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ROMAN EMPIRE -THE HISTORY... > 1. THE HISTORY OF THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE ~ CHAPTER 1 and INTRO (31 - 55 and xi - xxii) (05/10/10 - 05/16/10) ~ No spoilers, please

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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments KICKOFF DAY - May 10, 2010

Hello Everyone,

May 10th is the first day in the kickoff week for The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. This begins the first week's reading in our new Spotlighted group discussion.

The complete table of contents is as follows:

SYLLABUS:

Table of Contents

Introduction xi - cvi
A Note on the Text – cvii – cviii
Acknowledgements – cix
Selected Further Readings – cx – cxi
Chronology – cxii –cxiii
Preface – 1 – 4
Advertisement 5

TOC – First Volume

ONE: The Extent and Military Force of the Empire, in the Age of the Antonines p. 31

TWO: Of the Union and Internal Prosperity of the Roman Empire in the Age of the Antonines p. 56

THREE: Of the Constitution of the Roman Empire in the Age of the Antonines p. 85

FOUR: The Cruelty, Follies, and Murder of Commodus – Election of Pertinax – His Attempts to reform the State. – His Assassination by the Pretorian Guards. p. 108

FIVE: Public Sale of the Empire to Didius Julianus by the Praetorian Guards. – Clodius Albinus in Britain, Pescennius Niger in Syria, and Septimius Severus in Pannonia, declare against the Murderers of Pertinax. – Civil Wars and Victory of Severus over his three Rivals. – Relaxation of Discipline, - New Maxims of Government. p. 127

SIX: The Death of Severus. – Tyranny of Caracellaa. – Usurpation of Macrinus. – Follies of Elagabulus. – Virtues of Alexander Severus. – Licentiousness of the Army. – General State of the Roman Finances. – p. 149

SEVEN: The Elevation and Tyranny of Maximin. – Rebellion in Africa and Italy, under the Authority of the Senate. – Civil Wars and Seditions. – Violent Deaths of Maximin and his Son, of Maximus and Balbinus, and of the three Gordians. – surpation and secular Games of Philip. p. 187

EIGHT: Of the State of Persia after the Restoration of the Monarchy of Artaxerxes p. 213

NINE: The State of Germany till the Invasion of the Barbarians, in the Time of the Emperor Decius. p. 230

TEN: The Emperor Decius, Gallus, Aemilianus, Valerian, and Gallienus. – The general Irruption of the Barbarians, - The thirty Tyrants. p. 253

ELEVEN: Reign of Claudius. – Defeat of the Goths. – Victories, Triumph, and Death of Aurelian. p. 295

TWELVE: Conduct of the Army and Senate after the Death of Aurelian. – Reigns of Tacitus, Probus, Carus, and his Sons. P. 327

THIRTEEN: The Reign of Diocletian and his three Associates, Maximian, Galerius, and Constantius, - General Re-establishment of Order and Tranquility. – The Persian War, Victory and Triumph. – The New Form of Administration. – Abdication and Retirement of Diocletian and Maximian. p. 358

FOURTEEN: Troubles after the Abdication of Diocletian. – Death of Constantius. – Elevation of Constantine and Maxentius. – Six Emperors at the Same Time. – Death of Maximian and Galerius. – Victories of Constantine over Maxentius and Licinius. – Re-union of the Empire under the Authority of Constantine. p. 400

FIFTEEN: The Progress of the Christian Religion, and the Sentiments, Manners, Numbers, and Condition of the primitive Christians. p. 446

SIXTEEN: The Conduct of the Roman Government towards the Christians, from the Reign of Nero to that of Constantine. p. 514


Appendix I – 1084 - 1105

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire 1Edward GibbonEdward Gibbon

Note: This is a group membership selected book.


The assignment for this week includes the following segments/pages:

Week One - May 10th - May 16th
ONE: The Extent and Military Force of the Empire, in the Age of the Antonines p. 31 and INTRODUCTION - xi - xxii


We look forward to your participation; but remember this is a non spoiler thread.

We will open up threads for each week's reading. Please make sure to post in the particular thread dedicated to those specific chapters and page numbers to avoid spoilers.

This book is being kicked off on May 10th. This will be the first week's assignment for this book.

We look forward to your participation. Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other noted on line booksellers do have copies of the book and shipment can be expedited. The book can also be obtained easily at your local library.

A special welcome to those who will be newcomers to this discussion and thank you to those who have actively contributed on the previous Spotlighted book selection. We are glad to have you all.

For those of you who would like to kick this book off early, please be my guest; however this thread is only dedicated to Chapter One and the first 11 pages of the Introduction (so no spoilers and no discussions beyond those pages).

Welcome,

~Bentley

TO ALWAYS SEE ALL WEEKS' THREADS SELECT VIEW ALL


message 2: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 08, 2010 12:14PM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments An interesting tidbit that I found is the following related to the fact that almost a caste system existed in ancient Rome between the upper class and the huge lower class:

After 212, Roman citizens come to be divided into two categories:

Honestiores, the elite (includes senators, equestrians, decurions, town councillors).

Legal privileges, exemption from many taxes. Immune from physical punishment.

Humiliores, everyone else. Ordinary people, with fewer rights. Subject to taxes and forced labor. Can legally be flogged, tortured.

Source:

http://faculty.maxwell.syr.edu/gaddis...


message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments Here is a short chronology which may help:

Chronology:

31 BC: After decades of civil war had torn apart the Roman Republic, Octavian defeats rival Mark Antony and assumes sole power.

31 BC-14 AD: Reign of Octavian, who takes title Augustus, Rome’s first emperor.

14-68 AD: Other emperors from the Julio-Claudian family (the family of Julius Caesar and Augustus): Tiberius, Gaius Caligula, Claudius, Nero.

68-69: "Year of the Four Emperors": Civil war.

69-96: Flavian dynasty: Vespasian, Titus, Domitian.

96-180: Era of the so-called "Good Emperors" (Gibbon called it the happiest age in human history): Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius.

c.110: Satirist Juvenal writes on wealth and misery in Rome.

144: Aelius Aristides delivers speech "In Praise of Rome" to emperor Antoninus Pius.

180-192: Commodus, not-so-good son of Marcus Aurelius.

192-193: More civil war.

193-235: Severan dynasty: Septimius Severus and others.

212: Constitutio Antoniniana: Emperor Caracalla grants Roman citizenship to all free inhabitants of the empire. In the time of Augustus, less than 10% of those who lived under Roman rule had citizen status.

235-284: Third Century Crisis. Constant civil wars and barbarian invasions. Short-lived emperors are provincial soldiers elected and deposed by army.

Source: http://faculty.maxwell.syr.edu/gaddis...


message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments I am placing this source on this first thread versus the glossary for those folks just starting out and who want to keep all of the emperors straight. Here is an excellent source which should help do just that.

WHAT IS DIR?

