History: Actual, Fictional and Legendary discussion

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message 1: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (last edited Mar 05, 2010 06:37PM) (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
Following are the major topics for our discussion of the Roman Empire.

They appear out of order because the default topic organization of Goodreads is that the last topic commented on moves to the top. I've closed the Pre-Discussion Topic as I would hope anything from now on can be categorized by the available topics or if you want you can create a new topic.

I have created a number of discussion questions in order to give you a place to start. With a topic as broad as the Roman Empire, I am sure there are things that could and should be discussed that I haven't imagined.

Since The Roman Empire is such a huge subject, I plan on leaving it up until May Fifth.

Any feedback would be appreciated.


David Cerruti | 24 comments Good organization of topics, Ed. Will there be a quiz at the end?
You weren’t kidding about the Roman Empire being a huge subject. WWI only lasted 5 years, and it seemed like a vast topic for discussion. The Roman Empire, at 4 centuries, is overwhelming.

As you defined the topic: “The Theme for March will be the Roman Empire from Augustus, the first Emperor (27 BC), to the Fall of the City of Rome to the Goths in 412 AD.”

Perhaps I bit off too much by choosing The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon. The whole Decline and Fall series runs from 180 AD to 1590 AD. However, the writing and perspective are wonderful.

To minimize my confusion, I sought out some timelines and other aids. The links follow.

A time-line of the Roman empire by Piero Scaruffi
http://www.scaruffi.com/politics/roma...

Timeline - includes art, literature, and maps
http://library.thinkquest.org/22866/E...

Roman Empire Timeline – simplified, published by Roman Colosseum
http://www.roman-colosseum.info/roman...

Roman Empire – Wikipedia (see detailed map)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Em...


David Cerruti | 24 comments Another echo of "What have the Romans ever done for us?"
This is a comment I posted to a book review outside this group.

A Wikipedia citation of National Geographic:
The American magazine National Geographic described the legacy of the Roman Empire in The World According to Rome:

The enduring Roman influence is reflected pervasively in contemporary language, literature, legal codes, government, architecture, engineering, medicine, sports, arts, etc. Much of it is so deeply imbedded that we barely notice our debt to ancient Rome. Consider language, for example. Fewer and fewer people today claim to know Latin — and yet, go back to the first sentence in this paragraph. If we removed all the words drawn directly from Latin, that sentence would read; "The."


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (SusannaG) | 299 comments Mod
The "is" might make it through the Latin-remover, as well, but I think that's it.


David Cerruti | 24 comments Susanna wrote: "The "is" might make it through the Latin-remover, as well, but I think that's it."

The Latin root is est.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (SusannaG) | 299 comments Mod
"Is" is from the Germanic root -es. The Latin "est" is a cognate.


message 7: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
David wrote: "Good organization of topics, Ed. Will there be a quiz at the end?
You weren’t kidding about the Roman Empire being a huge subject. WWI only lasted 5 years, and it seemed like a vast topic for disc..."


Yeah, there will be a quiz. The winner gets to design the discussion questions for the next theme. (GRIN)

Thanks for the feedback.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (SusannaG) | 299 comments Mod
Study up, y'all!


Silvana (silvaubrey) I just started to read the volume 1 of Gibbon's History of Decline and Fall of Roman Empire. But I am not sure whether the volume 1 covers the Western Empire era as a whole. The story is only until Constantine (the great), thus it is still relevant for the upcoming discussion. Am I right?


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (SusannaG) | 299 comments Mod
Yep, any of it after the rise of Augustus.


message 11: by J. (new)

J. Guevara (jguevara) | 8 comments Aussie TV Sunday night history series is now doing Rome. Up to Caligula last program. Pretty sick dude, eh?


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (SusannaG) | 299 comments Mod
Oh, very sick dude.


message 13: by J. (new)

J. Guevara (jguevara) | 8 comments But at least he made the trains run on time.


message 14: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
j wrote: "But at least he made the trains run on time."

LOL

I'm afraid members under 50 YOA who have not studied history will miss the humor.


message 15: by Hayes (last edited Mar 09, 2010 12:43AM) (new)

Hayes (Hayes13) Well it's Tutto cambi purché nulla cambi* (Everything must change, in order that nothing should change) here in Italy... but unfortunately the trains don't run on time anymore.

* Il gattopardo The Leopard, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Hayes wrote: "Well it's Tutto cambi purché nulla cambi* (Everything must change, in order that nothing should change) here in Italy... but unfortunately the trains don't run on time anymore.

* Il gattopardo [bo..."


Considering the cost, maybe that's a good thing? :) /shrugs/


Hayes (Hayes13) Katherine M wrote: "Hayes wrote: "Well it's Tutto cambi purché nulla cambi* (Everything must change, in order that nothing should change) here in Italy... but unfortunately the trains don't run on time anymore.

