Roman Empire Lecture
Lisa M. Lane 2008
Creative Commons License
The text and audio by Lisa M. Lane is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Lisahistory: The Roman Empire


>> Alright so we do that, right?

>> Wow, that's hard to see. How's that? Is that alright, just turn off the front light, okay. Alright that's it.

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> Okay, are you impressed that it's this big.

>> Oh it's usually a little bigger.

>> Usually a little bigger. We kinda create out areas, our areas where there was significant level of control. So, it's actually a little bigger than this. This isn't at its maximum extent. I'd say this is at its maximum operational extent, if you put it that way, so the last time it worked, it looked like this. Notice what other empires have been absorbed here that we've already learned about?

>> Greek.

>> So the entire Greek and a significant portion of the Hellenistic empire, not the whole eastern part, just some, okay, quite a bit a degree.

>> Carthage.

>> I'm sorry.

>> Carthage.

>> Yes, and Carthage of course which was destroyed, that it's taken over. And so the entire area of North Africa and Spain which was the area Carthage controlled is also part of this empire. Yeah?

>> When did the Spartans and Athenians start like when did they dissolve? And like were they still calling themselves Athenians and Spartans during this period?

>> Not really. The Hellenistic thing, the take over of essentially Macedonia, the conquest of both of them by Macedonia, meant they have little more in common than they had before. And as a result of the Hellenistic cross-cultural contact that we saw before, people primarily began referring to themselves as members of a particular city and yet it didn't have that same idea of city state. The people would still say, I'm so and so from Athens, or I'm so and so from Sparta, but they meant the actual physical location when they said that rather than the whole culture.

>> Yeah, and so it's much like a modern contemporary analogy would be like Scotland and England. I'm Scottish you know but it's like still part of the UK but they're still congregated, that sort of thing. I mean the Romans were viewed [inaudible] as a free culture, I mean, there was one general who burned down the city in Greece, who just like made them angry but he made sure to preserve all the temples and statues 'cause he love their artworks.

>> Yeah.

>> They were huge fans and the Greeks have this contempt with the Romans but the Romans still [inaudible].

>> Actually, I wonder why we don't have the caliber of general that gets all the antiquities in Iraq that need to be prepared that, it just makes me think of that but yeah.

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> Yeah, absolutely. Yes?

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> What language is this?

>> The map.

>> Oh, the map itself is attempting to be Latin for the most part of this. Yeah and the little V's would be pronounced like U's and yeah, so it's a Latin map with Roman. They wouldn't have had something that looked exactly like this but it's an effort to do that. Yup?

>> I noticed [inaudible]. Like well, what did that mean?

>> The middle sea, and that's where Mediterranean comes from just the middle sea.

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> Yes, our lake and that wasn't supposed to be on the map, right? But yeah, that is what they called it and lot of people--other--that term primarily comes from non-Romans who called it the Roman way. Yeah, but that wouldn't be on the map though, so it's unofficial.

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> Yes it's very much so, very much so. So it's very large and it has a great many cultures and but what I want you to notice mostly here is how long the frontier is. And if you had to draw it, right if you had to draw the perimeter of the empire, I think that gives you a clue into one of the difficulties of keeping this place together. Even without geographic designations, even without the mountains and all of that because they think they're not on this map. Even without geographic barriers, I think it's easy to see this place is huge and the frontier is very, very long, and very difficult to maintain. So the question is, how did they manage it, you can't have the Roman army at every edge of the entire empire so how do you do this.

>> I remember [inaudible] talking about they have portions along the borderline and then they would have huge amounts of their armies like on strategic locations, like behind the fortifications. So they could easily send those guys in different parts of the border--

>> What guy, which guys?

>> Are you talking about the army or--

>> Guys from where, yeah, well the army itself, when you're sending guys from behind those fortifications. Who are you sending, Will?

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> Yeah, and where did lot of those auxiliary units come from?

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> Right, I think it's important to realize that a lot of the edges, the frontiers of the empire are defended by the people who were conquered. I'm not suggesting disloyalty here. On the contrary, many of them were quite pleased to have been given steady work. But there is a certain barbaric element, shall we say, defending the edges of the empire against the barbarians just on the other side of those fortifications. Yes?

>> [Inaudible] empires is usually around the 1st, 2nd [inaudible] early or the middle 3rd century--

>> Yeah, early.

>> --A.D. or A.D. whatever. [Inaudible] The auxiliary system is focused around recruiting people from specific areas and then they just--they try and deploy from the other side of the empire in case disloyalty, for example, might just break in just around the [inaudible] area. They have big battles with the Romans there and the Romans recruited a few [inaudible] to refresh their skills and then--

>> And then move them somewhere else. Yes, same sort of thing that they did in World War II with sending say, Japanese-American soldiers to go fight in Germany. The idea that you don't want them fighting against their own people and yet, although that was the ideal, it didn't always happen because that's a very expensive way to run an operation, shipping everybody all around because you are afraid of disloyalty. And a lot of these groups then thrived along the edges of the empire, particularly the Germanic edges of the empire, were at pain to prove to the Romans that they would be good soldiers and good workers at the edges of that empire, because the people on the other side, they were never friends with anyone. So there was a lot of use of local, of barbarians as well when they didn't, especially near the end when they really weren't able to pay for all the shifting. It became an inefficient way of doing things. Complicated systems, now. If this were--I want to show you a little bit, a modern interpretation of the Roman military but I'm not sure whether [inaudible]. Okay. The big issue of a big empire, these are the things I'm gonna cover today. The emperors, I'll cover very briefly. The technology, we'll get into this on detail. The city of Rome itself, a little bit of detail, the barbarians, mirror comparison and an image of the influences that came into Christianity. So that's where we're going. The emperors themselves, we've already spoke about the controversy as to whether Julius Caesar or Augustus Caesar was the first emperor. Once you get passed that issue, what you have is the reign of the Julio-Claudian.

