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Latium

Latium is the region of central western Italy and the entirety of Vatican City in which the city of Rome was founded and grew to be the capital city of the Roman Empire. Latium was a small triangle of fertile, volcanic soil on which resided the tribe of the Latins or Latians, it was located on the left bank of the River Tiber, extending northward to the River Anio and southeastward to the Pomptina Palus as far south as the Circeian promontory. The right bank of the Tiber was occupied by the Etruscan city of Veii, the other borders were occupied by Italic tribes. Subsequently, Rome defeated Veii and its Italic neighbours, expanding Latium to the Apennine Mountains in the northeast and to the opposite end of the marsh in the southeast; the modern descendant, the Italian Regione of Lazio called Latium in Latin, in modern English, is somewhat larger still, though less than twice the size of the original Latium. The ancient language of the Latins, the tribespeople who occupied Latium, was the immediate predecessor of the Old Latin language, ancestor of Latin and the Romance languages.

Latium has played an important role in history owing to its status as the host of the capital city of Rome, at one time the cultural and political centre of the Roman Empire. Latium is home to celebrated works of art and architecture; the earliest known Latium was the country of the Latini, a tribe whose recognised centre was a large, dormant volcano, Mons Albanus, 20 kilometres to the southeast of Rome, 64 kilometres in circumference. In its center is a crater lake, Lacus Albanus, oval in shape, a few km long and wide. At the top of the second-highest peak was a temple to Jupiter Latiaris, where the Latini held state functions before their subjection to Rome, the Romans subsequently held religious and state ceremonies; the last pagan temple to be built stood until the Middle Ages when its stone and location were reused for various monasteries and a hotel. During World War II, the Wehrmacht turned it into a radio station, captured after an infantry battle by American troops in 1944, it is a controversial telecommunications station surrounded by antennae considered unsightly by the population within view.

The selection of Jupiter as a state god and the descent of the name Latini to the name of the Latin language are sufficient to identify the Latins as a tribe of Indo-European descent. Virgil, a major poet of the early Roman Empire, under Augustus, derived Latium from the word for "hidden" because in a myth Saturn, ruler of the golden age in Latium, hid from Jupiter there. A major modern etymology is that Lazio comes from the Latin word "latus", meaning "wide", expressing the idea of "flat land" meaning the Roman Campagna; the region that would become Latium had been home to settled agricultural populations since the early Bronze Age and was known to the Ancient Greeks and earlier to the Mycenaean Greeks. The name is most derived from the Latin word "latus", meaning "wide", expressing the idea of "flat land"; the Etruscans, from their home region of Etruria exerted a strong cultural and political influence on Latium from about the 8th century BC onward. However, they were unable to assert political hegemony over the region, controlled by small, autonomous city-states in a manner analogous to the state of affairs that prevailed in Ancient Greece.

Indeed, the region's cultural and geographic proximity to the cities of Magna Graecia had a strong impact upon its early history. By the 10th century BC, archaeology records a slow development in agriculture from the entire area of Latium with the establishment of numerous villages; the Latins cultivated grains, olives and fig trees. The various Latini populi lived in a society led by influential clans; these clans were a sign of their tribal origin, which continued in Rome as the thirty curiae which organized Roman society. However, as a social unit the gens was replaced by the family, headed by the paterfamilias - the oldest male who held supreme authority over the family. A fixed local center seemed necessary as the center of the region cannot have been one of the villages, but must have been a place of common assembly, containing the seat of justice and the common sanctuary of the district, where members of the clans met for purposes of administration and amusement, where they obtained a safer shelter for themselves in case of war: in ordinary circumstances such a place was not at all or but scantily inhabited.

Such a place was called in Italy "height", or "stronghold". The isolated Alban range, that natural stronghold of Latium, which offered to settlers a secure position, would doubtless be first occupied by the newcomers. Here, along the narrow plateau above Palazzuola between the Alban lake and the Alban mount, extended the town of Alba Longa, regarded as the primitive seat of the Latin stock, the mother city of Rome as well as of all the other Old Latin communities. Here too are found some primitive works of masonry, which mark the begi

Shell House massacre

The Shell House massacre was a 1994 shooting incident that took place at the headquarters of the African National Congress, in central Johannesburg, South Africa in the lead up to the 1994 elections. Shell House at 1 Plein Street, South Africa was the headquarters of the ANC after the organisation was unbanned until 1997. On 28 March 1994, about 20,000 Inkatha Freedom Party supporters marched to Shell House in protest against the 1994 elections that the IFP was intending to boycott. ANC security guards opened fire. At the time, guards claimed that the IFP supporters were storming the building or that a tip-off had been received of that being was planned; the Nugent Commission of Inquiry into the killings rejected that explanation. The commission's conclusion was; the incident reflected the rising tensions between the ANC and IFP, which had begun in the 1980s in KwaZulu-Natal and had spread to other provinces in the 1990s. The IFP claimed that the ANC was intent on undermining traditional authorities and the power of Zulu chiefs.

The incident triggered a state of emergency across eleven magisterial districts in the East Rand, as well as the whole of the Kwazulu-Natal province. In June 1995, ANC and President Nelson Mandela claimed that he had given the order to defend Shell House if it should require killing people. In 1995 Willem Ratte laid a complaint of murder against president Nelson Mandela at the police headquarters in Pretoria for the Shell House massacre; the Truth and Reconciliation Commission granted amnesty to 11 people concerning the massacre. List of massacres in South Africa AfricaFiles homepage Dispatch Online Human Rights Watch Inkatha Freedom Party homepage Sunday Times - Print Edition

Vermicularia spirata

Vermicularia spirata, common name the West Indian worm-shell or the West Indian wormsnail, is a species of sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Turritellidae. Juveniles can move around. Vermicularia spirata occurs in shallow water in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, its range includes Mexico, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico. The maximum recorded shell length is 90 mm; the minimum recorded depth for this species is 3 m. Vermicularia spirata is a filter feeder and is a protandrous hermaphrodite. Many are found embedded in the tissues of the white encrusting sponge Geodia gibberosa. Male individuals, being motile, are able to move to the vicinity of the aperture of the sessile females before liberating sperm into the water. Capsules containing eggs are brooded in the mantle cavities of the females; the ova are about 300μm in diameter and the veliger larvae that hatch have two and a half whorls of shell and are about 600μm long.

These crawl or swim soon undergo metamorphosis into juveniles which are all males. They grow rapidly. In Bermuda, the endemic hermit crab Calcinus verrillii sometimes uses the vacated tube of Vermicularia spirata as a home though it is non-mobile