14 November 2008

The Women of Ancient Rome

It can be difficult to dig and then come up with an accurate depiction of what life would be like for Roman women. Part of this is due, no doubt, to the lack of material written by the Roman women themselves. All of the books and histories we have from Ancient Roman times were written by men. Still, from what we can gather, whether it be from manuscripts or letters, histories or tombstones, the following are Roman women's lives.

"[Roman Women] were the fundamental instrument for the transmission of culture...it was their job to prepare their [children] to become cives romani ..." Ibid

This quote points out an important thing that was central to Roman women's lives in whatever station of life. They were not only the child bearers but the child raisers, and as such were extremely important in passing on Roman values about life, family, patriotism - you name it! In this we can see a stark contrast between the Greeks and the Romans; Greek men, and even the Greek government, took charge of the children and their education/upbringing from the earliest age possible. We have an extreme picture of this in Sparta. However in Rome, the mother was seen as an integral part of society. In the home and on the mothers laps future statesmen and rulers were created.

Although women did not have the right to vote in Ancient Rome, and although there were times of more or less legal restriction, in Rome we can see a pattern of family loyalty and respect which, when combined with Christianity's enabling power to love, can very well be described as what our country needs right now. Rome's women were in general expected to be quite, gentle, keepers of the home, chaste, obedient, and respectful to their husbands. They were encouraged to marry and have children, to contribute to society by raising the next generation of orators, lawyers, business men, and even emperors. While it is true that there are countless stories of adultery and abuse, marital problems and divorce, this is not because, as so many historians believe, women were oppressed and unhappy in a man centered world. It is because the Romans needed the Gospel and its power in their lives. The women needed more than duty, tradition, and social norm to spur them on in their womanly duties; they needed a devotion to Christ and the words of Paul to give them true purpose and desire for their homes. And the men needed Christs love for the church in their relationships with their wives.

After giving the subject some thought, I have decided to try and stay on the happier side of things. One hears so much about the horrors of Roman marriages, and the oppression of women's rights. It is time perhaps to take a look at the kinder side of things, the probable joy and contentment found by many of the Roman women of those Ancient times in keeping their home and being a good wife. Unlike the majority of credited historians opinions, I choose to believe that their were more happy and fulfilled women in those days, than there are in the world today.

Roman women, it is true, had few legal rights. They did not have control over their own money, being considered to simple to manage such affairs, and they not allowed to vote. On a lighter, and perhaps even amusing note, they were not allowed in earlier times to drink wine. Yet despite these things it is possible for women to lead "happy" and "successful" lives. Below are listed some of the stations and roles which women inhabited in Roman society; included are the expectations and responsibilities they would have to fulfill.

Stations and Differences of Class

Noble Women:

Noble woman came from, well, noble families. They were often those who could trace lineage to one of Romes former consuls or Emperors either through blood or marriage. These women were society's elite and attended banquets, festivals, and great occasions with pomp. At the gladiatorial games they had the better seating at nearly ground level.

For all this however, they had very little distinguishing them from common Roman freed women; from the plebeians of the lower classes. Both were focused on the home, on being a good wife, on making their husbands successful, on bearing children, and on raising strong children - especially sons. How true the Latin saying rings, et genus et formam Regina Pecunia donatur. (Queen money brings both family and beauty)

There were several things which marked a difference between a noble women and free women. For one, Noble women usually tried to have more children than the lower class did. This was mostly because of the added pressure to provide an heir. Also the mortality rate of children was so high that even after having a son a noble women would want to have another lest the first die. It was common for only three children out of ten to survive childhood. Another thing that marked a difference between the classes was that on no account was a Noble woman to work outside of the home. It was considered highly improper and menial for the woman to help provide the families income, although in poorer families there was often little choice.

Some of the richer Roman women did run their own businesses and own property, especially towards the middle and end of the Empire. This was certainly not the norm but it did happen.

Free Women:

Free women were not nearly so confined as women of the patrician ranks. They often had to work alongside their husbands in many diverse forms of business out of necessity. There were no day cares and only some could afford to keep slaves, so the children had to learn to take care of themselves from an early age. Some of the outside occupations a free women might take on would be, maid work, hairdressing, escorts for wealthy women, laundering, and even field work. It all depended on where the women lived and what her particular talents might be.

Usually free women had less children than nobility. Allot of this was due to the inability for a family to support many children. It was in these poorer families that the practice of exposure was more common. Weak, sickly, and malformed babies, or unwanted females children, were left by the Father on the mountain side to die. The mother had no choice in the matter.


Now we have come to the bottom of Roman society. To be not only a women but a slave was probably as inferior a sphere as one could inhabit. Slaves were under the complete control of their masters whims and held few rights. They were not allowed to marry or vote, even in the mans case. Eventually under Romes better rulers laws were passed punishing the maltreatment of slaves, a master could even be tried for homicide if he killed one of his slaves. This seems pale in comparison however to what happened if a master was killed by a slave, if this happened all his household slaves, sometimes over a hundred, were put to death.

Under Nero slaves were given the ability to complain in court if they were mistreated. Antonius Pius ruled that if a slave was mistreated he could be freed. Children born to a slave woman who had once been free and then sold into captivity were allowed the status of a freeman/woman.

All in all, life as a woman slave could be hard and probably more servile than a mans. But this was not always so. Some women slaves had good mistresses and were eventually freed. When this happened they often had more ability to make their own decisions than their mistresses could.

Womanly Roles


Roman wives were a defining feature of Roman society. They are renowned for their calmness, their loyalty, and their stoic acceptance of life. They were what made society go round. They rocked the cradles of all Romes greatest leaders, and had the ability to make or break the men in their lives. We have examples of women like Livia, the wife of Augustus Caesar; she was a women of great strength and trustworthiness whom her husband confided in. On the other hand we see Julia, Augustus daughter by a previous wife; a woman known for her scandalous behavior and the shame she brought her husband. A virtuous and faithful wife was highly sought in Rome; though this is somewhat ironic given the double standard when the husbands are considered.


Roman Mothers were usually devoted to their children. If a woman had a son she might even give her wealth and dowry to further his interests. Daughters were taught all the things they needed to know to become a good wife and mother, from their mothers good example and careful training.

Despite the mothers great influence in her family, for good or evil, it was the father or Pater Familias who had legal control in all decision making. A mother could not save a child if the Pater Familias decided that he must die or be sold into slavery, whether at birth or even as an adult. The Pater Familias was the head of the "clan" so to speak, even when his sons were married and moved away he held jurisdiction over them. They could not make important decisions or even truly posses any wealth until their father died, then each of them became their own Pater Familias.


Daughters did not usually live in their fathers home long enough to play a very important role in household affairs. Because people died younger (40 - 50 was old) they married younger. A girl child's sole purpose in life was to learn all the she could from her mother about running a household and becoming a good wife. It was customary for girls to marry between the ages of twelve and fourteen, though in richer families they sometimes delayed marriage until later. The marriage was arranged by the father for social and monetary purposes, romance was rare and the couple frequently did not meet until their wedding day. Once married the father still had jurisdiction over his daughter and could even force her into a divorce if a bettor suitor came along. But the children belonged to their father and to his family.

Richer girls received higher education than poorer ones. Part of this is because Roman men did want compatible wives who could converse and understand his life. Despite this however a belief persisted that women had inferior minds and could not be expected to be truly intellectual or competent in anything other than the home.

Now that we have seen into the lives of Roman women is it possible to believe that they were happy and valued in the society they lived in?

This is a difficult question considering the little we know in general from actual women. But it is not only possible, but probable, that most Roman women led happy and content lives. Although they did not have as many "legal" rights as women, they did involve themselves in politics sometimes and it seems enjoyed doing so. Although they did not have control over many of the basic decisions concerning life which we have today; there is good reason to believe that most men were good husbands and their wives were at once respectable and valued. There is something elusively calling about the Roman Matrons role in society. Something which makes us want to take a second look at the sphere in which she lived. Who can say what Rome would be remembered as in our minds today if it had not been for those devoted, strong, and honest mothers and wives who placed their fingers in the hands of their men and gently altered the course of history? We may not have all their names in the history books. We may not have "speeches and discourses" from the women of Rome. And we may not know them the way we do Cicero, or Caeser, or Regulus.

There is one thing to be said though. We see Roman women in the lives of Roman husbands and sons. We see them when a boy grows up to become Romes first citizen. We see them when wars were stopped, when laws were changed, when books were written. They live in the accomplishments of the men they raised and nurtured. They were central and vital to the society they lived in, to the sphere they lived in, the home. Are you?

10 November 2008

Emperors on Parade!

...Here comes a parade of Emperors from Rome! Some, like Nero and Titus are well known to you. Others like Galba are perhaps not so well known. Nonetheless this parade is dedicated to bringing you into a closer acquaintance with Romes Emperors from 54-80 AD

...Nero; 54-68 AD

..Nero's float is lavishly decorated with magnificent mosaics featuring himself as a god. This Emperor is obviously greedy and grasping. He is known for his wasteful expenditure of public taxes on his own unparalleled palace - a building covered with gold. It has been reported by the writer Suetonius that when Nero's "golden house" was finally finished the emperor said "Good, now I can live like a human at last!"

