March 29, 2005

Joey, Do You Like Posts About....Gladiators?

No, but really, this is cool: De Imperatoribus Romanis, a compendium of everything you've always wanted to know about the Roman Emperors from the establisment of the Principate by Octavian after the Battle of Actium in 31 BC (in which he put the kybosh on Marc Antony) all the way up until the fall of Constantine XI Palaeologus before the gates of Constantinople, as he vainly sought to protect the city from the invading Ottomans in 1453 AD. (By the way, this is a very good history of the siege and conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed II. When I first realized that the Eastern Roman Empire officially came to an end a mere 40 years prior to Columbus's first voyage of discovery and was, in fact, one of the primary motivations for it, I got seriously massive shudders about the connectivety of history.)

A quick flip through the Julio-Claudians indicates some fair and balanced assessments, with the authors taking pains to differentiate between what we know and what we think. The entry on Caligula reminds me of a professor from the University of Texas (whose name escapes me) who used to come and give lectures at our JCL meetings when I was in high school. He was a Brit, a tall man with rather wild eyes and would get up on stage and say, almost spit, "Caligula....wasn't.... really..... crazy!!" We young thugs thought it endlessly funny to bug out our eyes and mockingly imitate the man. So much for Classical Education.

Yips! to Lynn S at Reflections in D minor.

UPDATE: Fer cryin' out loud, via TC Leather Penguin I find that using "B.C." and "A.D." now appears to be verboten among the P.C. crowd. Very well, just to cover the bases, the Battle of Actium would have been in the year 722 Ab Urbe Condita. If you can keep counting that way after Rome ceased to be part of the Empire, Constantinople would have fallen in the year 2206 AUC.

Posted by Robert at March 29, 2005 05:10 PM

I still use BC and AD, I don't have a problem with it, but I certainly can see why some people (and not just PC nuts) might.

It's describing all of human time, after all. Why not be inclusive?

Posted by: red at March 29, 2005 06:52 PM

I first read about the usage of C.E. (Common Era) and B.C.E. (Before Common Era) in Michener's fine book The Source more than thirty years ago.

Not bragging. Just saying that this act of politcal correctness has been a long time in coming.

Evidently use of BC and AD offends just about everybody in the Middle East.

Posted by: The Colossus at March 29, 2005 06:59 PM

Dang, I wish I'd known you when I had Roman Empire questions back when I was working on a story.

Posted by: Ith at March 29, 2005 07:34 PM

In describing the latest Roman Empire, I propose people use B.B. for "Before Bush" and when this nightmare is over, A.B. for "After Bush". We'll all try to forget these few years in between.

Posted by: Collin Baber at March 29, 2005 08:29 PM

Where are we BG? (Worthless) bonus points for whoever gets the reference first.

Oh, and I must say...

"Joey, have you ever seen a grown man naked?"

Posted by: Dave J at March 29, 2005 09:54 PM

Ha-ha! Robbo's a JCL dork! Somehow I should've guessed.

My first year of JCL, our convention motto was "Semper Ubi Sububi", which I'm pretty sure is syntactically incorrect. But it amused the hell out of us.

Posted by: francisthegreat at March 30, 2005 02:31 AM
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