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Neglected Roman History Discussion

Printed From: History Community ~ All Empires
Category: Regional History or Period History
Forum Name: Ancient Mediterranean and Europe
Forum Discription: Greece, Macedon, Rome and other cultures such as Celtic and Germanic tribes
URL: http://www.allempires.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=6851
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Topic: Neglected Roman History Discussion
Posted By: Paul
Subject: Neglected Roman History Discussion
Date Posted: 08-Nov-2005 at 18:41

Watching the new BBC/HBO Rome series on TV it got me wondering.

The movie Gladiator was about Commodus, so was The Fall of the Roman Empire, there's occasionally a Discovery Channel documentary about him. Caligula get a couple of movies too, and so does Nero, they both warrant regular Terrestrial TV programs about them. Caesar.... Well he's in about 50% of anything Roman. Tiberius gets the occaisional documentary and Claudius his own TV drama series.

And there we have it 1200 hundred years of Roman history (2200 if you include Byzantium)..... No kings, no republic, 1 wouldbe dictator, and 5 emperors.  

So I was wondering apart from the times mentioned above, did the Romans spend the rest of their history sitting in a dimly lit room holding hands and watching paint dry.... or did something worth mentioning happen?

Perhaps we could have a chat about (other) times in Roman history.

 



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Replies:
Posted By: Imperator Invictus
Date Posted: 08-Nov-2005 at 18:45
Yep, that's the correct take on "popular" history.


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Posted By: Heraclius
Date Posted: 08-Nov-2005 at 19:36

 Yeah that really bugs me, the history channel is the worst culprit, what few programmes it has on Roman history are about Caeser i'd say about 80% of the time.

 There is not one programme that I have seen EVER on Byzantium in its own right, there was one programme called "I Caeser" which was 6 parts long 1 hour each, showing the lives of Caeser, Augustus, Nero, Hadrian Constantine and then Justinian. The first time ever I have seen anything talking about Byzantium and even then it was constantly referring back to Julius Caeser and Augustus.

 Never though anything about the history of Byzantium in its own right.

 I suppose the History Channel doesnt like comprimising its schedule of 15 WW2 related programmes a day for something abit different or shock-horror interesting.

 There just never seems to be anything on about the beginning of Rome, the Punic wars, Romes expansion in the east against the Diodochi for example, the crisis of the 3rd century, an in-depth look at the decline of the empire throughout its history, the barbarian migrations/invasions, the divisions of the empire, the rise of the east and fall of the west and then the history of Byzantium etc.

 I mean  its excludes some of the most important and interesting periods in Roman and European history for the sake of yet another programme on Julius frickin Caeser.  I'm sick to death of it.

 



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A tomb now suffices him for whom the world was not enough.


Posted By: Constantine XI
Date Posted: 08-Nov-2005 at 19:43
Originally posted by Paul

Watching the new BBC/HBO Rome series on TV it got me wondering.

The movie Gladiator was about Commodus, so was The Fall of the Roman Empire, there's occasionally a Discovery Channel documentary about him. Caligula get a couple of movies too, and so does Nero, they both warrant regular Terrestrial TV programs about them. Caesar.... Well he's in about 50% of anything Roman. Tiberius gets the occaisional documentary and Claudius his own TV drama series.

And there we have it 1200 hundred years of Roman history (2200 if you include Byzantium)..... No kings, no republic, 1 wouldbe dictator, and 5 emperors.  

So I was wondering apart from the times mentioned above, did the Romans spend the rest of their history sitting in a dimly lit room holding hands and watching paint dry.... or did something worth mentioning happen?

Perhaps we could have a chat about (other) times in Roman history.

 



The interesting paradox here is that these figures you mentioned are among the most interesting men by virtue of the extravagance, perversity, absolutism of their power and a wealth of other personal information which makes them such interesting characters. It is a paradox because one of the traditionally accepted causes of Roman decline was Roman immorality in the last centuries. Yet the later Emperors were typically an austere and disciplined bunch, the real excesses actually occured under the earlier Emperors.

