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About frankq

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  • Birthday 10/25/1950

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  1. frankq

    All time favorite book

    I've read only two fictional pieces about Rome. I, Claudius and Quo Vadis. Non-fiction? A guy named Tacitus.
  2. frankq

    Rome 2nd season review

    The 2nd season bombed because they really strayed from the historical script. You don't need to deviate with the Julio-Claudians, they were a soap opera unto themselves. Graves knew this, and only fine tuned fictionally certain nuances. His book's been in print since the 30's. The writers cut corners and credibility at every twist and turn in the 2nd season. And the real problem started in the 1st season by bringing in Atia, actually an unkown figure to us historically aside from her being the mother of Octavia, as a key figure. Once that was done the Julio-Claudian soap opera toppled and the writers started painting themselves into all kinds of corners from which they were forced to concoct all kinds of inaccuracies to stay afloat. Oh, RE sex and such. Sex, togas and sandals go with action and the sword. The Battle of Philippi was a joke and an insult to the Roman Army. Since when did legionaries march into combat like zombies out of Romero's Dawn of the Dead?
  3. frankq

    Books you absolutely think unscholarly?

    If his works are now being classified as historical fiction, then good. However, alarm bells do need to be sounded because he's still being cited as a reliable source on Wikipedia. My only experience with Dando-Collins was recently, while doing touch up research on a project which included Ventidius' counter campaign to kick the Parthians out of Asia Minor and the Levant. The only real extensive source on his campaign is Dio Cassius. there are references from Florus, Josephus, and Paterculus, but DC is the one who covered it in any detail. Imagine my surprise as I google, am sent to google.books for a sample of a "Marc Antony's Heroes" and find not only Ventidius' campaign in extensive detail, but all kinds of dialogue. And as I press further, legionaries with names I've never seen before. Had I missed something? Had Dio Cassius missed something? Taken back, I checked the contents of the book. Much to my never ending horror, I find that Dando's topic is the III Gallica, and there's a chapter about it being posted in Judea in 58 BC. Now the alarms really went off. Equestrian governed Judea was governed by auxiliaries. Most of you know the totem pole rules. Legates of the armies didn't take orders from knights. Judea's auxiliaries were for the most part descended from Herod's well-drilled army. Besides, with 4 legions up in Syria, a legion in Judea wasnt deemed necessary at this time. Any problems and it was relative quick marching down the coast or the Jordan Valley to knock heads. Nevertheless, intrigued, I wanted to check his foreword to see what he was up to since his book is a narrative and not shackled by footnotes. As it was a Google preview, this wasn't possible. So while waiting for my brother-in-law to E-Mail the book in PDF (he's a professor and I'm in Europe with limited library access) I probed deeper into what was available. It was too rich! Dando has the III Gallica under the command of Gessius Florus, one of the biggest bunglers in Roman administrative history. Florus was the procurator who so mismanaged things that the Jews finally blew up and stormed Herod's palace and the Antonia. It was the spark that ignited the Great Revolt. And there's more, which I'll get to in a moment... In the meantime my brother-in-law quickly PDF'd and sent me the book. Here's what Dando writes to cover his tracks putting a Roman legion in an Equestrian province: "There is no specific documentary evidence to say it was the 3rd Gallica Legion that saved the life of the apostle Paul or conducted him to Rome. That the 3rd Gallica was one of the legions of the Syria station in the first century there is no dispute. And, while some historians for many years put the view that only auxiliaries were stationed in Judea prior to A.D. 66, Josephus makes numerous references to legionaries, centurions, and their tribune commander based in Judea during this period, in both his]ewish War and his Jewish Antiquities. The Holy Bible, in Acts of the Apostles, also differentiates between foot soldiers (legionaries) and speermen (auxiliaries) stationed at both Jerusalem and Caesarea. Acts, in describing the apostle Paul's journey under guard from Caesarea to Rome, tells us that a centurion was in charge of the military escort. Centurions generally only commanded legionaries, and only legionaries, citizen soldiers, were permitted to escort prisoners who were Roman citizens, as Paul was. Various other references led me to conclude that the legion stationed in Judea in the A.D. 60s, while still part of the overall Syria garrison, and that was involved in saving Paul's life on three separate occasions, was the 3rd Gallica." The only thing he gets right is that the III Gallica was stationed in Syria. As to Josephus' references to legionaries and centurions, all these terms were cavalierly, randomly, and haphazardly employed by non-Roman chroniclers. Moreover, by the time the Gospels were being set to pen, Judea (Palestina) had been bumped up to the rank of a consular province with two legions stationed there. This is not the time period Dando's targeting. As for Roman citizens who were prisoners being escorted only by Roman legionaries, if this was law (I never heard this), it was law that was applied conveniently to Italy. Paul was facing a planned hit by angry Sadducees and the Antonia's commander needed to get him to Caesarea and the governor (at that time Felix) as swift as possible. There was no time for deliberation. The commander of the Antonia is even more interesting. This was Lysias, and most of you have probably read the famous scene were Lysias gripes to Paul about having to buy his citizenship. He was, in short, like most of the auxiliaries posted in Judea, a Levantine Greek. Other divisions were made up of Samaritans. This issue in fact leads to where Dando premise gets really wild. The problem in Judea was that the auxiliaries, because of the tradition with Herod's army, were recruited locally, not far afield which was the Romans usual policy in trouble spots. The Levantine Greeks and the Samaritans had no love of the Jews and vice versa. Trouble had been erupting in previous procurators
  4. frankq


