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caldrail

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  1. caldrail

    She

    Okay, I'm single, yes? So what? A great many older men are for one reason or another. I can already hear the population of Swindon England saying "Yes but....". Yes but nothing. It's circumstance, not a statement of sexuality, fashion, manhood, or any other concept these overgrown children struggle with. In particular the youngsters of my home town have been testing my patience with the most ignorant questions and attitudes imaginable. That's the reality of modern sub-culture, kids growing up divorced from adult perspective and trying to impose their petty little world upon the rest of us. Or me, which is worse. I recall a song by Charles Aznavour. Not my kind of music you understand, but with my parents, certain radio stations were inescapable. The song was 'She'. I still suffer the trauma of repeated exposure to it in my younger days. So can I relate my younger experiences with the cultural mores I have to contend with? Am I really better than them? She may be the face I can't forgetA trace of pleasure or regretMay be my treasure or the priceI have to pay One night not that long ago I had some guy outside my home trying to give me a lecture about life and love. Unbelievable. These people never talk to my face, just stand outside and entertain me with their peculiar visions of the world when really they ought to mind their own business. I wonder if the problem is that these people don't have a life to get on with so insist on trying to influence mine. Anyway, the winner of this verse was when that guy told me I should forget her and move on. Did he really think he was going to make things better for me? Turn me around? Oh good god. Actually I know exactly which lady he was referring to but the laughable thing is neither that lady or myself have any intention of resuming communication after we stopped talking to each other decades ago. I did bump into her recently, the first time in fifteen years, and we didn't even say hello. I am sorry things worked out the way they did - life is like that. She may be the song that summer singsMay be the chill that autumn bringsMay be a hundred different thingsWithin the measure of a day Ahh yes. Fear of the unknown. Am I man enough to approach, flirt, ask, or complete those adult motives? The absurd thing is how many people seem to think I suffer this problem, or that I'm a virgin because they haven't seen me dating. Of course being young I was more opportunistic and experimental. I'm not going to make assertions or admissions about this part of my private life (although for the sake of saying it, no you're wrong, I'm not gay nor have I ever indulged in any such behaviour). Perhaps my perspective was different from the beginning. My upbringing wasn't entirely conventional, my mother being a pious and misguided Christian, my father unable to be the role model; he demanded to be. Let's just say I have had my fair share of liaisons with ladies that I ought to have considered more carefully. Wisdom comes with age, more or less as vigour weakens. She may be the beauty or the beastMay be the famine or the feastMay turn each day into a heavenOr a hell There's a lady of my acquaintance. Never good friends you understand, nor did I really pay her much attention. I'm not blind to her charms, nor am I blind to the fact she knows she can charm the blokes. It's just that I always thought a relationship with her would be a problem, out of past experience if nothing else, plus I didn't feel the need to explore such possibilities. Then for some reason, just before the lockdown, her behaviour changed. She started making loud comments or suggestions to her friends, and it wasn't long before I realised she was referencing me. For some inexplicable reason she got it into her head that I fancied her. No, I didn't. She's too full of herself, too fixated on lifestyle, and smokes too much. Since the lockdown, she's actually gotten a tad abusive on the quiet. Uh huh... Didn't get the reaction you wanted? There's the truth of it. She's used to getting attention from blokes. A bit too used to it. I don't think she she has any idea how to cope with rejection at any mature level, and still insists on her concept of romance which to me appears to have been taught by the pages of teen magazines. So, if by some bizarre circumstance she's actually reading a blog on a history website, my message is this. I'm not interested. Get over it. She may be the mirror of my dreamsThe smile reflected in a streamShe may not be what she may seemInside her shell The lady of this verse to this day doesn't know I saw through her to a part of her inner self she wanted hidden. We take so much for granted when we involve ourselves with another person, and where the relationship is based on romance, the risks are so much worse. I have seen written works that say one should not be inhibited by speculations and instead enjoy the moment. In a perfect world perhaps. However the human psyche hides a potent dark side. We all have it, to a greater or lesser degree, just that most of us have psychological brakes that prevent the excesses that cause those tragedies of life and death. But that one night, alone with her, I knew what was on her mind, betrayed by expression and body language. That relationship was never the same. We parted as friends - not as lovers.She who always seems so happy in a crowdWhose eyes can be so private and so proudNo one's allowed to see them when they cryShe may be the love that cannot hope to lastMay come to me from shadows of the pastThat I'll remember 'til the day I die I smile as I remember that special relationship in my past. There's no doubt a good many of my critics will name some woman or other, but no, you're wrong. It was someone else. I know who she was, and she will know it's her I'm referring to. She wasn't the problem. My life was in a difficult place and at the time, I did not want to be an albatross around her neck. Do I regret the decision to let her go? Of course. I'm just as human as anyone else. But as much as I might think of what could have been, I also know it could have been so much worse. I hope she has a happy life. There you have it. A somewhat whimsical dip into my private life - the real one, not the fantasies bandied around by inhabitants of Swindon. You want proof? I don't answer to you. You want facts? You can't handle them. If you don't get what's written here, or feel a need to shout me down, don't waste your time. You can't change the past. Or me. Okay, I'm single, yes? So what? A great many older men are for one reason or another. I can already hear the population of Swindon England saying "Yes but....". Yes but nothing. It's circumstance, not a statement. In particular the youngsters of my home town have been testing my patience with the most ignorant questions and attitudes imaginable. That's the reality of modern sub-culture, kids growing up divorced from adult perspective and trying to impose their petty little world onto the rest of us. She May Be The One There's a lady of my acquaintance. Never good friends you understand, nor did I really pay her much attention. I'm not blind to her charms, nor am I blind to the fact she knows she can charm the blokes. It's just that I always thought a relationship with her would be a problem, out of past experience if nothing else, plus I didn't feel the need to explore such possibilities. Then for some reason, just before the lockdown, her behaviour changed. She started making loud comments or suggestions to her friends, and it wasn't long before I realised she was referencing me. For some inexplicable reason she got it into her head that I fancied her. No, I didn't. She's too full of herself, too fixated on lifestyle, and smokes too much. Since the lockdown, she's actually gotten a tad abusive on the quiet. Uh huh... Didn't get the reaction you wanted? There's the truth of it. She's used to getting attention from blokes. A bit too used to it. I don't think she she has any idea how to cope with rejection at any mature level, and still insists on her concept of romance which to me appears to have been taught by the pages of teen magazines. So, if by some bizarre circumstance she's actually reading a blog on a history website, my message is this. I'm not interested. Get over it. She May Be The One I Can't Forget Things are a bit quieter outside my home than the last couple of decades. I think my neighbours tired of the constant barrage of idiot youngsters voicing their opinions and judgements and complained to the Police until something happened. But I remember one lecture delivered by some character outside one evening (I know who he was too, and in this case, not quite so young) concerning my single status. Apparently my best of action was to forget her and move on (I know who he was taking about too, but the truth isn't what he imagines. That particular lady and I stopped communicating many, many years ago, and neither of us are especially interested in communicating at all). Strange how the gentleman outside my home created that fantasy about what the situation was. Almost certainly he still believes it.
  2. caldrail

