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71

One key lies in their treatment of illegitimacy, or bastardy. In Roman society, as is typical of the West in general, illegitimate children had no formal link to their fathers. This was true from the earliest times, and lasted well into the Imperial period before a softening of the laws occurred in the second and third centuries.1 In the Roman setting, ...


44

In Antiquities of the Jews, the ancient historian Josephus reported an incident where the Emperor Tiberius explicitly ordered a woman to be crucified: Mundus had a freedwoman, who had been made free by his father, whose name was Ide, one skillful in all sorts of mischief ... Tiberius inquired into the matter thoroughly by examining the priests about it, ...


29

The most notable non-Christian Roman critic of gladiatorial games was likely the Stoic philosopher Seneca. Of course Christians like Tertullian had good reason to speak out against bloody spectacles in general, and some of the conquered peoples living under Rome took less joy in the games than did the Romans. But for the most part, even enlightened Romans ...


29

Actually, the Romans used the same phalanx everyone else did for a very long time. Past Hannibal. The essence of winning a phalanx battle is to attack the flank of the phalanx. One may achieve that many ways, hence the many ways phalanxes were formed in particular battles - adapted to the width of the battlefield usually, though if one's enemy overdid that, ...


28

Ancient Rome had land deeds and registrations. Most of it has long since been lost, but there are still plenty of examples. Note that Roman rule lasted a long time and stretched across three continents; unsurprisingly, the exact details of the system in place differed across time and space. For example, there is a land deed found among the papyri excavated ...


21

According to A Companion to the Archaeology of the Roman Republic, and a citation of antiquities scholar Ph. Leveau in particular, Roman aqueducts were mostly publicly funded, and although some may have had private funding, it was not for-profit. Aqueducts were very costly to construct. So why and how did the Romans do it? Under the Empire, aqueducts ...


19

In terms of specific individuals, the Sramana gymnosophist known as Zarmarus or Zarmanochegas is usually identified as a Buddhist (though this is not definite - part of a greater confusion over whether the Sramana mentioned in classical sources referred to Buddhists or not). He was dispatched by an Indian ruler to meet with Augustus, and killed himself by ...


16

This is a subject of some dispute, but perhaps the most common view is that Hannibal probably crossed the Pyrenees via the mountain passes of modern Le Perthus. He crossed the Pyrenees by the Col du Perthus, a relatively low pass near the eastern end of the mountains near the eastern end of the mountains near the Mediterranean Sea. The Col du Oethus is ...


15

Ancient Mediterranean sailcloth was made of a fine linen, which was written "linon" in Greek and "lintea" in Latin. Many ancient literary sources mention this, for example, Aeschylus, Virgil, Homer, etc. There is a book, "Ships and Seamanship in the Ancient World" (1995) by Lionel Casson that goes into detail about ancient ship technology.


13

Short answer: no. In general, nobody got "rides" in the ancient world because there were no rides, everybody walked for the most part. Carts were only used to carry cargo, not passengers. You would not want to try to ride in a cart because they had no suspension. Try this: get in a wheelbarrow with a wooden (or iron) wheel (not a pneumatic wheel) and have a ...


13

Ireland was not a threat to Rome By the time the Romans had reached Britain, their empire covered most of western Europe and their resources were becoming stretched. For most of the time they spent in Britain, they were more concerned with holding on to what they had rather than expanding further. Caesar invaded Britain in BCs 55 & 54 to see what was ...


11

As the commenters have stated, there are several reasons "Persia" isn't one empire, but a succession of empires controlling the same area, more or less in the period. Rome under the Republic and Empire was a single continuous government. The various Persian governments tended to get knocked around in head to head competition with Mediterranean powers. ...


10

Seneca's letter to a friend: There is nothing so ruinous to good character as to idle away one's time at some spectacle. Vices have a way of creeping in because of the feeling of pleasure that it brings. Why do you think that I say that I personally return from shows greedier, more ambitious and more given to luxury, and I might add, with ...


10

Generally speaking, Pytheas of Massalia had an apparently undeserved reputation as a "liar of the first magnitude" during antiquity. Much of what we know of this comes from Strabo, who is incidentally Pytheas' most vocal critic. Strabo argues against the authenticity of the Massilian's reports primarily based on the dimensions of Great Britain and the ...


10

First of all, Carthage did not fall in the First or Second Punic Wars. The Carthaginians were defeated twice, and compelled to surrender to particularly harsh terms the second time, but the City of Carthage itself was not conquered. Keep in mind that Carthage was not some run of the mill city-state, but rather the capital of a far flung maritime empire. ...


