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About theilian

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  • Birthday 04/17/1974

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  1. theilian

    Romance of Three Kingdoms

    Vercingetorix, Koei games seem to be the main venue through which Western readers are introduced to Romance of Three Kingdoms (ROTK). I never played them. Incidently, I hear that there are two movies based on the ROTK are in production, slated for release next year, apparently in time for Olympic. One is Battle of Red Cliff, to be directed by John Woo, and the other is Three Kingdoms: The Resurrection of Dragon John Woo one is expected to be the most expensive Asian movie, and there are early production pictures on . Curious how they will turn out.
  2. Hi, I've been a little too busy to visit here as much as I'd like. But recently, I began to read classic Chinese novel called 'Romance of Three Kingdoms', and I felt that anyone who enjoys reading about ancient Rome will also love this. It is often called Iliad of China, and although it's actually written in 14th century, I think it's apt comparison. It is based on actual history, dealing with the collapse of Han dynasty (same period with heights of ancient Rome) at the end of 2nd century AD. (It is often said that it's 70% history, 30% fiction; most characters are real historical people, and most of major events indeed took place as described, much of fictional aspects have to do with specific roles and motives of particular characters) The stories and characters in this novel/history, just like stories of Achilles and Caesar which are told throughout the western civilization, have shaped not only China but entire East Asian culture. Many commonly used words and phrases throughout East Asia are directly derived from them. But most of all, it is very entertaining, full of ingenous intrigues, battle scenes, complex yet vivid characters, often very comic, and all in all, very entertaining. For instance, from this book, you will learn how to make 100,000 arrows in 3 days, how to eliminate rival lords and unite the land to become Emperor, etc. You can read full English translation of the novel in http://www.threekingdoms.com. (It will direct you to some weird page, but click on 'Read Three Kingdoms' right below google logo in google search function on the website) You can also download the whole thing here. There is also an illustrated summary of one of stories depicted in Three Kingdoms, namely the Battle of Red Cliffs, which one might call Chinese Actium (that is, if Antony won). The words accompanying pictures are not excerpts from the novel, but summaries. Hope you enjoy them. Guan Yu, one of main characters of the novel, was worshipped as a god of war in China Japanese painting 'Three Heroes of Three Kingdoms' (Liu Bei, Guan Yu, Zhang Fei)
  3. theilian

    Nobiles in the Caesarian Civil War

    I completely agree that if civil war was averted through compromise, whatever followed would have been much more preferrable than the civil war and its consequences. The Senate clearly did not want it, the people clearly did not want it. And considering the offers made by Caesar, hardline policy pursued by Optimates and combined with general circumstances which alienated the poor, I cannot help but blame both parties for instigation of war. As for Caesar's Rubicon, I believe that rightly or wrongly Caesar felt that his hands were forced. Although Caesar was genuinely popular with urban plebs at this time and his supporters were being elected, though he was supposedly a great orator and Cicero certainly would have defended Caesar due to his personal obligations (but we all know how he does under pressure. ), again Pompey's influence (now backed by Optimate-led Senate) was probably felt to be even stronger at this time than what turned out to be, and what it was was still very formidable.
  4. theilian

    Global Warming

    Right. Why trust thousands of disparate scientists (they are clearly out to take over the world) looking for some grant money to discover new stuffs and become respected when you can trust good old well-oiled (pun intended) lobbying machine of energy industry who look for nothing more than profit of billions of dollars? Not so long time ago it was the contention of energy industry that there was no such thing as global warming - that it was merely cyclical process. Now that it has become hard to deny the very visible effects of global warming, they found a new contention - that there is nothing we can do about it. If those who believe so truly believe that the earth is doomed, that there is nothing that humans can do about it, quite a lot of people are really nonchalant about the coming end of the world. If there is something that can be done to delay the process, one would say it's a small price to to carry your own grocery bags and drive Prius instead of Hummer. After all, remember ozone? Actions were taken, and problems are largely solved. Also the comparison to millenium bug is completely off. I am not an expert, but even I could tell that there was never large consensus from computer experts. Some expressed concerns about such possibility, which media drummed it up. In any case, I am no expert in climate change unlike some here (who by the way can earn some big prize announced by energy industry), but I'll trust the majority of climate experts (who say that global warming is serious crisis and has accelerated since Industiral Revolution) more than some few propped up by energy industry
  5. theilian

    Global Warming

    Wow, scientists need to discover this thread and stop worrying about global warming.
  6. theilian

    Nobiles in the Caesarian Civil War

    What the list does is to wipe away any impression that it was Caesar vs. all, but it's quite another thing to say that Caesar caused civil war inspite of good chance of acquital. The jury would have been pooled from such large group of equites and senators that I think it's reasonable to assume that overall influence wielded by Pompey and Optimates combined would have been more important than balance of pro-Caesar and pro-Optimate nobiles. Does this justfiy Caesar's invasion of Italy? I don't think so, and many of pro-Caesar nobiles including his father-in-law didn't think so either. But I do think it serves history better to understand Caesar's point of view as well.
  7. theilian

