Jump to content
UNRV Ancient Roman Empire Forums


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Maty last won the day on June 21

Maty had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

26 Excellent


About Maty

  • Rank

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Kootenays, British Columbia, Canada
  • Interests
    Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece, Hellenistic Kingdoms, ancient religion, Greek and Roman myths, unrealistically expensive single malt whiskies.

Recent Profile Visitors

20,163 profile views
  1. Then of course, there was Diagoras of Melos. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diagoras_of_Melos He is the guy who put a wooden statuette of Hercules on his fire, and said that as a thirteenth labour, Hercules could boil his beans.
  2. One thing about armour manufacture - why was so much armour needed? The thing about swords, helmets and the like is that they do not wear out and can last several generations of soldiers. For example modern re-enactment groups will tell you that once you have some chain mail, you never simply discard it because making more is such a swine. Instead it gets used and reused, and woven into different sets of armour. We know the ancient Greeks had family sets of armour passed from father to son, and I'd be surprised if the legion did not take - or buy- a soldier's armour from him for re-use when he retired. So surely a fabrica was topping up an existing armour supply rather than making new gear for every recruit?
  3. Just to add two bits worth here ... one of Constantine's major achievements was to stabilize the currency which had been in runaway inflation mode up to this point. (The new coinage of the libra, solidus and denarius made up the £.S.d which anyone familiar with British currency until a few decades ago will recall.) This stabilization was done by using temple treasure, and in the process peeving quite a few devout pagans. Therefore C. needed political support to balance those alienated pagans. This support was most easily obtained from those who had no interest in keeping treasure in the temples - i.e. the Christians. Not saying this was Constantine's only reason for backing the Christians, but given his general cynicism, I'd say it was certainly on the list. (Have you noted the total lack of Christian iconography on his triumphal arch, which was built somewhat earlier?)
  4. Maty

    So yesterday . . .

    Where did you get the toga from? Did you really go the whole six meters? Was it a toga pura, or praetexta as was Mark Antony's? And did you have a tunic underneath, or did you go commando, a la Cato Uticensis? Inquiring minds wish to know ...
  5. A great thread - the sort of thing that keeps me coming back to UNRV. I've often wondered why people do crosswords when trying to decipher and reconstruct inscriptions is more challenging and constructive. Ofcourse, once you've mastered (!) CIL, there's CIG and IG. I've always considered IG to be the black belt of epigraphy.
  6. Maty

    The Gabinian Affair by Ray Gleason

    One statement in the review stands out - 'In a primogeniture-based world'. Are you sure about that? It is is a rather controversial claim. Or are we talking Gallic tradition rather than Roman? If so, I'd love to see the evidence ...
  7. Maty

    A Companion To Julius Caesar by Miriam Griffin

    MTG was my tutor at Oxford. Good to know about this book which I shall now hasten to acquire!
  8. Maty

    Macrinus - The rise to power

    Maybe not the case for Macrinus' successor? Looking forward to the Patricians book. I've often wondered whether the changing of emperors in the third century - or the fifth - mattered that much. The emperors and their nearest and dearest doubtless had strong sentiments on the topic, but it seems to me that by and large, foreign and economic policy remained pretty much unchanged, no matter who was in charge. Most emperors were competent, because in a crisis - and most of later Roman history in the west is a crisis - the incompetents and the unlucky were taken out very early.
  9. Came across this thread while looking for something else. Some points which the critic of the classics seems to have missed ... firstly, they remain hugely influential today. Two hundred years ago the second most popular book in North America was Plutarch's Lives. (The first was the Bible). This is one reason why the US constitution bears more than a passing resemblance to the Roman Republic. Secondly, the classics contain archetypes, from the flawed hero (Achilles) to the femme fatale (Medea) who resound through modern literature and TV programmes today. Thirdly, early modern literature was hugely influenced by the Classics - think of Ulysses who was the subject of works by Joyce and Tennyson. Even works by writers such as Kipling, which show no direct influence, have the cadences of Cicero and Vergil as these were uviversally taught and used as models.
  10. 'The traditional Roman religion was much more standardized and in harmony with itself...' Hmm. I'm not so much disagreeing as asking for some support for this claim. My understanding is that Roman state religion was standardized to the point of being formulaic but religion as a whole was pretty free-form. That is, there was no canon law and no concept of sin (as opposed to crime). There was also no doctrine as such, or any concept of heresy. Basically, it was up to a particular social group to decide how they interfaced with the deity, with the general understanding that the deity would let them know if they were doing it wrong. The 'harmony' was probably more because since Roman religion aimed at channelling the benefits of a deity to the group involved, there was no desire to spread those benefits by proseletizing and if the neighbours were worshipping incorrectly, no-one was in a hurry to correct them.
  11. Maty

    New History Books (May 2015)

    I knew you were going to ask that. The Seleucid book does look interesting.
  12. Maty

    ONLY 26 DAYS!

    Congrats! Any plans for a sequel?
  13. 'Possible cardiovascular explanations have always been ruled out on the grounds that until his death he was supposedly otherwise physically well during both private and stately affairs,' the researchers wrote in their study.' (From the Daily Mail article) 'Nevertheless, he did not make his feeble health an excuse for soft living, but rather his military service a cure for his feeble health' (Plutarch Life of Caesar 17) 'Caesar left in the minds of some of his friends the suspicion that he did not wish to live longer and had taken no precautions, because of his failing health' (Suetonius Caesar 86) Incidentally, Caesar almost did not attend the senate meeting which killed him because he was in poor health that day. Epilepsy was a well-known diease in antiquity, and Caesar's physicians would have known about the heart disease risk, since Caesar's dad dropped dead while lacing up his boots. The ancient docs still went with epilepsy, so I'd be inclined to agree. Especially in the light ofthe above quotes.
  14. 'Cursing does have a legitimate Ontological root that effects Epistemeology, [sic] theories of mind in debate. I use it a lot, learned the value from the Cynics in discourse when appropriately timed. You should ask yourself why it bothers you, actually bothers you.' Fair enough. If you feel the other party in the discussion is being idiotic, I refer you to Mark Twain, who said 'Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience.' Talking of which
  15. Okay. I'd strongly suggest that you refrain from calling other people's opinions 'idiotic', as this is neither polite nor helpful. While some parts of your lengthly post seem a bit tangential, I'll address what appears to be the point. If people accepted that the 'gods' and particularly the tutelary god of a particular city gave protection in return for public worship, then yes, it was right of the authorities to demand that worship. Belief was not neccessary or demanded. In an ancient city the people did accept that public worship was neccessary for divine protection. Please do give me any references you have to the contrary. Certainly there was debate as to the nature of the gods. As I have said, no-one enforced belief. However, apart from Christians I know of no-one who did not participate in the rituals which were so much a part of public life. Cicero might have disputed that the gods existed, but you can bet that as consul he performed the rites to perfection. Socrates was executed for teaching people to disavow the gods and for corrupting youth. Though this is a Greek example and less relevant, it shows the same point of view. That, incidentally is also the point of the story of transporting atheists by sea. If this does cause storms and leads the ship to the bottom of the ocean, do you really want atheists aboard? Finally, the idea of 'resisting the tyrant' does not enter into the discussion. In this case ruler and people were in agreement, which is where the 'lynch mobs' in the original posting come in.