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Everything posted by TaylorS

  1. TaylorS

    What Roman Personality Are You?

    1. Marcus Aurelius 2. Seneca 3. Horace 4. Paulus 5. Lucretius
  2. TaylorS

    End of Pax Romana

    IMO the Pax Romana ended with the assassination of Alexander Severus, which was followed by about 50 years of near-anarchy until Diocletian temporarily stabilized things. After 235 it was pretty much all down-hill for the Western half of the empire, while the Eastern half of the empire started losing it's "Roman" character (staring with Diocletian, emperors dropped all the Republican pretenses and started donning diadems and royal robes).
  3. TaylorS

    Did Diocletianus destroy the Roman Economy...

    I think Diocletian was trying to make the best out of a bad economic situation. The Crisis of the Mid 3rd Century left parts of the empire, especially in the West, depopulated and it's economic productivity damaged from epidemics, barbarian raids, civil war, economic breakdown, coinage debasement, and banditry. At the same time, defense costs were going through the roof. The result was that Diocletian was trying all that he could to stabilize the economy and to squeeze as much tax out of people as he could.
  4. TaylorS

    voting in Rome

    Leaving aside that Ward is only a secondary source, here's what he writes: At its origin, in the early fifth century B.C.,tribally organized voting was biased in favor of the rural men of property in the more numerous rural tribes. From the beginning, there were only four urban tribes, and the number of rural tribes was always greater. From 495 B.C. to 241 B.C. the number of rural tribes increased from 17 to 31, where it remained fixed thereafter. Therefore, the urban voters, who had only four tribal votes, were always outnumbered by the rural voters, no matter how few voted in each rural tribe. (p.109) ... In the middle Republic, the more numerous but poorer rural voters were at a distinct disadvantage in tribal assemblies. Then, in the late Republic, after an enormous influx of poor rural citizens into the urban center and its environs, where many of them seem to have retained registration in their rural tribes, poor urbanized voters in rural tribes could outweigh both the large and small landowners because they lived in Romewhere they could more easily vote. How easily a small number of urban residents registered in a rural tribe could determine the vote of that tribe is clear from the small percentage of citizens who actually voted. Ramsay MacMullen persuasively arguesthat only 2% of Roman citizens usually voted, which renders any notionof direct democracy nugatory.(p.111) Your summary of this was, "urban voters were easily outnumbered by the rural voters, no matter how few of them voted in each one of the 31 rural tribes, which were always controlled by the rich Landlords." But there is no evidence that the 31 rural tribes were controlled by rich landlords, and there is no claim of it in Ward's article. The closest phrase in Ward is "rural men of property", which should be taken literally -- that is, men who owned property (as opposed to slaves, women, migrant traders, etc) were eligible to vote in the rural tribes. Both in Ward's statement (and as a matter of law attested in primary source material), the rural tribes comprised freeborn small-holders (aka "peasants"), landlords, and--in the late republic--even the urban poor, who -- Ward points out -- could effectively dominate the rural tribes due to the timing and location of the elections, which were held on off-market days (i.e., when rural voters would be expected to come to Rome). Thus, far from supporting the idea that rural landlords dominated the tribal assembly or even their own rural tribes, Ward provides evidence that the opposite was true -- urban voters could enroll in the rural tribes and the timing of elections was biased to favor this urban mob. And, really, why should this come as a surprise? Had rural landowners *actually* controlled the tribal assembly, it would never have been possible to pass the various and sundry leges agrariae--some of which (like the lex Julia agraria de Campania) confiscated the lands of rural voters for the veterans of adventuring generals. Thanks for this, Cato, this has really cleared up my understanding of the Tribal Assembly. I was under the impression that the urban poor (the Head Count) could not vote, looks like I was dead wrong.
  5. I ran into the 6th book of the series, The October Horse, at the thrift store I work at and bought it, read it, loved it, and am now reading the rest of the series. I have read the first book, First Man in Rome, and am half-way finished with the second book, The Grass Crown. Given the purpose of this message board I am sure a lot of posters here have read McCoullough's books and so what does everyone think of them? do you find them historically accurate? the portrayal of Cato's suicide, for example, seems to have been ripped straight from Plutarch. Throughout the first book she has Marius mockingly calling Caecilius Metellus Numidicus "Piggy-Wiggle" when, according to the book, Marius, Rutilius Rufus, and Jugurtha shoved Mettellus into a pig-sty when they were young soldiers in the battle of Numantia, did that really happen or was it literary license? I like how she gets into the minds of all these historical figures. She definitely portrays Caesar in a very favorable light, while on the other hand she portrays Antonius as a psychopath.
  6. TaylorS

    Caesar: Hero Or Villain

    I think he was more hero than villain. IMO Caesar was one of those rare historical figures that are able to fully see the "big picture" and then effectively act on it. He knew that the Republic as it was constituted was no longer functional and knew that he had to create a government structure suitable for ruling a large empire. Despite the claims of his detractors, I do not think he had any intention of turning Rome into a monarchy (that was the doing of Octavian, IMO), if he had been then he would have not made Octavian, who was then only a teenager, his heir. It was Caesar's assassins, and then Octavian's and Antonius' violent purging of their political opponents (unlike Caesar's clemency), that killed the Republic, not Caesar.
  7. TaylorS