    Nobiles in the Caesarian Civil War

    In HBO forum, I often engage in debate with a Caesar supporter defending Optimates, and here I often find myself defending Caesar. I'm afraid I'm going to develop split personality. Anyway, while I find Cato's list of nobiles very illuminating, I still think that Caesar was not entirely wrong to assume that his goose would be cooked if he returned Rome a private citizen. Although Senate obviously wanted to compromise with Caesar, Cato and Optimate leaders were very successful in pursuing their hardline policy toward Caesar, overcoming Senate's own preference. I agree with Pompeius that the overall clientele influence of Pompey and Optimate leaders combined would have been more significant factor in the trial than actual number of Caesar's partisans and opponents. Moreover, as Caesar pondered the prospect of trial, he probably would have had in mind the fate of Gracchi more than that of Scipio. Like Pompeius said, Roman politics was largely personal with some occasionally significant injection of ideology (though I wouldn't say that it was personal jealousy that motviateed Optimates). The consulars would have far greater influence in terms of cliente and amicitia than lower-ranking senators, and I think Caesar's supporters were generally lower-ranking senators of younger generation.
  8. theilian


    Hi, Augusta. I've been a bit sick and had some medical scare, but I'm fine now. Thank you.
  9. theilian


    I love it here, too, and I do my best to recommend this forum to others who might be interested in Roman history.
  10. theilian

    Nobiles in the Caesarian Civil War

    Wow, this is a very interesting data though I agree with Augusta that we can't make a sweeping assumption about nobiles in general. I can't still dismiss the fact that Caesar felt cornered by union of Optimates and Pompey. If somebody could work on this further and sort out tendencies of all known Senators, that would be very telling.
  11. theilian

    Quo Vadis

    Probably not the greatest movie, but I've watched Quo Vadis as a child and has always loved it - especially Nero (with Peter Ustinov, how not?) and Petronius, which kind of set it apart from other sandal flicks in my rather hazy memory.
  12. theilian

    Plebeians and Patricians

    My incomplete impression is that by late Republic patrician-plebeian dichotomy was largely supplanted by newer nobiles-ignobiles dichotomy. I understand that religious offices were limited to patricians, but otherwise I don't think relatively newer nobiles like Cato or Antonius suffered much handicap in their career due to their plebeian origin. On the other hand, it seems to me nobiles wanted to keep the noble blood pure, thus consulship being zealously guarded against new men. But IMHO by the time of Cicero, I think (I have no evidence but just impression) there was a great deal of social upheaval and it seems to me that there were more possibilities for new men. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
  13. theilian

    Happy Birthday

    Happy birthday, AoS! May this year bring many joys!
  14. theilian

    Did Julius Caesar deserve to die?

    I agree that the late Republic was rotten oligarchy (I'm not sure I'd call it tyrannical) , but what I don't understand is why Caesar gets to be the savior of the people and martyr of some sort of proto-socialism. I am in sympathy with populares and cannot fault most of Caesar's programs even if they were meant to augment his power, but nothing that I see in his reform warrants the transition to autocracy that he single-handedly brought about. What exactly did people get from Caesar's rule (even if he lived) except the death of political discourse including the populares movement? (because everything in his actions seems to suggest that he was following footsteps of Alexander the Great than those of Gracchi.) In fact, it's not ironical at all that Senate and aristocrats survived Principate but not the populist tradition. Like his spiritual descendant Bonaparte, Caesar betrayed populares and served only himself with limited, selective reforms. So Caesar is not only the greatest orator ever (as he "surely" would have been) and "the greatest political visionary" with the most brilliant solution that no other Romans envisioned (whch just happened to be himself holding the absolute power), but now he is also the philosopher? This is new. Also I'd hold self-deification against him, but that's just me. Excuse me, but I think Roman Empire, which was already the sole superpower of the Mediterranean world, would have done okay without three series of extremely devastating civil wars. I know it's hard to excuse the conspirators' lack of planning, but maybe we take hindsight for granted too much. After all, the death of republic was a long process in the making, and they thought it might get respite like when Sulla retired. By the time of his death, Caesar finally nailed the final nail to the coffin, but apparently this was not apparent to them. (sorry for using words twice). Even Cicero's criticism of their lack of planning did not seem to extend much beyond adding Antony to the list. He had doubts as to what kind of constitution the resulting state would have, but again this was all with hindsight after Ides of March did not bring the desired result. Also that the soldiers would be more loyal to their generals than to the senate or some abstract republic is obvious to us and actually became obvious by the time of Mutina, but not necessarily so before that. I don't find any easy answer for problems of late Repulican period even today, and when in foul mood , I sometimes have a rather cynical view, but I never see any need to idolize either Caesar nor Octavian. In fact, in both of their cases, the results of their success seem to me to be one of worse possible outcomes rather than better ones, but this is for a different debate.
  15. theilian

    Did Julius Caesar deserve to die?

    Oops. #3 would be: Everyone died horribly, so it must have been retribution by Venus, meaning it was all right for Caesar to seize the absolute power for himself.