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Old December 13th, 2010, 01:20 PM   #21

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Re: The Ancient Biography Thread


I'm glad you're enjoying my posts Salah ad-Din. I'll make those Greek boy-lovers sweat yet. I've got more where that came from.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 01:30 PM   #22

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I'm glad you're enjoying my posts Salah ad-Din. I'll make those Greek boy-lovers sweat yet. I've got more where that came from.
They are exactly what I had in mind, I'm glad to see someone else taking an interest in this thread. I look forward to your next one!
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Old December 13th, 2010, 01:31 PM   #23

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I'm glad you're enjoying my posts Salah ad-Din. I'll make those Greek boy-lovers sweat yet. I've got more where that came from.
lol well we do need as many Romanophiles as we can get
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Old December 13th, 2010, 01:56 PM   #24

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Re: The Ancient Biography Thread


Chilon of Sparta

Born during the 6th century, the exact date now lost to antiquity, Chilon grew to great prominence and is now recognized as one of the Seven Sages of Greece alongside Cleobulus of Lindos, Solon of Athens, Bias of Priene, Thales of Miletus, Pittacus of Mytilene, and Periander of Corinth.

In his elder years, Chilon became instrumental in the political reorganization of Sparta. Through his machinations, the Ephors gained more power in order to check the Kings by linking an Ephor as watcher over the Kings' generalship in time of war. With this development, the Kings could no longer ignore the will of the Ephors, which were in fact the ruling body of Sparta, as had so often been done in the past.

Through Chilon's wisdom, the groundwork for the Peloponnesian Laegue was created through treaty with Tegea. Chilon, concerned more for the dangers that the Mesenians represented rather than the constant tug of war between Sparta and Tegea, decided that a mutual pact of peace and support should be sought between the two City-States. This permanent peace with Tegea would be the first in the history of Doric Sparta, and soon after would develop into pacts with other Polis of the Peloponnese, eventually becoming the Peloponnesian League that would one day stand against Athenian tyrrany, and eventually collapse under its' own corruption.

In contrast to Sparta's external enslavement of the Messenians, Sparta was actually a form of Democratic society, one which predated the development of Athenian democracy by over 100 years. Because of this odd form of Democracy, Chilon, as the de-facto head of the Ephors and thus Sparta itself, responded in favor of ending the tyranny at Sicyon when so petitioned by refugees of the city. Alongside the Agiad King, Anaxandridas II, the Spartans deposed the tyrant Aeschines, restoring Sicyon's traditional government and adding an ally that would stand with the Spartans through the major conflict to come.

Aeschines and Sicyon were not the only Polis that Chilon and Sparta would free from tyranny however. Although the names of the Ephors commanding the deposements are lost to history, Sparta is known to have been the driving force behind the liberations of Athens from Hippias, Corinth from the Cypselids, Naxos from Lygdamis, Thasos from Symmachus, Phocis from Aulis, Miletus from Aristogenes, and Thessaly from Aristomedes. All possibly due to the policies of Chilon, if not some performed by Chilon himself.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 02:11 PM   #25

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Chilon of Sparta
Very interesting, I expect many more posts like this one!
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Old December 13th, 2010, 02:12 PM   #26

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Re: The Ancient Biography Thread


Lucius Tarquinius Superbus c.580 BC – c. 495 BC

Tarquin had no real claim to the throne – kingship in Rome was not hereditary, so being the son of a previous king did not give him any legitimacy. Having neither the support of the senate, nor the mandate of popular election, Tarquin decided that his reign would have to be based on awe and fear.

First, he gave himself the right to try capital cases without the assistance of the senate, which allowed him to remove dangerous enemies – and to expropriate their money and lands. The Romans came to believe that he intended to reduce the senate to an enfeebled rump incapable of serious opposition. Interestingly, this receives some support from recent discoveries. At the temple site in St Omobono in Lombardy, various terrracottas show that at this time, kingship in central Italy was becoming more flamboyant and was modelled on the tyrannies then flourishing in the city-states of Greece. And it was to Greece that Tarquin sent his own sons to consult the Oracle at Delphi on at least one occasion.

While the Romans suffered under Tarquin's conduct of internal affairs, in foreign relations he was undeniably a good leader. By diplomacy and threats he rearranged the Latin League to make Rome its official head. The other Latin states now supported the Roman military machine, with each Latin unit having a couterpart Roman unit, the two parts being under Roman command. Again, this “Treaty of Ferentina” is probably not entirely fiction. Rome had come into contact with the powerful Phoenician city-states of Carthage, and a treaty made at about this time between the two states confirms that the Latin League was organised more or less as tradition has it. As the treaty is reported by the Greek historian Polybius, who had every opportunity to see it personally, there is little reason to doubt this.

