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  1. 1 point
    Fame! I'm gonna live forever I'm gonna learn how to fly Those of us scarred and traumatised by the 1980's will no doubt recognise lyrics from that song belonging to a television series which I'm pleased to say I managed to avoid entirely. But what is fame? A reputation? A state of being? A mysterious blessing from fate? Curiously enough, people generally either see it with some degree of religious awe or an excuse for utter contempt. I made the mistake once of describing myself on my CV as 'known worldwide' for one thing or another. At the time I considered that appropriate given the attention I was getting on the internet, though to be truthful I never counted thousands of followers on social websites. I naively thought it would add some colour to my dreary collection of dead end jobs and idle interludes. To my suprise the manager of a certain catering company, interviewing me for some worthless office job, asked "So you think you're famous?" Erm... What? No, I don't think I'm famous. "It says here," He said, looking at my CV before him, "that you're known around the world.". Oh good grief. Well I explained that fame was a measure of attention people paid to you, that it was not an on/off switch, more like shades of grey. I did not use the word 'famous'. If I thought I was, I would've described myself as such. "To me this says you're famous" He snarled, holding up his copy of my CV and pointing at it like it was evidence of criminal behaviour. No point being reasonable with this sort of attitude, so I quite correctly told him my name was mentioned in print and that was good enough for me. I didn't get the job. I did learn to fly eventually. Still working on living forever though experience suggests I might struggle with that one. Audience With King George I seem to be getting into the habit of an annual visit to STEAM, Swindon's modest railway museum. It's not a bad experience, and the dummies in period costume are disturbingly real at first glance. A young mother just ahead of me was fooled, she suddenly realised that the old lady sat at a typewriter behind a desk wasn't quite as alive as she thought. I always enjoy that open door to a small office where the manager is telling his employee that if he's late for work once more there'll be a parting of the ways. I like the way the museum starts with this administration background, moves on to stores, then trades, then a diorama of wartime steam engine manufacture with two female mechanics chatting, until finally you wander into a large space with just Caerphilly Castle on her own, a full on express steam locomotive from those glorious days of God's Wonderful Railway. Looking a little shabby these days, but still a powerful exhibit. Secretly though I have another engine to visit. The first GWR King class, No.6000 George V. Not because I especially like that class of engine, or I admire the technical excellence, or respect the history of that particular locomotive, but because as a little boy I briefly stood on the footplate when it had stopped at Swindon station. George had been retired from mainline service long before. On one particular day though, a special train was due to pull into town and my mother took me and a friend along to see it. By sheer chance, I happened to be standing by the cab when a kindly engine driver kidnapped me to experience that forbidden metal cavern where the crew drove this engine for real. I remember the darkness with the firebox closed, the patina of grime, and a few burnished copper pipes. Truth was, I felt a little intimidated, and didn't have the questions the proud crew were hoping to answer. So they kindly returned me to freedom. Of course George is now somewhat cleaner in the cab, bereft of any coal or water in her tender, her firebox cold and empty. Machines are always female, whatever the name. It's hard to describe how I feel when I pause at the top of the steps to look around the empty cab. Part of me is pleased to be there. Nostalgia for that brief insight into a lost era, sensing that attachment to a piece of history, a complex and powerful machine, built by craftsmen in days gone by. All the same I cannot help feel sad the engine no longer steams, no longer moves. All that noise and motion of George in her heyday gone, possibly forever. Like visiting a disabled relative stifled by the regime of an old people's home, it's time to move on, so I pat the side of the cab wall. Great to see you again George. Audience Waiting Back in those heady days of the eighties, my main concern was striving for fame, to live forever, to learn how to... Well, you know the score. It was a time when music stores were commonplace, where you purchase all manner of instruments, gizmos, and accessories to help you on your way to rock stardom. When did I last play a drumkit in public? Must be more than twenty years now. You would think it would be all forgotten, but a reputation is a hard thing to suppress, whether justified or not, and let's be honest, I've never shied away from reminding peple that I used to be a working musician. I passed a bunch of lads lurking in an alleyway between shops on the high street. I heard them point me out, debate the merits of asking me to fill the vacant spot in their band, until one bright spark observed that I was almost old enough for a bus pass, that irrevocable indicator of old age and disqualilication for entry into rock stardom. My music career died long ago, but it seems fate just won't let me me forget it. Audience of the Week The pubs have closed for the night. So gangs of revellers tramp up and down the road outside on their way to a nightclub or maybe just struggling to get home without falling over. Most laugh, shout, or throw punches at each other. Some however continue to make appraisals of me as they pass. Scorn, anger, and amusement. So it seems everyone has an opinion about me, good or bad. Just the price of fame I guess.
