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The Roman state existed in practice for XIII centuries, being the power which was impacting the history. Therefore, I decided that I would tell the history of ancient Rome in the articles below, which will not necessarily cover only the Eternal City.

I encourage you to send articles and point out any corrections or inaccuracies.

Gracchi reforms

In the second half of the second century BCE, a crisis was growing in Roman society, caused by rapid changes after the conquests. The incredible territorial development of the Roman state allowed high social groups to increase their wealth at the expense of the poorer strata.

Gracchi brothers

Hostilities in Sardinia during Second Punic War. Rise of Ampsicora

At the end of 216 BCE, the strategic position of the Romans was not interesting. Barkida operated in Campania, and the second army, led by Hanno son of Bomilcar, operated in Bruttium. In response, the Republic recruited masses of troops; but in many cases, they were untrained recruits. Some southern Italian cities went over to Hannibal’s side, seeing the defeats of Rome. In addition, Hannibal’s countrymen from the motherland came to the aid of Hannibal in Italy, who sent Magon with 12,000 infantry, 1,500 cavalry and 20 elephants to the Apennines.

Roman soldiers from the 3rd-2nd century BCE

Two times Brutus

Over the dying Julius Caesar did not stand his longtime enemies or sworn defenders of the rights of the crumbling Republic. The consuls appointed by him, governors, commanders fighting at his side from Gaul to Africa, as well as close friends, reached for daggers. Among them stood Brutus, or rather two Brutus – Marcus and Decimius. The history of both politicians shows how different paths led to the conspiracy against Caesar.

Decimius Brutus' denarius showing the consul Aulus Postumius Albinus, his ancestor

Domitian and story of love triangle

Caesar Domitian did not go down in the history books very well. It is possible that he contributed to the death of his brother, Emperor Titus, persecuted Christians and, in addition, lived in a triangle, sharing feelings with his wife and … niece.

Julia Titi

Capture and plunder of Rome by Vandals in 455 CE

Rome! Eternal City! The capital of the world empire and its heart even when Rome was not officially the seat of Roman emperors. Over a thousand-year history of the Roman state, i.e. from 753 BCE (the legendary year of the foundation of the city by Romulus) to 476 CE (the year considered the fall of the Western Roman Empire), the Eternal City was captured and plundered by barbarians three times.

Painting by Karl Bryullov entitled Genseric sacking Rome 455

Gardens and gardening in ancient Rome

Development of Roman gardens (horti) was greatly influenced by Greek culture. The impact of the Greek style was first due to the gardens of Magna Graecia and Sicily. Then the East began to play a role, along with conquests and numerous contacts. Territorial gains under the Republic led to the accumulation of wealth in the hands of an influential elite who developed their great estates, including gardens.

Getty Villa - a unique antique museum

Persecution of Christians in ancient Rome

Romans were very attached to their religion. Making sacrifices to the pantheon of gods had not only religious significance but was also a sign of belonging to a particular social group. This faith, although very formalistic, was shaped over the centuries, initially taking over the beliefs of the Etruscans and Greeks, and finally basing its values ​​​​on the preaching of the cult of the emperor and transferring the Eastern culture to Rome.

Christian dirce, painting by Henryk Siemiradzki

About Caligula, who had madness written on his face

Caligula is a particularly important ruler for the study of the descriptions of the appearance of emperors in the works of Suetonius because his body was supposed to clearly reflect the nature of the emperor. The features of the ruler’s disposition (e.g. lust and madness) were not only to be shown through specific events in his life but also manifested in his appearance (Suet. Cal. 50.1 -3).


Phalanx in Caracalla’s army?

In the history of the Roman army, the phalanx was nothing new. This system was adopted by the Etruscans in the early period of Rome’s existence. During the second war with the Samnites, the greatest disadvantages of this formation were revealed, namely the lack of manoeuvrability. The Romans decided to move away from the phalanx after the infamous battle in the Caudine Forks, in favour of a manipulative order.

Alexander the Great’s influence on the emperor

Silhouette of a Roman soldier fighting Parthians as phalangaria

If we were to indicate the greatest authority of Caracalla, it would certainly be Alexander the Great. The emperor was so fascinated by the figure of the Macedonian king that he wanted to connect Rome with Parthia by marrying the daughter of Artaban IV, but he was refused, which resulted in new wars. So it was only a matter of time before the crazy emperor created his own phalanx.
Cassius Dio says that in 217, Caracalla, preparing for the war, formed a phalanx consisting of about 16,000 people from Macedonia and armed in the ancient way (pikes and linen armour). Herodian confirms Dion’s account and adds that a similar unit of Spartan phalanxes was formed.

Real image of the imperial phalangaria

The tombstones of the Spartan phalangites have survived to this day, such as the one above belonging to Aurelius Alexianus. The soldier depicted is armed with: lorica segmentata, a mid-length sword commonly used in the 3rd century CE, an oval shield that will begin to replace the cylindrical scutum, the traditional Spartan, pilos and club – a symbol of Heracles or fustis – in the 3rd century CE.
Alexianus’ armament is therefore typical of a legionary of the first half of the 3rd century, and there is no indication that the legions or auxiliary troops changed their tactics.

Therefore, one can guess that Caracalla, going to war with the Parthians, wanted to match Alexander, who conquered the east thanks to the phalanx.
The “Macedonians” of the emperor were most likely praetorians and II Parthica legionnaires from Macedonia and Thrace. Numbers close to 15/16 thousand soldiers would be true. Reference to pikes may refer to spears or pila, and cloth cuirass to thoracomachus or subarmilis, quilted caftans worn under armour. Alexander Severus, who was at war with the Parthians in 231-233, also had his own phalanx, but this too was not armed in the ancient Macedonian manner:

Finally, he provided himself with soldiers armed with silver shields and with golden, and also a phalanx of thirty thousand men, whom he ordered to be called phalangarii, and with these he won many victories in Persia. This phalanx, as a matter of fact, was formed from six legions, and was armed like the other troops, but after the Persian wars received higher pay.

Historia Augusta, Alexander Severus

Real image of imperial phalangaria

Most likely, the II Parthica legion was the only composed of the phalanx, since it was the only legion that made up the entire field army. The Historia Augusta and the image of Alexianus on the tombstone prove that the phalanx was just an honorary title given to a unit fighting in the East, imitating the deeds of Alexander the Great.

Coin with the image of Caracalla

Baths – place of relaxation and rest for ancient Romans

The ancient Romans created a very developed culture. They conquered huge areas and where they settled, they introduced their customs. To this day, we can admire their technological achievements preserved in the form of monuments. Their greatest achievements certainly include thermal baths, also known as baths. They were a place of meetings and numerous entertainments. However, their most important function was to take care of hygiene.

Tunisia - Carthage

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