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Primus Pilus

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  1. Primus Pilus

    UNRV Site Ownership Change

    It's been a terribly long time since I've visited here, posted in the forum or written any content... and I'm obviously a year behind this particular topic. When Christian (Viggen), Jon (Moonlapse) and I started this UNRV project over 15 years ago, none of us ever imagined it would be anything more than our own little personal corner of the internet. I can't speak for my two old partners but I know the hundreds (probably thousands really) of hours spent writing the original content is still a particularly proud lifetime achievement for me personally. While it seems that our good old days of rapid fire forum post activity have probably been beaten down by the preferred social media platforms, it's fun to scroll through the endless depth of conversation, history and general banter that still populates this massive forum (and I do still see a few old familiar faces with an occasional post). I'm thrilled to see my writing still has a public home after all these years and that it must play some small part in helping to advance general knowledge of Roman history. (though I sure wish I had had an editor back then... I still cringe a bit on certain articles) Peter, for what it's worth, and quite belatedly, I wish you the very best of luck with UNRV! - Chris Heaton
  2. The Fall of Rome And the End of Civilization by Bryan Ward-Perkins The author addresses a simple question throughout this gem of a book, Why did Rome fall? Although only two hundred pages long, at the end of the book, I felt as if I had read the entire series of books on the fall of the Roman Empire by Gibbon. The author is a scholar and has done an extraordinary amount of research and as he says in his preface, the book took an unconscionably long time to research, write and get published. I can certainly imagine that, as each sentence in this book is a mine of information and is backed by historical references, which are often scant, fragmentary or even non-existent for many years in those crucial centuries that led to the fall of the Empire from the 4th century AD to the end of the 5th... ...read the full review of The Fall of Rome And the End of Civilization by Bryan Ward-Perkins
  3. The Celts: A History I have always been woefully ignorant of the Celts. In a desperate attempt to remedy that malady, I bought Ellis' book. There is also a certain overlap between Celtic and Roman histories, and I felt as a Romanophile I needed to know something about the other side. Ellis first tackles the subject of the Celt's alleged illiteracy. He then outlines several sectors of Celtic society. He then offers some examples of Celtic high cultural achievements. Finally, he gives us a sketch of Celtic history from distant origins to Christian conversion.... ...read the full review of The Celts: A History by Peter Berresford Ellis
  4. Primus Pilus

    Pompeii By Robert Harris

    Pompeii by Robert Harris 79 AD, the towns of Herculaneum and Pompeii simply ceased to exist. Mt. Vesuvius unleashed the wrath of the ancient gods, and over a period of 4 days, the blanket of ash preserved the ancient world exactly as it was 2,000 years ago. In Pompeii, Robert Harris recreates that Roman world with seemingly flawless effort. The description of that ancient way of life is beautifully crafted, leaving the reader with a true sense of the time.... ...read the full review of Pompeii by Robert Harris
  5. Primus Pilus

    Welcome To The Forum Peregrini

    Welcome to the forum for the discussion of the contemporary history of Rome's neighbors, enemies and allies. Feel free to start topics related to any ancient people outside or flourishing within the Roman Empire. Be aware that there is another forum for the discussion of post Roman history. Please refer to our Forum Guidelines before posting
  6. The discovery in Pompeii of a pre-Roman temple is being hailed as evidence that the city was sophisticated and thriving 300 years before Vesuvius erupted. The temple is said to be of Mephitis, a female deity worshipped by the Samnites, a mysterious ancient people who preceded the Romans in Pompeii. The temple complex includes a sanctuary where it is thought girls from good families worked briefly in "sacred prostitution" as a rite of passage to full womanhood. From The Telegraph
  7. Primus Pilus

