Jump to content
UNRV Ancient Roman Empire Forums

Gladius Hispaniensis

Equites
  • Content Count

    365
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Gladius Hispaniensis

  1. Gladius Hispaniensis

    Oppression of Jews in the Roman Empire?

    Ave I believe Roman persecution of Jews was more sporadic than anything else. It got progressively worse with the passage of time but there were some visceral reasons for that. As Nephele pointed out, there was a substantial Jewish population in Rome itself at the time of Julius Caesar and they apparently even mourned his death. Part of the problem, from the point of view of Roman rule at least, was the lack of separation between church and state, or sacred and secular, in traditional Judaism. All the kings, rulers and judges of Biblical Israel and later Judah were Divinely appointed. Even much of the topography and the landscape were somehow imbued with a sacred quality. The rule over God's Chosen People by pagan potentates and their minions was naturally seen as an offense in Jewish eyes. This was a situation unique among the ancients and didn't contribute towards a stable political chemistry. Hence the rebellions, the assassinations, the defiance and the increasingly brutal Roman response. This separation of church and state (for lack of a better term) had to be forced down their throats at the point of the Roman sword and did not take effect until the final defeat of the Bar Kokhba revolt and the renaming of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina. Thereafter the religious institution at Jamnia was established and formed the basis for modern Rabbinical Judaism. I think the idea propagated in many circles that the Romans persecuted the Jews (and Christians) because they refused to worship the Emperor is extremely simplistic and caution has to be exercised in making blanket statements. I am also convinced that part of the reason Christians were so reviled was their deification of a person who was purportedly crucified for political sedition and defiance of Roman rule. People back then had a much better understanding of crucifixion than we do. I always like putting forward the following analogy: The US executed the Rosenbergs for spying for the Soviet Union. What if a cult suddenly sprang up out of nowhere that deified the Rosenbergs and used a symbol of the electric chair as an icon. How would Americans in the 50s and 60s have reacted to that?
  2. Gladius Hispaniensis

    Carthage

    If we're really lucky we might get a different perspective on events such as the Punic Wars and the more unsavoury aspects of Carthaginian culture that we only know about through the medium of Roman and Greek authors. This is a really fascinating thread. Punic civilisation IMO hasn't gotten the attention it truly deserves and this is nobody's fault. Just one of those vagaries of history. Much of what we know about the Philistines is through the writers of the Old Testament and practically all we know about Carthage and its minions is through it's detractors. Crying shame.
  3. Gladius Hispaniensis

    Happy Battle of Milvian Bridge Anniversary Day!

    Ave I read in another source that the vision he saw was of the Gallic Apollo near Autun. How much credence can be given to that over the Christian version?
  4. Gladius Hispaniensis

    What's the last book you read?

    I am currently reading "A Hundred Decisive Battles" by Paul K Davis
  5. Ave The Arab fleet that attacked Constantinople in 674 C.E may not have been that poorly armed after all. Here is a part of the poem written by Theodosius Grammaticus celebrating the Byzantine victory: Where are the twin decked, fire throwing ships, and again, the single decked ships, also swift in the battle step? That single line seems to indicate that the Arabs may have used a form of Greek Fire, which was, after all, invented by a refugee from Baalbek in Lebanon. Any thoughts?
  6. Gladius Hispaniensis

    Is it possible the Arabs used Greek Fire?

    If you already have the article of David Olster Theodosius Grammaticus and the Arab siege of 674-78 from Byzantinoslavica 56 (1), pg 23-28, 1995, you probably know more on this issue than most people here. If that's not the case, that article is a must for you; a copy can be ordered from that link . That sounds priceless. Thanks for that. I'll order a copy as soon as I have a fuller pocket!
  7. Gladius Hispaniensis

    Is it possible the Arabs used Greek Fire?

    The Byzantines usually used siphons mounted on ships to throw the Greek Fire at their opponents.
  8. Gladius Hispaniensis

    Unthinkable

    Ursus does have a point. By 1945 the population of Western Europe were heartily sick of war and conflict. How Mr. Churchill would have sustained another long term war effort without popular support eludes me. Not to mention, of course, the support of the other western democracies. Another factor to bear in mind was that the Red Army of 1945 had truly come of age. It was thoroughly battle hardened and had, through bitter experience, mastered the art of defensive warfare to a superlative degree and had the invaluable leadership of men like Zhukov, Koniev, and Rokossovsky. It's offensive skills were honed to fine degree in the last two years of the war. Any one doubting this has only to look at the destruction of the Wehrmacht's Army Group Centre in July 1944 during Operation Bagration, which was a masterpiece in operational and tactical planning. This was a far cry from the army of 1941 whose leadership had been decimated by Stalin's purges, thoroughly unprepared for modern war, demoralised by Russia's initial defeats in Finland, and essentially caught napping by Hitler's treacherous attack. The Western Allies would have had a hard nut to crack indeed.
  9. Gladius Hispaniensis

    Romans and diet

    Wasn't there a myth that the Roman army was primarily vegetarian? Apparently this was due to a misreading of Plutarch IIRC.
  10. Gladius Hispaniensis

    What's the last book you read?