    Movin' On

    Ghost - how you view culture & politics is one thing, that's something you're entitled to. But give up UNRV? Why? But this Brexit thing? Truth is the company I work for had already decided to close the UK operation. I know this because they shut down an assembly line early on and transferred production to foreign shores. Again, behind this decision was a strange decision that they wanted everyone in Europe (as well as the UK) to be paid in Euros besides the usual ups and downs of the global economy and all the other stuff the evening news bores us with. What rankles is that the company told us they were committed to maintaining the operation and valued the expertise our operation had to offer. Really? Personally I don't think they understand Europe the way the British do. To them, it's vast tracts of land with dotted lines all over it and lots of mentions in history books. But we live in the shadow of our past, with an identity forged by events. I don't understand why you want to be in Europe but hey, if you feel better about it, that's your choice. But recently I've brushed the cobwebs away from all those photographs I took on hikes. Most aren't that good or even interesting. But you know, some of them encapsulate that special something my homeland has to offer, something to teach us. Leaving Britain would be like turning my back on my ancestors even if my genetic origins are Viking, Norman, or whatever else. I hope you made the right choice.
  3. Dressed as a slave? That's not entirely consistent with Roman culture. After all, at one point the Senate debated an idea to identify slaves by some means, clothing or symbol, I don't recall what the idea was. The move was vetoed on the grounds that if slaves were identifiable, they would realise how many of them there were.
  4. caldrail

