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Roman History... dig it!

Discussion in 'TRIBE Main Forum' started by ADT, Mar 6, 2002.

  1. ADT

    ADT TRIBE Member

    so, for my one non technical/business elective in univ. i have chosen Roman history..

    and i must say (now that I have actually started doing the reading.. tsk tsk).. that this shit is awesome.. at least more interesting and exciting than alot of the shitty movies i force myself to watch from time to time..

    the Romans seem to be such a culturally rich people despite their ancient technology.. that our society seems somewhat shamed by comparison..

    what do you think?

    (currently reading about the fall of emporers Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius.. all in a year! ..sounds like Argentina :D )


  2. JayIsBored

    JayIsBored TRIBE Member

  3. Trini

    Trini TRIBE Member

    This is JIB's most fondest era. He takes Roman culture to heart. :p
  4. JayIsBored

    JayIsBored TRIBE Member

    oh yes..i can imagine myself sipping wine and eating grapes in the bathouses, talking with my chums, giving eachother massages, all after a joyous day of watching half-naked, hulky men fight to the death in the coliseum :D
  5. Hal-9000

    Hal-9000 TRIBE Member

    Don't forget vomitoriums!

    They kinda make "party til ya puke" the battlecry of lightweights...
  6. Decepta-Kyle

    Decepta-Kyle TRIBE Member

    Ahhhhhhhhh, did Nero watch while Rome burned?
  7. AdRiaN

    AdRiaN TRIBE Member

    Roman History

    I enjoy how the "ancient" technology of Rome was very much ahead of its time. Most grand stuctures and public works are still standing today (in some form), an obvious testament to their design and construction.

    The layout and administration of Roman cities have formed the basis of major urban centres right up until today. Roman government and legal institutions not only allowed them to maintain a massive empire at the time, but also laid the groundwork for modern Western society.

    The Romans were a very "modern" civilization, and Europe never really advanced significantly for hundreds and hundreds of years after the empire fell.
  8. zoo

    zoo TRIBE Member

    I took Classical/Ancient Greek History last term

    History/Classics 2L03

    I would've taken 2LL3 [the continuation] but Thermodynamics was a much more lucrative choice.
  9. ~soulheaven~

    ~soulheaven~ TRIBE Member

    KYLE: It is now in fact known that Nero (Domitius Ahenobarbus) did not in fact burn Rome. He was in a different part of Italy when the fire started, and then upon returning to the capital (the fire blazed for days and days), he led the fire-fighting effort at GREAT personal risk.

    Don't believe all the Christian literature that is out there. No matter what you read, Archaeology will reveal all.......

    Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian (whose son, Titus would also one day rule...however briefly before giving way to his brother, Domitian)........this is known universally as the Year Of The Four Emperors.

  10. Deus

    Deus TRIBE Member

    I like Roman history. But I'm more interested in the day to day Roman life, than in the actual historical events.

    If you lived in Rome there is a good chance that you wouldn't have been sipping wine reclining, while watching cute girlies dance. Most of the people were lower class, even more were slaves.

    I do find it interesting how such a highly advanced society whose philosophers and writers were concerned with ethics and morality, would have slavery.
  11. ~soulheaven~

    ~soulheaven~ TRIBE Member

    The Institution of Slavery in Ancient Roman Society


    Slaves within Italica proper (and particular Campania) lived quite a grand life. They were almost universally considered part of the family, and well fed and taken care of. While I am not advocating slavery by any means, we must recognize that in antiquity, indeed life could have been much worse. Wealthy Romans in Italy often owned as many as 10,000 slaves if you can believe it. Wealth was partitioned to the few then, but their slaves lived well. This is of course off-set by those who toiled in the provinces, in the mines and quarries who led short and terrible lives.

    As Adrian mentioned, upon the collapse of the empire (and at this time, it was recognized that slaves were more expensive than hiring free-men...directly related to obvious output levels differing) life for all diminished....life quality that is.