..A sickening spectacle, almost to horrendous for us to describe, also adorns the side of Nero's float. Christians accused of starting fires in Rome and of being disruptor's of the peace, have been covered in tar and tied to poles. Nero is using them as human torches. It is said that he put these "human torches" all around his palace gardens while holding vast parties for Romes elite. ( As a side note, Nero was the last of the Augustinian emperors)

...Galba; 68-69 AD

..Emperor Galba had an extremely short reign, not even a year. I suppose this is why his float is so hastily thrown together. Even the ribbons look bedragled.

..Galba came to power through intrigue. You see, after Nero's death there was a scrabble for the throne. No one knew who should be emperor since Nero had been the last of the Augustinian line. 69 AD is known as the "Year of Four Emperors", with Galba as the first. Galba gained his position through bribing the Praetorian guard; in a few months the Praetorian guard grew tired of Galba and had him murdered. We will let his float pass on without further notice.

...Otho and Vitellius; 69 AD

..This is one mixed up float, it can't seem to make up its mind. Half of it is dedicated to Otho and the other half to Vitellius! It seems the people of Rome couldn't decide who should be their emperor.

..In the end Vitellius killed Otho in battle but ended up loosing his own life to Romes new choice, Vespacian.

...Vespasian; 69-79 AD

..Okay, this float is a little better. At least we know who its for.

..The Emperor Vespasian was a good choice for the Roman people as far as stability goes. He had two sons to continue the line when he died. We call this family the Flavian Dynasty. Vespasian was also a just and strong leader. During his reign many people were granted Roman citizenship and the great Colosseum began to be built.

...Titus; 79-81 AD

..Titus was a warlike man and his float clearly shows it. The side are lined with Roman shields and Jewish spoils. It was this Emperor who captured the city of Jerusalem and desecrated the temple. He brought back all the riches of the Jewish temple for his own building projects, gold marble, bronze, and precious jewels.

..During Titus rule the Colosseum begun by his father was finished. Titus also commissioned a great arch, called the Arch of Titus, which commemorates his victories over the Jews. It still stands today.

...Domitian; 81-96 AD

..Once again we detect signs of an arrogant and self seeking Emperor. Domitian was Titus' younger brother and the last of the Flavian Dynasty. His float is lavishly decorated but very unpopular with the people. looking around we see anger and rioting, the Roman Senators seem particularly displeased. The Praetorian guard walk along happily however, Domitian was their choice. Despite his guards protection though, Domitian was assassinated in 96 AD

...Nerva; 96-98 AD

..Nerva was the first Empera brought to office without the say of the Praetorian Guard. The people and the Senate had had enough of greedy and biased Emperors. This time they chose a humble Lawyer named Nerva who was known for honesty.

..Emperor Nerva respected the Senate and they appreciated him for it. He opened up the ability for men in other parts of the empire to become a part of the Roman Senate. In history he is known as the first of the "Five Good Emperors".

...Trajan; 98-117 AD

..Rising from the middle of Trajans float we can see a tall pillar called Trajans column. On it is celebrated the Emperors many victories in Romania and the Middle East. Under Trajan the empire reached its greatest extent.

...Hadrian; 117-138 AD

..Hadrian was the first non-Italian Emperor to rule Rome. He was adopted from Spain by Trajan to become his heir.

..His float is surrounded by a miniature replica of Hadrian's Wall, a massive building project in Britain and Germany. Hadrian was concerned over how large the Empire was when he came to office. How could he protect Rome's borders?

..After spending over half of his rule surveying Romes many provinces, Hadrian decided to let many of the territories go. He also built fortifications to keep Romes enemies out.

...Antonius Pius; 138-161 AD

..A large and sumptuous float approaches us next. Antonius Pius ruled Rome when she was at the height of her power. As we see the float draw closer we notice it is wobbling though. War is on the horizon as barbarian hordes gather distantly.

...Marcus Aurelius; 161-180 AD

..Marcus Aurelius was by necessity a warrior. He had to be a strong and active leader for his people. During his reign the barbarians began to make advances which could not be ignored. Then a plague struck the land killing thousands of people. The world was watching closely, Marcus Aurelius was the last of Romes "Five Good Emperors".

03 November 2008

A Typical Roman : Free Laborer

...Free Laborers were men who were not slaves yet they worked for other men. They were generally from the lower class, men who were not wealthy enough to own their own slaves or posses their own business. Fishermen were free laborers, as well as artists, masons, entertainers and actors. "Free" does not mean that they provided unpaid services, rather it denoted that these men were not slaves but Roman citizens or Roman citizen wannabees.
...What would life have been like for a single free laborer without much wealth in imperial Rome? Lets say our man is twenty and a Roman citizen, his profession is overseeing slaves building projects, and his family is of the old Roman stock; devoutly religious, patriotic, and superstitious.
...A typical day begins before the sun is fully up. Our laborer lives on the third floor of an apartment building. The lower floors are reserved for wealthier folks, and their rooms are much more spacious than the Laborers. As the man makes his way down the creaky stairs he is reminded of the fact that the third floor was an afterthought, designed hastily to bring in more money from poor tenants. It was not unusual for the structures to collapse around their inhabitants heads; but one must live somehow! It was a necessary risk. Lives are cheep in Rome.
...Outside the sun is slowly climbing and market stalls are beginning to open. Lazy slave girls yawn and irritated pedagogues hurry their young charges to school. Because out laborer comes from a poorer family he received very little education, some of the basics - about the equivalent of eighth grade.
...Breakfast consisted of a small loaf and some cheese, the man promised himself a more substantial meal later in the day. For now he was late and made himself walk quicker, all the while trying to avoid the great stinking piles of human and animal refuse which lined the streets.
...He arrived just in time to take his place at the head of a work gang of slaves; he would oversee their labor and carefully watch for signs of insubordination which would be promptly settled with his whip. The job payed a good amount, and other than standing under the fierce heat all day and barking orders until his throat was hoarse, out laborer found that it was pretty easy made money. At least he was not one of those slaves breaking their back in Nero's new building project, rebuilding Rome to ten times its former glory after last years terrable fire. The laborer sometimes wandered had started the fires himself, but he would never dream of saying so aloud - no, far better to let the blame rest where the emperor had placed it, with the Christians.
...Later that day, as evening was coming close, the laborer walked back to his dwelling. On the way he stopped to buy a fig cake and some wine. He thought of the onions and cheese he had in his room and grinned anticipating his coming feast. Of course, his meager fare was nothing like the sumptious festivals Nero had been conducting lately. Our man only hoped the emperors indulgent actions continued, he would like more free bread and gladitorial shows. of course, some in the senate resented Nero's behavior and reckless spending; and there was the widespread slaughter of the Christ-followers to think about. But those Christians defied the gods and would bring down judgement on Rome, the man shivered and muttered a prayer to Jupiter. What if things went bad?
...O well, if this job failed him he could always become a gladiator. Not so comforting as assuring a thought.

31 October 2008

A Typical Roman: Emperor

...Emperors were at the top of the food chain in Rome. They were obeyed and feared given the fact they possessed such a great amount of power. Still, being emperor came with its own set of aggravations and trials. They had a reputation to uphold, an empire to run, and of course, the the threat of assassination was ever present. An emperor could be good or bad, respected or disliked : and we have a wide selection of both to interview.

...For today's interest I have arranged the following interview with two of Romes most famous Emperors - no easy task let me assure you.)I had to go back in time twice because these emperors lived and died in separate stages)

People, let me introduce our guests today. Emperor Augustus and Emperor Nero.

Press(Me:) - "Emperors do you mind telling us your time frame ; when did you become Emperor, things like that?"

Augustus - " I became Emperor in the year 27 B.C and am ruling even now."

Nero - "My excellent self received authority in the year 54 A.D. just forty years after Augustus."

- " And what allot has happened in that forty year time! What do you think has been the biggest change since Augustus rule?"

Nero - "It is hard to say, but I believe Augustus was more modest as an Emperor - not wanting to offend the Senate and general rabble. I however am like a god to my subjects and they love me! I have grander schemes and - "

Augustus - "And you spend money more freely. Really Nero, its like you think Rome is made of gold! You and future Emperors like you will destroy all that I have sought to build."

Nero - "You don't know that! You act as though Rome belonged to you just because you started something new! I am creating more than an Empire, I am creating a world fit for the gods!"

Augustus - "Namely yourself. Is it not true that you command your subjects to practically worship you? Its insufferable, no true Roman could bear it!"

Press - "Emperors! You bring up some excellent points, which beg a question from me. Is it true Nero that you are executing Christians for refusing to you and other Roman 'gods' ?"

Augustus - "See! That's just the thing I'm talking about! Heavens above, great Jupiter, what are you getting us into O predecessor?"

Press - "Augustus, please. Let Nero speak."

- " Upon my word, I find it hard to answer these direct accusations from one who has been dead forty years! You have no idea how troublesome a place Rome has become great Caesar, it is not what it was in your time. The Christians embody just one of our pestilences, all dissenters must be brought to reason! I must have proper respect!"

Augustus - "I suppose killing them has brought you this, ahem, respect?"

- "Well, you don't understand , I,- "

Press - "Speaking of respect, what is it that you two do as Emperors that garners respect from Roman citizens?"

Augustus - "I have Romes best interest at heart. Every day I listen to the Senate, read reports, and grant pardons. It rests with me to protect our borders and promote our interests. I also appoint men to office as governors of provinces. Mine is a weighty task which I cannot take lightly."

Press - "Nero? How about you?"

Nero - "Hmm, well. I can see the advantages in Augustus' duties, and I do acquit myself often of those tasks. But he has left something important out. I arrange games for the masses! Give the people bread and a circus and they will love you! I arrange gladiatorial fights, races, plays -"

- "Murders?"

