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The Roman Empire fell in 475 CE - or is that 480?

Posted August 30th, 2014 at 08:34 PM by Salah

476 CE is the date traditionally given for the 'fall' of the Western half of the Roman Empire. The ironically-named adolescent puppet Romulus "Augustulus" was sent into forced retirement by Odoacer, who was then declared 'king' in Italy.

Of course, those who favor the date 476 ignore the Eastern half of the Empire, which endured until 1453 (or 1461, if one counts the 'rump-state' of Trebizond). It might be worth nothing, however, that Romulus was not, in fact, a true Roman...
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Who commanded an imperial legionary cohort?

Posted August 19th, 2014 at 06:24 PM by Salah

The ancient Roman army has been one of my hobbies for most of my life. But there are some aspects of it that will never make sense to me - one, is why the legionary cohort (apparently) did not have a commander.

The late Consular-early Imperial Roman legion had ten cohorts, each of these divided into six centuries. The Imperial legion was commanded by a legate, whose staff included six tribunes and a veteran centurion to serve as 'camp prefect'. The legion's first cohort was usually...
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Emperor Aurelian and the Christian Church

Posted August 12th, 2014 at 01:04 PM by Salah

Before the reign of Constantine I, most Roman emperors were supposedly enemies of Christianity. Historians continue to debate the extent of the persecutions - or even if they occurred at all. Most 'martyrologies' tell us at least as much about medieval religious folklore as they do about the experiences of Christian believers in pre-Christian Rome.

In the early 270s CE, however, a unique event took place in the Roman province of Syria. For perhaps the first time in history, a Roman...
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Celtic presence in the Imperial Roman Army

Posted August 6th, 2014 at 06:56 AM by Salah

Peoples speaking Celtic languages were prolific throughout the Roman Empire. Apart from their obvious 'heartland' in Britain and Gaul, they could be found throughout northern Italy, Spain, and the Balkans. A Gaulish-speaking community existed in central Asia minor (the 'Galatians') and there was (or historically had been) a small Celtic community in northern Africa, including Egypt. Several Roman emperors, including the Antonines, the Severans, several 3rd Century usurpers, and possibly even Trajan...
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Dignity of a Bygone Age - The Life of Antoninus Pius

Posted August 3rd, 2014 at 03:54 PM by Salah

"Remember his qualities, so that when your last hour comes your conscience may be as clear as his"

-Marcus Aurelius, on Antoninus Pius

The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius never intended to publish his Meditations. This does not come as a surprise - he recorded his thoughts with an alarming frankness, even vulnerability. No other figures in Greco-Roman Antiquity have afforded us such an intimate glimpse into their minds.

At the beginning of his...
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