    "Persian Fire" by Tom Holland and "The Arab Conquests" by Hugh Kennedy. The latter book examines the meteoric rise of Islam in the 7th century.
  11. Gladius Hispaniensis

    Norse influence on English

    Ave The physical presence of Norse people in Britain has been well documented - from the establishment of Danelaw to the crushing of Harald Hardrada's Norwegian army at Stamford Bridge. And from what I remember, the Scandinavian presence had made itself especially felt in the northern part of England. I'm wondering if anyone can post some links regarding the influence of the Scandinavians on the English language. I understand there are still some Norse words in Northern English vernacular. I would especially be interested in Nordic sounding place names or surnames. Thanks in advance.
  12. Gladius Hispaniensis

    Regarding Roman shaving habits

    Ave It seems that one of the things that irked Cato the Censor about Scipio Africanus was, among his other "Hellenisms", his habit of shaving his jowls very close. I read this in a Michael Grant book. Does that mean beards and stubbles were actually fashionable in the early Republic? Does anyone know? Thanks.
  13. Gladius Hispaniensis

    Regarding Roman shaving habits

    Would it be reasonable to assume, then, that Africanus may have started a trend? Because the evidence from statues and busts shows a penchant for close shaving in the later Republic.
  14. Gladius Hispaniensis

    What's the last book you read?

    I am now reading Michael Grant's "History of Rome".
  15. Gladius Hispaniensis

    What's the last book you read?

    Sounds interesting. Please let me know what you thought about it when you finish. I, over the past couple months, have been interested in Judaea from Alexander the Great to the destruction of the Temple, and, a little later, the Bar Kochba revolt. Right now I'm reading From the Maccabees to the Mishnah by Shaye J.D. Cohen, and when I finish that I plan on reading, Heritage and Hellenism: the Reinvention of Jewish Tradition by Erich S. Gruen, a name familiar to some, if not most, on this board. The book is erudite and informative, as are most of his works, and, in spite of the academic background of the author, surprisingly readable. Depending on your point of view, you may or may not appreciate his highly critical stance vis a vis the Maccabeans and their later Zealot descendants.
  16. Gladius Hispaniensis

    Crucifixion and Roman punishment

    Crucifixion was a common form of punishment for a special type of offence, viz. political subversion, whether armed or otherwise. The idea that the Romans would have taken the trouble to crucify a solitary prophet extolling love and turning the other cheek is simply absurd, and neither is there any documentary evidence that "common thieves" would have undergone the same type of punishment.
  17. Gladius Hispaniensis

    What's the last book you read?

    I am now reading "The Chosen People" by John M Allegro. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the name, Professor Allegro was part of the original team that translated the Dead Sea Scrolls.
  18. Gladius Hispaniensis

    Crucifixion and Roman punishment

    Not so. One of the duties of a provincial governor was to uphold law and the native legal system wasn't replaced - the Romans merely added their own laws to the mix. The result was a difficult and sometimes delicate balancing act between needs of the occupying state and those of the culturally diverse natives. Remember that the Romans didn't want revolts. One means of achieving this acceptance of their presence was to accept the native legal system. It was after all important to bring the natives on-side as Roman clients, a fundamental part of their political policies. The Romans did not supplant the native systems, merely persuaded their leaders to join the Roman side. It is simply wrong to assume that provincials were automatically romanised, even if they did enjoy some of the benefits of Roman rule. Not so. As you say, the native legal system wasn't replaced. Therefore Jesus could easily have been just stoned to death for blasphemy. This is exactly what happened with Stephen and James the Just. What made the Jesus case so different?. One would think that the most important people in Jewry had nothing better to do on the eve of the greatest religious festival in Judaism than twiddle their thumbs in expectation of a trial of Jesus by a Roman governor at 3 o'clock in the morning. And the idea that a Jew hater like Pilate, who never missed an opportunity to commit mass murder in the province, would give in to the demands of an unruly mob is doubly absurd. These are not my theories. I am following the school of thought of prominent biblical and classical scholars. The only dissenters, AFAIK, are fundamentalist Christian scholars who simply refuse to see the anomaly in the whole story.
  19. Gladius Hispaniensis

