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caldrail last won the day on April 16

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About caldrail

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    Find out more on my blog here at UNRV. Go on, treat yourself...

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  1. caldrail

    Gladiatrix - source?

    Interesting, because the padding would only apply to one leg (the one leading which would be under her shield and therefore prone to bruising injuries). Sources mention female gladiators in passing, from their arrival as comedy sets during the reign of Nero to their ban as proper fighters by Septimius Severus. I don't know the source you're looking for but it would seem to be a private letter.
  2. caldrail

    Overlaps, Based on True Events, and Historical Fictions

    Giants are universally present in ancient literature in some form or fashion. Even the Bible mentions a race of them (There is currently a belief in many researchers that a race of giant hominoids lived on Sardinia. So far real evidence is lacking among accusations of cover-ups and conspiracy theories, but to be honest, giant species wouldn't normally evolve on an island - the small enviroment tends to promote smaller individuals). But culture can adopt literature all too easily. The classic example is the "Holy Grail". There was a 'Holy Chalice' mentioned in three biblical gospels, but the Grail - not originally holy, first arrives in the late twelth century as a prop in a story called Perceval written by Chretien Des Troyes. The hero witnesses a ritual in which the grail is used, but the author died before finishing it, so we don't discover exactly what it is. Some time later Robert De Boron wrote Joseph D'Aramathie, which describes the Grail in a christian context for the first time. The christian church has long been happy to fuse the two objects together and now around two hundred objects are claimed to be the Grail. Then of course you have that silly Blood Royal alternative. In other words, people are seeking reality from a prop in a medieval romance. Just don't get me started on the Bible
  3. That sort of parallel has been on forums for the last twenty years. Strictly speaking, the context is wildly different thus a true comparison is not possible. However, the recent indecisive politics in British Parliament has made me wonder about the parallel with the senate of the late Republic. Of itself, merely a phase we're going through, since really it's effective and charismatic leadership we lack. But on the other hand, the chaotic factionalism makes me wonder if we're risking extremist government in the same way that the Senate failed to obstruct the rise of warlords in the period I previously mentioned. If so, we're in danger of a government we really don't want. On the other hand, as has been said a number of times on television interviews with politicians and members of the public, we're British, and therefore will eventually muddle through irrespective of the ridiculous situation we've created for ourselves.
  4. caldrail

    Heirs of Augustus

    I really need to reread the sources at some point - I can't find the quote I was thinking of. However, I did note that Casius Dio mentions the suspicion of her involvement in the death of Marcellus and Tacitus is none too full of praise of her. Augustus was said to have died while kissing her, telling her to remember their marriage as he said goodbye, but one suspects this was normal Roman dramatics and the anecdote shouldn't be taken too seriously.
  5. caldrail

    Heirs of Augustus

    Suetonius reported that many thought Livia was guilty of machinations to get her son (by a previous husband) Tiberius into succession. There were some suspicious deaths. Marcellus died of an illness - Augustus had apparently caught the same bug but survived, and so did his sons Gaius and Lucius.
  6. caldrail

    What would happen if a commoner wore Toga Picta

    The Romans were intensely aware of social status and the privileges accrued. Sitting in the wrong seat at the theatre in the days of the Principate was seen as breaching this sort of thing. Wearing a toga you weren't entitled to was likely to end in something ridiculously harsh (Caligula executed a visiting foreign king because he wore an especially fine purple cloak to a public event). Much depended on who you were. A commoner, humiliores, would expect the most extreme punishments anyway. According to degree of offence, the guilty man (or rather ignorant victim) could be burned alive, set upon by wild beasts in the arena, required to fight over a dagger in the arena as a noxus, the winner required to pass the dagger to the next criminal ushered into the arena, or enslavement in manual labour (the least deadly option and even then not survivable for any length of time, and please note, galley oarsmen were professional sailors in ancient Rome, not slaves)
  7. caldrail