    Interesting link, thanks. But either something's escaped me or I'm just plain intellectually challenged. Because assets such as land were difficult to convert into cash, this meant that income necessarily was the basic base of taxation. So does this answer my original question, did the Romans permit Judean farmers and Briton tribesmen to pay taxes in kind or were they forced to render coin? Mommsen mentions that payment in kind was made. I have found no other direct statement to this effect.
  5. frankq


    I also found this RE taxation in Britain: The Romans brought their own method of taxation which meant each tribe had to pay a levy to a central government based on the yield of crops and consumable items that they produced. How was this levy paid though, in kind or in coin? A levy based on services is all well and good but for the vast majority of citizens coin was not something readily available.
  6. frankq


    I'm posting in this forum because it concerns the below at Livius.org, which is a very effective academic website and provides a wealth of information. Judaea now became an autonomous part of the Roman province Syria, ruled by a prefect. Quirinius was ordered to organize the taxation of the new prefecture. Until then, taxes had been paid in kind. However, during the census which Quirinius organized, the inhabitants were required to declare their property in money. There are no indications that the Roman money taxes were higher than the taxes they replaced, but taxes in money were more onerous than taxes in kind, because a farmer had to borrow in case of a poor harvest. Besides, any Roman coin would bear an image of the goddess Roma or a legend saying that the man represented was the divine emperor: a violation of at least two of the ten commandments. I can find this nowhere else. Not in Josephus, nor any other book on Judea. Large parts of the Empire still were at a stage where payment had to be made in goods and services. Was it mandatory to pay up in coin once a province?
  7. frankq

    Breach of conduct & Roman law

    Thanks. I'll check it out.
  8. frankq

    Breach of conduct & Roman law

    Thanks. I'll check it out. Where do I find this thread (what forum)?
  9. frankq

    Breach of conduct & Roman law

    This is posted in Academia because of my reaction to a book by Martin Goodman re the ruling class of Judea. He does not seem to question the following. I somehow have problems with it. The quotations are from Josephus' BJ. One of the prime events that sparked the revolt in Judea was the procurator Florus' heavy handed dealings with the elders when they refused to ID the young dissidents who had mocked Florus' authority. So: And what made this calamity the heavier was this new method of Roman barbarity; for Florus ventured then to do what no one had done before, that is, to have men of the equestrian order whipped (21) and nailed to the cross before his tribunal; who, although they were by birth Jews, yet were they of Roman dignity notwithstanding. The footnote on this reads: 21) Here we have examples of native Jews who were of the equestrian order among the Romans, and so ought never to have been whipped or crucified, according to the Roman laws. See almost the like case in St. Paul himself, Acts 22:25-29. Scourging was one thing perhaps, but crucifying a Roman citizen is almost unthinkable. Of course, a tribunal was called. Is there some nuance in Roman law that would have permitted this? I wonder whether Josephus was pressing things here in order to make Florus look like such a blackguard. Does any one know of a similar circumstance like this in the Empire?
  10. frankq


    I'm very familiar with Richardson's book and his often oddball disjointed approach. But a good book for anyone interested in reading up in full on Herod. The issue here, however, was not how tightly woven the Decapolis was politically but when its was incorporated into the empire. Inqsoc---thanks for that Jstor link!
  11. frankq


    The question is when Rome fully "officially" incorporated the cities in its empire. I've seen maps as late as 100 AD that have the D inc.'d and others that don't. Spokesmen from the eight cities actually requested of Pompey that he cut the D not only out of the former Hasmonean territories but that he place them under the jurisdiction of the new Syrian proconsul. I'm addressing this of course from a map makers perspective. I think the Jordanian writer's speculation holds true. The region had to wait until there was a radical provincial rearranging by Trajan for it to be inc.'d, despite the fact that it had been pretty much operating inside the Roman economic orbit since 64 BC.
  12. frankq


    This may belong in the IR forum but I saw it from an academic, map-making point of view. It regards just when the Decapolis was fully incorporated into the Empire. Sick of Hasmonean rule, the cities all but rolled out the red carpet to Pompey when he arrived. And they continued semi-autonomous as far as I know through Herod's rule. But after that? Below is the opinion of a Jordanian journalist. The Decapolis may have existed as a formal unit for 170 years - until the Roman Emperor Trajan annexed Petra and the Nabataean kingdom in south Jordan and northern Arabia in A.D. 106; the cities of the Decapolis were then divided among the newly-created Roman province of Arabia and the province of Syria. And though recent scholarship has tended to see the Decapolis as less of a formal league or confederation and more an arrangement among like-minded, probably autonomous Greco-roman cities - whose contiguous territories formed a single geographic unit - only new evidence can verify what the Decapolis was and why it was formed.
  13. frankq

    Finally, Cleopatra Unveiled!!!

    An import point is being made here. Not only is this Afro-centrism annoying, it's dangerous, and serves to only discredit the credibility of a sorely needed revised African history. Had Cleopatra been African, my god, Octavian would have made firm note of it in his propaganda war against Cleopatra and Antony. An eastern queen was one juicy item to exploit, but a "dark" eastern queen? Ground-breaking and supreme propagandist and PR man that he was, Octavian would not have failed to exploit it.
  14. frankq

    Genealogy charts vs. cast of characters

    The last two posts also point to where charts have their cumbersome weak point. A chart is usually directed and focused with one or two major lines in mind, generating from one major source, say in this instance Julius Caesar and the most popular family tree, the Julio-Claudian. (Amusing in itself, Caesar was a
  15. frankq

    Genealogy charts vs. cast of characters

    Ah! Aye! There's the problem that I have feared. The key is to defining how in-depth it is or might become. Moreover, if a work is a narratrive history this index might be working against it. Or would it? There are no set rules. Nonetheless, you've given food for firm thought.