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L. Quintus Sertorius

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About L. Quintus Sertorius

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  • Birthday 03/17/1989

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  1. L. Quintus Sertorius

    America Votes 2008

    I'm voting for him as well. It's disappointing that the candidates I liked most (Paul, Kucinich, Gravel) were pretty much dead at the starting gates, though. I really don't like any of the other Republicans, and I think only a few of the other Democrats would be tolerable. I don't like imperialism as a policy, and the only candidates who publically repudiate it are called "kooks" or "unelectable". What an impasse we have brought ourselves to, America.
  2. L. Quintus Sertorius

    Republican Politics

    I really hate it that my first post in months ends up inflaming an argument, but let's hope some good discussion comes out of this in recompense. I'm honestly not sure what point you're trying to make here. Sertorius wasn't actually even Roman - he was a Sabine, an outsider who rose through the ranks both militarily and politically. The mention of Sertorius really seems counter to your argument - does the fact that he was well educated and relatively wealthy invalidate the fact that he represented the vast majority of Italian politicians? It is to be remembered that the real gulf in Roman political life was not between wealthy aristocrats and the plebes sordidi - rather, it was between the native Romans, patrician or plebeian, and their provincial counterparts. I see no reason to contest your point about Brutus, however I would remind you that wealthy aristocrats can certainly champion plebeian interests - look at the Gracchi, for example. I won't comment on Cato's style of argument, except to say that I've never known him to argue illogically, ad hominem or otherwise. However, I would remind you that simply because the Romans did operate a voracious conquest state does not necessarily mean that their domestic politics were not reasonably, even exceptionally democratic for the times. After all, by the time of Caesar, all Italians had been granted the right to vote in Roman elections - the fact that few had the resources to do so is not a grand conspiracy of the wealthy to stifle the vox populi, but simply an economic reality. The fact that Roman political life was, for their times and ours, quite representative of the people is, I think, indisputable - granted, you can quibble about the difficulties of true representation in the ancient world; however, I would argue that the Romans were no less advanced in governmental theory than we are, they were simply more limited technologically. Actually, the Presidential election is quite undemocratic, as long as we follow the rather ambiguous definition of "democratic" that you have argued for. And what is so wrong with comparing the Roman system to the American? I would argue that democracy as an unattainable ideal is actually a rather modern conception. I'm not quite certain how you can assert that the Greeks fell short in democratizing - they did invent it as a system of government, after all. I would like to hear your argument for why democracy is more an ideal than a concrete system - the Athenians certainly did not quibble over such matters, because democracy was simply their system of government. As conceived, democracy was simply a form of government that allowed the Athenian citizens to vote in a body on policy and governing matters. I think the idea of democracy as some grand "Brotherhood of Man", where all are allowed to speak and be heard would be quite alien to Athens. Cato quotes primary sources and respected scholars to substantiate his argument. I really don't see him attempting to bully you into silence - you're discussing an issue on which you have differing opinions, of course he's going to attempt to prove your ideas incorrect or invalid.
  3. L. Quintus Sertorius

    Sulla

    No - indeed, they are not. But it must be remembered that Sulla killed nobiles on a scale unequalled even by the war-time enemies of Rome. At no other point in Roman history (save perhaps the proscriptions of the Second Triumvirate; I'm not sure how the two stack up) was the city so thoroughly culled of its best and bravest. As for Sulla the man, I personally am revolted by him. I find nothing worth admiring in overweening pride, a sense of entitlement, and self-absorption. Sulla's reforms were neither well-considered nor well-implemented - reactionary politicians rarely accomplish much of worth. In essence, the Republic was made to bow to one man's conception of what it should be. I don't recall who said it, but someone mentioned respecting Sulla for forming the Caesarian mold, or what Meier terms the "outsider" - someone who can form their own complete reality, seperate from that of normal society. I myself can see nothing respectable about the first in a long line of blood-soaked tyrants.
  4. L. Quintus Sertorius

    The Cause That Lacked Naught But A Cause

    Is this true? Which of Caesar's legates were with him when he crossed the Rubicon? When he left for Gaul, he had perhaps 10: Labienus, Balbus, Mamurra, Vatinius, Q. Pedius, S. Sulpicius Galba, Q. Titurius Sabinus, L. Aurunculus Cotta, P. Crassus, and D. Junius Brutus. Not exactly a group of battle-hardened Italian veterans--probably none had any more experience fighting than Caesar himself, so you couldn't exactly say that they had risen through the ranks. How much had this changed by 49? Also, of the defections from Caesar that we do know, 100% were Italian, so it's not clear how much that variable helps Caesar. Actually, "100%" is misleading--we only know of one certain defection from Caesar--Labienus, from Picenum. Of the half dozen or so military tribunes and 60 centurions with Caesar in 49, we have no idea how many left Caesar, let alone how many were Italian. Agreed, the legates probably were not more Italian than Roman - but the centurions (NCO's, as Adrian Goldsworthy as called them) certainly were. One of Caesar's favored promotions was that of a valorous legionary to the centuriate.
  5. L. Quintus Sertorius

