The History of Rome has no Surviving Sources

mythstifieD

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The Roman Empire is the model of much of our modern democracies. The lessons learned from the triumphs and disasters serve as examples and warnings to present politics. Indeed, much of our beloved literary works model their moral themes on the foibles of famous Romans.

You've probably heard that the origin of Rome itself, the strange account of Ramus and Remes is likely a legend not based in history. Most stop there. I've recently had an itch on the back of my neck to know exactly how much of Rome's ancient history is actually known. How much of it was written down, during the events in question. Some remarkable events happened in their history, surely contemporary writers said a thing or two?

I'm not aware that anyone has actually gone through each of the major sources for their history, all at once, to see if any of them actually have any surviving sources. So i took it upon myself to try this out. Imagine my shock to find out that basically none of their works survive, and in fact what does survive are copies typically from the middle ages.

How on earth can you say that Bobby Joe wrote 14 volumes on the Punic Wars, that most of our knowledge of these Punic Wars comes from Bobby Joe, but that only a sentence or two of his works, quoted by others much later, exist to this day? You can't help but wonder then how we know Bobby Joe actually wrote about the Punic Wars at all? Worse, you start to wonder if the Punic Wars are just somehow made up?

The richness of our fuzzy collective memory of this ancient empire can't be ignored, however. It makes me feel like these works really are talking about something that happened, but makes me wonder if they happened much more recently than alleged.

Quintus Fabius Pictor
A member of the Senate, Fabius fought against the Carthaginians in the Second Punic War (218–201) and was sent on a mission to the oracle of Delphi after the disastrous Roman defeat at Cannae (216). His history, now lost, was an account of the development of Rome from the earliest times. Fabius wrote it in Greek, partly because he sought to justify Roman policy to the Greeks. The later historians Polybius, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, and Livy all used Fabius’ work as a source. Fabius (under the name Pictorinus) is one of the Greek historians who was listed on the walls of the ancient school at Taormina, Sicily.
Quintus Fabius Pictor
  • Allegedly Wrote around 200BCE
  • Allegedly fought in the 2nd Punic War (Hannibal)
  • Wrote not for the Romans but for the Greeks
  • NO WORKS SURVIVE
Lucius Cincius Alimentus
a Roman historian and jurist, praetor in Sicily 209 B. C. He was for some time a prisoner in the hands of Hannibal, who appears to have treated him with kindness, giving him an account of his march through Gaul and over the Alps. Alimentus wrote a history of Rome which is quoted by Livy. Only fragments of it are preserved. He also wrote an account of his imprisonment among the Carthaginians. He is highly praised by Niebuhr as an accurate investigator. He wrote also on law and antiquities. The fragments of Alimentus still extant are appended to Corte's edition of Sallust.
Lucius Cincius Alimentus
  • Allegedly wrote around 200BCE
  • Was a prisoner of Hannibal, who even shared some historical stories with him!
  • Only fragments survive
  • Is quoted by Livy
Gaius Acilius
was a senator and historian of ancient Rome. He knew Greek, and in 155 BC interpreted for Carneades, Diogenes, and Critolaus, who had come to the Roman Senate on an embassy from Athens.

Plutarch cites Acilius' history in the Life of Remus. His history was written in Greek and contained events at least as late as 184 BC (according to Dionysius of Halicarnassus), and it appeared around 142 BC (mentioned in Livy). The work was translated into Latin by a Claudius, most likely Claudius Quadrigarius, but only fragments survive.
Gaius Acilius
  • Allegedly wrote around 150BCE
  • Served as a Interpreter for Greek emissaries
  • Is quoted by Plutarch and Livy
  • Wrote in Greek, translated to Latin (weird)
  • Only fragments survive
Aulus Postumius Albinus
apparently the son of Aulus Postumius Albinus Luscus, was praetor in 155 BC, and consul in 151 BC with Lucius Licinius Lucullus. He and his colleague were thrown into prison by the tribunes for conducting the levies with too much severity. He was one of the ambassadors sent in 153 BC to make peace between Attalus and Prusias, and accompanied Lucius Mummius Achaicus into Greece in 146 BC as one of his legates. There was a statue erected to his honor on the isthmus.

Albinus was well acquainted with Greek literature, and wrote in that language a poem and a Roman history, the latter of which is mentioned by several ancient writers. Polybius speaks of him as a vain, arid lightheaded man, who disparaged his own people, and was indifferently devoted to the study of Greek literature. He relates a tale of him and Cato the Elder, who reproved Albinus sharply because in the preface to his history he begged the pardon of his readers, if he should make any mistakes in writing in a foreign language; Cato reminded him that he was not compelled to write at all, but that if he chose to write, he had no business to ask for the indulgence of his readers. This tale is also related by Aulus Gellius, Macrobius, Plutarch, and the Suda. Polybius also relates that he retreated to Thebes, when the battle was fought at Phocis, on the plea of indisposition, but afterwards wrote an account of it to the Senate as if he had been present.

