Rome is overrated (except in military)

Menshevik

Ad Honorem
Dec 2012
9,503
here
I think the consul could theoretically in regards to things in Rome, but not in regards to things outside of the city. I wanted to know if such a power was ever practiced.
Not that I'm aware of. To my knowledge, the Emperors were all powerful, subject to no higher authority.
 

mariusj

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,057
Los Angeles
I think the consul could theoretically in regards to things in Rome, but not in regards to things outside of the city. I wanted to know if such a power was ever practiced.
No, the imperator's authority supersedes all other as he wields both legislative power and tributionary power, and for a quite long while, power of the highest priest.

In theory, Verus' authority can be trumped by Aurelius' power as Optimus Maximus, as that was one power he did not share with his brother, but if he did not use that power, Verus' authority would be equal to Aurelius though Aurelius was ahead of Verus in his time in every position including ascension, so Aurelius would have seniority in all matters but not sure if Aurelius could actually override Verus IF Verus decline to acknowledge the seniority and Aurelius did not use his priestly power.
 

Guaporense

Ad Honorem
Mar 2011
5,050
Brazil
The last 500 years: the internal combustion engine, manned flight, space flight, quantum physics, general relativity, the atomic bomb etc-- all western.

The great wall is modern. The ancient "structures" you are talking about were mostly made of earth and unimpressive. They don't compare to the Pantheon, the Pont Du Gard, the Colosseo. You know this is the truth.

It isn't that Roman structures "got maintained," it is that they did not erode or burn down because they were made of stone and concrete.

Look, you are entitled to have your version of reality, everyone is. But don't tell me that the mud walls or mounds of China equal, or the wooden structures are equal to:


























About 90% of ancient structures (made before 400 AD) over the entire world that survive to this day are Greco-Roman.
 

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,861
Florania
About 90% of ancient structures (made before 400 AD) over the entire world that survive to this day are Greco-Roman.
These are cultural properties; then, they often lose their functions and meanings.
Should we track the intangible cultural heritages of the Romans?
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
6,096
These are cultural properties; then, they often lose their functions and meanings.
Should we track the intangible cultural heritages of the Romans?
So much the better for the Romans if we do.

However, when is it Rome and when no longer Rome? This Gibbons feller wrote a huge book on the subject of its fall, and the darn thing sorta kinda never went away...

Pagan Rome is one thing. Christian Rome is another. Both were, however, Rome. Bits of it spoke Greek, not Latin, for a millennium. Big, central parts of its history occurred not-in-Rome, etc.
 

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,357
Not that I'm aware of. To my knowledge, the Emperors were all powerful, subject to no higher authority.
No, their political and legal powers were limited, composed not of one single definition but the total sum of those titles and honours given them by the Senate. No Caesar became all-powerful in one hit when he got the job - it was all a matter of patronage, persuasion, and what he was actually entitled to do. They were however the top dog on the social scale so influence via military and political support was usually all they needed to justify acting like they were all-powerful - Dio complains that Caesars were kings by any other name but I suppose he would having lived through the reign of Commodus. Different Caesars had a different approach to power, depending on personality and what they believed they could get away with.
 

mariusj

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,057
Los Angeles
No, their political and legal powers were limited, composed not of one single definition but the total sum of those titles and honours given them by the Senate. No Caesar became all-powerful in one hit when he got the job - it was all a matter of patronage, persuasion, and what he was actually entitled to do. They were however the top dog on the social scale so influence via military and political support was usually all they needed to justify acting like they were all-powerful - Dio complains that Caesars were kings by any other name but I suppose he would having lived through the reign of Commodus. Different Caesars had a different approach to power, depending on personality and what they believed they could get away with.
No, no, no, just no.

