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Everything posted by Virgil61

  1. Virgil61

    A new parallel lives

    I was thinking of Cato the Younger and either Thatcher or Reagan.
  2. Virgil61

    Psychology of Legionnaries

    Googling I found a few, surprisingly more than I thought existed. A lot of them seem to use characters from ancient literature such as Juvenal and Aristophenes and those below. I went ahead and ordered the three books below, they look intriguing enough. Guess they'll go in my book queue. Melchior, A. 'Caesar in Vietnam: Did Roman soldiers suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?' Greece & Rome 58.2 (2011). Philippe J. Birmes, Psychtraumatology in Antiquity, Stress and Health Vol 26 issue 1 ]2001] Menachem Ben-Ezra, Traumatic Reactions from Antiquity to the 16th century: was there a common denominator?, Stress and Health Vol 27 Issue 3 [2010] Another classicist's commentary on the above article and others; http://drjonathaneat...roman-army.html Lawrence Tritle, From Melos to My Lai: War and Survival Jonathan Shay, Achilles in Vietnam Compares and analyzes scenes from the Illiad with the experience in Vietnam. Jonathan Shay, Odysseus in America Uses the Odyssey and Vietnam to compare homecomings.
  3. Virgil61

    A new parallel lives

    If we didn't use an exact match--being a general, politician, whatever--and dealt simply with the affect one had on their era [which I think is the Caesar/Jobs comparison] what Roman or Greek do we pair with Gandhi? Is it even possible.
  4. Virgil61

    Psychology of Legionnaries

    They are symptoms of PTSD by the definition and criteria used here in the states by the Veterans Admin hospitals. The definition is--to be honest--very broad. By the criteria in the link below it's possible some suffered, by your criteria above of classic 'combat shock' it's almost certain they didn't. Note: I should add this is the same DSM-IV is used to diagnose PTSD in spousal & child abuse cases. I've used the same criteria when I do pro-bono for veterans navigating admin courts to get resolution on disabilities. Here is the criteria used by the VA from the DSM-IV: LINK Of course the topic is just speculation not historical fact. As long as one understands the difference no harm, no foul.
  5. Virgil61

    A new parallel lives

    Interesting choice, on reflection it makes sense. Off the top of my head; Nixon/Pompey T. Gracchus/JFK G.Gracchus/Robert Kennedy
  6. Virgil61

    When a Marxist Does Roman History

    To be clear I have not listened to the podcast but I have read Parenti's Assassination of Julius Caesar, a few years ago now. I think Marxist viewpoints aren't as common in U.S. academia as much as left-wing viewpoints are [there is a difference]. There are a few academics here on UNRV who are closer to it and might chime in their opinions. One of the greatest historians of our age--who happened to be Marxist--just passed away a few weeks back. Not a classical scholar but of the (mostly) European industrial era of the 19th century Eric Hobsbawm - OBITS: Telegraph- The Economist- NY Times . I've read his Age of Revolutions, Age of Capital and Age of Empire [Age of Extremes is good but not in their class] which were excellent takes on economic and social histories of Western Europe, even if I didn't buy into everything. I view it [Marxist historical analysis] as just one of many angles to view history from. Like all things some good analysis can be garnered from it as well as some bad [EDIT: as Melvadius' last para states].
  7. Virgil61

    When a Marxist Does Roman History

    Not at all. I think it's a function of your own political beliefs (or anyone's for that matter). There's actually some notable Marxist influenced scholarship of the classical era--GEM de Ste. Croix is one standout who focused on the Greeks (I've got several of his journal articles). Even Mommsen the only Nobel prize-winning classical historian has some left leaning opinions on Caesar and his era. Parenti's book got a couple of rather positive reviews by classicists who thought he stirred up some thought provoking questions [Richard Billows and I can't recall the other's name right now]. There's a lot to criticize with Parenti but he also highlights a point of view that's been overlooked by the 'smoking jacket' school of classical history. Nothing at all is wrong with a class analysis within reason. It's not a perfect history and I wouldn't recommend it as a starting point but it provokes some thought in an otherwise relatively fallow area of recent scholarship (late antiquity seems to be the 'hot' era). Caesar as a proponent of the Plebes and his dictator period passing of laws lenient towards debtors and land reform opens himself up to those interpretations. He can be criticized as an opportunist but that doesn't negate every bit of analysis anymore than pointing out that self-interest for his class and not patriotism was a function of Cato's posturing.
  8. Virgil61

