I’ve seen references lately that Rome suffered through a leader like Trump (Caligula), survived him and had several more centuries of power. Some thoughts about that:
- The world moved slower then. Empires lasted longer because the world moved at a slower pace before powered engines, flight and instant communication. So a few centuries then is a much shorter time frame than now.
- Rome did not “survive” Caligula — they assassinated him. Not saying we should assassinate anyone, but the Romans took matters into their own hands (i.e. Acted rather than waited).
- Rome was facing challenges, but not the same as today I dont’ think. They did not have a powerful China, an antagonist in Russia and small states with nuclear missiles to contend with. I feel like these are much more dangerous/lethal times for the US, than Rome was facing with Caligula. Stakes are higher — and more instantaneous — for us at this moment than Rome faced in 1st Century AD/CE.
It’s scary to think where the world might be today with Trump in office at the times that Abe Lincoln, FDR, Ike and JFK had to navigate scary times.
Anyway, my two cents.
The Silk Road discusses the importance of Rome conquering Egypt and turning its eyes East, which sparked my curiousity about Rome’s defeat of Egypt.
Octavian was a political monster who was able to climb the ranks of the army to become one of the leading generals of The Republic of Rome. After the assasination of Julius Caesar, he was one of the leading triumverate of Rome. In 31 BC, he marched his armies towards Cleopatra of Egypt (and fellow Roman general Marc Antony). He defeated Cleopatra and Antony’s highly dysfunctional leadership and armies in the Battle of Actium to conquer Egypt, which produced enormous amounts of wealth from its fertile farmlands, thus began channeling an enormous amount of wealth back to Rome following Rome’s victory. This marked the beginning of the Roman Empire and Octavian would later be named the honorable title of Augustus.
The Silk Road mentions the violence of Rome, so I spent a little time reading/learning about gladiators. The first recorded event was a private affair organized by two sons at their father’s funeral in 264 BCE. 150 years later — in 105 BCE — Rome began holding official gladiator battles, which were immensely popular. They ran for over 500 years, until 404 AD. In the final contest, a monk who intervened to stop the battle was killed by the crowd. It has been estimated that 8.000 people died every year in the gladiator ring through various means.
Apparently, as long as there have been settlements, there have been tents. There are rumors on Google Searches of discoveries dating back to 40,000 BCE in Russia, but they are also documented in the bible, were used by the ancient Roman military, and yurts are traced back at least 3000 years by Herodutus. They could be made of straw, hemp, animal hair and leather. Many innovations over the years have been inspired by the military, since tents are portable and can shelter soldiers on the move.
Hannibal, who took over Carthage at age 26, is said to have taken steps to start the Second Punic War with Rome to avenge his grandfather/country following an unfavorable treaty with fellow super power Rome following Carthage’s defeat in the 13-year First Punic War.. Hannibal led his men and elephants over the Alps into Italy before defeating the Romans several times, most famously in the Battle of Cannae. In this battle, he countered the Roman phalanx (with superior numbers) with a crescent-shaped double-envelope move, and this strategy and the battle are widely considered some of the greatest military achievements of all time. Hannibal’s long-term strategy of turning Rome’s allies against it failed, and Rome eventually attacked his extended supply lines while winning on two other fronts, resulting in Carthage’s long-term defeat. Carthage’s power was reduced to its single city-state after the Second Punic War and the Third Punic War completely destroyed Carthage.