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*has a video Sorry, English majors. As an apology, have some Rome-relevant photos from my trip to Greece in September this year. :D Roman coins. I really got a feel for the devaluation of the currency Mike was talking about when they had this room-sized display of various coins. See the fuzzy upper-left corner? They're from the crisis years. They're useless hunks of brown-rusty thrash.. and on the other hand you have coins like these of Augustus or Trajan. Good ol' Marble bysts. Left-to-Right: Tiberius, Domitia (wife of Domitian) and Trajan. Augustus and Livia. ALSO THE GIANT FACE OF ZEUS. BOW BEFORE ME, PUNY MORTALS.
Toggle Commented Dec 19, 2011 on 163- Theodosius's Walls at The History of Rome
Ah, picture time. Lars Brownworth of 12 Byzantine Rulers have a video from Theodosius' Land Walls too, so that's relevant. :)
Toggle Commented Dec 19, 2011 on 163- Theodosius's Walls at The History of Rome
Mainframe is now following The History of England
Dec 8, 2011
A note on that last thing, since I realized it doesn't say it explicitly: I meant for more focused looks into individual topics throughout Roman history (or effects of it on whenever) after the end of the Series, but for the stuff explaining this particular period in time before the end.
Toggle Commented Nov 29, 2011 on 160- East vs. West at The History of Rome
@ Guy Moloney: Actually I'd say that's the point. Furthering the understanding of the Empire itself before it perishes into the annals of History. Build on the concept of what exactly it is that is being destroyed. Not a lot of narritives that go for "And here we see the woman getting shot....and now we'll show you the rest of her life before that so you understand why you should've been sad when it happened, even though you didn't care about it at the time", even though we obviously do know a lot by now, but presumably it's still quite a different beast. :) I vote for getting up to speed on how the Empire is at the moment before the episodes "ending" the series. Also hoping for some Specialized episodes that delve deeper into specific topics or people without maintaining a strict storyline. Amongst podcasts Mike is naturally the master of keeping it nice and straight, but since it's rapidly nearing the end of that line (and he has stated his lack of intent of continuing with the east, though hopefully that'll change!) it'd be lovely to at least have some more of that.
Toggle Commented Nov 29, 2011 on 160- East vs. West at The History of Rome
@ John D. Wait wait wait. How is "Paris" coming from English alone? It's "Paris" in French! Also the first line in Wikipedia on the city is: "Thessaloniki (Greek: Θεσσαλονίκη [θesaloˈnici] ( listen)), historically also known as ----THESSALONICA----, Salonika or Salonica" ..So presumably he's just reading it as it is in the histories, given that it's a historical name for it and the Latin form, and Salonica itself (a name I haven't really ever heard for the city. Presumably Thessaloniki is the more common english form, given that it's the article's name) is also in the article said to derive from a Greek pet-name for the city.
Toggle Commented Nov 27, 2011 on 159- The Divine Winds at The History of Rome
Ouch. Hope ya feel better soon, Mike. :)
Toggle Commented Nov 6, 2011 on Well that was unexpected... at The History of Rome
Heh. Yeah, I'll agree with Joe on that point. It's very often values dissonance causing a new look on ancient individuals, even if in this case he did blame the Christians as part of the reason (and a sickness at the root of maintaining the Empire) for why it fell, since he considered them to have lessened their concerns for the here and now, since it was fairly commonly believed that the second coming was right around the corner and even if it wasn't the earthly life was irrelevant anyway. I also don't like the fact that he personally didn't suck up to the faction he believed was a cause of the decline and fall being stated as a "bias" (even if it was quite possibly incorrect, given how the East lived on, but we'll never know. *Waves goodbye to Julian*). It was just a conclusion that he reached when he saw the start of the decline and what effects he considered Christianity to have. If you look at the Wiki article for the fall of the Alexandrian Library, for instance since I just recently looked over it, then on the Talk-page there's a muslim complaining about it's "Islamophobic lies" because it, as it should, notes one of the major accounts in the histories. Not saying it is the correct one, just noting it. Because anything that doesn't hold their Jihadist conquerors up as beacons of enlightenment and perfect holy men is automatically bigoted or racist. It's the kind of attitude it breeds. Even if he's entirely wrong in his hypothesis that doesn't necessarily mean he was incapable of fair judgment due to pre-existing prejudice. I'm not all that familiar with Gibbon's personal life, but whether that's the case or not just because someone disagrees with you doesn't mean they're biased. They could just be wrong (or right, naturally). :) (But stop repeating that "False conclusion that the Christians ruined the library". Show an actual source. "[Citation Needed]" to assert that as true when it's such a non-settled issue.)
