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About Nerva

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  1. Yeah, saw this on the news today. Your comment pretty much sums it up for me as well.
  2. Nerva

    The Exarchates

    I always looked at the Exarchates as a sort of Governor who ruled the corresponding lands in the name of the Emperor.
  3. Nerva

    Diminishment of Roman Civilization?

    Excellent point. Understanding how to govern an Empire was essential knowledge in the days of European colonialism. Now that those days have past, so too has the need for learning about the Romans from the perspective of Empire building or controlling an Empire. I think the lack of interest sells Roman History short though and I do think it should be a separate entity from some generic Mediterranean History.
  4. I think I would like to live in Roman Carthage. It was a big city with all the entertainment a big city could offer, but not quite as huge and intimidating as Rome. Also with the great port there, you could travel anywhere in the Roman world.
  5. I was just reading up on Constans II and in the year 663, he visited the city of Rome. Apparently, he stripped many of the city's buildings of their precious metals (including the Pantheon) and took it all back to Constantinople. That certainly didn't help with the deterioration of the city.
  6. Nerva

    Worst Roman Enemy and why?

    I think manpower was certainly an issue. Between wars and plagues causing troop shortages, there was a need for warm bodies to fill the ranks of the Roman army. It was more than that though. Loyalty was always an issue with the troops. They were constantly naming new Emperors to the throne and maybe by bringing in foreigners into the ranks, they wouldn't have the understanding or the desire to use the military as a political machine (much to the chagrin of the Roman leadership, the barbarians quickly realized that the political power within the Empire lay with its soldiers. They became political players rather quickly once their chieftains rose to the ranks of General and Magister Militum). Which brings me to the next point, Roman arrogance. They felt that they were simply better than the Barbarians and they misjudged how clever and crafty their leadership really was. They always felt that they could control the barbarians. They had a false sense of security. The Eastern Empire finally realized this and once they sent Theodoric the Great over to Italy, they really cut down on the % of foreign troops vs native Romans (Yes Belisarius used Huns in the conquest of Carthage, but the process had begun to reromanize the military). I think the "not wanting to fight" syndrome really started to take root in the 5th century. You know the stories of men cutting their thumbs off so they couldn't hold a sword. A lot of that can be tied into the horrendous taxation levied on the Roman citizenry. The Imperial leadership was crushing the populace with taxes and all they brought was war and destruction to the heartland. For some, barbarian rule was more desirable than Roman rule. Roman governance was not living up to its end of the bargain.
  7. Nerva

    Rome In 2005?

    If the Western Roman Empire had somehow not collapsed in the 5th century and survived to this day alongside the Eastern Empire, I think it would have looked a lot more like Constantinople than traditional Rome. I don't think they would have pushed the borders much beyond where they are now. If the Empire remained strong, they would have crushed the Arab tribes riding out of the Arabian Peninsula and either assimilated or subjugated the Germanic tribes causing trouble on the northern frontiers. With solid trade all throughout the Empire, cities like Carthage, Alexandria, and Antioch would still be major cities. Hard to tell what cities like London and Paris would look like. They were not on the major trade routes, but I think at least one or two cites of Hispania and Gaul would have blossomed in size (especially if they were spared the barbarian invasions). I think the city of Rome would still have been a major seat of power in Italy, but I think it would have been more like a second city to Constantinople, somewhat like Nanjing in China vs. the current capital of Beijing. Rome would always have a special place and would certainly be a tourist attraction since its ancient non religious structures would be preserved. I would think the Circus Maximus and the Colosseum would still be in place and in use as well (Colosseum would be used for animal hunts or bull fighting, but not gladiatorial games) as the numerous baths, but most of the old pagan buildings would be gone or converted into churches. St. Peter's would be there and it would probably rival Hagia Sohpia. What it would look like? Who knows? I don't think they would have discovered North and South America simply because there was no need to search out new trade routes. They could get all they needed from Europe-Asia trade. The discovery of the Americas came about after the fall of Constantinople when there was a hostile power along the trade routes in the form of the Ottoman Empire. It would be politically impossible to discover the Americas also because the powers that be in Constantinople would not want competition for the best trade route to Asia. I think it's certainly possible that the Romans would have discovered gunpowder if they continued to trade with Asia, but as far as industrialization, that would depend on whether they gave up the slave trade. It was such a part of their society, but who knows, maybe some Patriarch would have championed the idea of freeing the slaves and it would have gained the support of the government and the people. I don't think the concept of "The Pope" would have ever formed. There would be a Patriarch of Rome, but more theological authority would have come from the Patriarch of Constantinople. Of course all that is just my opinion and imagination, so it's all open to interpretation, but it was a fun exercise.
  8. Nerva

    Worst Roman Enemy and why?