I have to say I find one figure interesting in setting the trend towards Late Empire: Septimius Severus (192-212). Craftily winning a threeway civil war when the odds were against him, he silenced dissent with repression and massively exalted the army with pay and rewards. After a while he decided to campaign in Britain against the (still!) unconcquered Picts. He was nearly successful, driving many of them to the most inhospitable parts of their land where they died. Severus himself expired at York, exhorting his sons to "despise all but that army, whom you are to exalt always".


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Posted By: Heraclius
Date Posted: 08-Nov-2005 at 20:18

 I've always loved the crisis of the 3rd century, the empire almost on its knees, hopelessly divided with the Gallic empire being formed (Gaul, Britain and Spain) and Palmyrene empire in the east (Egypt, the holyland, Syria and much of Asia Minor) with Persian backing.

 The empire suffered economic collapse, seemingly endless civil wars and massive invasions from the barbarians beyond the frontiers. The Alemanni, Goths, Sarmatians, the Vandals and just about every other tribe having a go at the empire along with the Persians in the east.

 Yet out of all this chaos emerged some of Romes greatest Emperor/generals and unsung heroes men like Gallienius, and more so Claudius II Gothicus and Aurelian, Aurelian giving the empire a new lease of life that would end up lasting nearly 200 years.

 A truly fascinating and exciting period of Roman history that gets almost no coverage whatsoever.



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A tomb now suffices him for whom the world was not enough.


Posted By: Imperator Invictus
Date Posted: 08-Nov-2005 at 22:50
The interesting paradox here is that these figures you mentioned are among the most interesting men by virtue of the extravagance, perversity, absolutism of their power and a wealth of other personal information which makes them such interesting characters.


That's only because we know so much about those characters, as opposed to let's say... Aurelian. If there were as many accounts on Aurelian as there are on Caesar, Aurelian would appear to be the greater.


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Posted By: arch.buff
Date Posted: 08-Nov-2005 at 22:56
They recently had a one hour show called "Hannibal vs Rome".   


Posted By: Constantine XI
Date Posted: 08-Nov-2005 at 22:57
Originally posted by Imperator Invictus

The interesting paradox here is that these figures you mentioned are among the most interesting men by virtue of the extravagance, perversity, absolutism of their power and a wealth of other personal information which makes them such interesting characters.


That's only because we know so much about those characters, as opposed to let's say... Aurelian. If there were as many accounts on Aurelian as there are on Caesar, Aurelian would appear to be the greater.


Yes I agree totally, the wealth of literature from the period around the 1st century AD has ensured their immortality. As time went by the writing style of such men as Suetonius was increasingly hard to come by.


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Posted By: Paul
Date Posted: 09-Nov-2005 at 09:24

Lucius Sergius Catilina (108 BC62 BC), known in English as Catiline, was a Roman politician of the 1st century BC who is best known for the Catiline (or Catilinarian) conspiracy, an attempt to overthrow the Roman Republic, and in particular the power of the aristocratic Senate.

Born from a noble but impoverished family, he served in the Social War with Pompey and Cicero, under Pompeius Strabo. He also supported Sulla in the civil war of 8481 BC. Catiline was praetor in 68 BC and governed Africa in the following two years. Upon his return he was prosecuted for abuse of power, but eventually acquitted, then in 66 BC was accused of a conspiracy with Autronius and Publius Sulla (nephew of the Dictator), although we are unclear on the details. After being defeated by Cicero in the consular election for 63 BC, he championed the cause of aristocrats and Sullan veterans down on their luck. He also began to organize a new and larger conspiracy. Catiline made offers to various tribes in Gaul to secure allies. One tribe, the Allobroges, refused his offer and made the plot public.

In 63 BC Cicero, who was consul at the time, discovered and denounced Catiline's conspiracy to the Senate, and Catiline had to flee from Rome, to Etruria. In January 62 BC he and his fellows were intercepted by the Roman army near Pistoria (now Pistoia), and he died in the subsequent battle.

Catiline's conspiracy is one of the most famous events of the Roman Republic's turbulent final decades. Cicero wrote down his Catiline Orations to the Senate against Catiline, which became a widely studied example of eloquence and rhetoric; the historian Sallust wrote an account of the whole affair approximately 20 years after the fact.