    Relax with the Roman Baths

    Loud. Romans complain in their writings about it.
  5. caldrail

    Downfall of Rome

    Arguably. However, Romulus Augustulus was not the power in Ravenna despite his position - that was why Odoacer ousted him and asked the Pope to become King. Roman power did not suddenly end in the west, it declined and was taken over and revived (to a degree) by the Gothic Kingdom. However, that did not make it an entirely new state. The inhabitants still considered themselves Romans, and true Romans at that, not like those Greek people in Constantinople. The Senate continued to meet for at least a century after Odoacer took charge. It was, if you like, only the replacement of Dominus by King, and that point tends to get forgotten. After all, calling it the 'Fall of Rome' is far more dramatic and interesting. As for Constantinople in 1453, it represents the end of contiguous Roman rule however Greek it may have been, with the Ottoman Turks installing a new regime. But even then, there were parts of the former empire that did not die off. I understand there's a small corner of modern Greece that is still legally answerable to the Roman Empire. And as for the Catholic Church, that has always represented Roman power right up to today.
  6. caldrail

    Ancient Roman dolls

    The use of dolls seems quite natural to human beings. I'm not so sure that society teaches its youngsters via such media, at least not conciously, but children naturally learn by acting out adult roles to a degree. Watch any gregarious mammal species - the male young always play fight. I remember many years ago walking along an old railway embankment and spotting movement on the south side slope. It was a bunch of fox cubs, playing in the sun outside the set, probably their first adventures outside. They saw me and stopped, curious, not sure of what to do. Eventually instinct got the better of them and they went underground. The second time I saw them they scarpered immediately. The third time, and the last, was following mother on a hunting trip to the nearby farm.
  7. China made a few instances of contact, but only on the eastern fringes. Rome is supposed to have made one diplomatic visit to China and a Roman ship is known to have reached their shores. One chinese gentleman was ordered to contact Rome and ask for military assistance against barbarian raiders. He reached the Persian Gulf and asked if he could reach Rome by sea. Yes, he was told, but you have to sail around Africa. The sailors gave him detailed advice on how to prepare for such a voyage. Makes you wonder how they knew.
  8. You seem to think that racial diversity is a modern phenomenon? Britain has a very long history of immigration and inclusion that isn't well covered in histories. The Roman occupation was a period when such things were even more prevalent. Slavery no doubt had a large part to play in that, but so did opportunity or military service.
  9. It depends where on the river they were found. It was normal practice in ancient & medieval times to shore up an eroding river bank by scuttling boats in place.
  10. Sometimes that's true, but ancient to Iron Age civilisations had a habit of making offerings. In Britain, it was common to submerge weapons in water, a deeply symbolic act (and possibly the origin of the Arthurian 'Lady of the Lake' myth. Mind you, the Iron Age in western Europe was notable for human sacrifice. Although the Druids are popularly blamed (and the Romans didn't much care for their participation), the practice was from common agreement with oversight and interpretation by the Druids who no doubt twisted things to suit their needs in controlling tribal politics. The number three is a common psychological symptom, in this case the the three sacrificial actions - first to stun the victim with a heavy blow to the head, second to strangle the victim, and third to cut the throat. The unpopular or unlucky members of society might well have been chosen for this treatment to appease the Gods when things go badly or malicious accusations are made. On a more mundane note, the Romans commonly made offerings (and indeed, a temple of any size might have market stalls next door to sell the sacrificial items). Possibly some of the deposited coin hoards, the smaller ones, might actually be such offerings as opposed to simple buried treasure. I also note the astonishing variety of goods found discarded, sometimes in good condition.
  11. it's also the law. If a building site uncover anything archeological it has to be reported and assessed. Suprisingly most building contractors are willing to cooperate on situations like this. They like the positive interest and feedback.
  12. It's known there was a number of pyroclastic flows which were halted by the town's walls. Eventually a flow overcame the obstacle. Asphyxiated? Archeological forensics demonstrates that the sudden heat of the flow was enough to boil a brain and cause it to erupt (evidence from the cellars at Baiae). In one town (Herculaneum?), a woman was caught by the flow in the middle of the street and torn limb from limb by the turbulence.
  13. caldrail