    In the Mediterranean environment, you needn't be absurdly wealthy to live well. There were jobs for able-bodied citizens, particularly for men in the professional army (although this was obviously dangerous and too adventurous for some), so steady pay could be had. The most important difference from after the collapse (again as Adrian pointed out), was the presence (pre-collapse) of all the public buildings. The forums, bathhouses, and theatres...amenities unheard of in Medieval times....were provided at a VERY low cost because the Imperator's personal coiffeurs were used to subsidize costs here. As you can see, the quality of life was not to be known again until Victorian times I would argue (and I would make room here for Charlemagne's brief recovery of the Holy Roman Empire), and this is to say nothing of the gardens, fresh drinking water brought in by AQUEDUCTS and the obvious gladiatorial games and festivals like days of Saturnalia and others that were provided.

    Though, this in no way excuses slavery, and/or am I saying that all had luxurious and pleasant lives. But the plight of the Roman citizen (as Adrian mentioned, working plumbing was widespread) was greater than most individuals of antiquity. Far more suffered under the great and burdensome rule of the Pharaohs than this.

    Roman citizenry itself was such a particularly peculiar institution.

    Racism may have always been present, and I will not argue here that it has not, yet it is interesting that the racism was divided Roman/Barbarian. While I will not pretend that Italians, did not recognize that Spaniards and Greeks were 'different', I submit that the very nature of fluidity in the hierarchical public service and imperial structure thought little of race. Trajan was Spanish (as were many other emperors), and Septimus Severus was African. The importance was placed on whether Roman citizenry was held or not. This is not to suggest that it is a better way of dealing with things...yet fascinating it it's uniqueness.

    Many people scoffed in the finale to 'Gladiator' when Juba (a black slave was allowed to go free...claiming that it would NEVER happen). But slaves were freed constantly by their master's in antiquity, and what most do not realize, is that a slave was freed as a slave.....black, white, or what have you....and then they were a 'freed man', or maybe even gained 'citizen' status......but race in all encounter was a tertiary consideration. that pervasive problem of identity of the skin seems to have been supplanted by problems associated with civic status.

    Ok, that’s the end of the dissertation......for now.... =)


    P.S. Anyone who wants recommended reading on any aspect of 'Classical Antiquity', I have a veritable library of the stuff, and my connection at Queen's (my Archaeology Prof.), Dr. Dietmar Hagel can also recommend some titles. Just let me know.
  12. labRat

    labRat TRIBE Member

    it's all fake, none of that happened.
  13. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Roman history is so much more intresting than wicca!
  14. JayIsBored

    JayIsBored TRIBE Member

    but not as much as king arthur! :D

    ps thank you greg for correcting my error IN BIG BOLD LETTERS!!! :p
  15. ~soulheaven~

    ~soulheaven~ TRIBE Member


    Don't be mad, You know you love me Jay!!! =)


    Re: Wicca & King Arthur......Ta-Ha! =)
  16. twist

    twist TRIBE Member

    I too am a roman history freak. I never really took any classes but in grade 4 I did a project and was totally hooked. But in my learnings I came across the ultimate empire and to be honest it makes every single other empire and or nation in the entire history of this earth look like a bunch of dingo fucking weak hearted bumbling twats.


    I'm telling you... you want to learn about some crazy ish... learn about sparta their societal structure and customs and history are like nothing you can imagine makes rome look like a bunch of beauracratic pooftahs.
  17. H2Whoa

    H2Whoa TRIBE Member

    To compare Roman ancient technology to cultural prowness makes no sense. Our culture mirrors our technology. Their cultural achivements were on par with their level on technology. In fact they were technologically superior to other societies that existed during the same time frame. The Romans were great borrowers and thieves of culture. Their art and religion was adopted and modified from the Hellenic and Persian peoples.

    The majority of great Roman cultural and artistic peices are in fact copies of Greek, Gallic and Etruscan work. Through conquest Rome took and discarded what ever it needed. Only the rich were immersed in art and culture. Most Romans were non-citizen, provincial poor who cared more about their families and survival than 4th-style painting and frescos.

    Read Ammianus Macellinus for a decent but slightly pagan and (of course) noble bias of Roman history during its later years.
  18. Tyler

    Tyler TRIBE Member

    I learned so much from this thread already.

