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About Sebastianus

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  1. Sebastianus

    What Roman Personality Are You?

    1 Hadrianus 2 Julius Caesar 3 Augustus Hadrian has always been my favorite emperor so I'm happy.
  2. Sebastianus

    Roman army 395-410 AD

    Is it fair to say that the political and military decisions made by Theodosius I after the battle of Adrianople, where the main reasons of the Western Empire's decline in the 5th century? I know many blame his son, but would he have failed so miserably if his father hadn't set up a bunch of disastrous policy's during his reign?
  3. Sebastianus

    help required

    I know it's too late but here's a translation from "De Cerimooniis" on an imperial coronation in the 10th century Roman Empire. Imperial Coronation I was thinking, you might give your son the title "born in purple" (Porphyrogennetos) below is an excerpt from the Wikipedia article about Constantine VII. "His nickname alludes to the Purple Room of the imperial palace, decorated with the stone porphyry, where legitimate children of reigning emperors were normally born. Constantine was also born in this room, although his mother Zoe had not been married to Leo at that time. Nevertheless, the epithet allowed him to underline his position as the legitimized son, as opposed to all others who claimed the throne during his lifetime. Sons born to a reigning Emperor held precedence in the Byzantine line of succession over elder sons not born "in the purple"." Wikipedia Constantine VII Porhyrogennetos The title Caesar was used for an heir apparent until the Komnenoi introduced Sebastokrator in the 11th century, then later Despot replaced Sebastokrator. Usually though, the emperors who wished to designate an heir raised them to co-emperors.
  4. Sebastianus

    What Made Rome?

    But Ursus was this social structure (dignitas through military conquest) unique to Roman society at the time? Didn't any of Rome's neighbours in Latium or for that matter any other states around the mediterranean at that time posses a similar societal make-up?
  5. Sebastianus

    What Made Rome?

    I agree that the Punic Wars and the defeat of Carthage was the final step to superpower status for Rome. But wasn't the initiator of the real expansion (far outside the immediate territory of Latium) the thirst for security that the Gallic sack of Rome in 390 BC caused? From what I remember, that was a real trauma for the Romans.
  6. Sebastianus

    He Who Did Rome It's Greatest Dis-service

    Yes Gibbon is funny to read. It was the second book series I ever bought myself. The first being the heavily Gibbon 'Decline & Fall...' influenced 'Foundation Trilogy' by Isaac Asimov. So one can say that I actually read two versions of 'Decline & Fall' I don't agree with Commodus being the starting point of the decline, because I think that most of the 4th century (up until 378) is rather good for the empire. The Empire regains some strenght in the late 3rd century, and the social and cultural developments during this period is almost as great as the imperial high period in the 1st and 2nd centuries. The economy also recovers somewhat. And there were some good emperors during this later period. It is not until the disaster of Adrianopel that the empire loses much of its ability to defend itself successfully, and had to allow foreign barbarian nations to exist inside its borders. The solution to the manpower loss, especially in the west was to make use of those (independent) barbarian tribes in the Roman army. Which led to double loyalties when dealing with barbarian invasions and raiders. Eventually even the majority of the generals were barbarians (who only slightly were Roman loyalists), the courtiers advicing the emperor were barbarians, it was no wonder that the western empire dissolved itself from within. Odoacer deposing Romulus Augustulus was just a natural progression of the trend that started when, because of the defeat at Adrianople, Theodosius had to agree to give lands to the Visigoths. Besides this the increasing independence of the two imperial parts was most negative for the west. The money was in the east and they made use of this, buying off invading tribes and recruiting non-barbarians for the military, and thus avoiding much of what happened to the west. And to get back to my favorite subject; there were several glorius centurys left for the Romans. The 6th century was fantastic, when Justinian re-conquered most of the old western provinces. the 9th and 10th century saw both a cultural and territorial expansion marveled at by western visitors. I would say that the 4th crusade would be the definite nail in the coffin for the Romans, eventually leading the the fall in 1453.
  7. Sebastianus