The conspirators' agenda is somewhat unclear, but reportedly included arson and other property damage, the assassination of public figures (especially Cicero), and the institution of widespread debt relief or cancellation for the debtors who made up much of Catiline's support base.

Retrieved from " http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catiline - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catiline "


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Posted By: Paul
Date Posted: 09-Nov-2005 at 09:28

Kings of Rome

The Kingdom period of Roman history is as much a part of myth and legend as the founding of the city. Stories past down generation to generation would eventually find their way into the Historical records of such writers as Livy and Plutarch. There is evidence which supports the period of Kings, but exact rulers, dates, events and accomplishments will likely forever be unknown. The growth of the city and development of its culture during this period, however, is widely accepted.

Romulus ruled as the first King of Rome from 753 – 715 BC. According to Livy, he populated Rome with fugitives from other countries and gave them wives abducted from the Sabine tribe. He was said to have vanished in a thunderstorm and was later worshiped as the god Quirinus. He was known as a warrior King who developed Rome’s first army while expanding Rome’s territory. He is also credited with establishment of the patrician, or tribal elder, citizen class and the basis of the Roman Senate.

The second King, Numa Pompilius, was a Sabine and ruled from 715-673 BC. He is credited with the foundation of most of the Roman religious rites and offices such as pontifices, flamens (sacred priests), vestal virgins, the building of the temple of Janus and the reorganization of the calendar into days. Livy suggests that his reign was one of peace and religious reflection for the city. “Once Rome's Neighbors had considered her not so much as a city as an armed camp in their midst threatening the general peace; now they came up to revere her so profoundly as a community dedicated wholly to worship, that the mere thought of offering her violence seemed like sacrilege.” (Livy, History I, xxi)

672 - 641 BC. Tullius Hostilius succeeded Pompilius as the third King from 672 - 641 BC. He was the complete opposite of his predecessor as evidenced in Livy’s words “In his view, Rome had been allowed to lapse into senility, and his one object was to find cause for renewed military adventure.” (Livy, History I, xviii) His reign was one of conquest and expansion which included the eventual destruction of the rival city of Alba Longa. According to lore, Hostilius warlike behavior and complete neglect of the Roman gods, led to a plague on the city. In asking for help from an angered Jupiter, Hostilius was struck down by a bolt of lightning.

The reign of Hositilius, and the resulting plague, prompted the Senate to choose Ancus Marcius as its fourth King. The grandson of Numa Pompilius, Marcius reigned from 640 – 616 BC. He is credited with the formation of the plebeian citizen class and the founding of the port city of Ostia. The first bridge across the Tiber, the Pons Sublicius, was also said to have been built by Marcius. He combined this administrative capability with military achievement as well, conquering and absorbing several other Latin tribes. Marcius, like his grandfather, was said to have died a natural death.

Tarquinius Priscus, (Tarquinius I) the first Etruscan monarch, succeeded Marcius as the fifth King ruling from 616 – 579 BC. He was said to have been made guardian of Marcius’ children, sent them away after his death, and convinced the Romans to elect him as King. His reign is credited with the foundation of the Roman games (Ludi Romani), the Circus Maximus and the construction of the great sewers (cloacae). These operations were funded through the conquest of several more neighboring Latin and Sabine tribes. Much of Rome’s military symbolism (the eagle, etc.) and civil offices is believed to have been developed during this period. He is also credited with bringing the Etruscan military triumph tradition to Rome, and being the first to celebrate one in the city. His death was said to have been at the hands of the sons of Marcius.

Servius Tullius followed Tarquinius and ruled as the sixth King from 578 to 534 BC. He is renowned for implementing a new constitution further developing the citizen classes. The Servian Walls (city walls of Rome) are attributed to him, but modern archeology indicates that the existing walls were built in the 4th Century BC. He is also credited with the construction of the Temple of Diana on the Aventinus hill. He was assassinated by his daughter Tullia and her husband Tarquin.

The seventh and final King of Rome, http://www.unrv.com/bio/lucius-tarquinius-superbus.php - Tarquinius Superbus , (Tarquin the Proud) ruled from 534-510 BC. Under his rule, the Etruscans were at the height of their power, and the authority of the monarchy was absolute. He repealed several earlier constitutional reforms and used violence and murder to hold his power. His tyrannical rule was despised by the Romans and the final straw was the rape of Lucretia, a patrician Roman, at the hands of Tarquinius’ son Sextius. The Tarquins and the monarchy were cast out of Rome in 510 BC in a revolt led by Lucius Junius Brutus and Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus.