McFayden, Donald. “The Princeps and the Senatorial Provinces.” Classical Philology, vol. 16, no. 1, 1921, pp. 34–50.
The argument that but for the supposed decree Augustus would
have lost control of the senatorial provinces by his surrender of the
consulship derives its force from an erroneous conception of the
nature of the principate. The princeps' power was neither created
nor was it limited by law. Primarily, according to the Augustan
theory, the princeps was the god-sent and god-endowed " chief
citizen" of Rome. As such he was assigned all manner of difficult
tasks, the administration of the unsettled and frontier provinces, for
example. But his influence was not confined to those spheres of
the administration which were legally assigned to him. It was para-
mount everywhere. Even within the city itself the magistrates were
always ready to carry out his instructions, while the senate took no
important step without consulting him. Hence no law was needed
to insure Augustus' supremacy over the senatorial provinces. The
subservience of the senate would of itself secure him full control;
the proconsuls were quite ready to listen to his suggestions; while
the provincials never were disposed to take seriously, indeed they
seem never to have clearly understood, the legal limits of the princeps'
authority. They insisted on regarding him as an absolute autocrat.
In 22 B.C., so Dio tells us,' M. Antonius Primus was brought to trial
for having engaged in an aggressive war against the Odrysae when
proconsul of Macedonia. His defense was at first that he had acted
(greek stuff I can't type); then that he had acted (greek stuff I can't type). Augustus thereupon appeared before the court, without wait-
ing to be summoned, and testified that he had given no such advice.
This incident is instructive in two particulars. In the first place it
is customary to say that down to the middle of 23 B.C. Augustus'
possession of the consulship endowed him with the right to direct
the administration of the provincial governors.
Boak, A. E. R. “The Extraordinary Commands from 80 to 48 B. C.: A Study in the Origins of the Principate.” The American Historical Review, vol. 24, no. 1, 1918, pp. 1–25.
From 23 B. C. until his death in I4 A. D., the main props of
the authority of Augustus were (i) his extraordinary imperium,
held for successive terms, and (2) the tribunicia potestas, which
he had held before but which he had not emphasized, in view of the
fact that he had been consul each year.' When he resigned the
consulship in that year, he made good the loss of power thus incurred
at Rome, by bringing into play the tribnicicia potestas, supplemented
by certain privileges added by laws of the next few years. But
when he ceased to be consul his imperium was no longer the maius
imperium, for, being held pro consule only, it no longer outranked
that of the proconsular governors. Hence special laws were passed
defining his imperiutm as maius and effective within the city as well
as without.' This restored to Augustus the consular imperium
which he had held from 28 to 23. This imperiutm was renewed
in i8 and 13 B. C. for five-year periods; in 8 B. C., 3 A. D., and I3
A. D. for ten-year terms.

Seems clearly enough that the senate is a rubber stamp stamping on the princeps' desires.

We have 0 evidence of ever an emperor denied his power, and if you can't reject someone, then you don't have power over them.

I will add more sources later on.
 
Jun 2012
523
Rome is extremely overrated, in every aspect associated with Rome is a Greek copy cat or other Mediterranean city states, in it's aesthetics and architecture it's a Greek copy cat, there are dozens of things roman get credit for that they didn't invent, for example aqueduct, were used in ancient Egypt long before Rome existed, heck the the Indus valley civilization built many of them but nobody is singing their praise.
Another is the sewage and water Carthage had them long before Rome was anything Important, the roman grid system/city planning, Alexander used that same method to build Alexandria,
Even worse Rome gets praise for defeating a bunch of gaulish tribes, could someone on please elaborate on roman greatness, the only reason I see why roman get high praise is a bunch of Germanic barbarian who overrun Rome assumed everything under the son was created by it.

Edward Gibbon in his famous magna opus wrote, "IN the second century of the Christian era, the Empire of Rome comprehended the fairest part of the earth, and the most civilised portion of mankind" .....hello China, India and Persia exist.
Since the fighting between civilizations seems to finally die down, I would like to add my own observations and recommend a book that you may like to read. Let me say that I do understand your right to frustration, but I also understand why this thread creates quite a controversy.
Anyways, to my observation: it seems even more-so that the Roman military was the opposite case to your exception. Most people have stereotypical thoughts about the Roman and Germanic military up to and during the 2nd Century. In reality, the Late Roman and Germanic military were actually better and an improvement over their former selves. The core of the Late Western Roman military might have failed against the more Easterly Germans, but that is more indicative of the improvement of the Late Antiquity Germans not the supposed degradation of the Roman army.

