Podcast on Roman History - Episode I Founding Rome (Earn Denarii!)

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Podcast on Roman History - Episode I Founding Rome (Earn Denarii!)

Postby Caeso Cispius Laevus » Wed Oct 05, 2016 8:10 am

Sal.

This is not a book. But I would like to share and discuss this excellent podcast on Roman history.

The best comment on this episode, according to me, will be awarded 10 denarii!

Click here to listen to the first episode on the founding of Rome!

http://traffic.libsyn.com/historyofrome ... inning.mp3

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I look forward to reading your thoughts and comments!

The next episode will be on Romulus' later life and his disappearance.
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Re: Podcast on Roman History - Episode I Founding Rome (Earn Denarii!)

Postby Gaia Cassia Longina » Wed Oct 05, 2016 12:10 pm

Laeve,

I truly applaud this and welcome this participation. Good job!

C Cassia Longina
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Re: Podcast on Roman History - Episode I Founding Rome (Earn Denarii!)

Postby Lucia Hostilia Scaura » Thu Oct 06, 2016 3:48 pm

Great initiative!

So after listening to this show, I am reminded of somthing I have pondered in the past. How mythological versus historical is the founding of Rome? Sure, historians will have their ideas. But for many of us, Romulus and the early kings take on a religious and cultural importance. I would be interested in seeing what others think on this topic. How do you view Romulus? How do you reconcile history, myth and tradition?
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Re: Podcast on Roman History - Episode I Founding Rome (Earn Denarii!)

Postby Marcus Minucius Audens » Fri Oct 07, 2016 3:57 pm

Since you have asked, in regard to personages like Romulus, Caesar, Augustus, and others of like classical fame. They were men, nothing else. They were great men, yes, and they accomplished much, there is no arguing that point. However, to my mind so did George Washingtom, and Abraham Lincoln, Churchhill and a large number of both men and women of other countries, who have dicovered and created massive and wonderful things. In our period of history we do not raise these people to the position of gods, and so I credit the myth and theology of the classical world to the imagination of a people who needed to explain things that they did not understand. Today, we do not credit the force and destruction of a hurricane like Matthew to the anger of gods, because we understand how hurricanes are created and operate. Human imagination limited by an ignorance about how things really work, often leads to some god-like qualities being consigned to the mysterious occurance. The study of classical history is in fact a study of history. Now there are those who believe in the classical gods in the present day, and that is their option to do so, unless their beliefs interrupt the ideas of others. Myths are the growth of stories fueled by the human imagination, and if traced, as many have been, will be found to possess a sound mechanical or natural basis for such a story. The study of volcanoes and how and why they come to be are a good example of this. Such is my belief, and idea about "Gods" and Classical Myths. The period interests me in the areas of military, geography, architecture, and engineering, as these are things which we can see and understand. However, to me, Gods and Myths are just stories some of which while delightful, are just, again to me, as a good fictional book.
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Re: Podcast on Roman History - Episode I Founding Rome (Earn Denarii!)

Postby Caeso Cispius Laevus » Fri Oct 07, 2016 6:58 pm

Audens, do you think Romulus was a man who existed? If so, where do you think the fact in his story ends and the legend begins? How do we reconcile the archeological record of early Rome with the story of foundation told by later Romans?

Any other citizens have ideas or comments on this matter?
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Re: Podcast on Roman History - Episode I Founding Rome (Earn Denarii!)

Postby Marcus Minucius Audens » Sat Oct 08, 2016 6:12 pm

Caeso Cispius Laevus;
In response to your question, YES, I believe that Romulus was a man. Now I am sure that one man did not by himself create Rome, no more than did George Washingtom win the Rev. War all by himself, or Robert E. Lee fight with his army alone. However, Romulus like many, many others in our history was the significant personage around which the stories were told and the Myth created. As to the facts of what he really accomplished and what those who worship him for what they think he accomplished is well lost in the mists of time, as you well know. The archaelogical record of early Rome only tells part of the story, again as you well know, and new discoveries in that area of sciece everyday can change the whole meanings of what we now believe of a people whose history must be derived from cold stones dug from the ground. Later Romans, as do all people, relate their own ideas as well as facts when passing information. This has been proven time and time again by scientific fact. Now I, in no way, have any problem with any belief system that does not interfere with my own. As far as I am concerned, anyone can believe as they wish. However, when the question is directed at me, then I am afraid, that I must look to my reality and the world around me for my answers.

Respectfully;
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Re: Podcast on Roman History - Episode I Founding Rome (Earn Denarii!)

Postby Lucius Aurelius Curio » Sun Oct 09, 2016 5:06 am

Salvete Omnes!

I have to agree with Audens to a degree on this topic. I believe that Romulus was indeed a man, though his story may have been embellished to add to the legend. Such a thing wasn't, and still isn't, unheard of to make leaders seem larger than life. Such an example exists in the history of gens Aurelia. Those in antiquity claimed descent from Agamemnon. Was this factually accurate? They seemed to think so, though there has been no proof to prove those claims as truthful.

As far as reconciling the archaeological evidence with the mythological aspects, I would have to say that is very difficult indeed. Archaeology can only go off of physical remains. And it's looking at a time when birth records weren't mandatory. Even looking further ahead, it's sketchy on the birth parents of Emperor Aurelian (using his example as I've studied him the most personally). His parents names are unknown, only that his mother was a freedwoman and his father a tenant farmer. Other than that, nothing. So I find myself thinking that perhaps Romulus and Remus did exist. Were they nursed by a she-wolf? Most likely not, as they would have probably been eaten by said she-wolf. But again, barring any evidence of the contrary, I can't disprove that either. Nature is a fickle thing that we don't fully understand even to this day.

