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Everything posted by Virgil61

  1. Virgil61

    It's AD 455 all over again!!

    LINK Rome monuments attacked by vandals By David WilleyBBC News, RomeThree historic monuments have been attacked by vandals in the Italian capital, Rome. In the first attack, a man was caught on security cameras chipping two pieces off a marble statue on a fountain in the Piazza Navona. Hours later tourists watched as a man threw a rock at the famous Trevi Fountain in the centre of the city. Police then said they caught an American student scaling a wall of the Colosseum to chip off pieces of marble. SouvenirsThe fountain in the Piazza Navona is a 19th Century reproduction of a much earlier group of statues - now in a museum for safekeeping. It was not seriously damaged. Police say the attacker could be the same individual who threw the rock at the Trevi monument - of Three Coins in the Fountain movie fame. He missed, but his image was also captured on a security camera. Police said the American student caught scaling the wall of the ancient Roman amphitheatre had been trying to chip away pieces of travertine marble to take home as souvenirs. Rome's fragile art heritage is under attack by a new army of vandals - the name originally given to the invaders who first sacked the city and destroyed many of its monuments 15 centuries ago. Part of an Egyptian obelisk brought to Rome 2,000 years ago has just been covered in graffiti. Despite the installation of 1,200 security cameras in central Rome and more frequent police patrols, protecting the Italian capital's artistic treasures is proving an increasingly difficult task in an age of mass tourism and government budget cuts.
  2. Virgil61

    Politics in the Circus

    (It's probably too late but maybe it'll help someone else.) I've got a copy of 'Bread and Circuses': Euergetism and municipal patronage in Roman Italy - Routledge Classical Monographs. I've never done anything more than crack it open to peruse through it. About a dozen essays on the subject by several scholars. Seems more geared towards the Principate then the Republic but looks like it might address some of the topic.
  3. Virgil61

    Any recommendations on the Gracchi?

    Thanks. I think Scullard's is a 'general history of' type for Rome not an in depth study, but I've seen it around so much I might pick it up. I have the Beesley book (its free on gutenberg). I somehow missed the Stockton book, its circa 1980 or so but worth a try. Pity nothing more contemporary (though I do have a few dozen journal articles). Scullard's book is definitely worth having on your book shelf, a good book but you won't learn anything new about the Gracchi that you don''t already know, but David Stockton's book is solely dedicated to the Gracchi so this book probably fits your criteria, it's quite old and dated though and is also a bit pricey too, but I did pick up a reasonably priced used copy on Amazon. So it might be worth shopping around a bit. Picked up used copy of Scullard yesterday. I also got BH Liddel Hart's Scipio Africanus; Greater Then Napoleon, Mommsen's History of Rome (Republican period), Hannibal by L. Cottrell, Sallust and The World of the Citizen in the Roman Republic. Sorry I didn't use the UNRV Amazon thingy but I go to Powell's books often, its one of the two or three largest (and still independent) bookstores in the world with new and used books side by side. They're hurting financially (just laid off 30 people) so I try to support independent bookstores over chains (and a Portland institution) whenever possible [and let's face it impulse buying plays a part]. Their classics section is literally forty feet of everything from the complete Loeb Latin and Greek to Aeschylus & Arrian through Pliny & Xenophon (new and used).
  4. Virgil61

    Any recommendations on the Gracchi?

    Not much out there outside of Plutarch and journal articles .
  5. Virgil61

    Gutenberg Books in PDF

    V, I think you posted a truncated version. Only the first few pages consisting of Gutenberg administrative intro stuff are there and no Josephus.
  6. Virgil61

    Any recommendations on the Gracchi?

