Welshhoppo t1_j8myid3 wrote

By the time of the social war the Romans and Italians were so intermingled that there was very little difference between them. And that's where the problems of the social war began.

Being a Roman citizen gave you special rights, the right to a trial, the right to not be killed without trial and everytime there was a problem between a Roman and Italian, guess which side the Roman courts took.

So prior to the social war the Italians were feeling pretty hard done by. They have their lives to protect Italy from Hannibal. They have their lives to save the country from the Cimbri during the Cimbrian wars, but at the end of the day they were second class citizens. They didn't want to leave the republic, they just wanted their fair share of Rome's pie, after all, they were dying in Rome's wars.

That's why as soon as Rome capitulated and gave out Roman citizenship, the war came to an end. The Italians had what they wanted.


Welshhoppo t1_j4d4rss wrote

So I think your problem is that you don't directly describe what it is to be 'Roman' because the term itself it not a very concrete term.

Romulus was a Roman, Augustus was a Roman, Septimius Severus was a Roman, a low wage worker in Constantinople in 450 was also Roman.

People and identities change over time. They are allowed too they adapt. But if you asked every one at everytime what it means to be a Roman, the answer is different.

To Romulus a Roman would have been a citizen of Rome, by the time of Augustus an Italian would have been a Roman. Something unthinkable even 50 years prior to his birth. The Romans literally went to war with the other cities of Rome during the social war to finally decide once and for the question of what it means to be a Roman citizen.

Eventually you have emperors who aren't even born in Italy, Trajan was from Hispania and his ties to the Italians are sketchy at best. Yet he was known as the greatest emperor, Optimus Princeps.

We use Byzantine because it's easier for us as historians to have that need dividing line between the Latin and the Greek empires, but it's an arbitrary line in the sand. It doesn't make the Byzantines any less Roman themselves. It just makes it easier for us.


Welshhoppo t1_j48qbs9 wrote


During the Gothic War under Justinian and Belisarius, Procopius suggests that the population of Rome dropped to zero and everyone was either dead or left.

Add to that the events of the Little Ice Age, the Justinianic plague, the Black Death, the many other sacks of Rome. There's plenty of times where the population would suddenly drop.


Welshhoppo t1_j45oyik wrote

Rome is actually on a slight floodplain, so the city was prone to flooding. That brings in a whole load of muck and earth that covers the city. The modern Roman forum had to be dug out of the ground, it's a good sixty foot deep in places. The ground level was basically nearly the height of the temple of Antonius Pius.

During Late Antiquity and the Middle ages. Rome's population plummeted, as such there was no one around to prevent that from happening. No one is going to dig out large buildings when no one needs them to either live in, or to break down and use as supplies to build new buildings. It's how the majority of them survived.


Welshhoppo t1_j1cmar6 wrote

The Romans always used some form of missile weapons in the legions. Pila were used until at least the 3rd century as we see them on graves and other pieces of art work. Then in the late empire they seem to have used javelins similar to the German Angron or small weapons like the plumbata which was like a very large dart of which the legionnaires carried 5 of strapped to their shields.


Welshhoppo t1_j1cefbc wrote

No it was two Pila, one was lighter and the other was heavier. So they threw the lighter one first, then followed up with the heavier one at close range.

As for the pike question. Well maybe. There are references to Roman Army units called Phalangarii and Lanciarii, which may have used longer spears. But the evidence for them is sketchy at best. Cassius Dio flat out says that the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antonius (Caracalla) had a 15,000 man Macedonian Phalanx in imitation of Alexander the Great. But take it with a pitch of salt. Although there is the possibility it was true, considering how useful a long spear would be against Persian horsemen.


Welshhoppo t1_j1ahbcq wrote

I've had a quick read of the Companion to the Roman Army and doubled checked. The legions did receive a stipendium for their service in the army, but a lot of expenses for equipment were taken out of it. Which is how the war in Hispania raged on as long as it did. There were slim pickings for soldiers to make extra cash on the side by looting things.

But yes, eventually the Roman armies got to a point where the Generals paid them. Or the generals negotiated with the state to get their soldiers the best deal for when they reached the end of their service. But it wasn't a guarantee of loyalty, just look at Lucullus for an example where the army dumped him to go home. Even though they were 'full of gold as used to luxury.'


Welshhoppo t1_j1acwwp wrote

So I might have to go check. But I'm pretty sure the Roman state was providing gear to the army prior to the reforms around the time of Marius. Or at least paying them expenses towards getting their gear in. We have records for orders of supplies from Publicani merchants I think.

Don't quote me yet, I'll come back when I double check.


Welshhoppo t1_j19bshz wrote

So firstly. Roman swords were very short, at least in the republican era. Your average sword was only about 2 foot long and weighed about a pound. Which isn't really a large amount of metal.

Secondly, the Roman army was a massive financial juggernaut that was basically the most expensive part of the Roman government. They could afford to spend the money on swords. In the late empire, the Romans had a series of military factories in frontier provinces dedicated to producing Roman weaponry.

I can't speak for Medieval warfare, but I imagine the amount of money they were able to spend was a lot less than the Romans could.


Welshhoppo t1_iyewt20 wrote

So it's less a case of having children. Which a lot of Emperors did have. It was a case of having children survive to adulthood in a political world where murdering your enemy was a viable tactic for getting ahead. Augustus had his daughter Julia, who gave him loads of grandchildren, in fact she seemed to have problems not being pregnant. Tiberius also had a son, who died due to interference from the Praetorian Prefect Sejanus. Caligula, his successor, had a daughter who was murdered. Claudius had four and all of them were murdered. And Nero also had a daughter, who died in early childhood.

So it was a very hard environment for children to actually survive. Especially when blood relation to the ruling Emperor and Augustus was very important for maintaining power. But you had the low survival rates combined with the seemingly deadly game of politics combined with various other dangers that come from ruling a state, such as death in warfare or on campaign. It's one of the reasons why adoption was seen as being as legitimate as being blood related, because sometimes you just have bad luck.