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  1. Fatboy

    Ancient Pagan Holidays

    Sure, feel free.
  2. Ooh I think I'll plump for the battle of Myriokephalon. The Empire which Manuel led to war against the Seljuks was similar in terms power and prestige as that of Romanus Diogenes. And the Seljuks were just as suprised to win the battle. In fact when John bequeathed him the Empire it was probably in better shape than it had been 100 years before. Sure, things had gotten a whole lot more complicated to the East than they had been in times gone by, but Byzantium was still easily the major player in the region, dominating the Crusader states and Muslim emirates alike. The damage from Manzikert was, in my opinion, largely repaired. The fact that Manuel was simultaneously able to invade Hungary and Italy ( after a fashion ) while bullying the states of East shows the unmatchable resources and military power the Empire still had. Problem was, of course, that in doing all this he had streched even the Empires huge resources awful thin. The Comnenii had recovered Byzantium's preeminence in the East and even to a certain extent the West, but Manuel, genius that he was in many ways, had tried for too much too quickly and left the Empire overreaching itself. This meant the reign of the next Emperor was going to be crucial to the long term future of the Empire. Someone of exceptional ability was going to be needed to keep things going - either someone of Manuels mecurial temperament to keep juggling the various wars and intrigues they had committed themselves to or, preferrably, someone of John's more reliable ability, to selectively deal with the most critical issues and disentangle themselves from the more spurious of Manuels projects. Of course what they got was an unhinged phsychopath. But was it inevitable that Andronicus would be such a disaster? Maybe not. With the resources to direct his angers elsewhere he could possibly have been a successful Emperor, at least on the battlefield. A proven warrior and an obviously intelligent bloke, had he inherited a more secure state and the means with which to deal with his external enemies things might have turned out differently. Sometimes a cruel and vindictive lunatic is just the man for the job, as long as its outsiders taking the punishment. The defeat at Myriokephalon, however meant that whoever Manuels successor was to be, he would not have the resources need to fend off the almost comical amount of enemies he had made ( considering what a likeable dude he was, I sometimes wonder why ). And with no prospect of being able to make head nor tail of the precarious, duplicitus and contradictory diplomatic web ( oh yeah, maybe that
  3. Fatboy

    Ancient Pagan Holidays

    Oh yes, this. Yeah, I remember plenty of religious discussions here a while back. We would often drift far out of a historical context and into discussion of the merits of religions in general, usually Christianity. It never got out of hand, and to the eternal credit of the Christians who took part, nobody took anything too personally. On this site I've found people are more likely to get overexcited when discussing the merits of of historical general or something than on such piffling little issues as the nature of God and meaning of life.
  4. Fatboy