DIR is an on-line encyclopedia on the rulers of the Roman empire from Augustus (27 BC-AD 14) to Constantine XI Palaeologus (1449-1453). The encyclopedia consists of (1) an index of all the emperors who ruled during the empire's 1500 years, (2) a growing number of biographical essays on the individual emperors, (3) family trees ("stemmata") of important imperial dynasties, (4) an index of significant battles in the empire's history, (5) a growing number of capsule descriptions and maps of these battles, and (6) maps of the empire at different times. Wherever possible, these materials are cross-referenced by live links.

These contents are supplemented by an ancient and medieval atlas, a link to a virtual catalog of Roman coins, and other recommended links to related sites. The contents of DIR have been prepared by scholars but are meant to be accessible to non-specialists as well. They have been peer- reviewed for quality and accuracy before publication on this site.

Source: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and Their Families

http://www.roman-emperors.org/


message 5: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 08, 2010 03:55PM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments For those of you starting off on this journey, remember we are only doing Volume I right now. You can of course read the remaining five volumes on your own but this discussion should give you a great start.

The books cover the period of the Roman Empire after Marcus Aurelius, from 180 to 1453, concluding in 1590. They take as their material the behavior and decisions that led to the decay and eventual fall of the Roman Empire in the East and West, offering an explanation for why the Roman Empire fell.

Gibbon is sometimes called the first "modern historian of ancient Rome." By virtue of its mostly objective approach and highly accurate use of reference material, Gibbon's work was adopted as a model for the methodologies of 19th and 20th century historians. His pessimism and detached use of irony was common to the historical genre of his era.

Although he published other books, Gibbon devoted much of his life (1772-1789) to this one work. His autobiography Memoirs of My Life and Writings is devoted largely to his reflections on how the book virtually became his life. He compared the publication of each succeeding volume to a newborn child.


Memoirs of My Life Edward GibbonEdward Gibbon

http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topi...

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire was written by English historian Edward Gibbon and published in six volumes. Volume I was published in 1776, and went through six printings. Volumes II and III were published in 1781; volumes IV, V, VI in 1788-89. The original volumes were published in quarto sections, a common publishing practice of the time. It stands as a major literary achievement of the 18th century because it was adopted as a model for the methodologies of modern historians. This led to Gibbon being called the first modern historian of Ancient Rome


message 6: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 08, 2010 05:35PM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments One thing that the reader of Gibbon had to get used to and learn to appreciate is Gibbon's use of citations. You can really follow Gibbon's thought processes while reading his work if you understand his moral commentary and comparisons between Rome and the times that he was writing in. The following is a good explanation.

Gibbon's use of citations

"Gibbon provides the reader with a glimpse of his thought process with extensive notes along the body of the text, a precursor to the modern use of footnotes. Gibbon's footnotes are famous for their idiosyncrasies. They provide an entertaining moral commentary on both ancient Rome and 18th-century Great Britain. This technique enabled Gibbon to compare ancient Rome to modern times. Gibbon's work advocates a rationalist and progressive view of history.

Gibbon's citations provide in-depth detail regarding his use of sources for his work, which included documents dating back to ancient Rome. The detail within his asides and his care in noting the importance of each document is a precursor to modern-day historical footnoting methodology.

The work is notable for its erratic but exhaustively documented notes and research. John Bury, following him 113 years later with his own "History of the Later Roman Empire," utilized much of the same research, and commended the depth and accuracy of Gibbon's work. It is notable that Bury, over a century after Gibbon, and Heather, over a century after Bury, both based much of their own work on Gibbon's factual research. Both found little to argue with his facts, though both disagreed with his theories, primarily on Christianity as a prime factor in the Empire's decline and fall. Unusual for the 18th century, Gibbon was notably not content with secondhand accounts when the primary sources were accessible, and used them so well that even today historians still cite his work as the definitive factual history of the western empire. "I have always endeavoured," Gibbon wrote, "to draw from the fountain-head; that my curiosity, as well as a sense of duty, has always urged me to study the originals; and that, if they have sometimes eluded my search, I have carefully marked the secondary evidence, on whose faith a passage or a fact were reduced to depend.

The Decline and Fall is a literary monument and a massive step forward in historical method."

http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topi...

History of the Later Roman EmpireJohn Bagnell Bury


message 7: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 08, 2010 04:13PM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments For those of you who would like to use some on line sources to read Gibbon - here are a few - I am using the Penguin unabridged edition however.

Project Gutenberg On-Line Version:

http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/autho...

The On Line Library of Liberty:

http://oll.libertyfund.org/index.php?...

All things Gibbon:

http://www.edwardgibbonstudies.com/

Here you can listen to the text and get a free audio book:

http://www.openculture.com/2007/07/th...


message 8: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments BIOGRAPHY OF EDWARD GIBBON:

http://www.edwardgibbonstudies.com/


message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 08, 2010 09:05PM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments I have completed Chapter One and Gibbon's writing style for such a dense subject is quite good...easy going. Well written from what I can see. However, the ground he covers is amazing so there is a lot to grasp, Just be steady and you will get through this in no time.

What I have always said about the spotlighted book is to read 7-8 pages everyday and you will keep up and get the book read. The spotlighted reads are always leisurely discussions so you can get through those books you have always wanted to complete.


message 10: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 09, 2010 01:43PM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments All,

Please feel free to jump into the discussion at any time and add your comments and questions. The last two spotlighted books have been dense and the subject matter complex; so there has been a fair amount of preparation for these books and the subject matter.

I want to welcome you to a time period from long, long ago which still influences us today!

We'll be spending the next few months reliving what it was like to be part of the Roman Empire. This spotlighted discussion will focus on the first volume of six of Gibbon's saga.

Some of you have waited a long time for this read and are very excited about this undertaking. I will instigate the discussion and try to get it moving; but at any time jump right in and ask your own questions and make your own comments. We would love to hear from everyone.

For those who haven't joined us for a spotlighted discussion before, here's the general outline of how it will go each week. We'll be reading about one chapter a week (see the syllabus here: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/3...).

On Monday mornings, we will open the week's discussion with a short overview or high level outline of the week's reading.

For those of you who've read the book before, that should help you remember how far along we are, and what is fair game to discuss.

Please refrain from referring to events that are later in the book, or later volumes, than the current week's reading.

Anything previous in the book is, of course, fair game. If any of you would like to share information about events later in the book, or later in other volumes, please use the glossary thread where spoilers are welcome: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/3...

With each new spotlighted book, we seem lately to venture into vast topics which are inordinately huge in scope. The topic of the Roman Empire is no exception.

The book has a vast array of topics so feel free to digress (as long as the topic is specific to the chapter being read and/or one that came before).

Gibbon's main interest is in the historical aspect of the events which led to the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.

We will be able to examine what were the strengths and weaknesses of the Roman Empire; those things that made it great and those areas which brought about its demise. Are there any similarities to other empires and/or other nations in the current timeframe? What can the book teach us about avarice, greed, envy, hatred, colonial expansion, scattering resources, developing an attitude of economic stability and preparedness? What was it like to be a soldier in the Roman army? What was it like to be in the Senate or part of the elite class versus being a member of the class the elite called "barbarians"? How do Gibbon's side comments help us to bridge the past with the present and examine what the future will hold? How does this historical classic help us understand our current situation; and the choices we should make for our stability and security? It will also be interesting to discuss why the book was written, what might have motivated Gibbon, how the books were received and if the author met any criticism and why. Was it deserved criticism, deserved praise or a little bit of both?