[ Pause ]

>> So that's the imperial throne in the family. And as you get near the end of the list you can look up a list of Roman empires anywhere you like. You get a certain amount of insanity and unpredictability in their leadership. This is particularly true of course near the ending days of the empire but there were even examples of it earlier. Imperial power was very much absolute even while the senate was still around. They essentially became yes man to the emperor who rewarded them accordingly. So it really is, I thought this picture would give this woman you know supplicant, begging the emperor for something, it was that kind of power. You can see just how much he cares by his posture, right. And this guy here that does appear as Nero about whom there are fable that while Rome caught fire, he was just fiddling around. He actually didn't have a fiddle. That instrument hadn't been invented yet. It was a lire and he loved to play it. And he insisted--he gave command performances which was kind of different than being commanded to play. He commanded you to come and listen and he would--he played in this big arena and people would have to come and they were required to come and listen to him.

>> He was really bad by all report and he'd go on for hours playing and singing and playing and singing, and you couldn't leave for any reason. You couldn't leave to go to the bathroom. You couldn't leave to get a drink. There were women who gave birth in the arena there during Nero's concert because they weren't allowed to leave. That sort of thing, you know, a bit touched. This has led to some rather bizarre theories about the decline of the Roman Empire. Yes, Andrew and then Jeff.

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> Yes, and this guy, Nero, made his horse a consul and gave him a marble [inaudible] and a purple robe, and the whole shebang. Okay, these guys were seriously deranged for a lot of--particularly, Claudius himself wasn't, but most of the members of the family seem to have been, you know, seriously deranged.

>> Is this possibly due to inbreeding?

>> It's a possibility. The inbreeding is not near as bad as we would see in, for example, ancient Egypt. We're nowhere close to that. And so historians for a long time have tried to figure out exactly what this was. But it seems to have been some sort of genetic thing in the Julio-Claudian line. It just didn't manifest itself in Claudius. But towards the end of the empire, we also see, not just insanity, but total brutality among a lot of the emperors as well. And that actually suggests something a little bit different. Yes?

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> Yes, power corrupt, right? Yeah, that they just got too bold and so, yeah the horse thing though, you know, you really gotta--I mean, that's more than I think, even somebody corrupted would do, isn't it? Yes, Kenny?

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> Well, that doesn't quite fit though. Yeah, you wouldn't--you wouldn't have any unique--

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> In that regard. A lot of these guys do seem to have been that--simply keep in mind the source. Before we get too crazy with the insanity thing, keep in mind the source. Our biggest historical source for the lives and proclivities and insanities of the emperors is Tacitus. And Tacitus was writing under the Emperor Hadrian who was not insane. And Hadrian has attained to demonstrate to history, to us, that the time that came before him was lousy because he was gonna make everything okay. So he's got to keep this, he's got a message and Tacitus is his historian. So, Tacitus is in a position where he can freely criticize the previous ruling family, the Julio-Claudians without the repercussion. And on the contrary is rewarded for it. So, he's trying to demonstrate the corruption and immorality that Rome was--that was featured in the imperial administration during the Julio-Claudian in order to show that Hadrian's reign was just so much more cool and so much more moral. And so there's a reason why we've got the dirt on these guys and we don't have much dirt on say, Hadrian, and Trajan and you know, Marcus Aurelius and other guys because they didn't have the same setup that we've got. So, you know, I had to take--put the whole insanity load on them, especially because as we get near the end of the empire, there's a lot of craziness that has had nothing to do with genetics. Yes?

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> Yeah, sure.

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> Oh, yes, very good.

>> It's kind of frustrating because you have these great brilliant people--

>> Yeah.

>> And then oftentimes, their children are just totally incompetent.

>> Yeah.

>> And they do really stupid things and they just mess everything all up. Instincts, you think maybe the parents are too busy, you know, to do [inaudible].

