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About martino

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    Ipswich, England
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    Ancient History, travelling, reading, family, sport - not in any particular order
  1. I have just finished reading this book and very much enjoyed it. The author made me think about what life must have been like living on the fringes of Rome's ever expanding empire. Ok it still years before the Republic falls but the book identifies that during these troubled times back in Italy, Africa and Spain trade needs to be not only maintained but expanded to feed the commercial centre and roman philosophy. The book soon relates the massacre of the 80,000 in what today would be modern Turkey. We have before this heard how Mithridates toured his own and neighbouring kingdoms examining his defences and looking for places to hide his vast wealth. The inference here that Mithridates would have the logistical infracstructure in place to make this happen. However later in the book we read about this huge armies and navies that appear to self destruct rather than be defeated solely in battle by inferior numbered roman troops. While I have read much about the superior training and weaponry of the romans it is difficult to comprehend how Mithridates could have lost so badly on home soil. He should have had the benefits of terrain as well as the poisons that he is supposed to have used on his arrows, spears etc. Are we to merely accept that he could arrange to kill so many people over such a wide area at the same time but not adequately provision an army. Or is this a case of the historical sources building upon the image of this King of Kings and the numbers have been massaged to create the myth? I would welcome any other feedback on this issue.
  2. martino

    Spectacle in the Roman World

    Would love to add this book to my collection of books on all subjects Roman.
  3. martino

    ROME: CAPUT MUNDI Capitol of the World

    Yes Please. Have only been to Rome the once but I was able to cram so much in but at the same time missed so much out. Walking is not only the best way of ensuring you see the detail but it also helped me put locations into perspective in terms of physical geography to each other.
  4. martino

    If Carthages fleet...

    The big if - cause and effect and multiple time lines! If they won the sea battle they could have been destroyed in a storm, been defeated in battle anyway, induced plague or subject to a thousand and one other scenario's. Also it implies that if they had won at sea this would have made a difference - this would depend upon whether significant numbers survived along with weapons, baggage and provisions. Prehaps you need to be more specific in your question. i.e. If all the troops send had survived the sea journey and battle etc
  5. martino

    The Catiline Conspiracy

    Just to provoke some more debate on this issue...... I have just read Sallust. I have been surprised at the way in which he villifies Catiline's supporters. At one point ( para 23 - page 191 if using the old black penguin ) Sallust refuses to speculate after he has already conveyed to the reader the possibility of Catiline swearing an oath sealed with blood and wine. This is what I would expect of an historian relaying the facts peppered with rumour and stating his own interpretation of the facts. What I find difficult is that on the one hand we have been given this image of Catiline supporters being held together because of the oppressive debt ( Sallust talks about the loss of diginity of not being able to support their family as being perceived to be worst that death or exile ). While we are told of the Senate granting rewards of two hundred thousand sesterces plus a pardon for information about the plot. It would appear that few if any put themselves forward for these rewards. In a time of such massive debt what would two hundred thousand sesterces have been worth? What would have prevented Catiline supporters changing side? Who the client system have represented such a hold over them?
  6. martino

    Why Do You Like Rome?

    I have been fascinated by all things Roman since as long as I can remember. I first read this thread a couple of days ago and have since then wondered what event if any started me on this course and why I settled on this from all the periods of possible history. For me my roots lay in 3 things. I live near Colchester - the town sacked by Boudicca in the Iceni revolt. I have access to its history and buildings and my parents to thank. Secondly I still have a history project that I put together when I was about 10 and long before the internet I could not believe the wealth of books and information available and finally I grew up with a weekly 'comic' ( I hesitate to call it a comic ) called Look and Learn - this was packed full of science, history and real life stories and had a comic strip called the Trigan Empire. Ok it was characters in Roman military uniforms with ray guns hopping between planets but it made me ask myself at about 10 or 11 years of age - what if? I became fascinated more about how the Roman Empire just stopped and yet mankind continued and it made me start to look and question how an empire came into being. The more I read the greater my interest and since then whenever I travel I go and see the nearest roman remains. I have walked large sections of Hadrains Wall and been to all but one of the forts and I find myself thinking not about the marvellous feat of how it was built but what it must have been like for a native of Syria to have been stationed in this desolate outpost. I have been to Hadrains Villa outside Rome and ask myself about the logistics of feeding 5000+ people and how the Slaves would have lived. It is nearly 40 years since I read that comic strip but I still keep asking myself - what if?. What if the empire had expanded? What if the Republic had continued? What if the empire never divided? What if the Romans discovered the New world ( Americas )? Rhetorical questions maybe, but it keeps my passion to learn more about Romans going.
  7. martino

