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Emperor Goblinus

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Everything posted by Emperor Goblinus

  1. In the infamous "Year of the Four Emperors," the empire was torn asunder with usurpers and Gallic attempts at seccession. Could the empire have indeed been split apart due to the fighting?
  2. A pretty harsh accusation, right? But I personally think that in some ways, he's one of the most disastrous emperors next to Honorius and Romanus IV Diogenes. First, when it came to his foreign policy, I feel that it was lacking in some area, and totally idiotic in other areas. While his initial policy of peace with the Persians and building up the eastern defenses was good, his ignoring of the East for his western conquests spurred the Persians into attacking again and Antioch being sacked. In his western wars, the taking of Africa may have been justified and well-thought out, but not Italy. By the time the Italian Wars were over, the place was a wreck and all of the Roman institutions of the last millenium were either gone or permanently weakened. I know that he tried to preserve the old Roman civic institutions with the Pragmatic Sanction, but the Roman Italian adiminstration was a complex organism that couldn't be turned on and off at will. The only big players left standing in Italy were the exarch and the pope, and this weakness would allow the Lombards to invade, and to prompt the Italian political division that lasted until the 19th century. Many of the old cities, including Rome, were as left burnt-out, depopulated husks that didn't recover for centuries. And the Spanish campaign was totally pointless in all ways, with a number of Spanish nobles senselessly slaughtered in the initial landing of troops. The soldiers used there and in Italy should have been on the Danubian frontier trying to keep the Slavs out. Also, Narses and Belisarius were excellent generals, but even there, Justininian couldn't help but screw up. In the initial phase of the Gothic Wars, had Belisarius been kept in Italy for another month or so, the Germanic resistance probably would have been defeated, the province would have been fully secured, and the old Roman way of life would have continued. As it was, Justinian's removal of him to the East stalled the Byzantine momentum, allowed for the coronation of Totila, and led to the devastating trench warfare that wracked Italy for another decade. For his religious policy, there was nothing good about it. While Justinian's religious laws were largely continuations of what had been happening for the last century and a half, his quest for a monolithic Orthodox empire succeeded in just about pissing off everybody, both East and West. One of Rome's great strengths had been its ability to absorb and tolerate different peoples and religions, thus promoting loyalty. By the end of his reign, Justinian had estranged most of the empire's religious minorities through his harsh religious laws, thus taking away this social glue. This is a reason why Monophysites and Jews were so receptive to the Persians when they briefly conquered large stretches of the empire. Later, it is believed by some that it is this belief that the government in Constantinople had become too tyrannical that caused many Byzantines to put up no resistance to the Muslim armies, and sometimes even welcoming them. When it came to other policies, I don't think that Justininian was all that competent there as well. Buildings like the Hagia Sophia might look pretty, but the massive amount of money and resources poured into them could have been used for more practical matters. Moreover, during the Nika Riots, he showed an absolute lack of nerve initially, and would have left the city to anarchy if his wife hadn't had more balls than he. The empire may have been physically bigger on Justinian' death, and had some new nice buildings, but it was strained to the breaking point both militarily and economically, and many of its people's loyalty had been severely tested. I honestly feel that had Justinian followed the more conservative policies of his ancestors, the East Roman Empire may have remained large and strong for a much longer time and the ancient Roman culture of the West may have continued. Anyone agree or disagree?
  3. I'm writing a fictional work that takes place during the reign of Sennacherib of Assyria, dealing with events like the Battle of Halule, and I need help in finding sources for researching the period. More specifically, the cultural and political world of Iranian, Median, Aramaean, and Elamite peoples at the time, and anything dealing with the semi-mythical king Achamaenes (I'm having a hard time digging up much on him). This is all for a novel that I am researching to write; I'm putting that out there just so that people do not that I'm some high schooler who wants the forum to do my homework. I do have some sources already, but this is a region and time period that I know very little about, and any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  4. Emperor Goblinus

    What would the Romans do now?

    I would be curious to see how they would handle Europe's current economic crisis.
  5. Emperor Goblinus