    Roman Clothing and Armament Guides

    We often get requests or have various discussions on making costumes or authentic Roman clothing. While searching around for "Roman things to do" in the summer of 2007 (for our forum meetings), my memory was refreshed as to the wonderful guides that are already provided by some of the legionary re-enactment groups. From Legio XXIV Media Lorica (Armor) Corbridge A Segmentata Corbridge B Newstead Civilian Clothing From Legio XX: Handbook for Legionaries Civilian Clothing Some is the exact same as the above page but it offers additional information such as cold-weather clothing, things to avoid and other links. (And I'm not quite sure who is the original source so I'd figure I'd provide links to both legions.)
  8. Sorry everyone... we have determined that some of the site load problems (and outages) we've been having are related to forum spam and bot activity. Therefore it's necessary to upgrade the forum and the security features. While it looks strange for the moment, hopefully it won't be too much trouble. In the coming days, we'll get the look reskinned to the more familiar theme.
  9. Primus Pilus

    Site down

    Hi guys! While none of this makes any sense to me, here's what I did: I made some recommended changes to the robots.txt file that should slow down the numerous indexing bots that are rummaging through the site. Hopefully that will keep the host from shutting us down due to overloading the system.
  10. Primus Pilus

    Site down

    The problem appears to be an overload of resource usage... we're working with the host to identify the exact cause and to eliminate it. Hope to have this fixed soon, but there might be short term issues.
  11. Primus Pilus

    The Fall of the Republic

    I received an email from mediamatters.org yesterday regarding a commentary from Glenn Beck on Fox News relating the Fall of the Roman Republic to his perception of current political circumstances. This thread has nothing to do with your personal political affiliation or whether you think Beck is a destabilizing lunatic twit or if you think mediamatters.org is the Marxist beginnings of George Soros' attempt to take over the world. I'm just curious what you think of the questions, how you might answer them etc. They didn't use any of my answers as there were obviously some respondents with considerably more clout than an internet historian hack like myself. Anyway, first the background on the email, then the next post provides the questions as presented by Ned Resnikoff of mediamatters.org with the original Beck assertions (I did check to make sure Beck actually said these things before I responded. Nothing he says really surprises, me but I had to do the due diligence.) Here is the link to the final story. Notice the missing questions (provided below) that didn't work their way into the story. Ain't politics grand! The Romans would be proud.
  12. Welcome to the forum for discussion of the daily life and culture of the ancient Romans. Feel free to discuss issues of culture, morality, sex, etc. and even how it may affect us today (while avoiding the gratuitious and obvious attempts to defile our community) Please refer to the Forum Guidelines before posting.
  13. Welcome to the Roman religion forum where the religion of the Romans and other ancient people can be discussed. Please be aware of our Forum Guidelines before posting.
  14. Primus Pilus


    Crassus may have displayed a greater sense of ego than most contemporaries, he was still definitely a product of the political atmosphere of the time. To his credit, and despite his taking advantage of political opportunities as they arose, he seems to have been less indulgent in the whims of supreme power than his partners in the triumvirate. While his money may have helped make Caesar, he did not use that same financial and military authority to direct the Republic to his personal whims. He certainly showed political acumen, and he could easily be charged as an enabler, but in the end Crassus always seemed a bit of a pawn amongst the true manipulators. I don't mean to suggest that he was a bumbling patsy who unwittingly fell in with the proverbial wrong crowd, but his ulterior motive seems that of a man seeking fame and glory in the historical Roman context rather than seeking absolute authority. His actions were among many cogs in the wheel that brought down the Republic and I don't personally absolve him of that, but unlike a Caesar, I never felt that he desired the finality that eventually came.
  15. Primus Pilus

    United States of America-the Modern Rome?