    Treatment of conquered land and peoples

    Cassius Dio mentions a number of times how someone was made a slave of. He's not talking about legal servitude as a servant, but rather that the individual was in a position such that he was obliged to do as he was told. My views on colonialism are guided very much by archeology but also the sources, which occaisionsally give off clues. The ownership of a roman pot does not make you Roman. What matters is context, in this case, the nature of settlement and who lived there. Often the Roman state didn't want external land - an expedition was punitive and designed to quell a security threat before marching home again. This was more true of the imperial period than republican. The Italian tribal lands had retained their status as parts of a loose federation within the empire because originally Rome had won a war with them and accepted their good behaviour as allies afterward, based on comparable civilisation. When dealing with 'barbarian' lands, there was far less consideration. The incorporation was not about land but about population. Wilderness - of which there was plenty in Roman times - was of no concern to the Romans whatsoever, and areas were used to bundle more important land such as settlements or resources. Transformation of land was always a later initiative, particularly since the Augustan Franchise, in which the state rewarded settlements with tax breaks and concessions (or other important benefits) for emulating Rome, which clearly favoured urban development. The estates of the wealthy tended to be in certain regions, particularly Italy, but also Sicily, Greece, North Africa, southern France, and parts of Spain. This was as much to do with convenience as availability or suitability. OF course there were always exceptions, thus one can find large estates in the SE of England where Romanesque culture was strongest - but beware - some, if not the majority - of these provincial estates were in fact owned by wealthy locals who would have not necessarily have been exhibiting total conversion to Roman lifestyles but enjoying as much as they preferred and could afford. War veterans were not usually well served with gifts of land. One of the complaints that led to mutinies on the death of Augustus was the poor land they knew they would get on retirement.
  8. Recently Decanus_Canada asked...
  9. caldrail

    Treatment of conquered land and peoples

    Rome was not concerned with lifestyles at all other than loyalty and tribute to Rome were observed. For instance, in my home area, a hillfort was occupied by the local Britons throughout the occupation and the Romans don't seem to have bothered them. Remember that free will and self determination were extremely important in Roman culture - it was what made human beings superior in their eyes - anything else was either a slave or an animal. Of course obedience was necessary sometimes such as military discipline in the legions, but these were accepted exceptions. Note what happened in Germania after Publius Varus took control. He was sent there to administer the occupied territories (Rome had not officially annexed them) and to secure tax revenue for Augustus, keen to fund games and civic improvements. Although Varus was told that the German tribes were going to revolt, he believed that they would see Roman law as superior and adopt the invaders culture willingly, an impression aided by the apparent complicity of the tribes. He was well and truly fooled. People often talk about 'Romanisation' today, declaring that within a generation or two Roman culture was adopted and to all intents and purposes the empire was solidly Roman from one end to the other. This is a very deep misinterpretation. It didn't matter if the locals chose not to Romanise - that was their choice. Tacitus sneers at the Britons for their attempts to mimic Roman culture, and mentions the Gauls as most closely emulating them. It was an example of the bell curve. At the extremes, a local might discard anything Roman, or adopt the culture completely. In between, the majority took on board whatever level of Roman ways that suited them. Naturally the Romans offered their culture both as a reward and a means of compatibility, thus they persuaded local leaders to become 'Roman' and thus they could be plugged straight into the Roman political network and employ their local networks of loyalty usefully. Then again, malcontents might expect something a great deal harsher.
  10. caldrail