    Trajan's supposed Italian origins

    One thing that is always stated about Trajan is that while he was the first emperor not to have been born in Italy, his family had Italian roots. Considering that the Ulpians had migrated to Spain in the third century BC, there was a more than 400-year old gap between Trajan and his Italian ancestors. Considering that Spain was still very much barbarian territory in the third century, and that the Roman presence would have been minimal at first, it just doesn't make sense to put that much influence on his Italian roots. Yes, the family was originally from Italy, but there had to have been significant intermixing with the local Celtiberian population. Not immediately, but as Spain calmed down, greater connections were forged between the people and the Hispano-Roman culture developed. I would not be surprised if Trajan had a majority Celtic blood, just that the Celts in his family had been Romanized and adopted the history of the Italian side of the family. For all we know, Trajan's early life may have been steeped in Celtiberian cultural customs. This would of course had been in a Latinized Roman context, but it definitely would not have been pure Italian. I can't help but think that the emphasis on his Italianess was probably for political purposes only. To get on to my second question, how important was it for Trajan to play down his provincial roots? Being the first non-Italian emperor would have been a bit tricky at first, especially from the point of view of the Italian senatorial aristocracy. Nevertheless, Spain was an almost fully Latinized part of the empire by the time of Trajan's ascension, and had been the home to several prominent Romans. I can see how things might have been an issue had he been from Germania Inferior, but Spain was as Romanized as Italy, Gallia Transalpina, and North Africa. I can't help but wonder if the emphasis on Trajan's Italian origins was something made up by historians, and did not reflect the realities of the time. Thoughts? (yes, I'm making alot of threads today )
  6. Emperor Goblinus

    Trajan's supposed Italian origins

    But as local rulers were raised to senatorial status, they would have been the social equals of original Romans. I'm not saying that there was no social friction, but at least by the time of Augustus, intermarriages between Roman elite families and Spanish nobility would probably not have been scandalous.
  7. Southern Gaul had become very Romanized by the time of Julius Caesar and did not retain much of a Celtic identity to the extent that some of the northern regions of the province did. Consequently, the south stayed quite Roman culturally and linguistically to a great extent for a century or two after the fall of the western empire, far more than the Merovingian regions around cities like Paris and Orleans. My question is; how exactly was this society organized? The local patricians were at least nominally loyal to the Frankish kings, but they basically did their own thing as few Franks migrated into areas like Aquitaine and Provence. It's a well-known fact that Gallo-Romans monopolized most of the higher ecclesiastical offices in Gaul until the about the mid-seventh century. But I've also read that Roman political civil offices, such as that of senator, remained for a while and were recognized by the kings. Were these Roman nobles just individuals who clung to their Roman trappings and agricultural systems in a changing world, or was there in fact a Roman civil system that continued in the absence of direct Frankish control?
  8. Does anyone of any documents written in provincial Vulgar Latin of the Late Empire or languages that could be considered early medieval Romance (not Latin, but not quite the languages that we know today), or at least where I might be able to find some? The Oaths of Strasbourg is the only one that I know of.
  9. Emperor Goblinus

    Looking for provincial Vulgar Latin and early/proto-Romance written do

    These are texts that show Latin morphing into Romance: Compositiones Lucenses: A northern Italian treatise on the handicrafts of the 8th century. The Swedish scholar J. Svennung has done a lot of study on this text. Not much on the internet in English. Here's a quote in which you can see the ungrammatical nature of the Latin, confusion of cases: Tinctio pellis prasini: Tolles pellem depellatam et mitte stercos caninus et colombinus et gallinacium. Peregrinatio Sylviae ad Loca Sancta, 5th Century? See: http://en.wikipedia....a_%28pilgrim%29 Several deeds that survive from 8th Century Italy and France. From Spain, Mozarabic texts. See: http://en.wikipedia....arabic_language and the Glosas Emilianenses. See: http://en.wikipedia....as_Emilianenses Thanks. The Glosas Emilianenses strikes me as the most fascinating of these, as it in many ways looks very clearly like Latin, but the Aragonese elements are very noticeable as well. I really need to brush up on my Latin and learn some more Romance languages. I do know a good bit of French, but that has gotten rusty as of late. I just find it really fascinating how Latin spread among the common people of such a wide swath of territory and morped into all of these unique languages. Would you happen to know of any Romance texts from Gaul which show the emerging Germanic influence? Oh, and you forgot to put the link for the French and Italian deeds.
  10. Emperor Goblinus

    When did they stop being legions?

