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Everything posted by Gordopolis

  1. As twilight descends on the 3rd century AD, the Roman Empire is but a shadow of its former self. Decades of usurping emperors, splinter kingdoms and savage wars have left the people beleaguered, the armies weary and the future uncertain. And into this chaos Emperor Diocletian steps, reforming the succession to allow for not one emperor to rule the world, but four. Meanwhile, two boys share a chance meeting in the great city of Treverorum as Diocletian's dream is announced to the imperial court. Throughout the years that follow, they share heartbreak and glory as that dream sours and the empire endures an era of tyranny and dread. Their lives are inextricably linked, their destinies ever-converging as they rise through Rome's savage stations, to the zenith of empire. For Constantine and Maxentius, the purple robes beckon... Sons of Rome, book 1 of the brand new 'Rise of Emperors' series by Gordon Doherty & Simon Turney Grab a copy here: http://getbook.at/rise1
  2. What hope has one forgotten soldier of bringing an emperor to justice?Winter, 382 AD. The Gothic War is over. After years of bloodshed, the Eastern Roman Empire and the Goths have struck a deal for peace. Imperial heralds crow about the treaty as if it were a triumph. Feasts and celebrations take place across the Eastern provinces. Every hero of the war is honoured and acclaimed... except one.Tribunus Pavo languishes in exile, haunted by a dark truth: that it was Gratian, Emperor of the West – the most powerful man alive – who caused the war and manipulated its every turn. Tormented by memories of loved ones lost during the great conflict, one word tolls endlessly through Pavo’s mind: Justice!But in this great game of empire, justice rarely comes without a grave cost… Sound good? You can pick up a copy for a couple of quid here
  3. 'Cry "Havoc!", and let slip...' http://www.gordondoherty.co.uk/writeblog/thedogsofwar A look at the use of Molossian hounds in the Roman army.
  4. Free stuff! Legionary 7 goodie bag up for grabs. I'm running a prize draw for a signed copy of The Blood Road plus a bundle of collectables: signed artwork, music score and more! Enter here by 10th Sept: www.gordondoherty.co.uk/writeblog/legionarygoodiebag
  5. A Q&A re writing historical fiction set in Late Antiquity: https://donnasbookblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/10/authorinterview-for-legionary-the-blood-road-by-gordon-doherty-gordondoherty-legionary-thebloodroad/
  6. A short outline of events after the Goths' entry into the ERE in 376 AD: http://www.gordondoherty.co.uk/writeblog/timelineofthegothicwar Some say this struggle was the catalyst for the Western Empire's fall. There is a plausible chain reaction theory to back that up (autonomous Goths living in empire post-382->Alaric->Visigothic identity->overreliance on 'foederati'), but I wondered what other people thought?
  7. Gordopolis

    The Gothic War 376-382 AD

    And here's a third post on the time-period - looking at the challeneg of piecing together the rather fragmented history following the retirement of the main chronicler, Ammianus Marcellinus: A Gap in History - picking up the pieces after the chronicles of Ammianus Marcellinus https://historytheinterestingbits.com/2018/07/31/guest-post-a-gap-in-history-by-gordon-doherty/
  8. Gordopolis

    The Gothic War 376-382 AD

    Also, if you liked the original post, here's the follow up: a blog examining the end of the 376-382 AD Gothic War and the 'peace deal' that sowed the seeds of Roman Europe's turbulent future! http://www.gordondoherty.co.uk/writeblog/acrimsonpeace
  9. Gordopolis

