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Everything posted by Virgil61

  1. Burgess is one of my favorite writers, has anyone read this one set in the empire of the 1st century A.D.?
  2. Virgil61

    History of Pontifex Maximus

    I don't know gilius, why even tackle that sort of silliness? If people want to be critical of Catholicism then fine, if they use historical nuttiness as part of their proof factual evidence won't change their opinions.
  3. Virgil61

    What if Roman Empire never fell?

    I've seen this before but only on the internet, honestly there isn't a contemporary historian worth his or her salt [at least none I'm aware of] who'd posit this as a thesis.
  4. The final vote was 95-2 for Petreaus' confirmation. It was never in doubt by anyone who followed it. Move-on.org failed miserably. To those of us in the know Petreaus' appointment a was a direct slap in the face to Cheney-Rumsfeld and their failed policies which left U.S. forces in Iraq woefully undermanned. I'll give GWB credit, he stopped listening to them after Petreaus' success.I'm a former psychological operations guy so using labels like agitprop and Goebbels towards the left (or right) leaves me pretty cold. P's downfall was just a stupid self-inflicted wound vis-a-vis women that many powerful males of any political stripe fall prey to. Pity we lost him. I think a lot of Civil War historians would disagree with Hanson if that description is correct. Sherman says he thought the war was effectively over after Vicksburg and Gettysburg but that the Southern leadership had gone beyond rationalism to fanaticism so the harder task of stamping it out to the end became necessary. Sherman's a great general and his memoirs are fascinating but he is by any measure a huge fan of Grant. I will find some time for this later.
  5. Thanks, I might watch it later. Not a fan of Hanson outside his field of expertise--the classical era. Ridgway is anyone's choice who does serious research on the Korean war. At a nuts & bolts level he brought a division commander's understanding of the use of combined arms & mutual support that Mac lacked. I'm in the middle of Sherman's memoirs coincidentally & find him an interesting choice. I don't think he (Sherman) would agree that Grant wasn't mentioned, he seems to have a real admiration for his qualities. Petreaus is someone I worked near when he was 101st CDR in Iraq; absolutely a good choice though Hanson misses having the insider's knowledge that might have put Odierno as the choice [maybe he mentions it I don't know]. After an obnoxious counter-productive start as the 4th Infantry Division's cdr he was a quick study and learned a lot about counter-insurgency operations, to his credit.
  6. I thought there were a lot of 17th century English words that survive in the general American dialect that are by and large extinct in Britain by or is that overstated?
  7. Virgil61

    What books DON'T you want to see?

    Cleopatra seems to be the focus of some recent biographies. Frankly I can't be bothered. Even when a favorite author like Adrian Goldsworthy puts out a bio I won't read it.
  8. Virgil61

    The British History Podcast

    Cool. Looks like some interesting episodes. It's also on itunes (for free) so I can download it and play it on my car's ipod dock for long drives (and they are all long drives where I live now).
  9. I haven't read the book. Out of curiosity who historically would you identify with either character? On another tangent I haven't watched the film Gone with the Wind in years but by coincidence I have the four-disc collector's edition that I got late last year and never watched. This reminds me that I need to watch it.
  10. I'll bite. For argument's sake Wilkes' attachment to 'honor' means nothing since the cause he tied himself to was essentially dishonorable on several levels but mainly that of the defense of the institution of slavery [Revisionists like to babble that the Civil War was about state's rights & not about slavery but that's frankly bs]. Strip away the romanticism of gentlemanly honor and you have someone who supports enslavement, treason and a class-based agrarian society like that of the antebellum South.
  11. Any war cry is about building oneself & one's comrades up as much if not more than trying to intimidate the enemy. I doubt that a barbarian's war cry had as much to do with the outcome of the Battle of Allia as the fact the Gauls vastly outnumbered the Roman army or that one wing of the army collapsed leaving the center and other wing exposed. The cries being so vivid are probably just remembered more. The question is misguided in my opinion. There are, certainly during the expansionist years of the Republic and Principate, certainly more examples of 'barbarians' utilizing war cries & being slaughtered by Roman soldiers than the other way around. The point about checking and rechecking keeping one busy is very valid but I'd also add it gives a sense of confidence as well that helps offset fear. I'd add one modern day example. Jumping out of airplanes at 800 to 1200 ft [300-400 meters] high is not a natural thing for a human being to do. The army trained us for two weeks on how to exit a [mock-up] aircraft, how to navigate down to the ground, what actions in the air you need to do if something bad happens (collision with other jumpers, chute problems, etc.) and how to land without injury. By the time you do your first jump out of an aircraft in the third week you're scared but also very confident of managing that jump and of utilizing the training if something goes wrong.
  12. The Russians themselves are overwhelmingly Christian (Orthodox). Non-Russian ethnic groups make up a large portion of the population which is where you find Islamic influence. Nineteenth-century Russia and the Soviet Union contained regions like Kazahkstan, Azerbijian, etc that are predominately Islamic [and are now independent nations]. Make no mistake about it, there were non-ethnic Russians in the Imperial army but it was officered and controlled in large part by Russians, to a lesser extent the same was true of the Red Army.
  13. It seems to be rendering fine on my ipad via safari and on my Kindle HD via silk. I have a Blackberry Playbook but can't check it since it's on the island of Kaui in Hawaii at the moment [with my brother]. Maybe I should fly out there to get it, anything for an excuse to visit Hawaii! I notice an RSS feed for blogs is fine but there is none for posts on the forum though it says so on the RSS link: "Ancient Roman Empire Forums Blogs RSS feed".
  14. Virgil61