    In John Moorhead's The Roman Empire Divided: 400-700, he writes about Roman commanders who led Gothic armies in Spain organized in ways very similar to the Roman legion. I don't have a direct quote offhand. As to the Franks, I don't have a direct quote, but I read about it somewhere like you. I do know that both the Frankish and Burgundian kings used Gallo-Roman generals to lead their armies. Considering how Romanized Burgundy was, I would not be surprised if their armies were organized in a Roman fashion. This indeed the case, and units which had retained the prefix 'LEGIO' continued to be so named until the early 7th century when the Thematic reforms took place. If I had my books handy (I am away from home just now) I could even name some Legions which retained their designation from at least the third century up until the time of Heraclius in 625.These legions were, in turn, originally formed from vexillations of the earlier legions formed in the Principate. Caldrail's source paints a depressing picture of the later Roman army, and this description of forces under some of the later Roman emperors certainly applied to a great many units. This was not, however, universal. Ammianus Marcellinus refers to Gallic legions in the service of the General Julian ( later emperor ) who fought with great discipline and almost fanaticism, and whose engineering skills were on a par with those of the earlier empire. The Gallic legions did serve well, but I've stated in an earlier post in another thread that this may have been somewhat due to the fact that they were directly defending their homes and families from destruction in and around Strasbourg, although their training and tactics were definitely crucial, especially since they were facing a much larger force. In fact, the catalyst that had Julian acclaimed as Augustus was that his men did not want to be moved east to serve under Constantius since they knew that the barbarians would come back and kill their loved ones.
  11. Emperor Goblinus

    When did they stop being legions?

    I think there were legions until the fall of western empire, although their quality began to noticeably deteriorate in the fifth century. In some ways, they actually continued on for a bit after the fall, as a number of Frankish kings I think made use of several Gallic legions for several decades along borders of the kingdom, and Visigothic kings may have done something similar. In Byzantium, Latin continued to be the administrative language of the army until the early seventh century due to a majority of the troops being enrolled from the Latinized Balkan provinces, so legions would have continued, though they weren't as large as the ones in the Pax Romana. After Heraclius' reforms made Greek the official military language, the term legio would probably have fallen out of use, although had the Muslim conquests not occurred, the future East Roman military organization might not have been that different. As it were, the Byzantines were forced to radically reorganize their armies to suit the needs of a much smaller empire that for a time was on the verge of the destruction. In some ways, this simply accelerated the trend that began in the third century with faster and smaller cavalry and light infantry units being increasingly favored over massive plodding legions. The realities of Dark Age Byzantium made this a necessity,and by the time the empire began to recover, the core of the military were fast and mobile cavalry units that were very much under local control and ultimately developed into the powerful armored cataphracts, a less feudal-based cousin of the medieval knight.
  12. Do you think that the Kingdom of Soissons could have become a viable kingdom alongside Francia and others?
  13. The most successful Germanic people in the early Middle Ages, they basically had vanished as a distinct ethnic group by at the latest the eleventh century. Any reason why this was? These are my theories: 1. Inherent instability of the empire: The political structure of the empire made it constantly on the verge of dissolution for centuries, and was only held in check by the continuity of the Merovingians and the Carolingians and the vigor of a few notable kings. Given the tradition of the kings to divide up the kingdom among their sons, it was probably inevitable that separate dynasties would eventually sprout up and go their separate ways, and form separate indentities. 2. Absorption into the conquered territories: From what I know, the original Frankish homeland was in the Low Countries, a small fraction of what their later empire was. Unlike the Romans, they could not successfully assimilate the vast majority of their conquered populace. The name France comes from the region of the Ile de France (which probably was taken from the name of the Franks), not the Frankish people themselves. Outside of the elite, the people largely continued to live life as they always had, spoke their own languages, and were loyal largely to their local rulers. Franks that moved out of their traditional homeland became acclimated to their new homes, not the other way around. Once the aristocracy and royal family splintered after the mid-ninth century, there was little to keep the empire together. Northern Italy and the Spanish March especially were held simply by royal power, not cultural bonds. As for the original Frankish homeland, it became part of the doomed kingdom of Lotharingia, and was pulled among various loyaltiesfor centuries. This could have had a major impact on the original Frankish people. 3. Unwieldy size: This is coupled with the previous answer. Much of Frankish territory was very underdeveloped and had little established infrastructure. Gaul and Italy had the Roman roads, but these did not extend deep into the Franks' eastern territory. Outside of a forceful ruler like Charlemagne, the increasingly large empire just could not be sustained in light of the lack of central planning and the Frankish dynastic system. When the empire was carved up by Louis I's sons in 834, they weren't the smaller fiefs of earlier centuries, but large kingdoms that were able to assert their own dominance; East and West Francia especially had their own unique traditions that made it easy for them to split apart once their no strong ruler to bind them together, as West Francia was largely Gallic and Romance-speaking, while East Francia was almost exclusively Germanic. Lotharingia, meanwhile, was ripe to be cut up into principalities that were not necessarily Frankish in tradition and were forced to form their own identities amongst ever-changing political shifts. 4. The Normans: The settlement of the Normans probably went a long way in breaking down Frankish identity in the North of France. While they did adopt the local language and much of the customs, they kept their own identity. The area which is now Normandy had been one of the Franks' original Gallic possessions, and its loss probably helped to undercut Frankish identity in the region. When Normandy was brought back under royal control, it was under first English and then French royal domination, not Frankish. 5. Formation of the the Holy Roman Empire under Saxon rule: In some ways, the Carolingian Empire was mostly restored under the Ottonians in the tenth century, as West Francia constituted less than a third of overall original Frankish territory. This new empire had many similarities to the old, but it was now under the control of Germanic peoples who never considered themselves to be truly Frankish. Indeed, much of the early Saxon identity was framed around opposition to the Franks. Also, much of the formation of the Franks' early cultural and political identity was tied in with that of Late Rome; they were one of the most romanized Germanic peoples, as it opposed to the Saxons, Frisians, Bavarians, and Swabians who ultimately inherited the empire. With a new empire formed around a largely German aristocracy, minus the Latinized Franks in the West, the exclusively German and religious/imperial identity would have quickly outstripped any sense of "Frankishness." This would have been coupled with the empire's Italian possessions, who had even less in common with the Franks and were only united with the Germans through imperial power that was expressed through translatio imperii and the original Carolingian mission of protecting the papacy (hence the empire being called "Holy"). In this atmosphere, being a Frank would have meant little. As for the western kingdom, the southern portions of France had largely resisted Germanic cultural influence except at the aristocratic levels, and they largely remained romanized. The northern portions were more Frankish, but even there, deep Germanic identity had not taken hold. After the election of Hugh Capet, the Germanic practice of electing kings largely disappeared in favor of strong dynastic rulers. Even though the kings continued to call themselves rex francorum for some time, the increasingly local nature of France probably broke down any lingering Frankish identity that could have taken hold. What are your thoughts?
  14. Emperor Goblinus