I don't know where you're getting that from, sdf. There's only half of a sentence on the wiki that even suggests that it isn't a plausible explanation and it has a [Citation Needed] tag for not showing a source for that claim. As far as I know no-one has evidence for how the library came to it's end and that it survived in one crippled version after another with successive events. Whether the Christian riots were the final death-stroke or not, it does seem a reasonable candidate (where-as the Islamic conquest being set as the date is usually considered propaganda?). (And you note his Anti-Christian bias, but keep in mind that there'll also be incredibly heavy pro-Christian bias in other histories. Especially when written and copied by Christian institutions for millennia.)
@Colflynn: Oh, don't worry. Hitting that wall only means you'll be learning the history a lot more thoroughly from re-listening to the old stuff. I can't count how many time I've re-listened to the earlier episodes. ;P
I, at least, learn most of the things I know about Roman history from this Podcast, Ies, so I don't have a tremendous amount of external commentary beyond pondering what Mike presents. This episode seems to-the-point enough that there's not much to interject with besides "Enjoyed it. :)". :) Now of course there's all the stuff about speculative alternative history that naturally accompanies figures like Julian the Apostate and Blot-Sven (proclaimed king over Sweden, ruled the eastern half, and rejected Christianization before it was rooted in the country. He was killed by his dishonourable christian Brother-in-Law after they set fire to his house in the night and killed him when he escaped the flames. The Brother-in-Law had previously ruled both areas, but was run out when he demanded conversion and banned sacrifices and Blot-Sven was proclaimed King). I'm under the impression that Christianity was on much firmer footing in the eastern half of the Empire (is that correct in general terms?), so it'd be interesting to see Julian live a long life and be partially successful (stemming the tide of Feudalism for the time being and stopping the march of Christianity in at least the western half). Probably would lead to a break between East and West earlier, though. Not that the natural progression had long to go by this point anyway.
Toggle Commented Aug 10, 2011 on 146- The Spear of Destiny at The History of Rome
Cheers on the update, Mike! Thank goodness you just didn't know about it rather than actually believing it. ;D Love the rest of the episode as well and sad to see Julian go so soon, but history marches on.
Toggle Commented Aug 9, 2011 on 146- The Spear of Destiny at The History of Rome
Definitely agreed, Alan. It's nonsense and should be dismissed as such until the author can actually prove any of his flat-out assertions. It also goes far beyond merely "maybe made it to the Americas". "Somewhat speculative" doesn't come close. Zheng He is impressive, no doubt, but let's stick to the ones we actually know visited the Americas, like the natives, Norse and post-Columbians. Not write pure fiction based on "what-if" due to NOT having data about a specific point and then try to pass it off as hard historical fact......and then go on to give all the credit of the Renaissance to "Chinese sailors coming to Europe". Is there ANYTHING he thinks wasn't done by Chinese Sailors? Sheesh. Why not just say that the Crisis of the Third Century was so poorly documented because all the Romans were chilling with the Cherokee at the time, if not having evidence means you're in the Americas.. ;)
Toggle Commented Aug 9, 2011 on 146- The Spear of Destiny at The History of Rome
Oh right. Forgot to mention: Mike, at the end you said "his far more mundane and worldly war with Persia", but Mundane = Worldly, so that's a bit odd to hear right after eachother (directly from Mundus, meaning world). Unless you used it as "banal", which I don't understand why it's even considered synonymous to in the first place. The world isn't. :)
Toggle Commented Aug 2, 2011 on 145- Julian the Apostate at The History of Rome
@Luke: I think he's mentioned having an interest in doing something on American Civil War stuff? Quite a limited interest outside of the USA itself for that, but oh well, I'm sure Mike would be the one capable of making me give a rat's ass. ;)
Toggle Commented Aug 1, 2011 on 145- Julian the Apostate at The History of Rome