>> Oh, okay. Yeah, we can get into psychology, sure. Yeah, abandoned at a young age, sure. Good. Power families, families of power and fame, you know, and that would be kids who are taught, controlled, loved whatever it is that they need. Yeah, sure. Psychology can be interesting in this regard. The--near the end though, if it wasn't insanity, when you get through, say the 36 barracks emperor in 35 years and that kind of thing, they started looking at the families not reproducing, not having enough children, that the elite, by the time you get to the end of the empire, say 3rd, 4th centuries or so, you find out that the aristocracy, imperial and senatorial aristocracy, are not producing very many children at all, are not replacing themselves with anybody, intelligent or otherwise. And as a result, there's been this big theory that's developed. This is kind of fun, so I'm gonna share it with you, the theory of lead poisoning at the end of the Roman Empire. There's a lot of stuff on this if you're interested in it. But the idea is that lead, which we know is poisonous, lead was an elite substance. It was used for plates and mugs and it was the base in women's makeup, for example, all sorts of things. It was in everything. But only if you were wealthy, in other words, poor women don't wear makeup, lead-based or otherwise, and the poor could not afford the plates and the cups and stuff that were all made out of lead. It's primarily the elites who use these. The elites also drank a lot of wine which was very expensive as well, and alcohol enabled lead to leak out of cups, you know, if you got a lead cup and you put some wine in it, well you're just dosing yourself there. Lead can cause insanity. Lead can cause sterility for sure. And so there's this theory that the wealthy at the top of the Roman Empire was actually experiencing levels of lead poisoning that affected their minds and their bodies to the point where they weren't reproducing themselves, and that was probably a good thing. It's a theory, because the poor for example, drank a lot of milk, 'cause they couldn't afford wine, and milk has actually countered lead poisoning. It's an antidote to lead poisoning, and then they weren't using all those lead anyway. The lead pipes for example. The lead pipes, water, and I'll show you some water stuff. Water was piped into different neighborhoods, and the best pipe, the lead pipe, the ones that would really last were the ones carrying the water to the rich homes, and the villas where clay pipes, you know, carry them to the poor neighborhoods. There's a lot of lead associated with being elite here, so this whole theory, I think you can see how it would develop. I don't know how much credence to put on it, but I think it was probably, you know, I'm in this multi-causation, right? It was a factor maybe. I don't think it caused the entire decline and fall of the Roman Empire. I think that's going a bit--bit far.

>> [Inaudible] how you bring it up, [inaudible] in terms of the lead--the lead piping--

>> Yeah, lead piping.

>> And you bring it up with the object.

>> Yeah.

>>Actually, the Romans are pretty--I mean, they're pretty smart. They had [inaudible] I knew that lead is bad for you if you would inhale it or consume--

>> Really? I don't see any evidence to that.

>> I know I've heard that somewhere.

>> Huh? That they knew something.

>> But what they did was actually--

>> That is a conspiracy.

>> But they ran water through the pipes, through those lead pipes and they had wine rich in, you know, sort of organic material.

>> Yeah.

>> And several pipes--

>> Right.

>> So that the wine was going through and you know, life was great because it was, you know, it was the natural kind.

>> Dirty.

>> But it wouldn't poison the water.

>> Yeah, it tastes--you can taste it. Water through a lead pipe, if you line it with something else like clay, you're not gonna taste it as much. But that's the first I've heard of them even getting a clue. I'd be interested to see the research on that. Okay, let's get in to some of the technology and the water. First major technology of the Roman Empire was water power. They got this idea, actually, we think from India. This is something called the noria that lifts water. It's not a water powered thing, but it happens to work by the water pushing it, so it's an example of water power. This is how the--a moving river helps you lift water up to put in say, a channel to irrigate the field. They were doing this in India. The Greek word for what they learned, what this was, was noria, and during the Hellenistic empire, these norias started to spring up in areas where they needed the water lifted up from a low-lying river and used to water fields. If you take this same idea and you connect it to up to machinery of any kind, and I'm just talking basic mechanics, turning waterwheel, that's just turning all the time because the water is pushing it, is a source of power. And you can then take grindstones, for example, and hook them up to the turning waterwheel just by using some gears which was the Roman invention as well, and you can create a giant machine for grinding grains and turning it into flour. This is exactly what they did because the Roman government provided flour free to the population inside the city of Rome.

>> And instead of everybody having to have their own grinder, they gave it out much more efficiently as sacks of flour ground by the water wheel. And they had factories essentially going down the hillside of waterwheel, waterwheel, waterwheel, grinding tons and tons and tons of grain. So water power is extremely important to the economy for grinding grains. The other big technology that we are familiar with is the Roman road and this is a map of the Roman road. This is where they went. And more importantly, depending on where you live, where they didn't go. The Roman roads are often understood as a trade thing, as a way to get goods from one site to another. But that's not what they were and it's not why they were built. It was built to move the army as efficiently as possible from one location to another. Any economic benefit came by people who considered, well, maybe I should sit up or stand along the road. In other words, they are not deliberately connecting town to town unless the town has a garrison, or somewhere where the troops need to be. So, they tend to go around in many cases Hellenistic trading towns and in some places that was okay, and in some places because the roads they built were so much more sturdy than the roads that existed before, you actually have some dislocations, some shifting around of towns that now aren't getting the business because people wanna use the road to get from here to there. It's kind of like the situation now when you have a town that's working with streets and a freeway comes through, and maybe the freeway is nowhere near the center of town. The freeway is way over there and so what happens to the center of town.

>> It moves.

>> Yeah, they have to either shift somehow to the road, get near to the freeway to get the business or downtown just sort of dies or whatever. This happened all over the place because of the Roman road network, 'cause the road these guys built are still around. I mean they were meant to last forever and the techniques that we use to build our roads, you know, where they put gravel in the bottom and asphalt on the top and they curve it so the rain goes to the gutter. That whole--that's Roman. That's what the Romans did. They invented that whole thing.

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> Yeah.

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> Yeah.

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> Yup.

>> --refers to the Roman Empire.

>> Yup.

>> You know, he based his whole idea, he noticed how the Roman set all the roads everywhere, so he built the autobahn.

>> Right.

>> This huge highway of--

>> Right.

>> He's basically rerouting his army around.

>> Moving the troops.

>> And then Eisenhower saw that and he was pretty impressed that the Germans stood a good fight with the help of their roads and so he built this huge, what we call the interstate--

>> The interstate highway system, yeah, 'cause--

>> And that was where he transported nuclear.