Nero - "Of course not! Didn't you hear me? Are you referring to the Christians again? I told you, they are disturbers of the peace!?

Press - " Would now be a good time for me to mention that I am a Christian?"

Nero - "Ye gods! can it be so?"

Augustus - " I guess your little efforts to stamp Christians out didn't work, eh big boy?"

Nero - "But I've been trying so hard - are you sure we are talking about the same thing?"

Press - "Absolutely positive. Which reminds me of another question which may solve a centuries old mystery. Did you set fire to Rome and frame the Christians?"

Augustus - "He did what! O my Jupiter! Rome, my beloved city - you set it on fire? Hermes, I'll hamstring you..."

Nero - "Preposterous! I can't believe what I'm hearing, all lies! Can it be that there is any doubt in modern historians minds as to who set fire to Rome?"

Augustus - " I don't know about them, but there sure is in my mind!"

Nero - "I didn't do it! It was those trouble making, ungrateful, stubborn Christ-followers. But since the damage is done, I may as well tell you Augustus that I am rebuilding Rome on a far grander, richer, scale than you did."

- "I bet you are, thou avaritius aper!"

- "O really, fur furem cognoscit, et lupum lupus!"

- "Well this interview has run out of time. Besides, our guests have relapsed into Latin. I guess we will not know the answer to history's question after all, I leave it up to you to decide if Nero speaks truth."

Press - "Thank you Emperors for your time, I know it is valuable."

- "Aye, some of us have work to do."

Nero - "Hey! I have to attend a banquet being held in my honor, oversee a gladiatorial fight, travel to my country villa - nerves you know ...."

Press - "Goodnight gentlemen."

29 October 2008

Historical Scrapbooking Part 2!!!

... If you have not read my previous post on this subject, go to the label Historical Scrapbooks on the side and be sure to check them out! I left off with the Patriarchs, so today we will start with Egypt.

...Egypt was one of my favorite sections to do, there are just so many ways to be creative with displaying the Egyptian civilization! I had fun drawing and coloring pictures of Egyptians and hieroglyphs to paste around the pages. At the bottom of the first page is a small pyramid shaped (of course!) book which tells the Egyptian myth of creation.

...Here and there I have copied bible verses about Egypt directly onto the page. The map has a tab, embellished with an Egyptian looking fan display, which holds the clear overlay sheet down. You can see on most of my pages time line figures from the "Homeschool in the Woods" website.

...I have found that a black fine tipped Sharpie pen, works best for writing on the overlay sheets.

... Since we studied Egypt for three weeks I had a lot of material to display. So I ended up needing six pages in the Egyptian section! Above are the next two. Aside from charts, drawings and timeline figures, I put a small open out book about the Egyptian afterlife and a piece of papyrus. You can see the book opened below.

...On the last two pages, here I needed to put a large mailing envelope to hold papers which would not fit on the pages. Cutting the top off made it an easy slide in, slide out, and I decorated the front with more stuff!

... On the last page I have yet another book, held shut by a little decorative sticker.(I like using the thick stationary type stickers for sealing envelopes) And on front of the book I pasted a little piece of Egyptian artwork I did. Also more National Geographic cuttings add interest.

...Below is the Egyptian artwork, I had a lot of fun making this. It is made from strips of antique, papyrus looking paper soaked in a flour/water paste and then pieced back together. After it dried the edges still had a nice ragged look to them. Then I carefully drew a small scene of Egyptian life by looking at one of their actual tomb paintings. When I was satisfied with the drawing I painted it with Acrylics using a tiny paintbrush and yes, even tooth picks! The hieroglyphs at the top were done with a black felt tipped Sharpie pen. At the time I was crazy about Egyptian hieroglyphs and knew how to write small messages. So the writing does actually say something, I just don't remember exactly what now. I think it was something about attending a feast?

...Anyways, next is Moses and the Children of Israel. For this section I also took six pages.

...Here is the big picture of the front two pages. I always print up a title and paste it on the upper left hand corner of the first page.

...Below is a detail of some "extras" I put in. Normally I would not advise trying to put anything too bulky on a scrapbook page. But I really wanted to show some examples of the riches the Israelites carried away with them on exciting Egypt. So I put in some scraps of "fine" fabric and a plastic jewel. :) Above it is the passage about Israel plundering the Egyptians.

Here is the second section for Moses. I pasted in a pen and ink drawing of Moses on the mountain.

Here is a close up on the details...

There is one more two page spread for Moses and the Exodus, see below. Next update will be India!

A Typical Roman : Merchant

...Roman merchants rarely came from the upper class, though indeed many of them were wealthy enough to form their own aristocratic branch. The higher patrician families considered manual labor and careers in trade to be demeaning. For the most part merchants were from the middle class.
...Becoming a merchant was a matter of money and trade. There were many stalls lining the streets of Rome's cities and with some money and luck a reasonable shop could be set up. Some merchants were more successful than others, people always want necessities - and in times of affluence, luxuries. Lets focus on a typical Roman merchant with a family of five.
... His days are probably full, although he does have several slaves to help in the shop; they keep count of sales, clean the shop, and collect dues. For now this merchant oversees his own affairs, but soon he hopes to acquire an educated slave, preferably Greek, who could take over most of his responsibilities. He is a dealer in fine pottery and dishware, with growing business since Augustus came to power.
...Like other merchants of his rank and citizenship he frequents the bath house for leisure and occasionally attends parties with or without his wife. He has four children, three daughters and a son. This is very 'lucky' because mortality rates for children are high. After his son was born his wife lost two babies, so now they have decided not to have any more children because death of women in childbirth is also very high.
...Once in a while he is called to vote as a juror, an exciting task. Court cases were popular amusements in Rome and the upper balconies filled fast with spectators.
...Life is good and will probably get better with time. One day the merchant hopes to pass on his business to his son. Right now the boy attends a local one room school with other merchants sons, there they are taught to read, write, memorize poetry and literature, and do basic mathematics including Geometry.
...The merchants daughters were taught all they needed to know from their mother and the household domestic slaves. It was very important for girls to learn how to weave, manage a household, and be a good wife before they were twelve years old. Why twelve? Most girls married between the ages of twelve and fourteen. Already the merchant had selected a husband for his eldest, who is thirteen, they will be married towards the end of Jun - a particularly lucky time of year for Roman marriages. The man is ten years the girls senior, but this was common as men wanted younger wives and were not ready to take a wife until they were older. The merchants daughter has not yet met her bridegroom, but considers herself fortunate because he is reported to be kind and handsome with a good establishment.
...Yes, life is good for this merchant. And right now he and his family have nothing more pressing than looking forward to the Roman festival "Floralia" which was coming in a few weeks.

A Typical Roman : Slave (Greek)

(This is the first post of a four part series on Roman life. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to stand in someone else's shoes? How about a Roman citizen, a thirteen year old bride, an emperor? Just in case you've ever wondered, read the below and following updates! :)

...In Rome slaves were considered property. They had no rights and were not considered to be citizens. But they did have the opportunity for a good life if they happened to be in the right position at the right time. A galley slave could have little hope of living, let alone comfort; a mining slave was beaten and maltreated until death was welcome. But for many slaves life could be good, even privileged. What would your life have been like if you were a Greek slave?

...Greek slaves were valued above the average lot because the Romans admired the Greek civilization. Greeks were usually well educated, talented, smart, and trustworthy. As a result Greek slaves were snapped up off the market and placed in wealthy household positions. The upper class bought Greeks to be their physicians, tutors, household managers and even farm holders! A slave in a wealthy family could even became influential and respected.

...Sometimes owners gave their slaves wages; after a while the slave could buy his freedom, or choose to invest in his own business or small farm. Freed slaves formed a good portion of the wealthier middle class, running successful businesses and owning their own slaves. Most household slaves, especially Greeks, were not treated as inferior. They were respected and well cared for. Parents trusted them with their childrens education and safety. It is hard to imagine a society where slavery was accepted and normal, where slaves were even viewed as respectable and honorable in many cases. Yet in many Roman circles it was so, and Greek slaves were usually very respected, vauable, members of society.

17 October 2008

The Heart Of America

...Where do you stand this political season? Where do any Christians stand in politics? How about for the last ten years, twenty?
...If you are like many Christians planning to vote with the Constitution Party, I ask you to prayerfully read this paper. I am not attacking you or your opinion or convictions, nor am I trying to bring further division to the people of God. But I am condemning America for her pride and her wretched drifting from the lap of God. And I am condemning the church for abandoning true religion, the work which God gave to her. Both of these units are made up of people like you and me, Christians and American citizens who have lost our way; we are more concerned with the Law than with the Spirit, with works than with faith. Let me explain.

...Many believe that it would be wrong to vote for Sarah Palin because she is a woman. (After all, the New Testament is full of passages admonishing women to be submissive to their husbands and keepers of the home.) Allot of this has been coming from conservative home school families who have been carefully raising their daughters to be homemakers. Families like my own. Personally I am not so conservative as some, although the world has accused me of being legalistic; I believe being a wife and mother is a high and noble calling, one which most women are called too. It is the normal way the Lord works, a sure way of raising up holy offspring for the next generation which is what the Lord seeks. But these are not "normal" times.

...What we have witnessed in America is a spiritual decline; our families are crumbling through divorce and rebellion; our churches are often dead and dying; and our government has become a seat for pride and hypocrisy, surely a stronghold for Satan. Despite valiant efforts on the part of many, especially the "reformed conservative home school" movement, our country is worse than ever. What is wrong?

