Monday, March 21, 2022

Rome Journal: Villa di Massenzio

 Maxentius' Villa (photograph: Hallie Cohen)
The emperor Maxentius--the ruins of whose villa, including a mausoleum and circus, is still a popular tourist destination-- ascended to power in 306 AD. By that time the notion of succession as a birthright had been abolished. Maxentius was appointed Caesar by the Praetorian guard and the people of Rome. Concepts of power generated in this period still inform notions of governance today. Maxentius took the throne during a period when tetrarchy or the sharing of power between four different parties, had become established. The notion of bicameral legislature may derive from this political "division of labor." Maxentius profited from rising in a world where the will of the people produced an early form of electoral politics. Ironically the very freedoms, anticipating democracy, responsible to Maxentius rise, brought about his downfall. In 312, he unsuccessfully challenged the forces of Constantine near the Milvian Bridge outside Rome and subsequently drowned in the Tiber. 

Read "From the January 6. Archive" by Francis Levy, The East Hampton Star

and watch the animation of Erotomania

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