  2. 1 point
    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.
  3. 1 point
    Hello all, I never studied history beyond A-level but I have always been fascinated by the Romans. I am lucky enough to live very close to Hadrians Wall. I have an interest in the wall itself as well as everything else the Romans left behind in Britain.
  4. 1 point
    Avete amicis, I earned a B.A. in History, focusing on the Ancient World / Classical Antiquity, with a special love of the Roman Empire. Since that degree is now also ancient history, I have lost much (one year of latin and I have "Ave, Caesar! Morituri te salutamus!" to show for it.) I am glad to have found this site and its Forum. - Bob
  5. 1 point
    Ave UNRV family! I have a question that has been bothering me for years. For those of you whom I haven't met yet, I am writing a series about Quintus Sertorius, the famous Marian general who led a rebellion against the Sullan government. More recently, however, I've begun a spinoff series from the POV of Gaius Marius, detailing his early life which hasn't been addressed often enough in fiction. So far the only book in the series "Son of Mars" details his youth and service in Spain under Scipio Aemilianus, and it's time for the next installment. As I move forward, there is a nagging question which I have to answer. How did Marius feel about Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus? He obviously displayed a tendency for Populare politics later on in his career, but at this time he worshipped the ground that Scipio Aemilianus walked on. The latter was brother-in-law to the Gracchi brothers, but also vehemently opposed them, leaving a muddy picture for how Marius may have looked on these revolutionaries. What do you think? I'm not sure there are many sources detailing Marius' personal thoughts of these two men, or his activities during this time, but I'd love to hear your input. Thanks, guys! Vincent B. Davis II
  6. 1 point
    The abilities of ancient civilisations are quite stunning but then they didn't have the machinery we take for granted in this day and age to make our working lives easy. Even in the Victorian era, an Irish navvie working on a railway was expected to move twenty tons of 'muck' a day. Try it. You won't get close. Their diet was extraordinary, consisting of several meals a day with steak and lashings of beer. The ancient Egyptians are a case in point. We often point to pyramids but they built other stuff too. Fort Buhen, now at the bottom of Lake Nasser since the sixties, had a circumference of more than a mile of thirty meter high walls and a dry moat. That's one substantial castle, even by medieval standards. Or perhaps Stonehenge, with larger monoliths dragged twenty miles to be uprighted, and smaller bluestones taken from quarries in South Wales before roads were constructed in Britain. Bear in mind that when discussing Roman legions, they were expected to march with campaign gear and at the end of twenty or so miles a camp enclosure with a ditch and rampart was always dug (though loose stones were also used to build low walls in the middle east - re: Titus' campaign in Judaea in 72ad. It is also worth pointing out that the Roman legions were being used as spare labour when not on campaign. Not because they were all expert engineers - they weren't, though they had capable men among them - but because a major project would otherwise require expensive recruitment of contractors and local labour. Always keep a military unit busy. Always.
  7. 1 point
    The office of Emperor is all illusion. We call them that, they didn't. Mary Beard will insist "of course they were emperors!" which she has written in her book SPQR, but I disagree intensely. They did the same job - but 'Emperor' wasn't a proper job anyway (As discussed by Greg Woolf in interview with Mary Beard on tv). The word 'emperor' descends from Imperator which meant 'Victorious General', a traditional honour given by soldiers to commanders who win wars, but later, used from Augustus onward to describe their status as de facto control over the legions - but then, legions were notoriously fickle and certainly not regiments in a state army organisation. All independent, and all prone to deciding loyalty for themselves. Please note that nearly half the major battles fought by Imperial Roman legions were against each other. The thing is the Romans didn't organise their political and military sphere as we do today. They compartmentalised everything. So that when Augustus hands power back to the Senate, it isn't actually a ruse as is often described but a traditional requirement he obliges the Roman state with and one that only parts company with a certain allocation of power. He still has his powerful CV, his authority and status in Roman society, his senatorial influence, his wealth, his catalogue of influential friends and contacts, and most telling of all, the adoration of the common folk. He could afford to lose a privilege or two. It made his career less contentious. Sorry, I'm getting distracted. Caligula. Well Claigula comes to power with the high hopes of Roman society but manages to alienate everyone except the remote common people within four years. He struggles to retain respect, and that black humour of his spoils everything. The elite tire of his antics and disrespect. But a few held grudges. Especially Cassius Chaerea, the Praetorian Prefect and war hero of the Germanic campaigns. Caligula ribbed him mercilessly for his soft voice, and for a man of action rewarded with the highest military post of the time, it was too much. Chaerea was among the leaders of the insurrection and helped murder Caligula in the passage leading from the theatre.
  8. 1 point
    I am not a coin collector. Nevertheless, I enjoy the history I can learn from coins. Part of the success and relative stability that Ancient Rome achieved over a vast and diverse empire could be attributed to the Empire's willingness to tolerate and even foster local traditions and beliefs (provided one showed proper deference and respect to the Empire and Emperor, of course). This is an interesting coin with the image of Mount Argaeus on the reverse that reflects that concept. This is a coin of the Emperor Commodus made in Cappadocia (Central Turkey). On the reverse of the coin is an image of Mount Argaeus, which was held in special esteem and mythology by the local population. (Similarly, coins of provincial Egypt could show an image of Serapis, a god unique to Ancient Egypt.) Mount Argaeus (modern day Ericyes. Source: Wikipedia): Here is the coin description: Caesarea Cappadocia, Commodus 177-192, Didrachm Laureled head of Commodus right "AYT M AYP KOMO ANTWNI" "YPi ATOC D Pi AT Pi A" Mt Argaeus surmounted by a star Note that the coin inscriptions are in Greek, not the usual Latin. This would be in deference to the local population. Here is another image (Top and bottom images from Wildwinds.com.) Here is a previous discussion on the mythology surrounding Mount Argaeus. http://www.unrv.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=11544&pid=106951&st=0entry106951 guy also known as gaius
  9. 1 point
    Thank you for reading my post (from many, many years ago 😎). Yes, you are correct to have concerns about forgeries. That said, there are many honest sellers in the market. When buying a coin from them, one could be fairly certain that the coin is authentic. There would be no need to get the coin certified by a service such as NGC Ancients. Here is an excellent site with both excellent numismatic information and authenticate coins for sell: https://www.forumancientcoins.com/ One of the coins shown in my post above is in a plastic holder. It was certified by NGC Ancients. The decision whether to get ancient coins certified by NGC is one of the controversies of coin collecting. Personally, I am not a coin collector. Despite looking at ancient coins for more than a quarter century, I am not always good at determining authenticity. Also, buying coins online can be fraught with danger. If I were to buy a coin online, especially from an unknown online seller, I would be comforted by a certification of authenticity from NGC. A final word of advice, remember that ancient coins are frequently less expensive than a novice would imagine. Please check comparable prices on the market before buying any coin. The site above (Forvm Ancient Coins) has many excellent coins offered for sell by coin dealers who are held to a high standard of numismatic ethics. They are possibly little more expensive, but overall, they offer reasonable prices for ancient coins. A good site to do coin research or enjoy coin discussion is below: https://www.cointalk.com/forums/ancients/ If you have any questions, you can send me a message. Good luck. guy also known as gaius
  10. 1 point
    I would like to share my opinion on your question from my point of you when child lost its parents at early age he cannot be able to judge that what is right or wrong and also become quite stubborn and the name caligula which means little boots means his parents might have loved him and never taught their son to be emperor of Rome and somewhere I have read that tyberius was great leader but in reality he was the one who stole innocence from child and made him tyrant so let's forgive caligula I know lot of people will disagree with me but I have just put forward my point of view
  11. 1 point
    Not sure - Galba never attracted my attention. But you might try Tacitus Histories which deals with the year 69ad in quite some depth, or possibly Cassius Dio. Other sources might only be brief mentions.
  12. 1 point
    Hardly whitewashed, and it might be worth pointing out that Galba took advantage of an existing breakdown in civil order that led to a senatorial decree that Nero was an enemy of the state, which meant anyone could legally kill him. Nero panicked, as he often did, and fled, eventually failing to commit suicide and commanding a slave to do it for him. Nero had abused elite Roman sensibilities with his artistic career and publicity stunts. Worse still, he had used the patricians as a cash cow, blackmailing to leave everything in their will to him and commit suicide rather than punish their families. His popularity with the masses was affected due to episodes such as the murder of his mother - yet he retained a very loyal following nonetheless as the rebellion of a slave who happened to resemble him would later show. Granted, Galba had already been given a death sentence by Nero and was effectively a rebel anyway, but Galba did not march on Rome until he had heard of Nero's death.
