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Old December 12th, 2010, 06:50 PM   #1

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The Ancient Biography Thread


In this thread I plan to give concise biographies of random figures from ancient history (say c. 3000 BC - 500 AD).

Naturally I'm probably going to focus on Imperial-era Romans, that being my area of special interest. Other posters are free to contribute, or voice comments, advice, criticisms, or observations in response to my posts.

If nobody else makes a habit of responding to this thread, eventually I may ask a moderator to rename it the "Roman Biography Thread"
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Old December 12th, 2010, 06:52 PM   #2

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Re: The Ancient Biography Thread


I can do some Spartans for you. I have several, and not just military figures.
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Old December 12th, 2010, 07:03 PM   #3

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Re: The Ancient Biography Thread


Marcus Atilius Regulus

Roman consul and general, c. early 3rd Century BC - 225 BC


Marcus Atilius Regulus was born at some point in the first half of the 3rd Century BC, the son of a famous hero of the First Punic War. He was at least the third generation of his family to bear his names. The Atilii were a prominent Roman gens in the Republican period; the family had both plebian and patrician branches. The Atilii Reguli were plebians, but had made a name for themselves with victories over Carthaginian and Celtic enemies. They were among the great popular heroes of 3rd Century BC Rome.

Virtually nothing is known of our Regulus' life. He was alive and probably already a young man in 250 BC, when the elder Atilius Regulus was brutally killed by the Carthaginians. There is no record of his marrying or having any issue; if he sired any legitimate sons, they did not live long enough to carry on the family name.

Regulus was elected plebian consul in 225 BC; his colleague was a patrician named Lucius Papus. Regulus and Papus were able to cooperate in putting down a popular rebellion on Sardinia early in the year. Later that year, they confronted the Gauls at Telamon in northern Italy; the Gauls were defeated, but only with great loss of Roman life - including Regulus. Regulus had arrogantly marched his army into battle before Papus and his legion could join with them; he led a brave charge against the Celtic cavalry but was killed. His head was presented to a Celtic chieftain as a trophy, a shameful fate for a Consul of Rome. He was avenged before the day was out; thanks to the reinforcements under Papus, the Gauls at Telamon were annihilated almost to a man. Regulus' head was reunited with his body, which was then cremated. He was the last of the Atilii Reguli.

Regulus is a shady figure in history. From what can be gleaned of accounts of the Battle of Telamon, he appears to have been courageous and ambitious, eager to prove himself as a general. Whether his refusal to await the reinforcements under Papus was simply down out of glory-seeking arrogance, or whether he had a personal feud with Papus is unknown. Either way, it cost this promising Roman politician his life.
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Old December 12th, 2010, 07:05 PM   #4

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Re: The Ancient Biography Thread


Quote:
Originally Posted by okamido View Post
I can do some Spartans for you. I have several, and not just military figures.
That would be very welcome
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Old December 12th, 2010, 07:22 PM   #5

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Re: The Ancient Biography Thread


Marcus Aemilius Aemilianus

Roman general and emperor, early 3rd Century - 253 AD


M. Aemilius Aemilianus was born in the Roman province of Mauretania - modern day Morocco - at some point in the first half of the 3rd Century AD. He was a Romanized Moor in origin, probably taking his name from a Roman governor of the province. Nothing is known of his early life except that he began a political career not later than the 240s AD. His wife's name was Cornelia Supera, but nothing is known about her; there is no documentation to his siring any children.

Aemilianus was in Rome in 251 AD, and had gained the recognition and favor of Trebonianus Gallus, the current emperor. Gallus made him the governor of Moesia inferior, one of the Danube provinces, the next year. The eastern half of the Empire was being troubled the rapacious Goths, under the leadership of King Kniva. The Goths had ravaged not only the Danube provinces but even Asia Minor. Emperor Gallus had been paying them a humiliating tribute - which Aemilianus found utterly revolting.

Upon assuming his command in Moesia, Aemilianus inspired the soldiers with speeches of Roman greatness, and executed all the Goths living in the province. He marched his provincial army across the Danube and defeated the Goths. His exuberant soldiers declared him Caesar Augustus. Ignoring the task at hand - the destruction of the remaining Goths in Thrace - Aemilianus marched on Rome. In July of 253 Gallus was murdered and the Senate and most or all of the provinces recognized Aemilianus as emperor. Several months later, however, he was confronted in Spoletium by the commander of the Rhine legions, Licinius Valerianus. His soldiers, tired of fighting fellow Romans, murdered Aemilianus and declared Valerianus emperor.

Aemilianus appears to have been a very competent military man and was also the possessor of above-average leadership skills. His hasty rush on Italy after his Danubian foray shows another side to this short-lived emperor - selfish, ambitious, and more worried about his personal victory than the security of the Empire. Though he seems to have had a measure of charm and charisma, it was not enough to inspire his men to stand up to Valerianus and his experienced legions.