Yeah, the intro was fabulous. :) I must say that it seems quite unlikely that the main temple of interest in the area just "accidentally burned down from a lit candle" within days of the Emperor's kerfuffle. Seems more like Christian historians wanting to paint it as a purely one-sided conflict? It'd also be worrying if anyone these days actually think an edict to get rid of oppressive discriminatory laws is actually "Infamous" on it's own merits, rather than what would come after it. If he actually was trying to make sure there was equal religious freedom then you'd have to be quite a scoundrel to say that's terrible. Even if he was trying to stir up conflict between different christian views (What, you have more of a right than they do just because you're the former Emperor's pet? I'd also wager today's Christians would not be getting along with that time's favoured version). Now when he starts explicitly banning the non-corrupt loyal Christians from jobs and positions in the administration then he's obviously wrong (not too unlike how Christians later would restrict the jobs Jews could have, which we certainly shouldn't look favourably upon). It's also interesting how horrible and inhumane it is for Julian to reclaim non-Christian religious buildings from the desecration of the Christian rule at the expense of the citizenry now living there, but most wouldn't bat an eye when the conversation is regarding Constantine oppressing and forbidding and throwing out pagans on behalf of the Church. Such transitions are quite jarring and I do like it when they're pointed out, like for example with the clip of you going "He did, after all, execute no more men than Dear Old Uncle Claudius" back in the day. They're sobering reminders to not get too biased about certain historical favourites. :)
Toggle Commented Aug 1, 2011 on 145- Julian the Apostate at The History of Rome
Haha. Love the dripping innocent-sounding sarcasm of "completely by.. surprise..!". Also, it was pretty weird listening to this discussing the rich not paying any taxes at all after watching the Daily Show episode where they have the segment on Republicans in America compulsively referring to the Rich as "Job-Creators". Those unfortunate job-creating provincials, not getting away with bribing their way out of taxes anymore! It's an outrage, Julian! *Rolls eyes*
Thanks, Ies!
Toggle Commented Jul 17, 2011 on 143- Julian the Pre-Apostate at The History of Rome
@Ies: "Julian shows none of the insight, subtlety of thought or rhetorical skill that he should have acquired from his years at the feet of the masters of late antiquity. Compared with Caesar, Augustus, Marcus and Constantine, Julian's writings are embarrassingly adolescent and self-indulgent." Rather than just take your word on that, do you have any sites where his surviving works are translated? I'd be very interested in taking a look into them myself. :) Although I despise rhetoric, if considered an intellectual discipline, to my core as it is empty showmanship that disregards facts and merely try to trick others into agreeing with you, so him not applying that is a point in his favour, IMO. All of these "armchair" interpretations I've heard of him by Christians sound terribly defensive since, even if he personally wasn't good at expressing the ideas (which you'll hopefully give me the opportunity to see for myself), the points were still valid. The contradictions are there, the incompatibilities with reality are there and the intolerance inherent in Monotheism had been on full display when they seized control. You're also exaggerating Roman Polytheism's relative amount of contradictions, since it's impossible for a religion that makes fewer paradoxical claims to be less believable (not to mention that people always have a blind-spot for their own religion. Thus why a Christian doesn't become a Muslim and vice-versa as a muslim/christian will know plenty of things wrong with the other's beliefs, but fail to see those same errors with his own faith).
Toggle Commented Jul 16, 2011 on 143- Julian the Pre-Apostate at The History of Rome
Yeah, Val. This sometimes happens if you mean you only got part of the episode (or is the rest of the file shown as part of it's length and it stops? Either case, you need to re-download) when the browser stops the download for some weird reason. Is your file 10.5 mb ? If it isn't, it's only a partial (or maybe it's corrupt as said).
