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Books about the Roman empire

by pentazoid
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Evo
#19
Jul17-09, 06:52 PM
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Quote Quote by SW VandeCarr View Post
Evo There's nothing that I said that can't be found in any textbook of ancient history with exception of conditional statements such as: since the Romans were contemporaries to the Parthian and Han states and they could have been in debt to them directly or indirectly.

Frankly, Tiny Tim's post to which I responded was not serious. Hence my remark that the Vikings might return. In any case, a convenient source would the Kinder H, Hilgemann W, Anchor Atlas of World History Vol I, Doubleday.

Anyone can go on the web and search on Parthia, Roman history, Alexander the Great, the Han empire and confirm what I said. But, beyond that, do such statements such as Alexander the Great lived before the Roman state became a major power, or that Vikings belong to a period after the Roman Empire require citations? If so, it's a rule that's not being enforced and if it were, it would stifle any meaningful discussion.
That's not how it's done here. If you make a claim, you need to back it up with vaild research. Also, I can't really make sense of what you are trying to say, please make a post clearly stating your point as it seems to have fallen apart.
SW VandeCarr
#20
Jul17-09, 08:03 PM
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Quote Quote by tiny-tim View Post
I'm confused … since Rome ruled most of the known world …
First Evo, Aroldno made a number of much more detailed claims in post 8 without references and was not called on it. Everything I said, with the possible exception of the Roman-Han connection, is well within the public domain. My link for this is short but to the point. The Silk Road Society is a respected historical association. You can click on their links. The Roman Empire link is major Google project gathering information on the Roman Empire. My reworded response to the above quote is as follows:

What do you mean by the "known" world? Known by whom? Your view is quite Euro-centric. The Roman Empire never extended beyond Mesopotamia, and it held that region for a very short time. In any case, contacts between the West and India go back at least to the time of Alexander the Great. The Romans knew about lands they didn't conquer and traded with them.

http://www.roman-empire.net

http://www.eh.net/bookreviews/library/0937

EDIT: The Wiki also has an excellent well referenced article on 'Roman Trade' but I suppose I can't cite that.
SW VandeCarr
#21
Jul17-09, 09:07 PM
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Quote Quote by Evo View Post
Then post links to the online texts that specifically back up what you said. The burden of proof lies with the person that makes the claim.
I fully expect the same level of scrutiny by you for all posts in this forum. When it comes to history there are many things that are in the public domain as opposed to the physical or biological sciences where statements that are not easily verified should be cited. Historical research today focuses mostly on the finer points, not on whether the Roman Empire contained the entire "known" world.

EDIT: I wasn't able to quote both you and tiny-tim in the previous post (#20), but the first paragraph is directed to you. I trust my re-written post with links meets with your approval.
Evo
#22
Jul17-09, 11:02 PM
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Quote Quote by SW VandeCarr View Post
I fully expect the same level of scrutiny by you for all posts in this forum. When it comes to history there are many things that are in the public domain as opposed to the physical or biological sciences where statements that are not easily verified should be cited. Historical research today focuses mostly on the finer points, not on whether the Roman Empire contained the entire "known" world.
It's pretty much a given that we consider the Roman Empire to have been most of the "known world" then. Anyone familiar with history will understand the use of this term.

Why are the events of the first century so critical in shaping our perception of the Romans?
I think that this period was important in shaping of the Roman Empire. We take the series through the dynasty developed by Augustus – how it grew, almost destroyed itself and then how it survived. It's a period of great expansion, when the known world is literally ruled by Rome.
http://www.pbs.org/empires/romans/se...rview_lyn.html

Did you ever study history in college?

Arildno is quite an expert on ancient history and doesn't make overly speculative posts. Of course, if you aren't fasmiliar with something he says, please do ask for sources. Until you have a proven record of knowing what you are talking about, sources are definitely required.
Evo
#23
Jul17-09, 11:08 PM
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Quote Quote by SW VandeCarr View Post
EDIT: I wasn't able to quote both you and tiny-tim in the previous post (#20), but the first paragraph is directed to you. I trust my re-written post with links satisfies the the requirements.
I didn't see where you reposted sources citing the claims you made and a link to those sources.

Perhaps I wasn't clear.

Where is the source of your claims of economic problems in Rome that are similar to the US?

Quote Quote by SW VandeCarr
This is a common misconception. The Romans themselves were aware of vast lands to the east which had been conquered by Alexander the Great. These lands extended from the eastern boundary of the Roman Empire to India. It's also likely that Romans were vaguely aware of the Han Empire in China whose influence extended to the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea.