See Peter Heather's- The Fall of the Roman Empire.
I do agree with a few criticisms of this book (such as - like any other former world empires - the fragmentation of WRE played a part in its collapse and not just the military). However, Peter still has a preponderance of evidence supporting his 'other armies were better' theory. Read it! It is one of those new publications that updated our understanding of history.
https://www.amazon.com/Fall-Roman-Empire-History-Barbarians/dp/0195325419/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1508203218&sr=8-1&keywords=peter+heather+-+the+fall+of+the+roman+empire
 
Nov 2013
739
Texas
Islamic vs. Roman medicine.

I very much question the notion that Islamic medicine was not more advanced than Galen; the Muslims produced far too many notable scholars in these fields; and I think a case could even be made that Byzantine medicine (maybe not public health per se; but at least medical theory) was in advance of the pagan Romans.

I think we should start with surgery (Albucasis vs.....who's a notable pagan Roman surgeon??)

Or we can try Opthamology or anatomy (can you name a single Roman anatomyst or opthamologist, especially one of non-Greek extraction?)


Let in be noted in passing that Galen was of Greek (not latin) extraction.

Indeed, Islamic math and science were generally in advance of the Romans (can you name a single notable Roman Trigonometer?)
How about Roman (not Greek), Indologists or Egyptologists?

With a few exceptions (Columella, Varro, Vitruvius, and/or Galen and Vegetius, and a few others) Roman math and science was marginal compared to that of the Islamicate, and it is far easier to name 20 notable Muslim scientists, mathemeticians, and polymaths, than it is to name 20 Roman ones (for example one could name some roman astronomers, but they would not have been as fundamental to the evolution of astronomy, as Greek or Indo-Arabic astronomy, or even Persian or Andalusian astronomy.) .



In architecture, the Muslims pioneered no new building techniques or materials, unlike the Romans, who invented concrete, or even new style, as the Blue Mosque clearly demonstrated - a thousand years, and the best the Muslims could do is make a copy of what the Romans/Byzantines did a 1000 years earlier. Even the medieval Europeans were more inventive with their Gothic cathedrals. The Romans, in contrast, pioneered the dome is use of large scale public building, and the size of the Pantheon dome surpassed anything the Muslims ever did. Nor did the,Muslims build an artificial harbor, which the Romans did, and the Muslim road building skills were non existent, while the Romans were noted for theirs.


Inyou are poetry and art, it is subjective, Roman mosaics are as fine as any ever done by the Muslims, and their portraits were as realisric, more perhaps, than any Muslim.

The areas the Muslims conquered were among the leading centers old civilization, and had been since the dawn of civilization. The Middle Easf had been the cradle of civilization, after all, and at the time of the conquest was still among tone leading areas of civilization. The Middle East is no longer, and has been the leader of world civilization for centuries. In contrast, Western Europe that the Romans conquered and first brought cities and writing to is among the leading areas of civilization, and the cities they founded in areas that had none are among the worlds great cities, places like London. In contrast, none of the cities the Muslims founded in areas that previously did not have cities rank among the leading world cities. (Baghdad was located across the river from the ancient Perisan and Greek capitals of previous empires, not the same as London, where there was no city in all of Britain before the Romans.)

Islamic medicine was not fundamentally more advanced than Roman, Galen was still a primary source for the Muslims, and their science not a whole lot more advance, except in optics, and then only marginally, and of no practical application. Arabic mathematics was more advanced, but it must be noted that much of it was borrowed from India. In Chemistry the Arabs did far surpass the earlier Romans, but for that matter, the later Europeans far, far surpassed the Muslims.
 
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