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About tbrookside

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  1. tbrookside

    The Fall of the Republic

    CLAIM: In 133 BC, the republic started illegally seizing land from the rich and redistributing it to the poor. I would argue that this is a mischaracterization of the dispute. The lands seized from defeated powers were almost always treated as public lands, and were then leased for income to wealthy Romans. One problem with this practice was that it meant that Rome's public lands in effect became the property of only those Romans who were cash-rich enough to lease them. Another property with this practice was that it favored system insiders who manipulated the leasing system to get the best lands for themselves at favorable rates. The land reforms proposed by the Gracchi would have saved the Republic if they had actually been successful. After the fall of Rome, Byzantium solved its land-ownership problems by breaking the backs of the landlord class and undertaking successive land reforms not very different from what the Gracchi proposed - and Constantinople stood for 1000 years more than Rome as a result. I think Beck is blinded by the "poor people vs. rich people" aspect of the public lands dispute, and immediately jumps in on the side of the aristocracy by reflex. Taking the Gracchi's side would actually be even more useful to the just-so story he's trying to tell - it would be very, very easy to depict the enemies of the Gracchi as profiteering politicians trying to loot the public lands for themselves, in the manner of machine politicians of the modern era. CLAIM: Octavian refused to be called Caesar. I think this is a fairly harmless error on Beck's part. I think he meant to say that Augustus never called himself Emperor. His point appears to be that Augustus was an emperor who never called himself one, and founded an imperial dynasty while pretending to restore Republican forms. And that's certainly true. The political value to Octavian of the Caesar cognomen is a little too inside-baseball for Beck.
  2. tbrookside

    Why Rome didn't conquer Ireland?

    Wasn't there a seamanship-related issue that led a lot of seaborne trade from Britain and northern Gaul to be routed through anchorages in southern Ireland? It seems like this particular geography "mistake" is pretty common in ancient and medieval histories, and I was under the impression that it was due to the fact that on trading itineraries Ireland was "between" Britain and Spain.
  3. Hey Caldrail, Good stuff. I wanted to just look at this point at the moment. I agree with you that is the most likely. The excavators do not yet mention fighting at this point, but only as an area the romans massed prior to assaulting the Germans on the hill top. But the Legionaries massing alone does not seem to explain so many hob-nails coming loose here. So far I can only think of 3 possibilities. - The Germans made an assault on the Romans who were formed at the bottom of the slope first. Hand to hand fighting is a bit of a misnomer as combatants kick as much as anything else, and plenty of sandal nails could come loose then. Very possible. - It was, or had been raining, and the Legionaries scraped the mud off the soles of their sandals (removing some nails) prior to their assault uphill, as they formed at the bottom. Possible - The Legionaries stamped their feet in some sort of chanting prior to making the assault. Unlikely. Would the nails have had to come loose? If casualties fell there, couldn't the nails be the remains of sandals that biodegraded over time?
  4. tbrookside

    Who would you like to meet most?

    Well, if we can tell people things, and not just ask questions, I would tell Caesar to beware the Ides of March. And who knows? Maybe I already did. I'd also be tempted to tell Publius Quinctilius Varus that he might want to send out some scouts.
  5. I'd like to thank UNRV for their gracious review. It looks like JGolomb was also kind enough to post a review at Amazon - thanks, sir! Those really help get the book in front of more Amazon customers. And I really appreciate the feedback as well. It's not Roman-themed, but I have a new "historical horror" novel that just came out on July 1 that you might find interesting as well. The Last Days of Jericho is set in the Bronze Age and reimagines certain Old Testament episodes as an apocalyptic monster horror tale. This is a great site, and I'm happy to have found out about it!