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About Ulpii

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  • Birthday 02/02/1982

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    Durham UK
  1. Ulpii

    Worst Roman Figure

    Worst Roman figure......pretty tall order; so many of them are vile. In terms of long term damage, I'm going to opt for Varus, marching that army into the Teutoburg forests lost Rome the German provinces. Had the legions not been lost and Tiberius and Germanicus been forced to put so much effort into stabalisation, ending any prospect of coquest in Germany until Corbulo (who Claudius righly stopped sharpish), Rome might have met the Germanic migrations and invasions from a very much stronger position. Debatable I know but so are all the what ifs of history. In terms of personality I've always had a soft spot for Nero, who was just too nasty to believe - killling mothers and kicking a pregnant wife sets you apart as nasty - but the presence of Trajan's celbrated quinquennium I feel might let him off the hook to some more unmitigatedly bad people. As they say: "power corrupts, absolute power is a lot of fun"
  2. Ulpii

    The Gallic Wars

    Answers thus far seem to have either concentrated on the immediate context of Caesar's conquest or on whether expansion into northern Europe precipitated the Germanic invasions of the later Roman Empire. This appears to miss a key point. Claudius' inclusion of Gauls in the senate, his road building program in the province and the archaeology that shows that outside of Asia Gaul was the wealthiest province in the empire, shows that Gaul was one of the few provinces that was not a drain on resources in the long run. In addition a large proportion of the auxiliary contingents of the army were drawn either from Gaul or from tribes only just across the Rhine (Batavians, Tungrians etc), making the Rhine and Danube provinces net contributors to the army. It would be foolish to suggest that this was a benefit Caesar foresaw when he launched his politically motivated invasions (better than forestry control), but when considering Gaul, it is important to look at these factors. Incidentally Gaul's importance and wealth is amply illustrated by Vespasian and his legates' decision to stir up dissention in the region to destablise Vitellius: they knew the potential strength of the area.
  3. Ulpii

    Aggripina The Younger

    Gaius did of course know Agrippina the younger: she being his sister. According to Suetonius they slept together although Agrippina never enjoyed(?) the same favour as Drusilla. In terms of impact that's harder: Gaius exiled Agrippina for involvement in the plot of Gaetulicus so clearly they were never close. She had been married to Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus until AD40/41 (note Nero was originally Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus and resented being so called by Britannicus) and was exiled for supporting Lepidus (Drusilla's widower) against Gaius. On return she married another man: Sallustius Crispus Passienus, consul in 27 and in 44, He had formerly been the husband of a sister of Domitius Ahenobarbus and so was her brother-in-law. Passienus died before 47. She then of course married Claudius and brought Nero to power.
  4. I couldn't agree more, trusting either historian is dubious - Suetonius especially has much in common with the Sunday Sport (UK paper famous for scurrilous rumours) - as a brief read of his description of Tacitus' time on Capri makes only too obvious. It should however be borne in mind that information on Nero and Agrippina in Tacitus is not far removed from him, he specifically mentions having spoken to people who remember elements of his later Annals. Agrippina's influence is clearly demonstrated on the numismatic evidence of the time and comparisons between our historians at last indicate some element of truth to Agrippina's influence as Augusta. As I say work on Gaius and his sisters is largely suggestion based on rumour
  5. Agrippina's relationship with Gaius is complex. Obviously she was his sister and according to Suetonius his lover as well, but nothing like so favoured as her sister Drusilla. In addition we see her exiled in the aftermath of the rebellion of Gaetulicus. Whether she was a victim of Gaius' paranoia or indeed implicated is never going to be certain. Her relations with Nero are still more complex. He owed her his position as emperor. She married Claudius, partially through the support of Pallas and partially through her own habit of flirting with her uxorious uncle. It was her who persuaded Claudius to recall Seneca and appoint Burrus as Commander of teh Praetorian Guard. With these two in place she was able to persuade Claudius to marry his daughter Octavia to Domitius Ahenobarbus (Nero), after arranging the death of her fiancee Silanus. She also arranged Nero's adoption and name change. She thus can be blamed(?) for Nero's accession. Post accession we have the debated Quinquennium Neronis during which Agrippina and Seneca and Burrus struggled between themselves to control Nero. During this period some would say she dominated him with our historian hinting at incest. However many feel her greatest influence lay in the fact that Seneca and Burrus could control Agrippina only because they shielded him from hi mother. As Nero grew up and started sleeping with first the freedwoman Acte and then Poppaea Sabina her influence waned. Eventually Nero sent Anictetus to assassinate her first with the famous collapsing boat, second by stabbing her in the womb. Getting at the truth of any of this is complicated by the Roman hostility to Agrippina and the impossibility of accurately gauging how far coins with her on the obverse are an honour, how far an indication of excessive power. Anyway a fascinating woman well worth a look. Griffin on Nero is Good, Levick on Claudius and all the corrections to my over hast summary of her roles will probably help as well.
  6. Ulpii

    Time - Keeping Things In Perspective

    I agree with this idea that Romans may well have compressed time. The famous adage: felicior Augusto, melior Traiano, may he be more fortunate than Augustus and better than Trajan, shows how easy it was for them to associate men seperated by a period of almost a century and then to take that association and use it into the later Roman Empire. Of course this could be caused in part by the Roman dating. To say, "in the Consulships of Gaius Sulpicius Galba and Decimus Haterius Agrippa", to A Roman in AD 122, would surely not be as illuminating as to say, "in AD22".
  7. Ulpii

    Paying The Late Republican Army

    Whilst the individual General clearly had some responsibility for rewarding the soldiers with donatives and lad grants, it is clear that the SPQR had to provide the funds. This is clearly shown in the Senate's decision to support Marius and Cinna's decision not to provide Sulla's troops with money in the Mithridatic war. Sulla was very nearly bankrupted and his ferocious assessment of teh Asian Poleis which had supported Mithridates in order to fund his legions indicates the straits to which he was reduced. At the same time this was a reciprocal process as successful generals were expected to contribute towards the state as well and new conquests would provide the wealth to pay the soldiers. Where generals were considered rogue they would of course be cut off from funds - and indeed as has been said above much of the confusion derives from the civil wars - which is why Crassus famously pointed out that nobody could be called rich who could not personally fund an army.