    He Who Did Rome It's Greatest Dis-service

    I voted for Valens. But it wasn't actually only Valens fault that the majority of the Eastern field army went under at Adrianople in AD 378. My namesake Sebastianus was one of the leading generals who was sent by Valens to the Thrace/Moesia Inf. area to try and contain the developing crisis with the Visigoths. His rather succesful tactic, that of some sort of guerilla warfare, made his council, when Valens finally decided to take charge personally, very influencial. Sebastianus was originally a very popular general under the brother of Valens, Valentinian I. He was so popular that he was sent to Valens in the East, and thereby guaranteing Valentinian's son Gratian the succession, to ofset any possibility that he might have been raised to the purple by the troops when Valentinian I died in AD 375. There is some indication, according to the sources, to deduce that Sebastianus didn't take this well. When Valens was trying to decide if he should attack the Visigoths at Adrianople in 378, he was aware that the (junior) Western Emperor Gratian was proceeding with the western field army to meet with him so they could crush the Visigoths together. But Valens had been insulted by Gratians lofty attitude in a letter just before the final war council, so he was not looking forward to meeting his brothers son and sharing the glory. But according to several sources, Ammianus being the most notable, what made him go it alone, was Sebastianus advice to do so. Since Sebastianus was the most succesful of his generals in the area, Valens had no reason to doubt his grasp of the situation. We all know what happened, a disaster as devastating and horrific as that of Cannae, Ammianus says (worse than Varus's debacle?). Valens was killed as was Sebastianus together with at least 66 % of the east's crack troops. Weakening the entire empire for at least a generation. Gratian, who arrived too late, was forced to continue with the containment policy, and to help him he appointed Theodosius (later 'the Great') as Eastern Augustus (AD 379). But because of the devastating defeat, Theodosius failed to eject the marauding Visigoths and had to agree to a settlement treaty in AD 382 in which they gained considerable autonomy as federates on Roman territory. This decision of Theodosius served as a dangerous precident when consequent rulers dealed with invading tribes the following almost 100 years. And in my view was a very important factor in the fall of the Western Empire in 476. So I think Sebastianus is one of the worst Romans ever, followed by Valens, simply because the empire (most notably the western part, who had to transfer some of its forces to the east) never recovered after this defeat (unlike after both Cannae and Varus debacle).
  8. Sebastianus

    Rome/constantinople Etc...

    When Charles the Great was crowned by the Pope Leo III, the Romans were ruled by a woman, Irene. And because there was no precident for an officially ruling empress, she had styled herself as emperor (basileus). The Pope in a masterstroke of political machination, therefore considered the Roman imperial throne empty (not recognizing a woman as ruler) and was able to legitimately crown Charles Roman Emperor without the trouble of getting consent from the (senior) ruler in the East. Even more than 300 years after the fall of the west these legal wranglings were necessary to offset the still very rigid tradition of the dual imperial system developed through the 3rd to the 5th century AD. Then of course the floodgates were opened. The papacy could consider themselves and the Western emperors that followed, right up until the fall of the last habsburgs in 1918, the senior part in the dual imperial system. Thereby not requiring the consent of the Roman Emperor at Constantinople. Of course the Eastern Throne was appropriated by the Russian Grand Dukes at Moscow after the fall of Constantinople in AD 1453 (by marriage with a Roman princess) styling Moscow as the 'Third Rome'. Thus the dual imperial system originally concieved by the Romans lived on (although somewhat changed) until both the Habsburgs and the Romanovs fell during the 1st World War. There was an upset reaction from the Romans, but they could do very little. Furthermore Charles attacked the Romans and being still weakened by the century long great struggle against the Arabs and the inner strife of iconoclasm they were not able to stop him effectively. And what happened didn't help the legitimacy of Irene as emperor. She was deposed in 802. The Eastern Romans eventually acknowledged Charles as Roman Emperor in the west, as a result of a peace treaty in AD 812. But the emperors at Constantinople never regained their senior status in the west. This is a very compressed account of the motivations behind the crowning of Charles, there were more factors, but I'm trying to be shorter than above. ;-)
  9. Sebastianus

    Rome/constantinople Etc...