>> Yeah, well transporting all sorts of military material from one side of our gigantic country to the other. So yeah, this is an idea that has obviously been used extensively throughout history, is build the roads where you need them for your troops to be able to move most efficiently and to hell with everything else. They'll just--they'll have to move to the road. And so that's what the Romans did. And as you can see, it's a very extensive network, but there was a phrase that a lot of people use them. All roads lead to Rome and I think if you look at the map, you can see why people said that. There's an extraordinary number of these roads radiating out from the city itself and if you count at sea lane which they haven't drawn on here, it's even more once we get to the state. And here's how you get to the state. This is the Appian Way and it gives you an example because this part of the Appian Way, they've taken the asphalt off. For years, the Appian Way, this was just--they just put asphalt on top. It's such a good road. You just keep repaving the top and you can keep using it. This is the road from Rome to the sea, to the seaport, and it's still in use. Extraordinary amounts of labor, much of it military, to be able to build these things, but if you consider what came before, dirt roads, okay, what's the disadvantage there? Catch dirt--

>> Washes away.

>> Yeah, it rains and it's untravelable. They also had built wooden roads. The early Romans made roads out of wooden planks, you know, with giant spikes into the ground to stop that problem with the washing away. But what would happen to a wooden road?

>> Rot.

>> Yeah, eventually, rots, warps, splinters, breaks. Overtime, it's not real good. The short distances maybe and in some areas where you don't have trees, very difficult to build.

>> Another interesting thing that I've seen. They often used the roads for political demonstration like, do you guys know Spartacus [inaudible]. Spartacus rebelled and then his whole army was crashed by the Romans, and I think there were 3,000 people who were taken prisoners. These rebels were taking prisoners. Every single one of them was crucified along the Appian Road--

>> Along the road, yeah.

>> So the people who are traveling to Rome can see like 3,000 skeletons, you know, in the process and like the Romans were shooting [inaudible].

>> Yeah, and let me make that even bigger by saying that all these technology I'm showing you, the waterwheels, they're really big and can be seen from everywhere. The roads, you can't miss them. These are all reminders that no matter where you live in this huge empire, even if you're a thousand miles from Rome, you're in the empire and you're not gonna forget it, because every time you turn around, there's a road, there's a water mill, there's some sort of evidence, and that's just more of the same. Visual evidence that you are in the Roman Empire and they are in control. Now, this is what they did with city streets, which is a great form of traffic control, you see the steps that go across the street there? Those are--so pedestrians who are walking on the sidewalks, another Roman invention, can go across the street without getting their feet muddy, you know, in the road and dirty in the road. And the other thing that it does is because they're spaced the same everywhere throughout Rome, it means that all the carts, their wheels have to be exactly the same size. You can't have some jerk who's built his cart, you know, halfway across the street, jamming up the system here. The Romans were very into efficiency and system and this is the way to make very, very sure that people do not bring oversized carts in the city. You have to get them through. You have to get them in between the stepping stones, and they are exactly the same. But I'll give you just a little example of how the Romans think about efficiency, efficient for their production, and efficient for the traffic flow. Thinking out some serious urban planning going on here. Yes?

>> You said they go through?

>> They go in between.

>> It looks like that the wheels would go like on each side, like--

>> Yes.

>> It could go over.

>> Yes, on each--in between here.

>> Oh, okay. I thought you know like--

>> So the wheels would be right there.

>> Okay.

>> 'Cause you have to get--it would go under. And that also means that the carts have to be regulation height, which makes them easier to unload from the side, too.

>> Okay.

>> From the sidewalk. So without saying, you know, they don't have to make a law that says your cart can only be this wide. Your cart can only be that wide. You know, there is no other option there. So you don't even need a municipal code here. You just simply make it impossible to do that.

>> I'm not really be sure about this, but [inaudible] does not have any sewage system, like I didn't know if [inaudible].

>> Yeah, they did. Yes, the sewage system on the street, like this--they're not showing the gutter. There's a hole up there on the right, but the idea was there's actually--under the sidewalk, there's actually pipes, so that water can go off the road and into the sewage drain, and be--and go away. Now, in terms of personal plumbing, like inside of houses, there were systems of what we would call gravity flush in a number of the villas that were in Rome itself, interior plumbing. These gravity flush systems were used for human elimination of all kinds and there were rooms specifically dedicated to throwing up. Vomitoriums were very popular in these villas because the piece that they would serve to impress their friends would have something like 27 courses and there was no possible way to eat the entire meal, so people would leave the room in between courses when they got too full, and go to the vomitorium and throw up, and come back so they could have some more.

>> I also mentioned drinking bath tub.

>> Yeah, drinking bath tub, very handy vomitorium, and many of them had what we would call a gravity flush system with water poured in by servants, you know, that then--

>> Drains it out.

>> --flushes the waste away. Oh, yes, I'm sure. Most of the service jobs in ancient Rome I wouldn't want. Yes?

>> But, I mean like in comparison you have medieval European cities--

>> Right.

>> That would just do their--

>> Exactly. But keep in mind, flush toilets, we're just talking the top of the aristocracy here. You do not--your ordinary Roman does not have access to this kind of things. So it's a very elite thing. But yes, it--many people compare it, they will. Even in the castles hundreds of years later, you've got nothing like this and that's absolutely true.

>> You have pit and then--

>> So you mean like this is like--this again, everyday sort of the average household. I mean most people who live in apartments.

