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Old December 13th, 2010, 09:53 PM   #51

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Re: The Ancient Biography Thread

Xanthippus of Carthage

-"Just about this time there arrived at Carthage one of the recruiting-officers they had formerly dispatched to Greece, bringing a considerable number of soldiers and among them a certain Xanthippus of Lacedaemon, a man who had been brought up in the Spartan discipline, and had had a fair amount of military experience" (Polybius, 1.32.1).

-"the Carthaginians, considering that their misfortunes were due to bad generalship, asked the Lacedaemonians to send them a commander. The Lacedaemonians sent them Xanthippus." (Appian, 3.2).

-"... various allies came to the Carthaginians, among them Xanthippus from Sparta. This man assumed absolute authority over the Carthaginians, since the populace was eager to entrust matters to his charge and Hamilcar together with the other officials stepped aside voluntarily" (Zonaras, 8.13).

Xanthippus is a man very little is known about. Recruited in Sparta by Carthaginian handlers in their quest to find aid against the Romans in the First Punic War, Xanthippus led a contingent of 500 Greek mercenaries to the far off lands. Upon arrival, Xanthippus was given complete control over all mercenary forces in the employ of Carthage, as well as the reduced and suffering Carthaginian war machine when battle with the Roman Consul, Marcus Atilius Regulus, seemed inevitable.

Quickly noticing that the Carthaginians were not utilizing their cavalry and elephants properly due to a fear of open ground and the Roman foot soldier, Xanthippus quickly retrained and reorganized the way that each of these potentially devastating aspects of Carthage's military would be deployed. In addition, Xanthippus levied more citizen soldiers and ordered them trained in the current style of Greek phalanxes, and prepared them for the frontal assualt. His retraining and reorganizing of the soldiers under his command had them screaming to be led against the Romans, full of confidence in themselves and in their commander.

According to Polybius, Regulus was coming to be agitated that another may soon be sent from Rome, and the glory of ending this conflict would fall to him. He was spoiling for a fight, that would soon be his. He would get his fight as Xanthippus marched his men into the open ground they so used to fear. The two forces lined up, and at the end of the day, Regulus was a prisoner of Xanthippus, and the Roman army was wiped out.

For five years Regulus remained a "guest" of Carthage till he was paroled on the condition that he would seek peace in the Roman Senate. Upon his arrival to Rome, he denounced his parole and beseeched the Senate to continue fighting. Defeated yet honorable, Regulus wasreturned to Carthage to face his fate, execution by torture.

Xanthippus on the other hand went on to a second victory for Carthage. Deploying to Lilybaeum, which was under siege by the Romans, Xanthippus led them in battle breaking the siege and scattering the Roman forces. From this point the fate of Xanthippus becomes murky. One of possibly three outcomes have been reported for him. The first, he simply returned to Greece, waiting for further conflict, and further payment. The second, he was sent home by jealous members of the citizenry of Lilybaeum, on a sabotaged vessel which sank, killing all aboard including Xanthippus. The third, and the one I would like to think was true, especially after his performance against Rome, was that he lived out his days as a Govenor for Ptolemy III Euergetes in a newly obtained province.

Last edited by okamido; December 13th, 2010 at 10:12 PM.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 10:39 PM   #52

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Re: The Ancient Biography Thread

An interesting figure, Okamido. Thanks!
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Old December 14th, 2010, 02:21 AM   #53

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Re: The Ancient Biography Thread

Cleopatra Selene II

Daughter of THE Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Mark Anthony. She had a twin brother, Alexander Helios. She is also know as Cleopatra VIII. She was born in 40 B.C.

After the death of her parents, she was taken with her siblings (another brother Ptolemy Philadelphus) to Rome by Octavian. She was placed under the care of Octavia Minor (their father's former wife, what a situation!).

At some point, her brothers disappear from history, probably from illness. She becomes the sole surviving member of the Ptolemaic dynasty.