10

This question is a bit tricky. Mundane every day facts like descriptions of writing tools tend to be poorly documented because most people find them uninteresting. However, first to disabuse you of the idea that lead can't write. Have you ever handled lead yourself? It is remarkably soft and malleable, and easily makes marks on hard surfaces, although not ...


10

The training was too expensive. A gladiator, especially a good one, was a commodity; a valuable asset to his owner. For the duration of their gladiatorial careers, gladiators were viewed as their owners property, and few owners would give them up to the army just like that. The gladiatorial version of martial arts emphasized visual effects: more like stage ...


10

The ancient Romans did not use deeds, they used a registration system. The document cited by Semaphore is not a deed, it is a conveyance (everybody now run to the Wikipedia and find out what a conveyance is). Roman land was surveyed and divided by stone markers called limites. In some places the land was divided into regular squares called centuriae. In ...


9

As I remember, the biggest problems of phalanx were slow pace and inability to operate on a rough terrain (consider the length of their spears). In the battle of Pydna the macedonians had early success yet the romans were able to regroup and won the battle in the later counter-attack. So the phalanx was pretty good for one-time onslaught but in an advanced ...


9

The Romans were very good in copying tactics and equipment from other peoples. They learned the Phalanx from the Etruscans. The phalanx works like a wall: difficult to get through, but also almost impossible to maneuver. When the Romans met their new enemies the Samnites, a people from the mountains, they saw that the Samnites were armed with long shields ...


8

Small point. Though the spectacles were bloody, as Seneca notes, they were rationalized on the assumption that those who were killed had been condemned for a crime, thus, it was a sort of capital punishment, and tolerated, by those who did not enjoy it, on that basis. From the Roman point of view, no "innocent" victims were being murdered, but rather, ...


8

I conjecture that there is one more reason. The historians you mention belong to the "Western European/North American" culture. It is a direct descendant of the Roman empire (in the cultural sense). Perhaps if you read Persian historians you obtain a different picture. And I am sure that if you read Chinese historians, you will learn a very different ...


8

It is not necessarily be problematic if the censors disagreed. Scholars have generally thought that only one censor was chosen by lot to nominate the Princeps Senatus alone. If correct, then in the event of disagreements between the censors, the chosen one would have the final say. Much support for this theory is inferred from the 209 dispute (see below), ...


8

I would have made that a comment, but do not have enough reputation. In this article the author is referring to a study conducted by Columbia University in New York where the leader of the study, Joshua New stated, that fear of spiders dates back to the early human evolution in Africa. It acted as sort of a survival instinct. Detecting the spider before it ...


8

Not in the way you would think. The Romans did not use furniture unless they were very rich. Even items like the curule chair which magistrates used were very simple with only a small amount of wood. Of course, desks did exist for secretaries to the emperor and people like that, but a modern desk would have been very expensive in Roman times. Ordinary ...


8

In the time of late Republic the decimation was not practised anymore, except the well-known incident on Spartacus uprising: Five hundred of them, moreover, who had shown the greatest cowardice and been first to fly, he divided into fifty decades, and put to death one from each decade, on whom the lot fell, thus reviving, after the lapse of many years, ...


7

The Western Empire did not use the army because they did not have an army to speak of. In 406, the Vandals passed over the frozen Rhine and rampaged through Gaul. Imperial forces in Britain joined a usurper and there was a three way combat under way. No help there. The Imperial Generalissmo, Stilicho, was working on and off with Alaric to regain the ...


7

The notion of "free speech", as we understand it today did not exist in the Roman empire. The authors you cite probably mean " crimen laesae majestatis", which English Wikipedia translates as "lese majeste". This was a law which was probably introduced under Augustus, and then revoked and re-introduced under various princepces. The first person who revoked ...


7

It would be interesting to make a list of principal ancient texts and how each of them reached us. And make a statistics. (Perhaps someone knows such a list?) Many of the texts that I know exist in both Arabic and Greek medieval versions. Before this list is made, I want to express my doubts about Tyler Durden answer. He only gives examples of literary work ...


7

I believe you are thinking of Herostratus, the name of the man for whom the law was created (according to the History, he set fire to the temple of Artemis in Ephesus just in order to be famous and recorded in the History1) More generally, that law (and other similar like those of romans, egyptians and the like) are usually called damnatio memoriae; usually ...



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