  13. 1 point
    It's been a terribly long time since I've visited here, posted in the forum or written any content... and I'm obviously a year behind this particular topic. When Christian (Viggen), Jon (Moonlapse) and I started this UNRV project over 15 years ago, none of us ever imagined it would be anything more than our own little personal corner of the internet. I can't speak for my two old partners but I know the hundreds (probably thousands really) of hours spent writing the original content is still a particularly proud lifetime achievement for me personally. While it seems that our good old days of rapid fire forum post activity have probably been beaten down by the preferred social media platforms, it's fun to scroll through the endless depth of conversation, history and general banter that still populates this massive forum (and I do still see a few old familiar faces with an occasional post). I'm thrilled to see my writing still has a public home after all these years and that it must play some small part in helping to advance general knowledge of Roman history. (though I sure wish I had had an editor back then... I still cringe a bit on certain articles) Peter, for what it's worth, and quite belatedly, I wish you the very best of luck with UNRV! - Chris Heaton
  14. 1 point
    It has become clear to me that fame as a poet is in this aspect largely irrelevant. The stories of other common soldiers was every bit as telling albeit less resonant beyond an accepted art form. I will indulge myself here. As a young child I once asked my grandfather what he had done during the First World War. I wasn't expecting tales of heroism, simply tales of his own experience as a matter of curiosity - especially since my parents were grooming me for a career in the armed forces although at that young age I wasn't aware of it. I remember his face darkening. Quite shocking to me, given he was always a cheerful positive soul. He didn't tell me about derring do, comradery, or the acts of courage on the battlefield. He told me about the privations of life in the trenches, the ever present threats, the grim reality of being part of a such a conflict. He even made me promise never to join the Army. It was an agreement that would cast a shadow of my life ever since but he was a good man, and I will stand by that agreement even though the choice is now academic given my age. I learned later how he was sent ashore at Gallipoli, to assist the Australians, in attacks on Turkish trenches. He had made bayonet charges against them and that affected him for the rest of his life. He could never completely rationalise what he had done, knowing in his own words that he had killed some mother's son. In the event, in 1916 he was sent home as a skilled shipwright to the yards on the Tyne, because after the Battle of Jutland there was a huge demand for replacement vessels. That order probably saved his life on the Western Front. I don't resent the Armed Forces, nor the undesirable conspiracy that took place to persuade me to join the Army to follow my father (of whom I have rather less respect). I agree they are protectors of freedom and life despite their violent profession, for in the course of human activity, aggression is part of politics, even everyday life. My path was to be different. My awakening self determination as a young man, my increasing resentment of parental influence, and my own desires to forge a path unique to myself would dominate. But whilst I might not make big noises about the tragedies of the Guns of August, I do nonetheless respect the price they paid as what they considered their national duty and moral imperative, whatever our contemporary revision of history might say, for I remember the words of one veteran at least.
  15. 1 point
    The other day I strolled into a music store in my home town, thinking of upgrading some recording equipment. It’s been a while since I took music seriously and having been unemployed for the better part of a decade, I could hardly afford to. But, with money in my pocket, time to splash out and get ready to impose my music upon the unsuspecting world. “They don’t make those any more” Said GK, someone who has sold me all sorts of instruments and gizmo’s for the last thirty years. After a short converstation, it was clear that music was not the hobby it had once been. I looked blankly at him for a moment and in that moment of awakening I said “Heck, I’m getting old….” GK couldn’t stop laughing. But I’m beginning to realise what a fantastic period of history I lived through as a young man. The days when you could walk into a computer or music dealership and buy just about anything are gone. The world has changed, and not for the better. Changing the Country The hullabaloo over Brexit continues with continued calls for a second referendum. Really? Didn’t anyone realise it was going to be difficult? Fact is, we had a vote, we voted to leave, that’s it – it’s going to happen. As much as EU strategy is to have our legs wobble at the sheer scale of our endeavour and ask to come back with our tail between our legs, Britain is made of stronger stuff. Or at least, some of us are, given how much whinging the remainers are making. But what do I hear from Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour party leader? Renationalise everything. His radical new plan to save Britain is more or less to recreate the seventies when left wing politics still had some clout in this country. I well remember the seventies, and it wasn’t a high point in British history. Terrorism, strikes, the Three Day Working Week with the family sat around of an evening by candlelight, rubbish bags piling up on the streets. If there was any solid reason for keeping Corbyn out of power, it’s the 1970’s. Change of the Week There I was, walking home after a late shift in the wee small hours, when I spotted a fox. No, two foxes. No, three foxes. That’s a little unusual. But what startled me was that one of those foxes actually growled at me. Foxes don’t do that. They just silently retreat or flee. Not this scruffy young fox, as it turned to face me once it through the gates of the local park. Bared teeth is alarming in a dog. But a fox? Disturbing.
