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  1. 3 points
    I have a minor problem with these types of announcements (they seem to be popular just now). Do they reflect current political or academic agendas? (whatever they may be? - I hesitate to even speculate on the current politics in Catholic Universities in the Northeastern US). How can they have statistically significant data on diet or life expectancy in the 4th or 5th century? how many graves? How do they date them? how do they know how old the people were or what they ate? Can the Britons really have had a longer life expectancy and higher standard of living when being ruled by dozens of petty warlords engaged in endemic warfare? Do people normally live longer in rural environments without urban centers? How do they know what tax rates were under the Romans and Saxons, did Saxons even collect taxes or just steal whatever they wanted? If things were so swell under the Germanic invaders why did the Welsh and Cornish resist and the Bretons emigrate? In the 60's and 70s there was a revisionist trend that claimed that the Germanic invaders were not such bad guys (proto-hippies?) relative to the authoritarian Romans (the "establishment"), Is this a resurgence?
  2. 3 points
    Hi everbody, My interest in ancient Rome really leapfrogged six weeks ago when I visited all sites in the title. My brother-in-law and I were there for five days - and I want to go back! I have been interested in Rome ever since I was a Boy. This went as far as me wanting to study archaeology after school. However, this caused some uproar from my parents and other relatives so I did architecture instead - sigh! Anyway, my youngest son ended his dinosaur-Phase last year (every young lad has a dinosaur-phase) and this marked the beginning of the volcano-phase. Talking about volcanoes, Pompeii is never far away. As we now live in the wonderful age of the Internet, I came acoss material I could only have dreamed of so far. I visited Pompeii for the first time in 1982, but this was only for a day. The more I studied Ancient Rome earlier this year, the more I wanted to go back to Pompeii. I have three young children and clearly spending a while visiting dusty ol sites wouldn't exactly fit their idea of a nice holiday so I decided to ask my brother-in law instead if he wanted to join in. He immediatly agreed. So we took off for a two-hour flight to Naples on a Saturday morning and arrived there at lunchtime. We got the hire-car and drove to the hotel. Our first trip that day took us to the magnifcent Amphitheatre at Capua. The site is enormously impressive! It was a sizzling hot day and we were pleased to examine the cool underground cellars and cells. So much is still intact beneath the Arena. Isn't that splendid? I love these stairs! How many spectators actually walked here and watched the gruesome spectacle? Capua is easily recogniseable as one of the wealthiest cities in Campania. (Almost) Everything was tidy and clean. A far cry from what most of the Bay of Naples looks like! On Sunday we had Herculaneum on our list. We decided not to go strolling around by ourselves but to take part in a guided tour. The tour-guide waits until enough people have gathered and then takes you on a two-hour tour and after that you pay him/her how much you feel it was worth! It was worth every penny! On these tours you get to see so much more than walking around there guideless! The house of the Telephus Relief: What we weren't aware of is that Italy virtually closes down between 12:00 and 16:00! By the time we found a restaurant that was open, of course after 16:00 we were starving! We ate on the western slope of Mount Vesuvius overlooking Naples when a severe thunderstorm crossed us! What a sight! Looking Sourth we couldn't even see Capri anymore! Monday morning: Pompeii. The weather was attrocious! It was belting down! Anyway - better than being baked in the sun I thought! We were there at opening hours: at ten. Thousands of people flocked into the ancient city. Let me give you some advice: if you go to Pompeii - go there in the early afternoon. By then the crowds will have dispersed and a lot of people even left! Shortly before midday it stopped raining: I quite like this view because the Forum in Roman days was a crowded place. And this is what it was like on that Monday - it was a crowded place. When I was there in 1982 I had the impression that I was the only one there! And that was in Summer too. This view is now my screensaver: My brother-in-law doesn't like being in a crowd, there were too many people. We decided to leave. So after about five hours in Pompeii we drove up to the crater of Mount Vesuvius. You have to walk about the last mile or so. It was unbelievable! It Pompeii it was 34C° - on the top of Mount Vesuvius it was only 16°C! Pompeii as seen from Mount Vesuvius: Pompeii is the greyish shade in the upper left corner. You can make out the Forum: Tuesday: off to Stabiae! From here is where Pliny the Elder witnessed the Reuption in 79 ad. Here you can see yours truly very impressed by the sight. We are 15km from Vesuvius! And no, the volcano is not erupting, it is just clouds forming around the crater. Well, I have just tried to post and I have been told that I have posted more pictures than I'm allowed. I will delete the following and post it tomorrow once this has been approved by the moderators. See you tomorrow! Peter
  3. 3 points
