Senate 1001 Days That Shaped the World! Disc. Gauls Attack Rome & Lay Siege to the Capitol (July, 390 BCE)

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Rogue1-and-a-half, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    The Greek and Roman Empires were the big two in the ancient world (though you could also argue for the Egyptians).

    Rome and Greece both started as democracies and became Empires, instead of the other way around, as happened in the modern era.
  2. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    Whenever Rome was founded, and whether or not it was built in a day, it certainly planted roots that went down deep. Nothing captivates like Roman architecture, either. The Circus Maximus, the Amphitheatrum Flavium; the legend of the founding barely matches the grandeur of the reality.
  3. shanerjedi Jedi Master

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    The whole story of Romulus and Remus encapsulates the character of Rome and its people and how they would look at life itself: hard, brutal, and sometimes plain strange(what was with those small stabbing swords?! Get a bigger one! :p )

    Zaz, was Rome really a democracy? I always thought it was a very-limited republic(based on a specific class and amount of property)?

    Or are you saying democracy as all-encompassing of limited franchise and representation?
  4. General_Kor Jedi Knight

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    I believe in the Republic all male Roman citizens could vote on an issue if the issue was brought to an assembly. However, in practice, the wealthiest got to vote first, and their votes had greater weight than the lower classes, so often the issue was decided before the poorest citizens got to vote. Higher political offices also tended to require large amounts of money in order to run an effective election campaign. To get a seat in the Senate you had to be a wealthy aristocrat, and initially, a member of the Patrician class .
  5. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    Universal suffrage is a modern phenomenon, even in democracies.
  6. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    On the Warpath
    Tiglath-pileser III succeeds to the Assyrian throne and sets up a unified state.
    745 BCE

    <img src="http://www.anciv.info/img/tiglathpileseriii.jpg">

    Tiglath-pileser III was probably not a legitimate heir to the throne. He ascended, as near as we can tell, during a bloody civil war, had the entire royal family slaughtered and took over. He appears as a significant figure in the Biblical texts of Kings and Chronicles, there also called Pul, which may have been his original name before he took the royal name that we know him by now.

    According to historical records, he expanded the army and made it a year round force, rather than a force that campaigned only in the summer months. He is still considered to be one of the most significant military commanders in history, conquering his entire known world.
  7. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Jews Exiled to Babylon
    Nebuchadnezzer banishes the Jews to Babylon after capturing Jerusalem
    March 16, 597 BCE

    The Babylonian Captivity was a dark time for the Jewish nation. Jerusalem captured by Nebuchadnezzer, their temple destroyed, some 10,000 of their most highly skilled artisans and scholars captured and scattered throughout the Babylonian territory, the Jewish nation reached its lowest point since the Exodus from Egypt.

    Ironically, it was during this time that the Jewish nation began to take the form that we are perhaps most familiar with today. It was at this time that the tribal structure of Israel was shattered and people began to form in clans, with the twelve tribes of Israel fading out of importance. The Jewish Diaspora can be said to have begun during this time and, to a great extent, it still endures even to this day. During the period of the Exile, the last of the major Biblical prophets, Ezekiel, arose and the Torah came back into prominence among the Exiles, who had, at least in the tellings of the Old Testament, drifted from their faith in Yahweh. The Exile was seen as a judgment on Israel for their unrighteousness and apostasy and during the time in Exile there was a significant return to the roots of their faith and many scholars believe that it was during this period that the actual canonization of the Old Testament began and the scriptures as we know them began to take their earliest forms.

    From this period come some of the most moving passages of the Old Testament, including the story of Daniel and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, immortalized in the stories of the lion?s den and the fiery furnace, classic standbys of every Sunday School in the land. Likewise, two of the greatest Biblical prophets are from this period: Jeremiah prophesies of the fall of Jerusalem in increasingly anguished and vitriolic rants, leading to the ultimate in Biblical grief, the Lamentations of Jeremiah, left behind in the ruined and violated Jerusalem; and Ezekiel, a prophet of the diaspora, prophesied an increasingly hopeful message to the Jews that were scattered abroad in Babylon, that Yahweh would eventually bring redemption and wholeness to them again, and in these two books, two of the longest books of the Old Testament, we see the flip sides of God, the rampaging destroyer of Jeremiah, the compassionate healer of Ezekiel.