The Senate voted to never again allow the rule of a King and formed a Republic government in 509 BC. Lucius Junius Brutus and Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus went on to become the first Consuls of this new government. Free from the rule of Kings, the Romans developed a strict social status hierarchy that would set in motion the conquest of the Western World.

http://www.unrv.com/empire/kings-of-rome.php - http://www.unrv.com/empire/kings-of-rome.php



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Posted By: Paul
Date Posted: 09-Nov-2005 at 09:29

Birth of the Roman Republic

The rape of Lucretia, according to Livy, was the fundamental “last straw” in the overthrow of the Etruscan King http://www.unrv.com/bio/lucius-tarquinius-superbus.php - Lucius Tarquinius Superbus . The transition from the Etruscan monarchy to republic (510-509 BC) was not, however, a simple institutional change. In place of the King, the newly founded Republic relied upon its Senate, or patrician class families, to oversee the government and the election of various officials, including 2 shared power Consuls. This transformation from monarchy to representative style government, headed by the elite social class, would prove to have troubles of its own.

After the overthrow of the Tarquin dynasty, led by Junius Brutus, the ancient Romans avoided a true monarchal government for the remainder of their storied history (Even the later imperial government maintained forms of the republican system. While in practice it could be a system of absolute power for the Emperor, it was theoretically still checked by the Senate and other representative ideals.) This same Junius Brutus was later claimed as an ancestor by the Republican loyalist Marcus Brutus who was among the conspirators in the assassination of Julius Caesar, and shows the deeply rooted Roman aversion to Kings. It was the era of the Republic in which the great expansion of Roman civilization, power and structure set the path for European dominance. In these formative and expansive years, Rome was ruled by its Senate and its people’s assemblies. The offices of power were divided among various elected officials to avoid the conglomeration of power and the re-institution of the monarchy.

These magistracies were in essence, a division of previous monarchal powers. The Romans instituted a constitution which would dictate the traditions and institutions of government for the Roman people. This constitution, however, was not a formal or even written document, but rather a series of unwritten traditions and laws. Deeply rooted in pre-Republican tradition, it essentially maintained all the same monarchal powers and divided them amongst a series of people, rather than in one supreme ruler.

Patricians and Plebeians

Discontent and political upheaval lay ahead for the fledgling Republic, since the new constitution was flawed and exclusive in nature for the general population (plebeians). Rome was surrounded by powerful external enemies, including its former Etruscan rulers, and Patrician (the hereditary aristocratic families) in-fighting with each other and the plebeian (common people) class was an immediate source of difficulty. The Romans developed a complex client system, where aristocratic families pledged allegiance and voting support to other powerful families. In exchange for political appointments and advocating of various agendas, some power groups were able to subvert the state and the will of the masses for personal gain.

The words Patrician and Plebeian have taken on different connotations of wealthy and poor in modern English, but no such distinction existed in Roman times. The two classes were simply ancestral or inherited. A citizen’s class was fixed by birth rather than by wealth. Patricians monopolized all of the political offices and probably most of the wealth in the early Republic, but there were many wealthy plebeians, and conversly many patrician families had little claim to wealth or prestige other than their family heritage. The relationship between the plebeians and the patricians sometimes came under intense strain, as a result of this exclusion from political influence. In repsonse, the plebeians on several occasions, abandoned the city leaving the patricians without a working class to support their political whims.

http://www.unrv.com/empire/birth-of-the-roman-republic.php - http://www.unrv.com/empire/birth-of-the-roman-republic.php



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Posted By: Paul
Date Posted: 09-Nov-2005 at 09:32
Rome

The Rape of Lucretia: Livy, I.57-60


   Ardea belonged to the Rutuli, who were a nation of commanding wealth, for that place and period. This very fact was the cause of the war, since the Roman king was eager not only to enrich himself, impoverished as he was by the splendour of his public works, but also to appease with booty the feeling of the common people; who, besides the enmity they bore the monarch for other acts of pride, were especially resentful that the king should have kept them employed so long as artisans and doing the work of slaves.