    Hello, I would like to recommend a book on the history of the relations between Romans and the peoples of temperate Europe, both those who lived within the northern border of the empire, and those beyond. It is very well researched and presented, with copious endnotes, illustrations (grave goods, cemeteries, etc.) and maps. Its title is The Barbarians Speak; How the Conquered Peoples Shaped Roman Europe, by Peter S. Wells (Princeton University Press, 1999). Wells presents new evidence and re-examines existing evidence of cultural impact, resistance, and synthesis, both in the Roman provinces and beyond, as far as ancient Poland. Previous studies were biased in favor of ancient written sources, and these are now checked more critically against the archaeological evidence. The tendency to regard the conquered peoples as merely passive recipients of Roman culture is revised in favor of more dynamic interaction. I also like the cover, a portion of the monumental painting Romans Passing Under the Yoke, by Charles Gleyre, who painted classical and related subjects in the early to mid-19th century. His painting depicts the aftermath of the defeat of Roman legions in 107 BC by the Helvetians under Divico, mentioned by Livy and Caesar, et al.. It's a bit out of the period covered by the book, and, apart from the Teutoburgwald catastrophe of 9 AD, not much is made of Roman defeats. But it does suggest that the contents will counterbalance the tendency to regard the Romans on the frontier as an all-conquering force. One early part of the book I found fascinating was the account of the century preceding Caesar's conquest of Gaul, when the economic impact of Rome had already transformed Celtic (at least) culture along the future imperial boundary, as evidenced by the remains of enormous economic-industrial centers called oppida by Caesar. The oppida were independent to the point of minting their own money. One among many eye-openers in Wells's book.
  4. 3 points
    Thanks Aurelia, did you get to see some of the other sites? In the Villa San Marco, the Villa Adriane and in Oplontis we were about the only visitors there. More on that below Here's part two on my terip to the Bay of Naples: The Villa San Marco in Stabiae. What a relief this was from crowded Pompeii! There was no-one there but my brother-in-law and me! We were there for three hours, taking pictures and filming the place. The frescoes were untouched by tourists. In Pompeii all the frescoes have graffiti scratched onto them by the tourists, these here were untouched! What a pleasant change! It is incredibal that we are 15km (10 miles) from Vesuvius and this place was still completely covered by ashes and pumice! Now this is impressive! You can see this volcanic rock which was spewn out of Vesuvius in the 79 ad eruption. You can see the damage to the pavement where it impacted! And we are ten miles away from Versuvius! Archaeologists decided to leave this rock where it is! Interior view of the Villa San Marco: After about three hours we decided to look for the Via Ariana. Here too we were the only visitors. In a conversation with the lady guiding the site, we mentioned wanting to go to Oplontis. For some strange reason we were advised not to go there! This was some sort of insight into the rivalling amongst archaeological groupes. We later found out why we were advised not to go to Oplontis: Oplontis receives government funding while the sites Stabiae don't. I wouldn't say that the Via Ariana was dissapointment, but it is severely damaged! Nonetheless the frescoes are very impressive. We went to Oplontis after all. Here we only had time to visit the Via Poppea and of all sites we saw, this one left the biggest impact on me. I don't know why, perhaps it's because this building is so amazing, and very well preserved and lovingly taken care of. The frescoes inside the Via Poppea are outstanding! Even remains of doors cast in plaster-of paris can be seen. Excavation started here in the 1980s thus relativly new techniques are being used - one can tell! It was in Oplontis where I was free to gather some pebbles of pumice from the 79 ad eruption of Vesuvius. They are right here in front of me now as I write this. I will treasure them! I hope you enjoyed my little narrative on my tour to Pompeii and other sites. I surely enjoyed sharing it with you! Thank you for bearing with me till the end. Peter
  5. 2 points
    Can I add two bits worth? A good definition of marriage among the Roman elite is 'serial polygamy'. That is, you can have a large number of wives, but only one at a time. Cato even divorced his wife so that she could marry Hortensius, and remarried her after Hortensius died. I'd recommend this as a starting point to the discussion http://www.princeton.edu/~pswpc/pdfs/scheidel/010903.pdf With Augustus the autocrat (which is where we started) we need to remember that the position of emperor was dynamic. The line between the Principate and Dominate is largely artificial. Labels like 'emperor' or 'king' cover a much more complex reality, and are labels rather than definitions of what the role entailed. Augustus probably saw himself more as a princeps senatus rather like Crassus or Aemilius Scaurushad been, though with more power and authority. By the time of the Lex de imperio Vespasiani the princeps is not a person but a job description, and this law details the titles and powers that a new emperor would take up. Likewise we see Caesar move from a cognomen to a rank (Galba was the first non-Julian to call himself Caesar). However, we can't argue even Tacitus' interpretation of what being emperor meant to Augustus, let alone Zosimus' interpretation. The office evolved much too fast for that. Even Augustus was not the same emperor in AD 14 as he was in 30 BC.