    Psychology of Legionnaries

    Thats exactly why I necroed this thread a year after the last post was made. This post should show my questions. http://www.unrv.com/...post__p__122459 I've had, unfortunately, extensive experience with PTSD, those who are diagnosed with suffering from it & am acquainted with docs treating it at the VA PTSD clinic in Seattle where the returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are beginning to flood the place. It's not as simple as sudden noises and surprises (though that can certainly be a part of it; think WWI & bombardment in the trenches coupled with the chance nature of getting hit). One thing that's common among those returned from Iraq and Afghanistan isn't so much the intensity but the sustained hyper-awareness, adrenalin, etc., needed to conduct constant daily operations for 12 month deployments. Most pre-modern armies had a more rythmic (for lack of a better word) tempo of ops; winter quarters, spring campaign season and so on. The classic Hollywood/popular concept of a shell-shocked troop unable to go back to the front is only the most extreme case. Most diagnosed with it can cope with combat well enough and it's only after returning to home station that it 'kicks in'. Being unable to fit back into civilian society or maintain a 'normal' human relationships (usually with spouse, civilian friends or family) seems to be the main kind of symptom along a spectrum of mild-moderate-even moderate/severe cases. I'm only guessing but I'd imagine there were a few of what we'd diagnose as PTSD in legions--maybe as a result of some traumatic survival of a near-route, losing most of your comrades in battle or perhaps subjected to a sustained siege--but many of the symptoms like anger and hyper-violence would have fit in with the rougher nature of their era so as not to have made it as distorted a set of behaviors as it does in our time.
  9. Virgil61

    Historian VS Economists

    I don't know enough about economics to comment with any authority, but are you sure? Murray Rothbard was important in articulating the Austrian school. And Ludwig von Mises is still respected and studied. And Friedrich A. Hayek's arguements are still cited as a counterweight to the manipulations of Keynesian ecomonics (central governmental planning, cheap money, etc.). They're certainly popular among the far-right and they've all added something to the field but their contributions and influence pale in comparison to the Keynsians or "monetarists" from the Chicago school. Few economists believe in Rothard's suggestion that we end the Fed, return to the gold standard, close the US Mint and end government backing of deposits or of banks in general, in fact quite a few would say it borders on the insane. I've taken graduate level micro and macro economics as well as an econometrics class (never again) and I've never heard or read any of these guys (and I know who they are) more than maybe in passing at that level. There's a good argument to be made that the recent mess highlighted how unprepared the Austrian school would have been either to prevent it or to successfully recover from it. I subscribe to about fifteen blogs by economists and I haven't found that any have 're-evaluated' it for the better or the worse. Those who support it still do, those who think it can make some contributions still feel the same and those who think it's filled with a lot of bunk still think it is.
  10. Virgil61

    Historian VS Economists

    You got that reversed, Krugman--a Noble Prize winning economist--said that Fergusan "hasn't bothered to understand the basics of economics...". Ferguson started out as a promising historian but he's become a bit of a pandering hack. I've read a few of his histories and found a lot of contradictions & poor analysis mixed up with some admittedly pretty good stuff.
  11. Virgil61

    What's the last book you read?

