03 December 2006

Imperial artifacts found in Rome

Says the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
Archaeologists have unearthed what they say are the only existing imperial insignia belonging to Emperor Maxentius - precious objects that were buried to preserve them and keep them from enemies when he was defeated by his rival Constantine.

Excavation under Rome's Palatine Hill near the Colosseum turned up items including three lances and four javelins that experts said are striking for their completeness - digs usually turn up only fragments - and the fact that they are the only known artifacts of their kind.

Some of the objects, which accompanied the emperor during his public appearances, are believed to be the base for the emperor's standards - rectangular or triangular flags, officials said.

An imperial scepter with a carved flower and a globe, and a number of glass spheres, believed to be a symbolic representation of the earth, also were discovered.

Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius was born ca 278, and was Emperor of Rome from 306 until 312 (not 321, as the article quoted above says). He died after the battle of the Milvian Bridge, north of Rome, in battle with the forces of the Emperor Constantine.

Another biographical article on Maxentius here.

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