   An attempt was made to capture Ardea by assault. Having failed in this, the Romans invested the place with intrenchments, and began to beleaguer the enemy. Here in their permanent camp, as is usual with a war not sharp but long drawn out, furlough was rather freely granted, more freely however to the leaders than to the soldiers; the young princes for their part passed their idle hours together at dinners and drinking bouts. It chanced, as they were drinking in the quarters of Sextus Tarquinius, where Tarquinius Collatinus, son of Egerius, was also a guest, that the subject of wives came up. Every man fell to praising his own wife with enthusiasm, and, as their rivalry grew hot, Collatinus said that there was no need to talk about it, for it was in their power to know, in a few hours' time, how far the rest were excelled by his own Lucretia."Come! If the vigour of youth is in us let us mount our horses and see for ourselves the disposition of our wives. Let every man regard as the surest test what meets his eyes when the woman's husband enters unexpected." They were heated with wine. "Agreed!" they all cried, and clapping spurs to their borses were off for Rome.

   Arriving there at early dusk, they thence proceeded to Collatia, where Lucretia was discovered very differently employed from the daughters-in-law of the king. These they had seen at a luxurious banquet, whiling awav the time with their young friends—but Lucretia, though it was late at night, was busily engaged upon her wool, while her maidens toiled about her in the lamplight as she sat in the hall of her house. Tbe prize of this contest in womanly virtues fell to Lueretia. As Collatinus and the Tarquinii approached, they were graciously received, and the victorious husband courteously invited the young princes to his table.

   It was there that Sextus Tarquinius was seized with a wicked desire to debauch Lucretia by force; not only her beauty, but her proved chastity as well provoked him. However, for the present they ended the boyish prank of the night and returned to the camp.

   58. When a few days had gone by, Sextus Tarquinius, without letting Collatinus know, took a single attendant and went to Collatia. Being kindly welcomed, for no one suspected his purpose, he was brought after dinner to a guest-chamber. Burning with passion, he waited until it seemed to him that all about him was secure and everybody fast asleep; then, drawing his sword, he came to the sleeping Lucretia. Holding the woman down with his left hand on her breast, he said, "Be still, Lucretia! I am Sextus Tarquinius. My sword is in my hand. Utter a sound, and you die!"

   In fear the woman started out of her sleep. No help was in sight, but only imminent death. Then Tarquinius began to declare his love, to plead, to mingle threats witll prayers, to bring every resource to bear upon her woman's heart. When he found her obdurate and not to be moved even by fear of death, he went farther and threatened her with disgrace, saying that when she was dead he would kill his slave and lay him naked by her side, that she might be said to have been put to death in adultery with a man of base condition. At this dreadful prospect her resolute modesty was overcome, as if with force, by his victorious lust; and Tarquinius departed, exulting in his conquest of a woman's honour.

   Lucretia, grieving at her great disaster, dispatched the same message to her father in Rome and to her husband at Ardea: she asked that they should each take a trusty friend and come, that they must do this and do it quickly, for a frightful thing had happened. Spurius Lucretius came with Publius Valerius, Volesus' son. Collatinus brought Lucius Junius Brutus, with whom he chanced to be returning to Rome when he was met by the messenger from his wife. They found Lucretia sitting sadly in her chamber. The entrance of her friends brought the tears to her eyes, and to her husband's question, "Is all well?," she replied, "Far from it; for what can be well with a woman when she has lost her honour? The print of a strange man, Collatinus, is in your bed. Yet my body only has been violated; my heart is guiltless, as death shall be my witness. But pledge your right hands and your words that the adulterer shall not go unpunished. Sextus Tarquinius is he that last night returned hostility for hospitality, and brought ruin on me, and on himself no less—if you are men—when he worked his pleasure with me."

   They give their pledges, every man in turn. They seek to comfort her, sick at heart as she is, by diverting the blame from her who was forced to the doer of the wrong. They tell her it is the mind that sins, not the body; and that where purpose has been wanting there is no guilt.