She is married to King Juba II of Numidia in Rome and the pair were sent to live in Mauretania. There they ruled for a number of years. A chip off the old block, she is said to have influenced many of her husband's policies over the years. They named their capital Caesarea (modern Cherchell, Algeria).

She is known to have had two children, a son, Ptolemy of Mauretania and a daughter (name unknown).

At her death, around 6 A.D. she was placed in a Royal Mausoleum of Mauretania which is still visible today east of Caesarea.
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Old December 14th, 2010, 03:28 AM   #54

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Re: The Ancient Biography Thread

Julia Aurelia Zenobia

Zenobia's name suggests that her paternal ancestors received Roman citizenship under either Marcus Aurelius or Commodus. She herself claimed descent from Dido, Queen of Carthage, and Cleopatra VII of Egypt. She was married to King Odenath in 258 and gave him a son sometime between 261 and 266. In 267 Odenath was assassinated.

After the death of Odenath his title, King of Kings, and his Roman title, Corrector of the Whole East, passed nominally to his young son Vabalathus. But the real power lay with his formidable mother and regent, Zenobia. Gallienus may have now regretted his support for a regime that showed every indication of growing into a seperate and dangerous new power in the East, for he refused to confirm Vabalathus in the titles he granted Odenath. It was, of course, an empty gesture, since Gallienus had no practical means of enforcing any form of sovereignty over Palmyra; and within a year he was dead. His successor, Claudius II, continued the policy of refusing what Zenobia considered her son's right, but was too preoccupied with the Alamanni and Goths to intervene in Palmyrene affairs.

Anatolia had returned its allegiance to Rome, and with it Egypt. Zenobia took advantage of the wars in Europe to begin the expansion of Palmyra to incorporate the provinces of Asia Minor. In the winter of 268-69 she occupied Antioch.

With Antioch secured, it was time for Egypt. The route lay due south through Arabia, and the Palmyrene army pushed forward to Bostra and then Philadelphia – modern Amman, Jordan. Command of the seventy thousand strong army, which was comprised of Palmyrenes, Syrians and barbarian contingents, was given to a certain Zabdas, and a pro-Palmyrene Egyptian called Timagenes contributed an allied force. Egypt was particularly vulnerable because the governor, Probus, was absent commanding the Roman navy operating against a Gothic fleet in the Aegean. After a hard battle, the Nile Delta came under Zenobia's control.

However, the victory was not secure. Probus returned to his province, ejected the Palmyrene garrison, and attempted to cut Zenobia's lines of communication. This move proved disastrous. Timagenes, with his intimate knowledge of the country, was able to flank the Roman army and take it by surprise. To avoid his capture, Probus committed suicide, and the Romans capitulated, allowing Zenobia to reoccupy Alexandria. Unready to tackle the Palmyrene problem, and perhaps wanting to put Zenobia off her guard, new emperor Aurelian granted all the titles to her son that Gallienus had conferred on Odenath.

Zenobia returned to Antioch to prepare for the occupation of Anatolia. This undertaking had begun even before the Egyptian campaign, and by the beginning of 270 Cappadocia and Galatia were in her hands. The queen, however, was determined to expand the boundaries to the Aegean and the Black Sea. But she was thrawted from taking much of Bithynia by the sterling efforts of its praetor, Vellius Macrinus, who fortified Nicea, withstood the Palmyrene assualt, and then retorted with a powerful counter-attack that repelled Zenobia's army. Undeterred by this – as she thought – temporary setback, in the summer of 271 she assumed the title of Augusta and Vabalathus that of Augustus. This blatantly advertised breach of the convention agreed with Aurelian and he would ignore it at the peril of his reign. Aurelian's steady hand on the Italian government had returned stability, so the emperor prepared for war.