    If we look specifically at external enemies and leave aside the Romans themselves as the worst enemies of the Empire, I have to agree that it was the Germanic tribes who were the worst enemy of the Romans. By infiltrating the Empire and becoming part of the military structure yet not really loyal to the Empire in their hearts they almost cooked the Empire from within, rather than smashing the gates down. Now you can argue it was bad Roman policy that led to this, but having the ability to learn your enemy's strengths and more importantly his weakness gave them a considerable advantage that other enemies didn't have over the Romans. With the legions stationed mainily on the borders, once you got past them, you could really run roughshod over the softly defended underbelly of the Empire.
  9. Nerva

    What really stopped Atilla the Hun?

    I see three things that could have stopped Atilla. 1) He was stopped militarily. I find this highly unlikely as Aetius did not have the numbers he had at Chalons since the Visigoths had returned to their territory in southern Gaul once the main threat from the Huns had been stopped. The defenses of Ravenna were also formidable, but even that was not enough to keep Emperor Valentinan III from fleeing to Rome for safety. There are some stories that Aetius harrassed the Huns with a shadow force and that might have slowed them, but I don't believe it would have been enough to really stop Atilla if he wished to Sack Rome. Look at what the Huns did to Aquileia. Which brings me to my next possibility. 2) They were paid a ransom to leave Italy. If it was money they were after, why raze Aquileia completely to the ground? In my opinion, they were out for blood after the Romans had the audacity to challange him in Gaul. I think it was his intent to make Rome look exactly like Aquileia. 3) There was a plague that broke out within his army. This to me seems like the most likely answer. There wasn't the military might to stop him and all the gold in the world couldn't save the cities of Italy in front of him. Pope Leo I may have met with him and discussed various topics including the plague in Italy and the Hun troops, who knows, but no words were enough to stop the Huns up to that point. It seems logical to me that the plague was the deciding factor in halting the Huns from running over Rome.
  10. The Emperor Majorian 457-461 attempted to halt the tearing down of monuments as stone quarries. Once he was killed, I'm sure the practice picked up in earnest.
  11. Nerva

    Inheritors Of The Western Roman Empire

    All of the barbarian kingdoms were in their own way inheritors of the Western Roman Empire. Many kept Roman laws alive and the religion of the former Roman subjects remained mainly the same. In some cases the rulers were Arian like the Visigoths, but in other cases like Clovis, they converted to Catholicism. What they were unable to duplicate for the most part were the ability to unite all of Europe under one rule or to create an economy like the Romans had. Whatever ways they were able to keep old Roman traditions alive, the fact remains that the glory days of the Roman Empire were gone. Those times were now only tales and legends to the people living in the lands once ruled by the Caesars and would never resurface again.
  12. Nerva

    Roman Africa

    I saw a piece on History Channel International the other day called "The Roman Empire in North Africa." I immediately thought of this thread. Anyway, they are running it again Sat, 8/12/07 at 4pm and again at 11pm Eastern (USA). From their website: http://www.historyinternational.com They go into a lot of detail about sites other than ancient Carthage using excavations at some of the smaller towns south of that great city. Hope some of you are able to see this. Do you get Hist. Int in Europe?
  13. Nerva

    Question Of Best/Worst Emperors?

    I think Augustus was the best Emperor because he was able to bring Rome out of a time of Civil War and set things up for the glory days of the Empire that would follow. He was also able to walk the fine line between being a king like figure and staying more down to earth with the rest of the Empire, hence the term "Princeps." He was still one of the citizens of Rome even as ruler. It's really a tough call. There were many great Emperors for different reasons, but given what needed to be accomplished and what he was able to do, I'd have to go with Augustus. The worst Emperor in my opinion was Honorius. He was either unable or unwilling to govern, when the desperate times called for a stong leader. If the Western Empire had a strong leader, they could well have avoided the sacking of Rome, which was a huge morale loss to the Empire as a whole. I can't say enough bad things about Honorius. Valentinian III is a close second. I don't think it's coincidence that these two Emperors basically led to the sacking of Rome twice in the 5th century. They sucked as rulers.
  14. Nerva

    Vandals apparently topple Pompeii column

    Well, I can vouch for the dogs, that's for sure. Here's a pic I took of one of the excavated villas in Pompeii.
  15. Nerva

    Where were the Scythians?

    Does anyone know of any relation between the Scythians and the Sarmatians? They seem to have come from the same region, no? Did the Scythians evolve into the Sarmatians?