...Now I do not pretend to have all the answers, and far be it from me to point at others with a plank in my own eye! I can only share with you the burden on my heart, you must take it to Scripture and see if it rings true. Please pray and search Gods Word on this matter - and let the Holy Spirit help you draw conclusions before replying.

...The reason we have not had a great spiritual awakening in America for so many years is because we Christians have not been faithfully doing Gods Work. Instead we have focused on ourselves; on how to become "holier" by what we wear, what our profession is, how many children we have, how we keep the Sabbath, whether or not we home school, whether or not we have a "classical" education, whether we read plenty of "out of print books", whether we have memorized the Westminster Catechism, whether we have our children baptised as infants or not; the list goes on and on. I am not saying that these things are wrong, on the contrary, most of the above are helpful and probably godly things to do as families. Yet we cannot let these things become the heart of Christianity, any more than we can let "political correctness" and socialism become the heart of America. Our heart is Jesus, our center is the cross, our hope is in Christ alone. Not modesty, not stay at home mothers, not having large families, not homeschooling, and not what denomination we attend.

...This is the difference we must see, the difference between walking in the Spirit and walking by the letter of the Law. Works could not save Israel and they certainly will not save us. Faith in Jesus, doing the work of God, true religion, this is what America needs. we have strayed from our roots and God has allowed us to come this far. I believe this election season is a judgement from God, and like the Israelites in Jeremiahs time, we need to accept what He is doing. In fact if we as Christians would stop to see the parallels between ourselves and wayward Israel the results would be stunning. Lets look at the story of Deborah.

...In the days of Deborah Israel had been sold into slavery, they were harshly oppressed. Here in America we may not yet find ourselves physically oppressed, but we are spiritually. America has become a slaughterhouse for the unborn, an arena for unfaithfulness and abomination, and we are fast moving towards a new era of depravity as our pride soars unbound. China and the Middle East poise on the horizon, much as Sisera and the King of the Canaanites did for the Israelites. American Christians have brought this on themselves by handing over the cares of the church to the state, bu abandoning true religion as spoken of in James, and by becoming silent about the Gospel under the pressure of "religious tolerance". We are all guilty, I am guilty.

...Why is it we are so divided as Christians in the political arena? Why have we not been able to get a third party Constitutional candidate in office? Some might say its because other Christians are afraid to vote their conscience, or because of unfairness in the White House/Press/ Republican, or, Democrat party..... I say lets look at the issue from a bigger perspective, Gods in fact.

...Ultimately God is the One who has allowed our politics to get where they are, He is the One who has not blessed Christians efforts in the last couple decades. The question we need to be asking Him and ourselves is Why?

...Maybe it is because we have not been faithful to our posts. Maybe it is because we have been teaching our children to honor God with their lips and appearance, but not with their hearts and deeds. I've heard many Christians say that it is wrong for Christians to work outside of Gods prescribed way of "doing" things in order to bring about His will. I say Amen to this!But lets be honest, have we been working Gods way to bring in the harvest in America? Have we been true to the great commission in our every day lives? Is the only time we talk about Christ when we are at church or around other Christians?When was the last time you shared the Gospel with an unbeliever? When was the last time you were even around an unbeliever?

...I can only blush when I think about my own actions. But by Gods grace I intend to turn this around, to share Christ at every grocery store on every street corner, and by more than what I "wear" - by the words I say to those I meet.I've been letting my clothes, family size, hairdo, even shoes! do the witnessing for me. Brothers and Sisters that's not enough. Many of you may feel as I do, lets pray for great revival and go out and do the Lords work by preaching Christ to every soul we meet. Lets recognise the judgement of God on America, our country, right now.

...So why am I voting for Mcain and Sarah Palin? Isn't voting for a woman going against Gods way of doing things? Would He bless that?

...Firstly, as far as what God blesses and doesn't bless, He certainly has chose not to bless the constitution party nominee for a long time. Why? I believe it is part of the judgement on America and we Christians. Secondly, in times of judgement before, God has appointed woman leaders. This is evident by Deborah and is perhaps why her story is included in Gods Word. I do believe this was a mark of shame for Israel, and it would be a mark of shame for America. But it was Gods will at that time and He used it to save His people. The way I see it we have shame on one hand and terrible judgement on the other. Not deliverance by a third door, this is not a lack of faith, but a discernment of the times we live in. We need to suck up our pride and recognise that the fight for our country has just begun. Sometimes God works in mysterious ways, appointing a godly woman instead of a godly man to office would be one of them. I think it is a merciful wake up call for Christian Americans. Our Calvinism, doctrines, and reforms won't save us. Only the pure Gospel of Christ.

...Lest anyone should think that I think Palin is a 'savior' or the answer to all our problems let me quickly what I think about her. She is a godly woman who has a solid stance against abortion, she believes in less government and lower taxes. I believe she is a reformist and possibly the start of the change we need. The fact that she is a woman is a issue for me, it goes against my conviction concerning women., However I believe God is doing something right now in my heart, in America, in our government, and I would rather accept His judgement of a godly woman in office that vote against His mercy. It is a mercy that we have anyone godly running for office with the chance of winning the election. I'm not going to complain when God allows a godly woman to run for office.

...In my opinion it comes down to this, do we want Deborah or the Cannanite King?

...Next year, Lord Willing, more Christian men will become involved in politics. More women will go to their unbelieving neighbors and share the gospel, not how to dress, not how to home school, not who to vote for. We are not persecuted for witnessing, yet. Lets take advantage of that as the blessing it is and get to the heart of the matter. When a soul is awakened to the Lord then other things will follow. Lets teach our children not to look down on the neighborhood kids in the street, but instead to lovingly reach out as ambassadors for Christ. Together let us reach the voting masses with the heart of the matter, Christ.

...But first we need to change. We have to experience the love for God before we can talk about it with others. Our hearts need to be on fire for God, He has to live in us. He doesn't want lip service when you sing the hymns, He wants your love, your joy, your devotion. In short your "feeling" of love and joy in Him. Don't say you love Him if you don't. Love is felt, don't shy away from the word emotions because its a taboo word in the Presbyterian church. God wants everything from you and chances are if you say you love Him without "feeling" it then you are a hypocrite.

...Don't live by the law as the Pharisees did. Walk in the fullness of the times with Christ. Share Him with the unsaved, with the unwed mother, with the gang members, the atheistic co-workers, the freaky cashier girl, the grubby neighborhood kids. They are the Heart of America. Your heart is Christs.
"Even now," declares the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning."

Rend your heart
and not your garments.

Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.

Who knows? He may turn and have pity
and leave behind a blessing—
grain offerings and drink offerings
for the LORD your God."

Joel 2: 12-14

21 August 2008

A Brief Overview of the Celtic Tribes 750 B.C.-50 B.C.

...This post is intended to be a reference on The early Celts. I will be answering the following seven questions in short summary, hopefully this will help those who want a brief overview for papers etc...

1. Geographic Setting?
2. Government?
3. Religious Beliefs?
4. Written Works?
5. Arts and Sciences?
6. Occupations?
7. Inventions and Achievements?

1. Geographic Setting?

...The early Celts were quite spread out, the maps below show the extent of their wanderings. Scholars often divide the Celts into roughly four groups; the Gauls in France, Iberians in Spain and Portugal, Cisalpine Gauls in Italy, and Britons/Gaels in the British Isles.

2. Government?

...For the most part the Tribes were led by Kings/Chieftains, often elected for their physical prowess in earlier times. (The process was called the Consensus of the "Thing", a gathering of tribal leaders) There is some debate over the possibility of there having been primitive forms of Oligarchical Republic forms of government. Society was divided into three distinct groups; the Warrior Aristocracy, the Bards or Druids (Learned men who filled the roles of priests, judges and lore-keepers), and finally the common class.

...It is interesting that the Celts in there early forms of government can be compared to the Greeks. Each were ruled by smaller warring factions and alliances. They each had Tribal loyalties over National Patriotism. This made it easy for both to fall to Rome when she came along.

3. Religious Beliefs?

...The Celts were Polytheistic in the extreme. They had literally hundreds of gods and goddesses who were often associated with nature and special skills. Druids were the "Priests" who performed ritual sacrifices to ensure things like good harvests and success in war. The Celts probably had human sacrifices as well as cows, sheep and fruit of the fields. Often Druids traveled through different villages performing the duties of their office and bearing news. (A note to the side, aside from gods and goddesses the Celts had superstitions about fairies and brownies)

4. Written Works?

...Very little has survived from the Ancient Celts who were often referred to as the "hidden people". They had superstitions about writing their knowledge down, and preferred to pass it on by word of mouth. However as a side note, some claim that the art of Rhyme in poetry was invented by the Celts.

5. Arts and Sciences?

... The Celts were a very talented and industrious people. They invented the beautiful Celtic scroll work and knots which so many cultures admire today. They invented the La Tene art; special patterns for ornamentation featuring swirls and spirals. (Later on medieval monks used this to decorate manuscripts) Aside from this the Celts were skilled in metalwork and knew how to forge iron weapons.

6. Occupations?

...In Ancient Celtic times a man was often born into his profession. Sons usually followed the trade of their father. Some occupations might have been; Farming, Silver Smiths, Metal Work, Jewelers, and Hunting.

7. Inventions and Achievements?

...Aside from the previously mentioned metal work with iron and inventions in poetry, the Celts are attributed with creating chain mail and soap. They may also have had chariots before the Romans, some believe the Romans got the idea from the Celts.

