From: "Andrew Bollen"
Subject: Re: (urth) Was Rome Worth the Trouble? Date: Thu, 19 Jun 2003 12:45:37 +1000 Crush writes: [Some good stuff] .. FWIW, I've been quickly brushing up on Roman "history" from the period, such as it is. The main themes are struggles between the plebs and patricians over agrarian reform and debt forgiveness, and conflict with the Etruscan etc neighbors. A context for Lucius & his comrades and what they would be doing so far afield should be in here somewhere. Maybe something to do with the aftermath of Coriolanus (about 490), who Livy thinks was exiled rather than executed by the disappointed Volscians he commanded (as Plutarch says). Coriolanus = Gnaeus Marcius, so not quite the "Marcus" whose death Latro laments in Ch 24, unfortunately. (The other name he mentions, "Umeri", doesn't look Roman at all.) Latro's vision of his home, with his aged father plowing the fields, doesn't suggest a very patrician background, but on the other hand, he has a patrician kind of name in Lucius (Lucius Brutus = foiunder of the republic, in 509), so perhaps we are to think of an exiled patrician family in reduced circumstances? And Latro & comrades taking up the mercenary profession because there's not much else to do? Dunno. Anyway, the picture painted in Livy is one of constant petty wars with neighbors, and a very martial society. It sounds like Pausanias' description of Greece in Mist - every little village sending its army out against its neighbor - and I guess we're supposed to draw parallels between Sparta and Rome. Pausanias thinks Sparta is destined to gather these villages into a united state & lead it, but this was Rome's destiny. Pausanias is in the process of being corrupted by looted Persian wealth, away from his Spartan simplicity, in the same way the looted wealth of the east would corrupt Rome. And so on. --