   "It is for you to determine," she answers, "what is due to him, for my own part, though I acquit myself of the sin, I do not absolve myself from punishment; nor in time to come shall ever unchaste woman live through the example of Lucretia."

   Taking a knife which she had concealed beneath her dress, she plunged it into her heart, and sinking forward upon the wound, died as she fell. The wail for the dead was raised by her husband and her father.

   59. Brutus, while the others were absorbed in grief; drew out the knife from Lucretia's wound, and holding it up, dripping with gore, exclaimed, "By this blood, most chaste until a prince wronged it, I swear, and I take you, gods, to witness, that I will pursue Lucius Tarquinius Superbus and his wicked wife and all his children, with sword, with fire, aye with whatsoever violence I may; and that I will suffer neither them nor any other to be king in Rome!"

   The knife he then passed to Collatinus, and from him to Lucretius and Valerius. They were dumbfounded at this miracle. Whence came this new spirit in the breast of Brutus? As he bade them, so they swore. Grief was swallowed up in anger; and when Brutus summoned them to make war from that very moment on the power of the kings, they followed his lead. They carried out Lucretia's corpse from the house and bore it to the market-place, where men crowded about them, attracted, as they.were bound to be, by the amazing character of the strange event and its heinousness. Every man had his own complaint to make of the prince's crime and his violence. They were moved, not only by the father's sorrow, but by the fact that it was Brutus who chid their tears and idle lamentations and urged them to take up the sword, as befitted men and Romans, against those who had dared to treat them as enemies.

   "The boldest of the young men seized their weapons and offered themselves for service, and the others followed their example. Then, leaving Lucretia's father to guard Collatia, and posting sentinels so that no one might announce the rising to the royal family, the rest, equipped for battle and with Brutus in command, set out for Rome. Once there, wherever their armed band advanced it brought terror and confusion; but again, when people saw that in the van were the chief men of the state, they concluded that whatever it was it could be no meaningless disturbance. And in fact there was no less resentment at Rome when this dreadful story was known than there had been at Collatia. So from every quarter of the city men came running to the Forum.

   No sooner were they there than a crier summoned the people before the Tribune of the Celeres, which office Brutus the happened to be holding. There he made a speech by no means like what might have been expected of the mind and the spirit which he had feigned up to that day. He spoke of the violence and lust of Sextus Tarquinius, of the shameful defilement of Lucretia and her deplorable death, of the bereavement of Tricipitinus, in whose eyes the death of his daughter was not so outrageous and deplorable as was the cause of her death. He reminded them, besides, of the pride of the king himself and the wretched state of the commons, who were plunged into ditches and sewers and made to clear them out. The men of Rome, he said, the conquerors of all the nations round about, had been transformed from warriors into artisans and stone-cutters. He spoke of the shameful murder of King Tullius, and how his daughter had driven her accursed chariot over her father's body, and he invoked the gods who punish crimes against parents.

   With these and, I fancy, even fiercer reproaches, such as occur to a man in the very presence of an outrage, but are far from easy for an historian to reproduce, he inflamed the people, and brought them to abrogate the king s authority and to exile Lucius Tarquinius, together with his wife and children. Brutus himself then enrolled the juniors, who voluntarily gave in their names, and arming them set out for the camp at Ardea to arouse the troops against the king. The command at Rome he left with Lucretius, who had been appointed Prefect of the City by the king, some time before. During this confusion Tullia fled from her house, cursed wherever she went by men and women, who called down upon her the furies that avenge the wrongs of kindred.

   60. When the news of these events reached the camp, the king, in alarm at the unexpected danger, set out for Rome to put down the revolt. Brutus, who had perceived the king's approach, made a circuit to avoid meeting him, and at almost the same moment, though by different roads, Brutus reached Ardea and Tarquinius Rome. Against Tarquinius the gates were closed and exile was pronounced. The liberator of the City was received with rejoicings in the camp, and the sons of the king were driven out of it. Two of them followed their father, and went into exile at Caere, in Etruria. Sextus Tarquinius departed for Gabii, as though it had been his own kingdom, and there the revengers of old quarrels, which he had brought upon himself by murder and rapine, slew him.