    The Gothic War 376-382 AD

    Hello Guy (Gaius 😉), Thanks for the reply. Yes I have a copy of Kulikowski - it's one of my staple books on this topic. Re the division of the Goths, Jordanes - in writing his Getica (Origins of the Goths) in the 6th c AD - complicates matters by conflating and confusing the history of the people. The Amal and Balti families are more likely to have been much later (possible 5th or even 6th century) dynasties than he claims. Peter Heather dissects Jordanes brilliantly in this volume: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Romans-332-489-Oxford-Historical-Monographs/dp/0198202342 (see pages 19 and 59) Removing the Amal/Balthi confusion clears the matter up quite considerably. What does that leave us with? The most solidly-attestable Gothic starting point is their time north of the Danube in the 3rd/4th centuries AD, when they existed in many tribal groupings, the two largest of which were the Thervingi (in an area roughly corresponding to modern-day Romania) and the Greuthingi (around the Crimea region). When the Huns arrived from the steppe and began throwing their weight around, a large proportion - possible a majority - of these Gothic tribes fled into the Roman Empire seeking a mutually beneficial treaty with Eastern Emperor Valens. What followed (the Gothic War) is covered in my timeline, but it is only after the war subsided that the Visigothic 'identity' began to arise amongst the Goths now settled in Roman territory. Essentially, this grouping would have been a mish-mash of Thervingi, Greuthingi, Taifali, Alans and even some mercenary Huns too - basically everyone who crossed the river in 376 AD and survived the subsequent Gothic War. The Ostrogothic identity arose within the Gothic people who chose not to cross the river in 376 AD. These people - again a mish-mash of tribes (some Thervingi, some Greuthingi etc etc) - fell under the Hunnic yoke at first before forging their identity after the Huns faded away (~453 AD). The origins of the terms Visigoth and Ostrogoth are disputed. I'm not convinced by Kulikowski's West/East theory. The term 'Vesi' in the Gothic language supposedly meant 'worthy' and 'Ostro' roughly means 'shining' (like dawn and very likely linked to the Germanic goddess, Ostara). Ostro came to eventually (long after antiquity) mean East in English. Worthy and Shining sound more like terms a people would call themselves, as opposed to Western and Eastern. That's my thinking on it anyway. Sorry if you knew most of that - but I found it helped me to express it!
  10. It took me a long time to get round to reading this, and , in short, I'm kicking myself I didn’t do it sooner. So, I hope this review whets the appetite for anyone who has this volume on their TBR list! 'Legio XVII: Roman Legion at War' is unusual and unique in its style in that it is written from a distant third person point of view. In ways it reminded me of the style employed in the colourful and thrilling 'docudramas' of the History Channel. But the unique part comes with Mr Timmes' ability to shed that distant perspective and swoop down like an eagle and perch close to - almost upon the shoulder of - the protagonists in moments of extreme stress or emotion. And there were plenty such moments… continue to the review of Legio XVII: Roman Legion at War by Thomas A. Timmes
  11. I set out to write the Legionary series to indulge in Late Antiquity. It's been an incredible journey and I often find that writing about the past serves as a 'time machine' of sorts. The experience has given me so much. And so I thought it was about time I gave something back. So I've turned the spotlight on the famous old legion at the heart of the saga - Legio Undecima Claudia Pia Fidelis, or the XI Claudia - to explore their past and highlight just how much they went through before the few years I have had the pleasure of marching with them…http://www.gordondoherty.co.uk/writeblog/thexiclaudia If anyone has any theories or thoughts re. the eventual fate of the XI Claudia (phased into the Byzantine themes, destroyed or disbanded, maybe?), I'd be keen to hear them. Cheers, Gordon
  12. Gordopolis

    Exhibition: Hadrian's Cavalry

    Thanks. We're going in July. Should be some spectacle!
  13. I've been listening to this over the last few months. Quality content that digs deep and shines light on the why when where and who of the fall of the West. Recommended!
  14. Hi All, Just a shout out to let you know that my new Legionary novel - 'Empire of Shades' - is out. If you're not familiar with the series, it's Late Roman, and is set in the Eastern Empire during the time of Valens and Theodosius. Here's the foxy cover art and a teaser intro 379 AD: Thracia has fallen to the Gothic horde… With the ashes of Adrianople still swirling in the air, the Eastern Roman Empire is in turmoil. The emperor is dead, the throne lies empty and the remaining fragments of the army are few and scattered. Numerius Vitellius Pavo, now Tribunus of the XI Claudia, tries to hold his patchwork ranks together amidst the storm. One of the few legions to have survived the disaster at Adrianople, the Claudia do what they can to keep alive the dying flame of hope. When word spreads of a new Eastern Emperor, those hopes rise. But the coming of this leader will stir the Gothic War to new heights. And it will cast Pavo headlong into the sights of the one responsible for the East’s plight – a man mighty and seemingly untouchable, and one who will surely crush any who dares to challenge him. From the ashes of Adrianople, new heroes will rise… with dark ghosts in close pursuit. Paperback and eBook, available here: Amazon UK Amazon USA And there's plenty of goodies - free samples, imagery and companion short stories etc - here: http://www.gordondoherty.co.uk/legionary/legionary-empire-of-shades---free-prologue http://www.gordondoherty.co.uk/legionary/legionary6gallery http://www.gordondoherty.co.uk/writeblog/cityoftheblind If you decide to try, I hope you enjoy. Would be great to hear your thoughts too. Cheers, Gordon
  15. Gordopolis

    The Fall of Rome - a must-listen podcast

    Ah, yes, I know the man behind the username - and his work
  16. From left: a Republican-era legionary, a Principate-era legionary, then two options for a later, Dominate-era legionary - armour or no armour? So what is the take on URNV re Vegetius' claim that the late legions operated without armour? I don't buy the decay and decline theory. I reckon they chose not to wear armour only when it suited them (i.e. tactically). Here's my thinking: http://www.gordondoherty.co.uk/writeblog/thelateromanlegionary-armourornoarmour
  17. Gordopolis

    The Late Roman Legionary - Armour or no Armour?

    Ah, I see. From what I've read, Diocletian's centralised fabricae (at least some of them) remained in place throughout Vegetius' era and well beyond into the 5th century, but it sounds like the system changed a fair bit in that time. What sources can you recommend re the diversity of the fabricae system? PS - glad to be here
  18. Gordopolis

    The Late Roman Legionary - Armour or no Armour?

