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MarieAntoniaParsons last won the day on September 23 2014

MarieAntoniaParsons had the most liked content!

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About MarieAntoniaParsons

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  • Birthday 12/11/1955

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    Ancient history, historical fiction, travel, reading.
  1. MarieAntoniaParsons

    Ben Hur 2016

    I *think* the 2008 Ben-Hur went straight to DVD? I don't recall it ever being in theaters in my area, and I cannot remember it appearing on any of the tv networks I access--cable or non-tv. I am not sure why that is. I did manage to find it briefly for a time a year or so ago. It did not give me the overall punch that the Charlton Heston version did--in part because the 2008 version I think was made to be less of a grand epic and more of a people story.
  2. MarieAntoniaParsons

    Persecution of ancient Christians in Roman arenas

    Salve, This question intrigued me so that I did a bit of checking on its history. This page at the online "Catholic Encyclopedia" may be of help: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04101b.htm According to it, while there was some theory in the 16th century that Christians were martyred in the Amphitheater, other Catholic prelates did not share that theory and in fact, one Pope would have turned the site into a wool factory while another wanted to open it to bullfighting, rather than allow it to be a shrine. No contemporary Christian writings record that Christians were martyred there for their faith.
  3. A new digital program, called Keys2Rome, http://www.keys2rome.eu/, may provide an interesting window into Rome's history. Using four different venues, Alexandria in Egypt, the Roman forum,, Sarajevo, and Amsterdam, one can virtually visit reproductions of sites and see artifacts.
  4. MarieAntoniaParsons

    Ben Hur 2016

    Salve Aurelia, You may be right about that. My opinion of Cicero has changed drastically since I was a younger person. One of the earliest books I read (and this goes back eons) was Taylor Caldwell's Pillar of Iron, which was a fictionalized account of the life and career of Cicero. It is a very long book, and probably, if I recall, my very first foray into the fiction of Roman history. I remember coming away from that, thinking Cicero was a hero of heroes. Then I read more about his career and his personality from the actual histories. He definitely was not a "dreamy" character as portrayed in the tv series "Rome," Ok--so maybe not his own life story, but still, he played a role in other major events that could involve intrigue and high drama!
  5. MarieAntoniaParsons

    Roman remains crumble in Italy's 'banana republic'

    ...so the Telegraph reports as yet another piece of Roman cultural history, in Italy itself, falls prey to bureaucracy. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/italy/11119208/Roman-remains-crumble-in-Italys-banana-republic.html The villa is located in Tuscany, specifically, near the lovely medieval hill-town of San Gimignano (which I had the very good fortune to visit while touring Italy earlier this month). Pompeii is another, more famous, piece of Roman history that has been endangered. It is a sad pity that sometimes history is forced to take a backseat to other, perhaps more pressing (??) modern issues?
  6. Are there more than one? The Persians certainly remained problematic for centuries, on and off. And they were descended and or associated with the older Parthians and Seleucids. The western folks just really have never learned how to get along with those neighbors even yet. The Turks, Seljuk and Ottoman, certainly offered threat in the later years of the Byzantine era. The Vandals were often ignored as they built themselves kingdoms in Spain and then North Africa--until they could no longer be ignored. The Goths--were convenient--until they were no longer convenient. Which is a worse threat--the enemy who simmers waiting behind his borders, until time comes again to wage battle and war, like the Persians, or the enemy who is at first welcomed, tolerated but then needs to be obliterated, like the Ostrogoths and then the Lombards thereafter?
  7. MarieAntoniaParsons

    Most Influential Byzantine Emperors/Figures

    I would echo the choices of Justinian I, Heraclius and Alexius I. But oh how much fortune, good and bad, played into the way their reigns played out. Justinian had Belisarius, Amalasuntha, the Ostrogoths, Vandals and Lombards, and the plague. If Belisarius had been more politically astute and aware--if Amalasuntha had not offended the Goths and given Justinian an excuse, if the Vandals had not lost...But instead, Justinian did his best to reunite vast portions of the somewhat fragmented Empire in the West. Heraclius did his best to bring the Empire back to glory after the debacle of Phocas, and the incursions of the Persians. And Alexius--the poor man just wanted to be rid of those pesky Turks. Instead---he energized the Pope In Rome to start "Holy wars" the like of which still resonate today.
  8. MarieAntoniaParsons

    Early medieval identities

    Viggen, I don't know if the Romans "preserved" local customs--which sounds deliberate and intentional, versus, they just simply did not make any fuss as long as public life went on, as you say. I think that might be a fair statement, yes. They seemed to allow religious practice so long as it did not conflict with the state practice (I would bet that if Christians had not conflicted in their practices, there may have been no persecutions, as one example). It would be a fascinating small armchair study to look at different regions of the Empire, e.g. Britannia, Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Dacia, Gaul, Spain, Sardinia in terms of the way local and town indigenous cultures, language, religion, etc, lived side by side with the Roman state administration. Such a study may exist somewhere (I am fairly sure that at least one if not more books on Romanisation and assimiliation in my above examples have been published, looking solely at that specific region/province. But looking at them all in-depth side by side could be interesting.
  9. MarieAntoniaParsons

    Did Marco Polo go to Alaska?