As we get started, I'm interested to know who is reading The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire for the first time, who has read or started to read the book in the past and maybe did not stick to it, and who has also read other volumes. Please let us know in your first post.

I have never read Gibbon before, although it has been recommended to me many times and was on my to-read list years and years ago. I have, however, read many authors and many memoirs where Gibbon is mentioned as a must read and/or is cited as the author of a book which influenced the writer a great deal or the most. For example, Winston Churchill loved Gibbon. I am sure that you can think of many more influential personages who also felt that Gibbon stimulated their thinking. Please feel free to point out who these folks might be.

Additionally, we have created many other supplemental threads on a variety of topics related to the Roman Empire. These are not non spoiler threads. However always remember that the weekly threads are "always" non spoiler.

Note: All of these threads (weekly and supplemental) will be added to a new Roman Empire folder (so that this segment will become expanded and have a bigger footprint on our site).

All best,

Bentley


message 11: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 09, 2010 07:47PM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments Some helpful suggestions:

For those of you just starting out and who do not have a deep understanding and knowledge of the Romans and the Roman Empire, may I suggest two supplemental purchases:

The Romans for Dummies (For Dummies)The Romans for Dummies by Guy de la BedoyereGuy de la Bedoyere

AND

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Roman EmpireThe Complete Idiot's Guide to the Roman Empire by Eric D. Nelson

I purchased these myself and they have proved helpful already.

Bentley


message 12: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 09, 2010 08:00PM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments Gibbon scurries along fast and furiously through a host of emperors in no time flat in Chapter One even leaving out a few as he rushes to the Age of the Antonines which oddly with the installation of Commodus who was selected by his father Marcus Aurelius begins the fall and decline of the Roman Empire.

Everyone should be familiar with the Roman Emperors from 27 BC to AD 476 if you want to understand and be comfortable with Gibbon and if you plan to read all six volumes of Gibbon. In the first chapter alone, Gibbon glosses over the first seventeen (17) and seventeen (17) emperors are not mentioned.

One has to acquire an understanding of the list of the Roman Emperors from 27 BC to AD 476 and how certain groupings of emperors are connected to be able to follow Gibbon throughout his six volumes. Here is where we will start.


message 13: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 09, 2010 09:58PM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments Let us talk first about the Julio-Claudian dynasty.

Why is this first group called the Julio-Claudian dynasty?

"We will cover the broad strokes here and as I have time we can drill down more in depth about these emperors in the glossary.

However, there are some basics that we need to cover.

The Julio-Claudian dynasty normally refers to the first five Roman Emperors: Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula (also known as: Gaius), Claudius, and Nero, or the family to which they belonged; they ruled the Roman Empire from its formation, in the second half of the first century BC, until AD 68, when the last of the line, Nero, committed suicide.

None of the Julio-Claudians were succeeded by their sons; only one of them had a legitimate son survive him.

The ancient historical writers, chiefly Suetonius and Tacitus, write from the point of view of the Roman senatorial aristocracy, and portray the Emperors in generally negative terms, whether from preference for the Roman Republic or love of a good scandalous story.

Nomenclature

Julius and Claudius were two Roman family names; in classical Latin, they came second.

Such names are inherited from father to son; but a sonless Roman aristocrat would quite commonly adopt an heir, who would also take the family name - this could be done in his will.

Thus (Gaius) Julius Caesar adopted his sister's grandson, Gaius Octavius, who became a Julius, eventually named Imperator Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus, normally called in English Augustus, the founder of the Empire.

The next four emperors were closely related, and all were named either Julius or Claudius by birth or adoption.

Tiberius, the son of Augustus' wife Livia by her first husband (thus Augustus' step-son), was born a Claudian but, like Augustus before him, became a Julian upon his adoption.

Caligula, however, had both Julian and Claudian ancestry, thus making him the first actual "Julio-Claudian" emperor. He was also a direct descendant (a great grandson) of Augustus.

Claudius was a Claudian, though like his great-uncle Augustus Caesar, he was also descended from the Julian family through his maternal grandmother Octavia Minor—sister of Augustus—whose own maternal grandmother was Julia, Caesar's sister.

Nero, like Caligula before him, also bore Julian and Claudian ancestry. Again like Caligula, Nero was a direct descendant of Augustus. Augustus was his great-great grandfather through his mother Agrippina the Younger, and Augustus was also Nero's great-granduncle through his father Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus."

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julio-Cl...

Excerpt from Wikipedia - url cited above.

Cornelius Tacitus

Suetonius


message 14: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 09, 2010 08:24PM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments ROMAN EMPERORS FROM 27 BC TO AD 476

Julio-Claudian dynasty - Emperors 1 - 5:
Reigned 27 BC - AD 68



1. Augustus (Octavian) 27 BC-AD 14

2. Tiberius 14 - 37

3. Caligula 37 - 41

4. Claudius 41 - 54

5. Nero 54 - 68


message 15: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 09, 2010 09:45PM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments The next group of Emperors after The Julio-Claudian dynasty was called The Year of the Four Emperors.

Why is this next grouping of Emperors called The Year of the Four Emperors? - Good question.

The Year of the Four Emperors was a year in the history of the Roman Empire, AD 69, in which four emperors ruled in a remarkable succession.

These four emperors were Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian.

The forced suicide of emperor Nero, in 68, was followed by a brief period of civil war, the first Roman civil war since Mark Antony's death in 30 BC.

Between June of 68 and December of 69, Rome witnessed the successive rise and fall of Galba, Otho and Vitellius until the final accession of Vespasian, first ruler of the Flavian Dynasty.

This period of civil war has become emblematic of the cyclic political disturbances in the history of the Roman Empire. The military and political anarchy created by this civil war had serious repercussions, such as the outbreak of the Batavian rebellion.

Here is a chronology of what happened in this period:

Chronology

68

April – Galba, governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, and Vindex, governor of Gallia Lugdunensis rebel against Nero

May – The Rhine legions defeat and kill Vindex in Gaul

June – Nero is declared a public enemy (hostis) by the senate (June 8) and commits suicide (June 9); Galba is recognized emperor.

November – Vitellius nominated governor of Germania Inferior


69

January 1 – The Rhine legions refuse to swear loyalty to Galba

January 2 – Vitellius acclaimed emperor by the Rhine

January 15 – Galba killed by the Praetorian Guard; in the same day, the senate recognizes Otho as emperor

April 14 – Vitellius defeats Otho

April 16 – Otho commits suicide; Vitellius recognized emperor

July 1 – Vespasian, commander of the Roman army in Judaea, proclaimed emperor by the legions of Egypt under Tiberius Julius Alexander

August – The Danubian legions announce support to Vespasian (in Syria) and invade Italy in September on his behalf

October – The Danube army defeats Vitellius and Vespasian occupies Egypt

December 20 – Vitellius killed by soldiers in the Imperial Palace

December 21 – Vespasian recognized emperor

We are learning that the Praetorian Guards are hazardous to the emperor's health.

