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L. Quintus Sertorius

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Everything posted by L. Quintus Sertorius

  1. L. Quintus Sertorius


    You did ask a question, and I simply asked you to prune down your inquiry that I might better address it. Do you have a measurement for this statement, or is it, as I suspect - naught but subjective opinion? The Roman aristocrats of the Late Republic did what the Roman aristocrats of the time of Marius and Sulla, Scipio and Cato had done before them. They squabbled and bickered and fought for offices like children over toys. I assume by "contemptuous", you refer to an attitude toward the Ordo Equester? Or perhaps the Capite Censi? The Senate was by no means one united front - the Boni were but a loose faction among loose factions, albeit an extraordinarily wealthy and powerful one. Individual members had individual positions on individual issues - your greatest ally might have a different stance on the rights of Gallic nobility to attain the Roman citizenship, and would thusly vote and argue for a different position than yours. Roman politics were never an exclusively party affair - individuals won offices, not parties. Individual ambitions, admittedly influenced by the politics of their allies, were indulged in. The Boni had no set stance - theirs was a policy colored by tradition moreso than law. And even then, what were the Boni? Those opposed to the populares? There were many who opposed the popularis tradition, especially after Sulla; but those who did so and worked as a group to suppress it did so on individual motives, not out of any sense of duty to a higher party. The Senate stuck to politics as it had for centuries. If certain politicians closely aligned themselves with your interests, you scratched their backs in return for yours being scratched. You married their daughters, and their sons married your sisters. Politics did not change in the Late Republic, barring the tenuous argument that Clodius' agitation totally revamped the political scene. Marius had handed out largesse to the populace long before Caesar and Pompey were born - and other generals had done the same long before Marius. The distribution of largesse from a victorious war was a traditional feature of Roman warfare - why bother to expand at all if all you plan to gain is the cost of administrating just one more city? What you see as placating two opposing parties fomenting civil war was, to the Romans, nothing more than catalyzing the continual hunt for offices and influence. No one except Caesar knew that there would be civil war as a result of their political games, at least until it was too late for anything to really be done. How many legions did Strength and Righteousness command that might have aided the Republic in throwing down Caesar? The Republic had not changed - it had not decayed or rotted. What had changed was how far one man was willing to go to preserve his own personal political authority and reputation. Caesar was the change.
  2. L. Quintus Sertorius


    By what criteria do you define degeneration? Milo and Clodius' little wars in the streets? The Late Republic was richer and more powerful than the Middle Republic by far, at least until the coming of Caesar out of Gaul. The Senate though in conflict with Caesarian tribunes like Curio and, at the last, Antonius, still retained a strong hold on the reins of government. The provinces were, if not constantly well-governed, at least well managed. Simply because Caesar toppled the Republic does not mean that it was grossly corrupt or inefficient. A building does not only fall because of rot - in this case, it fell to flame and sword.
  3. L. Quintus Sertorius


    Brutus' actions were justified only in the sense that he was upholding the laws and traditions of his patria. His personal failings were many - but then, so are ours; and even moreso, so were Caesar's. Caesar was a great man, undoubtedly - but he was not a good man. There were many precedents in the Republic's history of generals laying down their arms after campaigns to face treason-trials. Even the Scipiones Africanus and Asiaticus came under prosecution by M. Porcius Cato Censor for purportedly accepting bribes while on campaign in Asia, a charge that nearly ruined their political lives. Who could have opposed them, were they to march upon Rome? The Scipiones were the greatest generals of their age, their army was fanatically loyal - they could have easily done as Caesar would. Yet they did not. Scipio Africanus returned to face his accusers and destroyed his records in front of their eyes. Boldness? Undoubtedly. Madness? Maybe a touch. But Scipio had faced down his accusers without resorting to the swords of his legionaries, and this was truly a greater triumph than even Caesar's Alesia. Scipio protected his dignitas, and didn't have to destroy the Republic to do it. Perhaps Caesar could have learned something from Scipio's actions. But back to Brutus - I shall echo another poster somewhere in the bowels of this thread, and paraphrase Cicero. "The Conspirators had the spirits of men, but the foresight of children."
  4. L. Quintus Sertorius

    Italians and the Mafia

    You can't get away from the mafia in Italian politics. Money talks, and the mafiosos still have a lot of it left.
  5. L. Quintus Sertorius

    Fidel Castro (Capitalist Democracy vs Socialism)