>> Most people lived in apartments, this happens to be a particularly nice shop street.

>> Okay.

>> That McCauley [phonetic] drew here. This is not the slums that most people lived in and I will get to the slums and the problems there in just a second. But I want to feature a little bit more of the technology first because this is beyond a big thing that you would see and that's why you've got pictures. You're insane here but you can't forget you're in the Roman Empire 'cause there is this gigantic thing going across the landscape. The aqueducts were absolutely enormous. And I used to look at them, I was aware that you know, okay, they know aqueducts but I couldn't figure out where the water was. You know see all the columns and where is the water. So I like this kind of way here because it shows where the water. That the water is at the top and it's in separate channels so what they're doing is they're trying to bring water down from the hillside where the snow packs are from the mountains and bring it down into the highly populated city throughout the empire and they are building these systems to be able to do that, not just to bring water to people and improve the standard of living but also these are visual signs of Rome's engineering superiority and a continual reminder to every bozo who lives anywhere, you're in Rome, you're part of something much bigger than you. We do stuff you could never possibly do. You know, a reminder of just how small you are in the system and so waterwheels, they help grind grains and increase economic productivity. Roads help move the RV around and change the economy over and move it closer to the roads in many cases, okay. And make communications that much easier along the road throughout the empire. And aqueducts bring water but the other thing all of those do, is remind you where you are and how small you are in the much larger system. You don't have that kind of attitude really in the Hellenistic cultural empire. You definitely have it in Rome.

>> Also I was looking at objects in my history class and I didn't realize that you could actually walk across the aqueducts and so that was kind of cool to just walk along and not realizing [inaudible] Roman soldiers who would walk along and you'd look out--

>> Yeah you could see, right.

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> Sure.

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> Filling water, sure.

>> Direct the pipes to their crops.

>> Yeah, 'cause this is--this isn't supposed to be for farming, this is the--we have come way far from the Rome as a nation of farmers way. And farmers actually are poachers of the water because they're trying to get the water to the city.

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> Right.

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> Right, exactly where they are, and they want some water. In some of these though, the channel, there's actually an open channel on the top and you can't walk. Some of the, they're not all built in closed like this. Some of them are open at the top with a channel and you actually couldn't walk along just kind of [inaudible] but this one, this one you could. Okay, there, here's were we get into slum conditions. The concentration of the population in Rome itself in the bad neighborhood which is at least the third of the city, that's where the ordinary people lived, not the ones with the flush toilets and the vomitoriums, okay. These are the people living together in crowded conditions in wooden apartment building that were more densely concentrated than our modern city slum. Slum has the particular designation of how many people per square mile and they were exceeding at times three here, in these Roman areas, 'cause if you think of the whole grand city of Rome, it's about a third public area, you know coliseums and arenas and forum. It's about a third the villas of the rich and it's about a third neighborhood like this. And the vast majority of population was packed in to neighborhoods like this and they tended to be unsafe. And they tended to catch fire. And they tended to be places where disease spreads very rapidly. And the water system that came into the city of Rome were also divided into three areas, the pipes that came into the city divided up three ways so that they could be blocked off if they were low on water so you had one pipe essentially feeding the villas of the rich and one pipe feeding the public areas, particularly the bath and then the fountain and you had one pipe feeding these neighborhood and guess which one gets cut off first if there is a water shortage. Yeah, the slum. So this is not the place to be but this where everybody was. Now I put up here, this is a modern renditions of Crassus' fire department because Crassus, he was one of the triumvirate with Caesar, with Julius Caesar and with Pompey who was a slum lord. He owned a bunch of apartment building and he created a fire department, the first fire department we think, maybe, in history. A fire department that came out as your building was burning and bought it before they save it. So a building would catch fire, an apartment building, and the owner of the building and the landlord then would be in a panic because all his money is going up in smoke. Here comes Crassus' fire department with the carts and the water and everything and Crassus deal, wheel and deal. Okay, I'll buy the building from this amount. Oh look at that, the fourth floor is gone. I got to bring the price down a little bit. I'll buy it for this amount until the landlord just panics and sell the place and that's how Crassus became a huge slum lord and built up the buildings again and they count the money off of the slum situation. A little bit different from a modern fire department. It's not normally how we think of that but that's how he operated in this picture is showing that.

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> Oh, yeah.

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> Oh, yeah. Everyday kind of guy, slum lord. The gladiator fight, one of the many entertainments, however, that you could have. People who lived in slum conditions need food, they need water, and they need somewhere to go, and something to do, because if you don't give them those three things, what will happen?

>> Riot.

>> Riot, revolt, rebellion, the imperial rich were terrified that the ordinary populations under these conditions would revolt and so the way to solve that has often been called bread and circuses. Make sure they have enough food so grain was free or very, very cheap throughout the city of Rome, make sure they have enough food, and make sure they have enough entertainment to distract them from the fact that they're living in horrible conditions. So tickets to gladiator fights, tickets to chariot races, those kinds of things were relatively inexpensive, lots of cheap seats available. The elites would sit of course the closest but the others, just like today. You know, in any sort of arena or stadium, both of those are Latin words. Bread and circuses, entertainment, distractions. Entertainment can take you away from your awareness of your present situation, help you enjoy life a little bit more and make it a lot less likely that you're gonna criticize the government. In societies that elevate entertainment as an art form and consider it important and make it widely available to the masses of people. The masses tend to stay pretty quiet and not cause a lot of trouble. You're currently living in the most mass entertainment society that has ever existed. So why both? Good distraction, good distraction and it makes you less aware of politics, less aware of social activity that might have some sort of larger meaning than yourself and it is the exact same thing for Roman citizens who would rather go see gladiators fight it out than think about the fact that maybe rebellion would be a good thing for their daily life.