  6. 2 points
    Just wanted to stop in and introduce myself. I am a National Guard Soldier who is nearing the end of my career. I am looking to the future and hope to turn my love and passion for history into a second career shaping young minds in the classroom. I have been fascinated by the Roman Legions and Roman history since I was young. I have long lurked on the boards and wanted to say Salve!
  7. 2 points
    My 50 year old prostate is clear and unambiguous proof of some extremely unintelligent design. I would elaborate, but I've just got to nip to the loo again.
  8. 2 points
    Losing a battle means that the other guy was a better general, not that the loser was a bad one, and the scale of the defeat does not mean an equivalent lack of military ability. After all, Napoleon lost at Waterloo. So for a true stinker at matters military, may I promote the claims of one Quintus Marcius Philippus, general during the Third Macedonian war; a man who was actually and undeservedly successful? This is a leader who took his army - including elephants - on a journey through the narrow mountain paths of the Olympus range - a march from which when committed there was no turning back. Philippus eventually brought his men down into Macedonia , exhausted and starving, into a narrow valley with no chance of escape or resupply. The head of the valley could have been blocked by a few hundred men, especially as there was a large defensible temple ideally situated for that purpose. Thus the Roman army was led into a position where it must surrender or starve. As it was a strong, well-equipped army army, it was only put in this position with great difficulty, and the huge self-restraint required to ignore several more militarily feasible options. Had Philip V still being running Macedon, it would have been game over. However, his son Persues decided that the only logical reason that the Romans would have made such a crazily suicidal move was if they had outflanked him elsewhere, so he pulled his army back to defend the capital. So, by literally incredible stupidity, Philippus gave Rome the bridgehead in Macedonia that they needed to win the war. It is yet not too late for his amazing lack of talent to be recognized.
  9. 2 points
    Salvete, omnes - I've been a member at UNRV for some time, but I rarely get over here. Despite that AND because of that, I thought I would post a Hello once more. Rome has been an interest for me (to whatever degree!) since I was a teen (a late 1960s teen) when I read Rex Warner's translation of Caesar's Gallic War. And I have made some study of Rome and the Latin language since. But I wanted to say hi, and say it especially to Ursus and Nephele, who greeted me when I first arrived here, years ago.
  10. 2 points
    Win!!! Author Thomas A. Timmes is so kind to give away two downloads of his latest ebook Legio XVII: Battle of the Danube. All you have to do is to answer here a simple question: What was the name of Thomas A. Timmes first novel? a] Legio XV: Roman Legion at Home b] Legio XVII: Roman Legion at War c] Lego XVII: Roman Lego for You We draw two lucky winners from all correct answers! Winners will be announced here. Competition ends 23rd of December Set during the 2nd Punic War, this book immerses readers in battlefield clashes, innovative tactics, strategic planning, and inspiring leadership. It starts when Timur, Chief of the Cimbri/Teuton Tribes, leads 300,000 people on an epic six year 700 mile migration through land occupied by hostile and friendly Tribes from Jutland to the Danube River. Timur’s 90,000 man Army crosses the river at night and overpowers the Suevi defenders, whose leader, Bethica, appeals to Rome to repel the invaders. Roman Proconsul Manius Tullus is the Senate’s choice to lead Legio XVII, Legio XX, and two Roman Auxiliary Legions across the Alps into Germania where he is reinforced with 20,000 Suevi tribesmen. Major battles are fought at Augsburg and Landshut before Manius’ Legions face off with Timur’s Cimbri/Teuton warriors at the climactic battle of Regensburg.