    And who can forget Psalm 137, immortalized in a gorgeous Reggae treatment by The Melodians, with its astonishingly beautiful lament, ?By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORD's song in a strange land?? A theme for all the homeless, wherever and whoever they be. The theme of the Babylonian captivity resounds through art even to this day and no wonder; Jewish literature was never as impassioned or as evocatively brilliant as when it was talking about suffering and the Babylonian Captivity produced that and in spades.
  8. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    Well, it was in *my* Sunday school.:)
  9. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Solon?s Reforms
    A new constitution heralds the dawn of Athens? greatest age
    594 BCE

    Solon took control of Athens and was granted autocratic powers by a populace that apparently believed he was wise enough to rule them fairly. He ushered in a series of sweeping reforms. In the Solonian Constitution, the Ekklesia, a council of Athenian citizens mostly controlled by the nobility, was opened to all Athenians and a citizens? court was formed where the elected officials could be called to account for their actions.

    Solon also opened Athens to trade by offering citizenship to any foreign trader who settled in Athens with his family. He abolished a particularly Draconian (literally; one of Solon?s predecessors was, in fact, the infamous Draco from whom we have gained the word ?draconian?) policy of debt and freed all Athenian citizens that had been put into slavery through the policy. He also seriously revamped the inheritance and marriage policies, creating not real gender equity, but at least something in that direction.

    According to history, once the reforms were in place, Solon stepped down and left Athens for a period of ten years. Within four years, the reforms had begun to fracture and by the time Solon returned, Athens had devolved into a mess again. Solon reportedly washed his hands of the affair and decided that mankind didn?t want equity and justice. Whatever might have collapsed, however, Solon?s reforms were still something of a sea change; prior to them Athens didn?t have much of a trading presence and, whatever else may have fallen apart, afterwards, they did.

    The historicity of much of the preceding is in doubt; Solon?s story was preserved by Aristotle, Plutarch and Herodotus, but all writing hundreds of years after his death. As I usually do with ancient sources, I take them as more or less the truth. Regardless of what exactly Solon did or didn?t do, he became an icon of equity and fairness in government at the time and for centuries after.
  10. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    The source of the phrase 'as wise as Solon', I guess.
  11. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    I have never heard that phrase in my life. :p

    Cyrus Takes Babylon and Releases Exiled Jews
    Cyrus permits the Jews to return to Jerusalem after their enforced exile in Babylon, but the Jews find Judah full of Samaritans
    539 BCE

    The return of the Jews to their homeland took place after Cyrus overthrew the king of Babylon, a story told in the book of Daniel and also, quite brilliantly, in Xenophon?s epic Cyropaedia, a very partisan picture of Cyrus as perhaps the greatest general/leader the ancient world had. Once Cyrus set up his throne, things begin to fall into place for the Jews to be allowed to return, in several different groups, to their homeland.

    Again, this is movingly and powerfully portrayed in the Bible; the Jews return, as told in the stories of Nehemiah and Ezra, and begin the long process of rebuilding Jerusalem. Some of the late minor prophets are from this period and brilliant; Haggai and Zechariah especially. The narrative in Nehemiah is, for my money, the best telling of the story, evocative, haunted and energetic.

    The tension between the returned Jews and the other ethnic groups that had moved into their land would continue to grow and blossom; it hasn?t really come to an ultimate head yet, I still fear. In this, the seeds of the Israelite/Palestinian conflict are sown.
  12. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    I haven't read this material in a long time; I'll have to go back and do it.
  13. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Prince Siddhartha Attains Enlightenment
    After seven weeks of meditation, Prince Siddhartha attains full enlightenment and begins preaching a new religion and philosophical movement known as Buddhism.
    527 BCE

    Prince Siddhartha left his palace in search of the truth about existence; after a period of extreme self-mortification, he finally took a seat beneath a tree and vowed not to rise until he had achieved the enlightenment he sought. Some 49 days later, at the age of 35, he reached his goal of truly understanding human suffering and existence. He arose to spread the Dharma.

    Central to the tenets of Buddhism, the religion/philosophy founded by Siddhartha, is the Fourfold Path. First, human existence is filled with suffering. Second, suffering arises from humanity?s desires. Third, to end suffering it is essential that humanity end desire. Fourth, there are eight steps to this freedom: right view, right intention, right speech, right actions, right livelihood, right effort, right thinking and right consciousness. Once these eight steps have been taken, the being can ascend to the level of freedom from desire and, thus, from suffering. This state of absolute freedom is called Nirvana.