Cicero speaks with rather more respect of his literary merits; he calls him a "learned man" (doctus homo). Macrobius quotes a passage from the first book of the Annals of Albinus respecting Brutus, and as he uses the words of Albinus, it has been supposed that the Greek history may have been translated into Latin. A work of Albinus, on the arrival of Aeneas in Italy, is referred to by Servius, and the author of the work "De Origine Gentis Romanae".
Aulus Postumius Albinus (consul 151 BC)
  • Allegedly wrote around 150BCE
  • Wrote in Greek, might have been translated to Latin (again, weird)
  • Critiqued by Cato the Elder (critique was echoed by Aulus Gellius, Macrobius, Plutarch and Suda)
  • Polybius accused him of cowardass, but Albinus later wrote his version that he didn't retreat
  • Quoted by Macrobius, referenced by Servius, and another unknown author.
  • NO WORKS SURVIVE
Cato the Elder
He was the author of Origines, the first history of Rome composed in Latin. This work, of whose seven books only a few fragments survive, related the traditions of the founding of Rome and other Italian cities. Cato’s only surviving work is De agri cultura (On Farming), a treatise on agriculture written about 160 BC. De agri cultura is the oldest remaining complete prose work in Latin. It is a practical handbook dealing with the cultivation of grape vines and olives and the grazing of livestock, but it also contains many details of old customs and superstitions. More important, it affords a wealth of information on the transition from small landholdings to capitalistic farming in Latium and Campania. Cato also compiled an encyclopaedia and Praecepta (“Maxims”) for his son, in addition to works on medicine, jurisprudence, and military science. Of at least 150 speeches he published, only meagre fragments of about 80 survive.
Marcus Porcius Cato
  • Allegedly wrote around 150BCE
  • Wrote in Latin (finally!)
  • Wrote seven books of history, only fragments survive
  • HAS A SURVIVING WORK: De agri cultura (On Farming).
All of the manuscripts of Cato's treatise also include a copy of Varro's essay of the same name. J.G. Schneider and Heinrich Keil showed that the existing manuscripts directly or indirectly descend from a long-lost manuscript called the Marcianus, which was once in the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice and described by Petrus Victorinus as liber antiquissimus et fidelissimus ("a book most ancient and faithful"). The oldest existing manuscript is the Codex Parisinus 6842, written in Italy at some point before the end of the 12th century. The editio princeps was printed at Venice in 1472; Angelo Politian's collation of the Marcianus against his copy of this first printing is considered an important witness for the text.
De Agri Cultura
  • Oldest copy of it is "at some point before the end of the 12th century"
  • Also wrote an encyclopaedia
  • Published his speeches but only small fragments of 80 survive
Gnaeus Gellius
was the author of a history of Rome from the earliest epoch, extending at least to the year 145 BC, as indicated by Censorinus. He described the Rape of the Sabines in his second book; the reign of Titus Tatius in the third; and in the 33rd, dealing with the Second Punic War, the death of Postumius Albinus and the purpose to which his skull was applied by the Boii. Choricius quotes from the 97th book, though the numerical designation may not be reliable.

A considerable space seems to have been devoted to the legends connected with the origin of Rome. If these books were in general equal in length to the similar divisions in Livy, the compilation of Gellius must have been exceedingly voluminous, and the details more ample than those contained in Livy, by whom, as well as by Plutarch, he seems to have been altogether neglected, although occasionally cited by Dionysius. He was apparently both an accurate chronologer and a diligent investigator of ancient usages.

His only known magistracy is that of triumvir monetalis in 138 BC. He spelled his name Gelius on his coins.
Gnaeus Gellius
  • Allegedly wrote around 150BCE
  • Mentioned Albinus (above) in his histories
  • Quoted by Choricius, cited by Dionysius
  • Wrote at least 97 volumes, so a huge amount of witing!
  • Despite that, is NOT referenced by Livy or by Plutarch
  • Only fragments survive
Lucius Calpurnius Piso Frugi
best known for the Annales, a seven book annalistic history of Rome that spanned from the mythical founding of Rome until 146 BC. His historical account, now lost and known to us from only forty-nine short quotations or paraphrases, was written in a simple style of Latin. Later historians relied upon his work, though many did not find it satisfactory. Cicero considered his work jejune, and Livy did not consider him fully reliable, due to his tendency to moralize and politicize the histories that he recounted. Aulus Gellius, however, an admirer of the archaic, commended the work and quoted the only major fragment that has survived until today. Moreover, the early 19th-century iconoclastic historian, Barthold Georg Niebuhr, wrote that Piso was the first Roman historian to introduce systematic forgeries. Despite its shortcomings, Piso's historical work is important because it was the first time that an account was structured into individual years, making it the earliest history to follow the so-called "annalistic scheme."
Lucius Calpurnius Piso Frugi (consul 133 BC)
  • Allegedly wrote around 150BCE
  • Wrote seven books in "Simple Latin"
  • Critiqued as simplistic and unreliable by Cicero and Livy
  • First historian to structure history into actual years (How on earth did he know what years to use?)
  • NO SURVIVING WORKS (only exists in "forty-nine short quotations or paraphrases")
Publius Mucius Scaevola
became Pontifex Maximus in 130 BC, after his brother, Publius Licinius Crassus Dives Mucianus, was killed in battle while fighting in the kingdom of Pergamum. His most notable contribution during this period was the publication of the final Annales Maximi. The Annales Maximi were annals maintained by the Pontifex Maximus, dating back to 400 BC. The Pontifex Maximus, the highest-ranking priest in the Roman Republic, was responsible for recording the names of the magistrates of each year, as well as significant events. The annals ceased being written in the 130s BC, and Publius Mucius Scaevola reportedly published the complete record in his capacity as Pontifex Maximus.
Publius Mucius Scaevola