[ Pause ]

>> The Romans itself they were highly civilized people, at least the wealthy did and that their civilization was the best that had ever existed. They therefore dress accordingly, imperial people in the upper right here, the emperors and how they were clothed. And these people here, ordinary people or middle class type of people. The edges of the empire, people didn't look like this. People in Rome tended to be fairly short. As you can see that the hair is relatively close to the head.

>> The clothing is designed to be simple and elegant and they considered how they appeared, their dress, to be representative of the finest elements of Roman civilization. The reason I bring them up--this up is because we have to compare that point of view to the point of view of the barbarians who are all around the edges of the empire particularly the Germanic barbarians. So I'm going to just compare the two cultures for a minute, the Roman culture with barbarian culture. The reason we need to do this is because they're next. Rome is gonna fall. All this stuff I'm showing you, all the stuff that you read about, the western half of the Roman Empire, 'cause it does split, the western half of the Roman Empire, which is where Roman stuff is, is going to fall to barbarian invasion, wave after wave of barbarian invasion. And the people who are invading will be seen by the Romans as being different in every possible way from Roman civilization itself. So, here's what these people care about and again, primarily the elites and wealthy middle class. They care about literacy. They care about the ability to read the law for yourself, the ability to write poetry, play, social commentary and critique, speeches. They read and they believe that reading is very important and is a hallmark or foundation of civilization. That's the first thing to know about them. They read. Yeah.

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> Well, that's why in the 18th century, the founders of this country focused specifically on the age of the republic rather than the age of the empire because although literacy was seen throughout as terribly important, the systems of government that they wanted for themselves were based on the Republic of Rome, not the empire but yeah, you do have a cultural respect for certain things and we need to know what those things. The Germanic barbarians are gonna blow them all the way, completely, all of the stuff. So, first literacy. Second, respect for the law and the process of making the law. Again, during the empire, this got completely corrupted but it's still a principle.

>> Would the--the barbarian strategy, in general, was it pretty much the same thing that kept rushing in and as the Roman sort of elites slowly starts dissolving and becoming weaker and weaker, they actually start to plan more and more [inaudible], is that what happened to these elites?

>> Their motives were somewhat different than just conquest. I think, the way you're characterizing it, I get the impression that you see the Germanic barbarians as wanting in, wanting to take over, wanting to do that or wanting to defeat Rome. In many cases, that's not how they were thinking and I'll explain why in just a minute but that's not how they were thinking about the situation so, no. I'm not sure I've set it up quite that way. A lot of their battle strategies could fit with what you say but I think the overall invasion strategy doesn't, because they're not really invading. It's the Romans who say they are invaders. They would say they're migrating. And they said there's the difference of perspective and the Romans gave us the perspective of the barbarians because the Romans were literate and they wrote it all down, right, and the barbarians were not 'cause that's where their culture was heading. So, reading the law, the city. The city, that's like a terribly important thing to these people, civilization based on the same word as city. To be civil is to be in the city and follow the rules of the city. The city was the place. The countryside, the only purpose of the countryside is feeding the city. The only purpose of the aqueduct is to bring water from out there somewhere to the city and you are civilized in the city. I mean the bath, you may be aware of Roman bath--bath houses everywhere. The idea that you would bathe, that you would keep clean, that you would use water for that kind of purpose, not just agriculture and drinking water but water to wash and to bathe and they made a whole big physical culture thing out of the bath. That kind of thinking is important to their own concept, to their own civilizations, very important. The town, the city at its heart. Organization, it's like this big thing. Everything has to be organized and efficient. Efficiency, development of systems, systems for urban planning, systems for the military and its organizations, that kind of thinking is very, very Roman. The barbarians aren't gonna get that at all. Practicality, you can see it throughout their technology and throughout their architecture. They are building for practical purposes. There are beautiful Roman buildings. It's not that there aren't gorgeous Roman buildings. There are, but most of their stuff is built for a practical purpose. Most of their engineering power does not go into something like later on medieval cathedral. It goes into roads, aqueducts, things that are of use that have some kind of usefulness, very, very practical people. The history of barbarians in what way do they look. Yeah.

>> Hairier.

>> They're hairier. They're a lot hairier. Yes. They do not trim their hair. In fact, in many cases, trimming your hair was a punishment. If something happened and you did something wrong and you broke the rule and your hair was cut off to show everybody you are in big trouble and nobody should talk to you. So hair was very important to grow and grow and grow. Yes, Beth.

>> They're also part of something.

>> They're not as--They are much more complex. They don't have that elegant simplicity. They got a lot of showiness, you know. They are wearing a lot of stuff. Now, of course, keep in mind, they're at least fairly warm. Ordinary Germanic areas are fairly cold, they're gonna be wearing more stuff but they also do have this idea of elaborate dress and decorations as well. Yes.