    Climate change: Berenike, Egypt

    There's been a lot of 'Climate change caused the fall of..." proclamations recently, some a little outlandish, such as one claiming that the 'Fall of the Republic' was due to volcanic eruptions (The republic did not 'fall', it merely changed form - that's why we discuss the Roman Imperial era). There was a geologist on television some years back who claimed that silted up harbours caused these 'falls'. Never mind that the industrious Romans were capable of finding anchorages for themselves, or as in the case of Ostia, building entire ports to order. The thing is, people are attracted to the idea of dramatic collapses even if they didn't actually happen, and seek their favourite single cause. It's the sort of myth making that has people searching for a genuine 'Holy Grail' when the original was a fictional prop in a medieval romance that wasn't even holy to begin with. I don't doubt climate change has had far reaching effects in Roman history but let's keep it in perspective. The eruption of Vesuvius in 79ad did not cause anything except the loss of the local area and those near to the site.
  14. It's only the bluestones that originate from Wales. The larger trilithions were dragged from up the road.
  15. Gaius Trebonius - Wikipedia Trial of Trebonius - Wikipedia As you can see, different people.
  16. Roman attitudes to sex were different than today. It wasn't that Caesar had an affair - it was the accusation that he was the passive partner (suspicion of which revolves around the expectation that the King, being senior, was the active partner). Passive sex between men was acting out the role of a woman, something the Roman saw as effeminate and unmanly. The active partner, even with another man, was simply doing what nature designed him to do, thus it wasn't thought of as wrong in any way. There was an interesting case regarding a legionary called Trebonius, who was subject to attempted seduction by an officer related to Gaius Marius. The officer tried all sorts of inducements for the soldier to become his passive partner but Trebonius always refused. Then, finally, Trebonius was summoned to the officers quarters and an attempted rape took place resulting in the officers death. Trebonius was already isolated because other legionaries thought he was the officer's pet, but now he was under threat of punishment for murder. Marius returned to camp to find his relative dead. Trebonius was arrested and put on military trial. He answered the charges as best he could, but in the end, Marius decided to let him off because he had acted honourably.
  17. I can well understand why you think so. But that view isn't entirely true. Caesar was deliberately contentious from the start with every intention of rising to the fore. Indeed, Suetonius underlines that by alluding to omens of his later greatness. His rise to prominence was fuelled by some very heavy financial loans as much as political or military action, and the major motive for his conquest of Gaul was to exploit the tribal conflicts and gain enough booty to pay off his debts. He visits to Britain were done for three reasons - to gain kudos for being the first there, to quell any support for rebellious Gallic tribes, and most importantly, to find the silver he'd heard about. Cicero tells us in his letters that Caesar didn't find any.
  18. His reputation has, a success for his self-promotion. His popularity with the Roman masses may well have less to do with the persistence of this reputation than the fact he bonked Cleopatra and got assassinated later. An early dramatic death often seals the deal with history. By the way, Caesar was given divine honours while he was still alive, including a statue which bore the title 'Demigod'. Caesar ordered the offending title removed. Nonetheless the common people were convinced that Caesar was a god, essentially the origin of the Imperial Cult.
  19. You might like to know that the public wanted Augustus to become Dictator like Julius Caesar. He refused. He was accused by some senators of being a Dictator anyway and why doesn't he just admit it? He refused. Technically the post of Dictator had been abolished by Marc Antony after Caesar's death (in republican politics it was an emergency post giving someone powers to command for six months or until the emergency was over. Caesar was unique in becoming Dictator Perpetuo). A control freak, but not really a tyrant.
  20. I will contest a few points. Totter? Oh, another 'Fall of the Republic' thing. I think you're wrong about that. The Republic didn't go anywhere. Augustus propped it up, albeit with him as its guiding light. It would migrate toward monarchy over the next two hundred years. Roman politics always had some chaos involved. In fact, despite his control and reforms, it remained chaotic. For seven years he had to veto the Senate to stop them attacking each other in quarrels over votes and so forth. He relented shortly before he died. As for the plebs, they loved factions. The winning chariot team was headline news each and every time for hundreds of years. Now, this 'facade' thing? That only works if you try to depict Augustus as a dictator/tyrant (which I see you have). Dio thought similarly, and probably unfairly. But remember that Augustus did not invent anything new in politics - he said as much. Further, he