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  2. guy

    Friendly physical contact among Romans

    Yours is a very subtle cultural question that includes the proper way in Ancient Rome to greet strangers or friends, shake hands, make eye contact, etc. I don't have an answer to your question, but I have frequently thought about these often-ignored and subtle cultural aspects. Consider, for example, the difference between North American and Asian (or other cultures): http://www.martrain.org/the-handshake-and-eye-contact-cultural-conundrums/ Numismatist Doug Smith has noted that Ancient Roman coins typically show a light touch of of palms and hands with straight fingers for the possible hand greeting (as opposed to the usual tight hand clasp found in modern Western cultures). This lighter handshake might have been seen as a less aggressive and less confrontational gesture than the "hand crush." https://www.cointalk.com/threads/finally-clasped-hands.321379/ Even today, the handshake is not universal: http://mentalfloss.com/article/54063/what-proper-handshake-etiquette-around-world Of course, there is the frequent movie depiction of the ancient Roman greeting using the forearm grasp, supposedly to reassure that no one has a hidden weapon. I have not found an ancient Roman source for this type of greeting, so it might possibly be a Hollywood creation. https://alison-morton.com/2015/04/22/roman-forearm-handshake-true-gesture-or-hollywood-codswallop/ guy also known as gaius
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  5. I read in Florence Dupont's "Daily Life in Ancient Rome" that Romans, especially during the Republican times, avoided as much as possible physical contact. I don't know how to consider this statement since written sources and art show us that handshakes and kisses as greetings existed. Maybe she just spoke in general terms, so I wonder if slaps on the back and so on were uncommon: historical novels are plenty of this type of friendly gestures and it would be interesting understand if they are just a consequence of the authors' modern mentality. Do you know something more about it?
  6. Recently, I've been trying to create a graph depicting the different Stages of the primary Roman Military Ranks throughout the Empire's Existence (i.e. From Augustus's Imperial Army, to the initial Severan/ Gallienus Reforms, to Diocletian and eventually Constantines Late Roman Army), tracking how the titles changed from era to era (I.e. From Centurio to Centurio Primus Ordo, to Centurio Ordinarius, to finally Ordinarius just to give a rough idea), to more easily illustrate how the Roman Army evolved. However, I am having a hard time tracking down resources about the Late Principate/ Crisis/ Dominate Era Armies to make this chart efficiently (Good thing the Principate Army's ranks are so well known you can hop-skip-and-jump from Miles to Legatus Augusti Pro Praetore and make that part of the chart blindfolded). How well known are the changes from the Principate Era ranks to their final form during the Late Empire (Along with what was called the "Old Style Ranks" that co-existed with the New Post-Constantine Ranks)?
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  8. Was Dorian Greek anything like Mycenaean or Macedonian?
  9. laurenwright

    What Song Are You Listening to Now?

    Faded Heart by Borns
  10. gabrielbell

    What Song Are You Listening to Now?

    HAVANA CAMILA CABELLO FEATURING YOUNG THUG https://docsbay.net/ascap-pop-music-awards-2019
  11. Hi everyone, this will be a very specific question. In "The Story of Civilization", either in the volume on Greece or the one on Rome, I have read a brief anecdote, which was meant to illustrate the difference in Greek/Athenian and Roman mentality at the time, and went something like this. A Roman envoy met with an envoy from some Greek state which was either at war or about to be at war with Rome. The Greek envoy complained about how all the Romans ever thought about was war, conquering, power, and politics, whereas his fellow Greeks were much more interested in philosophy and Epicurean ideals. The Roman envoy replied that, by all means, if the Greeks wanted to spend their time with philosophy, the Romans wouldn't mind at all (i.e., the Romans would be glad to find their opponent thusly preoccupied and underprepared). I have been trying (and failing) to find this anecdote again for at least a couple of years now. So if anyone is familiar with it and could either send me a link to the complete story or provide some information as to when and where it happened, who the Greek state was, or anything that might help me find this anecdote online or in the book, that would be fantastic. Thank you very much.
  12. caldrail

    A city's Pomerium

    Settlements in the Roman Empire were rewarded for emulation of Rome, by tax breaks, concessions, or whatever. Sometimes a settlement would be awarded a higher status. At a certain level, a settlement could create its own Senate, but this was rarely achieved outside of Italy (whose partially independent tribal regions all had traditional rights to self rule, despite subsequent incorporation by the Empire)
  13. lothia

