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Everything posted by Thurinius

  1. Thurinius

    The Fall of Nero

    I think Nero is quite fascinating. My Nero is casually cruel. He's someone who can do whatever he likes, so he does. He's also surrounded by people who tell him whatever he wants to hear. But readers have told me they find themselves routing for him even though they know they shouldn't. I think the historical Nero suffers from being the last of a dynasty. Augustus probably killed way more people but he is a canny politician,,he has longevity and he has successors to sing his praises.
  2. Thurinius

    The Fall of Nero

    For those of you who think Nero is unbelievably glam (whilst recognising he had some faults) you might enjoy my Hist fic novel Palatine http://www.karnacbooks.com/product/palatine-the-four-emperors-series-book-i/36826/ It begins in 68AD and covers the fall of Nero and it's immediate effects. I've had some very nice endorsements from the likes of David Wishart, Ruth Downie and Robert Fabbri. Book two Galba's Men is out in October and I'm currently up to my eyes in editing book three Otho's Regret.
  3. Sorry Viggen please delete, I can't seem to find the button
  4. Thurinius

    New History Books (March 2015)

    Is the Caligula book a new one or a reprint? I seem to recall reading Barrett on Caligula before
  5. Thurinius

    Worst Roman Generals?

    I'm currently reading up on the siege of placentia in 69 ad and it reads almost like a farce. Caecina the general has marched tens of thousands of hardened German soldiers to take Rome from Otho and deliver it to Vitellius. Only his superior numbers and troops seems to have gone to his head. His first attempt to take placentia is a dismal,failure after he decides to attack the fortified town without any siege equipment and post dinner, the suggestion from Tacitus is that everyone was a little bit drunk. The Germans strip to the waist and attempt to beat down the towns gate with their fists. Eventually they have to admit defeat and slope off spending the night constructing siege towers etc. They still don't take the town. Over confidence can be fatal.
  6. Thurinius

    Was Zeus Originally Gay?

    In the past they didn't label people per say as homosexual but more the act. So you could be perfectly hetrosexual but commit a homosexual act. Bear in mind that Ancient Greek ladies of any reputation were fiercely protected and existed in the domestic sphere almost entirely. For the young single male that surely inhibited their chances to relieve their libido, beAring in mind they might catch something nasty from a prostititute. Course there were always slaves... I think due to the sheer amount of vase paintings showing older men fondling the genitals of younger boys shows it was sexual , though entwined with other philosophies.
  7. Thurinius

    Under rated emperors

    Interesting choice. He wasn.t particularly happy about his role as Caesar and being such a gruff no-nonsense type, soon got tired of the petty squablling of the Senate. I've always seen him as something of a misanthrope with a considerable chip on his shoulder. In any case he preferred to let Sejabus run the Imperial Houselhold and avoid having to deal with the Senate. Which was a problem because SEjanus was plotting to replace him. Once caught, Tiberius left the state in the hands of the Senate and retired to Capri. He was not well liked, and unusually for the celebrity laden Julio-Caludians, was not well liked by the lower classes because he didn't invest in games the same way that Augustus had. Tiberius didn't like such things. Whilst his reign was otherwise stable, it included a period of brutal tyranny by Sejanus, the state was being left to the Senate to run, the Praetorians were amalgamated in one barracks (which Augustus had avoided doing for obvious reasons), and as far as I can see, SPQR simply muddled on without him. It was the first test for passing the power on. And it succeeded and the system held, that has to be down to the man in charge in some capacity. Hence why he's underrated.
  8. Thurinius

    Under rated emperors

    Indianasmith I write historical fiction on Nero too, though his later years. Could we not say Nero is underrated he did successfully negotiate a peace treaty with Parthia over the Armenia situation, undertook many great building projects (what is worse than Nero, what is better than Nero's baths), was wildly popular with the people of Rome and right across the Empire, personally helped with the relief effort after the great fire....
  9. Thurinius

    Under rated emperors

    I'm going to add Tiberius, yes it all sort of fell apart in the end. But he was the first to succeed to being emperor and it could have all gone tits up at that point but it didn't. He held it together and left the treasury very healthy. Course he'd bumped off most of his family, but hey he was good with money
  10. He had access to the imperial archives whilst writing his lives of Augustus and Tiberius which he makes good use of when discussing the relationship between the two. His gossipy details I think are great because they show what people were gossiping about at the time, what bizarre rumours were circulating. Whether they were true or not (and in the case of Tiberius on Capri I think definitely not) is not do important when they give such an insight onto the roman mind.
  11. There was no golden age of the republic, just like there was no golden age of the 50s in the UK. It was invented nostalgia. It was an oligarchy with the same families dominating every major position from one generation to the next. If you keep this up eventually you need new blood, new ideas. Augustus brought a load of new men into power like the talented Agrippa, partly due to necessity because of the deaths during the civil wars admittedly. Similarly under the Emperors you at least get a bit of different blood if only because proximity to the emperor meant power hence the elevation of imperial freedmen and their subsequent descendants.
  12. Thurinius

    Why was slavery successful for so long?

    In relation to slavery in Greece. The helots did frequently revolt against Sparta, hence Spartas loathing of wars too far from their own territory. But then the helots had a shared identity of being messenians.
  13. Thurinius

    Why was slavery successful for so long?

    I think why you have some comparatively few slave revolts in Rome is due to the stratisfication (I think that's the word I want?) of slaves. A secretary in the imperial household had almost nothing in common with a field slave. It seems slaves could be quite snobbish about their roles. So there was no consensus about bettering their lot, plus with roman slavery it was a transient state. You could well buy your freedom so for those in relatively comfortable positions was it worth risking crucifixion or running into the unknown when if you saved your coins and waited you could be a full citizen?
  14. Thurinius

    Could The Empire Have Collapsed In 69 A.d.?