   Lucius Tarquinius Superbus ruled for five and twenty years. The rule of the kings at Rome, from its foundation to its liberation, lasted two hundred and forty-four years. Two consuls were then chosen in the centuriate comitia, under the presidency of the Prefect of the City, in accordance with the commentaries of Servius Tullius. These were Lucius Junius Brutus and Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus.

http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~dee/ROME/RAPE.HTM - http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~dee/ROME/RAPE.HTM



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Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 09-Nov-2005 at 13:09

Most of these silly pop-history TV shows on the Roman Empire are obsessed with Julius Caesar (who was still part of Republican Rome, not the Empire) and Augustus.  To them the Empire began and ended with Augustus.  It is really frustrating and annoying, to the point that when I hear of a new show on "Rome" on either the History Channel or on regular TV, I think: "Oh great, yet another romanticized washed-up soap opera about Caesar and Octavian and the promiscuous Julio-Claudian women."  Gladiator being set at the beginning of the later period, in the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus, was a slight relief from the sheer boredom.  However, with that awful mini-series on regular TV, and with the soap-operatic Rome on HBO, it is back to the same old crap.

If you ask me, it is high time that a big budget, epic movie is made on the late Roman Empire or on Byzantium.  Now come on, Byzantine history has everything one could ask for to make a historical epic!



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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: Heraclius
Date Posted: 09-Nov-2005 at 14:27

 I actually quite like "Rome" for pure entertainment its good, what i'm more annoyed with is the boring tedious bio's of Caeser, saying the exact same things a million other programmes have.

 Why are men like Trajan, Marcus Aurelius (in his own right seperate from Commodus) Septimius Severus, Aurelian so ignored? even Constantine the great doesnt get as much coverage as he should, I find his life and times far more interesting than the vast majority of other Romans.

 I think a movie or mini-series on the sons of Constantine or Julian the Apostate would be interesting, its different and far further into Roman history than most dare touch these days it seems. Perhaps look at men like Aetius and Belisarius even, I just don't understand how such interesting and exciting periods of history are being overlooked in favour of tedioum.



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A tomb now suffices him for whom the world was not enough.


Posted By: Decebal
Date Posted: 10-Nov-2005 at 09:53
The story of Julian the Apostate is tremendously interesting. Other people that I find don't get enough coverage are Marius, Diocletian, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, Heraclius and even Constantine the Great. What about the wars with the Diadochi, Heraclius' wars with the Sassanids, and the battle of Adrianople?

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What is history but a fable agreed upon?
Napoleon Bonaparte

Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.- Mohandas Gandhi



Posted By: Heraclius
Date Posted: 10-Nov-2005 at 09:58
 Going to have to keep wishing to see anything on Heraclius, if I didnt know better i'd think the Byzantine empire never existed so tiny is the coverage it gets if any.

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A tomb now suffices him for whom the world was not enough.


Posted By: Constantine XI
Date Posted: 11-Nov-2005 at 03:04
What is Byzantium, but history's greatest soap opera.

In any case I would like to see something on Zenobia and her attempt at wresting the East from Rome.


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Posted By: TheodoreFelix
Date Posted: 16-Nov-2005 at 12:09
I think this is mostly a result of Shakespeares Julius Caesar, but then again, when hasnt the civil wars been the center of attention in Roman studies. I think a miniseries about say, the Crisis of the third century would be good. But who knows anything about that?

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Posted By: Drusus
Date Posted: 02-Dec-2005 at 01:03
The sad thing is that most TV channels and movies just do it for ratings so
they couldn't care less if they're repeating the same thing, as long as people
watch it becasue they're familiar with it. The average person will know about
Caesar so they will watch yet another programme about him


Posted By: pikeshot1600
Date Posted: 02-Dec-2005 at 08:27

Originally posted by Drusus

The sad thing is that most TV channels and movies just do it for ratings so
they couldn't care less if they're repeating the same thing, as long as people
watch it becasue they're familiar with it. The average person will know about
Caesar so they will watch yet another programme about him

True...it is not about the history, it is about the ratings (ratings=money). 



