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Everything posted by Tobias

  1. G'day all After having an interesting discussion regarding battles in the great history of Rome with an old mate of mine, i decided to start a thread here on UNRV about what we were talking about. It's another Greatest Victory thread, but this one is one about Roman armies that were outnumbered, either slightly, ridiculously, or hopelessly, that managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, and show up vastly superior armies (numerically superior at least). What is the best case of a David vs Goliath battle in Roman history in your opinions? I'd be interested to know.
  2. Tobias

    Happy Birthday P-P!!

    To our illustrious Scriptor; a very Happy Birthday to you! UNRV wouldn't be the same without you, and you deserve a great celebration! May no new thing arise!
  3. G'day All I'm sure you are all familiar with the Hanging Gardens of Babylon - a wonder of the ancient world. This name brings to mind beautiful, lush gardens adorning terraces and all the buildings of Babylon. Now, there is considerable documentation and description of the Hanging Gardens from historians and geographers such as Diodorus Siculus and Strabo, but apparently there is not a hell of a lot of evidence outside of the writings of these people. Excavation at the site of Babylon has brought to light some evidence, but apparently not enough to make it beyond doubt that the Hanging Gardens of Babylon existed. There is also apparently a complete lack of Babylonian accounts of the Gardens. What do you people think? Did the Hanging Gardens of Babylon exist? Were they perhaps confused with gardens that are known to have existed in the city of Nineveh? Or is there some other solution?
  4. Tobias

    Avatars And Signatures

    I was rather interested in your avatar Viggen; i thought it might have been a swinging sword or something, with the bit at the top representing the movement of the sword, you know, as if it was blurred through the rapid movement.
  5. Tobias

    Byzantines = Roman = Ellinos?

    Greece as it is today is more closely akin to the Later Eastern Romans than it is to the Ancient Greeks, or the Hellenes. As has been said, the Greek people still called themselves Romans as recently as the early 20th Century. I daresay their recovered independence from the Ottoman Empire went a long way towards stoking patriotic fervour, and, as they no longer possessed the city that would have given them some link to Rome (Istanbul, or Constantinople), they may prefer to identify with the ancient Hellenes that inhabited their land. Still, the Romans considered themselves as "The Enlightened Ones", and the Later Eastern Roman Empire certainly preserved much of the old Roman Knowledge, so the people of Greece certainly might call themselves "Hellenes" in the sense that they are descended from the Romans, who gained much of their culture from the Ancient Greeks and preserved it. That is perhaps stretching it a bit, considering the many invasions and settlements of Greece over the years, but in all fairness, it is stretching things further still for the Greek people to consider themselves direct kin to the Ancient Hellenes. It is similar to a hypothetical case of a person of, say, Anglo-Saxon descent, living in Modern Day Britain claiming relationship with the Ancient Britons, who were Celtic on the whole.
  6. Tobias

    Pompeius Magnus - A thief ?

    I'm not saying Pompey's strategy was a bad or inept one when he was fighting this way - as i said, it was really only because he committed himself to a pitched battle with Caesar that he brought himself undone. Give credit where it's due; Caesar's using his picked soldiers as a phalanx against Labienus was quite effective. I was led to believe that after defeating the cavalry, Caesar was able to throw the soldiers he had committed to facing the cavalry against Pompey's flank, which was the beginning of the end, as Pompey had not the ability or confidence to salvage the situation. Although, as you said, i daresay that the running down of the "Missile Troops" by their own cavalry can't have helped.
  7. Tobias

    Pompeius Magnus - A thief ?

    Pompey was undoubtedly one of the greatest organisers in military history, and he certainly had an eye as to where the prize was, at least initially. He was granted extraordinary command after extraordinary command because of his popularity and his army. He was also adept in taking the credit that other Generals deserved. Sertorius had little to fear from Pompey, as was demonstrated on several occasions, such as at Saguntum. It was Metellus Pius who essentially won the wars in Spain, not Pompey. Now, i'm not saying he wasn't a competent general at times. He had his good points. But to put him on the same level as generals such as Alexander, Scipio Africanus or Caesar is laughable. Crassus and co. were the ones who inflicted the brunt of the damage on Spartacus, but Pompey's luck put him in a position to almost literally run into Spartacus' fleeing remnants and to rout these pitiful remains. Lucullus did the hard yards in the East, and again, Pompey was able to have the credit given to himself. When he finally came up against another more than competent general (someone who really was on the same level as the greatest generals of all time), Caesar, he was placed back in the boots of the young man who had been dumbfounded by his defeats at the hands of Sertorius. He retreated down Italy in the face of Caesar's one Legion, and eventually fled to Greece. Here, he showed scraps of the immense organisational ability he did possess, especially at Dyrrachium. But he lacked that special something that would have enabled him to strike the final blow and defeat Caesar, who was on the ropes in the face of Pompey's organisation and superior numbers. His lack of confidence led him to engage in Fabian tactics, allowing Caesar to regroup. When he had vacillated long enough to allow Caesar to rebuild his position, he committed the ultimate folly - he listened to the "Senate" and engaged in a pitched battle against Caesar. Here he was soundly defeated because of his reliance on his cavalry. From there on, it's history. I am a Caesar supporter, but i have to admit that i like Pompey; he was initially lucky, he was a competent, or maybe "adequate" general. He certainly gained a large amount of credit that he didn't deserve, but he wasn't a terribly bad general or man. He just backed the wrong horse by joining the Optimates and thinking himself better than a man who outclassed him in almost every way; Caesar.
  8. Tobias