  16. 1 point
    When considering appearance of Italians, it is better to consider the genetic makeup. Even today, Italians seem to have a unique genetic makeup. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_history_of_Italy https://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/13/science/13visual.html?_r=0 I found this quote rather shocking: So, despite the many barbarian invasions from the North, there appears to be very little outside impact on the genetic mix, except in the far South of Italy where the Greek influence (which mostly predated the Germanic invasions) is unmistakable. So, my guess is that modern Italians would be larger today because of diet and the increased opportunity to find a mate from outside one's immediate village. I would imagine, however, that the typical Italian today looks very similar (although larger in stature) to the average Ancient Roman from 1800 years ago. guy also known as gaius Addendum: I think genetic testing is making us all more humble, forcing us to realize our common humanity. I had to explain to one friend who was "100% Mexican" why her genetic testing results showed at least 25% Italian (as well as 40% Iberian as well as smaller percentages of Native American and African). She was surprised to learn that there wasn't a "Mexican" gene. Another friend who was "pure Italian" was shocked and disappointed to learn that she was mostly Greek, with some smallers percentage of African and Italian.
  17. 1 point
    That was a very interesting and informative interview. Thank you. I, too, enjoy the writing of Ammianus Marcellinus. It is his writing that inspires me to learn more about the rather dreadful history of late Roman Empire. I wish you continued success with your work. These are two of Ammianus' many quotes that haunt me:
  18. 1 point
    A fine day with a deep blue sky and some fleecy high level cloud. Great when you have time on your hands but having to trudge four miles to work is a rather wearing prospect. Needless to say, I was sweating. As I strode along the old canal footpath I could see a bunch of workmen ahead. Like all British workmen you spot in the wild, they were not working. They sat idly in the shade, observing my approach and long experience told me I was going to receive a comment or two. It's the British way. "He should be just like us" Said one of them, clearly not impressed with my individualism or perceived character. One of his colleagues agreed. Really? Just like you lot? The thought occurred to me as to what the world would be like if everyone conformed to their working class normality. No music, no radio, no television, no pubs or clubs, no films to dazzle us with special effects, no computer games to waste our spare time, and no-one to make the booze they might well be waiting to consume on the weekend. Nothing to look forward to but the opportunity to pass comment on passers-by. What kind of world is that to be proud of? Nature always finds strength in diversity. With good reason. I like my individuality and why on earth would I want to be merely one of a crowd of layabouts, anonymous, ordinary, just another non-entity the world is full of. Ah, some might say, and some do, but I failed. Yes. Correct. My plans for super-duper-stardom in my youngers days quickly got dashed on the rocks of reality. But hey, I tried. That makes me an also-ran, not a spectator. Which would you rather be? Music I saw a review in my local paper for a Judas Priest album. I've never really been a fan of their music but I respect their ability and longevity. Thus when I read the gushing praise I thought it might be worth catching up with where they are now. So I purchased their latest offering and lo and behold, it was as you might expect. Well performed, excellent production, a work by a band who know what they're doing. Then having finished listening, it occurred to me that I hadn't remembered any of the songs. It was nothing but an album of heavy metal wallpaper, making all the right sounds, doing all the right moves, but a production line of riffs and beats that pretty much failed to engage with my love of tracks that stand out for indefinable reasons. Sadly I doubt I'll feel the need to play it again. Compare that to another performer, Florence and the Machine. I was unaware of their existence until they featured in a televised event on the Beeb. I was impressed by the female vocalist's energy, her willingness to reach out to her fans (quite literally, it caused a near panic among the security crew), and the songs were interesting, varied, and I imagine for some, about relevant subjects. Buy her latest album? Oh yes, and I wasn't disappointed. Three tracks stood out, Ship To Wreck, What Kind of Man, and Queen of Peace. I still hum those tracks to myself regularly. That's success in music as I see it. Sorry Mr Halford, I know you're delivering what your fans want, but it's just a day job for you, isn't it? Connected I stopped at a Subway earlier for a quick snack and sat as I often do facing the outside world so I can watch people going about their irrelevant business outside. It struck me that everyone, literally everyone, in my field of view of the busy Saturday morning high street was staring down at a device in the palm of their hand. I suppose it's a sort of security blanket, making them feel that they're part of a group, that they're in on what is going on around the world, even if it amounts to videos of people falling over or endless sequences of pets caught mimicking humanity against their will. A whole crowd of spectators, going around spectating, because it seems they have nothing else in their lives. "Your phone is rubbish" one work colleague once mentioned when I checked my device for the unrealistic prospect of having received contact from the outside world. Yeah? Really? So what?