    A city's Pomerium

    Thank you for your reply. Perhaps pomerium was not the right word and it belongs only to the city of Rome. But it seems reasonable that the others cities would have (or want to have) some administrative or pecuniary control or influence on the areas surrounding a city. Again, thanks for your response.
  14. caldrail

    A city's Pomerium

    The Pomerium was a religious area traditionally said to be contained within the original boundaries made by Romulus at the founding of the city. There was no wall, just markers to show where it extended. I'm not aware of any Pomerium attached to other cities because although the Romans rewarded emulation of Roman society, there was only one Romulus. There were laws governing the Pomerium but I don't know of anyone who directly controlled it (Surely this would be against tradition in Republican Rome?), For instance, holders of imperium (basically a license to control and lead armies) did not have full power within the Pomerium, nor were weapons allowed within it. Soldiers would not appear in military guise within the boundaries for fear of losing their status as legionaries because they transgressed the law.
  15. Hey there Legate, Religions (especially Christianity) only survive if they are able to adapt to different cultural settings and are able to withstand change. This is the reason why many of the similarities that can be found when two religions are compared are emphasized in order to make it resonate more with a new series of converts. Using your example of Saint Martin of Tours, it is indeed due to the fact that his (perhaps modernized) image resembles that of the pagan war god Mars that would have made it easier for a pagan who was contemplating conversion to see a similarity between his pagan religion and Christianity. The reason why early Christians went to such lengths to "take over" certain aspects of Roman religious imagery is essentially so that Christianity would be perceived more clearly by outsiders, who as you may or may not know, had quite some difficulty understanding Christianity well into the mid 4th century A.D. Hope this at least partially answers your question. - Expeditus
  16. lothia

    A city's Pomerium

    Ave Civitas,I understand that some cities had a Pomerium and it extended beyond the original city walls.I believe that Rome was not the only city with a pomerium.I am imagining the ciy limits and the pomerium limits to be similar to the German Stadtkreis and Landkreis.My question is:If some cities had the pomerium, was there a restriction on which cities had them?How far beyond the city proper would the pomeriuim extend?I assume that there were unincorporated lands between one city's pomerium and another city's pomerium?Then I know there were imperial lands controlled by bureaus in the capitols. but what about the unincorporated lands that did not fall under the city or the emperor. They must have fallen under someone's jurisdiction. Would that be the provincial governor's authority that encompassed the unincorporated lands or were there smaller governmental offices within the province?Thank you all in advanceTom
  17. Pompieus

    ROMAN CALENDAR

    Lintott ("Constitution of the Roman Republic" pg 75) says that the Senate could meet "on any day - including dies nefaste" but gives no reference. William Smith's Classical dictionary says "meetings could be convoked on "any day that was not atri (?)." Both agree that regular meetings (senatus legitimus) were held every month on the calends, nones and ides, and that extraordinary meetings (senatus indictus) could be held on any other day, except when the comitia were meeting. However, the Senate was summoned to meet during the assembly meetings that led to the deaths of the Gracchi. Lintott pg 44 refers to Macrobius (Saturnalia) 1.16.30 which mentions a Lex Hortensia which made market-days fasti but not comitiales. (?)
  18. caldrail

    What Made Caligula Crazy?

    Interesting. That more or less confirms the suspicions I have of people trying to make diagnoses on the basis of classical sources. It seems any behaviour not considered calm and logical is in some way a disorder. One might suggest why the diagnosis is being attempted on the basis of that alone. We are social animals. Like other species so blessed with complex relationships, our motives vary both in scope and intensity. Some individuals are more benevolent, others malignant. Some lash out, others are more calculating. I'm reminded of a documentary following a pack of chimpanzees. It involved the activities of one female who murdered other chimp's babies whilst she had none of her own, and at one point, even consoled a bereft mother. My contention is that there is no fixed standard of behaviour. We are subject to deviation according to many factors and it's another case of the bell curve. A happy average, with extremes in a very minor presence at each end. Truth is, everyone thinks they're sane or normal - of course they do, because otherwise their self-esteem is challenged and what other detailed frame of reference do we have but our own internal conceptualisations? But regarding this thread, what made Caligula crazy? Idle gossip and barbed writing. Not that I think he was a happy average man - far from it.
  19. Tertia

    ROMAN CALENDAR

    Salve, UNRV tribe I am working on my novel, set in the time of the Gracchi, and would appreciate some clarification re the Roman calendar. I have Scullard's Festivals and Ceremonies of the Late Roman Republic, but would like to confirm my understanding re two areas: were there any days, other than dies nefasti, on which the Senate could NOT sit? On Dies Fasti, the comitia tributa, centuriata & concilium plebis could not be convened - what about the Senate? could assemblies be held on nundinae (market days)? I've come across contradictory commentary in this regard. Many thanks! Tertia
  20. guy

    What Made Caligula Crazy?