Also, the US is a republic with popular elections, a written constitution including a Bill of Rights, a free press and democratic institutions. The Roman Empire had none of these. Unfortunately, the US does have a lot of public and private debt.
When you make a specific claim, you should then post a link to the source as well as posting the specific paragraphs that confirm your post.
SW VandeCarr
#24
Jul17-09, 11:30 PM
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Quote Quote by Evo View Post
It's pretty much a given that we consider the Roman Empire to have been most of the "known world" then. Anyone familiar with history will understand the use of this term.
http://www.pbs.org/empires/romans/se...rview_lyn.html
It's a given if you maintain an extreme euro-centric point of view. That's hardly the kind of citation you've asked of me. Anyone truly familiar with history will know this claim is a delusion of euro-centric historians and probably of many Romans. However, even they asked where their silk came from.

Did you ever study history in college?

Arildno is quite an expert on ancient history and doesn't make overly speculative posts. Of course, if you aren't fasmiliar with something he says, please do ask for sources. Until you have a proven record of knowing what you are talking about, sources are definitely required.
I did study history in college and for years after. I stand by what I said and a glance and the few (of many possible) sources that I linked will show I'm correct. The known world extended far beyond the limits of the Roman Empire and if adrildno knows history, he knows this. Are you saying Alexander the Great didn't reach India when Rome was just a city state? The Romans fought wars with the Parthians and traded with India. I'm not going to spend my time developing an exhaustive bibliography for people that don't know these basic facts. At least read the second link in post 20.
SW VandeCarr
#25
Jul17-09, 11:58 PM
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Quote Quote by Evo View Post
.

Perhaps I wasn't clear.

Where is the source of your claims of economic problems in Rome that are similar to the US?
I never made that claim.
Evo
#26
Jul18-09, 02:46 PM
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Quote Quote by SW VandeCarr View Post
I never made that claim.
Then please explain what you meant when you made these posts. What does the US economic situation have to do with ancient Rome?

Quote Quote by SW VandeCarr View Post
This is a common misconception. The Romans themselves were aware of vast lands to the east which had been conquered by Alexander the Great. These lands extended from the eastern boundary of the Roman Empire to India. It's also likely that Romans were vaguely aware of the Han Empire in China whose influence extended to the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea.

Also, the US is a republic with popular elections, a written constitution including a Bill of Rights, a free press and democratic institutions. The Roman Empire had none of these. Unfortunately, the US does have a lot of public and private debt.
Quote Quote by SW VandeCarr View Post
I was referring to your phrase: "Since Rome ruled most of the known world..." (which is all I quoted) and the second paragraph (which you omitted in your quote) refers to the US debt. You know this. Stop playing games.

EDIT: Since the Parthian and Han Empires were contemporary to the Roman Empire they could have been in debt to them, although I know of no historical evidence they were. Rome traded with both, although only indirectly with the Han via India and the Silk Road. And no, Tiny Tim, Rome could not have been in debt to Alexander the Great. Do you know why?
Also, you don't seem to get the "known world" reference. From the perspective of Rome, yes it was most of the "known world". This would be lands well known, mapped, etc... Of course doesn't include the "known world" of people living in Asia, southern Africa, and the yet to be discovered peoples of North and South America, etc... Your personal opinion is just that and is not the generally accepted meaning. We're going with the generally accepted meaning.
SW VandeCarr
#27
Jul18-09, 06:38 PM
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Quote Quote by Evo View Post
Then please explain what you meant when you made these posts. What does the US economic situation have to do with ancient Rome?
It was a separate paragraph addressing the issue posed earlier which drew an equivalence between the US and the Roman Empire. I tried the multi-quote but couldn't get it to work. The issue of debt was brought up in tiny-tim's post which made the assumption "Since Rome ruled most of the known world..." and then linked that to a reference to Rome's debt.

You don't seem to get the "known world" reference. From the perspective of Rome, yes it was most of the "known world". This would be lands well known, mapped, etc... Of course doesn't include the "known world" of people living in Asia, southern Africa, and the yet to be discovered peoples of North and South America, etc... Your personal opinion is just that and is not the generally accepted meaning. We're going with the generally accepted meaning.
Known by whom? Not yet discovered by whom? Rome's knowledge of its own territories was of course greater then what lay beyond the Empire's boundaries. The Han's knowledge their territory was greater than what lay beyond their territory and so on for India, Persia, and the civilizations of Central Asia which were all linked by trade networks. The Euro-centric view where you use the term "known world" without qualification is out of date and frankly smacks of white supremacy. It's not necessarily understood the same way by non-Europeans as it is by Europeans (and Euro-Americians). Europe is not the center of the world or its history anymore. We can be proud of our Western heritage (Greece and Rome) without marginalizing other heritages. Have you examined any recent world history texts and compared them to texts of fifty years ago? Certainly China and India's heritages should not be overlooked in a multi-cultural world. Their history is not less worthy of the attention of historians. Why even say "known world"? What's the matter with the 'Mediterranean World' or simply the 'Western World' in terms of describing the Roman Empire?
tiny-tim
#28
Jul19-09, 04:53 AM
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Quote Quote by SW VandeCarr View Post
Why even say "known world"?
Because you can only be in debt to what you regard as the known world.
arildno
#29
Jul19-09, 05:25 AM
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1. I would like to say that SW Vandecarr is most likely right that the Roman Empire knew about the Han Empire.

