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About omoplata

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  1. It is impossible not to be so very impressed with the Roman system. How safe and immune to manipulation many facets of social life were is just amazing. Then again, even under such circumstances, the republic could not last. Such is the undying force of human greed; like the water that wears away the hardest of rocks, it can wear away the strongest of social institutions...
  2. This may seem like a small detail, but one I find extremely interesting. When Marc Anthony, Brutus and the whole lot were assembled at Caesar's funeral, Anthony started to read the will of Caesar, as you all know. Why did Anthony not modify Caesar's will and simply remove the reference to Octavius? This would have made him the unquestionable and very much sole heir to Caesar. 3 reasons I think this would have been exceptionally easy to do and would attract no suspicion at all are 1- Caesar had only met Octavius one time. 2- Octavius was only 18 yrs old Due to these two reasons, it is unlikely anyone would have suspected foul play when the name of Octavius didn't come up in the will (and when it did, people were quite shocked) 3- Brutus and Cassius were unaware that the will would even have been read and thus were were unlikely to have known its content. Add to this the fact that Alexander, a hero of Caesar, refused to appoint a heir. Caesar could have very well left the succession issue open and unanswered much like Alexander the Great. Anthony would not even have to insert his own name into the will as, in the absence of Octavius, he would have been the sole center of power by default. The fact that he did not doctor such a simple and potentially monumental change can be due to a few reasons: -He had tremendous respect for Caesar and couldn't bring himself to do it -Precisely because Octavius was such an insignificant character at the time, he saw no need -The record keeping mechanism at Rome was such that even the strongest and most influential Roman alive couldn't have done such a thing. -Others had already seen the will and would've called him out. What else.... what part of my analysis is wrong? Please critique Thanks
  3. omoplata

    Rome at Its Very Best

    To those who picked a relatively long time period; how about if you had to pick one moment in the history of Rome, as in one snapshot? To me, it is the return to the city of Rome of the Senator Gaius Terentius Varro after the defeat in Cannae. He is said to have ridden into town with very few surviving men and directly walked into the Senate where a meeting was being held. As he stepped in with blood, dirt and grime all over him, the Senate supposedly stood up and applauded him, despite the enormous loss of life in the battle and the disastrous defeat. (please correct me if my version of the story is inaccurate)
  4. omoplata

    Rome at Its Very Best

    Which event, time period or even individual represents, in your opinion, the very best of Rome? In my view, the incredibly courageous and resolute stance of the Romans after the battle of Cannae is most impressive. The very worst Rome has ever faced did indeed bring out the very best in Romans. What is your view?
  5. omoplata

    Hanibal's Elephants

    Both posts are absolutely excellent thanks a ton
  6. One topic that confuses me is the supposed reaction of the war elephants used by Carthaginians at the battle of XAMA. The generally accepted belief is that when the Romans blew their war trumpets, the elephants panicked and started running into the Roman lines, where the Roman soldiers opened up nice little gaps for these animals to run through and that was the end of the story. This sounds way too fantastic to me. First, I cannot believe that these elephants, raised to fight, could panic en masse merely due to blowing trumpets. Even if they did, the handlers would probably be able o pull them back into the ranks before they ran all the way into the Roman front IMO. The Carthaginians cannot be so unprepared and must have either encountered similar situations with their elephants before or at least anticipated these events (after all they heard Roman trumpets so many times before). The elephants could then have been trained to handle the trumpets, their ears closed at least to some extent with cotton/wax etc, or they could have been kept in the back until the war got heated and the trumpet calls would not overwhelm all ambient sounds and stand out so much (by any chance, does anyone known an estimated decibels for Roman war trumpets) Finally, if the elephants did panic, why would they run into the very direction where the trumpet sounds were coming from? Would they not run back to where they belong? Yes,some sources do claim that they ran back and in the process trampled Carthaginians, but the more general belief is that they ran into Roman ranks where the Romans opened up channels for them. Thanks to all
  7. omoplata