    I?ve read a bit on Buddhism; by a bit, I mean, perhaps 1750 pages of its various scriptures and stories. In Buddhism, however, 1750 pages is just skimming the surface; the scriptures are incredibly scattered and not particularly cohesive. At the heart of the religion, however, is the desire to end suffering.

    Personally, I have never had that much sympathy for the Buddhist perspective. It?s always seemed to me that desire was what made us human; as to suffering, I believe it to simply be part of the human condition. I think the quest to end desire is an endless and a hopeless one; I see nothing to indicate that anyone has ever succeeded and, frankly, I?m not sure I?d care to be one who had. A world without desire is a world without love, without passion, without music, without literature, without ecstasy, without joy. Like the savage at the end of Brave New World, I claim all of life ? the pleasure and the pain.

    Like all religions, I suppose, Buddhism has its own internal rhythms that no outsider can understand. On the other hand, I?ve certainly read more extensively than most people who aren?t academics in religion studies. :p So I feel I can hazard an opinion. Certainly there are texts of great brilliance and transcendence; equally certainly, Buddhism is an Eastern faith and mine is a Western mind. For all that, I find the Fourfold Path to be a denial of life, rather than an affirmation of it. Am I simply a masochist? Or am I right that it is our ability to suffer in the existential sense that affirms us as humans? Well, that is the question Siddhartha tried to answer: what makes us human? Always has been the question; always will be. Most every attempted answer is at least worth considering; Siddhartha?s answer is more than that, though; like the answers a very few other thinkers have given us, the answer the Buddha gave us changed the world.
  14. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    Note: I know nothing about Buddhism, and I even thought it was a philosophy instead of a religion. It has a quality that I don't like about *Catholicism* let alone Buddhism: resignation. Example: on the Titanic, the Irish in steerage (and their priests) prayed for deliverance. The non-Catholics tried to beat down the locked doors.
  15. Lady_Sami_J_Kenobi Force Ghost

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    Jul 31, 2002
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    I've always interpreted the Buddhist ideal of non-desire as the same as non-greed. Or what Christians call "the love of money is the root of all evil." Not just money per se, but the love of money, as in I want more, more, more riches, a bigger house, a bigger car, a better vacation, better furniture, etc., etc. ad infinitum.

    So, I agree in principle that unquenchable desire is the root cause of all human suffering. In ancient times, this led to slavery so you could produce more with less work (of your own) and other evils.

    As to resignation, there are times when it does no good to fight the inevitable. To face certain death calmly is a quality most would strive for.

    I got a better understanding of this when I was diagnosed with a very serious, life-threatening illness. I had to make a choice to be treated or just to let things take their course. I chose to be treated, so I didn't just resign myself to death, but even with treatment, there comes a certain amount of resignation.

    The treatments have side effects, like anemia and body aches and chills, so I am resigned, albeit temporarily, to having to live a curtailed life. I need extra rest, so on weekends, when others are out doing things they enjoy, I am usually napping and recovering from the chemo.

    And if the treatment doesn't work and my illness recurs, I have the inner strength to deal with that.
  16. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    My sympathies on your diagnosis and I certainly hope the treatments work. And I understand what you're saying; it's always seemed to me, however, that Buddhism went too far. I hate to fall back on the ol' politically incorrect Protestant Work Ethic, but there's some truth to it.

    Mahavira Dies
    The teacher whose ideas form the heart of Jainism dies at Pawapuri.
    527 BCE

    Mahavira is a title meaning ?Great Hero? and it was given to Vardhamana, an Indian prince, who dedicated himself to severe asceticism for most of his life and took the pre-existing religion of Jainism and made it entirely his own.

    At the age of thirty, Vardhamana renounced his princely status and spent the next twelve years of his life meditating. At the end of those twelve years, having achieved perfect harmony, he began a lifetime of itinerate preaching, until he died at the age of 72. Vardhamana lived a life of extreme asceticism, never wearing a single article of clothing for the last thirty years of his life. At the peak of his success, he had over 400,000 followers.

    Mahavira?s teaching revolved around right faith, right knowledge and right conduct. Under right conduct, he placed five Vows: non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, chastity and non-possession. Those who were especially devoted could take the five vows and live as monks and nuns; laypeople were to gain spiritual benefit by following the vows to the best of their ability. Oddly for his time, Mahavira cut across the caste system to attract followers from all walks of life; perhaps even more strangely, Mahavira taught that the genders were spiritually equal.

