Tag Info

Hot answers tagged

11

The Premise is a bit off here. During the Crisis of the 3rd Century as well as after, the Roman army usually could win a set-piece battle over barbarians or the Persians. The difference was that the Roman army usually wasn't around where these incursions happened, and the tribes could run amok without much opposition. With the distractions of the Civil ...


10

Famously, the Ancient Egyptians knew a lot about sexuality, gynecology and genitourinary infections. Nevertheless, according to this article, there are no unambiguous description of STD's in the medical papyri of Ancient Egypt (though many reported symptoms suggest gonorrhea and some suggest pelvic infections). The same source notes that the Old Testament ...


10

I would suggest reading Book 1 of The Gallic Wars (link has both English and Latin if you want to see the untranslated text), which is as much a political history of the conquest of Gaul as it is a military history. Julius Caesar starts the book with a description of the political landscape at the time: All Gaul is divided into three parts, one of which ...


10

Performing first a search for all occurrences of "German" and then of "civiliz" in The Gallic Wars suggests that the most relevant passage is from Chapter 24 from Book 6 (my emphasis): Chapter 24 And there was formerly a time when the Gauls excelled the Germans in prowess, and waged war on them offensively, and, on account of the great number of ...


9

Greek was in wide usage as the lingua franca of the Near East. It also has the benefit of actually surviving Roman rule, in the same capacity, all the way till the Late Antiquity. The Romans themselves read and spoke Greek. Thus, Greek works have had a much greater chance of surviving simply from a great, wider, and more durable distribution. The Etruscan ...


9

They did know. Roman knowledge of China is attested in the Geographia, work of the famous Claudius Ptolemy. Which is not to say, however, that the Romans knew much at all about the Han Empire (or vice versa, for that matter). For instance, Ptolemy's map of the Far East coastline is rather distorted: In Chinese records, the Han Emperor first received ...


8

This is a complex matter (some authors like Delbruck thought that the classical numbers are very inflated) but one may point out to logistics - classical states were much better able to extract and stockpile resources (human and material) than high medieval polities with their fragmented political authority and erratic currency. As for the Romans' ...


7

The first thing to note is that fashions changed rapidly in ancient times, just like they do today and one "Phoenician" might be wearing something completely different than another one. Also, a foreigner who was doing business in Rome normally would dress just like the Romans. Wearing foreign garb in Augustan Rome would not be a recipe for success. Also, ...


7

The drifting apart of the East and West empires did contribute to the decline of the West, but it isn't true that the East did not try and help the West during this time. 1) The courts of the two young emperors Arcadius and Honorius did become more 'insular' in their thinking than in the good old days when Constantine would march all over the map. One ...


7

It is known that coins were minted in the first years, if not the first, of the new Emperor's reign. The populace often learned of a new Roman Emperor when coins appeared with the new Emperor's portrait. Some of the emperors who ruled only for a short time made sure that a coin bore their image; Quietus, for example, ruled only part of the Roman Empire from ...


6

In the Late Republic, Marcus Licinius Crassus organized the only Fire Brigade in Rome - but only fought fires that threatened buildings that Crassus owned. According to this translation of Plutarch: Moreover, observing how extremely subject the city was to fire and falling down of houses, by reason of their height and their standing so near together, he ...


6

Good question; have little time now for more than a couple of thoughts: In the ancient world almost all states were, so to say, opportunistically expansionist. That is to say, almost no ruler or state ever passed an opportunity to take over the lands of a weak neighbour, either by direct force or by some form of intimidation. In that sense, Rome was not ...


6

There is a fine list here: http://historum.com/ancient-history/19034-national-ethnic-origins-roman-emperors.html During the mid and late periods of the empire most emperors were born outside of Italy most famously of Illyrian origin. The Byzantine empire(East roman empire) was more Greek than Latin so it is understandable that its emperors were not from ...


5

This drifts into a science Stack Exchange question somewhat, but consider the following: Until the advent of PVC pipes, stone aqueducts would have insulated the original (cool) temperature better than exposed metal piping. Unexposed piping would have been about equivalent to stone depending on ground temperature. If I recall correctly Roman aqueducts ...


5

Roman soldiers generally did not fight with their lovers by their side. Remember, Roman soldiers weren't even allowed to marry during for the first two centuries of the Principate. Periodic scandals involving officers abusing their subordinates were attested in the armies of the mid and late Republic. Valerius Maximus, the main source of these incidents, ...