    Thanks. I think Scullard's is a 'general history of' type for Rome not an in depth study, but I've seen it around so much I might pick it up. I have the Beesley book (its free on gutenberg). I somehow missed the Stockton book, its circa 1980 or so but worth a try. Pity nothing more contemporary (though I do have a few dozen journal articles).
  7. Virgil61

    Gutenberg Books in PDF

    This is really outstanding, much more readable than Gutenberg in the raw. Why they don't re-format from Courier into a more readable font I'll never understand. I always feel like I'm reading some mimeographed government document from the 80s with Courier.
  8. I'm glad to see you agreeing on the point that 'context' is important, which neatly supports Virgil61's pointing up that everyone may have something to bring to a discussion. This isn't our first rodeo on this issue. In context this essay was posted in the academia forum because it's about an academic writing on ancient military history. Hansen's lament on the lack of historians or classicists with military backgrounds is specific in that it concerns academia not internet forums vis-a-vis ancient military history. It's about bringing a particular point of view that contributes a piece to the puzzle. Trained historians and classicist always bring in something they have knowledge of in their analysis (ex; Hansen's expertise as a farmer influencing his writing). If one is speaking about poster's on an internet forum then it's hard to disagree with Caldrail; there are far too many 'parakiller90' on awesomebattles.com to take seriously. Hansen--and me quoting him--on the other hand is talking about historians and classicists where trained professionals contribute to the overall puzzle that historical inquiry tries to solve or at least explain. Anyway the issue is only one paragraph (and one offhand comment by me) on a lengthy essay by one of the best--or at least influential--ancient military historians alive today. It'd be a pity to let it get sidetracked on this issue alone. Anyone with an interest in ancient military history should at least give it a read.
  9. An interesting overview of ancient military history in academia from a 1999 issue of the Journal of Military History written by Victor David Hanson. Dated but still some good discussion. He's a Stanford trained Fresno State (of all places) professor of their classics department. He's without a doubt the most famous living historian of ancient warfare, at least in the U.S. His (very conservative) political writings in National Review account for much of it. Still I think any historian of ancient warfare should at least be aware of his writings. He has a lot to say on the interplay between ancient warfare and culture in the Greek states which he'd claim has had a major influence on the way the West has waged war since then (from the Roman to modern times). Whether you agree or not his histories are an interesting read. Here are some excerpts from his article circa 1991. The Status of Ancient Military History: Traditional Work, Recent Research, and On-going Controversies (FULL ARTICLE HERE). Victor Davis Hanson The Journal of Military History Vol. 63, Iss. 2 I. General FORMAL study of Greek and Roman warfare in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was mostly the domain of pragmatic German academics and officers, who concentrated on broad questions of tactics and strategy, arguing over purely military or political issues often in direct reference to their own experiences and the general challenges of the contemporary German army. The studies of Delbruck, Kromayer and Veith, Bauer, and Kochly and Rustow have now been almost entirely superseded by the work of modern English, American, and French classical scholars who have integrated ancient war with larger economic and social interests arising from recent archaeological and epigraphical discoveries, if at times enhanced by comparative analyses from the social sciences. This trend, while generally positive, has not been altogether without problems. Given the changing nature of war in the technological age, the general end of conscription in most European countries and America, and the growing material and ideological distance between soldiers and professors, it is unlikely in our lifetime that we shall see another generation of ancient military historians-as represented, for example, by N. G. L. Hammond or W. K. Pritchett-whose military service lent firsthand, common sense to their scholarship. Ancient military history in that sense is no different from general military history. ... No comparable scholarly study exists for Roman warfare-not surprising if we remember that there is a millennium of history from the early Republic to the end of Empire, in a geographic area ranging from Scotland to the Middle East, and Germany to North Africa. Thousands of archaeological sites are published in over a dozen modern European languages; hundreds of thousands of inscriptions and coins and a vast corpus of Greek and Latin literature have still not been adequately surveyed, much less incorporated into general scholarly histories. Roman military history is simply much more difficult to master in any comprehensive sense than that of the Greeks. Perhaps the best place to start to become acquainted with the primary sources are the summaries of E. Birley, The Roman Army: Papers, 1929-86 (Amsterdam: J. C. Gieben,1988); J. Gilliam, Roman Army Papers (Amsterdam: J. C. Gieben, 1986); and M. Speidel's superb ongoing Roman Army Studies, vols. 1-2 (Amsterdam: J. C. Gieben, 1984-92). For the Roman Republic, there are now more recent introductory books that supplement F. E. Adcock's The Roman Art of War under the Republic (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1940), and H. M. D. Parker's The Roman Legions, 2d ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971). While there are differing approaches in L. Keppie, The Making of the Roman Army (Totowa, N.J.: Barnes and Noble, 1984) and J. Harmand, L'Armee et le soldat a Rome de 107 e 50 avant notre ere (Paris: A. J. Picard et Cie, 1967), both take up the same theme of the gradual professionalization of the legions as public armies became imperial standing forces. Keppie has an especially useful and well-organized bibliography. The nineteenth-century thesis that the growth of the Empire and a professional army evolved into an ever more insidious relationship-more annexed territory demanded more professional troops, who required more pay and thus more taxation on ever more territory-may have been shown at times to be overly simplistic, but its general truth has still not really been questioned. For the warring of the Empire itself, inexpensive versions of older editions-some revised, some not-have now appeared; see, for example, G. Webster, The Roman Imperial Army, 3d ed. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998) and G. R. Watson, The Roman Soldier (London: Thames & Hudson, 1983). Both cover the main issues of armament, pay, tactics, strategy, and the political ramifications of professional troops, if giving us less information on how the legions actually fought. A still useful and very readable survey for the general reader is M. Grant's The Army of the Caesars (New York: Scribner, 1974), which emphasizes the great cost of the imperial legions. A similar introductory, more recent account with wonderful illustrations of a variety of Roman military practices is Y Le Bohec, The Imperial Roman Army (London: Batsford, 1994). The organization per se of the legions is treated more from an archaeological point of view by M. Junklemann, Die Legionem des Augustus (Mainz am Rhein: P. von Zabern, 1991). All these volumes-despite the titles-share a similar emphasis on military organization, logistics, armament, tactics, and strategy, with less concern about the actual conditions of battle. For the general reader interested in a more battle-oriented approach, John Keegan is currently editing a multivolume history of warfare, which seeks to redirect emphasis to the soldiers in the ranks. Books in that series on Greece (V. Hanson) and Rome (A. Goldsworthy) are now in press and will appear in 1999. There are four chapters devoted to ancient warfare with plentiful illustrations (three chapters by V. Hanson from Mycenae to the third century A.D., one by B. Bachrach from 300 A.D. onward) in Geoffrey Parker's edited Cambridge Illustrated History of Warfare (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995). K. Raaflaub and N. Rosenstein have edited a forthcoming collection of articles on war before the industrial revolution in a number of different cultures (War and Society [Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 19991), which emphasizes cultural commonalties about conflict, without unduly emphasizing the lethality of Western warfare. LINK to full article.
  10. If you aren't acquainted with In Our Time it's host Melvyn Bragg who usually hosts three experts in a field and peppers them with questions the average educated person might throw at them. Each week a different topic from Relativity to The Jesuits to Greek playwrights. Real food for the brain. Minoan Civilizaton
  11. I've noticed that and its really a shame, I admit I don't care for his politics. Some of the political tit-for-tat battles he's had have been exceptionally nasty. I like his argument that the military history in general lacks those with military experience (as a veteran with a history degree of course I'm biased) anymore but glad he realizes that others bring something to the table as well. If nothing else I recommend the article for his mentions of whom he considers sound authors and their writings on ancient military history.
  12. Virgil61

