108

While the total encirclement might be the most impressive thing about Cannae, remember that it's just a special case of a pincer movement where the pincer goes all the way around the enemy. A pincer is itself just a special case of a flanking manuever in which both flanks are attacked simultaneously. The most important thing about Cannae was that Hannibal ...


100

While the tactical factor (not being able to move units around) is important, the main issue is one of soldiers panicking. Remember that it does not matter what the numbers are actually; your soldiers cannot see the lines in the map and are victims of the fog of war. Soldiers in the battlefield do not get to see a nice map showing the position of the units, ...


96

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, ...


67

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 ...


67

If the question is "did the roman government officials pay individuals, slave owners and groups of workers to build construction projects instead of using the government's direct manpower?", the answer is yes, just like any other public construction work during the Roman republic, principate and empire. If the question is "did something like Claudius & ...


64

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, ...


62

It seems the issue may be with generalizing 'Romans' as single entity and not as a group which changed through time. Johnston in The Private Life of the Romans goes into the changes seen in the Roman diet over time: The table supplies of a given people vary from age to age with the development of civilization and refinement, and in the same age with the ...


56

The only book to survive from ancient Rome on architecture is Marcus Vitruvius Pollio's De architectura, found by the Renaissance scholar Poggio Bracciolini in 1414 after being largely forgotten. Bracciolini was one of a number of humanists "devoted to the revival of classical studies". However, it had been referred to by several churchmen, chroniclers and ...


55

Educated Britons would've received an education deeply steeped in classical antiquity, so knowledge of the Roman Empire must have been inevitable among the literate. Unsurprisingly, therefore, many writings from this time period mention Roman Britain. Notable examples include the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, both of ...


52

That is for sure an overgeneralisation, but so is Wikipedia's. There are some elements of truth in both: Ancient Rome held that freedom could not be sold, and in principle a freeborn person could not become a slave. [F]reedom was, like servitude, conceptusliased as a natural state. Thus, it was in principle, if not quite in practice, impossible to surrender ...


50

The source for Sanjeev Sanyal's account is most likely Plutarch. In his Life of Anthony, Plutarch wrote: Caesarion, who was said to be Cleopatra's son by Julius Caesar, was sent by his mother, with much treasure, into India, by way of Ethiopia. There Rhodon, another tutor like Theodorus, persuaded him to go back, on the ground that Caesar invited ...


50

For the Anglo-Saxons, the knowledge that it was the Romans whose city it was is less relevant than why those cities were there no more, or, well, why they were in such a poor state. However, for a direct answer, Gildas and Bede describe Britain as part of Rome (though possibly not with a specific statement that "The Romans built these") and this ...


49

Well, I suppose it's a matter of means plus motivation. If you're educated - read/speak Greek and Latin etc - then you'd be valuable, and only the psychopathic master would mistreat a valuable peice of property. And you'd need money to get away - some slaves were relatively wealthy, but stealing from your master would be dangerous, the penalties could ...


49

Roman roads were largely constructed by the military, at least the long distance roads between regions and cities. The legions had work crews and civil engineers attached to them for such works, as well as for building fortifications and everything else the legion would need (siege engines, barges, you name it, they'd all build it as needed where needed). ...


47

I would dispute your claim that Roman armour was superior. Roman armour mostly consisted of a mail shirt of varying length and quality, not dissimilar to that of the germanic tribes that overran the empire. There were heavier, full-body suits, especially used by their cataphract cavalry, made from scale and lamellar, even covering the horses. However, that ...


44

The short answer, according to Turner (1951), is: we don't know. The Romans were not interested in recording theoretical mathematics, so we don't have any written accounts how they did it. It is assumed that whatever they knew was learned from the Greeks, but alas there is no Greek account (from the period) of a pure number division either, only of one ...


44

There is a difference between abstract knowledge and "inventions". In the 17th century it was still widely believed that the ancient Greeks had discovered and formulated pretty much the sum total of abstract knowledge. Fermat put this in question. The authentic quote from Fermat (in French and in English translation) can be found here: Perhaps, posterity ...


42

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, ...


42

The biggest difference that I'm aware of is that the Classical Greek religion was much more the religion of myths that we all know, while the Classical Roman religion had fewer personifications and its gods were much more like numinous forces than like people. The Greek religion that we know was encapsulated by Homer who served in some respects like an Old ...


40

Pliny the Elder wrote about wearing finger rings in volume 33 of his Naturalis Historia. He states: "The worst crime against mankind was committed by him who was the first to put a ring upon his fingers: and yet we are not informed, by tradition, who it was that first did so." So he clearly wasn't a fan of finger rings! However, having made that ...


38

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 ...


38

Well alcohol does have a strong anti-bacterial effect,and adding water to wine was a way to create more drink as there was very little clean drinking water. During the fermentation process many microbes die, eventually the yeast too dies in the anaerobic environment. I think adding water to wine and letting the two mix for a while would kill a significant ...


38

What is germaphobia? It's an obsession, it "is a pathological fear of contamination and germs. " If we look for something similar in antiquity we just need to turn that onto its feet: this is about purity or impurity. Purity rules! As well for Greeks as for Romans also. The classical contribution to concepts of contagion and infection thus ...


36

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 ...


36

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. ...


35

Short Answer: His army was too small to either assault or securely besiege Rome Rome itself remain defended by two legions and a large, conscriptable population Marching on and laying siege to Rome was beyond his logistical capacity He cannot realistically defeat Rome while her Latin and Italian allies remained loyal The traditional analysis is that ...


35

Because the Sahara desert goes all the way to the Atlantic coast. The Romans were not great seafarers and required the support of coastal towns to cover long distances. The Western Sahara represents a break in that chain, over 1000 km of inhospitable coastline. Even today, Western Sahara is one of the most sparsely populated areas in the world with an ...


35

The usage of using numerals for division neither existed nor was it necessary. Symbols were only used for recording results. This also explains why the romans used their system because it is easy for recording. Big numbers first and easy to remember symbols for the different steps of 100,50,10,10,5,1. The operations itself were calculated by an abacus. ...


34

Plutarch's Lives says this about Marcus Cato: He would likewise say ... and that in his whole life he most repented of three things; one was, that he had trusted a secret to a woman; another, that he went by water when he might have gone by land; the third, that he had remained one whole day without doing any business of moment.


33

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 ...


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