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> You're gonna be in trouble and--

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> Well, okay, so let's start with this difference in what the elite responsibility is here because if you look at Rome, many of the elites were overweight, drank all the time, their servants are doing everything and they see their job as elite ordering other people around and telling them what to do whereas the elites in this kind of society, here you're talking about tribal society. You're talking about kings who did not inherit their kingship, they fought for it and they have to fight to keep it, so these guys being in condition all the time is absolutely crucial. By the time they are on the rise and are beginning to move into the Roman Empire, they already have well-established kinship tribal relationship and in most cases, a system of rule by merit. You fight for it, you earn it and then you are in charge. And at any time, a challenger could threaten that and could threaten your power. So you've gotta be tough all the time and it's a very serious virtue for many of the barbarian tribe. Now here's what happening to them, here's why they are coming in to the empire. It starts over here. See here's Rome, right there, and here's China and Mongolia out here. There was apparently some sort of climate change around the third century that began, a slow global change and it caused problems for the pastoral people who were living in Northern China.

>> What does pastoral means?

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> They're what?

>> Or--or people who farmers [inaudible].

>> They don't farm. Pastoral people don't farm.

>> Nomadic, yeah.

>> Yeah, and they're not really nomad but they have to move a lot because what pastoral people are animal raider--raisers. I'm sorry, well, you're gonna say that, Tom? Animal raisers, animal herders. And what that means for them is they're semi nomadic, yes. They have to move because they have to move the animals where they can get the best food. So, if an area dries up, summer after summer, they got to go. It's not--it's not a question. They have to move. And the group in China that had to start moving that way [noise] were called the Shangdu [phonetic] and the Shangdu in Northern China were having trouble because of the global climate change and they had to start moving their animals and that therefore their entire culture west. And if they move west to find a good area, they bump into the people who are already there and fight them and then those people would have to move west and they bump into the people who are already there and fight them and, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, all the way across the Russian's depth, all the way through here. So, what starts to build up along here is a population pressure, too many people, not enough pastoral land. Now, the closer you get to Europe, the more there's a transition from semi nomadic pastoralism to agricultural society, to farming society. So, the closer you get to the edges of that gigantic empire, the more you are hitting farmers who were having their land invaded by nomads way back in the Russian's depth. Now, they're being pushed further and further. But it's only so far you can go right? You're gonna end up in the Atlantic Ocean. They are thrown. These barbarians are on the move looking for farmland, looking for countryside, looking for somewhere to raise their families because they're being pushed out by the tribes behind them who are being pushed out by the tribes behind them all the way back to China. And a lot of these groups coming off the Russians depth were called Han and they're sort of been this assumption that that somehow related to the Shangdu but they're not the sec group. They're all being pushed by the group right before them.

>> So it was, you just describe [inaudible] is moving came from east to the west and you said earlier that they [inaudible].

>> Yeah. That's--Yeah, that's the group.

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> Yeah, because--because of the mountains. If you can--you can see it here. You can't see it on the map by this drawing but--but here, you can see the--the mountains of Europe like curving around here, okay? So, what's happening is the push is going this way and then you can't go down so you got to dramatically moving to southwards and having to go through those mountains to look for new places to live. Again, the Romans see this as barbarian invasion and pressure on the edges of their empire. They try to co-opt the tribes that are moving in by saying, "Fine, here, have some farmland here and in return, you will defend this frontier." Okay, that's not a bad deal. So, the edges of the empire defended by the very barbarians who are trying to come in, you get this mixed at the frontier. People who aren't really barbarians anymore but they're not Romans either and they don't look like Romans. Positive tells us that during the very early ages of the empire when these barbarians around the fringe edges were first being brought in and utilized in this way to help defend Rome, they were made citizens. They were given not only citizenship but representation in the senate and in the concilium plebis. So you actually had Germanic type of leaders traveling to Rome looking like this and showing up in the senate chambers to represent their area. So, if you can imagine all these little [inaudible], you know, looking around. These guys were significantly taller in statue. These guys tended to be 6-foot guys and the Latin people tended to be quite a bit shorter and then you look at the fierceness of their dress. After the murder of Julius Caesar, senators were required to remove their weaponry upon entering the senate chamber. You had to give--leave your weapon at the door. These guys refused to leave their weapon at the door. Are you kidding? You know, this place is dangerous, it's the city, there are walls everywhere. I am not giving up my sword. And they'd come in to the senate looking like this with their big swords and their hair everywhere. It was shocking to a lot of people. We have half of this report that they were political arguments of course, over whether or not they should be there. A great deal of arguing on the floor of the senate of proper representation for these people, they didn't call them barbarian. They call them provincial. These are people from the provinces at the outlying edge. But it must have been quite a shock. I often wondered what these guys thought, sitting up there, listening to their presence being argued about while they are sitting there. You know, and participating in this form of government to go their trial.

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> Well, that is the other thing. You know, you come in with other languages, with Germanic languages which are in many ways not at all related to the Latin language and listening to people arguing in a foreign tongue. You know, and having to pick it up and learn it. A lot of barbarians get very good at that especially in Gall. Lot of the Gallic leaders learned Latin very quickly and taught their sons Latin very quickly and they wanted to move up in the system. Yeah. You had a question [inaudible]?

>> How do you they [inaudible]--

>> Oh, okay.

>> --How do they communicate?