    Treatment of conquered land and peoples

    The Romans took a very practical view on this, although considerable greed was evident. They did not ordinarily set out to capture territory, rather to defeat the threat against them. Acquisition was made not for the victory itself, but for the advantages of bringing the territory under Roman control. So for instance Trajan wages war upon the warlike Dacians. Hadrian, his successor, creates a peaceful resolution by returning occupied territory - but kept the areas with gold mines. Or consider the events leading to disaster. Warlike Germanic tribes were constantly raiding Gaul. After Julius Caesar had conquered Gaul for booty to pay debts and kudos in his career, Germanians attacked and defeated the 5th legion garrison under Marcus Lollius. Augustus sent an expedition to teach them a lesson and they stayed in occupied areas after the victory against the Germnians, with Publius Varus - known to be a greedy man after his governorship of Syria - to administer those territories before they had become provinces of Rome (Something the Romans noted in their histories). The Germanians didn't like the Romans trying to tell them how they ought to be living and rebelled. For ten years Germanian provinces were out of reach until Germanicus re-conquered them, but most of this was punitive and the territories not kept. Indeed, Augustus would later advise Tiberius not to extend the frontiers. Or consider client states. This was a legal means of acquiring new territory by making a tribal state a client state. The ruler was allowed to continue as a friend of Rome, only that when he died he was supposed to bequeath his land to Rome for the privilege. This was the source of the Boudiccan revolt. The Iceni king had done this but left half his realm to his family. The Romans considered the Iceni lands to be theirs. Bear in mind that Roman control of territory was not uniform. They had provinces of different levels of civic status, military districts (two created in lesser Germania by Augustus), client states, and Tribal states (such as most of Italy into the imperial period - only after the fall of the west were Italian tribal lands called 'provinces' although from Augustus onward they were increasingly less independent)
  11. caldrail

    Vestal Virgins

    Worth a read without being too academic about this.... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vestal_Virgin
  12. caldrail

    I need Gladiator Names for game Database

    Some gladiators received fanciful stage names, others effeminate ones, for theatrical reasons rather than performance. So matching #Flower' against Panther' was probably not unknown. Please remember however that your game may well be second rate if you go down the 'Hollywood' route and simply create a fantasy deathmatch arena. I've played games like that before - they're awful. Gladiators became professional fighters with rules, referees, rest periods, and local variations. One on one fights were standard in fixed classes. Fights were until one contestant could not continue and asked for mercy (or died). There were fights to the death (sine missione), but these were banned by Augustus although they returned later for extra drama. Equipment was strictly defined within classes. Note that many fighters had padded left legs or right arms. Not for defence, as you might imagine, but to prevent injuries against shields. Some fight styles had fixed areas a fighter could not leave. Other men were sometimes chained to each other to prevent cowardice (this happened in Britain) with the chains going through a central stone to stop them cooperating. There were wooden platforms defended by one man and attacked by more than one opponent. Criminals were sent into the arena with no protection and one knife bwteen them. The winner had to pass the knife to a fresh criminal contestant and continue.
  13. caldrail

    Republican marching camps

    I've considered this a lot over the years. We know Roman infantry carried two sticks but this would not be enough for a camp palisade or sturdy enough, given they must be carried along with other gear, to fend off any attack. In fact the Romans merely say they carried sticks to help build the camp so we might actually be looking at measuring implements rather than defensive assets. The camp was primarily defended by a ditch and rampart. No gate as such, but guards posted at the gaps used to access the site. This was a marching camp after all and not a permanent defensive work. If they did erect a fence around it, for practical reasons it could not have been much better than one you might use around your garden. Note that the Roman sources do not discuss the defensive strength of camps. They do however discuss the behaviour of guards.
  14. caldrail

    Serving in home province.

    Given the unstable nature of political and military security in the north of England - which the Romans never completely suppressed - the risks of sending british tribesmen north as auxillaries would not seem particularly clever. Off he goes with his fellow recruits to Gaul, etc, with a few sestercii travelling money and serving soldiers as guides.
  15. Forces were allocated to regions on the basis of perceived security risk. The Romans were well aware that long garrison duty meant troops became lazy and ill-disciplined (there are sources that mention these issues). Thus when a situation arose, it was wise to send a new commander with a mission, someone with the talent to lead and the will to shake up the unit into some order. This is especially so in the case of Corbulo, sent by Nero to Syria to pick up a legion to march to Armenia and settle the government there. He arrived to find an army that had not even bothered undertaking basic military duties. He went on to win the war in Armenia. However, his methods may well have been very heavy handed although some historians put this down to poor regard and reporting (Nero ordered Corbulo to commit suicide despite his victory)