  19. 1 point
    Caligula wasn't crazy. I agree he wasn't especially well adjusted as an individual, but then the Romans were often colourful characters. What we can easily observe is his immaturity. He takes nothing seriously except his own importance and safety. He plays games with people, he acts out roles, such as general, auctioneer, gladiator, statesman, and so on. However his sense of humour is black, and as a cruel personality, almost like a child torturing ants, he is callous to lesser individuals. In fact his sense of humour did nothing for his survival chances. Cassius Chaerea, the Praetorian Prefect at the time, was a war hero from the conflicts in Germania. Unfortunately, Chaerea also had a soft voice, and Caligula teased him mercilessly about his manhood. Right up until Chaerea - alongside other conspirators - stabbed him in a tunnel leading to the theatre. There a re a number of anecdotes that seem to portray him as a nutter. Making his horse Incitatus a senator? He threatened to, on the grounds that the Senate were useless and his horse could do a better job, but anti-Caligulan propaganda and misinterpretation by witrnesses gave birth to the stories of his madness. Did he want to be worshipped as a god? Apparently, but then, this was considered normal for rulers in Egypt and it is no surprise he considered moving his capital to Alexandria (Egypt was also forbidden for Senators by Augustan rules thus he would rule as a god-king with no interference from those pesky layabouts in the Senate). His booty gathered at the expense of Neptune? Caligula had raised three legions to invade Britain, his attempt at military credibility, which like everything else he could not take seriously, staging fun and games along the way to the continental coast, where his troops, fearful of what lay ahead, mutinied on the beach and refused to embark. Caligula shamed them by ordering them to collect seashells - if Neptune was his enemy, then his booty will be from him, and presented the collection in Rome in order that the legions would be humiliated but of course the whole point was lost. There's a great deal of speculation about all sorts of weird and wonderful ailments he suffered during his famous bout of illness but really that's like trying to diagnose disease from a story. Can you identify the mental illness suffered by Frodo as he bore the Ring toward Mount Doom? Any conclusion is possible.
  20. 1 point
    It was bound to end in tears. A movement of cold air from Siberia plus an Atlantic storm coming up from the Bay of Biscay. Swindon rarely gets any snow despite being inland. Usually the worse areas are the eastern half of England, Scotland, and Ireland This time Swindon would not escape. To be fair, we were on the edge of amber weather warnings and didn't get hit as hard as some parts of the country, but up to foot of snow in Swindon is almost a natural disaster of memorable proportions. It was fun watching the foreigners at work. They were transfixed by the heavy snow flurries, constantly wandering to the nearest door to gaze at the unaccustomed weather. You would think the Poles were used to cold weather and the odd snowdrift, but they too shivered in the bitter English wind and moaned about the snow, though one or two snowballs were smuggled into the warehouse for special targets. A lady from Columbia simply had to take photographs. Lads from Goa stared at the unfamiliar sight of whiteness and suffered from the cold, which at around minus five centigrade was something a great deal less than the tropical sun of their homeland. In fact, on Friday morning I phoned the hotline to see whether the shift was going ahead. Nope. Cancelled due to inclement weather. So was my water supply at home. Oh great. I know. I'll phone the landlord. Sorry, he said, there's nothing he can do. Oh great. I know, I'll phone a plumber. Sorry, the receptionist said, there's nothing they can do. Frozen pipes you see. Yeah, I think I get the message. So I trudged back and forth buying bottled water and anyone who has been in that situation quickly learns how much water the average person gets through. The water came back on by itself. That was a little odd given the temperatures hadn't risen, but hey, let's not complain. Later last night the valve in my toilet cistern decided the new water supply was too much and popped open, releasing water all over the floor. I was lucky to hear the noise, and realised there was a problem. Water was spreading around the bathroom and probably downstairs too. An emergency! This is a job for.. erm... me. I don't know anything about plumbing. Quick, shut the water off. The inside tap was jammed solid. Quick, shut the water off on the outside tap. jammed solid. When you're in danger, when you need help, you need the Plumber - if you can find him. I phoned a series of numbers with 'Please hold' or simply no answer. Saturday night you see. Emergency call outs and 24hr service don't count for a lot when they want time off to socialise. Eventually I got through to one. My toilet is flooding the house. "Sorry Love," The lady answered, "But I've got nothing before Tuesday". What?!!! Your advert is in front of me. It says you deal with emergencies. "Yes, but we can't deal with it before Tuesday,.Sorry". Eventually I found a plumber willing to come out and assist. Only problem was he insisted on cash and probably wasn't keen to get his hands dirty with his domestic routine upset. Eventually I put the phone down on him. As luck would have it, the lady downstairs had called the landlord and of course chivalry won out over being capable. Toilet restored to working order. Panic over. The world is returning to sanity. From The Land Of Snow I watched as Putin gave his 'state of the nation' speech. He really is an old fashioned dictator, isn't he? The west was to blame, and Russia would not be pushed around, so here's the list of new weapon systems we're putting together to push the west around. With a belligerent President Trump - who will no doubt be keen to earn his wings by ordering a war somewhere or other as democratic leaders often do, and not just the American ones, it does not bode well. NATO troops already stationed in the Baltic states to ward off potential Russian expansion and the evening news talking about a new Cold War. Oh great. Well at least our Prime Minister, Theresa May, is upbeat about Brexit. Good. At least then we won't have to deploy long range smart cruise missiles to get a few concessions in negotiations with the EU team.