All of his coins (which are very rare due to the brevity of his reign) depict a clean-shaven man of middling-weight with a long, pointed nose and a shaved head.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 06:20 AM   #6

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Re: The Ancient Biography Thread


Cassivellaunos

British chieftain and war leader, 1st Century BC


Cassivellaunos is known to history only through the writings of Julius Caesar. At the time of Caesar's Second Invasion of Britain (54 BC), Cassivellaunus had already established a reputation as one of the most powerful and belligerent kings in Britain. He was the ruler of a tribe on the northern banks the Thames - probably the Catuvellauni.

Sometime in the early-mid 50s BC, Cassivellaunos inflicted a decisive defeat on the Trinovantes of Yorkshire, killing their elderly king Immaenutios. The prince of the tribe, Mandubracios, survived the battle and fled in exile to Caesar in Gaul. Mandubracios served as Caesar's guide and translator in Britain, and in return Caesar arranged for him to be restored as the ruler of his people.

Despite the opposition of Cassivellaunos and the many tribes subject to him, the Romans were able to cross the Thames and invade Cassivellaunos' personal territory. Cassivellaunos' Cantic allies were defeated when they attempted to attack the Roman camp. Finally Cassivellaunos paid tribute to Caesar, who subsequently returned to Gaul where a series of revolts were beginning to break out due to food shortages.

Cassivellaunos was noted as a resourceful leader who preferred guerilla tactics. His army was known for its vast number of chariots. Nothing is known of his family, physical appearance, or personality, though it is believed that he was fairly young in the 50s and probably ruled at least until the 30s BC.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 07:06 AM   #7

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Re: The Ancient Biography Thread


Paulinus of Nola

Roman senator and Christian leader, 353 - 432 AD


Pontius Meropius Anicius Paulinus was born in what is now Bordeaux in Aquitaine. In the 4th Century AD, this region was known as Aquitania, and was considered part of Gaul. His nomen, Meropius, suggests close affinities to his Celtic or Aquitanian heritage. His family was a wealthy sentorial one that had land in Gaul, Italy, and Spain. Paulinus traveled through Spain in his youth before going to Rome in the late 370s to begin a public career. His wife was a Spaniard named Therasia.

Paulinus must have gained much favor during his time in Rome, because in 378 he was the consul suffect - a rare acheivement for a man who was not yet thirty. Three years later his fellow senators elected him to serve as the governor of Campania. During his several-year term, Paulinus came to love Campania and its people.

Paulinus was converted to Christianity by St. Ambrosius in 390 AD, sometime after his term in Campania was over. Four years later he abandoned his public career and seat in the Senate to be a priest; he was ordained by the Spanish bishop Lampius on Christmas Day of 394. He settled in Nola, in Campania, and ministered to the province he had governed until his death in June of 432 AD.

Paulinus was known for his generosity; he sold all of his possessions to the poor when he became a priest. He demonstrated good administrative skills in the pre-conversion years of his life; both before and after his conversion he was known as a talented poet. Much of the poetry he wrote after the conversion was in honor of Felix of Nola, a Campanian soldier who had been martyred during the 3rd Century. Little is known of his marriage, but it only produced one, stillborn child.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 07:21 AM   #8

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Re: The Ancient Biography Thread


Anicia Juliana

(Thought we should have some women in this thread, )

I just read about her; and I rather admired her so I thought I'd share her biography.

She was born in Constantinople. Her father was Olybrius (he ruled very briefly as Emperor of the West and later returned to Constantinople)and her mother was Placidia (daughter of Valentinian III).

She was the wealthiest heiress in Constantinople; her hand in marriage had been offered to Theodoric but came to naught (don't know why). She married instead, a man named Areobindus (a consul in 434 and had the ultimate rank of patrician). She had a son named Flavius
Anicius Olybrius who later became a consul in 506.

She built a church (common activity, it seems in those days). Huge church.

Now this is the part I liked. Justinian wanted her riches. So, she said he could take what he liked; before he could do so, she reportedly melted everything down for her new church (she couldn't really have gotten rid of all her wealth as her decendants were wealthy as well). She gave Justinian a small ring as a consolation prize. He hated the snub.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 07:23 AM   #9

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Re: The Ancient Biography Thread


Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemmie View Post
Now this is the part I liked. Justinian wanted her riches. So, she said he could take what he liked; before he could do so, she reportedly melted everything down for her new church (she couldn't really have gotten rid of all her wealth as her decendants were wealthy as well). She gave Justinian a small ring as a consolation prize. He hated the snub.


Thanks for your contribution, Clemmie! But don't worry I don't plan for this to be a guys-only thread, I have a few women lined up to add soon.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 07:24 AM   #10

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Re: The Ancient Biography Thread


Youre a regular little Cornelius Nepos
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