    Where are you drawing this assumption from? Ancient civilizations were subject to the same injuries and infirmities we are today, but without the means to cure or combat it. Perhaps your understanding is drawn from the general condition of the upper class - in which case you would be correct. But what of the slaves gouging the soil of Attica to make new drachmae for Athens, or the Gauls tilling the soil of Sicily to feed the urbs Romae? Not quite as pretty a picture there. Again, I am baffled as to your reasoning behind this. The states of the Middle Ages ante Mortem Nigrum were exceedingly prosperous, especially in the vicinities of Italy, Egypt, the Low Countries, Asia Minor, and Southern Spain (Granada). As for the effects of the Black Death and resultant famines - a plague of comparable size with comparable results occurred at the end of the reign of Marcus Aurelius. So much for your "men of Gold" being healthier and longer lived. So then explain to me how the "pitiful and starving" people of the Middle Ages managed to construct Chartres Cathedral, Il Duomo della Firenza, the Alhambra palace in Granada, and Krak de Chevaliers. They were pitiful and starving after all, right? . Of course they were. On the other hand, Ethiopia hasn't changed much since the ancient days, European colonization or no. Except now they have access to better weapons.
  6. L. Quintus Sertorius

    Translation, Please

    Animus aeternus.
  7. L. Quintus Sertorius

    Translation, Please

    I'd hazard animus senecis, "soul of an old man", but wait for confirmation.
  8. L. Quintus Sertorius

    Speak In Latin!

    Imperium Byzanti non duravit tempus longius quam imperium romanorum, quod imperium romanorum erat.
  9. L. Quintus Sertorius


    If the requirements for a triumphus were easy to accomplish, its attainment would be a credit to no one.
  10. L. Quintus Sertorius


    An excellent critique, and one that is entirely in line with your namesake's thinking. To respond to the point you proffered about the social background of my examples - only Camillus can really be counted as neither a member of the Ordo Equester or the patriciate, as none of his ancestors held distinguished posts - the others are either from the most respected families (Cornelii Scipiones, Licinii Luculli) or distinguished families of equestrian origin (Domitii, Pompeii). Now while it is true that the aristocracy was not the sole class motivated by the obsession with dignitas, they and the richer members of the Ordo Equester were the only people with sufficient power and influence (or even distinguished ancestors) to follow in the cursus. However, you are entirely correct in pointing out that I was rather narrow in my premise. I was not advocating that the only path to glory was to butcher your way to a triumph, but as the topic was indeed about whether the glory of a triumph was a main motivating factor in the composition of the Imperium Romanorum, I thought it necessary to distinguish the sole glory of the triumph from the pursuit of glory in which a triumph was merely a piece (and probably not even the most important one). The points about the greater accomplishments of Roman magistrates in peacetime is also well-founded, but after the fall of Hannibal, what real threat was there to the existance of Roman dominion for a prospective "Scipio" to oppose? Mithridates? He only really threatened the Roman hold on the provinces of Asia and Greece - and even then he only survived as long as he did because Sulla was first too preoccupied with the Cinnans in Italy to pursue the war to its end; and then Lucullus was racked by mutiny fomented by P. Clodius. So in conclusion, I agree heartily with your points about the Roman greatness in peacetime administration, but maintain my position that the triumph was merely a symptom of a greater sickness, perhaps one that eventually caused the fall of the Republic when the resources of the men competing on the cursus became too great - the hunt for glory. Edit - The negotiations between Sertorius, the Cilician pirates, and Mithridates might have formed a coalition capable of threatening, at the least, the Sullan hold on Rome; however, the assassination of Sertorius and the successive appointments of Lucullus and Pompey to the war against Mithridates and (in Pompey's case, the pirates) effectively ended any outside force capable of facing down Sullan Rome. So while there might have been an outside force for a young "Africanus" to be pitted against, fate had other avenues in mind. I still rather wish Sertorius' vision for a Romanized Hispania had come to fruition.
  11. L. Quintus Sertorius


    I think that more than anything else, the requirements for a triumphus were a symptom of a greater affliction among the patriciate of the Republic. The pursuit of glory was more than just a pastime for the Roman nobility - it was the very reason for their public career. From the moment that a Roman male was literally lifted into the family, he was regaled with tales of the feats of his ancestors and admonished to equal or surpass them. The portrait busts of generations past stared down upon the young aristocrat, calling on him to uphold the dignitas of his family. It was expected that a young man be extraordinarily ambitious - for after all, who had won the Republic such renown as men like Furius Camillus, Scipio Africanus, Domitius Ahenobarbus, even Lucullus and Pompeius Magnus? It was on the backs of great and ambitious men that the Republic strove to greatness. The lengths that Roman generals would go to in order to win a triumph is easily understandable in the context of their upbringing and culture. The greater the general's conquests, the more audacious his feats, the more influential his words and deeds - these were the marks of greatness in a Roman. Thus the triumph is not the cause of the reckless Empire-building embarked upon by men such as Pompey and Caesar, merely another goal that they strove toward in a path already set by their predecessors. The hunt to be the best, to win more glorious victories, to hold more offices than their peers - this was what made the Roman aristocrat tick. In the end, the most resonant phrase in a Roman general's mind was not the famous quotation of the triumph, whispered in his ear as he rode godlike through the streets of Rome. Ibi sed pro gloriam eo; There but for glory go I.