  21. 1 point
    Many years ago I wrote a piece on the internet about my departure from a company's employment in scathing terms. Back then I wrote how the place would close and the site redeveloped. It has been announced that such will come to pass, my prophecy having been proven correct. Working there in the good ol days was a different experience than you normally get in warehouses today. There were no agencies involved in finding jobs there, a family atmosphere, and good rates of pay. The rot set in when the influx of young lads and the retirement of older women made the atmosphere much more like a school playground. The change from old fashioned hierarchy to modern style office class system reduced peoples motivations to work toward a career and a future in the company, making careers a lottery rather than the result of hard work and merit. Finally, the older hands were gotten rid of by hook or by crook, seen as obstructive and stuck in their ways. Truth is, they knew their jobs whereas the new generation of workers, managers or labourers, did not. New ideas haven't helped. Placing the management of warehouse production in the hands of a sub-contractor has done no good. The idea was to let a specialist handle it instead of the hamfisted efforts of what amounted to amateur managemnt, but profit proved hard to achieve. So the company has finally decided that it's time to give up, uproot, amd start again elsewhere. Good luck. Welcome Back It was great to see W back at work. I wasn't on the premises when it happened but he'd been crushed by a forklift truck whose driver (the very same driver who nearly knocked me flying once before) hadn't been too observant. Luckily his injuries weren't too serious and now he's fit to resume duties again. Is it just me or has W grown up a little? His experience seems to have done him a favour. Not So Welcome A politician claims that older people voting for Brexit have 'shafted the young generation wholesale'. What a load of nonsense. Far too many young people are lazy, indifferent, and assume that the world owes them a living. That's the sort of world that being a member of the EU has encouraged. If forcing the younger population to work toward an independent Britain they can be proud of is shafting them, then shaft away. Some might see this as hypocrisy given I spent the better part of the last decade as unemployed. I would point out that I was not given the choice, and ultimately, I was thrown to the wolves by the Job Centre who see stopping peoples money as a positive move. That was despite making nearly ten times the quantifiable effort to find emloyment than I was officially expected to achieve. So I got shafted. And as the spokeman for the Job Centre proclaimed in a television interview, I too found paid work within six months. Not the success story that the Job Centre wanted to advertise me as, but one of those who got off their bottoms and went to work when the opportunity presented itself. Why should ex-EU Britain be any different? Not Welcome At All The EU were clear that Britain would not be punished for choosing to leave the Union. They are keen to avoid giving Britain favourable terms to prevent encouraging other members to opt out, and indeed, there are sentiments of that sort evident in France, Greece, Holland, Italy, Spain, and probably other countries. Nonetheless the EU are demanding a high price for leaving, a 'divorce bill' they're insisting on. Since Britain used to be one of the major contributing nations within the EU, the proposed bill can hardly be seen as simply a necessary legal payment but rather an attempt to squeeze whatever they can at the last moment, a feature of EU administration that has been clear for a very long time and one of the reasons people have become dissatisfied with EU membership. The other reasons are the covert suppression of national identity and the influx of migrants assisted by the open border policies of the EU. Why are we so suprised that this is happening? The Roman Empire went through a similar process, becoming larger, bureaucratic, corrupt, facing ever increasing immigration and political uncertainty, not to mention rebellions and at least one break-away empire (that included the British Isles curiously enough). If ever there was a reason to see the value of history, current events are proving it like nothing else, especially since the EU exists to recreate the Roman Empire in a parallel sense. Gildas, a sixth century monk, described Britain as an island 'Rich in usurpers'. He wasn't wrong. Unwelcome Weather Of The Week Saturday overtime. Mandatory. Grumble as I might I had no choice but to turn up to work. The weather was supposed to be about sunshine and showers but toward the end of the shift all hell broke loose. I have never seen hail like that in England before. Neither had the Goans, who raced to the door to experience the sort of weather that probably doesn't happen in India. It doesn't normally happen in England but we didn't let on. Although the hail was not as fierce as some countries in the world expect, for England, it was pretty impressive.