    When I was in Venice earlier this month, our guide took us to Marco Polo's old neighborhood. She pointed out the houses around that had been surely owned by the Polo family, but there was some question as to which house was actually Marco Polo's specific residence. Some said it was this house, others said it was another house. Strange, that for a man who is today known as having provided so much information on the China of that time, and brought back so many wonders, that there should be such questions about maps, and even where he lived. I hope the maps don't turn out to be forgeries. I would wish they would simply remain of questionable origin, if not outright be found to be genuine. Forgeries always leave history unsettled, and make it more difficult to put forth theories about events or places.
  10. This is fascinating, and just one of the reminders that we should never assume we know everythng about our human history. If I had a time machine I would only want to observe, to watch, how our earliest ancestors got through their days, alone and with each other. Thanks for sharing this.
  11. MarieAntoniaParsons

    Augustus, father of western civilization....?

    While I have a very soft spot in my heart for Octavia his sister, and for Iulius Caesar, I let Octavian Augustus' birthday slip by! I am not sure I would say he fundamentally influenced the history of Europe--he did set some things into place surely, but he had nothing to do with how history played itself out after he died. There were so many opportunities for the Empire to have gone oh so so so wrong between his death and 480 ACE. Mostly he was just plain lucky that Marcus Antonius was as foolish as he was and that he failed where Octavian succeeded. Otherwise---who knows how history might have moved.
  12. MarieAntoniaParsons

    Early medieval identities

    This is an interesting subject, and I think there are other books, not just in German, about establishing and forming identities in early medieval periods (after the 6th century ACE). Sometimes Identity formation comes as part of the larger "Romanization" subject. Studies have been done analyzing Roman Sardinia, with reference to the indigenous population, analyzing Gallic Romans, Brit-Romans, North African Romans, and more. I had the feeling, after some reading on this a while ago, that the "common people," those with less connection to the Roman administration, retained more of their linguistic, religious and cultural identity, their length of time as Roman citizens notwithstanding.
  13. MarieAntoniaParsons

    Lares Familiares

    I agree that propaganda, i.e. wanting to boast, subtly or not, about one's famous and ancient lineage, was probably a factor for many Romans in their ancestor veneration. But I also want to hope and consider that for many others, and even for those seeing it in propaganda terms, they still honestly did honor their ancestors. Ancestor veneration, which thrives today in many cultural and religious aspects of society around the world, is a noble and worthy part of life, in my opinion. We all came from somewhere, from some one. And some day we too will be ancestors in some or other way. It's humbling to consider that we may be remembered by future generations. The most pitiable part, I think, of the Romans venerating their ancestors, is that too often they did not learn anything moral or ethical (or if they did they took it all to the wrong extremes of behavioral standards).
  14. MarieAntoniaParsons

    Gladiators and Christian ethics

    I would be curious as to where you might have read that. I am not familiar with gladiatorial combat after Christianity reached Rome, but I might imagine that Christians would have had issues with more aspects of the combat than just that the Emperor only could redeem gladiators (I am not sure that making gladiators free citizens could be likened to redeeming them, and having power of life and death over someone is not necessarily pagan or Christian, I would have thought. I do like your question about what theologians (assumedly of any religious affiliation) might make of presidential pardon. There are other religious venues akin to "forgiveness" of some kind, which may or may not always satisfy social mores. But to keep this more associated with Roman history--what is the history of gladiatorial combat? When did it end? Did it die out first in any particular region or province?
  15. Reading through any of the ancient sources can remind us that Rome's "history" (in quotes because sometimes that history reads like a good novel) is filled not just with the very famous who stand at the front, but also of more shadowy figures. Let me give some examples of lesser-talked about Romans that stand out for me. Feel free to disagree, or, add your own. Pubius Decius Mus, who in the battle of Sentinum rode into the enemy force in a devotio to the gods. Cornelia Scipionis, who gets overshadowed by her two sons, but so amazing she received a marriage proposal from Ptolemy VIII of Egypt . Octavia, sister to Octavian Augustus, who raised not only her children from her first marriage, but those of Antony and his previous wife, and of Antony and Cleopatra. Hortensia, daughter of a famous orator, who stood up to the Triumvirate at risk to her property and possibly her life. Busa, a woman of Apulia of such wealth that she was able to provide re-supply to Rome's legions after Cannae. Academic histories of the applicable periods don't always say much, or anything at all, about these individuals, but one can find some references if one searches carefully.