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On this day in AD503 a group of monks got drunk

Stuart McCunn writes about the consequences of this particular booze-up…

On this day in AD 31 the Praetorian Prefect Sejanus was executed.

Sejanus rose to power and great influence as the prefect of the Praetorians, the imperial bodyguard, under the emperor Tiberius.

On this day in AD 54, the Roman emperor Claudius died at Rome

Tradition holds the Praetorian guard made him emperor when they found him quivering behind a curtain, reasoning that he wouldn’t be too ruthless in power.

On this day in AD 19 Germanicus died at Antioch.

Germanicus never became emperor himself, but his son Caligula, his brother Claudius, and his grandson Nero would all come to occupy the imperial throne.

On this day in AD79 Mount Vesuvius erupted, destroying the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum

On the day that an earthquake rocks central Italy, two thousand years ago Vesuvius shattered countless ancient lives.

On this day in AD 117, the Roman emperor Trajan died

Trajan was proverbially so well-liked that in the later empire, new emperors would be enjoined to “be more fortunate than Augustus and better than Trajan”.

On this day in AD 363 the Roman emperor Jovian ascended the throne

Text by Rob Stone Jovian was born in AD 331 in Singidunum (modern day Belgrade, Serbia). His father, Varronianus, was the commander of the bodyguards (comes domesticorum) of Constantius II. Jovian himself would join this group and prior to his accession he had risen to the same position as his father, commanding the guard for …

On this day in AD 4 Augustus organised the imperial succession

Tiberius was very much Augustus’ reserve choice for the succession…

On this day in AD392 the Roman emperor Valentinian II was found dead in Vienna

Text by Juliet O’Brien Valentinian II was born to Valentinian I, the western Roman emperor (r. 364-375), and his second wife Justina in 371. His birth name was Flavius Valentinianus. The elder Valentinian died in late 375 during a campaign in Pannonia against the Quadi. Despite being the younger son (Valentinian I had an elder …

On this day 1778 Joseph Addison’s play Cato: A Tragedy was performed to the American Continental army encamped in Valley Forge

Text by Gary Fisher The long winter of 1777 – 1778 which George Washington’s Continental army spent encamped in Valley Forge has entered into American folklore as the lowest point of the revolution with over 2,500 of Washington’s 12,000 soldiers dying of exposure, disease, and starvation, prompting Gouverneur Morris to describe the struggling revolutionaries as …