01 August 2008

A Satyrical Summary of the Punic Wars: Part 3

Punic War No. 3 149-146 B.C.
...As the shortest and most violent of the Punic Wars, the third is also the most unsatisfactory. At least to this Historian. Carthage and Rome could not settle their differences, it was inevitable that one at least should be destroyed. A well respected Roman senator named Cato would end every speech in this way, "furthermore, it is my opinion that Carthage must be destroyed". (Talk about off topic, what if his speech had been on the need for public plumbing?)

...Eventually the Romans decided to take Cato's advice seriously and prepared for another assault on Carthage. The Carthaginians got wind of it and immediately started casting about for a plan that would appease the Romans and buy them more time.
A council arrived from Carthage to lay the matter before Rome, asking what they wanted in return for peace. The Romans thought about, and probably did some serious head scratching. In the end they demanded that three hundred of the Carthaginian nobles children be sent as permanent hostages to Rome. And they were sent.

...But Rome was not ready to drop the matter, they really wanted Carthage destroyed. In fact, an excellent excuse presented itself on cue. The Carthaginians attacked Numidia, a neighboring country that had been causing problems. Numidia was an ally of Rome however, and the Romans were not inclined to think lightly of the matter. Numidia won the war with Carthage, and Carthage who had just made the final payment to Rome for the last war's expenses, found herself in debt again- this time to Numidia. (Talk about debt, I would think maybe it was time to stop the wars, at least if you cannot win them).

...All this made it easy for Rome to bully Carthage, who was getting weaker and weaker.
Carthage had relied upon mercanaries to do most of her fighting and now without money could not afford to raise an army. Rome on the other hand had a standing army made up of its own citizens which gave her a considerable advantage when combined with the fact she was winning most battles. So Rome made an impossable demand on the Carthaginians, "If you want peace you may have it. But first you must move your city ten miles inland".

...This was an impossable demand, and the Carthaginians knew it. To move their city meant to destroy it and rebuild, something they had not the money, man power nor desire to do. It was a declaration of all out war down to the last man.

...The Carthaginian ambassadors hurried back to Carthage where they spread the bad news. "Sorry guys, even after sending your children we are going to have to fight to the death. At least those kids are out of harms way".
The citizens of Carthage roused themselves to action, since they had no army they would have to defend themselves. Which they were determined to do, this was a fight for the survival of a people.

...The women cut of their hair and gave it to the men who made it into catupult strings, and in a short time they mustered up thousends of makeshift weapons. A rag tag mass of people stood defiantly upon the walls of Carthage when Rome's uniformed army came in sight. What must the Romans have been thinking?

...Whatever the Romans thought, the Carthaginians lasted longer than anyone could have expected. They withstood the initial onslaught of the world's most powerful fighting force and won for themselves a brave last stand.
But it was a last stand. A new general called Scipio Aemilianus arrived to head Rome's army, and he new his business. Although it took him three years of siege he breached Carthage's walls and burned it to the ground. (After sacking and plundering of course)

...Thus ended the Punic Wars, and the satyrical commentary. In my opinion two things can be learned here. 1. Never start a war your citizens aren't going to fight themselves... 2. Make sure you have enough money to cover yours and your enemies expenses, just in case you loose.

...Furthermore, it is my opinion that spiritual death and war must be destroyed through the power of the Gospel.

31 July 2008

A Satyrical summary of the Punic Wars: part 2

...Punic War No.2

...Proud and eager for new territories the Carthaginians conquered Spain. Rome lay just on the other side of the Alps, a temptation too much for Carthage's newest general Hannibal. (Legend says that Hannibal's father made him swear as a boy to always be Rome's enemy)

...Carthage was just getting over paying her fines for the last war, and feeling that sigh of relief and "what shall we do with the money now" syndrome, when Hannibal marched over the Alps with 60,000 men. (Oops, I guess we know were the money went) Carthage's brilliant and daring general invaded the country side around Rome, gathering some 20,000 Gauls into his army. He was such a great general that none could defeat him, during the whole time he stayed in Italy he lost not a single battle. Eventually the Romans fled to their well fortified city and waited for the next generation to grow up and become a new army. (Yes, that's how bad things had gotten)

...Then one day Rome got smart. "Why don't we sail around the peninsula and attack Spain which lies nearly defenseless in Hannibal's absence?" (I say give that guy a medal or something for coming up with such an obvious alternative to doing nothing) So they sailed around to Spain and did to Carthage what Carthage was doing to Rome, terrorized the countryside and forced the citizens to flee for safety in the cities. Soon Carthage itself was under threat.

...On a chessboard the situation would look something like this. Each opponent has outmaneuvered the other and crawled right up next to the king, they are both in check. (Impossible I know, but indulge me) Now one of them has the first move, it is his turn next. If that one is intelligent and lucky he has a piece which can put his opponents king in checkmate and free his king from check at the same time. (Difficult I know) Of course following the rules of chess strictly, your options are probably few or non existent. In fact this situation could only occur if one or both were grossly ignorant, misinformed or unobservant.

...But Rome and Carthage were fighting in real life, they did not need to bow to the rules of chess. If Carthage had been smart she would have ordered Hannibal to attack Rome, which was much weaker than she because of being under siege longer, and perhaps the war would have ended differently. Instead Carthage's fat politicians overreacted in fear and sent for Hannibal to return. So Hannibal lost a golden opportunity to invade Rome; and returned to Carthage where the Roman army was beaten off.

...Not to be outdone, Rome sailed to Spain and captured all of Carthage's territories there. Soon they became the major power of the Mediterranean. A big threat to Carthage, formerly mistress of the seas.

...Thus the double implications of loyalty to ones government officials were publicly displayed. A glaring example which simply screams "help me" from the pages of history. (Alas, we cannot see the future and tell when treason will be loyalty, or loyalty treason) By obeying the summons Hannibal saved himself from a traitors execution, but his choice sealed the death of Carthage along with his own. One day he would die an ignoble untimely death at his own hands. The same could be said of Carthage in a way.

Food for Thought...

"Every Civilization carries the seeds of its own destruction, and the same cycle shows in them all. The Republic is born, flourishes, decays into plutocracy, and is captured by the shoemaker whom the mercenaries and millionaires make into a king. The people invent their oppressors, and the oppressors serve the function for which they are invented."

-Mark Twain

25 July 2008

A Satyrical Summary of the Punic Wars, Part 1

...Punic War No. 1

...The first Punic War lasted from 264-241 B.C. There are many ways to explain or excuse its beginning; but here I intend to rather expose the folly of two nations. Man is greedy for gain, and man is eager for conquest. Why? I wonder why you ask, the answer is obvious. We are a fallen lot and without the transforming power of the Gospel cannot cease to live for ourselves and look out for our own personal interest. I have sympathies with both sides of the war, Carthage and Rome. So the fact that they both had to fight it out to the death like two spoiled children has always been a canker in my side. Although looking at history I can see God's hand at work.

...Carthage and Rome were the two major powers of the time, and they each envied the others land and position. Carthage was in her decline but still had enough spirit left in her to birth several famous generals. Up and coming Rome felt that Carthage had been eminent past its time and should step down to admit a new mistress of the Mediterranean world. (Namely herself)

...One city in particular seemed to draw more quarrels than the rest. It was called Messana and was located in southern Sicily. The reason it was such a bone of contention between them was because near to Messana were Greek colonies, which as everyone knows were allies with Rome. (you knew that right?) The Greek colonies were supposedly fearful that Carthage who owned Messana might attack them sometime. And I guess it was a possability. So they sent to Rome a cry for help.

...At length war broke out; hostile intentions were declared and the first Punic war begun. Although the Romans had little or no experience with ship building or sailing, they put their best foot forward and built a fleet. With this fleet they won a naval battle, and then promptly lost the whole thing to a storm. No matter, they quickly built another one. This one too emerged victorious from battle, and then was lost in another storm. You would think that at this point the Romans might have got the hint, I mean I would be asking, "Is this a sign or something?". But unfortunately for the Carthaginians the Romans were no overly superstitious and built yet another fleet. (The citizens were obviously planning way above the average replacement plan)

...By this time the Romans were experts at ship building I should think, so it is no wonder they won the war. Carthage angrily admitted defeat, at least for the time being, and surrendured Messana. The Romans demanded and indeminity for the war's expenses, which means that Carthage would pay the Roman's royal sums of money to cover the costs of the war. (I bet the Carthaginians were feeling the costs of "three fleets" then, and wishing the war had not lasted quite so long.) An uneasy peace reigned until the next Punic War errupted.

14 July 2008

Hannibal Barca; a guest post from my brother Jay

Hannibal Barca
By James East

...It was early morning and the sun was just mounting over the Spanish hills. Hannibal Barca walked amid the camp of soldiers, who were preparing themselves for the day ahead. Looking for his father among the Carthaginians, Hannibal soon found whom he sought readying himself for a long march. Hamilcar Barca was the general of the Carthaginians in Spain, but you couldn’t tell it from observing him. He eat, slept, and marched just like a common soldier. “We have a long mach before us son, we must reach our destination before nightfall” Said Hamilcar.

...Carthage, a great city in Africa by the Mediterranean, had sent an army to Spain to conquer new lands and slaves. Also Spain was rich in silver, which of course was an added benefit for the corrupt Carthaginian Senate. Hamilcar Barca had been elected to command this large force. Surprisingly, Hamilcar brought his young son Hannibal, who was only nine. But sadly Hamilcar died in 229 and his son in law, Hasdrubal (he had more than one of this name) succeeded him as general.