Source: Wikipedia

URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_of_...


message 16: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 09, 2010 09:40PM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments ROMAN EMPERORS FROM 27 BC TO AD 476

The Year of the Four Emperors - Reigned 68 - 69 AD (the first three of this grouping) and then the final one of the four began his reign also in 69 AD and reigned until 79 AD. The last emperor of this group began the Flavian Dynasty.

6. Galba 68 - 69 AD

7. Otho 69 AD

8. Vitellius 69 AD - also the beginning of the Flavian Dynasty

9. Vespasian 69 - 79 AD


message 17: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 09, 2010 09:57PM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments For additional information regarding Nero and the Year of the Four Emperors you may want to read the following:

The Annals of Imperial RomeThe Annals of Imperial Rome by Cornelius Tacitus

The Agricola/The GermaniaThe Agricola/The Germania by Cornelius Tacitus

The HistoriesThe Histories by Cornelius Tacitus

Complete Works of TacitusGermania by Cornelius Tacitus

Works of Tacitus available on Project Gutenberg:

http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/autho...

Also, the Internet Archive:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/tac/i...


message 18: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 09, 2010 10:03PM) (new)


message 19: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 09, 2010 10:10PM) (new)


message 20: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 09, 2010 10:37PM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments The next grouping of Emperors is called the Flavian Dynasty.

This group had its beginning with Vespasian who reigned from 69 - 79 AD.

Here is an extract from Wikipedia:

The Flavian dynasty was a Roman imperial dynasty, which ruled the Roman Empire between 69 and 96 AD, encompassing the reigns of Vespasian (69–79), and his two sons Titus (79–81) and Domitian (81–96).

The Flavians rose to power during the civil war of 69, known as the Year of the Four Emperors.

After Galba and Otho died in quick succession, Vitellius became emperor in mid 69. His claim to the throne was quickly challenged by legions stationed in the Eastern provinces, who declared their commander Vespasian Emperor in his place.

The Second Battle of Bedriacum tilted the balance decisively in favour of the Flavian forces, who entered Rome on December 20.

The following day, the Roman Senate officially declared Vespasian Emperor of the Roman Empire, thus commencing the Flavian dynasty.

Although the dynasty proved to be short-lived, several significant historical, economical and military events took place during their reign.

The reign of Titus was struck by multiple natural disasters, the most severe of which was the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79.

The surrounding cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were completely buried under ash and lava.

One year later, Rome was struck by fire and a plague.

On the military front, the Flavian dynasty witnessed the siege and destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in 70, following the failed Jewish rebellion of 66.

Substantial conquests were made in Britain under command of Gnaeus Julius Agricola between 77 and 83, while Domitian was unable to procure a decisive victory against King Decebalus in the war against the Dacians.

In addition, the Empire strengthened its border defenses by expanding the fortifications along the Limes Germanicus.

The Flavians initiated economical and cultural reforms.

Under Vespasian, lowered taxes that was devised to restore the Empire's finances, while Domitian revalued the Roman coinage by increasing its silver content.

A massive building programme was enacted to celebrate the ascent of the Flavian dynasty, leaving multiple enduring landmarks in the city of Rome, the most spectacular of which was the Flavian Amphitheatre, better known as the Colosseum.

Flavian rule came to an end on September 18, 96, when Domitian was assassinated. He was succeeded by the longtime Flavian supporter and advisor Marcus Cocceius Nerva, who founded the long-lived Nervan-Antonian dynasty.

Source: Wikipedia

URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flavian_...

Other sources worth reading include:

The Agricola/The GermaniaThe Agricola/The Germania by Cornelius Tacitus

The Life and Death of Julius Agricola
by Tacitus - available translated on line at Wikisource:


http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Agricola


The HistoriesThe Histories by Cornelius Tacitus

The Histories (Tacitus) available on line at Wikisource:

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Histori...

Also available at Project Gutenberg:

http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/16927


message 21: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments Other sources worth looking at include the following:

a) This one I could not find readily in goodreads so I am including the translation which is available free on line:

Roman History by Cassio Duo

URL: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E...


message 22: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments Here is another primary source:

The War of the Jews, or History of the Destruction of Jerusalem
by Josephus


Available free on Wikisource:

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_War...

The Jewish War  Revised Edition (The Penguin Classics)The Jewish War: Revised Edition by Flavius Josephus


message 23: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments ROMAN EMPERORS FROM 27 BC TO AD 476

The Flavian Dynasty - Reigned from 69 AD until 96 AD.

The first Flavian Dynasty Emperor was Vespasian who was listed already as the 9th Roman Emperor in The Year of the Four Emperors. He and his two sons Titus and Domitian make up the Flavian Dynasty.

9. Vespasian 69 - 79 AD

10. Titus 79 - 81 AD

11. Domitian 81 - 96 AD


message 24: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments The following groupings are a little convoluted and they overlap.

For example, there is one grouping which is called Nerva–Antonine dynasty which is a combined dynasty of the next seven emperors. In the case of two of these seven, there was a co-Emperorship even though one of the pair died before the other.

This combined dynasty would include numbers 12 - 17 in terms of distinct "reigns". A reign is the term used to describe the period of a person's or dynasty's occupation of the office of monarch of a nation. So two of these Emperors ruled during the same period at one time (Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus).

Here is a write-up on the Nerva–Antonine dynasty.

The Nerva-Antonine dynasty is a dynasty of seven consecutive Roman Emperors, who ruled over the Roman Empire from 96 to 192. These Emperors are Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus, and Commodus.

Since the first five rulers – from Nerva to Marcus Aurelius – are seen as representing a line of virtuous and just rule, they also have been dubbed the Five Great Emperors.

A unique feature of these Emperors is their method of succession, under which an Emperor adopted the candidate of his choice to be his successor. Under Roman law, an adoption established a bond legally as strong as that of kinship. Because of this, these rulers are also called Adoptive Emperors.

This has often been considered as a conscious repudiation of the principle of dynastic inheritance and has been deemed as one of the factors of the period's prosperity.

The naming by Marcus Aurelius of his son Commodus was considered to be an unfortunate choice and the beginning of the Empire's decline.

However, adoptive succession is thought to have arisen because of a lack of biological heirs. All but the last of the adoptive emperors had no legitimate biological sons to succeed them.

They were thus obliged to pick a successor somewhere else; as soon as the Emperor could look towards a biological son to succeed him, adoptive succession was set aside.

The dynasty may be broken up into the Nerva-Trajan dynasty (also called the Ulpian dynasty after their common nomen gentilis 'Ulpius') and Antonine dynasty (after their common name Antoninus).

Source: Wikipedia

URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nervan-A...

Also:

DiscoursesDiscourses by Niccolò MachiavelliNiccolò Machiavelli


message 25: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments ROMAN EMPERORS FROM 27 BC TO AD 476

Nerva–Antonine dynasty - Reigned from 96 AD until 192 AD.