    It was not inevitable that Constantinople (a greek city state called Byzantion had been in place since the 6th century BC) would be the capital of the Eastern Empire. Constantine like many of the later emperors resided in capitals closer to the frontiers along the Rhine/Danube/ or Eastern frontiers. Milan, Trier, Nicomedia and Antioch among others had been employed as imperial capitals by emperors before Constantine. Constantine choose a location in the east for his capital because the eastern part was much richer than the west. and the principal recruiting grounds for the army had shifted to the east. He choose the site of the old greek town of Byzantion because of it's easily defendable placement like a horn out into the Marmara lake. It also had a natural and easily defendable harbor as well as being situated between Europe and Asia and between the Mediterranean and the Black sea. There's no doubt that Constantine wanted the city to rival Rome or at least be the equal of Rome. He tried to persuade old senatorial family's of Rome to move to the new capital. But it wasn't until the early 5th century that the emperors resided there on a regular basis. The actual division of the empire was officially done by Diocletian the initiator of the tetrachy (the four emperor system) of the late 3 century AD. He devided the empire between two 'senior' emperors with the title Augustus, and two deputy (junior) emperors with the title Caesar. The division between the eastern and western half of the empire was made along the line of the where the Latin and Greek languages dominated repectively. Greek in the east and Latin in the west. This system collapsed when Constantine gathered absolute power for himself. But in willing the empire to his three sons Constantine re-instated the division at his death. Constantine's son Constantius II eventually became sole emperor, but then appointed a deputy (Caesar) to help with ruling. Thus in fact dividing the empire again, but this time with only one senior ruler. The two emperor system was what persisted (with the short sole rules of Julian and Theodosius the Great as exceptions) until the end of the Western empire in 476 AD. The division along language barriers was permanented under Theodosius the Great's sons Honorius and Arcadius. Generally the eastern emperor was percieved as the senior partner, because of his greater power, and the increasing troubles in the west during the 5th century. The eastern empire though greek speaking used Latin in all official documents up until the emperor Heraclius rule, when it was changed to greek. The citizens of the 'Eastern Roman Empire' never looked at themselves as greek, they were Romans living in the Roman Empire, as the greek speaking world had done for at least half a millenium by then. This idea of them being Roman continued until the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453. Even after the fall while the former citizens of the Estern Empire lived in the Turkish Ottoman Empire they never looked at themselves as greeks, but always as Romans. Indeed the term 'greek' was a offensive to them (because of its connotation with pagan beliefs). That is why it was popularly used in the west to annoy the Eastern Romans. To this day you can find greeks who look upon Constantines city (Eastern Rome) as their capitol, not the 'greek' Athens. I believe that in naming states one should, as much as possible, use the term that would have been satisfactory to the then inhabitants of the state. In this case it would not be the 'Byzantine Empire' something that too much recalls the 'greek' (pagan) heritage of the site of Constantinople. The only name that would satisfy the 'Eastern Romans' would be 'The Roman Empire' maybe with the addition of the geographical term of Eastern. btw 'Hamilcar Barca' Basileus is not the greek word for Emperor, but it's the greek word for King. But in a supreme effort of selfdenial the eastern romans managed to collectively convince themselves that Basileus was a direct translation of Augustus Caesar. Thus avoiding having to feel bad about using a non-roman and hellenic-pagan title. To answer your question Spartan 19. The Empire was divided because it became to much to handle for just one emperor (because of constant invasions). This division eventually became permanent during the 5th century. Constantinople (Byzantion) had by then become the capitol city in the east. In the west Rome was still the nominal capital, but the emperors resided in safer Ravenna. When the west collapsed in 476 AD there were only one Roman emperor left the ruler of the Eastern Roman Empire. By the 7th century, the greek language took over as the imperial language in the Eastern Roman Empire. Some historians (totally missguided in my opinion) have marked this event by renaming the state The Byzantine Empire. But in fact besides the use of greek as an official language very little had changed. It was still Roman institutions which ruled the empire, the citizens lived by Roman law, the read roman historians, and roman litterature, they dressed in roman fashion, they percieved themselves as Roman. In fact the new barbarian rulers in the west acknowledged the status of the eastern emperor as the sole Roman Emperor, trying to legitimate their rule of the old western roman provinces, by getting titles from the Roman emperor. So the name the Byzantine Empire is just an invention of historians of the 18th century. In fact the state that was founded on seven hills in 753 BC lasted until the Turks conquered the last remnant in 1453 AD. The Romans lasted over 2000 years! Sorry this was a bit too long
  10. Sebastianus