    The Cause That Lacked Naught But A Cause

    If the Sacramentum thesis is right, it doesn't matter if the chief was Caesar, Sulla or any other general; the soldiers simply had to obey at risk of their lives. Apparently, the strength of this oath took precedence over any other allegiance, even to the Senate itself. Until anyone of us gets evidence that overrules such statements, we have to accept them. If that
  6. L. Quintus Sertorius

    The Cause That Lacked Naught But A Cause

    That makes much more sense - it's telling, then, how effective Caesar's officer recruitment policy was. He brought up men who would literally follow him anywhere - even the gates of their own city. That said, it's also probable that since they had been brought up through the ranks, the officers were more Italian than Roman.
  7. L. Quintus Sertorius

    The Cause That Lacked Naught But A Cause

    Granting this characterization or not (and I certainly don't), it doesn't matter. Men were bound by the sacrumentum to follow their commander's orders, and that's exactly what happened. Caesar could have been the descendent of Venus or the son of a whore, and they'd still have followed him lest they be strung up on a cross. It's that simple. Somehow, I don't think that the sacramentum alone was enough to compel Caesar's soldiers to follow him into Italy. After all, a half century before this, Sulla's entire officer corps save Lucius Licinius Lucullus refused to follow him in an unprecedented and thoroughly illegal attack on the urbs Romae. I don't recall them being crucified for not obeying his orders, though I'm sure he fought against them in later stages of the civil war. But perhaps, just perhaps, loyalty to the Republic was not as frail as we assume it to be. However, this only makes the complicity of Caesar's soldiers more reprehensible.
  8. L. Quintus Sertorius

    The Cause That Lacked Naught But A Cause

    An excellent point - who really constituted a clearer danger to the safety of the legionaries? That, given in conjunction with the other learned responses, I think best captures it.
  9. L. Quintus Sertorius

    The Cause That Lacked Naught But A Cause

    With Cicero's immortal denunciation fresh in my memory, I have a question to pose to the general community. We have argued and debated the motivations and justifications of Caesar's launching of the Civil War ad nauseam. He's been called hero, villain, and everything in between. Perhaps some of his reasons for fighting can be conjectured - unwillingness to lay down his imperium, opinion that only he, unhindered, could resolve Rome's governmental woes, etc. But what could have motivated his soldiers to do the unthinkable - declare war upon their own homeland? Was it desperation at their position after discharge? A genuine commitment to Caesar's cause? Please share what you think motivated the ordinary soldiers who bled and fought that Caesar might reign.
  10. L. Quintus Sertorius

    Slavery & Cato the Elder

    I think that it must be remembered that even the poorest Roman families owned at least one slave - it wouldn't be improbable for a plebeian family to buy the old, worn out slaves of a landowner to serve as household help. As far as Plutarchan hyperbole about Cato's treatment of slaves goes, I don't really see it. The quote about selling old slaves comes straight from the pages (or papyri, rather) of Cato's De Agricultura.
  11. L. Quintus Sertorius

    The City of Rome

    Even though they're not really Roman ruins, the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish steps can't be missed. Also, one that I'm surprised hasn't been mentioned yet - the Pantheon. Nothing quite matches seeing M. AGRIPPA LF COS TERTIVM FECIT emblazoned on the marble of that beautiful structure.
  12. L. Quintus Sertorius

    SULLA'S DEATH

    An interesting find, but the mention of phthiriasis seems odd because that seems to rule out other, more plausible diagnoses. I am actually more partial to necrotizing fasciitis (flesh eating bacteria), though I really have no explanation for the large numbers of worms mentioned. Does the article say why they chose to focus on lice infection?
  13. L. Quintus Sertorius

    Pompeius Magnus - A thief ?