2. I do not know if the Silk Road was yet in existence (but it seems likely), but they did have extensive trade connections with India circumventing the areas controlled by the Sassanian Empire (i.e, the Persians) by following the sea-lanes by way of nowadays Yemen and the Red Sea.
As an aside, the Silk Road was in existence in the sixth centure, when the Byzantine Empire broke the silk monopoly and began their own production of silk, both on the Anatolian heartland, and later on, at Sicily.

3. Even if Han Empire products might possibly not reach Rome by the direct landward road through the Sassanian Empire, it could easily have reached Rome by the route sketched in 2. It would not be an unlikely scenario at all, in my view.

4. The phrase "the known world":
SW Vandecarr: I ought to have had a reference on this, but I am quite sure that the Romans prided THEMSELVES for having conquered "nearly the whole known world".

That the Romans were an arrogant, conceited lot is a truism, and far more Romano-centric than any latterday European could be said to be Eurocentric. The Romans were as Romanocentric as the Chinese were Sino-centric and so on.

The phrase "the known world" is NOT a descriptive phrase, it is a normative phrase "the world WORTH KNOWING" (barbarian countries not worth knowing at all, from the Roman point of view").
Thus, apart from the Mediterranean civilization, the various high civilizations of Persia would be grudgingly included in the phrase (because they were foes the Romans could respect).


India and China, of course, were exotic countries the Romans practically knew very little about, in particular geographic extent; it was sort of fairy-tale countries to them.


Whether they included them in their phrase "the known world" is rather beside the point; the blithely arrogant, and ignorant, Romans still went about regarding "the known world" as mainly consisting of the Rome-dominated Mediterranean (plus Presia) in the midst of sea of barbarians not worth knowing about.


Continuing to use "the known world" in a Roman normative sense (rather than descriptive, in which case YOU would be right), has become a European convention.
arildno
#30
Jul19-09, 06:47 AM
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The following article from (ugh!) Wikipedia has much interesting stuff on Roman-Chinese relations:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_embassies_to_China

That a half-dozen formal, or for the most part, IN-formal embassies (or, more likely, merchant groupings) can be documented for a period of several centuries does NOT in any way constitute an argument that for the most part, China was for the Romans a country shrouded in legend and mystery, a fairy-tale country.
Astronuc
#31
Jul19-09, 09:35 AM
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It seems to me that SW VandeCarr was making the point that the Romans (of the Roman empire) knew of China. The following supports that.
Numerous Han envoys were sent west, some parties exceeding 100 members. The Han Dynasty sent one mission to Parthia, which was reciprocated at around 100 BC: Roman emissaries were captured by the Chinese in 30 BC along the Silk Road at Yongchang. Later a Chinese envoy reached the Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar, who reigned between 27 BC and 14 AD; (Florus, 25 BC) Several Roman ambassadors reached China after 166 AD.
http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=18006 I'm looking forward to cross-referencing with other sources, e.g. Florus (c. 25 BC) ‘'Epitome de T. Livio Bellorum omnium annorum DCC Libri duo'', Loeb Classical Library (no. 231, published in translation 1984, ISBN 0-674-99254-7)

Then there is this:
Soon after the Roman conquest of Egypt in 30 BC, regular communications and trade between India, Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, China, the Middle East, Africa and Europe blossomed on an unprecedented scale.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silk_Road#The_Roman_Empire
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...stC_CE_gr2.png

The Romans were perhaps most concerned with Europe and those regions immediately on the borders. The Danube River seemed to form an natural border.

The Romans certainly knew of other tribes outside of the territory they ruled. They did not venture to Sarmatia or Scythia.

By the first century BC, Sarmatians came into direct contact with Rome through Mithridates VI of Pontus. In the employ of the Pontic King, the Sarmatians ran helped bring Asia Minor under his rule, and likely wreaking havoc in Greece and the Balkans, at the expense of Rome. These alliances would eventually be crushed by Pompey and by Caesar in the mid 1st century BC, but the Sarmatians would continue to be a threat to Rome for another several centuries. External pressures from marauding Huns and other eastern people pushed the Sarmatians farther west. The Iazyges, certainly the most commonly known tribe to the Romans, settled along the Danube, between Dacia and Pannonia, soon to be in direct conflict with Rome.