    I guess the definition of "insane" is both imprecise and unspecific. Caligula certainly showed signs of psychopathology, however. Quick review of traits of psychopaths: https://www.learning-mind.com/hare-psychopathy-checklist/ Sure, we will never know exactly why Caligula acted the way he did. Childhood psychological trauma? Childhood disease? Traumatic brain injury? An unknown hereditary organic brain disease? A hereditary propensity for a personality disorder? Too much TV and social media? My guess is that his aberrant behavior was probably a result of many of these different factors. That said, as I get older, I've come to appreciate the delicate health of our brains. I have long suspected that the behavior of England's Henry VIII was more than the result of cold calculations. I accept the notion that Henry probably suffered an early brain trauma from jousting that changed the course of history. https://www.historyextra.com/period/tudor/henry-viii-brain-injury-caused-by-jousting-to-blame-for-erratic-behaviour-and-possible-impotence/ guy also known as gaius
  21. caldrail

    What Made Caligula Crazy?

    I really dislike this 'disease' paradigm. I've sen all sorts of preposterous ailments put forward for just about every notable historical character that attempts to justify why he was so colourful. It seems to be a facet of human psychology that some seek diverse answers that sound clever and satisfy a need for diversity in thinking. I'm not convinced at all. The Roman sources are very keen to point out character flaws and love anecdotes of odd behaviour. The truth is that humanity is not quite sane and sensible. In any modern society you will find plenty of oddballs and powerful maniacs. It's that oddness that helps propel someone to positions of note - those of us less able to tolerate or exhibit unconventional behaviour do seem to find something beyond their conformity hard to understand. it's why they remain among the faceless crowd whilst those prepared to be different take centre stage. It happens in all walks of life. But necrotic viruses eating people? Strange mental conditions causing aggression and domination? It's all hokum.
  22. Liber Pater

    What Made Caligula Crazy?

    Having studied classical history for a few years now, the most satisfying answer to this question to me is that the Julio-Claudian dynasty all shared a hereditary disease. Some lists of proposed illnesses exist on independent sites, I feel that if this were true it could answer many questions we have about the actions of these emperors. This theory has reasonably good footing as well as Suetonius details that after his first 'good' year, he should be called Gaius the monster and not Gaius the Emperor, this is shortly after he falls into a Coma and so perhaps there is room for this idea of a mystery illness ? Regardless, it could also be nurture over nature as he did live a traumatic life, even by Roman standards. He had likely been groomed by Tiberius on Capri, lived on a military camp (Hence his nickname Calligula or 'Little boots') and so was surrounded by violence as he grew up and was subjected to the many cruelties that took place in the treason trials. To answer your question, no one truly knows however I feel the most applicable reasoning comes from the idea of a traumatic life or simply an illness that had been present in all of his dynasty.
  23. guy

