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All Things Roman (History)
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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It's still not nailed down. Lemmee put what we 'know'

1. Nobody builds straight roads (it's a topographical nonsense)
2. Straight is quickest in the absence of topography (and given untrammelled choice)
3. Everybody utilises roads that are already there (why wouldn't they?)
4. Everybody uses straight directions in the absence of a) roads and b) literacy (it's a Megalithic imperative)
5. Nobody follows a straight route even if the direction being followed is a straight line (it's a topographical nonsense)
6. It's horses for courses i.e. what a pedlar, a pack train, a drover, an army, wheeled transport require are all different
7. But not necessarily mutually exclusive
8. Roads are capital intensive to build, cheap to maintain, but must be regularly maintained
9. Roads are more useful for people travelling through than for people living in the place where the road is.
10. Therefore they must be selected, built and maintained by a supra-local body, or by the users.

Get to it!
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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I think it boils down to academia wants to identify and categorise on the basis of a defining common feature, so Roman roads become Roman on the grounds of straightness. This as you say ignores the function of the road.

If this was a straightish road then this would imply to me it was a military road. One of the great mysteries is why the Normans, who were great builders of castles using stone, didn't build military roads, the ortho explanation is that they had a lot of cavalry....so trudged off cross country, or through forests, only to get ambushed.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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This is an exceptionally good summation (though still too long for me to read in its entirety) of our general thesis that most of Roman history was made up during the Renaissance


Three points: one major, two minor
1. The Palestinians have adopted the term "shoah" to describe their own plight. Somewhat tactless but, I suppose, forgivable in the circumstances.
2. I am referred to as "the amateur historian and linguist M. J. Harper" which is accurate but unfortunate
3. I get two meaty quotations and a citation in the footnotes.
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Ishmael


In: Toronto
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To think I have most of this figured out nearly twenty years ago. I simply lacked the education to evidence my hypothesis.

I was particularly struck by this line:
One obvious objection to the idea that the relationship between Rome and Constantinople has been inverted is that the Byzantines called themselves Romans (Romaioi), and believed they were living in Romania.
Again. Almost two decades back I reasoned that the Armenians of Turkey were, in fact, A-Romanians---that is, Romanians cut-off from the Roman remnant to the west.
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Ishmael


In: Toronto
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I console myself with the knowledge that virtually no scholar yet suspects just how recently "history" was forged.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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You're the leader of the pack, Ish.

They told me he was bad, but I knew he was sad
That's why I fell for the leader of the pack
One day, my dad said, "find someone new"
I had to tell my Ishmael, "we're through"

He stood there and asked me why,
He sort of smiled, then kissed me goodbye
The tears were beginning to show
As he drove away on that rainy night
I begged him to go slow, whether he heard
I'll never know.

Look out, look out, look out
I felt so helpless, what could I do?
Remembering all the things we'd been through
I'll never forget him now he's gone to Tanzania.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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Ishmael wrote:
To think I have most of this figured out nearly twenty years ago. I simply lacked the education to evidence my hypothesis.

I was particularly struck by this line:
One obvious objection to the idea that the relationship between Rome and Constantinople has been inverted is that the Byzantines called themselves Romans (Romaioi), and believed they were living in Romania.
Again. Almost two decades back I reasoned that the Armenians of Turkey were, in fact, A-Romanians---that is, Romanians cut-off from the Roman remnant to the west.


You might as well be flipping a coin, asking what came first head or tails?
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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I'm having quite a good ding-dong over on medium.com. It started off with this. I'll only include the relevant bits, the whole thing can be read here https://medium.com/@johnwelford15/roman-london-a63dfe7d608d

John Welford wrote:
London, which may have existed as a Celtic settlement before the Romans arrived, was a favoured site for merchants as it was at the lowest possible crossing point on the Thames and an important port. The revolt by the Iceni under Boudicca in 60 A.D. led to the deaths of tens of thousands of Romanised traders and their families in London, thus demonstrating its importance as a commercial centre at an early date.

By around 100 A.D. London had acquired a governor’s palace, a military fort covering 11 acres, and a bridge across the Thames. London’s continuous occupation and importance as a centre for commerce and government has meant that very little remains to be seen of Roman London, and one needs to visit other cities, such as Chester and Bath, to see more extensive examples of the architecture of the period.

I thought I'd better point out one obvious flaw (just to get things going)

Mick wrote:
Claudius arrived 43 AD. You tell us that by 60 AD there are tens of thousands of Romanised traders in London. John, this is not possible. I shouldn’t think there were that many traders in London of any description until the eighteenth century. I’d advise you not to rely on historical accounts that date from the sixteenth!