Initially, the Iazyges were cautiously welcomed by the Romans, as they caused problems for tribes in Dacia, but eventually they would ally against the common foe. The Roxolani, another Sarmatian tribe, had settled the region and joined with their cousins as well. By the early 2nd century AD, the Emperor Trajan led a massive campaign to conquer Dacia, and between 102 and 106 AD, he brought this region and these tribes under Roman rule. Just a generation later, under Hadrian, it was deemed more advantageous to allow the nomadic horsemen their freedom, though Dacia itself was kept under Roman dominion. . . .
http://www.unrv.com/provinces/sarmatia.php
http://www.unrv.com/roman-empire-map.php
Dacia was as far east as the Roman Empire pushed on the Eurasian continent north of Black Sea (Pontus Euxinus), with the exception of what is now Crimea. South of the Black Sea, Rome pushed out to Armenia and Mesopotamia.
http://www.unrv.com/provinces/pontus.php
http://www.livius.org/sao-sd/sarmatians/sarmatians.html
The Alamanni and Rome 213-496 (Caracalla to Clovis)

Another useful reference Rome and the Enemy By Susan P. Mattern

Mattern may be a good reference on Roman History - http://www.uga.edu/history/_cvs/CVMattern.pdf

The study of the Silk Road and its history is rather compelling. It's complementary to my studies of Central Asian and Chinese Histories, which of particular interest to me.
Evo
#32
Jul19-09, 10:05 AM
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No one has questioned if the Romans knew of China, but SW keeps bringing it up as if someone questioned it. I think his rationale is that if the Romans knew of their existence, then they couldn't have conquered most of the "known world". Thank you arildno, for an excellent explanation.
Astronuc
#33
Jul19-09, 10:22 AM
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Quote Quote by Evo View Post
No one has questioned if the Romans knew of the Hans, but SW keeps bringing it up as if someone questioned it.
I believe SW was responding to tt's comment
I'm confused … since Rome ruled most of the known world …


who was it in debt to?
Then question becomes, what did the Romans know about the rest of the world, and did they know that the world outside their borders was much larger? Perhaps even the most learned scholars could not comprehend the world being much larger than the territory they controlled.

They apparently knew of the Sarmatians, Scythians, Parthian, Indians, Hans (beyond the Scythians and Partians), as well as tribes beyond N. Africa.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_trade_with_India
http://depts.washington.edu/silkroad.../periplus.html

Roman coins from the 1st, 2nd and 5th cent CE have apparently been found in India.

I do agree that claims of fact should be supported by references/citations, especially since the thread is about books about the Roman Empire, or at least the title is. The OP seems to go off on a tangent, or skew, about parallels between the indebtedness of the Roman Empire and the US. That seems to be a whole other matter.
SW VandeCarr
#34
Jul19-09, 12:55 PM
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Quote Quote by tiny-tim View Post
Because you can only be in debt to what you regard as the known world.
It was the premise to your question that I was objecting to.

To everyone else who commented, thanks. I was feeling a lonely for a while. I have a Japanese friend who is a long term student of Western history. She even took two years of Latin so she could read Roman authors, particularly Tacitus. She's always telling me about the arrogance displayed by Western authors of Roman history and history in general, especially in older works. She likes to say "No one has ever conquered Japan." Because I want to remain friends with her, I don't argue the point.
tiny-tim
#35
Jul19-09, 01:28 PM
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Quote Quote by SW VandeCarr View Post
It was the premise to your question that I was objecting to.
I stand by my premise
Quote Quote by tiny-tim
since Rome ruled most of the known world
I do not accept that the fact that Rome knows that there is "something out there" means that Rome knows it.

Is the Oort cloud part of the known world? Was the far side of the moon part of the known world before anyone had even seen it? Was Mars part of the known world before Voyager (or was it Enterprise? ) visited it and started to map it?

Socrates (Roman ambassador to the court of Alexander the Small, ruler of Asia Minor) said something like "Who is wise? Only he who is aware of his own ignorance."

Surely wise Romans were well aware that they did not know the Han empire?
And is there any way that Rome could possibly have been in debt to the Han empire?
SW VandeCarr
#36
Jul19-09, 02:00 PM
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Quote Quote by tiny-tim View Post
I stand by my premise



Socrates (Roman ambassador to the court of Alexander the Small, ruler of Asia Minor) said something like "Who is wise? Only he who is aware of his own ignorance."
This looks like something that needs a citation. Evo, where are you?


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