    I was really not at all familiar with Jainism until I started researching this post; reading about it, one sees a connection to Buddha, but it?s a decidedly more interesting stripe of Buddhism, in my opinion. Many of Mahavira?s sermons have been passed down in written form in the Agam Sutras; after reading of Mahavira?s fascinating life, I may have to see if I can find them.
  17. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    There are certain things about this one that are interesting.
  18. Rouge77 Jedi Grand Master

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    As a pedantic note, these traditional dates for Buddha and Mahavira are probably too early based on recent researches, Mahavira perhaps flourishing closer to circa 500-475 BCE and Buddha living a hundred years after this - and some want to put Buddha even later, just before Ashoka's(273/268-232/230 BCE) reign.

    What comes to Cyrus and the supposed return of the Jews; one probably should read instead of "Jews" the "inhabitants of the major towns of kingdom of Judea", as a kind of full transport of population would have been even impossible to achieve. You couldn't go on capturing rural populations in the same manner as for example later the Sassanids captured and transported the population of Antioch. Secondly, it's not even sure that Persia came to control the area of Palestine during Cyrus' reign and transported populations might have, instead of being grandly liberated, just instead left and went home on their own, like happened when the Inca Empire fell to the Spanish. What Old Testament records of the events in 6th and 5th centuries BCE is probably oral history, Cyropaedia was written about 170 years after the events and Book of Daniel in about 150 BCE.

    The area of Palestine has never been ethnically or religiously homogenous; for example the first mention of Arabs in Palestine comes from 716 BCE when Assyria forcefully transported defeated Arab nomads to what had been the kingdom of Samaria aka Israel. People have been always moving through, leaving their cultural or genetic traces, or settling in. An idea of a purely Canaanite or Jewish or Arabic Palestine in the past is a fiction.
  19. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    The Cyropaedia is very obviously historical fiction; there seems to be very little effort to make it seem at all balanced. This is true of many early histories, I guess, but it doesn't discount from them being fascinating reading. Cyrus, in the Cyropaedia, is almost a Christ figure, minus the dying part; he is an absolute good and we all know how likely that is. But still, great reading. I remain intensely skeptical of any effort to be really exact about ancient history; even the serious histories of the period are shot through with miraculous happenings and bizarre editorial rantings. I except all ancient histories as more or less the truth; the important thing, I suppose, really is how the histories themselves have effected us.

    You're quite right that any kind of ethnically pure holy land in the Middle East was never really a historical reality. But the idea of that reality . . . has absolutely shattered our world. The idea as its come down to us in the texts that formed the foundation of our society. The same for other things in this thread: David ascending from the sheepfold to the kingdom, Siddhartha sitting under a tree for weeks upon weeks, Romulus plowing a line to form Rome. It's not so much that these things happen as that they form our shared idea of how things happened.

    But definitely, be pedantic. I indulge myself from time to time. ;)
  20. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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  21. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Tarquin Flees Rome
    The ruler known as the last king of Rome is overthrown in popular uprising.
    510 BCE

    Lucius Tarquinus Superbus, Tarquin the Proud was the last king of Rome. He took the throne after a series of plots and murders had cleared the way for him. There are few sources to indicate details about the period of his rule, but history has indicated to us that he was a dictatorial ruler and a cruel one. However, it was also under his rule that Rome?s great sewer system was constructed and that Rome ascended to the head of the Latin Confederacy. History credits him with demonstrating to his son how to deal with newly pacified territory by chopping the heads off the tallest poppies and thus coining the ?tall poppy syndrome.?

    Eventually, however, things turned against him for good. His son carried out one of the most infamous crimes in human history, the Rape of Lucretia, a Roman noblewoman. Lucretia?s family arose in revolt and, eventually, turned the populace of Rome against Tarquin.

    He fled in 510 BCE and spent the next twenty-five years in exile. He tried repeatedly to recapture Rome and take the throne again, but the newly formed Roman Republic rebuffed him each time.
  22. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    It takes a bad king to invent democracy.
  23. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

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    This is vague. Who is 'we'? Can't be me, or anyone I know.

    I would say: it's not so much that these things happen as that they're fun stories.
  24. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    I don't know. Previous generations. Entire cultures. I mean, Western culture is rooted in Biblical text and the history of the Greeks and Romans. Whether these things happened or not, millions of people have heard these stories and used them to help them understand how the world works.
  25. darthdrago Force Ghost

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    Dec 31, 2003
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    Amusing point, as you're about to cover George III. [face_thinking]

    (Sorry, it's July 4 in America. 1776 is all over television, so that was kinda obligatory.:D )