    I think Galba looked the part, older, experienced, statesman like but underneath it.... There is that great Tacitus line on him that goes something like 'he had all the qualities to be a great ruler, had he never ruled' Classic T!
  15. Reminds me of a documentary where a black professor claimed that archaeologists were ignoring Sudan's cultural history because they were black. Nothing at all to do with an ongoing civil war and disorder that would threaten any expedition...... I don't believe in roman society black Africans would instantly be lower class, they are rather colour blind . Though having said that they did place slaves in positions by ethnicity - the fashion for Greek secretaries etc.
  16. Thurinius

    Lares Familiares

    I can't feel sorry for the old families dying out. The Gods know Rome needed fresh blood, fresh thinking. I find it interesting that social mobility appears to be greater under the Empire than the supposedly noble and great republic.
  17. Thurinius

    Could The Empire Have Collapsed In 69 A.d.?

    Interesting the comment that Galba might have been a good emperor. Would he? He arrived in Rome in October 68ad. He was dead by January 69 ad. He did something to offend clearly. Otho showed some promise and an eye beyond how we all judge emperors, by the known aristocratic opinion, by trying to emulate Nero and court the peoples favour..
  18. I'm not convinced he goes nuts, I think I've tries to assert himself as he gets older and do what he thinks is important, eg bringing Greek culture and games to Rome. But I do think he loses his grip on reality when the people around him are creating that world, how easy to believe your own hype and think yourself a true artist when you keep winning so many competitions!
  19. I'm kind of excited that come Friday I could be a quarter exotically foreign (my grandad was from Stranraer)
  20. Thurinius

    The Roman Guide to Slave Management by Jerry Toner

    Was flicking through this in a bookshop today, a good, enjoyable and informative read.
  21. Thurinius

    No posts on the big anniversary this week?

    I think he was a fabulous politician. And in a way quite similar to Vladimir Putin. Putin from the ordinary Russian eye view restored Russia's glory and might, he kicked out the oligarchs bleeding the country, he gave them a figurehead to believe in and held the country together when it might conceivably have split to pieces, Of course if you stay in power too long, people take your achievement for granted, they don't remember what came before, they grow hungry for more..... Augustus was always my hero and still is but he had a dark side, he had to, no way he'd survive if he hadn't. For the average roman on the street how much difference did it make to have one man/family in power versus a rotating head of the same families over and over again? Conceivably it gave more power to the citizen with one person continually in power to answer their grievances and keep in check corruption. Just some thoughts for you all.....
  22. 19th August was the 2,000th anniversary of Augustus' death.
  23. It still amazes me how far we've come in a relatively short space of time. On the subject of ancient women, I always thought Ancient Greek (Athenian not spartan) had it pretty bad, hidden away in the house from view.
  24. Thurinius

    A Day At The Theatre - Post your Roman fiction here

    OK I'm in. An excerpt from my book Palatine (search for LJ Trafford under Amazon and you'll get both my novels). Mina trudged back to her room despondently. Her lesson had not gone as well as she had hoped. She was disappointed with her performance. During her practise sessions with the imaginary whip she had a near perfect aim. Armed with the real thing she found she was a great deal less accurate. Straton in his limited way assured her that she was doing well but she left feeling extremely frustrated with herself. She had hoped to excel at it, to actually be good at something that wasn’t holding a towel for hours at a time. Stomping into her room she found Daphne quietly repairing a dress “Mina!” she exclaimed throwing aside her needlework “Oh Gods! You wouldn’t believe what Erotica told me.” Mina who loved a good gossip above all other pastimes flopped herself down. “Goody. Spill. I need cheering up.” They were interrupted by a small contingent who invited themselves in, taking up space on the two bed rolls. Lysander took on the role of spokesman “Artemina,” he began gravely. “We know.” Stretching herself out, she replied enigmatically. “Do you now?” He sat down beside her, “Yes we do and we want you to know that we are all here for you and that the best thing you can do is to get it all off your chest.” “Oh Mina,” cried Daphne “Is it true?” “Is what true?” Erotica got in there first, “Is it true that you and Straton are having sex?” “Me and Straton?” asked Mina, swallowing her shock and catching Alex’s apologetic shrug. She gazed round at the small party. There was such interest, such hope, such gleeful anticipation that she felt she couldn’t disappoint. Throwing back her head she cried, “Oh I cannot deny it any longer. It is true. Straton and myself are indeed enjoying a rare and blissful union.” Erotica swore under her breath, Daphne squealed, Lysander inhaled near all the oxygen in the room and Alex crossed his arms giving Mina a disapproving glare. Erotica was the first in with the question. “Bona Dea Mina what’s he like in bed?” Mina suddenly struck with a horrifying image of Straton in the buff, repressed a shudder and replied wistfully. “It is like the tale of King Minos’ wife.” To a room full of uncomprehending faces. “You know the story.” “Don’t think we do,” said Lysander. “King Minos on claiming his throne promised Neptune that he would sacrifice a white bull in his honour. But it was such a fine bull that he decided to keep it instead. Neptune mad at such defiance to the gods got his revenge by inducing Minos’ wife Pasiphae to fall in love with the bull. Unable to control her lecherous feelings she had a craftsman construct a wooden crate fashioned in the shape of a cow so that she could consummate her vile passions. One day she had the crate taken into the fields and she lay within, waiting and waiting. The bull noting the strange creature examined its form and as bulls will, it mated with it copiously. And from this union the Minotaur was born! Well it’s like that but without the crate.” Even Erotica didn't want to delve any deeper into that one.