  11. 2 points
    Just bought Dying Every Day when I saw it up there, it looked good.
  12. 2 points
    I think that two writers from the same cultural milieu, describing similar events that occurred forty years apart in the same part of the world will probably parallel each other to a remarkable extent. That doesn't mean one is based on the other; it simply means they were men who lived close to one another in time, in the same geographic region, sharing a similar religious and cultural vocabulary, and chronicling events as they saw and understood them. Josephus' books were not published until well into the 90's AD. The Synoptic Gospels were almost certainly completed by 70 AD and possibly a decade earlier, according to most mainstream New Testament critics. Paul's letters were all written before his death in 68 AD. I think the parallels you cite are coincidental and meaningless, especially when you consider that the similarities in wording are frequently used to describe radically different events and circumstances, something the cherrypicking of phrases fails to reveal. Last of all, if the Flavian Emperors would go to the trouble to invent a new religion, why on earth then would they not legalize it and promote it? Why is Domitian remembered as a persecutor of the early church? Why would Nero blame the Great Fire of Rome on the Christians if the faith did not exist until a decade after his death? I am a newbie here on this forum and hope I am not speaking out of turn, but your hypothesis makes little sense to me.
  13. 2 points
    The issue is not easily resolved. Nero had become deeply unpopular with the upper classes for his blatant un-roman behiour, outrageous money making schemes, and grandiose self absorption. As at any time in the latter half of Roman history, any perceived weakness or lack of opularity invites ambitious men to conspire or mount coups, especially since the communication disctances to provincial areas and the availability of standing armies loyal to personality and paypacket rather than patriotism, was all the more dangerous. Nero had been for a long time trying to push the Senate down. It's believed by some that whilst the Great Fire of Rome in 64 was an accident, it was further enflamed by conspiracy in order to destroy the homes of the landed wealthy in Rome, where all the political dealing was done behind closed doors. Very much "An act of God" then . For these reasons it's not beyond speculation that a great many senators were already conspiring to get rid of the Caesars and restore full republican rule - they had almost done so earler after the death of Caligula, but the Praetorians intervened and installed Claudius to safeguard their jobs. People routinely assume that the Republic had finished and Empire begun with Augustus - that's merely a historical convenience and not a condition of political reality. There was a Roman empire during the late Republic, and the Empire still called itself a Republic with most of the institutions still intact to some degree. Caesars were not absolute rulers either - their powers were granted by the Senate, though obviously in some cases the reasons a particular man came to power meant that giving them the power they wanted was a better bet, and then again, in the case of rulers like Nero, some simply ruled as if they were absolutely in charge regardless of the actual situation. So could the Empiure have split in 69? yes, it could have, but note that none of the usurpers stayed in the provinces and set up a breakaway state. They all headed for Rome and fought it out, or perhaps took advantage of a situation. So in reality, sooner or later, someone was going to take control of Rome and its provinces. It really was a case of winner takes all.
  14. 2 points
    The Scots have a seperate identity from the English despite being part of the United Kingdom (which ironically ws set up by a scottish king). It's a manifestation of the Roman vs Barbarian inheritance which has coloured european politics since ancient times. I'm not saying the modern scots are barbarians (they're quite a cultured people when they stay off the booze) but they descend from tribes the Romans never conquered. Of course the earlier history of England and Scotland is one of extended conflict, and whilst it may seem strange that this isn't something that's forgotten, these old hostilities can survive in the folk memory for exceedingly long periofds of time. As with any people that have a regional identity, there will be those who want to establish indepenence on the assumption that life will be more suitable for them - the same motives drive hostiltiies in the middle east and africa for instance (it was also part of the issue in the American Civil War - slavery was something used as a moral rationale by Lincoln). Nationalism can be a heady brew thus many Scots might vote in favour despite any sensible argument against it. Personally I think the only reason this has come about is Alex Salmond wants his name in the history books. What ultimately might happen to the Scots is not really what he wants to hear right now.
  15. 1 point
  16. 1 point
    Looks great! Really looking forward to this series. Fantastic initiative.