    Daily life

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corpus_Inscriptionum_Latinarum Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum
  24. Interesting article and video: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/06/oldest-evidence-marijuana-use-discovered-2500-year-old-cemetery-peaks-western-china guy also known as gaius
  25. It depends on the period. Republican era gladiators, at least before Spartacus' revolt, were not viewed as especially valuable because slaves were so common, primarily prisoners of war. After Spartacus, more effort was made in training and practises introduced to prevent them becoming a threat, such as keeping speakers of the same language (other than latin) apart. Principate era gladiators were the professionals we normally think of. Note the photograph above. Neither conforms to an established class and are dressed incorrectly. No gladiator wore a breastplate - the chest was left bare as the major vulnerable area (thus a quick thrust ended the fight in a clean manner). Nor did gladiators wear tunics or robes under their equipment, for various reasons, including the possibility that bladders could be hidden and a false result concluded. Neither gladiator has a padded right arm (this was to protect the fighter from bruising himself on his own shield, the same reason for padding the left leg) Dominate era gladiators suffered from a change in emphasis. Gone were the days when the crowd thrilled at the sight of a real swordfight. Now they wanted more theatre, thus more exotic weapons designed to wound rather than kill were introduced, leading to fights where it was down to who had the best endurance against wounding as much as fitness. But then, these were also the days when gladiatorial combat was increasingly looked down upon. Septimius Seversus had already banned female gladiators, and in 393 theodosius banned pagan rituals (which was what the gladiator fights were about in theory at least) whilst in 404 Honorius banned them outright - though fights in remote areas persisted where christians weren't able to stop them. Value depended on success. A tiro gladiator had roughly a one third chance of dying in his first fight, and good chance of being paired with a veteran fighter. Eventually, with survival and experience, a gladiator could reach survival chances of about 8 in 9. Only a small proportion of human beings are natural fighters and this was reflected in the survival rates. Typically a volunteer could expect to sign on for five years. Shorter or longer contracts existed, but five was the norm. It was also usual for a gladiator who survived four years (the life expectancy of a gladiator incidentially) to be set aside as a Doctores, a trainer, such as the character Marcellus in the Kirk Douglas film Spartacus. Gladiators were owned as troupes either by lanistas or private individuals (Cicero praises his friend Attalus in a letter for his excellent troupe of fighters). When fighters for games were required, a contract would be arranged between the games organiser and the owner. It was usual for compensation at fifty times the rental price for a fighters death. In other words, the games editor had to weigh carefully which was preferable when the crowd booed a contestant who could not continue - to please the crowd, or avoid a massive bill. Some gladiators were owned as bodyguards, some by military officers who used them to train soldiers in fighting tricks - laughable when you read how useless gladiators were in battle. The gladiator was allowed to keep a proportion of the prize money. This was how gladiators got wealthy if they survived. In fact, the potential money was the biggest draw for volunteers, though some clearly dreamt of super stardom in the arena. It was possible for a gladiator to buy his freedom though in truth I haven't seen much evidence for that. In fact, it was noted that gladiators formed strong ideas about performance and pleasing their owners. Although the troupe was a familia, men fought their best friends if need be. there's an inscription on one funerary monument that a man should be careful who he spares - since although a fighter could spare an opponent, refusing an order to kill him was rebellion and the normal practice was to bring in a fresh opponent until the refuser lost. Fights to the death? Well, they did happen, because Augustus banned fights sine missione (without mercy) but these weren't the norm. A fight was supposed to continue until one or the other could not manage any more, either by exhaustion or wounds, and a decision was made on his fate. Missio, the honourable release of a loser, was quite common - costs being what they were. Obviously swordfighting was dangerous and hence a man could be killed outright. Demo fights in the morning would end at the first blood, professional bouts in the afternoon were serious, with rest periods if the match went on a long time (this practice tended to vanish in the Dominate where exhaustion was part of the drama). On the other hand, we have Seneca visiting the arena one lunchtime and he was horrified at the spectacle of death. Hoping to see some entertainment, he reports that "It was sheer murder out there". So sometimes, orderly contests went by the board.
  26. Yes, you're right: gladiators were an investment and no one wanted to waste his money. Usually gladiators were professionists and didn't die fighting; the public enjoyed the fight but death was something that involved mostly who was condemned to death (and for it there was a special "show", like the damnatio ad bestias). Gladiators could be men condemned to death too, but it was not always like this (see above). So in the cities of average size, gladiators could hope to survive for some years, even if obviuosly their job was dangerous and the chances to die in the fight were high. I wrote about medium-sized cities, like Pompei or Capua, because Rome was different: even there gladiators not always died during the fight, but the entrepreneurs were so rich that they could afford more losses, so often fightings in the capital were bloodier. Anther misconception is that all the gladiators were slaves or prisoners of war: free men could become gladiators but this job was really infamous. There was a law that listed jobs and behaviours which were not allowed for candidates to the elections (lex Iulia Municipalis) and among them there was gladiators job. Just very poor people decided to became one of them. Anyway, sometimes free men did it because they were attracted by the celebrity gladiators could reach. This looks like a contradiction, but gladiators were equally despised and loved; especially common people loved them and on the walls of Pompeii there are some declarations of love from women to their favourite gladiator. Finally, gladiators could become very very rich and gain freedom.
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