12. Nerva 96 - 98 AD

13. Trajan 98 - 117 AD

14. Hadrian 117 - 138 AD

15. Antoninius Pius 138 - 161

16. Here there are two:

Marcus Aurelius 161 - 180 AD
and
Lucius Verus 161 - 169 AD

17. Commodus 180 - 192 AD


message 26: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 09, 2010 11:59PM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments Nerva-Trajan dynasty

The Nerva-Antonine dynasty can be broken up into other parts and combinations. One of these parts is the Nerva-Trajan dynasty (same folks as above and mentioned before - but in this case only numbers 12, 13, and 14)

The dynasty may be broken up into the Nerva-Trajan dynasty (also called the Ulpian dynasty after their common nomen gentilis 'Ulpius')

The Emperors who belonged to the Ulpian dynasty or Nerva-Trajan dynasty were Nerva, Trajan and Hadrian (numbers 12, 13, and 14 already named).


message 27: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments ROMAN EMPERORS FROM 27 BC TO AD 476

Nerva - Trajan dynasty or The Ulpian Dynasty- Reigned from 96 AD until 138 AD.

12. Nerva 96 - 98 AD

13. Trajan 98 - 117 AD

14. Hadrian 117 - 138 AD

These emperors were already listed before but this is a different combination.


message 28: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)


message 29: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments The Antonine Dynasty

"This is just another combination of the same Emperors named before (this grouping includes only those reigning from 138 - 192 AD).

They were successors of Trajan (r. 98–117 A.D.) and Hadrian (r. 117–38 A.D.), both from respectable provincial families in Spain; Hadrian had secured the line with the adoption of Antoninus Pius, who in turn adopted Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus.

Antonine rule commenced with the reign of Antoninus Pius (r. 138–61 A.D.) and included those of Marcus Aurelius (r. 161–80 A.D.), Lucius Verus (r. 161–69 A.D.), and Commodus (r. 177–92 A.D.). Their dynasty reflects the connections between wealthy provincial and Italian families

Antoninus Pius, who was from southern Gaul, restored the status of the Senate without compromising his imperial power. With succession assured, he quietly furthered the centralization of government. In addition to his own knowledge of law, he surrounded himself with a coterie of legal experts. One result of their revision of Roman law was the ruling that a man must be considered innocent until proven guilty.

Antoninus Pius was the last emperor to reside permanently in Rome; his reign was relatively peaceful and benevolent. Military campaigns, such as the one that led to the construction of the Antonine wall in Scotland in the 140s A.D., were conducted by imperial legates, not by the emperor in person.

Temples were erected in honor of Antoninus and his wife Faustina, in Rome and throughout the provinces, and many statues and portraits of the imperial couple were produced.

After Antoninus' death, imperial power was for the first time shared between two co-emperors, his adoptive sons Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. Verus waged a successful war against Parthia and captured Ctesiphon, but died early in 169 A.D. The continuing reign of Marcus Aurelius, however, was marked by incessant warfare with the Germanic tribes along the Upper Danube frontier, later known as the Marcomannic Wars (167–75 A.D.). The theme of victory became dominant in official art, as conquests were commemorated by triumphal arches and monumental columns erected in Rome to celebrate the military achievements of the dynasty. The constant campaigns, however, eventually drained imperial revenues.

Marcus Aurelius' devotion to duty, protecting the frontiers of the empire, was in marked contrast to the behavior of his son, Commodus. In 180 A.D., Commodus abruptly abandoned the campaigns on the German frontier and returned to Rome. There, however, he alienated the Senate by resorting to government by means of favorites and identifying himself with the semidivine hero Hercules. By the time of his assassination in 192 A.D., Rome was in a chaotic state of affairs."


Source: Write-up from The Metropolitan Museum

URL: http://www.metmuseum.org/TOAH/HD/anto...


message 30: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 10, 2010 08:18AM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments ROMAN EMPERORS FROM 27 BC TO AD 476

The Antonine Dynasty - Reigned from 138 - 192 AD

15. Antoninius Pius 138 - 161

16. Here there are two:

Marcus Aurelius 161 - 180 AD
and
Lucius Verus 161 - 169 AD

17. Commodus 180 - 192 AD

These emperors were already listed before; but this is a different combination and subset - same Emperors listed 15 - 17.


message 31: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments The next subset which has also been combined together is one that is called: "The Five Good Emperors"

This is a subset of the Emperor listing already documented.

Here is a write-up:

"The term Five Good Emperors was coined by the political philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli in 1503:

From the study of this history we may also learn how a good government is to be established; for while all the emperors who succeeded to the throne by birth, except Titus, were bad, all were good who succeeded by adoption; as in the case of the five from Nerva to Marcus. But so soon as the empire fell once more to the heirs by birth, its ruin recommenced.


Machiavelli argued that these adopted emperors, through good rule, earned the respect of those around them:

"Titus, Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus, and Marcus had no need of praetorian cohorts, or of countless legions to guard them, but were defended by their own good lives, the good-will of their subjects, and the attachment of the senate.


The 18th-century historian Edward Gibbon, in his work The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, opined that their rule was a time when "the Roman Empire was governed by absolute power, under the guidance of wisdom and virtue".

Gibbon believed these benevolent dictators and their moderate policies were unusual and contrast with their more tyrannical and oppressive successors (their predecessors are not covered by Gibbon).

Gibbon went so far as to state:

"If a man were called to fix the period in the history of the world during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name that which elapsed from the death of Domitian to the accession of Commodus. The vast extent of the Roman Empire was governed by absolute power, under the guidance of virtue and wisdom. The armies were restrained by the firm but gentle hand of four successive emperors, whose characters and authority commanded respect. The forms of the civil administration were carefully preserved by Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian and the Antonines, who delighted in the image of liberty, and were pleased with considering themselves as the accountable ministers of the laws. Such princes deserved the honour of restoring the republic had the Romans of their days been capable of enjoying a rational freedom."


More recent historians, while agreeing with many of the details of this analysis, would not entirely agree with Machiavelli and Gibbon's praise of this period.

There were more people under the rule of these emperors than the few affluent individuals whose lives are mentioned or recorded in the historical record. A large fraction of the rest were farmers or their dependents, who lived their lives always at the whim of avaricious government officials, or unrestrained bandits, no less during the reign of these "Good Emperors" than before or after. The extent to which these people suffered or were happy continues to be a subject of historical debate.

Additionally, Machiavelli's theory that adoption, rather than birth, led to moderate rule is also questionable. A number of Roman Emperors that Machiavelli did not feel were good rulers were adopted including Tiberius, Caligula and Nero, although each of these also had a familial claim to rule."



message 32: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 10, 2010 08:17AM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments ROMAN EMPERORS FROM 27 BC TO AD 476

The Five Good Emperors - Reigned from 96 AD - 180 AD - These included everyone from Nerva through Marcus Aurelius (they did not count Lucius Verus who was a co-Emperor as a sixth good emperor - possibly because he died and Aurelius carried on. Commodus was not considered one of the good emperors and is considered to be the Emperor responsible for the beginning of the decline.