5

I would have to say no, but there is quite a bit of primary literature about the attire of prostitutes in ancient Rome. The more scholarly debate on Roman prostitutes' attire is the dispute as to whether prostitutes in Rome wore togas as a distinctive garment, and much of the contemporary texts distinguishes only between matrona (a "respectible" woman) ...


4

As for names and titles: The imperial family was hugely fueled by propaganda, especially by flaunting their pedigrees. This is perhaps most apparent in the Julio-Claudian period. The first tie they tended to claim was of course to Augustus Caesar, first emperor and son of the hero, Julius Caesar. This name was kept through many generations. Next, it was ...


4

No The Roman Scutum (I assume this is the shield you are referencing to) has been reported to not stand up to the bows in use by the Parthian's in Plutarch's Life of Cassius, in the following line: 6 Thus many died, and the survivors also were incapacitated for fighting. And when Publius urged them to charge the enemy's mail-clad horsemen, they ...


4

This isn't really a paradox. "Maleness" and any one particular sexual orientation are really completely orthogonal concepts. If anything, it is weirder that modern western society has come to conflate them. Strip your mind of that, and it isn't really all that difficult to picture a society where aggression in general, and sexual aggression in particular ...


4

You are attempting to distinguish between the Latin term for the individual who governed a province in place of the Republic's Consuls, Proconsul, and the modern English functional term for such an individual, Governor. Such a distinction is meaningless; The terms have an identical meaning when referring to individuals who exercised consular power in a ...


4

Your guess is correct. Bathing in Rome was one of common daily activities. While nowdays bathing is seen as strictly private activity, bathing in Rome was public activity. Rich Romans could afford themselves bathing facilities in their villas, while other classes bathed in thermaes, public facilities for bathing, similar to nowdays spas. They were owned by ...


4

I am not sure about legends (are there any specifying Rome's foundation year? I suspect it might be in the form of "X years since the sack of Troy"). But since your question also asked about "ancient Roman scholars" and "ancient Roman sources"... During most of the Roman Republic, years were named based on who had been elected to the consulship for that ...


4

I don't think Caesar was a hippie, but like a lot of young folk in history, did do things in dress and deportment to annoy the older generations. A Companion to Julius Caesar (Google Books Link) summarizes a lot of the various controversies over Caesar and his tunic. The ultimate sources are Suetonius, Lives of the 12 Caesars and several cracks by Cicero ...


3

Arians were not underrepresented at the council of Nicaea Arius started saying that the Son was distinct from the father under Alexander of Alexandria, so it's probably in 313 or so. So Arianism was less than twelve years old at the Council. So the reason there were so few Arians on this council was that Arianism was a very new thing, not that they were ...


3

All this is based on HARPASTUM, from AerobiologicalEngineering.com: (Original source citations are from my own research) Harpastum was known as the Small Ball Game. The ball was "small" by virtue of its not being as large as a follis, paganica, or soccer-sized ball. This was a hard ball probably about the size and solidity of a softball. This ...


3

As noted in The Catholic Encyclopedia (published 1907 and now in the public domain and fully digitized) there has been a gradual change in the meaning and usage of the term diocese over nearly the past two millennia, as well as varied usage between those regions formerly part of the Eastern and Western Roman Empire respectively: Originally the term ...


3

Since Tacitus probably made it up, like most speeches put in the mouths of historical figures by ancient historians, the answer would be "Latin".


3

Well, Roman citizens were given a grain ration, which certainly would have helpful to those who were unemployed. It wasn't means-tested, though, so it wasn't limited to the poor and unemployed. "In the 120s BCE however, one politician named Gaius Gracchus proposed a controversial law, the lex frumentaria, which meant that the state started providing ...


3

The modern view of ancient civilization, including that of Greece and Rome, has been heavily censored. Ancient writings on these topics have been systematically expunged or destroyed over the centuries. In general, the ancients were far more promiscuous than society is today. Pederasty was considered somewhat amoral, but was widely practiced. In Rome, ...


3

Most city states never grew past that stage because they limited participation to the citizens of the city. At some point these few thousand aristocratic families loose impetus and the decline set in. Rome was rather a mongrel city from the start, picking up its people from a mix of Latin and Etruscan folks. As a small state in a region with larger ones, ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible