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Caius Maxentius

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    Sydney NS
  1. I've always thought of Aurelius as a good emperor who came to power at a challenging time. The long wars and plague which were not his fault put his administration and leadership to the test, and he didn't do badly, but as Caldrail suggests, he didn't do great either. I wonder if Pius or Hadrian would have done much better given the same circumstances.
  2. Caius Maxentius

    List of 10 Worst Emperors of the Roman Empire

    Maybe Valens, whose dealings with the Goths left much to be desired?
  3. Caius Maxentius

    Trajan's supposed Italian origins

    These are interesting questions. Trajan was presumably from a long line of patricians, and the upper class in the Roman world was pretty culturally homogenous, was it not? I don't know if there would actually have been much Celt-Iberian cultural upbringing here: that would have been the culture of the peasant class.
  4. Caius Maxentius

    When did they stop being legions?

    Re: Franks using Gallic legions after the fall -- I remember reading something briefly about this, with the Roman military tradition carrying on in certain places even though the Western empire was gone. What evidence do they have of this?
  5. Just curious when the term "legio" or legion fell out of use. Were Roman soldiers still members of legions in the time of Aetius (when it seemed the foederati had become really important in the West); in the time of Justinian; in the time of Heraclius? I assume that by the time the Eastern Empire had re-organized into the military themes, that legion was no longer the term, but I could be wrong.
  6. Caius Maxentius

    Where does the Byzantine Empire begin?

    For a slightly different approach, why not say that the Byzantine Empire begins in 1557, when it was first given that name by the German Hieronymous Wolf. We seem to be searching for the genesis of the "Byzantine" in the Empire's internal history, but maybe the name is more important for what it tells us about the West and its needs, perceptions, and biases.
  7. It seems logical that Byzantium would have fared better if the Persian war hadn't so recently happened. At the same time, I'm not sure if the Empire's weakness was all military in all cases. The amount of social/religious alienation that had happened as a result of the Chalcedonian/Monophysite conflict, especially in places like Egypt and Syria, probably made the local population more amenable to regime change. I'm sure people in these provinces had had their fill of violent religious interference from Constantinople. I'm also not entirely sure about how much better the military situation would have been without the Persian war. I remember reading that Heraclius had to give the army a major overhaul to meet the Persian threat; it doesn't sound like it was in great shape at his accession. If the Arab blitzkrieg had started then, would he have been in a much better position?
  8. Caius Maxentius

    It Was Sheer Murder Out There

    I wonder to what degree Roman military vitality, or the desirability of military service, simply boils down to the republic/early empire's "offensive" posture, vs. the later empire's "defensive" posture. Up until the empire stopped expanding, fighting successful wars of expansion led to great booty and wealth that the soldiers shared in to some degree. It was about profit. The later defensive wars were just about fending off invasions. I know there were some spoils in successful defensive wars, but not in nearly the same degree. I imagine that conquering a Hellenistic kingdom in the East during the late Republic brought in way more spoils than repelling the Allemani in the fourth century. Perhaps the citizenry were softened by years of prosperity and other social factors, but perhaps military service also became a "why bother?" proposition, if all you got for it was your regular salary, and an unpleasant, dangerous lifestyle. Was the risk simply not worth what it was in previous generations?
  9. Caius Maxentius

    Rome's Worst Emperors

    How about Gallienus? The crisis of the third century seemed to reach a fracturous climax during his reign. Valentinian III seemed to be cut from the same cloth as Honorius, I'd include him, too.
  10. Caius Maxentius

    Where would you have lived in the Roman Empire?

    Aquilea sounds like it was a nice place. Very Roman, but not so hot in the summer? Then I'd go camping on my holidays in the Agri Decumates, just to live dangerously!
  11. Caius Maxentius

    Did Diocletianus destroy the Roman Economy...

    Didn't Diocletian attempt to fix prices, and make many occupations hereditary? I don't know if that made it "Soviet Rome," but it sounds like he saw intervention in the economy and social order as a necessary move.
  12. Thanks. I was asking partly because I read somewhere (I`ll have to look it up) that late emperors did not like the idea of citizen militias being formed, fearing they`d lead to breakaway states, violent taxation revolts, or something like the Bagaudae. I wasn`t sure if the this was related to Valentinian`s reluctant revoking of the ban.
  13. Caius Maxentius

    What made an Emperor "successful"?

    What made an emperor successful? A vigorous campaign of propaganda (including long-lasting stone monuments covered in inscriptions), employing a talented and favourably-biased historian to chronicle your great reign, and dying of old age without ever being successfully usurped! (Tongue firmly in cheek, of course )
  14. Caius Maxentius

    San Vitale Mosiac Theodora and Justinian

    I'd love to hear something on this too. I've poked around the web, but I've never found any speculation on who is who in these mosaics, apart from the obvious. I was partly sparked to investigate this because of Guy Gavriel Kay's "Sailing to Sarantium" series, which fills in the blanks about who is in the mosaic, but I assume it's all made up.
  15. I'm confused: was there a ban on bearing arms in the city of Rome, or a ban on Roman citizens bearing arms, no matter where they were?