    Norse influence in the English Language

    The simplification and reduction of the Proto-Germanic inflectional system is a trend one sees to a greater or lesser extent in most modern Germanic languages, English and Afrikaans are only the most extreme examples of this reduction. I have read in various sources that I cannot remember of the top of my head that this reduction of inflections was a side effect of strong stress of the first syllable of worlds in Germanic languages, the inflectional suffixes became slurred, thier vowels reduced to schwas, and then often disappeared. The question should not be "why did English loose it's inflections" but instead should be "why has German and Icelandic preserve their inflections. And as one poster said above, English grammar is not simpler or easier then inflectional languages, it's just different, being based on strict word order and lots of helper verbs, prepositions, articles, and other grammatical particles. The English system of verbs and helper verbs is actually very complex, with 3 tenses (past, present, future), 4 aspects (aorist-simple, perfect, progressive, perfect-progressive) and what-not else, and the helper verbs are invariably irregular. Then there are all the Germanic strong verbs like sing-sang-sung and fly-flew-flown that I'm sure drive people who don't speak a Germanic language crazy...
  8. TaylorS

    On The Political Spectrum

    Here is a very in-depth quiz. LINK
  9. TaylorS

    On The Political Spectrum

    Your political compass Economic Left/Right: -7.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.82 Right next to Nelson Mandela.
  10. TaylorS

    On The Political Spectrum

    Liberal, no surprise there, though I'm more of a pro-Labor populist then the stereotype of the social-issue-obsessed form of liberal. Economic: 10 Social: 70 Oh, and I remember hearing that this "Nolan Test" has a pro-Right-Libertarian bias...
  11. TaylorS

    wiki edit of the Roman Empire

    I completely agree. This has caused more confusion than any other concept I can think of in Early Medieval history. The Roman empire could have been called something entirely different at various points, and on the basis of an equally profound set of changes as those brought about by the Heraclian dynasty. Salve, Amici. Here comes an extract from Kelley L Ross, Decadence, Rome and Romania: " "Oh!" you say, "You mean Byzantium! That's not the Roman Empire! That's some horrible medieval thing!" That certainly would have been news to Constantine, or to Zeno, or to Justinian (527-565), or even to Basil II in the 11th century (963-1025). "Byzantium," although the name of the original Greek city where Constantinople was founded, and often used for the City (as by Procopius), was not a word that was ever used to refer to the Empire, or to anything about it, by its rulers, its inhabitants, or even its enemies. The emperor was always of the "Romans," Rh
  12. Virtually all Hellenic poleis would have agreed, certainly not the Macedonians. For better or for worse, it seems a citizen Army was an option no more at the late Republic; well differentiated soldiers and peasants mainly because: - Citizen soldiers couldn't care for their lands and houses while they were on remote provincial duty. - Conversely, half-time training was presumably not enough for facing some newcomers, like the Germans. IMO The republic would of survived had the army become a professional force that was kept loyal to the Roman state as a whole instead of just to their commanders. Another thing that needed to be done was the creation of true governorships to replace the pro-consuls. These governors would be appointed for 5-year terms and could only govern a particular province for a single term. These governors would have control of local military forces for purpose of keeping the peace and defending against barbarians but had no control over the legions, who would remain under the ultimate control of the consuls. I would also create a new office of 6 "Millitary Praetors" elected for 3-year terms that would control the legions stationed outside of Italy and who would be subordinate to the consuls.
  13. TaylorS

    wiki edit of the Roman Empire

    Yes, the Romans of the east acted more like Greeks. But by then, why wouldn't the Greeks be culturally identified as Romans. Rome was a multi-ethnic empire and so Greeks calling/considering themselves to be real Romans is reasonable. Honestly, why call the "Romaoi" Byzantine when they didn't know of such a concept. Every time I see the word Byzantine, there should be a footnote regarding its western connotation. Salve, Amici. Honestly? Because when the "Byzantine" pseudo-historical revisionism was developed, it was the only way to try to justify that incredible distortion that was the name of the "Heiliges R
  14. Salve, A.! I much prefer a citizen-army based on conscription over a so-called "professional" military dominated by volunteers in the modern word precisely because of what I consider the negitive effects of the Marian Reforms. I fear that professional militaries may tend to be more loyal to politicians and/or governments that pay them instead of being loyal to the people and country. Also, a mostly professional army creates a military class to which war is a way of life and not a civic duty.
  15. TaylorS

    what part of the army would you be in?

    A siege/artillery engineer or whatever the Roman equivalent was. I'd rather wreck havoc with the big toys.
  16. IMO the Marian military "reforms" and the Social War pretty much doomed the republic, rule by one military strong-man or another was inevitable. Following the Marin reforms the legions basically became more loyal to their commanders rather then to the republic. Also, the stubborn, elitist, and anti-populist attitudes of the Senate lead to popular support going to strong-men making promises to help the common man. It is those two things, the Marian reforms and elitist Optimate stubbornness that destroyed the Republic. The votes of the poor are easy pickings for strong-men like Marius, Caesar, and Antony.
  17. TaylorS

    What Roman Personality Are You?

    1. Marcus Aurelius 2. The Gracchi 3. Q. Horatius Flaccus 4. Paulus 5. Seneca
  18. TaylorS

    wiki edit of the Roman Empire

    IMO The Byzantine Empire was "Roman" in name only. After the Arab conquests it became a pretty much Greek state. I consider the time frame from the death of Justinian to the Arab conquests to mark the break-point between "Roman" and "Byzantine."
  19. TaylorS

    What Did The Romans Ever Do For Us?

    The concept of a "separation of powers" within the government, and an idealized conception of the Roman Republic, had a huge influence on American government. The US government is packed with Roman Republican symbolism, ranging from neo-classical architecture, the upper house of Congress being called the Senate, to notions of "republican virtue." There are even images of the fasces on the floor of the House!
  20. TaylorS

    Where would you have lived in the Roman Empire?

    Probably Alexandria, spending all my time in the library (LOL), or a sea-side villa in southern Hispania.
  21. TaylorS

    Diminishment of Roman Civilization?

    Well, the book itself does entirely. In fact, it refers to the period of Rome not as the Roman Empire, but merges Greece and Rome and calls it "Mediterranean civilization." My history teacher too, he really hasn't said much - next-to-nothing - on Rome. Perhaps I don't know any famous people so far who have said that....but it's frustrating. IMO Greece and Rome were part of the same "Hellenic" or "Graeco-Roman" Civilization in the same way the US and Western Europe are both part of Western Civilization. The late British historian Arnold J. Toynbee referred to the Roman Empire as a "universal state," that is, a state that comes to dominate the territory of an entire civilization after 3 or 4 centuries of intense militarism and inter-state and inter-class strife. When I took a Word History course at my university the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire was covered fairly well, it just might be your particular AP course, teacher, and textbook giving Rome the short shaft.
  22. TaylorS

    The Softening of the Gauls

    The notion of "going soft" belongs right up there with "decadence" is one of those stupid moralistic arguments that are WAY overused as an explanation for historical events IMO. The Rome of Caesar's time was an emerging superpower with the world's most powerful millitary machine while back when Rome was sacked by Brennus & Co it was a ho-hum city-state that, IIRC, was still using Greek-style phalanxes; big difference. Also, the individualistic fighting style of the Gauls, as one of the posters already stated, was no match to the collectivist, fraternal, disciplined way of warfare that was perfected in the Graeco-Roman world (And Western Civilization, as it happened, inherited).
  23. TaylorS

    Why Did The Roman Republic Fall?

    I basically agree with Gruen's theory, and I point to Caesar as the necessary cause and ALMOST sufficient cause. One man caused it alone? That surely means, either Julius was the most influential persona of all time, or the republic was taking the last breaths already, right? cheers viggen I greatly dislike "Great Man" based histories, I prefer to look at underlying socio-economic and cultural causes. It is my opinion that after the Marian reforms it was a near certainty that a rouge general would end the Republic. I would like to come at this at a different angle, and give my simplistic reason for the demise of the Republic: Rome expanding her overseas provinces. The great influx of slaves Rome experienced as a result of her foreign wars meant that Rome's workforce was now saturated with free labour; this subsequently lead to the rise of Latifundia (large slave run prairie farms owned by senators, rich from Rome expansion), and before you knew it, Italian farmers were forced off their land into over-crowded cities; this social injustice at the hands of the nobility then instigated the ideologies which internally wounded the Republic (e.g. Opimates Vs Populares). Additionally, the rise in Rome's territories meant that armies on the frontlines were great distances from Rome, and were often on campaign for a longer amount of time. The expansion of provinces would mean a greater amount of warfare. If a successful general led the troops, warfare would mean booty. Booty would mean loyalty to the general rather than Rome. These ambitious generals therefore, could use their troops dissociation with Rome, and subsequent loyalty to them, to their advantage: if they wanted them to (as the events of the Later Republic proved), generals could persuade their troops to march on Rome. This is my own view as well, as it is the view of one of my favorite historians, A. J. Toynbee.
  24. TaylorS

    When Does Antiquity End?

    I don't like the "traditional" Antiquity/Middle Ages/Modernity periodization. The end of "Antiquity" (which I date to Justinian closing the Academy of Plato) was a fundamental break point in the history of Europe, signaling the death of Graeco-Roman civilization and the birth of Western Civilization and Orthodox Christian Civilization. The supposed fundamental distinction between the "Middle Ages" and "Modernity" doesn't exist.
  25. TaylorS

    Oldest Families???

    A History professor at my university can trace her ancestry back to one of William The Conquerer's barons.