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72

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, ...


46

I take your question as meaning: when did Romans realize that they were living in a monarchy ? (As opposed to the aristocratic regime previously known as "republic".) We must first realize that there cannot be a single point in time, because the Roman people did not operate under a uniform and shared mind. Throughout the whole antiquity, three quarters of ...


42

To sum it up: The costs simply outweighed the benefits. You have to consider that Germania at this time was essentially one huge forest, which was very, well empty. No cities to conquer, the first German cities were actually founded by the Romans, like e.g. Aachen, Cologne or Trier. The Germans were primitive tribesmen and had little to offer to the Roman ...


41

Banking existed in the era of the Romans and earlier. In ancient Greece and Asia Minor temples served as a sanctuary where individuals could make deposits for safekeeping. This practice continued with the Romans (see this article titled "Temple Banking In Rome"). For instance, the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus was the largest depository in Asia and served as ...


34

They were not supermen by any means :) But yes, temperatures were higher, by more than 1 degree (Kent and Wales were famous for their wines, right now it's far too cold there for that for example). And don't forget that in the Roman era, wars were fought in summer almost exclusively, later expanding into spring and autumn as the conscript army was replaced ...


30

The question is illogical because there was no such thing as a viking in the days of the undivided Roman Empire or of the Western Roman Empire. A viking is defined as a Scandinavian pirate or sea raider during the period of about 795 to 1100 AD at the widest. It is always incorrect to capitalize viking and use it as an ethnic word instead of an ...


25

The biggest difference between the military threats of the Goths and the Huns compared to Persia was the migratory nature of the former versus the centralised (and thus spatially constrained) government of the latter. Rome and Persia had sparred against each other in the mesopotamian region for centuries, but, though one or the other might gain ascendancy, ...


23

The ORIGINAL Roman Republic (prior to the Punic Wars) was a prosperous, self-sufficient economy based on affluent, independent, and relatively free yeoman farmers enjoying a steady rate of technological advances. Because of this, Rome had a relatively representative government (the "veto" was originally a device to protect the common people). One can argue ...


20

The answer to this question depends somewhat on the kingdom, geography, and era. The ancient Achamaemenid Empire of Persia (Iran) was arguably the first true empire in history, and spanned a sizeable amount of territory. It made use of regularly stationed outputs with stables always containing well-fed and well-rested horses, for messengers to quickly get ...


19

Why travel to one's birthplace for a Roman census? Well Exactly. I suspect since there was a lot of prophecy that needed fulfilling, something had to emerge from the convenience dimension to make Jesus both Nazarene and born in Bethlehem. The article "Serious Problems With Luke's Census" is a well cited article on how the census story is dubious. It ...


19

The scholarly consensus is almost unanimous on this point: Luke is simply wrong. There are a number of reasons why the account provided by Luke cannot be taken seriously; these reasons include contradictions between Luke and the external historical evidence, Luke's obvious misunderstanding of how censuses were conducted, Luke's misunderstanding of ...


18

See also my answer to the homosexuality question and the Wikipedia articles on Pederasty and Age of Consent. [Disclaimer: I hate to sound unprofessional, but I do not wish to appear to be condoning paedophilia: I find the idea revolting. Nevertheless we must be able to talk about history in a scientific, distanced manner.] [Edited:] The answer to your ...


18

I don't have a good citation for this - the wikipedia article provided by @kubanczyk is relatively decent, and highlights the role of the censor, which is probably the state oriented solution to the question. I think the question relies on modern assumptions. Roman citizens would never have needed to prove their identity. Set aside for the moment the urban ...


16

Josephus was able to read and write in several languages. Obviously Greek as he wrote most of his books in it. Aramaic, which was often called Syriac in his time. Latin maybe. Even though he was associated with Vespasian, that would not necessitate knowing Latin. The Romans spoke Greek as it was the lingua franca of the day. Once Josephus was given a Latin ...