    Ancient Pagan Holidays

    Hullo Ursus! Well I've been AWOL for a bit but I suppose this is as good an excuse as any to poke my nose in again. Unfortunate that I've nothing remotely interesting to say about Halloween though. lol, yeah, those Wikipedia articles are just too damn informative. Theres nothing like the facts to ruin a perfectly good discussion. Theres something discouraging about having ones half baked theories contradicted before you even start. So my first contribution on my return is to call for Wikipedia links to be banned from the forums! The fun part is not the definitive answers but the things you discover and the tangents you can embark on while trying to get there. Far better to plunder such articles liberally and then present them as your own carefully thought through conclusions. Well, nah, Wikipedia's great for giving the lowdown on subjects such as this. With many of the topics on this site of the interperative or "what if" variety theres plenty of room usually for argument and discussion. Besides in regards to some of the dustier corners of Roman History, there is often more info bouncing around peoples heads at this site than is printed elsewhere on the web. For want of anything worthwhile to contribute, I'll share with y'all why I think it is that I don't like this time of year so much. When I was 17 or so I was heading out to a nightclub one halloween. Well I spent so long dolling myself up like a prat in front of the mirror that I was running late to catch the bus I needed to get. So I set off running, flapping along in a pair of unforgivable shiny black slip on shoes. After ten minutes of uncomfortable jogging ( for like every halloween, it was raining, windy and cold ) I turned the corner from where I could see the bus stop. It hadn't left yet and I was probably going to make it as long as I cut accross the field in front of me instead of going around it. Well it was just a regular field with a tarmac path running through it at the far end, I had cut accross it a thousand times - a few splashes of mud on my trousers maybe, no big problem. So off I went. So I'm happily splashing my way accross the field, confident I'm going to catch that bus. It was all good until about 1/2 a second from the little path when I noticed through the almost pitch darkness that, well.. it wasn't there. Apparently overnight evil halloween spirits ( or more likely Dublin County Council ) had dug the bloody thing up. What was there was a humongous ditch, 4 foot deep with maybe another couple of feet worth of muddy horribleness at the bottom. Well the only thing in my favour was the fact that the sides were sloped, so with no question of stopping, pelting along as I was, and the whole thing, slopes included, being maybe 10 foot wide and thoroughly unjumpable, the only thing I could do was accelerate into the slope and kind of bound through the ditch. Well, I managed this well enough, I careered down the slope, leapt into the ditch, made two huge jumping step type maunuvres through the knee deep gunk, and managed to keep enough momentum to make it up the slope at the other side, popping out on the surface just a couple of yards from the bus stop. The thing was, the bloody thing had sucked off both my shoes and improbably, one of my socks, while coating me liberally in mud from head to toe. Of course I didn't notice this, I was just chuffed at having made it to the bus stop at all, so I padded over to the bus, now full and preparing to depart, and began fumbling for change at the open door. It was when I looked up I noticed that the driver was looking at me with a mixture of fear and disbelief. I turned my head and saw that the entire bus was similarly agog, staring open mouthed at the dishevelled, shoeless individual who it seemed intended to board their bus. Now you wouldn't think that sight would be all that shocking, after all dishevelled, shoeless individuals are not so uncommon in Dublin. It was a friend of mine, who had been sitting on the bus ( and thoroughly enjoyed the whole incident ) who explained to me the full effect of this on the passengers. Apparenty he had, along with many of the passengers, been staring disinterestedly out the window waiting for the bus to depart, when barely 10 yards away to an audiable gasp of horror and astonishment from the passengers around him, from beneath the earth sprung forth a man, dressed in what appeared to be funeral attire ( hey, t'was the fashion at the time ), caked in mud and shoeless, who immediately sprinted directly at them with a wild, hunted look in his eyes. For all the world it looked as if the dead had risen and were intent on catching the 15C to College Street. lol. So anyway, hillarious as it was for my mate, I wasn't all that amused at the time. All I knew was, after a quick scan of my condition, that I was in no condition to go out on the town. On my miserable way home, trudging barefooted through the driving wind and rain, mud caked and incredulous, I decided that I'm never going out on Halloween again. Halloween owes me a pair of shoes and I'm not taking part again until I'm reimbursed. Ummm...anyway, yeah , just thinking about that weather, and how it seems to be like that every year, maybe gives an inkling into how the theme of evil spirits and the dead and such has so resiliently attached itself to the various incarnations of the festivals held at this time of year. If the weather in the rest of Northern Europe has down the Centuries been anything like Irelands today, then it would certainly have set the mood. Every year around the time of Halloween we get buckets of rain, wild thunderstorms and gales, coupled with a darkness at night time which seems to be somehow darker than at any other time of year. If you did believe in spirits and such, you would be sure that they are feeling pretty frisky. It also seems extra cold around this time too, but this may be due to the fact that, having never reconciled ourselves properly to the fact that we live on an exposed rock halway to the arctic circle, we insist on walking around in summer clothes until well after it is practical . I suppose it could be the contrast with summer which makes it seem so bad though, the weather changing so suddenly for the worst around this time. As far as an actual contribution to the subject, the only thing I came across which I didnt see covered in the Wikipedia article was the earth shattering fact that Pumpkins are indigenous to America, which I guess emphasises the relatively modern nature of the Halloween festival we celebrate today. Although apparently it simply superceeded the use of the clearly inferior turnip as a source of hollowed out Halloween tomfoolery. Not much of a return really, but I suppose I learnt something new about pumpkins. Anyway, thats enough utter rubbish from me ( sorry, just feeling a bit obtuse today ). Guess I'll catch up on some threads and attempt to make some proper contributions. Cheers!
  5. Fatboy


    We have a chat room? Geez, I've gotta start catching up on the boards. ( Not that I'm much of a chatter but I'll pay a visit when I can )
  6. Fatboy


    Yes, by Augustus's time it was a well established myth that Romulus and Remus were descended from Aeneas, who had fled to Italy following the Trojan war. Augustus commissioned Virgil to write an epic version of the myth to associate himself with Aenas. It added to his prestige and to the weight of his authority to be connected in the minds of the people with Aeneas. Aeneas is ascribed with classic Roman heroic values and is subtley likened to Augustus throughout. Less subtle is when Aeneas recieves a shield from the Gods ( Vulcan I think, or was it Venus? ) portraying Augustus's future victory over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at Actium. That I suppose, was thrown in to make sure that people got the message intended. Which was something like: Augustus is the legitimate ruler of Rome, decended from a glorious lineage stretching through the Julio-Claudian line to the origins of Rome. And if you have a problem with that, take it up with the Gods, cos they say so too.
  7. Fatboy

    My Tattoo

    Cool Tat Trajen. I have a Celtic design in black in pretty much the same spot ( well a bit lower down actually ). My personal advice is to get the whole thing filled in black if you want it to look dope.
  8. Fatboy

    Byzantine Military

    An arrow guide basically? The Byzantines used a thing called a solenarion which was some sort of arrow guide. I couldn't tell you any more about it though. BTW Thanks for your help everyone
  9. Fatboy

