This website uses cookies to provide a rich user experience. Please consult our Cookie Policy to learn about what cookies this website uses, or to control the cookies you receive. You need do nothing if you are happy to receive cookies.
Look and Learn History Picture Library License images from £2.99 Pay by PayPal for images for immediate download Member of British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies (BAPLA)

Subject: ‘Ancient History’

All of these articles and images are available for licensing: click on an image to see further details and licensing options; contact us about licensing textual content.

Roman gluttony

Posted in Ancient History, Historical articles, History on Saturday, 9 September 2017

This edited article about Ancient Rome originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 417 published on 10 January 1970.

Nero, picture, image, illustration

A feast at the court of Emperor Nero by Roger Payne

Ancient Rome grew powerful and wealthy because her great men and soldiers put their country first and were prepared to make many sacrifices. It was a hard life, and when power and wealth were won, it was as if Rome breathed a sigh of relief and began to enjoy herself. Many of Imperial Rome’s troubles stemmed from the fact that rich and important families got the taste for life at its most comfortable and well-fed. In fact, what went on at some banquets has brought the whole Roman way of life into disrepute.

Not all Romans were greedy, but if you happened to dine with one who was, he did not do things by half. What is more, it was the Emperors who led the field in the provision of grotesque feasts. The Emperor Nero is well known for his many vices, and gluttony was one of them. Suetonius, the Roman biographer, tells us that “his feasts now lasted from noon till midnight, with an occasional break for diving into a warm bath or, if it were summer, into snow-cooled water.” And the Emperor Caligula had a talent for inventing the most peculiar delicacies, his best-known being a draught of priceless pearls dissolved in vinegar.

Many Romans were neither extravagant nor wasteful, in fact it was customary for them to have nothing but a cold snack during the day, waiting until evening for their one substantial meal. The Emperor Tiberius made a half-hearted effort to cut down on public expenditure and wastefulness; and to set a good example, he took to serving at banquets the half-eaten remains of the meals of the day before, or he served only one side of a wild boar “which,” he said, “contained everything the other side did.”

Whether the feast was to be a simple or a gargantuan affair, the first essential was that the guests should be able to recline in comfort: to have sat down as we do would have been to class oneself with the slaves. Normally, two or three people shared a couch which was arranged with others around a table, but there were some extravagantly luxurious couches, which could accommodate up to eight people.

Guests, wearing loose gowns, were announced by an usher and shown to their couches. Then slaves brought perfumed water to bathe their hands and feet. The most handsome and skilful slaves, with their long curling hair falling about their shoulders, served the wine and cut up the food and served it. The guests, lying across their couches, held plates in their left hands, and ate with their fingers. Other uglier slaves, whose heads were shaved, collected the empty dishes and cleared away the unwanted food which guests had thrown under the table.

Read the rest of this article »

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 117

Posted in Ancient History, Architecture, Arts and Crafts, Best pictures, Boats, Customs, Educational card, Historical articles, History, Legend, Leisure, Politics, Sea, Ships, Theatre on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows Croesus showing his treasures to Solon.

Croesus, picture, image, illustration

Croesus showing his treasures to Solon, 6th Century BC

The second picture shows the Marriage of the Doge and the Adriatic.

Doge, picture, image, illustration

Marriage of the Doge and the Adriatic in Venice

The third picture shows a Winter Carnival in St Petersburg in 1765.

carnival, picture, image, illustration

Winter Carnival in St Petersburg in 1765

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 115

Posted in Actors, Africa, Ancient History, Best pictures, Boats, British Countryside, Christmas, Customs, Educational card, Fairy Tale, Famous Composers, Heroes and Heroines, Historical articles, History, Magic, Music, Rivers, Theatre, Transport, Travel on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows a barge on the Nile.

Nile, picture, image, illustration

On a barge in the Nile

The second picture shows Christmas Eve in England in the 18th Century.

Christmas, picture, image, illustration

Christmas Eve in England, 18th Century

The third picture shows the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Die Zauberflote.

opera, picture, image, illustration

The Queen of Night Meets Tamino and Papageno

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 112

Posted in Aerospace, Ancient History, Architecture, Aviation, Best pictures, Boats, Customs, Disasters, Educational card, Famous battles, Historical articles, History, Sea, Ships, Transport, Travel, War on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows an Ancient Egyptian funeral ceremony.