    Why did the Franks disappear?

    While I agree on the fact that their homeland was around the Rhine, the areas of northern and central France were very important to the Franks. Many Merovingian kings like Clovis made cities like Orleans and Paris their capitals, decisions crucial in the Latinization of the Frankish elite. Aquitaine was often hostile and had its own identity, but since the late fifth century, most of it was part of Francia, and Septimanian I think was incorporated in the late eighth century. Brittany stayed mostly independent until the Late Middle Ages. But the areas which we consider to be the heart of French culture were very important to the Franks.
  15. Emperor Goblinus

    Why did the Franks disappear?

    Weren't the Goths pretty Romanized even before they entered Spain? That was my understanding.
  16. Emperor Goblinus

    The Dacians and the Late Empire

    I'm curious as the what the exact relationship the Latin Dacians had with the Roman Empire after the legions withdrew from the province. I know that Dacians on both sides of the Danube continued to provide the Roman army with troops into the Byzantine period and that they did recognize the general supremacy of the Roman emperor, but at the same time, there are attestations of the Dacians repeatedly raiding across the border and needing to be subdued militarily several times. This scenario mimics Rome's relationship with numerous other peoples that were along its borders, but as the Dacians were a Latin that people that were largely Romanized, this was a bit different. Does anyone here have any further information on this, or know where I can read more? Peter Wells' The Barbarians Speak was an excellent read, but I think that he went a bit too far to try to prove his argument that the provincial Romans along Rome's continental borders were not really Romanized, and I didn't really get a look into how Roman culture deeply affected the cultures here, just how the peoples retained aspects of their own culture.
  17. Emperor Goblinus

    Physical appearance of a famous Roman

    Interesting, I did not know this. Did this shift come about due to the Arab invasions?
  18. Emperor Goblinus

    Why did the Franks disappear?