Posted By: sedamoun
Date Posted: 02-Dec-2005 at 08:34

How about the eutruscan Kings of Rome:

Cool article about their Traditions and heritage...

http://www.forumromanum.org/history/morey04.html - http://www.forumromanum.org/history/morey04.html

 



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Posted By: Alkiviades
Date Posted: 02-Dec-2005 at 09:00

What would be more interesting for me, is to move away for a while from all the gloss and glamour of the great leaders, the major wars, the scandals and all that jazz, and focus a bit on lesser aspects - ie. the mere Roman plebe. Or even the mere senator

Or, if you still can't get away from the blood and battling, the mere soldier. The Legionaires are getting all the coverage, but there are others who have done much in small numbers inside the Roman army.

Cretan Archers fighting for Rome

Archers have been appearing in Cretan art from the Early Bronze Age.chemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" />>>

After the end of the Geometric Era when the Doreans firmly established themselves on the island, the Cretan armies were unique in the fact that archers found themselves in the battle line rather than just giving support as psiloi. They first made themselves a name as mercenaries in the Greek and Hellenistic Armies.>>

 >>

By that time the Romans had encountered them in the service of the Syracousans and the Carthagenians. They realised their value and start hiring them themselves. Perhaps the first recruits might have been prisoners of war from the oposing armies that were thought too valuable to be wasted as slave manual labourers.>>

They are mentioned in the story of the Grachus Brothers. It seems that being full time soldiers were more readily available than the citizen legionaries. Being also foreigners were more likely to support their paymasters rather than the plebians. >>

In their native Crete though constant civil wars have wrecked the land and have made it a refuge for many outlaws in the Mediteranean, including Cilician pirates. It was so notorius that at the time bad behaviour was termed “Cretan Way”. Romans started facing these archers as crews of the Cilician pirate ships. Polybios wrote that under the pretext of fighting piracy the Romans found a good excuse to invade the island. After Metellus subjugated the ferocious Cretan guerillas with unparalel savagery the Romans reorganized the island as military colony under a prefect and a caestor and continued to recruit archers for their armies as before.>>

Ancient writers talk about the red tunics of the Cretans. Usually this was the mark of elite troops and supports the idea that they fought in the line, because red is hardly a color that ambushing skirmisers would favor. Another characteristic was their headband that still survives in the cretan national dress.>>

They used small buckler or target shields. Initialy they must have been wickermade, reinforced with leather but later it is possible that bronse facings were used. It is also more possible that they carried them suspended from their shoulder with bauldrics rather that burdening their arms while using the bows. Shield device was the AIGAGROS (chamois) or the swastic-like labyrinth of Knossos.>>

There is evidence that they started carrying the linothorax and helmets at the late classical period. This might have been their armor in the initial periord of their service in the Roman Army but the longer they stay in servoce the more Roman their gear would become.>>

They also carried short swords and daggers-sometimes even javelins and they were not unwilling to fight psiloi or peltasts quite aggresively.>>

Composite bows are mentioned in Homer and by the Hellenistic period Skythian type bows would be available. Excavations in Crete have unearthed triangular heavy arrow heads capable of devastating wounds. The bow woulbe carried in the gorytos bow case when not in use.>>

At the time of Julius Ceasar they most probably wore “montefortino” type helmets and bronze plaques protecting the chest like the earlier roman principes. The ones attached to the elite 10th legion might even have chain mail. A red roman tunic and braca, along with calligae would supplement their equipment. Service in cold northern frontier would have made them to adopt animal furs and other “barbaric” clothing items.>>

In the late roman period Cretans are not mentioned and perhaps they were not distinguished from other auxilia missile troops. But they are listed fighting valiantly among the defenders of Constantinople in 1453-perhaps a fitting end for this tough troopers.

taken from Roman Armies ( http://www.romanarmy.com/cms/encyclopedia/a-c/cretan-archers.html - http://www.romanarmy.com/cms/encyclopedia/a-c/cretan-archers .html )

 



Posted By: arsenka
Date Posted: 06-Dec-2005 at 13:14

Alkiviades wrote:

What would be more interesting for me, is to move away for a while from all the gloss and glamour of the great leaders, the major wars, the scandals and all that jazz, and focus a bit on lesser aspects - ie. the mere Roman plebe. Or even the mere senator

I could advice you "The culture of the roman plebs" by Nicholas Horsfall. It's rather interesting.



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arsenka



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