    I agree that Vegetius' probably misunderstood the commando/guerrilla style warfare introduced/escalated in the 4th century and misinterpreted it as a failing rather than an innovation. I'm still not sure re the fabricae argument though. Vegetius is quite specific in stating that "From the foundation of the city till the reign of the Emperor Gratian, the foot wore cuirasses and helmets". The fabricae had been in place since Diocletian's time, so it would seem odd if they were to suddenly falter and fail to serve their purpose after nearly 100 years of delivery. P.S. Caldrail - I just realised why your username is familiar to me: have we had a similar debate to this on WorldHistoria? http://www.worldhistoria.com/topic129265.html
  19. I'd echo Sonic's take on it. It's almost impossible for anyone in a high station to be as morally flawless as the Christian panegyrics/A would suggest, but B and nothing but B ignores the person underneath the power (unless he was a first order sociopath, he'd have a conscience like anyone else). How would you rationalise the points I made (particularly the 4th one) in favour of B, Caldrail?
  20. I spent a few weeks earlier in the year fulfilling a long-held ambition: I traveled to ancient Thracia in search of the Battle of Adrianople - a pivotal clash that had far-reaching consequences for both the Eastern and Western Empires. Tens of thousands of legionaries fell to Fritigern's Gothic horde somewhere near the city that gave its name to the battle. Yet to this day, nobody has successfully located the site of the battle. I'd love to say I solved the riddle... but it confounded me too, though I had great fun exploring and putting shape to the landscape I've read so much about. Here's all my pics, historical facts and theories: http://www.gordondoherty.co.uk/writeblog/thebattleofadrianople
  21. Hi All, I'm a bit late to the party here, but this is an interesting topic. Here's my tuppence on the Christian matter: When we consider Constantine's 'agenda' regarding Christianity, people tend to fall into one of two camps: A. He was a devout and kind Christian at heart or B. He was a cynical, power-hungry megalomaniac who harnessed Christianty to achieve his goals Like most matters, I believe we have to look for a certain shade of grey. Certainly, Christianity broke that glass ceiling of acceptance around the time of Constantine's rise to power, though whether there is causation or mere correlation between the two, we cannot say for sure (Constantine certainly helped Christianity along, but I'd argue that it had gathered such momentum that it would have risen to be the prominent faith even without him). What I have found from my investigations into his life and times (of which little is recorded) are a few details which paint a picture of a man who knew what he wanted and how to get it, but not without due respect and adherence to (possibly worship of) the Christian faith: 1) As most will know, his mother, Helena, was a devout Christian. Constantine was utterly devoted to her. Would such a loyal son be capable of a cynical power-grab, exploiting his mother's faith to help achieve control of the empire? Well, perhaps, the world is full of nasty people, but it did make me doubt the cynic theory, especially when you understand the depths of Constantine's love for his mother. 2) Constantine's father, Constantius, was a Mars-worshipper but Christian-tolerant. In fact he never allowed the Persecutions to take hold in the West during his reign there. 3) Constantine was tutored by Lactantius (about as devout a Christian as you'll get), so most probably had a full understanding of the faith. Thus, when he patronised the faith, it is unlikely that he did so in an unconsidered fashion or without a degree of deep reasoning. 4) This is the most telling one for me: Before Constantine forced himself into the Tetrarchy, he was offered the hand of Valeria, the daughter of Galerius' (at that time Caesar of the East). Now this would have seated him comfortably by Galerius' side and surely in the line of succession. But Constantine refused the offer and instead chose to wed Minervina, a relatively low-born Syrian Christian. By doing so, he not only rejected the chance of a huge step up in station, but also risked the wrath of Galerius and Diocletian - the Great Christian Persecutors.
  22. Gordopolis

    Searching for the Battle of Adrianople

    Ah, Mr. Hughes A.K.A. Sonic - delighted to meet you! A very big thanks for your excellent studies of the period. Valens and Adrianople certainly became a lot more colourful and 'real' in my imagination thanks to your work. As I mentioned in the article, your theory of the Goths hitting the Roman right made a lot of sense to me when I read it, and my visit to the sites of Demirhanli and Muratcali only strengthened my convictions. Would love to go back there, but the Syrian crisis really hit home around those parts just after we left (was really saddened to return home and see the pics on the news of the refugees streaming along the Edirne roads we had traveled - somewhat poignant as I was in the middle of writing about the wandering, homeless Gothic horde). Can you imagine what even a basic sweep with a detector might uncover? I reckon getting it on the plane to go over there might be just as big a challenge as actually getting a permit to do a sweep tho!
  23. Gordopolis

    Ancient Adrianople

    Another travelogue from my trip to Western Turkey last year: this time discussing my excursion to the ancient city of Adrianople (modern Edirne) http://www.gordondoherty.co.uk/writeblog/theancientcityofadrianople Commenting on my blog site is a bit of a pain, so happy to discuss here
  24. Gordopolis

    Walking through Constantinople

    I had the pleasure of spending a few weeks in Istanbul earlier this year, with the aim of seeking out as many late Roman & Byzantine ruins as possible. I explored the Sultanahmet district, finding ruins of the great palace, I walked along the land walls (imagining the Ottoman siege as I went), I toured the Imperial way and I ventured north into the Galata region, across the Golden Horn. Pics and snippets of all the historical finds here: http://www.gordondoherty.co.uk/writeblog/walkingthroughconstantinople Hope you like