He anticipated little opposition in Asia Minor and Egypt, but expected that oriental Syria and Zenobia's heartland would be a tougher nut to crack. He decided on a double-campaign of encirclement, and designated a senior member of his staff, Marcus Aurelius Probus, with the conquest of Egypt, while the emperor commanded the second army, whose objectives were first to retake Asia Minor and then northern Syria. Probus sailed first and encountered little resistance in the autumn of 271 because Zenboia had decided to concentrate her army in Syria, and the Egyptian population was mostly pro-Roman. Aureliean left Rome at about the same time to concentrate the expeditionary force in Illyricum.

Since Zenobia had failed to secure Bithynia and her hold on Galatia had been at best tentative, Roman progress across Anatolia was swift and unopposed. The first opposition came at Tyana, a town guarding the passes through the Taurus Mountains. Infuriated by its inhabitants' resistance, Aurelian promised his troops that when it was taken, they could sack the town and take all the booty that could be gathered. With the treacherous help of a local, some of Aurelian's men were able to work their way up and occupy a hill overlooking the walls, from which position the artillery soon persuaded Tyana to capitulate. Aurelian now reconsidered his promise and restrained his soldiers from plundering, and the town was spared. If the army was disgruntled at this change of heart, the victors were soon pleased to find city after city surrendering without resistance as news of Aurelian's clement policy spread.

With the willing submission of Cilicia, the way lay open to press on towards Antioch, where the main body of the Palmyrene force under Zabdas was stationed. This was protected by heavy cavalry and infantry units posted along the banks of the Orontes to the north of the city. Aurelian used his lightly armoured Dalmatian horsemen to engage their heavily armoured opponents, but then to retire when attacked and wait for the heat of the sun to wear down the Palmyrenes. The repeated tactic worked and the exhausted Palymrene advance guard was completely defeated.

It was really only a skirmish, but Antioch was cut off from Palmyra and Zenobia decided to abandon the city and withdraw to Apamea. Zabdas considered that their position was still dangerous, so the Palmyrenes fell further back to Emesa. They were only allowed a short breathing space while Aurelian settled matters in Antioch before the Roman army went in pursuit. After a short and decisive skirmish with Palymrene rearguard left at Daphne on the outskirts of Antioch, Aurelian passed through Apamea, Larissa and Arethusa, which opened their gates for him, and came face to face with the Palmyrene army of some seventy thousand outside Emesa. The power-shock of massed Roman foot had rarely been bested in open battle, and it was no different at Emesa. The Palmyrene army was routed. The Palmyrene casualties were enormous. Zenobia and Zabdas retreated across Syrian desert to Palmyra and prepared for a siege while they anticipated reinforcements from the Sassanians, with whom she had made a deal.

This was a nervous time for the besieging Romans. With Palmyra lying eighty miles from Emesa and surrounded by desert tribes fiercely loyal to Zenobia, Aurelian was concerned about his thin and vulnerable line of communication to the coast. In addition, hw was worried about the possibility of Sassanian intervention. In the course of the siege Aurelian was wounded, and his men began to suffer from the summer heat and poor food. However, a flurry of diplomatic activity and the promise of financial reward eventually persuaded the nomadic tribesmen to switch allegiance. With the tables turned, the Romans had secure lines of communication and Palmyra was cut off. Starvation in the city was soon apparent and capitulation seemed inevitable, when Zenobia made a breakout and fled for Persia in mid-272. She was captured on the banks of the Euphrates by a cavalry detachment sent in pursuit and brought before the emperor. He received the queen politely, and waited for Palmyra to open its gates, which it soon did. Again, Aurelian forbade any plundering by victorious troops, content with the capture of Zenobia, Vabalathus and the leaders of her independence faction.

A court was convened at Emesa to try the Palmyrene rebels, and in a shameful act of cowerdice Zenobia blamed her ministers for her actions. The ring leaders were executed and the remaining prisoners, together with Zenobia and Vabalathus, were placed on ships to be sent to Rome for Aurelian's triumph. While crossing the Propontis – modern sea of Marmara – the vessel carrying the prisoners was shipwrecked in a storm, and only Zenobia and her son on their own ship survived to be paraded in Rome before the cheering crowds.

