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caldrail last won the day on December 13 2020

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About caldrail

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  • Birthday 09/29/1961

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

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  1. Bear in mind that Irish and Roman churches were not in accord. Once Irish Christianity started popping up in western Europe the Roman church went into complete rivalry and won. People like Pelagius disappeared as well. But regarding Roman culture - that was never foisted on people. There's this common theme that conquered peoples were 'romanised' shortly after. There never was any such assimilation. The Romans offered their culture to those under their sway and rewarded those that adopted it, but if you wanted native clothes and customs that was fine. All they demanded was tribute and loyalty. In fact, the empire was a cosmopolitan spread of diverse cultures and peoples within its territories, quite unlike the single flavour Roman world that's normally described. There's the difference between Empire and Faith. The Roman Empire was a cooperative whole. The Church demanded conformity - though admittedly that was because of Constantine the Great in the first instance who needed something to bind his shattered empire together and chose the various christian sects, who were brought together at the Council of Nicaea in 325 to unite the diverse beliefs that all the sects had promulgated beforehand. Something like fifty gospels were reduced to the four approved gospels we still have today. Hadrian was an exception I suppose. He had this idea about creating a Graeco-Roman bubble of civilisation that excluded the barbarian. His policies were not that successful and sparked a war in Judaea when he reneged on his promise to rebuild Jerusalem and instead ordered a Roman city built on the same spot, to be called Colonia Aelia Capitolina. Too much for the Judaeans to accept.
  2. The Vatican as an independent state has only existed since recognition by Mussolini's fascist government in 1929. Before that it was the capital of the Papal States and then only under the sole control of the Pope from the 8th century. I did chuckle when you mentioned that church leaders claimed the Vatican succeeded where the Roman Empire failed. That's complete nonsense unless you mean persistence. Of course I'm aware of the influence the Pope has, but he does not rule an empire (I'm sure national leaders would have something to say about that if he tried). Further, Roman Catholicism has not prevailed entirely. Protestant and Orthodox churches still exist and are dominant in some countries around the world (including my own, where it is illegal for a Catholic to become monarch). Historically it was influence that the Catholic church sought to expand rather than actual power, and to be honest, they had reached the highest point in the late eleventh century. Pope Urban II was empire building outrageously, excommunicating monarchs when they didn't comply, but blew his project when he responded to a request from Emperor Alexius of the Byzantines for military assistance and ordered the First Crusade. So no, ROman Catholicism has failed to create an empire at all. Rome 1, Catholicism 0.
  3. caldrail

    Pub ordering in ancient Rome

    Tavern life in ancient Rome could well have been a lively experience. Witness the images in Pompeii of situations the landlord does not want happening, rather like 'this is banned' posters. Despite the demand for orderly behaviour, there seems to be a certain sense of humour in portraying things this way. Expedient, obviously, because posters as such are less likely to be read than a scene is viewed, and because paint is more available than paper.
  4. caldrail

    Exotic gladiatrix in ancient Rome

    Small point but female gladiators never fought male opponents - that was considered unfair. In fact, female contestants originated as a comedic act, sometimes paired with dwarfs (who were male, I might add). This sort of attraction began around the time of Nero and ended when Septimius Severus banned female warriors in the arena (though as with all things Roman, it's likely that small numbers still performed in wandering troupes out in the provinces for some time).
  5. caldrail

    Touching Roman Grave

    Yes, Rome was a very family-centric society. Okay, maybe this was more important for families with some money in the belt, but I note from Pompeii and Herculaneum that pets were never far away. That said, I also notice that pets don't generally get mentioned in the sources except for perhaps the odd case of something unusual or something touted as evidence of divine favour. I suppose this is partly down to Rome's attitude toward animals. Love them or whip them, they were animals, unable to decide for themselves and bound to human direction (this was why slaves had the same status). Except for funerary items like this, which give a little insight that status was not entirely a fixed view, rather one that varied according to the emotional needs of the owner. After all, there were plenty of men who freed slaves in order to marry them.
  6. caldrail

    Preserved Ancient Child

    Hang on... Pyroclastic flows are both searing hot and violently turbulent. Odd that there's a lack of evidence for heat in amongst pyroclastic residue.
  7. It does a ring a bell. But I confess, I'm in the same boat as you, creasing my brow in an effort to recall some fleeting memory of a mention in a source normally left in a dusty library or obscure website. Tell you what. You search your research material, I'll search mine. One of us is going to find him. Join in everybody. X marks the spot. Seriously though it does sound familiar. The trouble is so many Romans fell out of favour for transgressions great and small I'm struggling to think who it might be. For a moment I thought of Cicero's son, but no, that didn't fit the bill. I'll keep an eye out for this one.
  8. caldrail