  17. 1 point
    Here's an interesting article (posted by Valentinian from cointalk): http://www.scienceworldreport.com/articles/19182/20141121/aerial-laser-uncovers-ancient-roman-goldmines-spain.htm guy also known as gaius
  18. 1 point
    ...thanks to Adrienne Mayor who pointed me in the right direction, the whole article for free The Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens Making Sense of Nonsense Inscriptions Associated with Amazons and Scythians on Athenian Vases http://www.ascsa.edu.gr/pdf/uploads/Hesperia_83_3_Amazons_Mayor.pdf
  19. 1 point
    Wow, not just a little out of my league. Why the unusual picture of Augustus in the article? Am I missing something? guy also known as gaius
  20. 1 point
    Archaeologists fear that the remains of a large Roman villa found in Tuscany may have to be buried after they battled for years against bureaucratic incompetence. Italy has been likened to a “banana republic” for its inability to protect the remains of a 1,600-year-old Roman villa discovered in Tuscany. For seven years, archaeologists have excavated the site, patiently removing tonnes of soil to reveal the mosiac and marble remains of a villa which they believe to have been owned by a powerful Roman nobleman.But a familiar Italian saga of red tape and confusion between authoroties means further digging at the site, near the tiny village of Aiano-Torraccia di Chiusi, has come to a grinding halt. Archaeologists say that unless a last-minute solution can be found, they will be ordered to fill in the site, covering the remains of the villa’s reception rooms, atriums and mosaic floors with soil... ...full article at the Telegraph
  21. 1 point
    It is worth pointing out that our perceptions of the worth of a military commander are coloured by cureent expectations. We expect drama, clear sigted management, guile, and results. The Romans tended toward cautious men. partly because they didn't want politically ambitious generals and were well aware of the risk of armies being used by individuals for their own ends, but also because they didn't want rash and foolish decisions by generals leading to yet another military disaster. Caesar was by our standards a great general. By the standards of the Romans, a loose cannon, a careless commander, and fighting for his own ends rather than representing the Senate & People of Rome.
  22. 1 point
    Reading through any of the ancient sources can remind us that Rome's "history" (in quotes because sometimes that history reads like a good novel) is filled not just with the very famous who stand at the front, but also of more shadowy figures. Let me give some examples of lesser-talked about Romans that stand out for me. Feel free to disagree, or, add your own. Pubius Decius Mus, who in the battle of Sentinum rode into the enemy force in a devotio to the gods. Cornelia Scipionis, who gets overshadowed by her two sons, but so amazing she received a marriage proposal from Ptolemy VIII of Egypt . Octavia, sister to Octavian Augustus, who raised not only her children from her first marriage, but those of Antony and his previous wife, and of Antony and Cleopatra. Hortensia, daughter of a famous orator, who stood up to the Triumvirate at risk to her property and possibly her life. Busa, a woman of Apulia of such wealth that she was able to provide re-supply to Rome's legions after Cannae. Academic histories of the applicable periods don't always say much, or anything at all, about these individuals, but one can find some references if one searches carefully.
  23. 1 point
    I was watching a programme (or reading a book, can't remember which) that raised the interesting point that, by all known military conventions of the day, Rome should have just put her hands up, said "its a fair cop, you've battered us" and given into terms. That the Romans simply refused to acknowledge that they'd been utterly defeated was pretty much unheard of. For them it was a case of win or die. Not lose and pay some hefty fines, give up some hostages and get on with things. cheers Russ
  24. 1 point
    I thought Titus Pullo was Caesarion's real father.
  25. 1 point
    You're right .... they could have eventually mobilized some more legions and tried again. Why didn't they, except for some revenge expeditions by Tiberius and Germanicus? Probably because they weren't worth it. The Germans were less developed economically and culturally than the Celts, and arguably more dangerous. This made the economics of conquest very unprofitable. The Germans were at an agricultural level barely above scratching the soil with a stick, and the further the Romans pentrated into Germanic territory, the less likely it was the legions could live off any conquered settements. It made more sense in the long run to simply fortify the borders and deal with the bands of raiders that managed to penetrate. Because the Germans were not in any sense united, they fought amongst each other more than against the Romans (within ten years of the Varus disaster, Arminius was assassinated by his own people and the German tribes were reverting to civil war). Augustus could never have foreseen that 300 years later these groups would have amalgamated into supertribes thanks to the Hunnish migration.