    After the fall of costantinople

    The few remaining Byzantine states were mopped up by the Turks after a while: Morea went in 1460 and Trebizond in 1461. However, Byzantine culture persisted in the southern Balkans and on the coasts of Anatolia, where many of the people continued to call themselves Romans (Rhomaioi) well into the 20th century. As Honorius said, the exodus of the Byzantine elite from the Morea to Italy did much to boost the Renaissance of Classical learning there. To this day, the Patriarch continues to reside in Constantinople, a figurehead for Orthodox Christians all over the world. Morea and the lands to its north was the part of Greece that first regained independence from the Ottomans, in 1830. The modern frontiers of Greece were defined after the First World War, when the Ottoman Empire came to an end. But Constantinople, now Istanbul, is still firmly in the hands of the Turkish state. Without it, modern Greece is inevitably seen as the successor to ancient Greece, not (as it is culturally) to the last Roman Empire.
  9. Tobias

    Favourite guitarist of all time?

    My favourite guitarist is without a shadow of a doubt Angus Young, the lead guitarist of one of the Australia's greatest bands, AC/DC! Also, Mark Knopfler is one of my favourite guitarists. Steve Vai is not bad either.
  10. G'day all I'm sure all you Byzantine buffs have heard of Alexius Comnenus, and the circumstances of his reign and certain actions he took during this reign. During the reign of a previous Emperor, Romanus Diogenes, a considerably large Byzantine army, composed largely of mercenaries, was routed at the small fortress town of Manzikert by the Seljuk Turks. This loss proved quite a fatal enough stroke to the Byzantines, as the "aura of invincibility" that had previously awed the lesser enemies of the Byzantines was completely shattered, and the recruiting ground of the Byzantines, Anatolia, was lost. In desperation, Alexius Comnenus, lacking the manpower to regain Anatolia, appealed to Pope Urban III to raise an army from Christendom. Thus began the First Crusade. Was this action ultimately a catalyst of the destruction of the Byzantine Empire? With the precedent set, Crusading armies kept going through Byzantine territory, and eventually began to ignore the overlordship of the Byzantine Emperor of the day. The Fourth Crusade captured and sacked COnstantinople, a blow from which the Empire was assured to never recover to it's former glory. Was the decision of Alexius Comnenus a short sighted one? Was Alexius Comnenus the one who would lay down the script for the final fall of New Rome?
  11. Tobias

    The fabled oak wreath!

    I believe that after Sulla's reforms, the corona civica became an even more particularly sought after item. Sulla's reforms made it that a winner of a Civic Crown was entitled to entrance into the Senate. At any and all public occasions, the person in question was obliged by the law to wear the corona civica, and all people, including people higher in station and seniority, were required to rise and applaud the wearer of the corona civica. I would also add that to win a corona civica, a person had not only to save a citizen's life, but he had to hold the ground where he saved the citizen's life. Not a bad little prize to win eh?
  12. Tobias

    A Poll on the Best Roman Generals

    Hmmm, an ever difficult and controversial question. First of all, are you extending your poll to include Byzantine generals? There are quite a few there worthy of recognition... But for me, the best Roman general award is a toss up between Scipio Africanus and Julius Caesar. Both brilliant generals, both prolific advocates of circumvallation , both master strategists and tacticians. Rather difficult! In the later Empire, we have many candidates; Constantine, Belisarius, Heraclius, Basil II "Bulgaroctonous" etc etc. Nope. Too difficult
  13. Tobias

    Why Did The Roman Republic Fall?

    Is it possible that a general decline in the number of Roman soldiers as a result of and after the Punic Wars was the link to the creation of private armies? As you all know, before, during and after the Punic Wars, the only men allowed in Rome's legions were those who met the land ownership qualifications in Italy, and were thus able to provide for themselves. Perhaps the Punic Wars caused a slump in the numbers of those who met the qualifications through defeats, which in turn limited the manpower Rome had it's disposal, and when coupled with Rome's outward expansion, put a strain on Rome's available manpower. We thus come to the disasters of Marius' time; a series of defeats; notably, Arausio, where upwards of 80 000 Roman soldiers were lost against the Cimbri and Teutones. I would say that by this time, Italy would have been pretty much squeezed dry of soldiers who met the property qualifications. Rome is thus facing a crisis as to where to get men that meet the qualifications. Hence, Marius' reforms come forward. Urban citizens, without the property qualifications, were given incentives to form new legions, were equipped with gear at the expense of the state, or more commonly, at the expense of their general. This is where we reach the point. From here on, the precedent is set for generals to set up and equip armies out of their own pockets, which, naturally, would cause the army in question to feel more loyalty to their general then the state. From there on, it's history What do you think? It is but a speculative argument, but i think it's possible...
  14. Tobias