    The Catiline Conspiracy

    I would like to read up on Crassus. Does anybody know of a good book to recommend?
  8. martino

    The Catiline Conspiracy

    Just to come back on a couple of points. Cataline is supposed to have been almost broke and yet he stood accused of excessive bribery. The inference in the texts is that this money came from Crassus - according to some the richest man the world has ever seen. Why would Crassus have backed Cataline? Did Cataline have the sort of reputation that would have made Crassus think Cataline would stand up to Pompey? Was it Pompey that Crassus really feared? Was this a real threat to the Republic? Or is this one of a number of political squablles for power that occurred at the time distorted by Cicero and Sallust in their texts? I do not doubt that Cataline fought and was defeated in battle but was the battle a foregone conclusion to a conspiracy to overthrow the Consuls or did the battle result from the quick executions administered by Cicero ( by all accounts Romans without trials .....and what of the evidence? Is there evidence that details this? All I have read about is that incendiary materials were found to set fires. Wouldn't most households in rome keep stocks of these? From all accounts the streets were dangerous places patrolled by organised gangs - anyone going out would have wanted to have a big enough entourage with torches or alternatively if there was a need to light up their house then sudden quantities of torches etc would have been needed ) Once the conspirators had been dennounced then Cataline card would have been marked. He would have had few alteratives, especially as such alternatives ( exile, imprisonment ) were so quickly denied the conspirators in Rome, but to stand and fight.
  9. martino

    The Catiline Conspiracy

    I am surprised to have got responses so quick. And yes phil25 is right the title should have read Conspiracy and not Conspiratory - it was past midnight I apologise.
  10. martino

    The Catiline Conspiracy

    This year I have decided to set myself a challenge and have enrolled to take an A level in ancient history ( by correspondence ) I have just embarked on this and the first topic that we are being asked to cover is the Cataline conspiracy. I have over the years acquired a number of books covering many aspects of the roman history, people, places, battles etc and tend to dip into these books from time to time. I have many of the black penguins including books on Cicero's letters, Sallust, Plutarch and some more modern takes. This is the first time that I have started to read sections of these books back to back and my coursework is requiring that I challenge some of the things I am being told. I have recently read that many of the court reports and letters that Cicero wrote are the speeches and things he would have said in hindsight and that he rather over egged his account of what went on. Some of the tests I have been reading refer to Caesar and Crassus backing Cataline but withdrawing their support when Cataline failed to secure the Consulate post at his second attempt. I have also read that Sallust was one of Caesar clients and that his work could be interpretted as putting future distance between Cataline and Caesar ( albeit after the event ). I am having some trouble in finding other sources and would welcome any other suggestions. I would also welcome any other insights into what this conspiracy was all about. At the moment I am having some trouble in reconciling what appears to be a politically astute Cataline ( sitting in the Senate and rebuking Cicero accusations ) with the type of politician that would get trapped into an admission. I fully appreciate that if a full rebellion ( call it whatever ) was on the cards then it would have been essential to maximise numbers and seeking out disgruntled tribes or soldier farmers was one way to build an army. I also ask myself what the conspirators thought they would gain as by all accounts Pompey and Crassus could still call on their own legions. Could it be that Crassus and Caesar were playing Cataline?