16

This is an addition to Mike Rodney's answer. The Twelve Tables, traditionally written in 450 BC, were some of Rome's most ancient laws. The majority of Table III deals with banking. In particular Law I says that bankers can't steal deposits; Law II forbids usury†; Laws V through X concern treatment of delinquent debtors. So banking was common enough 2500 ...


15

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 ...


15

Disclaimer: As has been repeatedly pointed out, this is a gradual shift that cannot really be pinpointed. Moreover, in my opinion, it hugely depends on how one interpret any of the several parts in this question. Duringthe Principate period (27 B.C. – A.D. 284), emperors carefully maintained the façades of Republican government. The senate continued ...


14

The most common document identifying a person in Ancient Rome was diploma. Diploma identified the powers of magistrates and other office holders, including the consuls. Regarding the asked question, Roman citizenship of discharged soldiers if they had no citizenship before service was identified by a so-called military diploma The diploma was a notarially ...


14

I will answer the first question the Gladiatorial games were free for everyone to watch? Not really, quoting from Wikipedia (I don't know how to re-write it in my own words so I'll just paste it) Towards the end of the Republic, Cicero (Murena, 72–3) still describes gladiator shows as ticketed — their political usefulness was served by inviting ...


13

The Romans would have a tactic of three lines, where first the the second and then the third line would press themselves between the first line when needed to let the first line get a breather and reform. When the first line as a whole had done its best and become weakened and exhausted by losses, it gave way to the relief of fresh men from the second ...


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 ...


12

Personally, I don't buy it. If they had been really based on plunder, the sensible thing to do would have been to leave the destitute Celts and Germans alone, and go wipe out the Persians. They had multiple opportunities to do that. If anything, the Romans tried to do the opposite. There are oodles of theories for the decline of the Roman Empire. The nicest ...


12

There are some minor works that have been discovered over the past twenty years or so, but nothing of any major importance that I can recall. As to whether or not these other major works have been lost forever, the answer is that they most likely have indeed been lost. The great fire of Rome that Suetonius mentions was responsible for destroying a ...


12

Lars Brownworth discusses the survival of the Eastern Empire and by tangent the fall of the West in "Twelve Byzantine Rulers" in Episode 5: Zeno. His book by the same name presumably discusses the same. The podcast discusses the general situation at the time of the various emperors essentially being puppets of barbarian generals and the like. The fall of the ...


12

Josephus knew Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin (which he must have learned when he was in the service of the the Roman Emperor Vespasian, if not earlier). A quick look on JSTOR turns up this article for reference. In Tessa Rajak's book "Josephus" (Appendix 1), she considers whether Aramaic or Hebrew was his primary language. She concludes that, while we ...


12

The Romans were able to "conquer" large parts of Germania, briefly. They were unable to HOLD it for any length of time. The reason stemmed from the region's "backwardness." There was no central government or central power through which the Romans could operate. There were no cities (except the ones the Romans built). There were few roads, and the country ...


12

This is a marble plinth or capital for a decorative column, likely of Classical Roman origin - the harpies and the immodesty of the subjects particularly give it away. There was a major Roman city nearby at Caesarea. It will be impossible to give you more information over the internet - your best bet would be to report its discovery to the Antiquities ...


12

The imperial regalia of Rome were not a single thing but a collection of various objects carried in tow during processions of the emperor. The main items were various lances and spears along with a standard, which was an embroidered banner surmounted by a gold eagle. The emperor also carried a scepter. The regalia of the Byzantines were all probably lost if ...


11

Usually the ruler would divide the kingdom up into smaller territorries and appoint someone to be the leader for that territory. This has historically been a pretty common practice. From the Zhou Dynasty in China to the Roman Empire we can see examples of this. In addition, when you look at medieval kingdoms in England, France, and Germany, the monarchs ...


11

One way to determine this is to go to a translation of the source, which should provide you with all the Tacitus you can eat on the subject. In short, Tacitus suggests that Nero may well have been the primary motivation for the fire starting where and when it did, although Nero himself was in Antium when the fire started (again, according to Tacitus). As ...



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