    Did the earth move for you too?

    I found out through Facebook of all places. Not my normal hangout but suddenly all my friends from DC and North Carolina were posting about an earthquake. Definitely got people's attention.
  13. Virgil61

    Rating Rome on Fukuyama's Ideals of Governance

    I haven't read Origins of the Political Order but for anyone who hasn't read him Fukuyama is a challenging thinker and a challenging read at times. His End of History and the Last Man is outstanding (and misunderstood). His whole thing--or it used to be--was that liberal democracies (as in the old use of liberal; the western Anglo-American example of democratic government) are the evolutionary end of human government; no other more perfect model exists for humanity (as in Hegel's "End of History"). Looks like he's rethought--based on your post--his thoughts on liberal democracy being the natural end-state of human development. Whether you buy it or not he's an stimulating thinker. I'll watch the full lecture in the link you gave, it should be interesting. I watched the opening and saw it was given at Politics and Prose bookstore in the DC area. Real first-rate authors, especially those in politics and history--are always giving talks there.
  14. Virgil61

    Terry Jones` Barbarians (DVD)

    I agree, it was utterly obnoxious.
  15. The Roman Legions or more exactly their armies were of course impressive. In consistency of quality from the Republic to the very end Rome could field armies that could pack a punch. The impressiveness comes from comparison to other great armies of history. Alexander's Macedonians, the Spanish armies in the 16th century, the German Wehrmacht, the modern Israeli army, the Mongols for example are among the other contenders for greatest armies in history. In comparing the combination of % of successful campaigns and longevity of existence w/other armies the Romans look pretty good. The Roman 'system' (culture plus institutional knowledge among the legions) could produce competent and trained armies (well with glaring screw-ups) with some consistency. They only had to be better (and/or better led) than the armies they were fighting and they generally were. But they weren't invincible as Cannae, Hannibal and Teutoburg Wald show.
  16. Virgil61

    Siege Equipment

    I recently finished rereading the passage in Caesar's Commentaries. He recounts the Nervii siege of the winter-camp of some of his remote Roman cohorts (possibly the one commanded by Cicero's brother, can't be bothered to look it up) and clearly mentions their siege engines recreated--with the help of Roman prisoners--to Roman designs. He explicitly states the Nervii lacked the necessary metal parts and hence the machines were less effective.
  17. Agreed that personalities can play a significant factor which is why I made the point about 'cannier' Roman leaders getting the chance to take command. Although we have some information about what factors may have influenced Hannibal's actions during the Punic Wars there are large tracts of information we can only guess about or for experts to make reasoned assumptions about. What we can never really know is the extent to which subordinates may have influenced their 'leaders' actions during ancient warfare. I'm not saying that it 'did' happen but slipping a less than talented commander a laxative immediately before a battle may have allowed someone else the chance to 'shine' or at least undo any potentially catastrophic mistakes deriving from the iniital battle plan while their 'leader' was otherwise engaged.... Just an aside here, the more formal & broader definition of individual differences in leadership/personalities/etc constitute 'military art' vs the 'military science' (in this sense 'science' merely indicates those things measurable such as hardware).
  18. Virgil61

    New Website

    Very nice layout, tastefully done. Like it all but the 'football' stuff. It's properly called 'soccer' and is generally played in kindergarten and elementary school not by grown men. Please correct that... (Virgil ducking objects thrown at him by everyone on the other side of the pond...runs out the door...starts engine...tires squeal...)
  19. Bart Ehrman has been a bomb-thrower of sorts lately & has a rep as an arrogant jerk. I think there's a lot wanting to sell a few books behind a lot of it. I guess that $125k salary plus the extra kick from an endowed chair leaves him wanting more. I always wanted to sit in on a class of his (I graduated from there way before his time but lived in CH for a few years) in spite of his attitude by all accounts he is a brilliant prof. His background if I remember correctly is theology not classics or history.
  20. Virgil61

    I, Claudius' Miniseries by HBO

    I've got the old series on my hard drive but haven't watched it in years. The only historical fiction of the classical era I've ever read are Robert Graves' I, Claudius and Claudius the God, he such a great writer I can't imagine anything being much better. He also translated Seutonius' Twelve Caesars and The Golden Ass. Off topic but Goodbye to All That by Graves about his time as an infantry officer in the trenches of WWI is one of the great war memoirs. This is great news.
  21. Virgil61

    Caesar: Hero Or Villain

    I have an ebook of, but have yet to read Becoming Roman The Origins of Provincial Civilization in Gaul by Greg Woolf. Product description: This book studies the processes conventionally termed "Romanization" through an analysis of the experience of Roman rule over the Gallic province of the empire in the period 200 BC-AD 300. It examines how and why Gallo-Roman civilization emerged from the confrontation between the iron-age cultures of Gaul and the civilization we call classical. It develops an original synthesis and argument that will form a bridge between the disciplines of classics and archaeology and will be of interest to all students of cultural change. Looks like it's right down this lane topic wise.
  22. Virgil61

    Viva Roma No. V (Mambo #5)

    That is just outstanding!
  23. Virgil61

    Caesar: Hero Or Villain

    Somebody's been reading Fuller.