Ancient Rome

In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire until the fall of the western empire. The civilisation began as an Italic settlement in the Italian Peninsula, traditionally dated to 753 BC, that grew into the city of Rome and which subsequently gave its name to the empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilisation the empire developed; the Roman Empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants covering 5.0 million square kilometres at its height in AD 117. In its many centuries of existence, the Roman state evolved from an elective monarchy to a democratic classical republic and to an autocratic semi-elective military dictatorship during the Empire. Through conquest and linguistic assimilation, at its height it controlled the North African coast, Southern Europe, most of Western Europe, the Balkans and much of the Middle East, including Anatolia and parts of Mesopotamia and Arabia.

It is grouped into classical antiquity together with ancient Greece, their similar cultures and societies are known as the Greco-Roman world. Ancient Roman civilisation has contributed to modern language, society, law, government, art, literature and engineering. Rome professionalised and expanded its military and created a system of government called res publica, the inspiration for modern republics such as the United States and France, it achieved impressive technological and architectural feats, such as the construction of an extensive system of aqueducts and roads, as well as the construction of large monuments and public facilities. The Punic Wars with Carthage were decisive in establishing Rome as a world power. In this series of wars, Rome gained control of the strategic islands of Corsica and Sicily. By the end of the Republic, Rome had conquered the lands around the Mediterranean and beyond: its domain extended from the Atlantic to Arabia and from the mouth of the Rhine to North Africa.

The Roman Empire emerged with the dictatorship of Augustus. Seven-hundred and twenty-one years of Roman–Persian Wars started in 92 BC with the first struggle against Parthia, it would become the longest conflict in human history, have major lasting effects and consequences for both empires. Under Trajan, the Empire reached its territorial peak, it stretched from the entire Mediterranean Basin to the beaches of the North Sea in the north, to the shores of the Red and Caspian Seas in the East. Republican mores and traditions started to decline during the imperial period, with civil wars becoming a prelude common to the rise of a new emperor. Splinter states, such as the Palmyrene Empire, would temporarily divide the Empire during the crisis of the 3rd century before some stability was restored in the Tetrarchy phase of imperial rule. Plagued by internal instability and attacked by various migrating peoples, the western part of the empire broke up into independent "barbarian" kingdoms in the 5th century.

This splintering is a landmark historians use to divide the ancient period of universal history from the pre-medieval "Dark Ages" of Europe. The eastern part of the empire endured through the 5th century and remained a power through the Middle Ages until its fall in 1453 AD. Although the citizens of the empire made no distinction, the empire is most referred to as the "Byzantine Empire" by modern historians to differentiate between the state in antiquity and the state during the Middle Ages. According to the founding myth of Rome, the city was founded on 21 April 753 BC on the banks of the river Tiber in central Italy, by the twin brothers Romulus and Remus, who descended from the Trojan prince Aeneas, who were grandsons of the Latin King Numitor of Alba Longa. King Numitor was deposed by his brother, while Numitor's daughter, Rhea Silvia, gave birth to the twins. Since Rhea Silvia had been raped and impregnated by Mars, the Roman god of war, the twins were considered half-divine; the new king, feared Romulus and Remus would take back the throne, so he ordered them to be drowned.

A she-wolf saved and raised them, when they were old enough, they returned the throne of Alba Longa to Numitor. The twins founded their own city, but Romulus killed Remus in a quarrel over the location of the Roman Kingdom, though some sources state the quarrel was about, going to rule or give his name to the city. Romulus became the source of the city's name. In order to attract people to the city, Rome became a sanctuary for the indigent and unwanted; this caused a problem, in that Rome was bereft of women. Romulus visited neighboring towns and tribes and attempted to secure marriage rights, but as Rome was so full of undesirables he was refused. Legend says that the Latins invited the Sabines to a festival and stole their unmarried maidens, leading to the integration of the Latins with the Sabines. Another legend, recorded by Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus, says that Prince Aeneas led a group of Trojans on a sea voyage to found a new Troy, since the original was destroyed at the end of the Trojan War.

After a long time in rough seas, they landed on the banks of the Tiber River. Not lo

Cahors Cathedral

Cahors Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church located in the town of Cahors, France. A national monument, it is an example of the transition between the late Romanesque and Gothic architectural traditions; the church was built by bishop Gerard de Cardaillac in the 11th century, over a church erected in the 7th century by St. Didier of Cahors, it was consecrated by Pope Calixtus II on September 10, 1119, completed around 1135. The church, located in the city's centre, has the sturdy appearance of a fortified edifice: at the time, the local bishops were in fact powerful feudal lords in their role as counts and barons of Cahors; the façade, renovated in 1316–1324 by Guillaume de Labroue, cousin of Pope John XXII, confirms this impression: it resembles a heavy castle wall, consisting in a porch surmounted by a bell tower enclosed between two towers. The six windows, as well as those on the porch sides, are rather narrow. On the northern side is a secondary façade in Romanesque style fortified; the well-illuminated nave is 44 x 20 m wide.