Zenobia was given her freedom and settled with a pension in a villa near Tibur – modern Tivoli. Of her son Vabalathus, would-be Augustus of the East, nothing more is heard.
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Old December 14th, 2010, 04:04 AM   #55

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Daughter of Theodoric of the Ostrogoths, born around 495 A.D. She was married to Eutharic (Ostrogothic noble) in 515 and bore two children, Athalaric and Matasuntha.

While Theodoric never claimed to be the Emperor of the Western half of the Roman Empire, he was the defacto ruler with Constantinople's varying acceptance. (He's a fascinating figure as well).

Upon her father's death, her son, Athalaric was the new king of the Ostrogoths with her as his regent. Apparently, things went well for a time. Much as they had gone under Theodoric.

As time went on, however, a number of Goths became unhappy with the situation. As the story goes, a number of Gothic nobles gained control of the boy and lead him into depravity. Whatever the truth, he died, still a teenager in 534 A.D.

She continued to rule after her son's death. She made her cousin Theodahad her partner, a poor choice as he wanted it all. This situation didn't last very long. She was imprisoned on the island on a lake and later murdered (in her bath) around 534/5.
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Old December 14th, 2010, 04:48 AM   #56

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Re: The Ancient Biography Thread

Can somebody do Clodius? With special emphasis on the craziest stuff he did? Like he trying to be the tribune so he could banish Cicero for prosecuting him so well for sneaking into a girl-only religious festival. He's a hoot!
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Old December 14th, 2010, 05:26 AM   #57

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Publius Clodius Pulcher c. 95 BC – 52 BC

Although he adopted the popular spelling of his family names, Clodius was a pedigree Claudian. His grandfather was the Appius Claudius who was father-in-law to the ill-fated Tiberius Gracchus; his father was expelled from Rome by the Cinnana and returned with Sulla in 83. His mother was from the Metellus family.

Clodius was born in about 95 BC, the youngest of a large family. Lucullus was a brother-in-law, and Clodius joined his army in 70 BC hoping for advancement, and above all profit. Clodius was in need of money throughout his life and was not fussy about how he aquired it. But Lucullus was unhelpful, so Clodius took revenge by stirring the army to mutiny. Then another brother-in-law, Marcius Rex, gave Clodius a naval command. He was no more fortunate this time, being captured by Cilician pirates, who released him unharmed.

In 62 BC Clodius was back in Rome. In fact he was in the house of the Pontifex Maximus, Julius Caesar, intent on seducing his wife. Caesar had left the house that night, since it was the venue for the all-female rite of the Bona Dea. Clodius' plans to blend in as a female musician failed disastrously. He escaped, but his alibi was exploded by Cicero, perhaps because he was feuding with Clodius' sister, whom he later accused of incest with her brother.

While quaetor in 61 BC, Cloudius was tried for his impiety, but the Claudian family bribed and intimidated the jury into acquittal. After this, Clodius decided on his next career move – the tribunate of 58 BC. This office was only open to plebeians, and Clodius was from the cream of the patricians. He got around this by being adopted into a plebeian house, with the connivance of the triumvirs, who were becoming irritated by Cicero.

As tribune, Clodius had Cicero exiled, then destroyed his house, and consecrated the ground to the goddess Libertas. He also passed a law giving free grain to the plebs.

Thereafter, Clodius maintained his poilitical influence by bands of heavily armed supporters. At one point he even had Pompey confined within his house. This was too much for the triumvir, who had Cicero restored from exile and promoted the tribune Milo as a counter-force to Clodius.

In 56 BC Clodius was aedile. He continued to skirmish with Cicero, and though the two later worked together to secure acquital of an M. Aemilius Scaurus they were never friendly. Once, at a crowded political meeting, Clodius remarked, “there's hardly room to stand here”. Cicero snarled back “Well go and lie with your sister!”