    Historical uses of Rome as a guide

    It probably has, maybe a mod should move part of it? Anyway I'd add to your statement that austerity hasn't done much for EU nations that have tried it during this post financial bust period. Too further supply some data these figures [i apologize to the non-Yanks for using only US figures] show that in the postwar era whether we taxed the wealthiest at 90% or 70% [most of the 1950s], 50%, 40% or less GNP has grown, coincidentally some of the greatest growth rates were during periods where the top earners had the heaviest tax burden. Historic top marginal tax rates (U.S.): LINK Historic growth rate (U.S.): LINK The problem I have with much of the current economic thought [like that influenced by the Austrian School] is that it's less about actual data, macroeconomics or economics [as a science] but instead a morality play.
  15. Virgil61

    Historical uses of Rome as a guide

    Maybe it isn't needed but it's the method they chose to pick a president; http://constitution....fc/dfc_0719.htm Madison speaking of himself in his notes in the third person; ...He was disposed for these reasons to refer the appointment to some other source. The people at large was in his opinion the fittest in itself. It would be as likely as any that could be devised to produce an Executive Magistrate of distinguished Character. The people generally could only know & vote for some Citizen whose merits had rendered him an object of general attention & esteem. There was one difficulty however of a serious nature attending an immediate choice by the people. The right of suffrage was much more diffusive in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of the Negroes. The substitution of electors obviated this difficulty and seemed on the whole to be liable to fewest objections. States Rights wounded and maimed on the altar of the Civil War with Civil Rights the final coup de gr
  16. Virgil61

    'In our Time' BBC radio archive includes Roman topics

    Part-time and temporary jobs picking, and preparing vegetables are plentiful, and there are well documented issues with filling the labour demand from the local population - the perception is that no local would be prepared to work that hard for so little money, but given the sheer demand for labour, that can only be a small part of a very complex issue. Seems like similar to the problems we're having here merely insert "Mexicans" instead of Eastern Europeans. She certainly took a drubbing.
  17. Virgil61

    'In our Time' BBC radio archive includes Roman topics

    The latest "In Our Time" podcast deals with the Romulus and Remus myth w/Mary Beard, Tim Cornell and Peter Wiseman. Interestingly I just finished Beard's short but very satisfying "Rome in the Late Republic" (great bibliography) and have Wiseman's translation of Caesar's "Gallic Wars" on my bookshelf (that translation still unread). Googling apparently Mary Beard's been hammered online by a certain number of Brits this last week or so. You can subscribe to it on itunes in the podcast section here in the U.S. not sure about elsewhere.
  18. Virgil61