    Just finished The Generals: The American Military Command from WWII to Today by Thomas Ricks. Very good look at the US Army and how it treats its leadership at the very top. The portion about Gen Marshall and how his management style influenced the Army in later years is very revealing as is the portion about the unfortunate consequences of decisions personnel, training and strategy made prior to the Korean War. Ricks is a good guide, his book Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2003-2005 is about as close to the truth on the occupation during those years as one can find from my firsthand experience in that hell-hole. EDIT: I should add that I'm right in the middle of Caesar's Conquest of Gaul by TC Rice written in 1899. Rice retells the story of Caesars conquest quite well. Most of the first chapter which describe the civilization of the Gauls among other things has been eclipsed by new knowledge and can be easily bypassed. It's as good as any retelling of the conquest of Gaul as I've read, certainly as good as JFC Fuller's flawed analysis. Unlike Fuller Rice doesn't have an almost visceral hatred of Caesar that clouds his historical analysis. Even with the flaws due to updated archaeological and historical discoveries since 1899 I recommend it. I bought a paperback reprint simply because I like writing in margins and highlighting (which I can't do on my Kindle) but it's available for free online.
  12. My humor seems to have fallen flat, I won't quit my day job. Anyway I'd love to watch other members do the same, easier for the Y'rpeans of course, not a lot of Roman ruins in the U.S.
  13. Good lord I know better than saying British...egg on my face. In my defense I've just finished some Sharpe's TV episodes in a marathon viewing session, I blame Daragh O'Malley's SGT Harpur character for confusing me temporarily.
  14. You are kidding, right?! I didn't mean to be hurtful, I was merely trying to help you get rid of that funny accent. We have English as a Second Language classes all over the U.S. I encourage all Brits to attend... ...Virgil...running away dodging stones...
  15. Virgil61

    American Soldiers Rape of French and German High

    The second isn't an article but a letter. Anyone who's read a number of memoirs or even seen Saving Private Ryan or knows the story of Band of Brothers is aware that GIs often killed German or Japanese prisoners. Soldiers aren't angels, when is that news? To turn the argument around a bit I could care less about German or Japanese victims, by 1945 their nations had killed tens of millions of Chinese, Filipinos, Jews, Slavs & Gypsy civilians or caused the deaths of tens of millions of others etc., just for being who they were. I don't buy into the fiction that just because they weren't Nazi party members or were drafted or---name your argument--that they are innocents. Some of the most brutal massacres were committed by Wehrmacht units and tens if not hundreds of thousands of civilians were systematically shot by German police battalions (called up police reservists) made up of non-party members.
  16. Outstanding stuff, thank you. Pity English isn't your first language...
  17. Really an amazing find. Best visit soon. Cats or not I'm afraid some UNRV members (and you know who you are!) might make a special trip to urinate on any commemoration which condemns Caesar's murder.
  18. I think they (or at least geneticists) have been doing it for a couple of decades. Luigi Cavalli-Sforza is the main one I'm thinking of and he's been at it since the 80s I think. Genes, Peoples and Languages is one example. I'm wonder if docoflove can give an insight into how valuable (or not) this research has been.
  19. Virgil61

    Art: Gaius Marius amid the Ruins of Carthage

    I'd think Catiline would be the more accurate comparison. I can't imagine Jefferson, the great anti-federalist opponent, being relegated to the second rank regarding a Marius-Sulla analogy. [in any matter the analogy goes only so far, federalist followers didn't slaughter thousands of Jeffersonians (
  20. Virgil61

    Roman Families, Where They Went

    Wow, good to see you back. Last time I dealt with you I sent you a package to Iraq and you disappeared from UNRV (and so did I for a while). It was kind of worrisome. Good to see you're alive and about.
  21. Virgil61

    bologna quake damage?