    Discussion, whatever the topic, is obviously encouraged, but the use of baiting language is not. For now I'll move it to the arena, but let's refrain from the use of ad hominem (eg patriotards, conservatards).
  16. Due to the proportionally large number of active British members of this forum and thus the popularity of regionally targeted discussion, it made sense to give Britain a home of it's own...
  17. Primus Pilus

    Ancient Sources

    FEEL FREE TO ADD TO THIS LIST. New posts will be incorporated into existing posts and deleted for purposes of clarity and organization. HISTORY & BIOGRAPHY Ammianus Marcellinus Roman History (Res Gestae) From 353 to the reign of Valens c. 378. The first 14 books taking up where Suetonius and Tacitus left off (from Nerva in AD 96 through 352) are lost. Appian: The Foreign Wars and the Civil Wars (Bellum Civile) Appian The Roman History Early Roman history is fragmented but the Punic Wars through the wars of the late Republic is extensively covered. (alternatives) Appian's Civil Wars, Appian's Foreign Wars Aurelius Victor Epitome de Caesaribus (Epitome of the Emperors) A summary of the emperors from Augustus to Julian Caesar Gallic Wars, Civil Wars, Alexandrian War, African War, 'Spanish' War (Bellum Gallicum, Bellum Civile, Bellum Hispanicum, Bellum Alexandricum) (alternative) Caesar's commentaries Cassius Dio, Roman History Books 1 - 80 Founding of Rome through Severus Alexander (about AD 222) Book 22 - 35 (The Grachii through Marius, Cinna, Sulla, etc.) is very fragmentary as is book 70 and 71 on Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius Cicero Letters (arranged by themes courtesy of theilian) Various works at:Perseus (Some from the above link and more from Perseus) Selected Letters (Fordham) Complete Letters (Perseus); (PDF download: vol. 1, vol. 3, vol. 4 Treatise (includes De Officis, Nature of Gods, Old Age, Friendship, Republic, Laws among others) Speeches - 14 Philippics (Gutenberg), 1st speech against Verres (Bartleby), 2nd verres, Pro Cluentio, Pro Milone, Pro Archia, Pro Roscio Amerio (all UAH), Catilinarian Orations, Pro Murena, Pro Caelio, Additional Downloads via Gutenberg Cornelius Nepos: Lives of Eminent Leaders (including Hannibal and M. Porcius Cato) Diodorus Siculus: The Library of History Dionysus of Halicarnassus: Roman Antiquities A history of early Rome through the war with Pyrrhus. The founding through the mid 4th century BC is extensively covered in books 1 through 11. Books 12 through 20, roughly through the war with Pyrrhus, are badly fragmented. Exsuperantius, Julius Roman History a very short history from around the 4th century regarding the era of Marius and Sulla... seemingly based largely on the work of Sallust Festus Brevarium of the Accomplishments of the Roman People Gauis The Institutes - Translated by Edward Poste, Translated by Samuel P. Scott Gellius Attic Nights Herodian Roman History From the death of Marcus Aurelius to Gordian III. (alternative) Roman History also Book 5 only Historia Augusta Various Authors, Biographies in a Suetonius like fashion from Hadrian through Numerian AD 117 - 285 Beware the sometimes dubious nature of this source. Florus Epitome of Roman History. For the most part it is an account of Rome's many wars from the beginning until the reign of Augustus. It is based mostly on Livy's more extensive