Ancient Egypt, picture, image, illustration

Ancient Egypt, funeral ceremony

The second picture shows Francisque Arban being rescued by Italian fishermen, 1846.

balloon, picture, image, illustration

Francisque Arban rescued by Italian fishermen after his balloon crashed into the Adriatic, 1846

The third picture shows the Battle of Milazzo, 260 BC.

Milazzo, picture, image, illustration

Milazzo, the first Roman naval victory over Carthage in 260 BC

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 111

Posted in America, Ancient History, Boats, Educational card, Famous battles, Heroes and Heroines, Historical articles, History, Politics, Railways, Ships, Transport, Travel, War on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows Miltiades, Athenian general and victor of the Battle of Marathon, 490 BC.

Marathon, picture, image, illustration

Miltiades, Athenian general and victor of the Battle of Marathon, 490 BC

The second picture shows an American locomotive, 1860.

American locomotive, picture, image, illustration

American locomotive, 1860

The third picture shows a prayer before the Battle of Lepanto.

Lepanto, picture, image, illustration

Before the Battle of Lepanto

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 107

Posted in Africa, Ancient History, Animals, Best pictures, Boats, Educational card, Heroes and Heroines, Historical articles, History, Invasions, Myth, Politics, Ships, War on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows Hercules capturing the Cretan Bull.

Cretan Bull, picture, image, illustration

The capture of the Cretan Bull

The second picture shows the Sicilian Plebiscite for union with Italy, 1800.

Sicilian Plebiscite, picture, image, illustration

Sicilian Plebiscite

The third picture shows the Vandals led by Genseric land on the coast of Africa, 428.

Vandals, picture, image, illustration

The Vandals led by Genseric land on the coast of Africa, 428

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 106

Posted in Ancient History, Architecture, Best pictures, Castles, Educational card, Famous landmarks, Historical articles, History, Literature, Magic, Music, Religion, Royalty, Travel on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows Mozart and Schikaneder working on The Magic Flute.

Mozart, picture, image, illustration

Mozart and Schikaneder Work on The Magic Flute

The second picture shows the Merovingian Do-nothing Kings.

The Do-nothing Kings, picture, image, illustration

The Do-nothing Kings

The third picture shows the Statue of Osiris visiting the temple of Ipsambul.

Osiris, picture, image, illustration

Statue of Osiris visiting the temple of Ipsambul

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 105

Posted in Ancient History, Archaeology, Architecture, Best pictures, Educational card, Famous landmarks, Historical articles, History, Plants, Religion, Ships, Trade, War on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows Enrico Dandolo, Doge of Venice, preaching the Fourth Crusade in St Mark’s Basilica, Venice.

Enrico Dandolo, picture, image, illustration

Enrico Dandolo, Doge of Venice, preaching the Fourth Crusade in St Mark's Basilica, Venice

The second picture shows Cogs of the Hanseatic League, 14th – 15th Century.

Cogs, picture, image, illustration

Cogs of the Hanseatic League, 14th – 15th Century

The third picture shows a shopkeeper weighing fruit in a shop in Pompeii.

Pompeii, picture, image, illustration

Weighing fruit in a shop in Pompeii

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 104

Posted in Ancient History, Architecture, Best pictures, Customs, Dance, Educational card, Famous landmarks, Historical articles, History, Music, Myth, Religion, Royalty on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows the Muses on Mount Parnassus.

The Muses, picture, image, illustration

The Muses on Mount Parnassus

The second picture shows the outer gate of the enclosure containing the palaces in Peking.

Peking, picture, image, illustration

Outer gate of the enclosure containing the palaces in Peking

The third picture shows celebrating Ramadan in Turkey.

Ramadan, picture, image, illustration

Celebrating Ramadan, Turkey

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 103

Posted in Ancient History, Architecture, Best pictures, Educational card, Famous battles, Fashion, Geography, Geology, Historical articles, History, Industry, Invasions, Trade, War on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows Tamburlaine and Bajazeth.

Tamburlaine, picture, image, illustration

Tamburlaine conquers Bajazeth

The second picture shows silk merchants in Ancient Rome.

Silk merchants, picture, image, illustration

Silk merchants in Ancient Rome

The third picture shows a slate quarry.

Slate, picture, image, illustration

Slate and its uses

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.