    Thanks ! :)
  19. PosTMOd

    PosTMOd Well-Known TRIBEr

    Re: The Institution of Slavery in Ancient Roman Society

    Of course, I know you meant "coffers", but dammit, thinking about how those hairdressers helped the Romans is so much funnier ;)
  20. ~soulheaven~

    ~soulheaven~ TRIBE Member


    BUWAHAHAHAAHA!!! Indeed Postmod, Indeed! =)

    Greg<--I have to concentrate more while typing responses......booo! to spelling mistakes...
  21. ADT

    ADT TRIBE Member

    Re: Re: Roman History... dig it!

    this is not only my first ancient history course, but also my first humanities course so i wont bother trying to form an opinion on the topic..

    but it seems to me to be remarkable that was so less advanced than ours would have such well formed ideals (respected or not), and such a passion for art, and drama; intriguing and intelligent drama at that!

    i guess, all im saying is that even by todays standards..

    gladiator seems like a watered down version of the original dramas which had more depth then!

    and that doesnt say anything particularily good about our culture..


  22. H2Whoa

    H2Whoa TRIBE Member

    Re: Re: Re: Roman History... dig it!

    In theory and some practice their ideals about law and government were fairly advanced. What is so facinating about them is that what they built, they built to last. Not just architecture but a permeation of Roman in every culture they conquered. They were the greatest Melting Pot culture - everything of value was absorbed. What couldn't be absorbed was destroyed.

    Take a look a Etruscan history too. They were a spiritually rich people and their art is testimony to it with many greek, asian and egyptian influences. They were Rome's close neighbours and the last monarch in Rome was Etruscan.
  23. Colm

    Colm TRIBE Member

    My favourite aspect...

    ... of the Roman society was that it was the first European cosmopolitan society, and remains very comparable to our culture today. The reason is simple, it was just so big! Think about it, not only were they influenced by Greece, but by the Gauls, the Celts, the Britannia tribes, the Germanic societies, the societies of Asia Minor (Persia? were they still around then?) the societies of Palestine (now Israel for those who didnt know) and the societies of Northern Africa (Syrian, Coptic etc).

    Id also like to drop a bit about how much Greece influenced us, especially in Democracy. The thing is, the Greeks didnt really influence us (aside from the OBVIOUS {Plato, Socrates, Aristotle} especially in the realm of democracy... or did they? Im currently debating that in my univ. classes and its fascinating. Is there anyone else who is a political science major reading this?

  24. zoo

    zoo TRIBE Member

    oh sure
    spartans were the most skilled army for quite some time
    but they were also one of the stupidest civilizations in history

    1. men born with any defects whatsoever are killed
    2. all men must start training for the army, starting with infants being bathed in cold water to weed out the weak who would get sick and die
    3. men were essentially useless except for fighting
    4. women were essentially useless because their societal role was left to a communal family, taking care of everyone, slave to all
    5. men frequently shared women
    6. rulers of the state rejected democracy
    7. rulers of the state rejected sea armies
    8. rulers of the state rejected athens

    resulting in their eventual demise

    sparta is interesting
    but only in how backwards they were


    oh, and while we're on the topic of greek history ... [i learned so much in one course hehe]

    aristotle decided males reach sexual peak around age 45, women around age 18

    males were expected to reproduce non-stop until they were 65, women until they were 38


    aristotle = backwards


    a lot of philosophers were pretty dumb

    but whatever


    best historical figure in antiquity ... Peisistratus
  25. ~soulheaven~

    ~soulheaven~ TRIBE Member

    In the traditional comparison of the great city states....that is history's great theatre of war concerning Sparta & Her Allies pitted against the Athenian Empire (formerly the Delian League) that came to be known as the Peloppenesian War...........Sparta was the ultimate victor.

    Two city-states could not be more different. traditional Athenian democracy(though not what we mean by it) and naval strength versus Sparta's incomprable land-locked approach with their perfected phalanx, and dual-monarchichal system.......

    aided GREATLY by the emergence of the plague, Sparta did persevere in the war, but of note, you may wish to acknowledge that nothing of Ancient Sparta stands today. They were not builders, or scholars, merely warriors. Their city was virtually an armed camp, and little other than legend and lore of their bravery has been preserved for posterity. Athen's stands proudly as the bastion of Western culture and the birthplace of democracy, and it's buildings, manuscripts, and art endure to this day.

    Also, for the record, Rome was NOT the first cosmopolitan city. Athens would have been one of many precursors to this. As a naval power, there were Phoenicians, Egyptians, Persians, and other Africans that were in her ports regularly. And there were others. I do not think you can make a storng case for Rome being the first. It just wouldn't be accurate.


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