Jump to content
UNRV Ancient Roman Empire Forums


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

0 Neutral

About schreuderjonkman

  • Rank

Profile Information

  • Gender
  1. schreuderjonkman

    Roman Military

    Actually, the auxillia usually made up half of the legion, and usually the most important half. Romans never really got the hang of cavalry soldiering, and they were also bad archers. So the heavvy infantry was made up of the citizens, of course troops with a high status, and good discipline and organization, but not flexible in use. And usually they had a small horse detachment, but the Italians were not 'born in the saddle', and usually performed poor. The Auxillia troops usually supplied the crack cavalry and archers. And the skirmishers, that were often send in for the first engagement (fast and lighter armed troops). So you can see that without the auxillia there was hardly a 'complete' force on the field. Where citizenship is concerned, after a period of service (it became ever longer, up to 20 years) it was rewarded to these troops. And this in turn they could pass on to theis sons. So effectively it took a generation to get the family properly in the trade. But emperors also used to give whole states citizenship on occaision. So it is a mistake to think the citizen ranks of the legion were filled with Italians. Basically, the close to Rome they lived, the less keen they were on military service. But, of course, they did supply officers.
  2. schreuderjonkman

    Christianities impact on Rome

    Actually, I tend to agree with the poster of the question, that christianity actually played a prominent role in the downfall of the Empire. Montheistic religions were actually quite old, much older than the empire. But because of their very nature they had trouble spreading. This is because the 'one-god' is often exclusively for one kind of tribe or people. Such as with judeism, for the Jews. The remarkable thing is that christianity became a mono-theisme for all. Of course the Jews are still Gods people, but Jesus became a bridge to all none Jews. (actually, there appear to have been two streams, after Jesus was crucified. One stream believed in keeping christianity for the Jews, the other, smaller group, that is was for all. Those of you who know the new testament will remember the Roman soldier thus converted) Anyway, what signifies mono-theistic systems, like judeism, is the fact that they tend to form close nit, nearly or completely independent, communities, that awnser only to God. (like monastic communities) Something else important is that the one-God does not bear other Gods. Mono-theisme is not a tolerant system, it has an important element of 'truth', that defies all others, and has a great drive to evangelicise, if need be by force. Holy wars, like crucades and jihads, are the proof of this, but also the marriage between religion and state. And I believe that these two things meant, for a great deal, the downfall of the organization of the empire. A testament to this is that christian states never had the capability to grow as large as the empire, because the new mono-theisme made it harder to unite in a state. It took us many many centuries to seperate church from state. The Roman Empire was a city state system, but with many monastic communities springing up, this system lost its appeal. Communities downsized in fact, and became virtually independent. A law that was passed that actually liberated the tax system, more or less privatising it to large land-owners, meant that the legions no longer were supportable. And with the loss of the legions, Rome lost one of the greatest speaders of culture and control. Legions became allied to local lords. And why did the Byzantine empire, as eastern part, stick it out longer? In fact, both Rome and the Byzantines held some sort of control. Rome was not 'gone'. The more than 1000 year old institution of the Pope of Roman Catholism sprang up, and had a great deal of influence in northern europe. Rome essentially chose to continue influence through being representitive of God himself, as the Roman emperors who had declared themselves God. The Byzantines kept more control, because they held on to the military ways, while they in fact parted from the way of Rome by religion, as orthodox christians (which later gave them conflict with the west and Rome). But the Byzantine empire broke up later, also because of mono-theism. They were torn up between the Roman Catholics and the Moslim states, that, later than christianity, also became a one-God for all system thanks to Mohammed. Personally, I would have preferred the old religions, that usually gave everybody the freedom, whoever your king or emperor, to excersise the religion and life style you wished.
  3. schreuderjonkman

    Roman Tattoos

    The view on Roman citizens and tattoos is completely wrong here. Roman citizens were basically a very large and diverse group of europeans, euro-asians and middle-easterners. Often in our modern times we confuse this, and think of ancient Rome of some sort of super large country. It was not. Ancient Roman empire, and those who lived in it and had the status of Roman citizen, was nothing more than a union of very different countries and cultures. There is nothing simple about this. They all spoke different languages, from arabic to germanic, and even had two official languages. They all had different religions, as Romans preferred to give a great deal of cultural freedom, as long as the vassal states payed the taxes and supported the legions. They all had fundamentally different cultures. Now the Roman soldier. He was seldomly actually someone from the land of Italy. Because it was custom to fill the legions with foreigners, Italians did not do their own fighting. In fact, most legionaires came from the area they were actually stationed, or near there, and never did see the great city of Rome. Now tattoos... these were fairly popular in different areas of the empire. For instance the picts (scots, irish, northern england ans thereabouts) appeared to be heavely tattood. But arabic people also have used tattoos since ancient times. And also many germanic tribes. All in different ways, and for different reasons. Now... the roman citizen could be each of these peoples. Of this vast empire, only about two million citizens actually lived in the city of Rome, and maybe a few million more in the provinces. Everybody outside that small area was called a barbarian, but that does not have the same meanig as it has now. And a lot of so-called barbarians were actually roman citizens, and some even became emperor. It stands to reason that tattoos, like other things those days, like beards or certain clothes, were trends, just like in our modern times. After all, the empire spans many hundreds of years. Why would we assume their fashion behaviour would be different to ours? But it certainly stands to reason that soldiers, and merchants from all over the empire, would regularly be shown to wear tattoos in the great city of Rome. Soldiers, by the way, appear to have had markings, that might have differed in different areas of the empire. The legions of Syria were for instance very different, in many respects, to those in northern europe. It is hard to say or they actualy had the SPQR tattoo on the left arm, but there are some references. For the rest, certain religious cults certainly had tattoos, and Rome had many religions. More than we know today. And tattoos were used as markers for slaves and criminals, although at a later stage tattoos in the face were forbidden. So the bottom line is.... tattoos were about, and probably a fair amount of 'foreign' or 'barbarian' roman citizens brought them to the city of Rome. And possibly they were also 'in fashion' in the Italian circles, from time to time. For instance at times when the Roman emperor happened to be a 'barbarian', and actually had tattoos.