Favourite part of Roman Empire?

Brian G Turner

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My personal interest in the Roman Empire spans from the indisputable reign of Augustus, to downfall of Commodus (an emperor Gladiator faithfully mis-represented). There's an interest in the fourth century and Constantine Chlorus onwards, but after we get into the three sons of Constantine the Great my interest switches to Byzantium.

(I just thought I'd start this thread in case anyone wishes to discuss Ancient Rome) :)
 

Esioul

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The end of the republic to the Augustus period- quite a short period, but full of interesting characters like Cicero and Sulla.
 

Blue Mythril

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Hmm, I think I'd have to say from Ausustus to Commodus (he was the one who thought he was Heracles wasn't he? Then he died in the gladator ring trying to prove it :p).
My favourites were Trajun and Hadrian I think. Don't know why, maybe because they were Spaniards, maybe because they travelled all over the place... Maybe just because I'm in love with Hadrian's Villa :)
But yes, that span of Emporers and their comings and goings seems to me to be the most interesting. Though I have only just started studying Italy.
I like Claudius too: he was more than what he seemed :D
 

Hypes

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As a person with only a faint grasp of the Roman era, I shall make an **** out of myself and say Octavian.
 

Brian G Turner

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I guess it's because the first two centuries were really the height of the Roman Empire - and Trajan up until Commodus was an era of general peace in the empire. Commodus is effectively the beginning of a long troubled century of civil in0fighting and fast-removed Emperors, that isn't properly adderssed until Diocletian at the end of the third century - and that's when we warm up for the succession of Constantine. :)
 

Esioul

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The Octavian (Aug) bit is interesting, especially his rise to power. But I can never forgive him for killing Cicero.
 

Sirathiel

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To me the most interesting period would be its beginning (Augustus) till the whole descendence thing broke down (i.e. when there were all these emperors who had been successful army leaders and who didn't stay emperors very long).

Was the first of these Commodus?

Besides that I was always fascinated the philosophical tendencies and views of that time period...
 

polymorphikos

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I thought Antony killed Cicero?

I find Rome interesting in general, but no one part of it. I can say, however, that it got distinctly less cool after Constantine. One loon sees a light while he's taking a bath, and the whole world has to suffer for it.
 

Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

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It was the triumvirate of Antony, Augustus and Lepidus that ordered his death, but I think Antony was the one who campaigned to have Cicero's name on the hit-list. The actual killing was done by assassins, I think.
 

Brian G Turner

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Ah, sounds like you're talking about the civil war of 67-69 AD, after Nero was effectively deposed. Otho, Galba, Vitellus all followed as temporary rulers of Rome, each being violently dispatched - and the commander of the Eastern legions, Vespasian, marching away from his Siege of Jerusalem to take the throne for himself.

A particularly interesting point about Vespasian is that Tacitus actually records miracles being performed in his name.

Commodus was the son of the "philosopher emperor" Marcus Aurelius, and was the first bloodline succession of the imperial purple since Vespasian's sons, nearly 100 years earlier. It was pretty disastrous as well, and Commodus was removed by Septimus Severus - who happened to die at York while on his way to exterminate the Scots Calaedonians. (Constantine Chlorus also died at York.)
 

Esioul

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Augustus had a hand in Cicero's death, but I think maybe Antony was partly responsible.. but I like Antony, so I always decide for it to be Augustus. I think Cicero upset Antony with the Phillipics speech, and he'd upset Augustus by saying things like 'He should be praised, honoured and removed', and 'the last of all my friends', and it may have been him who said 'the boy who owes everything to a name', but I'm not sure about that one.

I've just discovered Virgil subtlely insulting Cicero. I hate Virgil even more now...
 

Esioul

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And Vespasian's last words.... 'I think I'm turning into a god'
Octavian: '40 young men are carrying me off'

Last words are odd, random things.
 

Brian G Turner

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Why like Anthony, and not Augustus, though? I've not seen anything in particular to recommend Anthony, but Augustus was a pretty astute Emperor, and surprisingly tolerant.

Also - "He should be praised, honoured...and removed"? What was Cicero asking for - yet another bloody civil war? Maybe he was too much the traditionalist, harking back for the 'goold old days'. :)
 

Esioul

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Cicero probably did ask to die. He upset a lot of people, including Antony's wife Fulvia... apparently she asked for his head so she could stick pins in his tongue. Although, he was such a great orator, and might have written even more speeches if he hadn't been proscribed.

Thing was, he had actually averted one civil war (Catiline conspiracy), and people liked him at one stage. He was a traditionalist, though- he had all these visions of the Republic coming back, when younger, maybe more sensible people like Augustus knew that the Republic was pretty much dead. Cicero just couldn't help himself from saying things. And he couldn't make up his mind. He could never decide between JC and Pompey, and then he couldn't decide whether to leave Rome or not, which turned out to be his undoing. He was interested in being a politician and not just a lawyer, and he was consul for a while. He was only a novus homo, though, which maybe limited him.

I like Antony... maybe I'm influenced by Shakespeare, but Antony is a much warmer, more interesting character than Augustus. And Cicero is funny....
 

Hypes

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Why not? After all that Cicero did to bring Julius Caesar (the first one, that is. His full name I can't recall) down, and Octavian's ties with Caesar, I don't blame him at all.
 

Esioul

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Well, I do blame him. Cicero was so sweet! How could Augustus/Octavian/Caesar kill him?
 

Hypes

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There's no sweetness in history. I don't need a bachelor to see that. Cicero was a backstabber, and he proved the pen was mightier than the sword. As long as you are at a safe distance, that is.
 

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