* Il ..."


Sure is expensive travelling by train here... (everything is expensive here!) Do you live in Italy as well?


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Hayes wrote: Sure is expensive travelling by train here... (everything is expensive here!) Do you live in Italy as well?

LOL, no I live in the the American South, Louisiana specifically.
No, I just had a mental picture of Il Ducé and 'the chin'. :)


Silvana (silvaubrey) Ed wrote: "j wrote: "But at least he made the trains run on time."

LOL

I'm afraid members under 50 YOA who have not studied history will miss the humor."


indeed. I don't get this at all. somebody pls explain? :D


message 20: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
Silvana wrote: "Ed wrote: "j wrote: "But at least he made the trains run on time."

LOL

I'm afraid members under 50 YOA who have not studied history will miss the humor."

indeed. I don't get this at all. somebod..."


In the "Old Days" (before 1960) a standing joke was that, even though he was an evil dictator, Mussolini at least got the Italian trains to run on time. A feat no one before him had been able to accomplish.

I must admit that they more or less run on time, now.


Tacuazin | 4 comments I'd like to suggest to any Roman history lover a book by Indro Montanelli titled Historia de Roma / Rome History.
It is the history of the city, starting with the tribes before Romulo & Remo, the Republic, the Emperors... If I remember correctly, it starts in the 8th century BC and ends in the 3rd, AD. Really easy to read, and absolutely fascinating.


Silvana (silvaubrey) Interesting suggestion. But the reviews for the English version are not that many...Oh well will keep that in mind when looking for Rome early history. Mille grazie.


message 23: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
Tacuazin wrote: "I'd like to suggest to any Roman history lover a book by Indro Montanelli titled Historia de Roma / Rome History.
It is the history of the city, starting with the trib..."


Thanks for the suggestion. I've read a fictional history of early Rome by Lindsey Davis, I think.


Tacuazin | 4 comments I (tried to) read one of Lindsey Davis' books, some years ago. I had to set it aside, I couldn't believe the story. I don't even remember the plot. My problem was the behaviour of the main characters. It was like reading the script of a modern TV series but using Roman names. Maybe I was unlucky with that book and the rest are OK; I haven't dared yet to try those waters again.
For fiction Rome, I have one all-time favourite: Robert Graves and his books I, Claudius: From the Autobiography of Tiberius Claudius, Born 10 B.C., Murdered and Deified A.D. 54 and Claudius the God and His Wife Messalina.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (SusannaG) | 299 comments Mod
No, her whole series is Same Spade in Ancient Rome, Tacuazin.

Have you tried Colleen McCullough's The First Man in Rome?

I grew up on I, Claudius - those are great books.


Tacuazin | 4 comments No, I can't say I have read The First Man in Rome, although I've seen around. I'll add it to the TBR growing list. Thanks.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (SusannaG) | 299 comments Mod
If you like it, it's the first of a series of seven, about the fall of the Republic.


Meg | 7 comments I Claudius and Claudius the God are my all time favorite historical novels. what I admire most about Graves is his ability to put you in the time and place of the story without any sense of a person in more modern times looking back at the time of the story. Both books are always on my "desert island" shortlist, that is they are always one of my answers whenever I do one of those "which 5 books would you take to the desert island" ? They meet my greatest test of a good book, I am alweays sorry when i get to the end. like saying goodbye to a good friend after too short a visit...


Tacuazin | 4 comments Starting with I Claudius is not really a good strategy: it is very difficult to find any other Roman book that lives up to the expectations.
So far, unless you want to read The Twelve Caesars (certainly worth the time), only Rome History by Indro Montanelli has managed to teach/thrill/entertain me as Graves did.
On a lighter note, I've also read several of Simon Scarrow's book, and found them quite enjoyable.


message 30: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
Tacuazin wrote: "I (tried to) read one of Lindsey Davis' books, some years ago. I had to set it aside, I couldn't believe the story. I don't even remember the plot. My problem was the behaviour of the main characte..."

I enjoy Didius Falco, even though his persona is more akin to Spenser than any Roman I can imagine.

I also like Steven Saylor's "Gordianus the Finder" stories. I now think he's the one who wrote the history, actually a series of short stories tied together by family ties.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (SusannaG) | 299 comments Mod
Yes, Roma: The Novel of Ancient Rome. I enjoyed it. There's a sequel, Empire: The Novel of Imperial Rome, which I need to get back from the library.


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History: Actual, Fictional and Legendary

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Books mentioned in this topic

The Leopard (other topics)
Historia de Roma / Rome History (other topics)
Claudius the God And His Wife Messalina (other topics)
I, Claudius (other topics)
The First Man in Rome (other topics)
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Authors mentioned in this topic

Indro Montanelli (other topics)
Robert Graves (other topics)
Simon Scarrow (other topics)