    Criminal Law

    Good point But in the absence of an emperor, who had the gravitas to order a forced suicide? Neither Consuls nor the Senate or Censors could really order or force one during the republican era, I would think. What do you say? EDIT: I just looked up the 12 Tables (http://www.csun.edu/~hcfll004/12tables.html) and it says this on the last line: "There are eight kinds of punishment: fine, fetters, flogging, retaliation in kind, civil disgrace, banishment, slavery, death." Though strangely, this line is prefaced with a question mark. Furthermore, it doesn't specify who these laws are applicable to. So Roman citizens may still be exempt from the death penalty....?
  8. omoplata

    Criminal Law

    So no matter what the crime, a citizen -whether patrician or plebian- could not be punished by death? What was the worst possible punishment allowed by law? Just exile? Very very interesting, thanks for clarifying
  9. omoplata

    Criminal Law

    I was just reading the life of Cato the Younger by Plutarch (http://classics.mit.edu/Plutarch/cato_you.html) and noticed this sentence: "Thus was the house almost wholly turned by Caesar, apprehending also the anger of the people; insomuch that even Silanus retracted, and said he did not mean to propose death, but imprisonment, for that was the utmost a Roman could suffer. " This is in reference to the speech of Silanus in the Senate where he is first proposing the capital punishment for the Cataline conspirators, but then softens his stance as Caesar wins over him, as well as many other Senators. The thing I am curious about is the severity of punishments doled out to Roman citizens, and in particular to patricians. I practically never heard of a patrician lawfully sentenced to death (though you hear of unlawful political murders). While my grasp of Roman history isn't very good and I might have missed many occurrences of such, it is safe to say, I guess, that a patrician being sentenced to death was a very rare event. I also have never heard of a patrician kept in prison for extended periods. It looks like the mos that ever happened to a noble Roman was exile, and even that was often in the form of voluntary exile. Am I mistaken here or was such really the case? Are there many noblemen who were subjected to harsher sentences? If not, were the "honor code" and fear of exile, which must have been a tremendous blow to a Roman I am sure, the primary forces keeping the upper ranks of society in check? Thanks
  10. Excellent answers, thanks so much to all...
  11. Can someone please briefly explain the recruitment practices of the Roman Army before Marius? What I am trying understand is why there was a property qualification to serve in the army before Marius suspended the property qualification for military service in 107 B.C. Part of the reason I guess is that you wish to ensure the soldiers can afford the military equipment. But if someone shows up with the shield and sword and helmet and so on, which he bought by selling his land or inherited, why did the army care if the person had sufficient land before accepting him into the service? Furthermore, who attended to the land of these soldiers while they were away? Did they usually have slaves to take care care of their land while they were on campaign? In addition, was service in the army primarily a privilege and therefore restricted to higher social classes? If so, what was to be gained from it beyond prestige and honor (which were very significant gains to be sure)? Was there any financial gain to be had from service? In later times, commanders allowed soldiers to sell slaves from the conquered populations, but was this a common practice before the Marian reforms, when soldiers were not dependent on war spoils, financially? Thanks in advance PS: by the way does anyone here follow this blog? http://www.mikeanderson.biz/ I liked it a lot
  12. OK, this phrase absolutely captivates me, yet remains a big mystery. According to Wikipedia:
  13. omoplata

    Share Your Favorite Quote

    OK Gentlemen, I have gone through all Seneca quotes in this link and noted the ones I like best http://thinkexist.com/quotes/seneca/ No way to know hoe many of the 459 quotes that are attributed to him are actually his and a small number is obviously not his, but a mix up for sure. Nonetheless, it appears that this is broadly speaking a good list, as I was able to cross-check some and found the hit rate to be satisfactory. For your viewing pleasure...
  14. omoplata

    Share Your Favorite Quote

    The catapult quote is one I had read a long time ago. I cannot provide an authoritative source for it really. But Seneca is in a league of his own; definitely my favorite thinker of all time. Here is another quote from him: "Time heals what reason cannot"
  15. omoplata

    Share Your Favorite Quote

    C'mon Gentlemen... we have the longest list to work with. I will add another one: Cum Catapultae Proscriptae Erunt Tum Soli Proscripti Catapultas Habebunt ...When catapults are outlawed, only outlaws will have catapults What an elegant way to express an idea.