claimed, with some justification, that he had no more power than anyone else, just more authority. What Augustus was trying to do was restore the Republic to some semblance of peaceful engagement (he would urge senators to get involved in decision making - no passengers at the helm) but with leadership that had been sadly lacking during the late republican era. In other words, the Republic did not end, but changed the manner of its government. After all, the Roman state was called SPQR to the very end. Senate and People of Rome? An odd name for an autocratic empire don't you think? If there was any facade, it was later in the Principate, when monarchial leanings were becoming the norm. People like Caligula were a little different. They did not relate well to the idea of civic duty, so important in republican politics, and were more concerned with their personal power. In fact, Caligula is recorded as having to ask the Senate for permission to stage games. That from a guy who wanted to set up a throne in Alexandria where the Senate could not legally go.
  21. Think you might find a different situation in Britain.
  22. All you've done is stated an idea. You haven't described the process by which education caused a collapse of the Roman state. It is hard to see why there's any connection. I mean, I'm well educated, but so far I haven't threatened the stability of British government or the western world.
  23. To what end? Roman politics was always an activity that required qualification via previous achievement of some sort. But military experience far outweighed the relevance of education. Indeed, in the republican era, it wasn't unusual for speakers to pull open their togas and point out war wounds to demonstrate their commitment to Rome. Political speaking was quite theatrical by the way. Slapping thighs, demonstrative gestures, they put on quite a performance of ham acting in order to liven their speeches. There was your education.
  24. Medieval warfare was not primitive. Unsubtle maybe, but it did usher in the era of firearms. As to your speculations, it's impossible to say, although the Teutonic Knights did not find the Lithuanian tribes an easy opponent.
  25. Putnam can say what he likes. I work for a company that literally has employees from around the world. Our union is in consultation with management right now over benefits for the workforce and the company is actually keen to maintain this dialogue because they are able to sense the grass roots opinion more comprehensively. It also represents respect for the workforce. I've had senior managers ask me questions on certain issues before now. So Putnam would appear to be making generic comments that aren't necessarily de rigeur. The Roman world established a paternal structure for its empire. It was not, as many see it, a wholly uniform tyranny in the manner of more recent european empires. The provinces had local government supported by Roman governors, created out of native tribal links in order to solidify loyalty and cooperation. In fact the Romans were proud of their diversity despite their love of exporting latin culture. They praised the city of Palmyra for its cosmopolitan mix of peoples and architecture. Conformity was never demanded. Self determination and free will were what made human beings. Anything else was an animal or a slave. So if a subject of the empire, citizen or not, chose to wear furry swimming trunks and live as his ancestors did, that was fine by the Romans. All they wanted was tribute, loyalty, and lawfulness. The voting assemblies were more persistent than you describe. Remember that ordinary Romans were quick to voice opinions and not shy of lambasting or even assaulting their betters. Also, despite a lot of what you read, Augustus did not overturn the Republic - he gave it what he considered a better governmental system, by using republican forms (He said he did not invent anything new in his Res Gestae). Tiberius was the first to limit the assemblies by handing some of their rights to the Senate (since he relied on them to rule in his absence at Capri - notice how the Senate is still given a central governing role). Caligula didn't think much of the Senate, seeing them as an obstruction to his power, and reversed the decision, but it was more or less slowly downhill for the assemblies after that. You might claim, with some justification, that the ruling Princeps need not be too concerned of an adverse vote because he could in theory overrule it. But whilst the Princeps might wish to control what they voted for, would he really want to frustrate his public? Support is essential. Without it, he's in serious danger. The Roman public had been ready for a charismatic leader for quite some time. Julius Caesar made good on that sentiment. It was easier for them to relate to than a crowd of anonymous important people doing business behind closed doors. But this pretence thing? I see this quite a lot. Many academics repeat it. But like David Braund I don't see any ruse or trick. Augustus was more up front than that. As Suetonius says, he was twice ready to give his position up, and Marcus Agrippa was given enough power (possibly equal) to rule in his place whilst Augustus travelled for a total of nine years. That's a little odd for despot, don't you think?
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