Here are the Five Good Emperors:

12. Nerva 96 - 98 AD

13. Trajan 98 - 117 AD

14. Hadrian 117 - 138 AD

15. Antoninius Pius 138 - 161

16. Here there are two:

Marcus Aurelius 161 - 180 AD
and
Lucius Verus 161 - 169 AD


message 33: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 10, 2010 01:51AM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments One of the questions we could discuss is "Why learn about Rome and the Romans?"

Why read Gibbon? Is Gibbon still relevant? Why and/or why not?

What do we owe the Roman civilization and which civilization do you feel has contributed more to future societies and cultures? The Romans and/or the Greeks? Compare and Contrast.


message 34: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments Where does Rome stand in terms of history and culture? What did we gain from the Romans? What remnants of this great culture are still with us today?

What do you mean by "Rome"? When someone says Rome, do you think of an Italian city, an ancient Empire, a religious institution, do you visualize chariots and images from movies like the Gladiator, do you think of the tough military, of togas, of various Colosseum images where folks are fed to the lions? Do you think of banquets and debauchery or chivalry and ethics?

What images of Rome come to mind?


message 35: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 10, 2010 02:13AM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments Here are some terms and abbreviations that may be helpful:

B.C.E. - Before the common era. The time period represented by the abbreviation B.C., which stands for Before Christ.

C.E. - Of the common era. Indicates the same time as the abbreviation A.D., which stands for the Latin anno domini jesu christi (the year of our lord, Jesus Christ).

ca: - From the Latin circa, "about." This term is used for approximate dates. For example, ca C.E. 49 means "sometime around the year 49 of the common era.

A.D. - Anno Domini - see following paragraph:

B.C. - Before Christ - see following paragraph:

The term Anno Domini is Medieval Latin, translated as In the year of (the/Our) Lord.

It is sometimes specified more fully as Anno Domini Nostri Iesu (Jesu) Christi ("In the Year of Our Lord Jesus Christ").

Traditionally, English has copied Latin usage by placing the abbreviation before the year number for AD; since BC is not derived from Latin it is placed after the year number (for example: 68 BC, but AD 2010). However, placing the AD after the year number (as in "2010 AD") is now also common. The abbreviation is also widely used after the number of a century or millennium, as in "fourth century AD" or "second millennium AD" (although conservative usage formerly rejected such expressions).

Because BC is the English abbreviation for Before Christ, it is sometimes incorrectly concluded that AD means After Death,[4:] i.e., after the death of Jesus. If that were true, the thirty-three or so years of his life would not be in any era.

Anno Domini (abbreviated as AD or A.D., sometimes found in the irregular form Anno Domine) and Before Christ (abbreviated as BC or B.C.) are designations used to label years in the Julian and Gregorian calendars.

The calendar era to which they refer is based on the traditionally reckoned year of the conception or birth of Jesus, with AD denoting years after the start of this epoch, and BC denoting years before the start of this epoch.

There is no year zero in this scheme, so the year AD 1 immediately follows the year 1 BC.

The Gregorian calendar, and the year numbering system associated with it, is the calendar system with the most widespread use in the world today.

For decades, it has been the unofficial global standard, recognized by international institutions such as the United Nations and the Universal Postal Union. It is also a basis of scholarly dating, though some people adopt the Common/Christian Era labels, retaining the same numeric values but using the label "CE" (Common/Christian Era) instead of "AD", and "BCE" (Before the Common/Christian Era) instead of "BC".

Source: Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anno_Domini

and


The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Roman EmpireThe Complete Idiot's Guide to the Roman Empire by Eric D. Nelson


message 36: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 10, 2010 02:57PM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments What does everyone remember about Roman history and literature from school?

What are the images that stick with us. Do you think these images are valid.

What do you hope to gain by reading Gibbon and The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire?

I know there are some folks who might say like Eric Nelson pointed out: Dead Culture, Dead Language, Dead Emperors: Why Bother?

Why are the Romans, their culture, Latin and a bunch of dead men still relevant?

Eric Nelson


message 37: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments In chapter One we are talking about a time period before 212:

Before 212, for the most part only inhabitants of Italia held full Roman citizenship. Colonies of Romans established in other provinces, Romans (or their descendants) living in provinces, the inhabitants of various cities throughout the Empire, and small numbers of local nobles (such as kings of client countries) held full citizenship also. Provincials, on the other hand, were usually non-citizens, although some held the Latin Right.


message 38: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 10, 2010 07:08AM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments One thing which is interesting is the outlook that the Romans had.

They always saw the glass as half full versus the Greeks who saw it as being half empty. A lot of ancient cultures saw time as circular where in everything there was a season. You hear some of this same language in the Bible. That these cycles were unalterable like a time to live, a time to die, to everything there is a season.

The Romans did not think that way. They saw everything as linear. They honestly believed that the choices you made today controlled your future tomorrow. So everyone had control over the choices and decisions made and that there was a great deal of responsibility to do the right thing.

The Greeks (even in their literature) saw a no win scenario....it was their lot (they assumed) to basically live as well as they could with the tools that were God given. To the Romans, this attitude would have been an anathema.

The Romans believed (like the words of the poet Virgil), imperium sine fine (an empire without end). They had an optimistic viewpoint that everything would turn out fine.

In Virgil's Aeneid, Jupiter says of the Romans:

His ego nec metas rerum nex tempora pono: imperium sine fine dedi.

"For these people, the Romans, I place no boundaries of space or time: I have given them empire without end."

Source: Virgil's Aeneid, Book I, lines 278 - 279 (composed between 30 and 19 B.C.E.)

The AeneidThe Aeneid by VirgilVirgil


message 39: by Patrick (last edited May 10, 2010 07:34AM) (new)

Patrick Sprunger Okay, I'll be the first to bite. I'm new to the group, but am really excited by the prospects on this and other horizons.

Bentley asked (in message 36):

What does everyone remember about Roman history and literature from school?

Public school fosters the illusion that Roman civilization is more remote from contemporary Western civilization than it actually is. The idea that something is ancient should not suggest there isn't a continuum. Regrettably, public education lacks the will or sophistication to connect the ancient with the contemporary. American civics training (apologies to members outside the United States) routinely begins near the Stamp Act Congress. A fallacy is inadvertently entertained in the process, that the American republican experiment was an exceptional process, with no significant precedent elsewhere in the world. Or, if precedents are explored, they tend to not go back very far - not farther back than the French and English Enlightenments.

I found that undergraduate programs in the United States overwhelmingly favor American studies, to the detriment of the antiquities. "Western Civ" classes are a cattle call, mandatory for all majors. This, and the popular perception of antiquities experts as eccentric, creates a stigma for serious history students. The stigma is somewhat intangible; it's hard to say exactly what's happening. But at the universities I attended, ancient studies were perceived as less legitimate, or more indulgent, than American studies. "Serious" students (that is, to say, mainstream ones) didn't waste their time with such things.