>>Yeah, how do they communicate? They learn Latin. It's what they do and some of them maybe in vernacular Italian to fit in. So you've got--I mean I think were looking at a serious culture class here, right, between the two cultures. But I don't want you to just see these guys the way the Romans saw them. I want you to see them as people on the move with a reason for moving and a lot of times they went right around the cities, that that army was so prepared to defend because they didn't want the city. And when they took over a city because it was in their way, they tended to do shocking things. There is a local population. I mean they didn't care about areas that were considered to be important areas. For example, a villa made with a lot of marble and mosaic and they said oh, a building, we'll put the horses in their, kind of thing. You know, they aren't city people and they certainly don't care about the bath. Yeah.

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> Yes.

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> Yes.

>> They're pretty serious about that.

[ Inaudible Remark ]

>> Yeah. And they were driving the Germanic tribe from the own empire and [inaudible] did say, okay, you guys come in. They came in [inaudible] huge numbers--

>> Oh, yeah.

>> That it was too late [inaudible].

>> Yeah. But I think it good to see it as a seepage. You know, rather than, you know, a bunch of--there's a tendency to see it as like one big battle, what was the battle that Rome fell and it's not that simple. It's much more of a seepage into their environment where the cross-cultural contacting, communication is made person on person, you know, in a lot of cases and not so much barbarian versus Romans. Barbarians, by the way, they read through that word, it just means foreigner, it just means someone from elsewhere. Yeah, it doesn't necessarily have [inaudible] they got those years. Okay, last big topic here is Christianity. And all I've done here is tried to put together, 'cause we'll be dealing with Christianity a lot starting in the next few days. Anyway, because the church itself is going to become the central political power in Europe, it's the church who's going to take over the centralized control from the Roman Empire. So, it's important to understand that Christianity doesn't just emerge in one tiny little historical context. It doesn't just--It's not just some sort of fringe cult religion that emerges independently and then takes over. What I wanna make you aware of is the influences that form into Christianity, first, and then we'll deal with the repercussions of that starting next week.

>> So here are some of the major influences that made Christianity what it was and brought people to it. Now, I put Paul at the top, his original name was Saul. He was Hellenized Jew, and those of you who read that [inaudible] carefully and paid attention during the Hellenistic chapter, know what this means. You know, he is a Jew but he's adopted Greek values, Greek ways of thinking, Greek reasoning rather than traditional Jewish reasoning to fight the [inaudible] battle and Maccabean--the fight there and this is why I asked that question and people were answering. It was in many ways a fight between Hellenized Judaism and traditional Judaism. So he is a Hellenized Jew. So he's modern. He's with the Greco-Roman program. His influence is extraordinary, particularly in the travels that he made, writing letters throughout the eastern part of the empire about Jesus. Extremely important, so he gets the really big arrow, I gave him a really big arrow 'cause his influence--and Hellenized Judaism in general, of course, Christianity is seen as the continuation of Judaism because it is the second monotheistic religion. The third one is Islam, which is also in the same tradition. Other influences here, Christmas. The mass that takes place, the day that's celebrated, that Jesus is celebrated, was originally the birthday of sun god Sol which was a huge Roman cult and a very upbeat kind of Roman cult. Mithraism was the cult of the army, that the Roman army practiced. It was based--its sacrificial rites were based on bulls, which I've always found very interesting that makes me think back, you know, to the Minoans and the Myceneans that seems to have an origin there somehow, and they would sacrifice sacred bulls that had been raised a certain way and fed a certain way. There were also a number of homosexual rites associated with Mithraism which had to have derived from something in Greek culture, in the classical Greek culture. So, Mithraism itself was a major, major cult in the military and the idea of sacrifice which had been primarily abandoned by the Hellenized Jew from this Christianity through Mithraism. Hellenized Egypt, this is Isis and Horace, her baby, look familiar? This is Mary and Jesus. Iconography, particularly the image of the mother and child, come in from Hellenized Egypt and the Hellenistic empire further east as well. There is Isis' tower. The Mother Mary, that's--a lot of that gets absorbed. Resistance to Rome, Christianity becomes a deliberately politicized rebellious force in resistance and particularly due to we're not necessarily Hellenized, to were fighting against the Roman incursion on traditionally Jewish areas. This is--Masada is one of their big battles here where the Jews has fought or killed themselves rather than surrender to Rome. That kind of resistance becomes part of Christianity as well. That's one of the reasons why the emperor choose because it become so popular that the emperors choose to make it official after persecuting it for many, many years. We've got the good and evil thing coming in from adaptations of Zoroastrianism, the good and the evil and the choice that one makes. We have a system of idealism. Heaven, the ideal world, the other place that you're going, coming from both Plato and the platonic ideals and the Stoics. Remember the Stoic connection? There's something beyond themselves. This is why I'll remind you Christians make terrible entertainment. They were very poor entertainment value 'cause they throw them to the lions, you know, at the coliseum and the devout Christians wouldn't run away and then scream and pray for their life and do all those fun things, because that's what you'd paid your money to see and they wouldn't do it. They tend to kneel down and pray and wait to go be with God. They were boring. They ended up not doing very many of them, but I know that they think throwing the Christians to lions. But actually they didn't do it very much because it just wasn't good entertainment. It didn't provide enough fun. So, the Stoicism, that kind of connection between the individual soul and the eternal, and so everything else in between has an unreal quality to it. That comes out of Stoicism and also comes into Christianity. So, I wanted for you as [inaudible] going into the next unit. So I understand some of you are forming study groups and that's great. For the quiz and study guide, they're out there. Feel free to use them, okay, and you'll need a [inaudible] and don't forget, and I will see you on Wednesday.

[ Noise ]

==== Transcribed by Automatic Sync Technologies ====