    Byzantine Military

    Yeah, this one probably needs the business more
  10. I was wondering if some of the military buffs on the site ( or anyone else ) could give me the lowdown on the exact equipment and dress of Byzantine soldiers, especially footsoldiers, from various periods roughly from 800 AD to 1300 AD. Particularly from the reigns of: Nicephorus Phocas, John Tzimisces and Basil Bulgaroctonus, the late 10th and early 11th Centuries John and Manuel Comnenos in the 12th Century Andronicus III in the mid to late 14th Century Anything at all though would be appreciated. I'm not looking for a detailed equipment list or anything( not that I'd say no to one though ), really I'm looking to impove my rather fuzzy mental image of these guys. What a Byzantine army actually looked like at these times. *EDIT* This probably belongs in the Post Roman History Forum now that I think of it. Feel free to move it wherever you think it should go Mods.
  11. lol. They don't call 'em the enforcer for nothing. How incredibly harsh, fantasic Seriously though Yes, its obscene.
  12. Fatboy


    Hmmn, well I've experienced an improbable amount of extreme situations for one person but unfortunately none of them were of the recreational variety. I've written off several cars, most spectacularly crashing at 90 mile an hour on the motorway. I flipped maybe 15 times and skidded down the road for what seemed like ages on my roof. It was cool though, I wasn't really hurt and it was quite an interesting experience. To be honest most other extreme things that have happened to me have come about from dodgy situations that don't make for fun stories and which I'd be better off not sharing with the forum ( y'all might not like me anymore, lol ). Basically I used to have pretty hectic lifstyle which involved pushing my luck regularly. Happily though, as it turned out I had a healthy supply of luck to push. I have a few scars and have had a few broken bones and such but all things considered I'm in tip top shape and I'm very lucky to be so. Actually thats a bit of an understatement, I am without doubt one of the luckiest sons of bitches there is. Its like no matter what idiotic and dangerous situation I put myself into there is some God who watches over me specifically, its fabulous . I generally take it easy these days though, which is probably a good thing cos there may be a limit to how much luck you can get. I've played sports all my life but I can't say anything particularly extreme happened there. A few bad tackles and some muscle injuries, thats about it. Nope, it should be balanced by chillage Otherwise the extreme will stop being extreme to you, and you'll move on to the plain stupid. I guess so, but I haven't reached it yet.
  13. Fatboy

    A Date With 12 Emperors

    Maybe your theory of good emperors witnessing the reigns of many others holds true Germanicus. As far as I can make out Constantine the Great lived through the reigns of 29 different Augustus before himself becoming Emperor! Largely self proclaimed nobodies but still...all donned the purple. Here they are in all their glory Aurelian Tetricus I Tetricus II Florianus Tacitus Probus Bonosus Proculus Saturinus Carus Diocletian Domitus Domitanus Aurelius Achillius Eugenius Amandus Julianus Maximianus Herculius Numerian Carinus Caurausius Allectus Diocletian Constantius Chlorus Severus II Maximian Maxentius Maximin Daia Valens Licinius Geez, its no wonder he thought he'd have a go himself. Ooh, also in 286 21 of them could have had a dinner party hosted by a 12 year old Constantine. Obsession is fun
  14. Fatboy

    Episode III

    I saw it the other day. My personal summary: Bad writing - especially the annikin - princess whatsername scenes...painful. Good plot - an underrated plot - if you think about the entire plot from the last 3 films is a level above what Hollywood usually gives us. Not knowing exacly whats going to happen next is a rarity in movies these days. Bad acting - from everybody. Every last one of them. Looked fantastic - The computer graphics seemed less syntheic than usual. All things considered, I really enjoyed it ! ( I'm a little suprised ) Some of the writing was pretty clunky and as usual the movie was unevenly paced ( the end was a bit rushed ) but hey, it was fun! One other criticism is that some of the swordfight scenes ( especially the Emperors ) seemed a little...cramped. But on the other hand I thought they managed to dovetail with the start of the original Star wars quite nicely, its quite difficult to make a film watchable when everybody and his mother knows precisely what the situation will be at the end, so I think they did a damn fine job. I agree with what Ursus said, in Star wars the impression was given that these events were long in the past, although I suppose technically the timeline does add up ( ish ). None of the new movies were a patch on the originals, but I think to recapture the original vibe was too much too ask. To not be a complete embarrassment I regard as an achievement. Basically it was one cool nostalgia trip for me. I thought how the various ships and stuff ( proto tie - fighters, Imperial destroyers etc ) was dead cool. What swung it for me was: a ) The bit when yoda smashed the two Imperial guard dudes off the wall. Sweet. b ) That they didn't make an animated Chewie. They stuck a man in a hairy suit, just like they should have, and for that I am eternally grateful. In short it didn't completely suck, which is all a Star Wars film has to do for me to think its great.
  15. Fatboy

    Fa Cup Final

    Hard luck yesterday longbow ( that was never a penalty! ).