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About Danno

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  1. Danno

    Book Give Away

    Is this a contest of some sort, or do we just have to email somebody saying we're interested?
  2. Danno


    The first picture is of auxiliaries from the first century CE, or at least it's supposed to be. It looks like the auxilia of the Ermine Street Guard based in the UK. The second picture looks like Legio XX in Maryland if I rightly recognize the man on the right as Rich Campbell. I believe that the phalerae, the discs the centurion is wearing, were awards for valor or service, and were awarded in sets of 5, 7, or 9 (might be wrong on the numbers). And keep in mind that these are pictures of reenactors, not of actual Romans, so that in some ways it's futile to argue about things like why the centurion is wearing greaves if he's not going into battle... Some people would see Julius Caesar with a proto-Praetorian guard, but most agree that the unit specifically was created as such under Augustus.
  3. Danno

    Romans and Astronomy

    There was a huge mania for astrology during the Empire. Witness several emperors' expulsions of astrologers from Rome, and laws forbidding people to make horoscopes about the emperor or to meet about them in secret. Augustus put his sign Capricorn on some of his coins; Nero had people put to death whose horoscopes foretold greatness for them. Just a few examples. This was the Romans' main interest in astronomical events; certainly knowing the seasons was important, but it wouldn't have played any larger a part in the mind of the average Roman as it does in any of our minds... all we have to do is look at a calendar.
  4. Danno


    Please do. They sound like some uncareful historian's creation or the offspring of quick and hasty research....
  5. The Romans seem to have used a Greek-style phalanx system prior to the Gallic invasion. Some have speculated that the move away from this system was motivated by its failure in this invasion, and that is no doubt true. However, it seems that many of the changes adopted were not modeled on the Gallic system but rather on that of their neighbors to the south, the Sabellic peoples of whom the most prominent were the Samnites. The Romans adopted the javelins, shields, and armor of their Sabellic neighbors along with something of their organization, rather than Gallic swords etc. and (lack of?) organization.
  6. Danno


    Where are people getting this idea of a tribe called "Itali"? Maybe I'm just missing something, but it doesn't ring any bells for me... do you just mean the heterogenous group of people sometimes termed in Greek Italoi, including the many different groups of Samnites, e.g. the Pentri, Caraceni, Caudini, Hirpini, and later the Frentani... then there are the Brutii and the Messapii... Umbrians and Sabines and Faliscans further north. The Etruscans the Greeks referred to as Tyrrhenoi. All of the peoples save the Etruscans and possibly the Messapii spoke languages related to Latin (they all being part of the Italic language family of Indo-European), and probably shared genetic ties as well (although you can never be sure based solely on linguistic evidence). Viteliu is the Oscan (language of the Samnites) word for calf, related to the Latin word vitellius. You can see it used on a coin issued by the revolting Socii during the Social Wars, as part of an attempt to create/regain an identity distinct from that of Rome. http://www.sas.ac.uk/icls/imaginesit/sampl.../italia001.html In fact, there's a whole site dedicated to native languages of Italy titled "Viteliu": http://www.evolpub.com/LCA/VTLhome.html Some points in reference to the thread Viggen noted: It's risky to trust ancient authors too too much when they're talking about the movements of peoples. The Romans would have distinguished between Greeks and Italic peoples, and between the Italic peoples themselves.
  7. Danno

    Roman Historical Fiction

    One of my favorite treatments of the Arthur story is Bernard Cornwell's "Warlord Chronicles": The Winter King, Enemy of God and Excalibur... he does a wonderful job with the battles and the entire story is very believable, stripped of egregious fantasy elements. It's hugely entertaining.
  8. No, seriously! I must have scared everyone off with the topic line...
  9. That may be true about Korea, but I'm not sure how well it parallels the Mediterranean world. I really should find some sources for this; I don't have any at the moment. Greek was the primary language across the entire eastern Mediterranean... and also very common among the educated everywhere else... don't forget that not all soldiers were recruited from Latin-speaking areas. here we go, some brief examples: Here is the tombstone of an archer from Crete with a Greek name. http://www.romanarmy.com/Content/Imagebase...ow.asp?index=34 The following three military tombstones have their text in Greek... http://www.romanarmy.com/Content/Imagebase...ow.asp?index=80 http://www.romanarmy.com/Content/Imagebase...w.asp?index=104 http://www.romanarmy.com/Content/Imagebase...w.asp?index=115 and remember that Americans are anecdotally notorious for not learning foreign languages when they go abroad.
  10. nothing too serious: "UNRV... United Nations of Roma Victor, represents the all encompassing power of Rome in the ancient world. United and Romanized, through conquest, or absorbed through its culture, Rome still stands today as a legacy to the achievement of mankind, and its failures. " Roma is a feminine noun, so the adjective should be Victrix.... otherwise it's like saying, for instance, "Richard the Waitress" or something like that.
  11. Danno

    Error On Samnites

    Hmm, there are few languages I can think of which don't show some sort of influence from elsewhere. Certainly Samnite culture had lots of influence from other places; the very fact that it was written down was an Etruscan and before that a Greek influence. As far as strictness of spelling and grammar... both grammar and spelling are liable to fluctuate in pretty much any language, including Oscan. Here's a suggestion of roughly comparable length: "The language of the Samnites was called Oscan. A relative of Latin, it was the dominant language of Italy from ca. 500 BC until the spread of Latin with the Roman conquest."
  12. although, if they'd been in the provinces for long enough, I'm sure they knew at the very least enough Greek to get by... I'm sure they had plenty of opportunity for interaction with the locals and that interaction would most likely have happened in Greek.
  13. From his name it seems that he was a native of southern Italy. 'Pontius' is the Oscan form of the Latin name "Quintus"; 'Pilatus' seems to have been a fairly typical Samnite cognomen, meaning "armed with a spear". Any claims that he was Scottish are pure rubbish. The Romans had not even invaded Britain by the the time of his birth (not counting Caesar's exploratory landings). By the time he was born, most people in Italia would have grown up speaking Latin, but anyone who was educated would know Greek. Greek was the diplomatic and administrative language for the whole eastern part of the Mediterranean, including Palestine, and the language of culture and learning for the entire Mediterranean. So Pilate probably grew up speaking Latin natively, but I think it's almost unquestionable that he would have used Greek during his term as Procurator of Judaea.
  14. http://www.unrv.com/empire/samnite-wars.php "The language of the Samnites was called osco. It became a self-contained language with its own strict rules of spelling and grammar, officially used throughout most of all Italy in 500 BC. " This looks like it must have been poorly translated from Italian. The language of the Samnites should in English be "Oscan". I'm not sure what's meant by "self-contained language" etc... what exactly makes a language "self-contained"?