    Links On Byzantium

    More very useful links! I found particularly relevant to myself the link to Australian Association of Byzantine Studies - it's surprising how many people love the ancient Romans in Australia, but have never heard of the Byzantine Romans - and i'm sure our other site members around the world interested in Byzantium will be interested in the sites you have supplied, especially since you have many sites from different countries. You must spend quite a bit of time looking up these links palimpsest!
  15. Tobias


    During the Later Eastern Roman Empire, the Byzantines had considerable contact with the Rus, a Norse people who inhabited Russia. After some time of raiding the Empire, Emperor Basil II took the chance to make peace with the Rus, in particular a fellow called Vladimir of Kiev. In this alliance, Vladimir ceded the former Roman naval port of Chersonesos to the Romans again, sent something like 6000 of his warriors to become Basil's personal guard (the famed Varangians), converted to Christianity and married Basil's sister. Undoubtedly, the Norsemen had traded with the Later Roman Empire and raided them, but it was this alliance which would open the doors to full on contact. The Rus and other Norsemen came to Constantinople, lured by opportunities for money and battle and adventure. Byzantine culture also would leave a great imprint on the Rus, and much of Russian culture, architecture and art that can be still seen today is based on that of the Byzantine Romans. Skipping backwards a few centuries, could any of the "Vikings" be descended from the Cimbri and Teutones that Marius defeated?
  16. Tobias

    Happy Birthday Moonlapse!

    I've missed another major birthday! Damn these busy times! A belated Happy Birthday to you Moonlapse, and may no new thing arise! May you guide our great forum for many years to come, and enjoy your life to the full!
  17. Tobias

    The Greatest Caesar

    It's very tempting to spruik Julius Caesar as the Greatest Caesar, but rather than possibly cause another debate, i'll agree Augustus. A marvellous visionary, master politician and generally one of the greatest assets the Roman Empire ever had, yet a possessor of enough tact to not call himself Imperator, but rather to call himself the Princeps. Actually, i am also huge fan of Vespasian...as Ursus said, i just like the guy
  18. THE death of Phar Lap
  19. Tobias

    New Moderator

    Good on you Pantagathus! Great to see you moving up in UNRV! We won't go wrong with you on the command deck. Congratulations mate
  20. Tobias

    Favorite Greek City-state

    I once had to do a history project on either Corinth or Thebes. I chose Thebes, because they seemed more interesting to me at the time. After doing this project, i was always rather hooked on Thebes; the city state that rose up after the Great Pelopponesian Wars and would dominate Greece for a time; the state which had one of the strongest military machines in Greece during it's time of ascendancy, the state that destroyed the Spartans at Leuctra and, on freeing the helots of Sparta, ended Sparta as a power. Thebes may have been a bit traitorous to the other Greeks during the Persian invasion, but on the whole they are a very interesting subject to go into. Thebes is certainly one of my favourite city states.
  21. Tobias

    Question For Australians

    I remember hearing about a Maori legend in New Zealand, how there was a war between several mountains, and one of the mountains retreated away from this other group of mountains. This mountain that retreated swore that he would return one day and thrash the other mountains, and too this day, no maori has built a house or settlement in the direct line between this lone mountain and the other mountains, because they believe this legend. I love things like that I wonder if there were any natives living next to Krakatoa?
  22. Tobias


    Damn i hate these sort of people...there needs to be a sort of International Internet Police Force to keep the net free from this scum. Ah well, at least our repository of knowledge is not lost...great to have it working again!
  23. You know, i'd love to meet one of the incredibly bored/ingenious people who sit around all day making stuff like this up one day....
  24. Tobias

    An Open Ended Question

    I was referring to Heraclius' invasion of Persia. He may have beaten the armies of Persia and restored the territories conquered by the Persians to the Roman Empire, but as i said, the Empire was exhausted, and was obviously unable to resist the flood of Muslim invaders. I don't dispute that Heraclius was a genius, and a very unrecognised one at that. His re-organisation of the Imperial Army was what helped the Empire to hold onto Carthage for so long against the Muslims, which was a place from which the Empire could gain a second wind. He is credited with laying down the initial plans of the themata organisation of the empire which would ensure the survival of the Empire for many centuries to come. He walked in the footsteps of Alexander in his campaign against Persia, and emulated him thus in my opinion. The fact is that his defeat of the Persians only bought the Empire breathing space for a short time. His restored Empire pretty much lasted for less than half a decade, and by the time of the Battle of Yarmuk in 636 A.D, the restored empire was well on the way to being lost.