    New Year, New Country, Nothing New

    Almost the end of the year. Most of 2020 has been about Coronavirus and the government locking up the population for fear of catching it. Man With A Skateboard The other day I was on the doorstep waiting for a parcel delivery (having been advised by phone and email he was going to turn up imminently) when this old guy wandered by taking his skateboard for a walk. Not since the 1970's and the kids tv show Magic Roundabout have I seen anything quite so weird. No, really, it was rolling gently down the hill, the man ambling after it and occaisonally nudging it with his foot to keep it travelling down the pavement. Man With Something I want To Buy I'd been out shopping and happened to pass one of my local music stores. I wonder if they've got a gizmo that could help me with my home studio? Hmmm... So I bravely crossed the road - Yeah same to you mate - and found that due to Covid restrictions I can't just walk in, masked or not (Bizarre that shops will only serve masked men these days). I rang the doorbell. Actually it wasn't all that bad, you get let in and ask for what you want. The guy behind the counter listened to my detailed requirements for gizmo heaven and offered me a gizmo. Not a simple gizmo you understand, but a quality gizmo, fully featured, compact, and able to cope with the mind blowing requirements of modern musicians. It's got this, he started, and it's got that, oh, and thingy here is used for... Okay. I said, I'll take it. No, stop selling, you've already sold it. He looked up a bit disorientated from having to stop his sales patter halfway through, but the gizmo did everything I needed, so yes, I'll buy it. We both parted in a good mood, a successful days transacting at the shop. Actually just in time too. By midnight Tier 4 comes into play and the music shop is shut. Man With An Agenda Part of my job is quality control. That means I have to check other people's work in some degree (by order of senior management no less). That makes me as popular as a traffic warden of course. Having spent the last two years having endless confrontations and giving endless lectures about proper procedures one of the key members of the team decided to brush me aside and ignore the standing procedure completely. I got miffed, confronted him about it, he got miffed because he's too important to be confronted, and before you know it, on the last day before our Xmas hols a minor war breaks out. There's a fair few of the team on my naughty list right now. Trouble is, I might be on a managerial naughty list myself. January might be interesting... Man At Last We Have A Proper Brexit Good grief, who would have thought it? Not only have we spent the last year under siege from Covid but we've also been tearing ourselves away from Imperial Europe, and we now have an actual deal with them, signed and done. From tomorrow night the United Kingdom is a seperate nation properly. I feel all British all of a sudden. We even won the custody battle with Scotland too. They can moan and sob all they want but frankly in the long term we've done them a favour. Sooner or later their precious independence was going to vanish in some European re-organisation aimed at dissolving national borders. We've also done preparatory deals with Canada, Japan, South Korea, and somewhere else too. I notice that the EU has now pulled business from London to an internal financial market. Bearing in mind how utterly obsessed they are with external borders, both real and virtual, one can't help comparing the situation with the waning years of the Western Roman Empire when Britain threw out the corrupt Roman administration after they withdrew their legions.. So, the EU is going to be overrun by hordes of barbarians wanting a piece of their action, and we're going to be overrun by hordes of Barbarians wanting a piece of our action. Funnily enough, the increasing numbers of migrants attempting to cross the Channel to get here is a startling parallel. But look on the bright side. In a few hundred years we'll be owning half of France again. Celebration Of The Year Oh come on, stop griping. Goodbye 2020 and hello 2021. Yeah! Rock and roll man!
  9. No real suprise to me. It's been increasingly obvious in recent years that Britain has plenty of Roman military sites around the country. I mean, the town I live in descends from a work camp used during the building of the Roman road from Calleva Atrebatum to Corinium Dobinorum which would have been used by soldiers working as labourers and artisans.
  10. Roman writers love to 'quote' speeches. Of course they do. Rhetoric was a vital part of a schoolboy education since the youngster was being prepared for a life that might well have involved politics. The problem is that they're making it up more often than not. Possibly the quote from Calgacus is accurate but there's no corroboration. It's a sort of socially acceptable derivation to enliven an otherwise dry account of the past. That said, Tacitus was well aware of the shortcomings of the empire's soldiery, barely wasting any explanation for the mutiny in Pannonia of ad14 (and adds a speech from a soldier to describe the complaints of the legionaries that nobody could have recorded). Britannia was a distant province though. A rebellion there during Hadrian's reign barely gets mentioned in the sources. How serious was it? Who rebelled? Who fought the rebels? Who won? One might suspect an easy victory for the Empire if the event is so casually passed over. had the rebellion been a disaster for Rome, or involved some great tragedy or drama involving the rich and famous, then more detail would have no doubt been dug up. It was, perhaps, thought of as a dull subject with nothing to thrill the reader.
  11. What we don't know is the objective of these presumed reprisals. Official retaliation? Local revenge? Suppression? Criminal activity (Roman soldiers sometimes indulged in a spot of banditry though this was more common in the late empire)? I would point out that the quote you gave above is highlighted concerning the actions of the 'barbarians', not the Romans. Or at least that was how I read it. The governor, Paulus Suetonius, is more concerned with preserving the province against the rebellion according to Tacitus.
  12. Shield walls are inherently defensive. The late empire made use of them, but the wider rounded shields of the day made that practicable. Principatal shield were less useful in that regard since they were optimised for personal protection and shaped to allow gaps for men to thrust swords between when in close order melee, and the compromise in spacing made advances just as easy as static defence. Okay, the celebrated testudo was an exception but that was not a hirsute tank. It was a means of advancing with added protection. When you got to the enemy, you had to do something else.
  13. caldrail

    Chelsea, London Changes

    Same thing has happened everywhere in Britain. We used to have an industrial landscape that just doesn't exist any more. Locally, I remember when the canal wharf warehouse was pulled down, or the redevelopment of Little London. That said, in the middle of Old Town, in amongst the tightly packed terraces you can still find country cottages from before the railways came, when Swindon was a small market village on top of the hill.
  14. caldrail

    Coliseums Outside of Italy To Visit

    Ermm.... There is only one Coliseum. The other arenas are simply amphitheatres no matter how grand. The name Coliseum is not Roman by the way. They called it the Flavian Amphitheatre.
  15. Do go there. You get a sense of the scale of a Roman fort and vicus and the closeness of the local community (though it was actually less compact than some settlements along the wall). As a site it feels a little odd because it's perched on a slope above a river valley and not what you would ordinarily expect. The reconstructions like the gate one has to take with some measure of salt, but there's nonetheless a real sense of something happening there.