    Quality is more important than quantity. When did Pompey ever best Sertorius? Surely not at the field of Sucro, where he himself was nearly captured? Surely not the siege of Lauron, which Pompey was forced to watch burn? Surely not Saguntum, where Sertorius sacked Pompey's camp and baggage so thoroughly that the Pompeian army nearly starved? In fact, I'm hard pressed to remember any success of Pompey against Sertorius, either strategically or tactically. His successes were great because he didn't really have much work to do. His great Eastern triumph was stolen from the hands of Lucullus, who had done all the real work at Tigranocirta. His "triumph" against Spartacus was hollow, Crassus having defeated and dispersed the slave army prior to Pompey's arrival. And when he finally had the chance to prove himself as the greatest general of his age at Pharsalus, he went for a quick victory and wasted his strategic superiority. Caesar needed a battle then and there - Pompey could have afforded to wait. Would you care to quote those "uniformly hostile" writers? I seem to recall a rather genial portrait of Pompeius.
  14. L. Quintus Sertorius

    Belisarius' campaigns

    After Belisarius and Narses put down the Nika revolt in 523, Justinian rewarded his general with command of a huge expedition against the Vandal kingdom of North Africa, under Gelimer. Justinian landed near Leptis Magna in early 533, and proceeded to follow the old Roman road north to Carthage. Ten miles from Carthage, the armies of Belisarius and Gelimer met in the battle of Ad Decimum. Gelimer was strongly positioned and as such, Belisarius was wary of giving battle at first. This resulted in some small skirmishing among the cavalry units for a short time, until Belisarius let loose his Hun cavalry reserves, routing the Vandal cavalry. Gelimer's brother was killed in the melee, and Belisarius ordered his infantry to advance. The battle was waged for an hour or more, until Gelimer came upon his brother's body on the battlefield. At this blow, the fight went out of him, and he began to flee. His army followed, and was cut down while routing. Belisarius went on to capture Carthage, and later captured Gelimer at the Battle of Ticameron in December of 533. For this brilliant campaign, Belisarius was awarded the last recorded triumph in Roman history, and was appointed Consul. However, he would have little time to rest, for in 535 Justinian ordered an attack on the Ostrogothic kingdom of Italy. Belisarius invaded the peninsula via Sicily, and quickly subdued the island. He crossed the straits of Messina and proceeded north to Naples, which was put to the sword after a brutal siege. He tarried at Naples for most of that campaign season, presumably arranging for the Papal invite that would ensure him the acceptance of the Roman people. This received, he proceeded north and entered Rome in late 536. The following year, Belisarius and his army withstood a 13 month siege of Rome, which was only broken when the Goths ran out of forage. He followed on their heels and captured Milan, being received by the Archbishop with open arms. After several years of raiding, Belisarius advanced on the last Ostrogothic stronghold of Ravenna. The Gothic nobles offered to surrender to Belisarius on condition that he proclaim himself Emperor of the West - he accepted, and entered Ravenna, where he proceeded to execute Witiges, the Ostrogothic king, and revoke his vow. Justinian was disturbed by Belisarius' maneuver, and recalled him to the East to fight an inconclusive war with Persia in 541-542. He appointed three generals to take joint control of Italy, but they were quickly overwhelmed by the new Ostrogothic king, Totila, who managed to recapture all of Italy north of and including Rome. Belisarius returned in 544, and managed to reclaim Italy south of the Po, but was hampered by a pronounced lack of supplies and reinforcements - Justinian replaced him with Narses in 548, and it was he who managed to finally bring the war to a successful conclusion. Belisarius' last campaign was in 559, against an invasion of Bulgars from across the Danube, who he managed to rout within sight of the Theodosian walls. Belisarius is primarily remembered for his superior use of inferior forces (his defense of Rome was undertaken with only 500 soldiers, and he was beset by approximately 20,000). He also brought the Byzantine army to the peak of its efficiency, outmaneuvering and outgeneraling his Gothic and Vandal opponents. The development of the bandon (a Byzantine tactical unit) and the standardized equipment of the Byzantine horse archer/lancer cavalrymen are attributed to him.
  15. L. Quintus Sertorius

    Caesar "illegal" march - T.D. Barnes view

    Caesar's blatant refusal to disband his army upon the command of the Senate was all the justification needed to employ the Senatus Consultum Ultimum - it was, for all intents and purposes, an act of treason. Claiming that the Senatus Consultum Ultimum was illegal simply overlooks the fact that, once he disobeyed the Senate's commands, Caesar was an outlaw and no longer entitled to the protection of Roman law. Catiline was sentenced to death by the order of the Senate with the approval of the People's Tribunes. I do not recall a tribunician veto prohibiting the execution of either him, or those of his followers captured within the city proper. No, Clodius instigated the prosecution of Cicero for the executions more for political gain than a sense of legal right - in fact, it was Clodius that instituted the law in the first place. Had the People truly been incensed by the execution of the Catilinarian executions, wouldn't Cicero have been prosecuted in 62 rather than 58 B.C.E.?
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