...Through the next seven years, Hannibal was an immense help to his brother in law, and was a key cause of the expansion and consolidation of Carthaginian rule in Spain. During this time, (about 226) a treaty was made that defined the Ebro River as the territorial line between Carthage and Rome.

... But another tragedy occurred in the Barca family. Hasdrubal, general of the Spanish army, was assassinated. And the army, though grieved at this intelligence, voted a better man into the position. At the mere age of twenty six, Hannibal was elected into the vacated position of general.

... A year after Hannibal’s becoming a general, the town of Saguntum appealed to be included under the Ebro river treaty, and to be put under the protection of Rome. For the people of Saguntum were afraid of the Barcas, and thought that sooner than later they would be on the list of burned cities.Now Saguntum was in the middle of the Spanish empire controlled by Carthage. This being the case, the Romans dived at a chance to stir up another war with their arch enemy.

...For a time Hannibal avoided this turncoat city, but when the Saguntums tried to convince other cities to follow their example, Hannibal retaliated by attacking Saguntum in the spring of 219. Altogether it took him eight months too capture the city, and he was wounded severely in the process. Due to this act of “aggression”, Rome asked the Carthaginians to remove Hannibal from command and punish him. If this was not done, Rome would declare war on Carthage. Fabius, the Roman envoy "…laid his hand on the fold of his toga…and, 'Here,' he said, 'we bring you peace and war. Take which you will.' Scarcely had he spoken when the answer no less proudly rang out: 'Whichever you please, we do not care.' Fabius let the gathered folds fall, and cried: 'We give you war.'

...Thus the Second Punic war began. Hannibal had played no part in the first which completed a few years after he was born, but it seemed he would have a major role in the second. In fact on the Carthaginian side, the war was carried on almost entirely by Hannibal and his brothers Mago and Hasdrubal.

... Now when Hannibal had been very young, his father made him swear enmity to Rome so long as he lived. Since war had been declared, Hannibal wished to place Carthage back in the position of mistress of the world. Since Hannibal was a very intellectually gifted man, and he knew that the Romans would believe him to advance to Rome by the long land route, since the Romans had superiority at sea, but to him time was of the essence, and he wanted to surprise the Romans by taking the path that they would least suspect. So Hannibal determined to invade Italy by crossing that enormous natural barrier that loomed up to the height of the clouds, the Alps. But Rome could not fall, not even if it was burned to the ground, it would be rebuilt, Hannibal’s only chance was to break apart the Italian confederacy, from which Rome drew immense resources. If he could draw most of the Italian to his side then perhaps, just perhaps, he could finally destroy Rome.

... Hannibal ensured that Spain and Africa would be safe in his absence. So he left 16,000 Spanish troops in Africa, and 16,000 African troops in Spain. He also received promises of support from the Gauls of northern Italy, who hated the Romans and all who were allies with them.

... In spring of 218, having prepared everything, Hannibal set out across the Ebro River with a force that consisted of, according to Polybius, 90,000 infantry, 12,000 cavalry and roughly 34 war elephants. Aware that the Romans would soon be arriving in Spain, Hannibal left 20,000 of his troops with his brother Hasdrubal, this same brother was also made general in Spain.

...Hasdrubal however, was unfortunate in that most of the veteran officers and troops went with Hannibal, while he was given command of mostly fresh recruits. But, though not given veterans, Hasdrubal still had a significant job. He was to protect Spain, and raise supplementary forces with which to invade Italy and reinforce Hannibal’s army with, when he was permitted to by the Carthaginian senate.

...In late spring of 218, Hannibal swiftly marched through and subjugated most of northern Spain. After doing so, he left Hanno with 10,000 infantry and 1,000 cavalry to hold the area with, and he also sent the same number of Spanish troops home. Now, having but 50,000 infantry and 9,000 cavalry, Hannibal headed toward the Rhone River.

...After crossing the Pyrenees, where he met stiff resistance from native tribes, Hannibal passed into Transalpine Gaul. By the time he reached the Rhone, Hannibal’s Spanish troops were greatly diminished in number, due to desertion and opposition. During the crossing of the Rhone, hostile tribes were seen on the opposite side, so Hannibal sent a body of men to cross further upstream and attack these savages in the rear.

...During all of this time Rome had not been idle, two armies had been formed, one under Consul P. Cornelius Scipio, for the attack on Hannibal, the other under Consul T. Sempronius, for the invasion of Africa. But Scipio was delayed by an uprising of the Boian and Insubrian Gauls. Thus Lucius Manlius, a Praetor, took Scipio’s army to protect the Po River against any uprising of the Gauls, thus Scipio had to wait in Rome for another army to be raised levied for him to command. Once this new army was levied, Scipio sailed with it to Massilia. Once he arrived at the Rhone, Scipio found that he had missed Hannibal by but a few days, and that the Carthaginian was marching northward. Now understanding what Hannibal intended Scipio sent his brother, who had accompanied him thus far, on to Spain while he returned to Rome to await Hannibal.

...The Carthaginian force approached the Alps by either the Col de Grimone or the Col de Cabre, passing into the upper Po basin, entering the hostile Taurini territory, where Hannibal razed the chief town. As they drove on up the mountains, they met with upon the soldiers, and the rear of the army was often harassed. Though he had Gallic guides, Hannibal began to mistrust their loyalty. Snow now fell heavily, and some slipped upon the ice from the year before and fell to their ruin. Against the opposing tribes, Hannibal took countermeasures, but these involved him in heavy losses in men. Though they captured a town and so replenished their provisions, still the going became more difficult.

...Finally, after 15 days what was left of Hannibal’s force descended into Italy, there remained but 20,000 infantry and 6,000 cavalry. And of the 34 war elephants but a few survived the icy crossing of the Alps. But five months ago the Carthaginians had set out upon this seemingly ill fated campaign; however prospects were lightened by the recruiting of around 4,000 Gauls. It was late fall of 218 and Hannibal had succeeded in finding a road to Rome, but now he did not have enough men to risk facing P. Cornelius Scipio (Scipio Africanus father). And so Hannibal worked on strengthening his force, namely bribing, pressing, and recruiting Gauls, Celts, and Ligurian tribes to his cause. Now, after this run of politics, Hannibal’s entire force numbered about 40,000 including cavalry and different tribes.

...In November the first battle against in Italy against Rome occurred, but it was mainly a cavalry encounter called the battle of the Ticinus River. It was fought north of the left bank of the Po, between the Sesia and Ticinus Rivers. The forces engaged were minimal, being about 8,000 per side. Hannibal placed his heavy cavalry in the centre and his Numidian light cavalry on the flanks. When this force charged, they enveloped the Roman cavalry, who were badly beaten and Scipio was wounded and forced to retreat. So the Romans withdrew to Placentia. This victory brought many more Gauls, some of whom had formally been Scipio’s allies. Again Scipio was forced to retreat, this time to the Trebbia River, where in December he joined with by Titus Sempronius Longus and his two legions. While Scipio was still recovering of his wounds, Sempronius was aching for a battle. Hannibal heard of this impatience and made a plan to take advantage of Sempronius.

...Another battle was in the making, Hannibal sent Mago, one of his brothers, with 1,000 men and 1,000 cavalry to hide among the streambeds along the Trebbia, and to make preparations to ambuscade the Romans. The next morning Hannibal sent his Numidian cavalry to harass the Roman camp. Meanwhile the rest of the army had breakfast and rubbed themselves down with oil to protect against the cold.

...Of course Sempronius fell for the cavalry bait and hastily mustered his force and gave chase to the Numidian cavalry, with not only his cavalry but infantry also, with out even allowing his men to eat. Unknown to the Romans, a little distance beyond the river was a screen of 8,000 light infantry behind which was a battle line of 20,000 African, Gallic and Spanish troops. Also there were around. 10,000 cavalry and elephants divided between the two flanks. Sempronius had roughly 16,000 Romans, 20,000 Italian allies, and was supported on his flanks by 4,000 cavalry and upwards of 3,000 Gauls.

...The velites (Roman skirmish infantry) first came into contact with the unexpected Carthaginian light infantry, but the velites performed badly and were withdrawn. Next the Roman legions advanced, while the Carthaginian elephants, cavalry and light infantry fell on the Roman cavalry, which, since outnumbered, broke ranks and fled pursued by Carthaginian cavalry, while the light infantry and elephants attacked the main Roman body. Though the velites drove of the elephants, the Romans could not pierce the main Carthaginian centre. And now to finish of any Roman morale, already lessened by cold, fatigue, hunger and lack of success, Mago and his body of men burst out of hiding and attacked the Roman rear. Now the Roman wings broke ranks and fled across the river, in which many drowned. But Sempronius with 10,000 managed to cut their way out of the death trap and make their way to Placenta. That night Scipio took the remainder of his army to Cremona and Placenta.

...Altogether Roman losses totaled approximately 15,000-20,000, whereas Hannibal lost but a few Gauls. But soon after the battle all but one of the elephants died of their wounds and the cold. But winter was coming on, and the season for Campaigning was over, so after recruiting a few more Gauls Hannibal and his men went into winter quarters.

...After a freezing winter, Hannibal, in the spring of 217, was able to advance to the river Arno and from there march toward the Apennine Mountains. This year the Roman Consuls were Gaius Flaminus and Servilus Geminus. Before he could cross the Apennines, Hannibal must outmaneuver these two generals and their armies, which he did by getting in between there two positions thus cutting them of from each other.