In my opinion, the most detrimental effect on the study of Roman civilization comes not from the education system, but from the Christian church. The church I grew up in taught simply that the Romans were Christ's executioners. This made the Romans the bad guys. Empathy is not generally a part of the ideologue's curriculum. One who understands the Romans may sympathize with them; one who sympathizes with Christ's persecutor might sympathize with fundamentalism's new antagonist - secularism. This creates a different stigma, especially among Protestant evangelicals whose intense Christian tradition is intended to overshadow all other aspects of life.


What do you hope to gain by reading Gibbon and The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire?

I know there are some folks who might say like Eric Nelson pointed out: Dead Culture, Dead Language, Dead Emperors: Why Bother?

Why are the Romans, their culture, Latin and a bunch of dead men still relevant?


Because, like most things, simplicity is illusory. The prejudices, either mild or severe, we inherit as children are probably not accurate. Contemporary Western civilization is not an exceptional invention. Our origins merit exploration. Anyone interested in history intuitively understands this.

But, moreover, one cannot truly understand any complex thing without studying the principles at its base. Presuming an unbroken continuum connects antiquity to the present, through individual channels like legal issues, civics, and the organization of military and government operations, understanding the Romans is as essential to understanding the West as memorizing multiplication tables is to performing calculus and mastering phonics is to speaking any human language.


message 40: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 10, 2010 03:03PM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments Hello Everyone,

The kickoff of Gibbon's book is official.

Gibbon reveals in the very first paragraph of Chapter One what his intentions are for us in the first three chapters.

He plans to do the following:

- describe the prosperous condition of the Roman Empire

- discuss the death of Marcus Antonius and its impact on the Empire

- deduce the important circumstances leading to Rome's decline and
fall

- discuss a revolution which will be ever remembered and is still felt
by the nations of the earth.


We will learn that the first centuries were filled with triumphs - the question we have to ask ourselves while reading is what went wrong? Was the outcome unavoidable or was the fall from grace and glory pre-ordained and already certain? Does every great Empire establish its glory days and then begin to lay waste and to decay? Is this inevitable for every great nation or empire? Was it certain that the British Empire would break up and follow the same fate? What is in store for the United States and/or other great nations? How do great nations remain great and thrive and what can we learn from Gibbon and the Romans?

Please feel free to discuss any aspect of Chapter One.

Welcome to the discussion!

Bentley


message 41: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 10, 2010 08:14AM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments Regarding the emperors, in Chapter One only 1 - 17 were mentioned.

Augustus (Octavian) through and including Commodus as the last of the Antonines.

Within the confines of this non spoiler thread, we can discuss any of the aforementioned 17; but not beyond that point on this thread. You may discuss "any emperor" on the Roman Emperors' thread:

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/3...

However, we have now listed and introduced all of the ones identified in Chapter One. Please feel free to expand upon any of these first seventeen.


message 42: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 10, 2010 02:42PM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments Patrick wrote: "Okay, I'll be the first to bite. I'm new to the group, but am really excited by the prospects on this and other horizons.

Bentley asked (in message 36):

What does everyone remember about Rom..."


A terrific answer to a few questions that were out there Patrick; I wonder what everybody else's experience is. I do think the point that you made about the Romans being the ones to crucify Jesus is what sticks in most people's minds. That Image was actually the one provided for us through religion.

I went to a Latin high school so a bit more was discussed through the translations that we did. Specifically I remember in my Junior year of high school translating The Gallic Wars by Julius Caesar.

I will never forget the beginning as long as I live:

"Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres" - "All Gaul is divided into three parts"

Because of my high school being a Latin high school not only did we study Latin but we studied Ancient History as well as American History so I was most fortunate. Most young people nowadays are not presented with that option and do start with the notorious Stamp Act. One thing that you correctly pointed out is that causal relationships are very rarely made to earlier civilizations. The first time that many folks meet the Romans and/or the Greeks for that matter in American schools today most likely is in college and only if they major in the Antiquities and/or History or have a major like Classical Studies.

I do like your quote Patrick:

Patrick stated: "But, moreover, one cannot truly understand any complex thing without studying the principles at its base. Presuming an unbroken continuum connects antiquity to the present, through individual channels like legal issues, civics, and the organization of military and government operations, understanding the Romans is as essential to understanding the West as memorizing multiplication tables is to performing calculus and mastering phonics is to speaking any human language.

The Gallic War and Other WritingsThe Gallic War and Other Writings by Julius CaesarJulius Caesar

I read and translated The Gallic War from its original Latin. However, there are translations available on line:

The Perseus Project:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/t...

Project Gutenberg:

http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/10657

For those of you who would like to read it in Latin:

http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/218

Here is another translation which is actually available for download:

http://classics.mit.edu/Caesar/gallic...

Another on line Latin version:

http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/caesar...


message 43: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 10, 2010 12:22PM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments Some other authors, sources worth mentioning:

The Satires (The World's Classics)The Satires by JuvenalJuvenal

Satires  With the Satires of Persius (Everyman's Library (Paper))Satires: With the Satires of Persius by JuvenalJuvenal

Here is an article about this Roman satirist:

http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/ju...

Wikisource: Some of the translations of the satires on Wikisource:

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Juvenal...

Ancient History Sourcebook:

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancien...


message 44: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 10, 2010 12:50PM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments Writings by the last of the good emperors: (Marcus Aurelius)

MeditationsMeditations by Marcus AureliusMarcus Aurelius

Happiness  How to Achieve It (Illuminations)Happiness: How to Achieve It by Marcus AureliusMarcus Aurelius

Thoughts of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (Large Print Edition)Thoughts of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus by Marcus AureliusMarcus Aurelius

The Meditations are available on Internet Archive:

http://classics.mit.edu/Antoninus/med...

This was found on the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

http://www.iep.utm.edu/marcus/


Patricrk patrick | 475 comments Bentley wrote: "Patrick wrote: "Okay, I'll be the first to bite. I'm new to the group, but am really excited by the prospects on this and other horizons.

Bentley asked (in message 36):

What does everyone rememb..."


Bentley, you have the confusing fact that there is a Patrick and a Patricrk on this thread. While I agree with most of what Patrick said he does deserve to get the credit of having his name spelled correctly in the response. My picture is of a Roman Soldier, followed by a broken aquaduct.


message 46: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 10, 2010 02:44PM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments Certainly unintentional and corrected...I guess what we need is either a third Patrick or another Bentley and then we will all be thoroughly confused. (smile)


message 47: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 10, 2010 03:33PM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments Roman Roads - they loved building roads!!!

The Roman roads were roads built by the Roman empire, intended for quick transport of material from one location to another, for cattle, vehicles, or any similar traffic along the path.

They were essential for the growth of the Roman Empire. Roman roads enabled the Romans to move armies and trade goods and to communicate news.

The Roman road system spanned more than 400,000km of roads, including over 80,500km of paved roads. When Rome reached the height of its power, no fewer than 29 great military highways radiated from the city.

Hills were cut through and deep ravines filled in. At one point, the Roman Empire was divided into 113 provinces traversed by 372 great road links.

In Gaul alone, no less than 21,000km of road are said to have been improved, and in Britain at least 4,000km.

The Romans became adept at constructing roads, which they called viae. They were intended for carrying material from one location to another.