    Best Roman Emperor

    Wow this is hard... My favorite emperor is Hadrian, simply because he stabilized the frontiers, and took time to make the empire an administrative whole. Then of course pax Romana was true to its name during his reign. And I like the fact that when restoring the Pantheon he left the inscription that it was Agrippa who built the edifice, when he easily could've removed it in favor of his own. His provincial travels is also something that I like. But I think I will have to choose Octavianus/Augustus Caesar anyway. He ha a much harder time to take power and keep it, and he exercised his power in a very subtle way (as subtle as he amassed it). He eased the empire into a monarchy of sorts without hardly anyone noticing, or at least not caring enough to create such uppheavals as the century before Octavians rise was full of. Augustus is a man to be admired, but I still like Hadrian more. If we go on pure military skills the price goes to Trajan or Aurelian.
  11. Spartacus, I didn't know that bare-knuckled fighting is illegal in the UK, that's very civilized of you :-) As to the topic, of course we are no different than the Romans, laws of the Bible (?) or not. Maybe people who play video games would run away from a battlefield, but that's mostly because they haven't been trained properly... As we all know the Imperial Roman Army was very well trained before going to battle. The hunger for violence and blood is excatly the same, it is just that we have the technical means today to provide this to the masses without actually killing anyone... and that, I'm sure, is a perfect excuse for someone who believes in some sort of universal (?) moral code. When in reality they are just as succumbed to the animal lust for violence and blood as the Romans was.
  12. Sebastianus

    What If Juilus Caesar Never Was Alive

    The only problem with your version Optio is that Anthony, would probably not had the position he had at Caesar's death, without Caesar. And maybe Cleopatra would not have become Queen without Caesar, and Egypt would probably had been gobbled up anyway. I do not believe Egypt would ever had ruled Rome, there would simply have been another general than Agrippa (or maybe even him) that had conqured Egypt. Rome would never have accepted an eastern style kingship, even if it was Anthony who led it. They didn't accept kingship aspirations from Caesar, why would they from someone so infinately inferior? Of course this is only my opinion... I think there's an alternate history novel about this issue? Have you read it Optio?
  13. I would put Aurelian ahead of all the rest. He had a collapsing empire to deal with, both Trajan and Tiberius had all the resources of an empire at its most powerful. Aurelian's effort is staggering, he was instrumental in ressurecting the empire, and restoring its unity. To think what he could have done id he had lived longer or had the resources of say, Trajan. And in keeping with my view, we mustn't forget The Eastern Roman Emperors Heraclius (610-641) and Basil II Bulgaroktonos (976-1025). My list: 1. Aurelian 2. Trajan 3. Heraclius 4. Septimus Severus 5. Constantine I 6. Basil II Bulgaroktonos 7. Vespasian 8. Tiberius 9. Julian
  14. Sebastianus


    The US system would probably be healthier by the use of Tribunes to represent the common people. But as in Rome they would probably eventually end up as an instrument of the elite.
  15. Sebastianus

    What If Juilus Caesar Never Was Alive

    Celtic Gaul would not have had much more time to develop as a credible threat to the Roman military machine. And politically it would probably only have taken a serious incursion into Gallia Cisalpina for Rome to set in motion to accomplish what Caesar did. However I think that the conquest and pacification would have taken longer than Caesar's magnificient tour de force. But the republic would have fallen anyway, the stylings of the principat would be different, but remember that Augustus transfering of Roman society from Republican to early Imperial was so smooth because he used traditional Roman political (and social) instruments to his own gain, thereby smoothly sliding the Republic into a defacto dictatorship, without appearing to take power from anyone else. I think that without Caesar we would have gotten a similar situation eventually, not exactly the same, because Octavian had first hand knowledge and use of what happened to his relative Caesar. And he realised that the dictatorship was not the instrument to use to gain absolute power. Eventually someone else would have got it too. By the time of Caesar especially after Marius reforms of the legions, the Roman military machine was unmatched so there would still have been an empire. Perhaps the delayed transfer into the principate the absence of Caesar (and Octavian) would precipitate, would result in a hastened territorial expansion (as a result of the power struggle). The empire might have been bigger and therefore harder to control, so that a collapse would have come sooner? And of course the non-english speaking European nations would've lost the current title of high-king 'Emperor' in English. Kaiser in German, Tsar in Russian...Caesar in Latin. But I'm no expert...