All posts tagged Romans

R is for Romans

Published April 29, 2012 by caitlinnicoll

“All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?”

“Brought peace?”

“Oh, peace – shut up! There is not one of us who would not gladly suffer death to rid this country of the Romans once and for all.”

“Uh, well, one.”

“Oh, yeah, yeah, there’s one. But otherwise, we’re solid.”

Ah, the Romans. I’m not going to get into the mythology, because, well, they basically copied everything from the Greeks.

According to myth, Rome was founded by the twins Romulus and Remus, descendants of the Trojan prince Aeneas. Their grandfather, Numitor was deposed by his brother Amulius. Their mother Rhea Silvia was raped by the god Mars (Ares) and gave birth to the twins. Amulius feared the twins, so he ordered them to be drowned, but a she-wolf (or a shepherd woman, depending on the accounts) rescued and raised them.

In time, they went on to found their own city. Romulus ended up killing Remus in a quarrel about where they were going to set up their new kingdom. To bring in citizens, Rome became a sanctuary for the exiled and unwanted. However, this led to a population with very few women. Romulus tried to secure marriage rights with neighboring towns and tribes, but no one wanted to marry their daughters to outcasts. Desperate, Romulus invited the Sabines to a festival, and stole their unmarried daughters.

Rome was a kingdom then a republic before finally settling on the title of empire. Rome was a republic for just over 500 years, before Julius Caesar was declared perpetual dictator and his adopted son, Octavius (later, Augustus Caesar) became the first emperor of the Roman Empire. Julius took part in the Egyptian civil war between Cleopatra VII and her brother Ptolemy XIV. He sided with Cleopatra, and helped her overthrow her brother, the pharaoh. After Julius’ death, Augustus formed the Second Triumvirate with Mark Antony and Lepidus.

Later, the empire split into two, forming the Western Empire, governed through Rome, and the Eastern Empire, governed through Byzantium (later Constantinople and now Istanbul). The Eastern Empire lasted for another 900 years after the Western Empire crumbled.

And that’s all I’m writing on the Romans. Because there is a lot, and I need to get moving on other things. Like the rest of the challenge.


Book recommendations for reading challenges:

Fantasy                                                                                                       Sci-fi


H is for Huns

Published April 19, 2012 by caitlinnicoll

I’m back! Kinda.

To catch up, I’m going to do two posts a day, one in the morning and one in the evening.

Yay, double me!

So, the Huns. The Huns were a nomadic people in the 4th through the 6th centuries. Not much is known about where they came from, as there are many conflicting theories. Some scholars believe they orginated on Mongolia, others from around Turkey or Russia. The general consenus is that they were a nomadic confederacy comprised of many cultures.

The Huns practiced artifical cranial deformation, which is as terrible as it sounds. It’s similar to Chinese foot binding, where an infants head would be reformed by applying pressure. The heads were either rounded (Coneheads!) or flattened using pieces of wood or a cloth.

The Huns would also scar a child’s face to prevent facial hair in adulthood to impress the ladies. I don’t know if they actually did it for that reason, but why else would you inflict bodily harm to change your appearance, if it wasn’t to impress someone? I probably just opened up a moral can of worms…

Anyways, Attila the Hun originally ruled alongside his brother, Bleda. However, they each controlled their own territories. Together, they were bloodthirsty and ambitious, forcing the Romans into signing a treaty in which the Romans would allow the Huns to trade in addition to giving them annual tributes. When the Romans failed to pay tribute, the Huns attacked, and decimated the already weakened Roman Empire. And again, when the Romans failed to pay up for a second time. After Bleda’s death, the Hunnic empire was unified under Attila, but fell apart after his death.

Some theorize that they were one of the causes of the fall of Rome. Other sources credit the Germanic tribes. It was probably a bunch of unrelated factors.

Book for reading challenges:

   Fantasy                                                                                            Sci-fi

F is for Franks

Published April 6, 2012 by caitlinnicoll

The Franks were a group of Germanic tribes along the Rhine valley during the 2nd to 9th centuries, and were the arch-nemesis’ of the Romans. Ok, arch-nemesis is a bit of a stretch, but some Frankish tribes raided the Roman territories. Others joined the Roman armies, so they weren’t exactly united. By the 6th century, the Franks had spread to much of Western Europe, and had formed a bunch of mini kingdoms.

However, like the Romans, the Franks claim their descent from Troy. Depending on the legend and source, Priam and Antennor led the survivors to the sea of Azov, or that the survivors migrated to Macedonia under king Friga.

During the mid 6th century, the Franks took advantage of the Gothic War, and descended on the River Po, where both the Romans and Gothic camps were situated. They defeated both sides and marched for Tuscany, but their victory was cut short when dysentery spread through their ranks and they had to withdraw.

The Franks were described as being tall and pale with blue-grey eyes and the men sported thin mustaches. They fought with only a sword, shield, and a small axe, and cavalry men carried spears. Roman historians claim that the Franks did not use armor (I’m sensing a theme among early European tribes). Later, they incorporated many of the Roman militaristic practices.


Book recommendations for reading challenges

Fantasy                                                                                                         Sci-fi