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2. Londinium 2012

Roman intaglio (engraved stones for finger-rings) depicting a discus thrower, circa 60 A.D. (Museum of London)

London is believed to have founded in 43 A.D. by the Romans. Called Londinium, it was likely a small town or military station, probably the about the size of today’s Hyde Park, or about 350 acres (but not in Hyde Park’s location). By the end of the first century, Londinium became the largest city in – and the capital of – Roman Britain. It’s heyday as a city controlled by Rome came in the second century, after which it fell into a long decline mirroring that of the empire of which it was a part.

The Museum of London’s Our Londinium exhibit is aimed at showing how the London of Roman times lives on in today’s modern city.  The museum is especially interested getting a youthful perspective, so it’s set up a panel called Junction composed of 16- to 21-year-olds, who are helping to curate the show, as well as producing films and podcasts. The exhibit has everything from a bust of Hadrian, a rare artifact on loan from the British Museum, to videos.

NEXT: Shakespeare: Staging the World

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By Paul Hechinger