the Romans built Hadrian's wall, 73 miles long across northern England, to regulate the movement of trade near the rebellious northern territories.
They also introduced Roman baths and running water to many cities, towns, and villages around the Britain. Trade and industry flourished.
In AD216, for greater control, the Romans divided the land into two provinces. southern Britain was known as Britannia Superior and the north, Britannia Inferior.
In AD388, soldiers stationed in Britain began to be recalled to Rome to combat the numerous attacks on it by various barbarian tribes.
In AD410, Britain, which was under attack from Picts and Saxons, asked Rome for help.
Emperor Honorius told them that they must 'look to their own defences'.
This ended Roman rule in Britain, and heralded the Anglo-Saxon era.
They say it changes our understanding of the relationship between Romans and Britons and what the country was like just before the invasion.
It is thought that the helmet may have been buried as a gift to the gods at what was a local shrine on the Briton’s return to the East Midlands.
The helmet was unearthed in Hallaton, Leicestershire, after a metal-detecting enthusiast came across buried coins with his second-hand £260 metal detector.
Retired design and technology teacher, Ken Wallace, 71, called in experts who went on to discover an impressive collection of artefacts.
More than 5,000 coins, ingots and the helmet’s ear guard were among the treasures discovered, along with the remains of a feast of suckling pigs.
Coins from both the British Iron Age and the Roman Empire were found together for the first time.
Mr Wallace and the landowner of the site were paid £300,000 to be split between them for the find.
Mr Wallace said: 'When this ear guard came to the surface we knew it was going to be a Roman cavalry helmet - but what it would look like was anybody’s guess.
'It’s amazing, I never thought I would see it like that. I thought I’d get to see a computer-generated impression. I’ve been extremely lucky.'
Leicestershire County Council has now bought the helmet to go on display at Harborough Museum, just nine miles from where it was buried 2,000 years ago.
Head of research at the British Museum, Jeremy Hill, said his 'mouth dropped' when he saw the object pieced back together.
Precious find: Ken Wallace at the British Museum with the helmet he unearthed. He said he considers himself very lucky to have been able to see it reconstructed
He said that the helmet had helped 'change our understanding of what Britain was like just before the Roman conquest'.
He said: 'Every book on the Roman conquest of Britain is going to have a picture of that helmet in it now.
'Just as we were starting to rethink the importance of the East Midlands in the context of the Roman Empire, it says "bang, you’ve got to rethink it", the same with the relationship between Romans and Britons.'
The helmet may also have been a diplomatic gift to a pro-Roman population, or a spoil of war taken during a raid on a Roman camp or during battle.
Poem was found in a city dump 1,400 miles from Rome along with thousands of other scrolls
Emperor Nero: History has painted him as a cruel leader, but the poem romanticizes his life
An ancient Greek poem praising the wife of the infamous Roman emperor Nero has been discovered in an Ancient Egyptian town.
The poem treats Poppaea Sabina, the wife of the cruel leader, as a goddess - describing her ascending into the heavens and painting a touching portrait of the couple.
Due to the lettering style, researchers believe the poem was written around AD300 - two hundred years after Nero's death, leaving a mystery as to why someone more than 1,400miles from Rome would wish to write a tribute so many years later.
Nero has gone down in history as one of Rome's most cruel, depraved and megalomaniac rulers, often indulging in orgies and blamed for a devastating city fire which allowed the emperor to rebuild the city to his own tastes.
Poppaea was also criticised at the time. When, according to ancient records, Nero killed his first wife Octavia, Poppaea was said to have been presented with her head.
She then convinced Nero to commit matricide and was, according to the records, the real power behind the throne.
But the poem sees Poppaea in a different light, with the goddess Aphrodite welcoming her to the stars, telling her: 'my child, stop crying and hurry up: with all their heart Zeus' stars welcome you and establish you on the moon...'
The poem was discovered 100 years ago - but was only recently translated.
Two excavators, Bernard Grenfell and Arthur Hunt, found hundreds of thousands of scrolls in ancient city dumps in Oxyrhynchus in Egypt.
The town had a population of around 10,000 at the time of the Romans, and the papyri contained thousands of records and details of life in the era.
A tribute to Nero and Poppeae: The poem, written on two sides of the newly deciphered papyrus
The process of translating is still continuing years down the line and the team, according to Live Science, did not know what to expect other than the scroll contained a poem in Greek text.
It turns out the poem, in early history's answer to Romeo and Juliet, shows Poppaea lamenting over her lost lover.
According to Live Science the poem reads: '[S]he was downcast and did not rejoice in the offered (favour). For she was leaving her husband, (a man) equal to the gods, and she moaned loudly from her longing...'
Poppaea then ascends to the stars, crossing the planets then known to mankind, including 'the Cyllenaean star' (Mercury), 'belt of the Aegis-bearer' (Jupiter) and 'Rhea's bedfellow' (Saturn).
When she arrived 'under a clear (moon), the dance of the blessed (gods) she viewed'.
Then, she went out alone into the darkness of the North Pole, 'looking around for her husband under the darkness...'
Where in the world? Oxyrhynchus, near Cairo, is more than 1,400miles from Rome
Theories about the range from the suggestion that it was originally composed in the time of Nero and was retold over the next 200 years before being written down in Egypt, to this being a poem written about an Egyptian officials death, which used Nero and Poppaea as an example of star-crossed lovers.
Paul Schubert, a professor at the University of Geneva, who led the research, said it was possible such poems were written for members of the Roman imperial family after they died.
He said: 'There is a possibility that the poem we have here recovered actually belongs to this lost genre, but we can't be sure.'
DOWNFALL OF AN EMPOROR: HOW 'NERO FIDDLED WHILE ROME BURNED'
Emperor Nero was the fifth and final Roman Emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty and inherited the throne and the title Caesar from his adoptive uncle Claudius.
The notorious emperor reigned from 54 to 68 AD, and his name was a byword for dissolution, cruelty and excess.
n 64AD two-thirds of Rome was destroyed in a great fire and Nero famously rebuilt the city after the fire in the Greek classical style, including his lavish Golden palace.
Rome burns; History tells us Nero sat playing his fiddle while Rome burned to the ground
Described by Suetonius as one of Rome's most cruel, depraved and megalomaniac rulers, Nero often indulged in orgies. Fancying himself an artist, he entertained guests at his palace with his own performances of poetry and songs
However Nero did not enjoy the frescoed halls and gold-encrusted ceilings for too long. It was completed in AD 68 - the year he committed suicide after his legions and bodyguards rose against him and the senate declared him a public enemy.
Many Romans at the time believed the fire and ensuing destruction had been a ploy for the emperor to indulge his aesthetic tastes, despite his having been at his villa in Antium, 56km away, at the time.
The stories tell of Nero unconcernedly playing the fiddle while the city burned.
He blamed the Christians, then a minority sect, for the fire, and persecuted them. Early Christian tradition holds Nero responsible for the deaths of the Apostles Peter and Paul.
After Nero's suicide, the palace was stripped of its marble, jewels and ivory, and within a decade the site was filled in and built over.
It was eventually rediscovered in the 15th century after a local fell through the ground and into the remains of the structure.
Within days people were letting themselves down on ropes so they could admire the frescoes that remained, among them artists Raphael and Michelangelo who carved their names on the walls.
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