It was permitted to walk or pass and drive cattle, vehicles, or traffic of any description along the path. The viae differed from the many other smaller or rougher roads, bridle-paths, drifts, and tracks.

By the laws of the Twelve Tables, the minimum width of a via was fixed at 2.4m where it was straight, and 4.9m where it turned.

The Roman road networks were important both in maintaining the stability of the empire and for its expansion. The legions made good time on them, and some are still used millennia later.

In later antiquity, these roads played an important part in Roman military reverses by offering avenues of invasion to the 'barbarians'.

URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_roads

Source: Wikipedia


message 48: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments Here is a street in Pompeii:




message 49: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 10, 2010 03:53PM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments Here are the Laws of the Twelve Tables translated:

The first set of Roman laws published by the Decemviri in 451 BC, which would be the starting point of the elaborate Roman constitution. The twelve tables covered issues of civil, criminal and military law. Every Roman that went to school was supposed to know them by heart.


http://www.constitution.org/sps/sps01...

The Law of the Twelve Tables (Leges Duodecim Tabularum, more informally simply Duodecim Tabulae) was the ancient legislation that stood at the foundation of Roman law.

The Law of the Twelve Tables formed the centerpiece of the constitution of the Roman Republic and the core of the mos maiorum (custom of the ancestors). The Twelve Tables must be distinguished from the unrelated, much older "twelve shields" of King Numa Pompilius.


According to traditional, semi-legendary historical accounts preserved in Livy, during the earliest period of the Republic the laws were kept secret by the pontifices and other representatives of the patrician class, and were enforced with untoward severity, especially against the plebeian class.

A plebeian named Terentilius proposed in 462 BC that an official legal code should be published, so that plebeians could not be surprised and would know the law.

Patricians long opposed this request, but in ca. 451 BC, the first Decemvirate, or board of ten men, was appointed to draw up the first ten tables.

They allegedly sent an embassy to Greece to study the legislative system of Athens, known as the Solonian Constitution, but also to find out about the legislation of other Greek cities.

Modern scholars believe that a Roman assembly most likely visited the Greek cities of Southern Italy, and did not travel all the way to Greece.[citation needed:] In 450 B.C. the second decemviri started work on the last 2 tables.

The first Decemvirate completed the first ten codes in 450 BC. Here is how Livy describes their creation,

"...every citizen should quietly consider each point, then talk it over with his friends, and, finally, bring forward for public discussion any additions or subtractions which seemed desirable."

In 449 BC, the second Decemvirate completed the last two codes, and after a secessio plebis to force the Senate to consider them, the Law of the Twelve Tables was formally promulgated.

The Twelve Tables were drawn up on twelve ivory tablets (Livy says bronze) which were posted in the Roman Forum so that all Romans could read and know them. It was not a comprehensive statement of all law, but a sequence of definitions of various private rights and procedures. They generally took for granted such things as the institutions of the family and various rituals for formal transactions.

For such an important document, it is somewhat surprising that the original text has been lost.

The original tablets were destroyed when the Gauls under Brennus burnt Rome in 390 BC. There was no other official promulgation of them to survive, only unofficial editions.

What we have of them today are brief excerpts and quotations from these laws in other authors. They are written in a strange, archaic, laconic, and somewhat childish and sing-song version of Latin (described as Saturnian verse). As such, though we cannot tell whether the quoted fragments accurately preserve the original form, what we have gives us some insight into the grammar of early Latin. The belief is that the text was written as such in order that plebians could more easily memorize the laws, as literacy was not commonplace during early Rome.

Like most other early codes of law, they combine strict and rigorous penalties with equally strict and rigorous procedural forms. In most of the surviving quotations from these texts, the original table that held them is not given.

Scholars have guessed at where surviving fragments belong by comparing them with the few known attributions and records; many of which do not include the original lines, but paraphrases. It cannot be known with any certainty from what survives that the originals ever were organized this way, or even if they ever were organized by subject at all.


message 50: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 11, 2010 09:55PM) (new)

Bentley | 22985 comments There is so much to learn and discuss with this book and much that came before.

One key concept worth discussing is how did the Republic become an Empire and when?

So this is how it all began and how Augustus (Octavian) became the first Emperor:

The transition from Republic to Empire (49–27 BC)

By 48 BC, after having defeated the last of his major enemies, Julius Caesar wanted to ensure that his control over the government was undisputed.

He assumed these powers by increasing his own authority, and by decreasing the authority of Rome's other political institutions.

Caesar held the office of Roman Dictator, and alternated between the Consulship (the chief-magistracy) and the Proconsulship (in effect, a military governorship).

In 48 BC, Caesar was given the powers of a Plebeian Tribune, which made his person sacrosanct, gave him the power to veto the Roman Senate, and allowed him to dominate the legislative process.

In 46 BC, Caesar was given the powers of Censor, which he used to fill the senate with his own partisans.

Caesar then raised the membership of the senate from 600 to 900, which robbed the senatorial aristocracy of its prestige, and made it increasingly subservient to him.

Near the end of his life, Caesar began to prepare for a war against the Parthian Empire. Since his absence from Rome would limit his ability to install his own Consuls, he passed a law which allowed him to appoint all magistrates in 43 BC, and all Consuls and Plebeian Tribunes in 42 BC.

This, in effect, transformed the magistrates from being representatives of the people, to being representatives of the Dictator.

After Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC, Mark Antony formed an alliance with Caesar's adopted son and great-nephew, Gaius Octavian.

Along with Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, they formed an alliance known as the Second Triumvirate, and held powers that were nearly identical to the powers that Caesar had held under his constitution.

In effect, there was no constitutional difference between an individual who held the title of Dictator and an individual who held the title of "Triumvir".

While the conspirators who had assassinated Caesar were defeated at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC, the peace that resulted was only temporary.

Antony and Octavian fought against each other in one last battle in 31 BC, at the Battle of Actium.

Antony was defeated, and in 30 BC he committed suicide.

In 29 BC, Octavian returned to Rome as the unchallenged master of the state. He eventually enacted a series of constitutional reforms, the most important of which occurred in 27 BC, which overthrew the old republic.

The reign of Octavian, whom history remembers as Augustus, the first Roman Emperor, marked the dividing line between the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire.

By the time this process was complete, Rome had completed its transformation from a city-state with a network of dependencies into the capital of a world empire.

Here is a url on the Constitution of the Roman Empire:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitu...

Here is a work by Cicero on line:

CICERO’S COMMONWEALTH.: BOOK II. - Marcus Tullius Cicero, Treatise on the Commonwealth [54 BC:]
Edition used:
The Political Works of Marcus Tullius Cicero: Comprising his Treatise on the Commonwealth; and his Treatise on the Laws. Translated from the original, with Dissertations and Notes in Two Volumes. By Francis Barham, Esq. (London: Edmund Spettigue, 1841-42). Vol. 1.

Author: Marcus Tullius Cicero
Translator: Francis Barham
Part of: The Political Works of Marcus Tullius Cicero, 2 vols.


http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=co...






On the CommonwealthOn the Commonwealth by Marcus Tullius CiceroMarcus Tullius Cicero


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