... Now Flaminus was very rash and headstrong, and Hannibal knew this through his spies, and so he devised another ambush to take advantage of this Roman impatience. This trap would be much greater than the one at Trebbia; it would be positioned near Lake Trasimene, a perfect area to waylay another army, since there where plenty of hills behind which an entire army could lay in wait undetected and unsuspected.

... Soon this plan was carried into action when in late spring in early morning the Consul Flaminus ordered his men to pursue the Carthaginians into the region of Lake Trasimene. But unknown to Flaminus, the night before Hannibal had commanded his men to light fires on the hills of Tuoro that the Romans might think his forces there. But Hannibal’s real position was at a point were the Romans would pass through on their way to were the fires had been seen the night before, and the Carthaginian force was laid out in such a way that it could surround the Roman and force them into the lake.

...The Romans marched in thick fog (which just aided the Carthaginians), heading right into the trap made for them. Abruptly out of the mist a trumpet was heard, it was answered by many more and the sound of countless rushing feet was added to the already deafening din of trumpets. Charging through the haze Hannibal’s force burst upon the Romans, who did not have time to form proper ranks before they received the impact of the charge and were enclosed. Slowly the Romans were driven back towards Lake Trasimene, until soon it was no longer a battle but a mass butchery of the Romans. The Gauls killed all they could of their former masters without pity, in remembrance of thepunishments they had received at the hands of the Romans.

... Of the 25,000 that broke camp that morning, at least 15,000 were killed, even Flaminus, the general, was among the slain. Also the army of 4,000 sent to reinforce Flaminus was utterly decimated en route. All in all about 10,000 Romans managed to escape by breaking through the opposing lines.

...Such was the panic of the Roman people that they appointed a dictator in the 217, Quintus Fabius Maximus, who was not rash like most of the other Roman leaders, but used guerilla tactics, and took great pains to preserve the Italian confederacy. This method was the best of all the ones used so far, but it was not successful in Rome, since it did not create any enthusiasm amongst the populace.

... Now that the path over the Apennines was cleared, Hannibal crossed them with but little inconvenience, though in the passage Hannibal lost the sight in one eye due to an infection. Now on the other side of the Apennines, Hannibal ravaged the fertile Apulia and Campania. Though Hannibal could have marched on to Rome, it would have been foolhardy to attack such a city without proper siege equipment, and Hannibal still had to dissolve the Italian confederacy and so crush Rome though politics, not war which was all but futile.

... In 216 the dictatorship of Fabius ended, and the new Consuls were Gaius Terentius Varro and Lucias Aemilius Paullus. These Consuls were in favor of real fighting, and were given an army twice the size of Hannibal’s. Once the season for campaigns opened, Hannibal captured an army supply depot at Cannae. Soon one of history’s greatest battles was to be fought near this town.

...By the time of this battle, which occurred in early August of 216, one of Hannibal’s great tactical advantages died, literally, all of the elephants were now deceased. The Carthaginians now stood on the Apulian plain facing west. Opposite of them stood the Roman force commanded by G.T. Varro whose turn it was to command( the consuls took turns commanding this enormous army, every day they would switch being the general). Perhaps if it had not been Varro’s day to command, this battle would never have happened, since Paullus was against any confrontation where Hannibal’s cavalry would have favorable ground. But it was Varro’s day to command so the battle did come to pass.

...Both armies advanced on each other, and Hannibal’s cavalry defeated the Roman cavalry, which was less in number. The infantry now hastened to attack, the Romans infantry was much greater than Hannibal’s, which numbered but 35,000.Also the legionaries of the Romans were of much better quality than the rag tag Carthaginian force, which consisted of Gauls, mercenaries, and African levies, most of which spoke a different language than they’re comrades in arms

...After a short time the Romans began to slowly, ever slowly force their foes back, but they forgotten or did not notice that Hannibal’s cavalry, which had pursued the Roman cavalry past Varro’s flanks, were now but a short distance behind. The Romans pushed forward so viciously that the Carthaginians now were shaped like a giant U with the Romans like a V forcing through them. But now those who thought that a Roman victory was in sight were astounded when the cavalry that still hovered by the Roman flanks and rear, charged while at the same time the Carthaginian infantry gathered and attacked with redoubled fury. Now tables were turned and the Romans were completely surrounded and fought to the last, for the soldiers preferred to die with their foe before them than receive ridicule in Rome. C.T. Varro left the battle with a handful of cavalry and light infantry, while the brave Paullus took command. Soon the Romans broke ranks and fled, and were pursued and hamstrung (crippled and left to be killed later).

...Finally the slaughter ceased and what was left of the Roman army was captured. By the end of the day 50,000 Romans were dead, and but 15,000 managed to escape, and the rest were captured. Only 6,000 of Hannibal’s force died that day, and these losses consisted mostly of Gauls and Iberians. Rome had suffered her largest defeat in battle. Hannibal had won this battle by a double envelopment maneuver, which allows a smaller force to decimate a larger one, but it is a risky tactic, since if the enemy is prepared for it than you will be the one decimated, not him.

...When the news was brought to Rome it was first me with disbelief than terror when the news was proven correct. Hannibal was certainly the greatest threat than ever before to the Romans. For the second time in this war the Romans appointed a dictator, M. Junius Pera. Once more the Romans resorted to harassment tactics against Hannibal, and astoundingly the Romans were now more united and purposed then they had been before their great defeat.

...Though Hannibal had won a great battle, as after Trasimene, and for the same reason as after Trasimene, it was not enough to merit a march against Rome, which still commanded a large supply of resources and troops. Now Hannibal’s entire war against Rome relied on two things, receiving help and reinforcements from Carthage, and causing some of Rome’s allies to defect so his side. Hannibal now put the political side of his nature to work, and was soon rewarded greatly when a large city, Capua, cast her lot with Hannibal. This was an excellent fortune, so also was that the Carthaginian senate decided to aid both Hannibal’s invasion in Italy and in the defense of Spain (no doubt they had their own ambitions in mind when they made this decision).

...During this time, the Romans had decided that they would never give up, but would fight to the last man, and the word “peace” was forbidden to be spoken. The Romans even went so far as to release slaves, criminals, and debtors to recruit into their army (a very un-Roman thing to do), which was starting to grow strong again. But though the good news was heard that Hannibal did not intend to march on Rome, this was countered by the reports that Sicily was being attacked by two Carthaginian armies, and their ally Heiro King of Syracuse lands were being ravaged. Help, though little, was soon sent to Sicily.

...About this time Hannibal received reinforcement from Carthage, though it was not much, and a few more towns defected to Hannibal’s cause, but what Hannibal really wanted was the town Nola. But Hannibal was unable to capture Nola since Marcus Claudius Marcellus, an old but wise Roman general, was able to force to leave the vicinity of the city. Marcellus was one of the first truly intelligent generals that Hannibal had to face.

...Once again Hannibal was harassed by that old fox Fabius, and so Hannibal departed the region and passed into Campania. And here it was that Fabius got the chance he was waiting for, he managed to box Hannibal up in a canyon that because of steep and broken ground was unfavorable for cavalry and determined to give battle the next morning. For almost all of Hannibal’s victories had been for the reason that Hannibal had superior cavalry both in numbers and quality than that of the Romans.

...But since he could not use his cavalry effectively here Hannibal decided that some how he must retreat, which he did by taking several thousand cattle and tying torches to their horns and sent them towards the Roman army. The Roman sentries believed that the Carthaginians were attacking them in the night and in the confusion that followed Hannibal and his army escaped in the darkness. But Hannibal’s army was starting to wane in power, while the Romans slowly but surely gained the upper hand.

...What Hannibal needed was more reinforcement and straight out battle, but the Romans had different ideas. Always Hannibal’s foragers were in fear that suddenly they would be attacked and slain and little rest did the army get for they were followed continually and the stragglers were often assaulted by a foe that left as soon as assistance came to their victims. But in spite of this slight comfort came with the reports in 215 that Sicily had surrendered to Carthaginian rule after Heiro died, and his son gladly joined theCarthaginian side.

...Some success smiled on Hannibal, and in 214-212 most of the southern Italian cities joined him. But in the north Capua was put under blockade, and when Hannibal sent a relief force it was repelled. And also Marcellus went with two legions to Sicily to subdue the rebellion there, and this freed up Hannibal’s mobility.

...But in Italy ill was afoot for the Carthaginians, Marcellus after a long siege captured Syracuse and defeated Carthaginian presence there. In 210 the final Carthaginian forces in Sicily were mopped up. It would have been much better if the Carthaginian senate had chosen to send their armies to Hannibal instead of Sicily.

...But a few battles were in store for Hannibal in Italy, the first of which being Herdonea, a city which was under siege. When Hannibal was informed of this and that soon the people of this city might surrender, he left his baggage train behind and went on with full speed. The Romans were taken completely by surprise, and 16,000 were killed before the rest escaped. After this engagement Hannibal fought a long and indecisive battle that resulted in a tactical draw, the opposing general being none other than Marcellus, who had returned to Italy after subduing Sicily, after this draw followed the retreating Hannibal the next morning.

... It was now spring of 209, and finally a large battle was to be fought, before which Hannibal was already weakened by the defection of a great sum of his Numidian and Spanish cavalry to the Romans. Hannibal fought a long and indecisive battle that resulted in a tactical draw, the opposing general being none other than Marcellus, who had returned to Italy after subduing Sicily, after this draw followed the retreating Hannibal the next morning.