Stand by your beds.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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John wrote:
There is plenty of evidence of London being a major trading centre at that time, and this would be expected because of the need to supply a growing Roman garrison with produce from the surrounding countryside and nearby river estuary, plus the trade that would flow in from continental Europe. I have amended the figure I quoted to "thousands of traders and their families", which should not strike anyone as being an exaggeration.

Mick wrote:
If you can supply a single near-contemporaneous record (not a document that first saw the light of day in the Tudor/Stuart era) I will accept what you say. If not, I'm afraid not.

John wrote:
Mick, I would be interested to know what it it is that you are doubting - the fact of Londinium being a trading centre in 60 AD or the extent of the trade being done? And why do you see reason to doubt? One thing to bear in mind is that historical evidence does not come purely from documents, but also from archaeology. This has revealed evidence of trade during this period, such as riverside wharves and items such as containers of traded items. Clearly, I am dependant on second-hand sources, so if there is error on this point, it is theirs, not mine!

People always start off ultra-confidently but when they run into difficulties, blame others. How would the great man respond to this sally? It turned out to be two great men...
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Mick wrote:
You're slipping and sliding, John. There is archaeological evidence of a significant settlement at the lowest bridging point of the Thames -- why wouldn't there be? But as for anything else... well, for example, which well-known royal dynasty had a beef with Rome and would just lurve to have a warrior queen giving them the old bish-bosh. Unless you have historical evidence that it happened fifteen hundred years previously. What you were told at school (or university, for that matter) does not count as historical evidence.

Larry C Lyons wrote:
To start try this: Brigham, Trevor. 1998. “The Port of Roman London.” In Roman London Recent Archeological Work, edited by B. Watson, 23–34. Michigan: Cushing–Malloy Inc. Paper read at a seminar held at The Museum of London, 16 November. Tacitus wrote that, at the time of the uprising of Boudica, "Londinium... though undistinguished by the name of 'colony', was much frequented by a number of merchants and trading vessels." - Annals of Tacitus

There's also archaeological evidence of several massive warehouses in London along the port side where goods would be transhipped to other locations and merchants. https://romans.lgfl.org.uk/trade.html How much evidence do you need, Mick? It took me all of 5 minutes to find quite a lot of legit information on Roman London as a trade center. And I didn't even have to use Scholar.Google.com.

Mick wrote:
I have already said I accept the archaeological evidence, Larry. When you provide me with evidence that the Annals of Tacitus was written in antiquity I will accept the historical evidence as well.

We await developments, if any.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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The fish are responding quite satisfactorily to the fly

Larry C Lyons wrote:
That really is a bogus response. For that matter any historical document could be argued like that. Surely you can do better than that. It is well established that the Annals were written around 109 A.C.E. Multiple overlapping copies have survived in various locations such as the Vatican LIbrary, Monte Cassino, Florence, and Corvey Abbey in Germany.

The angler wrote:
They have indeed, Larry. So to sum up, you are relying on a document purportedly written in the second century AD, that disappeared for more than a thousand years, then popped up again in multiple copies? And it's me that's accused of bogusness!
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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However, it was not long before London began to assume a major role and eventually became the capital of the new province.


This is an error in ortho terms as these days nobody thinks the Romans had provincial capitals, he is never going to find a contemporary text that designates "London" as the capital of Britain. He won't be able to provide a date it becomes the capital if challenged. Which is why he is so vague....
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Mick Harper
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There was no opportunity to debate further technicalities, Wiley, the matter has (I think) been closed

Larry C Lyons wrote:
More dodging and moving the goalposts. I have no desire to interact with a mindless troll, bye

The mindless troll wrote:
You're very wise to get out while you can.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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And he did, deleting all his previous posts (and with it my replies) and blocking me from any further contact. I assume that last post of mine revealed the awful truth to him. An important lesson in polemics

Never rise to the bait, give it a good yank instead.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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There is no evidence of London being a capital. There is very little archaeology. This is an interesting claim.

London’s basilica, beneath modern Gracechurch St, was the largest in the Empire north of the Alps. Built on the site of an earlier basilica erected under Emperor Domitian, Emperor Hadrian ordered its massive reconstruction during his visit to Britain in 122 A.D. The new building’s main hall was around 49 feet in length and 115 feet wide. It was refurbished in the third century but demolished at some time during the fourth century.


Basically they built a small basillica not fit for a capitol (ha!) then a massive structure larger than St Pauls (fit for a mighty capital) then demolished it seemingly without reason. I will have to take a look.
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