Tarquin put his new system to the test in a campaign against the warlike neighbouring tribe of the Volscians. The immediate capture of one of their towns netted him a large sum of silver. Another town, Gabii, resisted. Unable to storm the place, Tarquin used guile. His son Arruns pretended to be estranged from his father and went over to Gabii, where he was given a military command against the Romans. The soldiers of Arruns were immensely successful and soon Aruns was the military leader of the Gabians.

At this point he asked his father what to do next. Tarquin did not trust the messenger, and simply walked through the field where they had met, swinging his stick at the tallest poppies. The messanger went back to report this, and said that Arruns' question had not been answered. But Arruns understood well enough, and disposed of the town's leading men through treason trials, assassination and exile. Consequently Gabii fell to the Romans without a fight.

Tarquin had also been busy in Rome. He used the booty from his conquests to build a great temple to Jupiter Capitolinus. This temple, to Jupiter Optimus Maximus, “best and greatest”, was to be the focal point of Roman religion for almost a thousand years, until the empire became Christian. The poor of Rome, the Capite Censi, were excused military duty, but Tarquin believed that an idle proletariat was a restless one, so they were set to work on a major building program. This included not just the new temple, but also improvements to the roads and city defences, and the construction of the Cloaca Maxima. This great Roman sewer was one of the least conspicuous but most import works of civil engineering in the city's history.

With the plebs chafing under such oppression, and the aristocrats alienated by constant purges, the city was ripe for revolution. Tarquin was away on campaign when it happened. The spark was provided not by the tyrant, but by one of his sons, Sextus.

Sextus was obsessed with a beautiful young woman named Lucretia, who was married to one of his friends, Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus. Unable to seduce the honourable Lucretia, Sextus took a direct approach. He threatened to kill Lucretia and one of her slaves, and swear that he had taken the pair in adultery, unless she surrendered herself to him. Faced with no choice between dishonour or death, since Sextus was offering either the one or both, Lucretia submitted to the lesser evil. As soon as she could, however, she revealed the truth to her father and her horrified husband and then committed suicide.

This rape of an innocent girl was the final straw for the people of Rome and they rose in rebellion, led by Lucius Junius Brutus. When Tarquin left his army to try to impose order on Rome, the rebel leader brought the soldiers over as well. Tarquin was forced into exile.

But Tarquin did not give up without a fight and he began to rally his powerful friends to the cause. First, he turned to the Etruscan cities. A league of those, including Veii and Tarquinii, met the Romans in battle in around 509 BC, when both Brutus and Tarquin's son Arruns were killed. The Etruscans, united under Lars Porsenna, King of Clusium, then forced the Romans back to their city walls, though entry to the city itself was famously denied them by Horatius' defence of the bridge in 506 BC. Frustrated in their attempt to capture Rome, the Etruscan alliance lost its cohesion and dissolved. The Romans preferred to believe it was heroism of their people, including Mucius Scaevola and the family of Valerius, which had forced Porsenna to withdraw.

Still Tarquin did not give up. He turned to his son-in-law, Octavius Mamilius, the leader of the Latin League he had so recently reorganised. The Latins finally took up his cause only after many years during which relations with Rome had deteriorated. The two sides met at Lake Regillus in 496 BC; the battle was evenly balanced and ferocious. Tarquin himself was wounded, and many leaders on both sides were killed. These included Octavius Mamilius, Valerius and Herminius, the companion of Horatius on the bridge. Rome won the day, however, and Tarquin, now an old man, retired to spend his few remaining days as an embittered exile in Tusculum.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 02:16 PM   #27

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Re: The Ancient Biography Thread


Nice post Okamido. I'd really be interested in more Greek biographies and histories. I don't know too much of their history, more their myths. One era of Greek history that does catch my attention is the Mycenaen age when the Greek heroes supposedly walked the Earth.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 02:20 PM   #28

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Nice post Okamido. I'd really be interested in more Greek biographies and histories. I don't know too much of their history, more their myths. One era of Greek history that does catch my attention is the Mycenaen age when the Greek heroes supposedly walked the Earth.
I can probably accomodate that. Anyone in particular?
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Old December 13th, 2010, 02:22 PM   #29

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I'd like to see one of Alcibiades.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 02:30 PM   #30

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Lucius Tarquinius Superbus c.580 BC – c. 495 BC
Curses! I was going to do him! Ah well, I have an idea...
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