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Trajan last won the day on August 3 2014

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  1. I'm working on a paper and I need some help. I'm writing about Latin authors who discuss the beginning of Augustus' reign, and I need suggestions on early-mid 1st-Century texts that deal with this subject. I already have Velleius Paterculus. Particular passages would be lovely. Thanks!
  2. Who do you think Suetonius thought was the best of the Emperors he wrote about? Please disregard Julius Caesar (due to his never being Emperor), Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Titus (due to the brevity of their reigns) in your answer.
  3. Trajan

    What's the last book you read?

    I'm reading the Simon Scarrow books. They're quite good, with mostly accurate historical facts and good stories. The characters are excellent. Has anyone read "Roma" by Steven Saylor? It looks like an interesting concept, but before I buy it I would like to know if its any good.
  4. I'm currently writing on essay on how Roman politicians used positions in the army (legate, tribune, etc...) to further their political careers, but I've been unable to find many primary sources. My thesis is that serving in the army allowed patricians to gain the favor of soldiers (which was a necessity for becoming anyone) and allowed them to use their service and possible accomplishments as a way to sway public opinion towards them. My writing encompasses both the Republic and the Empire, as I'm trying to show how the usage of the army changed over time. Any suggestions would be very helpful. Thanks, Trajan
  5. Pankration was practiced by the Greek ethnic auxiliary units, but not formally, and was never really adopted by the legions. Plutarch mentions hand-to-hand combat, but that can be interpreted as any one of many forms of hand-to-hand, least of all simple boxing and wrestling. The Romans carried their pugio, which was definitely used when CQC was at hand, probably more so than any hand-to-hand. In addition, the lorica would have made any type of grappling form like pankration imprudent. Josephus also wrote about how Roman soldiers tended to subdue and capture rebels by throwing them to the ground, but he does not elaborate on any sort of practiced martial art.
  6. Trajan

    Bubonic Plague

    The only thing I can suggest are the writings of Procopius. He's really the last major historian before literature fell into the "dark ages." He's also considered one of the best historians for anything Byzantine, as he recorded much of the happenings during the reign of Justinian. Seeing as this time period coincided with the first outbreak of the Bubonic Plague, Procopius may be useful to you. You might also want to look for some Chinese sources, as China was the focal point for every major outbreak of the Bubonic Plague. Some good ones to check out are Sima Guang's Chart of Successive Years and some of the Twenty Four Histories. I don't know if they contain any info on the Bubonic Plague, but they are contemporary to the time you're researching. Hope that's useful.
  7. Trajan

    Politics in the Circus

    While the Circus races themselves weren't that important, the Roman politicians used the chariot teams as a way to further their social agenda in an enclosed circle. By joining a certain faction's supporters, they were able to guarantee themselves support from those supporters. Meijer's Chariot Racing in the Roman Empire is a good resource if you're interested in the circus. I agree with Maty that it's a little disorganized, but Meijer has some good points and it certainly addresses your question. You should also read Porphyrius the Charioteer by Alan Cameron. It's a good book that addresses many aspects of Chariot Racing in the 5th and 6th centuries CE.
  8. Throughout many ancient cultures the importance of hygiene was recognized. That doesn't mean that the techniques used in treating patients were especially modern. It wasn't so much the influence of religion, but the methods of treatment and the procedures. In the field, many soldiers needed to be treated from various training injuries or other afflictions. Because of the constant stream of patients, many of the medical instruments were used on a series of different people before being cleaned. Without vaccines or any way to really treat infections or contagious viruses medically there was no way to prevent the spread of these contagions. You're right in the modern parallel of purpose built hospitals, but any culture without infinite soldiers had these. It was necessary to keep your soldiers on their feet and fighting. They were a valuable resource, and letting them die would be a major problem. The Spartans are one of the few cultures I can think of that did not use medicine on their soldiers, instead preferring them to die in battle than from another medical condition. But because the Roman empire was centered around conquest, and they did not have unlimited resources to draw soldiers from, keeping their men healthy was of the utmost importance.
  9. The Romans believed that the gods had sent them to the world for the sole purpose of conquering everything. Possibly towards the end of the 4th century, it became conceivable that the empire would indeed end one day. But earlier, in the 1st and 2nd centuries, it would never have even crossed their minds that the empire would do anything save conquer the world.
  10. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Lived here all my life. I don't really like the city, I find it noisy and kind of dirty, but still a city with some of the best museums in the country and some very important American History.
  11. I picked Trajan because he is the emperor I find most interesting due to his being multi-faceted. He was a great soldier and general, as well as social and economical reform.
  12. Trajan

    Not originally Swiss

    I bet tools like this were used by legionaries in the field. Anyone know if this is the only one currently known, or have others been found?
  13. I agree that the Romans were uninhibited- just look at every door in Pompeii. Their are relatively graphic fertility symbols on every house foundation.
  14. Trajan

    What's the last Roman site you visited?

    There are no restrictions for visiting Turkey or Jordan and both countries have very good greek and roman sites besides the ones you mention like Byzantium, Ephesus, Side in Turkey and Gerasa in Jordan. I've been many times in Turkey and there are still lots of classical sites I did not get to see including Antioch. Does British Museum counts as a roman site? That was my last visit. Unfortunately for me, my circumstances (I'm Jewish) make me sort of afraid to go to the Middle East.