Toggle Commented May 16, 2011 on 137- The Christian Emperor at The History of Rome
Hurray! More THoR! Hope the trip is goin' great. :)
Toggle Commented May 15, 2011 on 137- The Christian Emperor at The History of Rome
@Bertrand: Only if "credible" in this context means "people who already agree with me". Have a look at the actual evidence - there isn't really any of it. Or are you saying that he was simply one of a multitude of itinerant preachers and happened to be named Yeshua? The books of the new testament are not contemporary and even if they were they have an obvious bias and are unreliable in the extreme (They all disagree with eachother, and themselves). There is no evidence from the actual timeperiod other than passing references to "Christians" (so what? No one is saying Christians don't exist) and a mention of "Yeshua, the brother of.. ," which was later obviously forged into saying "who IS the Christ", which the writer - who wrote as a Jew, not Christian - could not have written. I'm fine with there being a person that preached the things that would eventually break off from Judaism, obviously someone had to, but there simply isn't any good evidence for any of it and it's silly to claim there is (most is simply Confirmation Bias). Him existing makes sense in the context of the time (as in the effects that would result from it), so that's why people just go with it. One should take a note from the chaotic 3rd century that we've just been through in the Podcast and remember all the times Mike had to say "..If he/she even existed at all". Some things are presumed roughly true for a cohesive narrative. But no textual account could ever be sufficient to believe anything miraculous what-so-ever. How could you be? You're not justified in believing something someone tells you directly, so how does them doing magic become more believable with being scribbled onto a letter and kept in a box for a few centuries? That is why I'd say that having "Jesus word" in living memory isn't relevant (besides just being an assertion). He'd just be a revolutionary rabbi then, so it'd be fine to disagree with his interpretations. The relevancy of his own words is contingent upon his being the "Messiah" which he supposedly showed through 'miracles'/catering. The difference being "This rabbi said.. but this other rabbi said" and "This rab-- Well screw you, God said this!". Which is pretty much the point.
Toggle Commented Apr 29, 2011 on 135- Brothers in Name Only at The History of Rome
I'm a bit confused by the bit where you went "And of course the child would be a boy"/"Gave birth to a son. Of course it was a son!". Is that noting an unfounded certainty on the behalf of Constantine (The odds are pretty good, but it's hardly a sure thing. Especially with infant mortality.) or is it simply noting that he would eventually wind up with several sons? You also seem to be keeping it objective on Christianity so far, which I am very grateful for. Please, by Odin's beard, don't treat Christianity any different in future podcasts than you would the Roman Pantheon or Omens, since you're not disrespectful (shouldn't unnecessarily antagonize Christian listeners if it doesn't have a place in the narrative, after all), but not afraid to have fun with it. Just telling the truth is probably going to offend some Christians as most are very ignorant (in the literal sense, not as the insult) about the history of their religion, such as the councils where the high clergy vote on the divinity of Jesus and so forth. Things like Lars Brownworth's take on heresies also make me go "..Wait what?" since he actually said "In the first century heresies could usually be cleared up by those who actually remembered Jesus, but as these people died off--". Now that presumes Jesus as an historical person, which there is very poor evidence for and certainly nothing that could validate anything miraculous, and that the cause for the later heresies weren't something as basic as "more Christians over a wider area lacking good communication with different cultural backgrounds and opinions, without any centralized authority on Canon". Just treating Christianity as true and "Obviously Constantine -is- Great. Says so on his name!" attitudes are probably a big part of what has made me actually dislike him as both an Emperor and a person. :) P.S. On the "Jesus as a real person": Obviously there were people around with the names attributed to him (as there still are), but that's not what defines a person. If we found out that Hernán Cortés was a lumberjack from Valdetorres then having a historical account for that person couldn't possibly show the truth of anything Conquistador-related. Also sorry for the long post, I just believe it's important for the quality of the PodCast.
Toggle Commented Apr 28, 2011 on 135- Brothers in Name Only at The History of Rome
Hurray, more THoR soon! No more withdrawal! :D Uh.. also too bad about the DNS trouble! Doesn't effect me too much unless it's also later episodes, since I have a neatly ordered self-renamed archive (according to the newer template) on both my computer and MP3-player.
Toggle Commented Jan 6, 2011 on Episode Delivery Issues at The History of Rome
Woohoo, more THOR! Thanks for your work, Mike. Much appreciated. Recognize this weeks' images from looking up Aurelian, knowing my lack of knowledge on the man. Since most of what I know about ancient Rome I learned from you (and lots of geography/countries from 'Europa Universalis: Rome' :P ), I used to have Marcus Aurelius and Aurelian conflated into one vague figure untill you reached the Good Emperors. ":(" for school mainly going "Here's a map of some greek colonies and a couple of Important Events, then Rome rose to own all of this, now let's study why Rome fell!" then moving on to more recent history after discussing migrating peoples. At least that's how I remember it, thanks for unclouding this vast era of the western world.
Toggle Commented Nov 29, 2010 on 117- Aurelian's Walls at The History of Rome