    I have a cousin at the University of Bologna. She started at University of L'Aquila of all places and was there during that quake. I'm in the opposite camp I suppose, the Italian city-states & communes of the 11th-15th centuries strike me as a fascinating subject.
  22. Vidal was an irritating SOB but one hell of a writer & a real public intellectual. For better or for worse he spoke what he thought was the truth and to hell with everyone else. His rivalries with Wm Buckley, Norman Mailer and Truman Capote were epic and I use that term for their sheer entertainment value. I wouldn't let his persona influence whether you read him or not, Julian is very much worth a read. I remember Mailer really rubbed me the wrong way for similar reasons but I finally broke down and read The Naked and the Dead a couple of years ago. I'm very glad I did. Although I wouldn't want this discussion to degenerate into a right vs left political argument, I find it interesting that many of the modern "conservative" pundits think that these ideas came from the Bible, and that the US government is based primarily on Judeao-Christian principles. I brought this up on a previous thread: http://www.unrv.com/...ding+%2Bfathers And here's a good book that supports the notion of the Greco-Roman world contributing to our form of government: http://www.amazon.co...s/dp/0742556247 Looks like a fine book on the connections to Greece and Rome. The linkage between Polybius and the framers has been written about quite often throughout our history though I think the average person on the streets here in the U.S. isn't clued in on the connection. To bring it back to topic a book like Julian, aimed at the larger reading public, makes a certain percentage of them reach for a Roman history book, Julian's writings or even a Livy or Polybius. All in all a good thing I think.
  23. I read Julian years ago, sometime in the late 80s I think, and remember it being quite good. I may have to reread it. I certainly recommend it for anyone interested in this era. As an aside Vidal's Lincoln was an excellent read as well.
  24. For the sake of argument even if it did reach a technological and social plateau the aftermath of its fall wasn't a picnic for a few centuries after. Let's remember up until Dominitian's reforms and especially in the Principate local cities and towns in the West continued to hold elections for local officials. That seems to have continued at least up until the 3rd century when things started to go south. Probably not a what we Americans would call "Norman Rockwell" style local politics but still a semblance of democratic activity. I think one could forge an argument there was social evolution of sorts and it was an incredibly unique contribution. The extension of the right of citizenship from first city, to Latins to Italians to Gauls and then empire-wide regardless of culture was certainly a social evolution of sorts, one that's stands out. Especially for most of the modern English speaking countries today that seems to have become the standard to varying degrees. There's more than you might think. Stocism seems to be the big contribution philosophically (taken from the Greeks but with a pretty healthy contribution from Seneca, Epictetus and even Marcus Aurelius. While they aren't popular today they had a strong influence on early Christianity. Virgil, Ovid, Horace, Lucan, Juvenal and Apuleius--to name a few writers--for centuries influenced Western Civilization. Up until the last century and a half hardly any European who considered themselves educated had not read at least one of them. Galen was the standard for medicine until the Renaissance and greatly influenced Islamic doctors of the era. I think I'd dispute that architecture isn't part of a legacy of culture works of art. The Colosseum & Pantheon are impressive architecture. Though he wrote the Prince Machiavelli spent vastly more time on his Discourses on Livy. That's probably overstating it. Works on a grand scale perhaps. From what I've gathered from archaeological & classical journal articles until the end of the Principate in many cities and towns of the Western empire local municipal positions were held by influential (and usually rich) men who contributed to public works, development of their city, etc. I think there's such a passage of time between the fall of the Western Empire to the Renaissance it's impossible to really make a guess with much accuracy. Fun to speculate. The Eastern empire was financially, intellectually and socially ahead of the West for several centuries but got so bound up in simple survival they don't make for a very good comparison say after the 12th/13th century or so. On the other hand the effects of the Roman model of governance given to us by Livy and Polybius and of behavior by Plutarch among others were immense. Without classical literature and history to go by I can't imagine the city-states of late Medieval or Renaissance Italy being the same. The ideas of republicanism, good administration and so on were pretty firmly rooted in their readings of the classical era. I see more the influence by Roman civilization throughout European history stronger than any other force except Christianity until modern times. I apologize that I couldn't figure out how to shoehorn Hitler, Obama and U.S. constitutional law into the discussion.