Ask me any question you have about the Roman Empire. I'll do my best to answer for the next hour and a half.
> Why did Rome Fall?
In short, constant civil war from the 3rd century to the fall of the Western Empire, though the Byzantines were plagued by the same problem. Read Adrian Goldsworthy's How Rome Fell, which is probably the best book about the Late Empire.
Some possible candidates:
Established the principate, probably saved the Roman world order. Laid the foundation of autocratic rule in the West.
Basically set the Empire to embrace reasonable geographic limits instead of constant expansion.
This guy was a big deal in the third century crisis; he basically had to deal with an Empire that was splitting in three and had very little to work with yet did ok. Very underrated. Embraced crucial cavalry reforms that made the army more competitive in the East against the rising Sassanid threat.
The restorer of the world, managed to reunite the Roman world against incredible odds; destroyed the Palmyrene Empire of Zenobia, bringing the east back into the fold.
A true political monster who refounded Rome on an even more despotic model (that also laid the foundation for western autocracy into the Medieval period). Saved the Empire from the third century crisis, totally rebuilt the state from the ground up with massive political reforms (provinces divided into smaller dioceses, etc.) Too bad the tetrachy didn't work out.
Set the course of western history by embracing Christianity, ruled as an absolute despot in the same Diocletian-like manner...His participation in the destruction of the tetrachy model definitely doomed the Empire to continued civil war, though that was probably inevitable...Some have theorized that some of Constantine and Diocletian's economic reforms paved the way for medieval feudalism (tying peasants to latifundia for instance) but I don't know the state of current historiography on this matter...
I know I'm gonna get reamed for this but I'm not gonna get into the Byzantine Emperors because I am (1) less knowledgeable and (2) know there are a shit ton of based eastern emperors that I couldnt do justice too.
Great question, but I don't know enough to answer. Appius Cladius was essential for the creation of the 12 tables of Roman Law in the early Republic, but he was something of a tyrant too so idk...
Publius Cornelius Scipio was consul (100% based defeater of Hannibal) so he is an easy pick. There are plenty of others.
The Romans: From Village to Empire. By Mary Boatwright. Probably the best Roman history available, it is structured much like a textbook. Fantastic book.
Read Goldsworthy for the Late Empire.
So, I mostly understand the pressures that led away from the Polybian milita and towards the Marian style professional army.
But why were Rome's "Civilians" perennially unable to ever exert meaningful control over their legions? You get it almost from day one, and they never really come up with an answer, other than to try to divide commands as much as possible and hope to pit some legions against the others, which oftan as not led to the endemic civil wars.
I mean, these were dynamic, often socially restructuring people. How come they never found an answer?
No Trajan. I has a sad.
Also, the comment about Hadrian got me remembering. Bar Kokhba's revolt. I used to think it was a more or less meaningless gesture, but I recently read that Hadrian essentially stripped his German defenses to stuff 12 legions into Judea, at a time when they Empire only maintained 24.
How did a tiny backwards peasant-province pull off that level of reaction?
Caesar had waged something of an illegal war in Gaul that was started without consulting the senate. Though he may have been within his rights as a Proconsul to do this (someone correct me if I am wrong), he had tons of political enemies who were angry because of his lavish public expenditures back home.
Caesar had previously had enormous debts but I suspect he had paid them all off after looting Gaul; I would suspect his debtors were satisfied.
These are all fantastic questions and all I have for you is speculation.
The problem of the legions is essential to Roman history, as they were the foundation of imperial control as well as the source of the endless civil wars that caused Rome's perennial internal weakness...
I think because the foundations of the Empire rested on the legions the Emperors were never interested in re-instituting some kind of institutional control, but that was probably impossible anyways. The cat was out of the bag after Marius v Sulla so to speak.
The soldiers of the late Republic often came from desparate straits and had little invested in the political order, and only had loyalty to their generals (you know this already); as the troops became more "provincial" over the centuries this problem increased I suspect. Now they no longer felt vested in the legitimacy of any one emperor after some time, as it had been demonstrated that revolting armies could gain the whole Empire...
The Senate had a number of administrative functions during the principate, and during the principate period (ie, early Empire) actually picked the proconsuls (at least in theory) for a number of provinces. Before the third century crisis the Emperors almost entirely came from the senatorial governing class as well (this was essential to the early empires stability...go read Goldsworthy).
After the third century crisis the Empire had a wholly nominal role, in part largely due to the fact that Rome was no longer the center of the Empire in the way it had been. Many 3rd century emperors never set foot in Rome, and even after Diocletian took over he despised the place and ruled from Ravenna. The senate based in role basically ended up as a glorified social club. I think Constantine got many senatorial families to move to Constantinople, and many senators remained pagan for quite a while into the 5th century...
It happened yes, it mostly mattered about who was pitching and who was catching. Catching would ruin your social standing, but most people who were into that probably fucked slaves and prostitutes. In Greece, free citizens did it also with other free citizens, but it gets complicated. Some dude did a good job on here explaining it the other day.
As you probably know, I think it had to do with Hadrian installing a Pagan Temple on the old temple mount? All I can think of it would be like Israel demolishing the Dome of the Rock today, imagine every man, woman and child rising up with total fanatical anger. It seems hard to believe that shit like that could wipe out three legions but I expect the soldiers basically had to level thousands of villages and cities into dust.
I remember from a lecture that the Jews in anatolia were much more well integreated into Romano-hellenisitc type city life and didn't revolt with their southern cousins.
I have tried to find good info on the Bar Kochba revolt honestly there isn't a lot of good stuff out there.
Provide me with interesting articles on Boudica.
My sister's nickname for a while was Boudica. She requested I find out more about nickname's roots. I'm in the process of looking through my textbooks to learn more about her uprising, but they surprisingly don't have a lot on the matter other than "it happened." So, post some articles or some primary sources on the matter please.
You'll have to enlighten me, I'm unfamiliar.
The Romans had a unique model of incorporating conquered communities into their state. Privilege sharing and citizenship was often granted to local elites, bringing them into the Empire. This model is particularly relevant for early Roman expansion in Italia. This is why Rome was more sucessful then other Ancient states at integration. Their willingness to incorporate anything useful from other cultures without reservation probably helped too, though less than their militarism.
There are some good youtube documentaries from the History Channelon this uprising that actually use Rome Total War for graphics I shit you not.
On paper, they were supposed to have 6,000.
In practice, the Emperors tended to raise new legions with new manpower rather than replenish losses in old ones, so a lot of legions in actual fact had around 3-4,000 effectives in them.