The two massive, 32 m-high, domes in Byzantines style, resting on pendentives, are supported by six huge pilasters. Unusually, there is no transept. One of the domes is decorated with 14th-century frescoes, depicting the stoning of St. Stephen as well as eight prophets, each riding an animal, in the fashion of Greek or Hindu deities; the walls have numerous other medieval paintings. In Gothic style on a Romanesque base, the apse has three chapels with sculptures; the complex forms a pleasant contrast between the white apse and the colorful stained glass and the paintings of the choir. There are several tombs, such as that of Alain de Solminihac, the precious relic of the Holy Cap, worn by Christ and, brought to France by bishop Gerard de Cardillac after his trip to the Holy Land in 1113. A door on the right of the choir gives access to the Flamboyant Gothic-style cloister, built in 1504 by bishop Anthony of Luzech, it has scenes of a Madonna. On the western side is the St. Gaubert Chapel, with the vault decorated with Italian Renaissance paintings and, on the walls, 15th-century frescoes representing the Last Judgement.

It is now home to a museum of Religious Art. History of Medieval Arabic and Western European domes Cahors Cathedral at Structurae

Vienna State Opera

The Vienna State Opera is an opera house and opera company based in Vienna, Austria. The 1,709-seat Renaissance Revival venue was the first major building on the Vienna Ring Road, it was built from 1861 to 1869 following plans by August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll, designs by Josef Hlávka. The opera house was inaugurated as the "Vienna Court Opera" in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth of Austria, it became known by its current name after the establishment of the First Austrian Republic in 1921. The members of the Vienna Philharmonic are recruited from the Vienna State Opera's orchestra; the building is the home of the Vienna State Ballet, it hosts the annual Vienna Opera Ball during the carnival season. The opera house was the first major building on the Vienna Ringstrasse commissioned by the Viennese "city expansion fund". Work commenced on the house in 1861 and was completed in 1869, following plans drawn up by architects August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll.

It was built in the Neo-Renaissance style by the renowned Czech architect and contractor Josef Hlávka. The Ministry of the Interior had commissioned a number of reports into the availability of certain building materials, with the result that stones long not seen in Vienna were used, such as Wöllersdorfer Stein, for plinths and free-standing, simply-divided buttresses, the famously hard stone from Kaisersteinbruch, whose colour was more appropriate than that of Kelheimerstein, for more lushly decorated parts; the somewhat coarser-grained Kelheimerstein was intended as the main stone to be used in the building of the opera house, but the necessary quantity was not deliverable. Breitenbrunner stone was suggested as a substitute for the Kelheimer stone, stone from Jois was used as a cheaper alternative to the Kaiserstein; the staircases were constructed from polished Kaiserstein, while most of the rest of the interior was decorated with varieties of marble. The decision was made to use dimension stone for the exterior of the building.

Due to the monumental demand for stone, stone from Sóskút used in Budapest, was used. Three Viennese masonry companies were employed to supply enough masonry labour: Eduard Hauser, Anton Wasserburger and Moritz Pranter; the foundation stone was laid on 20 May 1863. The building was, not popular with the public. On the one hand, it did not seem as grand as the Heinrichshof, a private residence, destroyed in World War II. Moreover, because the level of Ringstraße was raised by a metre in front of the opera house after its construction had begun, the latter was likened to "a sunken treasure chest" and, in analogy to the military disaster of 1866, was deprecatingly referred to as "the'Königgrätz' of architecture". Eduard van der Nüll committed suicide, ten weeks Sicardsburg died from tuberculosis so neither architect saw the completion of the building; the opening premiere was Don Giovanni, by Mozart, on May 25, 1869. Emperor Franz Josef and Empress Elisabeth were present. Towards the end of World War II, on March 12, 1945, the opera was set alight by an American bombardment.

The front section, walled off as a precaution, remained intact including the foyer, with frescoes by Moritz von Schwind, the main stairways, the vestibule and the tea room. The auditorium and stage were, destroyed by flames as well as the entire décor and props for more than 120 operas with around 150,000 costumes; the State Opera was temporarily housed at the Vienna Volksoper. Lengthy discussion took place about whether the opera house should be restored to its original state on its original site, or whether it should be demolished and rebuilt, either on the same location or on a different site; the decision was made to rebuild the opera house as it had been, the main restoration experts involved were Ernst Kolb and Udo Illig. The Austrian Federal Chancellor Leopold Figl made the decision in 1946 to have a functioning opera house again by 1949. An architectural competition was announced, won by Erich Boltenstern; the submissions had ranged from a complete restructuring of the auditorium to a replica of the original design.

In order to achieve a good acoustic, wood was the favoured building material, at the advice of, among others, Arturo Toscanini. In addition, the number of seats in the parterre was reduced, the fourth gallery, fitted with columns, was restructured so as not to need columns; the façade, entrance hall and the "Schwind" foyer remain in their original style. In the meantime, the opera company, which had at first been performing in the Volksoper, had moved rehearsals and performances to Theater an der Wien, where, on May 1, 1945, after the liberation and re-independence of Austria from the Nazis, the first performances were given. In 1947, the company went on tour to London. Due to the appalling conditions at Theater an der Wien, the opera company leadership tried to raise significant quantities of money to speed up reconstruction of the original opera house. Many private donations were made, as well as donations of building material from the Soviets, who were interested in the rebuilding of the opera.

The mayor of Vienna had receptacles placed in many sites around Vienna for people to donate coins only. In this way, everyone in Vienna could say they had participated in the reconstruction