    Historical uses of Rome as a guide

    The demise of Latin and to a lesser extent Greek as the languages of the 'learned' has of course brought the demise of the study of the classical era. I think everyone understands that but it's a pity that one of the last things to hang on to is this America as Rome stuff. In the U.S. the Electoral College has been held up as a protection from 'mob democracy' (to me that's code for protection of the interests of a certain group) device. That is actually false. Madison and most of the Northern colonies pushed for direct voting of the president and could only get the Slave colonies to go along by the implementation of the Electoral College which took advantage of the 3/5 slave rule to 'bump' up their portion of the electoral voters. Madison records it in his Notes on the Constitutional Congress. Madison (& Hamilton) later had to publicly justify the EC--they did in the Federalist Papers--which is where the argument for mob rule thing came about. Such is how myths get made.
  19. Theoretically? Yes. In practice not so much. Micro-management from higher ranks is the bane of junior leaders in today's armies. Read his War in Gaul, he'll tell you himself how or why he had to rely on subordinates [especially when not in garrison mode]. Everyone seems to write a lot about Caesar appearing in person on the Roman lines to give soldiers heart but he shows that he's just as apt to depend on junior officers to achieve certain goals [or at least operate with some semblance of tactical/operational competence]. Gaul was a vast area and he needed to trust subordinates to manage legions and cohorts strung out piecemeal over the region. He depended heavily on Labienus as his second-in-command. He spells out how the legion under Labienus' orders flanked the Nervii after defeating their allies & noticing from a distance the Roman line was in trouble. It's political/propaganda aspects aside frankly there's no better snapshot available to us of one general's leadership style, use of subordinates, etc, then Caesar's War in Gaul. If you don't want to spend money on a newer translation the McDevitte one is available for free and still holds up I think and is free on Google books.
  20. Virgil61

    Many JSTOR Journal Archives Now Free to Public

    There was really no danger in Schwartz ever being given the full sentence. He was charged, among other things, with wire fraud a crime that is used to move drug money, defraud investors of millions, etc. which explains the heavy sentence. Informal sentencing guidelines used by judges would've suggested a very minimal sentence, I'm only guessing but probably under 2-3 years at worst. Judges are free to ignore guidelines but its unlikely in this case. Prosecutors can huff and puff and suggest anything they want but they don't determine the sentence or of course even the guilt of the party. I did a quick glance on Wikipedia and it stated his defense counsel had already gotten an informal agreement by the prosecutor to a plea bargain of 6 months prison time & he nearly had a plea bargain with no prison time but for the fact MIT--one of the victims--would not sign off on it (JSTOR btw did).
  21. Virgil61

    Many JSTOR Journal Archives Now Free to Public

    I think only recently--after years of being asked to do so--has Jstor offered independent scholars & the average layperson a chance at access [only a small % of major public libraries offer Jstor]. There is an argument some use--and I think Aaron Schwartz was part of this movement--that all academic knowledge should be made accessible to the public. I'm sympathetic to that concept, its dissemination add value to society in a way that entertainment [or art] via music and film don't.
  22. Virgil61

    Many JSTOR Journal Archives Now Free to Public

    Oh yes, I don't agree one bit with his methods (that it must be for free, because it should be free, because everything non physical should be free...in absurdum) or with what he did (and I might add that I have very little sympathy for film and music companies loosing money to pirates). It's not like researchers make a lot of money from their very hard work - fact is that you almost need to pay people to publish you. I actually even doubt jStore makes that much money to be honest. Even so, threatening him with such a draconian punishment (35 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines) that he committed suicide, what's the point really? I think the federal prosecutor was a bit overzealous here but in reality it's doubtful he would have been sentenced--if found guilty--anywhere near 35 years in prison. Apparently he had suffered from serious depression in the past, that coupled with the stress of a trial was more than the poor guy could handle. I'm not in support of stealing but I also feel little sympathy for film and music companies, the artists are a different story. I've got two thousand or more vinyl albums, cds & even tapes that record companies have overcharged while giving artists in general only a small % of the profit.
  23. Virgil61

    Many JSTOR Journal Archives Now Free to Public

    I'm not sure about elsewhere but in the U.S. some public libraries (Portland OR, NYC & Austin TX for example) have online access to JSTOR which you can access via proxy from home.
  24. Indeed it's 1/3 a ways down the country from the Alps. Furthermore it's on the Adriatic (east coast) rather than the west coast LIgurian or Tyyhenian Seas which were nearer the probable route of march entrance from the mountain passes. The Roman response was ad hoc rather than a meticulous plan with one consul doing an overnight forced march to join armies with the other consul