...That night when Hannibal attempted to set up camp the harassment that he had been receiving almost all that day from his former cavalry, escalated into a battle which ended with nightfall. But on the next day Hannibal was victorious when the eighteenth Roman legion broke ranks and caused panic among the rest of Marcellus’s army. But on the third day of the battle Hannibal army was forced to return to its camp with the losses of 5 elephants (these were received with the reinforcement from Carthage) and 8,000 men. During the night the Carthaginians retreated and, but Marcellus felt unable to follow because of his losses, but he did send scouts to monitor Hannibal’s dwindling force.

...In 207 Hasdrubal, Hannibal’s brother, arrived in Italy by way of the Alps. The brothers arranged to meet in Umbria, but some of their messengers were intercepted and Hasdrubal was moved upon by several Roman armies, which numbered about 40,000. This Roman force attacked and defeated Hasdrubal’s army of 30,000. Hasdrubal was among the 20,000 slain, and his head was catapulted into Hannibal’s camp.

...Now that this last hope of reinforcement was dashed, Hannibal consolidated all that was left his army in Bruttium. In this place he was able to hold back the Romans four years. Now Hannibal but hoped to live and at least for a time he put his dream of sacking Rome away

... Then in 203 Hannibal was recalled to defend Carthage from Scipio (later Africanus) who was planning to invade Africa. But it took Hannibal two years to maneuver to a port from which he could sail to Africa. When he arrived on his native shore, of his army remained but 12,000 veterans. Hannibal had been in Italy for fifteen years, in hostile territory, and had received but little assistance from Carthage. Now he found that peace had been made with Rome, but his arrival caused the Carthaginians to repent of their surrender and again war was declared. And this time Numidia was on the Roman side, and so was the invaluable Numidian cavalry, and, though some were still loyal to Carthage, a number of other African tribes had defected to Rome.

... In the region of Zama near the Bagradas River in 202, Scipio was in a difficult position, for he needed to group up with his new ally, the Numidians who were under Masinissa that he might receive the cavalry that they brought to supplement his infantry. However Hannibal’s army was between the Scipio and Masinissa, for of course Hannibal did not wish that the Roman forces be combined. But Scipio managed a brilliant maneuver and was able to force Hannibal out of his fortified position, which he did by threatening Carthage. Hannibal with 45,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalry marched toward Scipio to prevent Scipio from attacking the capitol. After making camp, Hannibal sent out spies to discover the strength of Scipio’s army. But these spies were captured, and astonishingly instead of killing them, Scipio had the spies shown around his camp and then released. For Scipio wished Hannibal to think that he was short on cavalry, when really Masinissa would be arriving with his cavalry in two days.

...Now after the two armies were drawn up in battle formation Hannibal and Scipio met in a parley, in which Hannibal offered surrender of all the places which Rome and Carthage had before been in debate over (Sardinia, Sicily, and Spain), and all of the islands between Carthage and Rome, and a promise that Carthage would never make war on Rome. Scipio however did not except these terms and so purchased another day, and the next morning Masinissa arrived with 6,000 cavalry and 4,000 infantry. Now Scipio entire force numbered approximately 34,000 infantry and 9,000 cavalry, while Hannibal had 40,000 infantry and 4,000 cavalry.

...Though it may be a legend, It is told, too, that they ( Hannibal and Scipio) had another meeting afterwards, at Ephesus, and that when Hannibal, as they were walking together, took the upper hand, Africanus let it pass, and walked on without the least notice of it; and that then they began to talk of generals, and Hannibal affirmed that Alexander was the greatest commander the world had seen, next to him Pyrrhus, and the third was himself; Africanus, with a smile, asked, "What would you have said, if I had not defeated you?" "I would not then, Scipio," he replied, "have made myself the third, but the first commander." ‘(Plutarch - Life of Flamininus).

...It was a featureless plain that Scipio chose as the location for the battle, but this plain had but one major water source, which forced the Carthaginians to forage farther to gain water. Another fallback for Hannibal was that his force was made up from mostly new recruits, except his veterans from Italy which were nicknamed the Old Guard and he had less than usual cavalry, while Scipio on the other hand had a well trained infantry and a massive and well equipped cavalry.

...In this battle as in others Hannibal attempted to use the double envelopment maneuver on Scipio, but since his cavalry was inferior he used them as bait to draw the opposing cavalry away from the battle. After doing this Hannibal sent 80 war elephants in a long line towards the Romans, this must have been a terrifying sight, but the Romans were able to turn back most of the elephants by scaring them by banging swords on shields and firing arrows at them. Scipio however did almost exactly what Hannibal did at Cannae, first he sent his cavalry in pursuit of the opposing cavalry past Hannibal’s flanks, after defeating the Carthaginian cavalry the Scipio’s changed course back toward the field of battle. In the meantime the infantry lines were preparing to clash. Hannibal’s front line was composed of Gauls and Ligurians, the second was mostly new African recruits, and the final line was the Old Guard. Scipio’s lines were made up in three lines also, but there was more distance between the lines then there was between Hannibal’s lines.

... Once the infantry of these opposing armies came into contact the first Roman line drove the first Carthaginian line into the second Carthaginian line, which would not allow the first line to pass into their ranks so that what was left of the first Carthaginian line went to the flanks of the second Carthaginian line. The same thing happened to second Carthaginian line which after the Old Guard would not let them into their ranks they passed to the flanks. But the Romans were unable to pierce or force back the Old Guard. So Scipio withdrew a short distance and rearranged his troops so that it was now one long line, and though Hannibal did the same the Roman line was longer since they had lost less men. Now when the Romans again came upon the Carthaginians the remainders of the first and second Carthaginian lines were beaten back though as before the Old Guard would not yield.

...But now disaster struck Hannibal when Masinissa came with his cavalry and fell upon the Carthaginian rear, the result was the same as it had been at Cannae, only instead of the Romans receiving the massive losses it was Hannibal. Overall the Carthaginian losses amounted to 20,000 dead, 15,000 captured, while the Roman losses where but a mere 1,500 dead and 4,000 wounded. Hannibal left the field with but a small escort of his troops, and he strongly advised the Carthaginians to get the best terms they could and surrender. And since the battle of Zama left it helpless, so in 201 Carthage surrendered to Rome.

...The terms of Surrender were not as good as those offered before Hannibal’s return to Africa, but still they were not cruel. Spain was to be given to Rome as well as all other countries Carthage had outside Africa, all but ten of the Carthaginian warships were to be given to Rome, as well as all of Carthage’s elephants were to be handed over and finally every year for fifty years Carthage would pay 10,000 talents to Rome. Also Carthage could never make war with Rome, and never could make war anywhere except in Africa and only with Rome’s consent, and Masinissa would receive all the lands of his forefathers.

...On the whole Hannibal had spent 15 years in Italy, and he was said to have slain three hundred thousand in battle and have destroyed four hundred cities, but he accomplished little if any good. But Scipio was awarded the honorary title Africanus (conqueror of Africa) for the service he gave to Rome in that country. But it shows Hannibal’s courage in that even now he did not give up the hope that he might be able to destroy Rome.

... Though he had not been in Carthage for 35 years Hannibal was made Shophet (chief magistrate) of the city. And the time he spent in this position was mostly spent in making many changes for the best, but in doing so Hannibal made enemies of a great deal of nobles who were jealous of Hannibal’s popularity. These nobles exacted their revenge by accusing Hannibal of inciting Antiochus III of Syria to take up arms against the Romans, a lie which the Romans believed, though it may have been out of their spite for Hannibal.

...So Hannibal fled to the court of Antiochus deciding that since he was accused of stirring up Antiochus he might as well help the Syrian in his war on Rome. But Scipio came to the court of Antiochus also and was able to make Antiochus suspect Hannibal of having secret conversation with him. And also Antiochus was envious of Hannibal’s fame and popularity, so he sent Hannibal to raise a fleet in Phoenicia.

... And so for a short time Hannibal became an admiral, but in truth Hannibal was no seamen and this was shown by his defeat he received from the Romans off Side, in Pamphylia. And shortly after this Antiochus was defeated in a land battle by both Scipio Africanus and Scipio’s brother Lucius. But unfortunately when Antiochus surrendered, one of the terms was that Hannibal should be handed over.

...Though opinions vary, Hannibal is thought to have now fled to Armenia in 189 where he helped build a city called Artashat in his gratitude to the king of that country. But it is certain that Hannibal went to the king Prusias of Bithynia in 185. This king was at war with Rome’s ally Pergamum. And Hannibal helped Prusias fight this war and he gained a great victory at sea where he used the first example of biological warfare when he had cauldrons of snakes thrown aboard the enemy ships. Finally a victory among many defeats, but Hannibal was but a shadow of his former glory, and like a beast that could not escape from its hunters, a haggard old man devoid of cheer. But on that day when he won his last victory as he strode among his soldiers he remembered long ago in his youth that he had done likewise before he had carried all the care, worry, and responsibility of being a general.


Somehow the Romans came into position to demand that Prusias give Hannibal to them. To evade the dishonor of being captured, Hannibal at the age of sixty four killed himself by poison. But his military tactics are still taught at academies today. Even though Hannibal taught them most of their basic knowledge of strategy and tactics, the Romans always remembered him as the best of the foes they ever faced. The world will remember Hannibal as one of the greatest generals of all time.