    Crucifixion and Roman punishment

    If you find no reason to disagree with the political nature of Jesus' crucifixion then you and I are in agreement and therefore my argument IS correct. So now YOU are dancing around the argument and you know it. The Gospels certainly do not give a political interpretation. They actually imply that Jesus was innocent of political sedition and was executed by Roman soldiery by a Roman governor in a Roman province for violation Jewish religious law - a premise that is patently absurd. But they give the game away by saying that Pilate affixed a sign on the cross saying Jesus the Nazerene King of the Jews. Wrong. The fact that they took up arms against the Senate and the People of Rome defined it so.
  20. Gladius Hispaniensis

    Crucifixion and Roman punishment

    My original statement was that there is no evidence that crucifixion was used for other than political reasons. Those Jews were crucified as rebels against the empire not as robbers. The "robber" term was used to denigrate them, not to denote the nature of their crime. The Caltiline conspirators were all Roman citizens, that is why they were not crucified. Spartacus and his men didn't just defy their private owners, they took up arms and annihilated more than one Roman army sent against them, hence their offence was political. One does not need to have a written political agenda in order for his acts to be considered political.
  21. Gladius Hispaniensis

    Crucifixion and Roman punishment

    What both Horace and Juvenal (who are both incidentally satirical writers not historians) indicate is that crucifixion was the normal method of putting slaves to death. No one denies that. Roman citizens were normally beheaded, not crucified. Neither writer specify political or non-political reasons for crucifixion. Yes. I already have. The Catholic Encyclopedia just mentions letters by Ireneus, Tertullian, and other Church Fathers in which they regurgitate preexisting legends about the supposed martyrdom of the apostles. Nothing concrete there. Hagiography is hardly a concrete science. Then why mention it in an intellectual discussion? No. The Soviets and the Nazis described their enemies as "bandits" to make it clear that they were not executing regular enemy soldiers and hence putting them beyond the pale of protection accorded to enemy combatants by international law. The offence was thus political, just as it was with the Romans.
  22. Gladius Hispaniensis

    Crucifixion and Roman punishment

    And how is being a rebel slave a non-political offence? The absence of any such quotations does not give us the right to assume, especially with the lack of anecdotal or documentary evidence, that crucifixion was "sometimes" done for non-political reasons. The word used by the author is lestai, or lestes, indicating banditry, a term he routinely uses to describe the Jewish rebels. That does not necessarily mean they were robbers. It was a political term used by a historian writing in Vespasian's palace for a Greco-Roman audience (who indeed would have considered the rebels as "bandits"). During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the Communist authorities routinely described the Afghan rebels as "bandits". The Nazis used the same expression to describe the French resistance. You are obviously reading something into the text that is not there. Yes. I already have. The Catholic Encyclopedia just mentions letters by Ireneus, Tertullian, and other Church Fathers in which they regurgitate preexisting legends about the supposed martyrdom of the apostles. Nothing concrete there.
  23. Gladius Hispaniensis

    Crucifixion and Roman punishment

    Just out of curiosity, where does it say that they were were crucified? Just out of curiosity, should I infer you didn't find any documentary evidence on the Roman indications for crucifixion? There are plenty. Spartacus being the most famous example. Then all the crucifixions mentioned by Josephus in Jewish Wars. All these executions were of a political nature, either armed rebellion or sedition. I haven't seen any documentary evidence of crucifixion for non-political offences. So now, let me repeat the question - where is the evidence that Peter, Andrew, Bartholomew and Philip were crucified?
  24. Gladius Hispaniensis

    Crucifixion and Roman punishment

    It depends on what is meant by "Christianity". I seriously doubt the movement crystallized into a separate religion until the advent of Paul of Tarsus. Whatever writings we have available, both biblical and extra biblical, indicate that the early following of Jesus were pious Jews who followed the Mosaic Law, worshiped and sacrificed in the Temple, and were seen as fellow Jews by their own countrymen. That is, until the cataclysmic events of the 60s and the final fall of Masada. The school of thought adhered to by Paul, with its apolitical world view and its disregard for the Law and the Prophets, was the natural survivor of these happenings and finally metamorphosed into a bona fide religion.
  25. Gladius Hispaniensis

    Crucifixion and Roman punishment

    Indeed, if you can show me the documentary evidence that indicates and defines exactly which infactions of the peregrini, the slaves and the barbarians were susceptible of being punished by crucifixion, we may not need to speculate. All the known cases of crucifixion in Roman history were for sedition and armed rebellion. In the absence of evidence that the Romans crucified people for anything other than that then we have no right to assume that they did. Just out of curiosity, where does it say that they were were crucified? That would depend on what is meant by "saintly" Of course in the Palestine of Jesus' time it wouldn't be hard for a religious teacher that preached armed rebellion against the pagan Romans to be considered saintly.
×