Clodius stood for praetor in 53 BC, the same year his enemy Milo stood for consul. Clashes between them kept Rome in turmoil until Clodius went away to his country house. Returning to the city, he encountered Milo near the town of Bovillae. A violent brawl resulted, and Clodius was killed.

In Rome, Clodius received a funeral in keeping with his life. The mob took him from his bier to the senate house, and made a funeral pyre from the benches within. The senate house, and the nearby Basilica Porcia of Cato the Censor, were burned to the ground.
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Old December 14th, 2010, 06:25 AM   #58
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Re: The Ancient Biography Thread

So far my favorite posts all along this nice thread would be (in descending order, from best to excellent) Xanthippus, Zenobia, Aureolus, Chilon & Cincinnatus,
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Old December 14th, 2010, 06:34 AM   #59

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Re: The Ancient Biography Thread

Originally Posted by DreamWeaver View Post
Youre a regular little Cornelius Nepos
Had to look that one up.
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Old December 14th, 2010, 11:50 AM   #60

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Re: The Ancient Biography Thread

Marcus Antonius Gordianus Primus

Roman politician, intellectual, and usurper, 159 - 238 AD

Marcus Antonius Gordianus the First is believed to have been born in 159 AD, two years before the ascension of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Virtually nothing is known of this man's origins and early life; the names of his parents given in the Historia Augusta were probably invented by the author. His own name can reveal a bit about his possible family history. His praenomen Marcus and his nomen Antonius (seldom used together) would suggest a connection with Marc Antony, while his cognomen Gordianus hints at central/eastern Asia Minor being his place of origin. Some inscriptions give him two additional surnames - Sempronianus Romanus. Incidentally, a late 2nd Century tombstone from Ankara, Turkey, honors a deceased Roman lady named Sempronia Romana; this is very possibly Gordian's mother or aunt.

Very little is known of Gordian's career. He is known to have commanded the Fourth Scythian Legion in Syria, probably under one of the Severan Emperors. An inscription of 216 AD places him in Britannia inferior, governing it with the rank of praetor. During the reign of Caracalla he was said to have been living in retirement, and won the Emperor's favor by writing an epic history of his life. He returned to public life under Emperor Severus Alexander (222-235), when he served as consul at least once. The fact that he was in his 50s or 60s when he acheived his first consulate is a testament to the sluggishness of his public career; by all accounts, Gordianus was a gentlemanly scholar with little taste for warfare and even less for politics and intrigue.

It is unclear when Gordian became the governor of Africa; it may have been as early as the late 220s, or as late as 237 AD. Either way, at the age of almost eighty he was probably the most elderly pronvincial governor in Roman history. At the end of 237, a rebellion broke out in Africa; the local aristocracy was tired of Emperor Maximinus Thrax's brutal methods of tax-collection, and they chose Gordian the Elder (against his will) to be their champion.

Gordian was declared Caesar Augustus in the arena of Carthage in March of 238; his son, M. Antonius Gordianus Secundus, himself advanced in age, was declared his heir. He began to mint coins and sent a young officer named Publius Licinius Valerianus to Rome, to win support from the Senate. Carthage was almost immediately attacked by the neighboring governor of Mauretania, Capelianus. Gordian the Second marched out with a poorly trained army of Carthaginian citizens; his army was routed and he was killed. Upon hearing of his son's death and Capelianus' continuing advance on Carthage, Gordian the First commited suicide by hanging himself with his belt.

The fact that, at the age of eighty, Gordian the Elder was still a respected - if not revered - individual throughout his province is a sure testament to the quality of his character. All sources on his life describe him as a friendly, honest man who had all the best Roman virtues. Furthermore, he was one of the great intellectuals of his day; he was a prolific writer and an avid reader. The stagnation of his early public career should be viewed as evidence of his scholarly nature, rather than the consequences of any laziness, incompetence, or vices. His coins depict a fat, bald man with a long nose, firm jaw, and close-cropped hair; in his earlier years he seems to have been thinner and wore a goatee.
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