  22. 1 point
    Some of my work colleagues are not too impressed with me right now. Pfah. As if I care. The reason is that one of the youngsters is having his birthday celebration today and I have no intention of turning up. Truth is he's always kept me at arms length as it were, and never really conversed with me. No problem, but his big party is therefore of no importance to me whatsoever. Another colleague attempted to persuade me to turn up during the queue for the end of day attendance scan - I told him I was indifferent and why, right in front of the whole shift. I certainly don't mind carousing but as an afterthought? No, I don't need popularity like youngsters do, and I don't need to get drunk just to have a good time. Get A New One Once in a while the top boss in a huge multi-national corporation will pop in and look around. As you might expect, when there's a threat of someone important wandering around the workplace, managers suddenly get very insistent on tidiness and activity. If you work for a Japanese company as I do, the issue is worse, because they have all sorts of expectations. Even if you work in a warehouse full of dust producing cardboard packaging and oil soaked parts, workers must be clean and spotless. I discovered this on my way back from break as a pair of managers assessed everyone passing by for adherence to uniform code. I failed because my hi-vis was a little dust and oil marked by lots of activity (I'm not the cleanest worker in the world as I prefer to get things done). Okay, I admit it, it was no longer a bright yellow but instead had become a sort of faded cammo pattern of dull green and grey. The subordinate team leader demanded my attention and quietly told me to get a new hi-vis. That's an order. Yes sir. The New One Doesn't Work That new tyrannosaurus of a cardboard baler is proving a problem child. We're all shaking our heads and muttering "I told them so" as the machine fails to work reliably straight from the installation. It is a big issue of course. The amount of cardboard we go through is vast - one of the mechanics working on the new machine could not believe how much cardboard our company has to deal with, a feature of having to deal with bulk supplies of auto parts that must be delivered in pristine condition, and whilst he spoke, the yard outside was filling up with temporary bins full of the stuff. They even called overtime specifically to help clear it. Now parts of the machine have failed and must go back to Germany to be redesigned and manufactured. You know, for months I was essentially the only associate working on cardboard waste within the warehouse, dealing with smaller boxes whilst the bigger external machines took care of larger packages. Now they have a regular crowd of workers trying to cope with the load and regularly get swamped. One of my colleagues said that things were easier when I was baling. Feels nice to be wanted doesn't it? Sigh. Oh well, the next order has been passed to me and packages full of auto parts must be decanted into stillages for the production line. So that's another load of oil soaked impact bars then. I can see why my colleagues want to get drunk. Screenie of the Week It's a long bank holiday this easter so a spot of virtual flying is called for. I just love those big propliners and cargo planes, this one - a Douglas C124 from the Cold War era is no exception, seen here flying important cargo and probably a few sailors on a free ticket from a naval base in the Puget Sound to Alameda in sunny California. Enjoy the pic... Drunk in charge of that wonderful machine? That's just criminal. I had a lovely evening - instead of loud crowd noise, thudding metronome beats in the background, and all the hot sweaty jostling for another drink, all I heard was the mighty rumble of four large capacity radial aero-engines. Heaven. Oh all right, I admit it, I also indulged myself with a spot of heavy metal guitar. Hell too Well, the holiday isn't over, and I have more time to wander around the supermarket to find something different and interesting.... Aha... That bottle of White Rum looks good....
  23. 1 point
    In the course section "Girls Growing Up," this picture of an ancient Roman doll from the second century AD was presented. This is the only information I could find about the image: Italy, Rome, Via Trionfale, Wooden doll from sarcophagus of Crepereia Tryphena Italy, Rome, Archaeological Museum, Roman civilization, 2nd century a.d. I am fascinated about the hair style and the movable joints of this "Ancient Roman Barbie." Here's an interesting video about the hair styles of that time. guy also known as gaius
  24. 1 point
    That was my understanding of what archaeological has brought to light, most particularly with wells & springs. Yes, if you ever visit the English city of Bath you will see in their museum a collection of curses recovered from the sacred well of Diana. I love one on particular;" To whoever stole my gloves, may your lose your eyes and hands and die in agony." Geej, someone really missed those gloves!
  25. 1 point
    Italian Genealogy Online All Roads Lead to Rome