work, but it is also valuable because it includes some of Livy's lost books. (alternative) Epitome Josephus Antiquities of the Jews and War of the Jews Licinianus, Granius Roman History a very fragmented history covering a few pages of a largely lost work. The preserved work covers the period between 163 and 78 BC Livy: History of Rome Books 1 - 45 Founding of Rome through the Third Macedonian War Books 46 - 142 are lost but the Periochae (a summary version) still exists. (alternatives) Livy's History Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, at Gutenberg From the Founding of the City Nicolaus of Damascus Life of Augustus Plutarch Parallel Lives, The Moralia (alternatives) Plutarch's Lives, (download) Gutenberg Project, Lives Polybius The Histories Books 1 - 39 covers the Punic Wars extensively Procopius Works related to the reign of Justinian Persian War, Vandalic War, Court of Justinian Sallust War with Jugurtha, Conspiracy of Catiline (alternatives) Catiline Conspiracy, Jugurtha War, Histories (fragments) Suetonius Lives of the Caesars Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus, Domitian On Grammarians, On Rhetoricians Tacitus The Annals and the History covers AD 14 - 66 and 69, 70. or Tacitus' Annals. Life of Agricola (AD 40 -93) The Germania Vegetius De Re Militari (The Military Institutions of the Romans) Covers the structure, training, strategies, tactics and procedures of the late Roman army. Velleius Paterculus The Roman History Covers early history from the fall of Troy through the death of Livia in AD 29. The civil war era of Caesar is heavily focused. POETRY, PHILOSOPHY AND MISCELLANY Apuleius The Golden Ass Cato the Elder De Agricultura (on farming) As the title suggests... but includes other societal elements Catullus Catullus Poems Celsus De Medicina On Medicine Cicero, Q. Tullius Commentariolum Petitionis (aka De petitione consulatus) Handbook on Electioneering or On running for the Consulship Columella, L Iunius De Re Rustica (on Agriculture) Fronto, Marcus Cornelius The correspondence of Marcus Cornelius Fronto Frontinus The Aqueducts of Rome Galen On the Natural Faculties, book I, II & III Horace Selected Odes Juvenal Satire Satires Lucan Pharsalia (poem regarding Caesar's civil war with Pompey) Lucretius Carus Lucretius' On the Nature of Things philosophical poetry. Notitia Dignitatum (alternatives) Notitia Dignitatum. A detailed list of imperial administrative positions circa 400-420 AD. Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis) Epigrams Ovid Metamorphoses Pausanius Description (Travel Guide) of Greece Petronius Satyricon Pliny the Elder Natural History an enormous work covering a vast number of 'natural' subjects. An old translation dating from the early 17th century. (alternative) Perseus Pliny the Younger Selected Letters, Regarding Vesuvius. Pliny t.y's letters (Latin) Ptolemy Geography Maps and text material. Online resource via Lacus Curtius is a translation in progress. Quintilian Institutio Oratoria Seneca Essays and Epistles, Seneca Tragedies Strabo Geography Synesius of Cyrene Speeches, Essays, Hymns Twelve Tables S. P. Scott translation, Johnson, Coleman-Norton & Bourne translation, M. H. Crawford translation Varro (M. Terentius Varro) De Re Rustica (on Agriculture) Vergil or Virgil (P. Vergilius Maro) Aeneid Vitruvius On Architecture
  18. Primus Pilus

