BREAKING NEWS – TURKEY DEFEATS THE ROMANS (563 years ago – too late to celebrate?).

Talk about being desperate for good news! Over the weekend the autocratic regime of Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan (image at right) mounted a major celebration to mark the anniversary of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II’s (“The Conqueror”) victory over the final Roman Emperor, Constantine XI (“the Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Emine greet supporters during a rally marking the 563rd anniversary of the conquest of Istanbul by the Ottomans 29 May 2016 EPAMarble Emperor”). A million people were expected to attend the celebrations and the President’s extravaganza would feature the army, navy (replete with submarines), etc. Just in case the nasty Romans pop up to ruin the festivities?

None can deny that when Mehmed finally pierced Constantinople (now Istanbul’s) Theodosian City Walls on April 6 1453, it marked a turning point in world history. The Turks had spent nearly 700 years trying (unsuccessfully) to take the city that had been the center of human civilization since it was founded by Constantine the Great in 330CE, and thanks to some of the largest cannon ever cast they finally succeeded.

A sad day for lovers of Roman history!

And evidently a very happy day for Erdogan. Nothing like kicking a dog when he’s down, especially when the dog (the Roman Empire) has been down for about six hundred years.

Yet another enduring testament to the power of Rome – still resonant, and relevant, six centuries after it finally disappeared from the face of the planet.

Some images from that fateful day, including one of the Marble Emperor, one of the famous canons, and one of Mehmed entering the city.

Constantinople_1453 220px-Dardanelles_Gun_Turkish_Bronze_15c 220px-Walls_of_Constantinople 220px-Fall-of-constantinople-22 200px-Constantine_XI_Palaiologos_miniature Zonaro_GatesofConst

A Ghost from Caesarea…

220px-CaesareaA pile of marble, concrete and sandstone sits off a highway between Haifa and Tel Aviv.

Once a city.

Once a Roman colony, its residents Roman citizens, one of the most important cities in the Roman orbit.

Colonia Prima Flavia Augusta Caesarea.


Named after the first Emperor, Caesar Augustus, the city sat on the turquoise Mediterranean coast in Rome’s Palestina province and dominated Mare Nostrum’s waters, a beacon in the Roman east for many centuries.

Caesarea's location on the Mediterranean

The city had many distinguishing features but none more remarkable than its massive, man-made harbor, the biggest in the world when it was built enclosing 100,000 square meters. It was known as Sebastos Harbor (“sebastos” from the Greek for Augustus), and its construction was made possible by the Caesarea_maritima_(DerHexer)_2011-08-02_098 220px-Caesarea_maritima_BW_4Roman’s brilliant invention of a new kind of concrete upon which they built their world-spanning Empire. A mix of lime and pozzolana (volcanic ash imported from Italy), this almost indestructible concrete has the unique quality of growing harder with time – even underwater – one of the reasons why there are so many well preserved Roman maritime ruins in the world.

Recently, somewhere in those waters off Caesarea, two divers discovered an ancient Roman wreck, a ship that sunk in the age of Constantine the Great – 1,600 years ago. IAA (Israel Antiquities Authority) archaeologists who explored the wreck speculate that the ship must have foundered when trying to make the harbor in a storm, depositing its cargo in the sand where it has been well preserved for nearly two millennium.

Among its contents were exceptional statues, including one of the Moon Goddess Luna (see below) that’s as beautiful as any I have seen, a grand collection of Roman coins, anchors, and other metal objects that were bound for recycling according to the IAA. Thanks to the storm they never made it to the foundry, giving us one of the most important maritime discoveries of Roman artifacts in Israel in the last three decades.


04-israel-shipreck 07-israel-shipreck coins 09-israel-shipreck statues

A special request, from the Author

A request from the Author to those of you (special souls and odd ducks all of you) who have read one of my books.MJS Museum

The most important way that indie authors like me can ‘promote’ our books is through the reviews that readers post online, especially on and at book-club sites like Goodreads.

On Amazon, the undeniable Goliath of the book world, the placement of my books is entirely determined by the number and quality of my reviews (good or bad, to an author an honest negative review is more important than a false glowing review!).

To the readers of my books, I ask you to please, pretty please, take two seconds and leave an online review as short or long as you would like online at Amazon – it makes an IMMENSE difference to the humble author plugging away without publicist, editor, ad agency, etc.

To post a review at Amazon please see me here:

And to post on Goodreads, please see me here:…/s…/6209063.Matthew_Jordan_Storm…


Matthew Jordan Storm

Immortal Africanus a Finalist in National Indie Excellence Awards

I am proud to announce that my third novel, IMMORTAL AFRICANUS, was just recognized as a finalist by the National Indie Excellence Awards in the Historical Fiction category! This is the most prestigious annual book competition for indie authors and I am truly honored, and more than a bit surprised.


Immortal Africanus is the third, and final novel in the Legend of Africanus series. In Immortal Africanus, Caesar sends General Belisarius and his band of Roman knights to Italy to reclaim the City of Rome for the Empire. But the Goth King and his hundred thousand man horde will do whatever they can to crush the Emperor Justinian’s dream of restoring the Western Empire.

For anyone interested in learning more about this lost sliver of Roman history, when the Empire teetered on the cusp of the Dark Ages, please see all three Legend of Africanus novels at or look for me on Amazon at

1,300 Pounds of Roman Treasure

We all feel a little thrill when we put on a pair of pants or a jacket and find a long forgotten bill inside, the thrill of found money. But nothing quite like this!
Construction workers in Tomares, Spain (just outside Seville) were at work last week, digging a ditch in order to lay electricity lines in an urban park when they struck something unusually hard a few feet below the surface. Coin CLoseupQuick work revealed 19 terracotta jugs (known as “amphorae”) – containers that were commonly used in the Roman Empire to transport everything under the sun, from wine and olive oil to valuables, including coins.
That was the case with these amphorae which contained 1,300 pounds of silver Roman coins in pristine condition, dating to the era of Constantine the Great. It is the greatest collection of Roman coins ever found – dwarfing all previous discoveries.Coins in the trench
The coins were minted in the Eastern Roman Empire (where Constantine had relocated the capital from Italy to the old Greek city of Byzantium on the Bosporus which he re-christened Nova Roma or Constantinople – now known as Istanbul) and transported to Spain. The archaeologists that are analyzing this massive hoard (the number of coins has not yet been identified as the collection is so massive and the find so recent) were likely sent to Spain (then Hispania, one of the original Roman provinces dating to 218BC) to pay the Roman army’s wages.
Why were the coins buried? And why were they forgotten? That is the mystery…
For more, see the Washington Post article.
Open Amphoras Amphora broken open Analyzing Coins Coins in the trench