    The name of France definitely comes from the Franks, but I think it was more from the gradual political imposition of the Ile de France and Paris on the rest of the country than a general, wide-spread identity, though I could be wrong. Northern France was definitely more Germanic in its political and cultural character than the other Latin peoples, and the Gallo-Romance languages are significantly influenced by Old Frankish. Still, it's strange that the original homeland of the Franks, the Low Countries, abandonded that identity. As for the Gauls, they did pretty much go extinct culturally, although I think that there were still some Gaulish speakers in the seventh century. Also, although the original Gauls were a predominantly Celtic people, I do think that the area in the north of Gaul, particularly the Belgae, were partly Germanic, so the Franks might not have seemed that alien to them and this may partly account why they were so quickly acclimated to the region. One thing also to keep in mind was that Gaul was not wracked with the ethno-religious disputes that were seen in Italy, Spain, and North Africa. Arianism never really took root among the Franks, and under Clovis, Romans and Franks were placed under the same religion and given the same citizenship status. Class was really the big divider, and continued to be until the French Revolution, but you did not see in Gaul the crippling religious conflicts that you saw under the Goths and Vandals. This probably helped to break down the overall Frankish and Roman identities, and create the new local ones that eventually united under France. Nevertheless, considering how massive the Frankish Empire came to be you would think that they would have maintained a larger presence for a longer time.
  19. While they all shared an overall unified faith, Christianity had divisions almost right from the beginning. One of the first and most famous was the debate over how much the Gentiles should adopt Jewish customs when converting (such as circumcision). Ultimately the Gentile position won out due to the efforts of Paul and other preachers in Roman world that took the center of the Christian world out of Jerusalem, and the major setback that Jewish Christianity suffered after the Jewish Rebellion in AD 70. Many Christian churches throughout the empire had very divergent practices and sometimes used various Scriptural texts that were later cut out by various councils such as Nicaea. And this does not even take into account the churches that were created outside of the empire, such as in India, Persia, Armenia, Ethiopia, and eventually China, which of course were even more different.
  20. No people is without a unique culture of their own. Before coming into contact with Greece, it wasn't like the Romans had "no culture;" there were many things very distinct about the Romans that differed from Greeks. That being said, they did borrow alot and very much admired the Greek's culture. One thing that's important to note is that due to the Greeks'long presence in Italy, Rome had been influenced by them from the very beginning, although this influence went up a great deal after the Punic Wars. One thing that's important to remember is that many of our assumptions about the "Greco-Roman" world is that they aren't based on solid historical fact, but romanticized interpretations by Renaissance and Enlightenment thinkers.
  21. Emperor Goblinus

    Augustus, father of western civilization....?

    Don't sell Augustus short either. As the author states in the quote he did succeed in "consolidating" the Roman Empire. He got a people who loathed monarchy to resign themselves to his rule and he created a system that would survive his hideous heirs. But ultimately the question is: did his actions define Europe and later culture? Why don't we take a look at a world without Augustus? Without him this period of civil strife could not have continued. Either: 1) Another strongman would have filled his shoes as Imperitor. 2) External enemies (Or breakaway provinces) could have ended a Rome weakened by extended civil wars (as they did later) If the former, then Rome could conceivibly have continued to provide the backbone to western culture. If the latter "Romanized" successor states could have fulfilled the same role. At the end of the first century BCE, many regions in the western half of the empire were still not very romanized. Had the Rome collapsed then, it is possible that a Roman aristocracy and military elite in the provinces might have been continued on, but in places like Gaul, Pannonia, and northern Spain, the original pre-Roman leaders would probably have reasserted themselves and Roman cultural influence would have waned. Britain would be far different and Romania would not exist. Undoubtedly there would have been some Roman influence that would have been carried over into the modern day, but it would have been far less. More than likely, Western Europe as a whole would probably have been largely a Celtic culture.
  22. It just strikes me that if they had conquered Asia Minor the way that the Turks did, they could have strangled the Byzantine Empire, and have easily conquered it. Taking Constantinople proved an impossibility, at least at the time, but if they had taken Asia Minor, or even landed troops in Greece itself, Constantinople would have been totally cut off and would have had to eventually surrender. As it was, the Arabs' ignoring of Asia Minor allowed the Byzantines to regain their strength, reorganize their armies, and successfully fight back. I know that the Arabs did deep and devastating raids into Asia Minor, but I just don't see why they didn't conquer it and surround Constantinople. Any theories as to why this didn't happen?
  23. If a person from ancient Rome were exposed to any of the Romance languages, do you think that he might be able to understand some of them, or would they be totally incomprehensible?
  24. Emperor Goblinus

    Could the Kingdom of Soissons have survived?

    We cannot estimate its relative strength today, but say that Francia had fallen into a civil war, it could probably have survived, if it had the support from the local population. Syagrius seems to have been a competent enough commander. It would probably have been subsequently de-romanised during the centuries. It was allied to Brittany at the time, but they could easily have become enemies later on. While the kingdom might well have adopted some things from surrounding cultures, I don't see why it wouldn't have retained its romanitas. In fact, this identity might have been strengthened in the faces of possible usurpers, similar to what happened to the Byzantines. Linguistically, a decreased Frankish power in Gaul might have stunted the development of French and the other langues d'oi due to a lack of the influence of the Frankish accent. The people today might have instead sounded more like Spaniards or Italians.
  25. Emperor Goblinus

    Top ten Roman Atrocities?

    Even though it was over the course of nearly two centuries, I would say that the Romans' treatment of the Celtiberians was atrocious. Even though they were always brutal in war, the Romans ripped, extorted, and taxed the hell out of these people, completely demolishing their culture in a way that not even the Jews had to suffer. Yes, there were repeated revolts, but they were largely in response to the cruel treatment that the local commanders and governors heaped on them.