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About DanM

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  1. DanM

    Population Distribution Of The Empire

    Sorry, but I do not know of any direct evidence. Most of it is arrived at through deductive reasoning. We know that Egypt, Asia Minor, Syria and Africa were heavily populated while areas such as Thrace and Pannonia were much more sparsely populated. Most of the work I have seen along these lines looks at the distribution of cities within a province to estimate population density. If anyone out there has anything more precise, I would love to read it myself.
  2. Of course the implosion of the imperial authority in the west gave the germans more leeway. No one would ever argue that point. But the germans were a thinly spread ruling class in a much larger sea of latin culture, language and religion. They could not impose their will on the population with nearly the same force as the previous Roman emperors. Thats why the Gothic leaders in Italy and Spain made an effort to accomodate and work with the church instead of imposing their will upon it. In areas such as Gaul where the population differences were not so drastic, they could behave with a little less caution.
  3. Augustus of course. His era was one of stability, prosperity and security. For that matter, why stop at just one serving girl? Afterall, this scenario is only limited by our imaginations. Right?
  4. DanM

    Public Baths And The Use Of Oil

    Thanks guys! Your responses were great and very much appreciated.
  5. I would agree. The biggest result of the fall of the Roman Empire in the west was the political vacum in created and the opportunity for the church of Rome to assert political authority. Obviously the political independence led to an independence with respect to matters of dosctrine as well. If the Empire had held together somehow, then it is highly unlikely the church of Rome could have had any serious independence on issues of doctrine. So there is a strong possibility that any scenario where the western empire survived would also have to include a very different Christian church in western and central Europe. Since the Franks were Catholics, I do not think there were many issues related to theology in Gaul, but the Vandals in North Africa seriously persecuted the Catholics of their provinces. The Arians of Gothic Italy, Illyria and Spain, on the other hand, treated their Catholic subjects with respect and consideration.
  6. DanM

    Diocletian And The Changed Principate

    With respect to Constantine and his sons, they were all absolute monarchs who ruled with an iron hand. I think Julian made some attempts to revive the role of the Senate, but thats the only guy I know who tried to reverse anything back towards anything resembling Republican form of government.
  7. I was reading a book that constantly kept coming back to the claim that the purchase of oils for the gymnasiums and public baths was often the largest single expense incurred by any city. Maybe its just me, but I am struggling to understand what they did with all of that oil. I am not a perv and not trying to go down that road. I am just looking for someone to describe the legitimate historical uses of oil in such a context so I can better understand how much of this stuff was actually consumed by a city in a given year and also so I can understand why it was such a politically important item that it justified so much funding and attention by the civic politicians. Thanks.
  8. DanM

    What Would You Be In Roman Society....

    I guess a being a senator is not for me. Nonesense. The rank of senator had no inherent risk associated with it. An ambitious senator on the other hand would face all sorts of risks. No one went around killing wealthy people who did not challenge their authority or their agenda. Most tyrants of the era wanted the legitimacy of the Senate's approval and would welcome Senators who did not make waves.
  9. DanM

    What Would You Be In Roman Society....

    Correction. Being a politically active senator was risky. Being a pleasure loving, self-indulgent senator who would go with the flow........not so much. If you were an easy going guy who made it clear that you had no serious aspirations, grudges, etc, then why would anyone go to the time, expense and risk of assasinating you? If I lived back in that time, I would spend most of my time in my villa, do the minimum that was required of me and try to get along with everyone. I would have been the guy who put the word "idle" in the term "idle rich". lol ....and I would have left all of the power grabbing self-gratification to those who felt they came up a little short in one form of measurement or another and felt a need to compensate for something.
  10. DanM

    Name Your Own Roman Epic

    At the risk of bringing up a guy who is more Byzantine than Roman, I would pick Heraclius. He brought the Empire back from the brink against the Persians. He was brave and heroic. And in the end, all of his dreams of restoring the empire disappeared before his eyes as the Muslims advanced against his armies. In this story you have drama, action and tragedy. Thats not a bad combination. Also, a story about Julian could be very good. If it were written well, there could be a really nice sense of ironic humor in many places as well as the obligatory action scenes.
  11. DanM

    What Would You Be In Roman Society....

    Yeah, its one of those aspirations that sort of stands the test of time. Tell me what era isn't a good time to have a pretty girl feeding you grapes.
  12. I said other because I would like to see more study on the people of North Africa both as they became more Romanized and then later as they became less Romanized. Its sad, but I think this area of Roman studies gets entirely too little attention. What made this people distinctive from other Romans in terms of art and economic activity? What drove their intense religous passions? Why were they able to rise up to such a level of economic prosperity and then never really recover after the Vandal invasion? I feel there is such a large body of study here and I wish there were more books available that really explored the culture and the history of the North African people before, during & after the Roman years.
  13. DanM

    What Would You Be In Roman Society....

    .......and I love having pretty women feed me grapes so I guess there is something for all of us in this thread. lol
  14. DanM

    If You Could Meet One Roman Emperor

    Have you ever run accross any good descriptions of Amalansutha? I have run accross several that all say about the same thing. She was the well-educated, intelligent daughter of the great Visigothic King who made an ultimiately doomed attempt to retain power while regent and later queen of the Goths. I wish there was something that did a better job of describing her life, her personality in detail, her reasons behind the choices she made, etc. I guess what I am looking for is some sort of biographical work dedicated to her life. Any ideas where I could look for such a thing?
  15. DanM

    If You Could Meet One Roman Emperor

    My pick is a Byzantine and so he is probably a little bit of a reach, but I am going to go with Manuel Comenius. He may not have been the greatest and he may have not ruled the Empire at its most powerful period, but the man most definitely knew how to have a good time. If you are just talking about a guy who would be fun to hang out and party with, then I think you guys will be hard pressed to find a better one. He liked music, alchohol and parties. He could hunt, practice medicine and talk on a wide range of topics. His charisma was well known and his generosity was equally famous. So if its a matter of having a good time and enjoying your expereince with a Roman (or Byzantine) Emperor, then I think he is the clear choice.