    Game of Thrones

    I consider the two first books in the series to be among the very top of my favorite fiction list. Unfortunately, since George Martin writes so slowly, there are fears that he will never finish the series - thereby leaving everyone hanging. Alas In any case, the show is very good - atmospherically authentic I think with character traits that seem in line with Martin's original concepts. I do wonder though, if someone coming in cold without having read the book would get the full grasp of the story. Yes, it's easy to like and dislike certain characters, but obviously much has to be tweaked to fit it into a television environment. Regardless, I'm enjoying it very much, and considering I last read Game of Thrones sometime around 10 years ago, it's a nice refresher for the supposed next book due out in July (I'm definitely not holding my breath).
  19. Primus Pilus

    Roman Legion VS American Civil War Soldiers

    I figure its a good thing that the Romans didn't wear pants... it'd be less uncomfortable as they shit themselves.
  20. Primus Pilus

    Forum Upgrade

    We are in the middle of a forum upgrade - bringing the forum, blog, etc. up to the most recent version of the software - and have experienced a bit of technical difficulty in the process (particularly Monday night/Tuesday morning depending on your location). We believe we are past any more potential outages and should be completely finished very soon. Apologies for any inconvenience.
  21. Primus Pilus

    Which Legion crucified Jesus Christ?

    This is from an old post regarding the Passion of the Christ movie and the language of the Romans stationed in and around Judaea of the time, but it may have some relevance here. I'm not sure how well my assertion holds water - as much can change regarding archaeological research since I posted it about 7 years ago. Anyway, here was the post: Legionaries active during the time period of the film were still mostly recruited from Italy, but it was changing rapidly. Therefore, it is very likely that most active citizen legionaries still would have spoken Latin. Specifically in Judaea there were 3 known cohorts of Auxilia. There were two cohorts of auxiliaries in Jerusalem and a third cohort guarded the capital Caesarea. Two cohorts of infantry and one squadron of cavalry served throughout the province. The Cavalry cohort was Ala I Sebastenorum that consisted of Samaritans and probably spoke a local dialect and perhaps Greek. We also know of the existence of a Cohors I Sebastenorum, which was also a Samaritan unit with similar language possibilities. Other known units that functioned in Judaea are the Cohors Prima Italica Civium Romanorum, the Cohors Secunda Italica Civium Romanorum and the Italian Cohors Prima Augusta. These are obviously Italian units and it's still likely that Latin would've been the primary language. Of regular legionary units, Judaea at the time was considered under the command of the Legate in Syria. The known Legions operating in the region at the time of Christ were: III Gallica - Recruits from Cisalpine and Transalpine Gaul and likely Latin speakers. VI Ferrata - Recruits from Cisalpine and Transalpine Gaul and likely Latin speakers. X Fretensis - Recruits from Italy and Latin speakers. XII Fulminata - Also orignally Gallic or Italian recruits and likely speakers of Latin. However all Legions were supplemented at times by recruits of various regions. It is possible that any of these main contingents would've have been supplemented by local citizens in the east. So yes, there were probably some Greek speakers, but the main body of troops would've have been from a Latin origin and the tradition of language, it would seem to me, would've required new recruits to speak the most common tongue of the main body. However, in Judaea, communicating with the locals would've been easier in Greek (as a commonly known tongue among all the various parties), but there is no reason to believe that the Legions would care what was easy for the locals. An argument can be made for either side, I suppose. Inscription evidence, letters and so forth are mainly in Latin. But only so much survives, and inscriptions and letters don't necessarily indicate what the spoken language was.
  22. Simply speaking... the results of several centuries of conquests and expansion. We all know that the Roman legion wasn't superior in every engagement, battle and war, but the legacy of the military machine is the known cumulative result. The Romans typically fared badly in major campaigns against eastern armies (eg Persian, Parthia, etc.) save for a few exceptions, but neither did those armies make massive inroads against Roman territorial domination... until long after the collapse of the west.
  23. Primus Pilus

    Book Reviews By Forum Members

    In order to encourage more community contributions to our quickly growing site, we've come up with an idea that will hopefully inspire some new articles. (I have stumbled across major writers block and can only seem to put together a little bit here and there, lately. Hopefully that changes as summer fades away ) Regardless, we'd like to offer random recently published books (sometimes fiction, sometimes non) to community members, courtesy of unrv, to review and submit as new articles on the site. We'd like to do this monthly (perhaps more depending on the response), and give as many who are interested a chance at a book freebie. However, to be fair, we want to start by limiting it to those who have already submitted reviews or other articles. If they decline of course, we'll open it up to anyone who is interested, and will also do so once they all get an opportunity (provided they want to do it). Obviously people have difficult schedules and this is not intended as a homework assignment, but as a way to say thank you for your support, while giving us a little bonus in return. We'd appreciate any feedback on this idea from anyone, not just those folks mentioned... and we would like to get started right away. For those of you who aren't mentioned by name... If you'd like to have an early shot at an occasional free book, just submit a review of a Roman related book you've read and we'll happily add you to those that are already in 'the club'
  24. Primus Pilus

    avatar questions

    I suppose the good thing is that your name matches your attitude. Congratulations!
  25. Primus Pilus

    Need Some Resources

    I'm afraid I'm not familiar with the story, so it's very difficult to track down potential source information. Is there a way to look up the original story and find the person's name or any additional information to help track it down? Even a general time frame will help indicate which possible ancient source authors we may be looking. For example, if the story dates to Pompey the Great's "conquests" it may indicate certain authors as the likely sources, whereas there are any number of sources on the eastern expeditions in the centuries that followed. If it's a Muslim story it would likely date to the Byzantine era which changes the potential sources dramatically.