In short, I believe Romulus did exist. He most likely did accomplish those great feats (most likely with help from others), or else his name wouldn't have been sung throughout history for so long. Thank you for bringing this up, it's a very interesting topic, reconciling mythology with science supported facts.

Valete!

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Re: Podcast on Roman History - Episode I Founding Rome (Earn Denarii!)

Postby Gaia Cassia Longina » Mon Oct 10, 2016 1:03 pm

Salvete,

My personal opinion, after a bit of research into the foundations of Rome (a little off my center of knowledge, but fun, nonetheless) and classes dealing with such topics, I have a bit of a hard time believing Romulus truly existed. I believe he was more of an "ideal" and a collection of all the forefathers before him.

Well, first of all, there are a number of stories about Romulus - there really isn't just one. Now, I am not saying he did not exist at all! On the contrary! In my opinion, if he did exist, what a guy that must have been...murder, rape - something of a horrific but exciting story. To start, there was certainly no concrete day where Rome suddenly came into existence. Rome, or rather the area that would be Rome, was already a settlement and had a number of chieftains. Very few towns have ever been founded by a single man! They are usually the result of population in an area, patterns, organization, and a sense of community. Secondly, the name "Romulus" is, in itself, a giveaway. It seems to fantastical that this would be the name of the city. It's too close. But he absolutely could have named it after himself - however, this number of people living in this area certainly already knew the land as something, long before Romulus ever appeared. As Mary Beard has pointed out, "Romulus" was a construction from "Roma."

There is always a boundary in history that is one of extreme confusion - the one between myth and reality. How can we know for sure what exactly happened? I even encounter this in less fantastical tales that I study. For example, the Ides of March is no myth and there is overwhelming amounts of evidence to prove that it did happen. This comes from physical and literary sources - things we can date, see, hold, read, etc. Well, Cassia, you may say, we have evidence for Romulus too. And that is true: we have literary evidence of Romulus - but it is all second hand information. The writers at that time, and now, have almost no evidence. Any inscriptions in early Latin were often misunderstood.

Mary Beard covers this topic at great length in SPQR - which I highly recommend.

Anyway, those are my personal thoughts. If Romulus did exist, great! But to me, he looks like a collective identity or name for all the forefathers of the Roman people.
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Re: Podcast on Roman History - Episode I Founding Rome (Earn Denarii!)

Postby Gaia Cassia Longina » Mon Oct 10, 2016 5:39 pm

I also want to talk about are the gods.

The gods are not "Greek." The Roman gods came from the same Indo-European migration as the Greeks. For example, the Greek gods are malevolent (most of the time) and the Roman gods are not (take for example, Zeus and Jupiter). Another example is the native Italian and local god, Liber, who is not the equivalent of Dionysus/Bacchus but is a wholly Italian god. Also -- the Etruscan, Sabine gods, and all the other local populations!

The Roman-Italian gods are hard to differentiate because they adopted their Greek stories, myths, and sometimes representations, but this should not be confused with "stealing the Greek gods." (:
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Re: Podcast on Roman History - Episode I Founding Rome (Earn Denarii!)

Postby Quintus Furius Camillus » Mon Oct 10, 2016 9:25 pm

SALVETE!

Very good idea Laevus. I look forward to more discussions based on your podcast.

As for the discussion. We know from the evidence that a settlement in the location of Rome existed long before Rome was said to be founded. I believe on the various hills of what would become Rome various district Latin communities existed. Evidence strongly suggests this. These communities probably were linked loosely by marriage and family ties. I also imagine they squabbled frequently for control of trade across and on the Tiber.

We also know from the archeological evidence that from around the time Romulus is said to have existed the population of the seven hills increased. We also know that these distinct hill communities became more unified.

Like many things from the fog of pre-history, real events take on a mythological tone over time. I do believe a man existed who achieved great things and power over this period. This man was probably backed up by many other prominent men and supporters. Probably the leading figures of one or more of the hill communities. These men formed the first "court" or senate of a unified entity. The evidence would suggest some sort of unification of the various communities occurred over this time. I think this process is what became known as the founding of Rome. I also would not be surprised if one of the larger Latin communities at the time, such as Alba Longa, where Romulus is said to born conquered the Roman hill communities and this led to unification by the sword and by a foreign power. Lots of similar events were common at this time. I also think it would be plausible that such a unified community now controlled by a newly empowered "foreign" general could decide to turn around and conquer his home town of Alba Longa. This could be the historical origin for Romulus' struggle with his uncle, King Amulius. I do believe these two Latin communities likely had a conflict. Small scale warfare led by warlords was a yearly occurrence during this period. This could also account for the mythology of Rome being made up of rebels.

The death or disappearance of Romulus is also interesting. He is said to have ascended into the heavens or simply disappeared during a gathering of the Senate. There is a compelling scholarly theory that Romulus met the same fate as Caesar. I would not be surprised if Romulus, or the strongman, and likely foreigner who unified the hills was killed by the leading men of his court because of some now forgotten power struggle. This could account for why the second king, Numa, was selected by the senate and why he was said to be of Sabine origin. The mythology of Numa being very different from warlike Romulus could also suggest the resolution of a power struggle that cumulated in the death of Romulus and the appointment of the second king.

VALETE!
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