  • Allegedly wrote around 130BCE
  • Wrote the final Annales Maximi, which were allegedly maintained for almost 300 years prior.
The Annales maximi were annals kept by the Pontifex Maximus during the Roman Republic. The chief priest of the Capitoline would record key public events and the names of each of the magistrates. He would keep a detailed record and publish an abbreviated version on a white board (tabula dealbata) outside the Regia.

Cicero refers to the practice explicitly, and Cato condemned the apparent triviality and superstition of it (as well as the fact that it kept track of bad news, such as famines). The earliest records were accounts of mythological events, which gave credence to Cato's rejection. However, early Roman historians used the Annales Maximi extensively, and legitimate records went, according to Cicero, to 400 BC. By the time of the Gracchi (~130 BC), when the annal ceased, it filled eighty books. The collection was published by Pontifex Maximus Publius Mucius Scaevola.
  • They were considered full of myth and no reliable, yet were used extensively (how do we know?) by the historians we reviewed above.
  • This book seems to question if the Annales Maximi ever existed at all
  • I'm having a very hard time finding any existing manuscripts
Sempronius Asellio
Sempronius Asellio composed the Rerum Gestarum Libri (sometimes cited as Historiae or libri rerum gestarum) in at least fourteen books, where he dealt mostly with the events of the Third Punic War (149-146 BC) onwards. But it is also possible he only started recording history after Polybius stopped at 146 B.C. The last reported events in Asellio's work date from the year 91 BC or even 83 BC.

Cicero did not think highly of Asellio's work and spoke slightingly of its simple style. Nothing apart from 15 citations preserved in later authors (Aulus Gellius and some grammarians) survives of his work.
Sempronius Asellio
  • Allegedly wrote around 90BCE
  • Referenced by Cicero, who thought him simple.
  • Only 15 citations by later authors exist
  • NO SURVIVING WORKS
Quintus Claudius Quadrigarius
Quintus Claudius Quadrigarius, Roman annalist, living probably in the 1st century BC, wrote a history, in at least twenty-three books, which began with the conquest of Rome by the Gauls (ca. 390 BC) and went on to the time of Sulla (fr. 84: 82 BC). The Clodius mentioned in Plutarch's Life of Numa 1.2 is probably identical to Quadrigarius.

Along with annalist Valerius Antias, Livy freely used Quadrigarius as a major source in part of his work (from the sixth book onwards). A substantial fragment is preserved in Aulus Gellius (ix. 13), giving an account of the famous single combat between T. Manlius Torquatus and a Gaul. The judgement of Quadrigarius' historical work varied. He was appreciated for his archaizing style in the 2nd century AD, but others thought that his language was antiquated and his style dry. His work was considered very important especially for the contemporary history he narrates. The fragments of his work are collected in H. Peter "Historicorum Romanorum Reliquiae" ("HRR" 1.205-237).
  • Allegedly wrote around "probably" around 90-50BCE
  • Was a major source for Livy
  • A large quotation (not fragment!) exists from Aulus Gellius
  • This book says the fragments were only first published (not sure when actually FOUND?) from a bishop in Antwerp (of all places!) in 1595 CE
Livy
Apart from fragments, quoted by grammarians and others, and a short section dealing with the death of the orator and politician Cicero from Book 120, the later books after Book 45 are known only from summaries. These were made from the 1st century AD onward, because the size of the complete work made it unmanageable. There were anthologies of the speeches and also concise summaries, two of which survive in part, a 3rd-century papyrus from Egypt (containing summaries of Books 37–40 and 48–55) and a 4th-century summary of contents (known as the Periochae) of the whole work. A note in the Periochae of Book 121 records that that book (and presumably those that followed) was published after Augustus’ death in AD 14. The implication is that the last 20 books dealing with the events from the Battle of Actium until 9 BC were an afterthought to the original plan and were also too politically explosive to be published with impunity in Augustus’ lifetime.
Livy
  • Allegedly wrote around 50 BCE
  • Wrote an astounding 147 volumes
  • No originals survive
  • Copies from 3rd Century CE exist
Sallust
The Histories, of which only fragments remain, describes the history of Rome from 78 to at least 67 BC on a year-to-year basis. Here Sallust deals with a wider range of subject matter, but party conflict and attacks on the politically powerful remain a central concern. Hints of hostility to the Triumvirate on Sallust’s part may be detected in both Bellum Jugurthinum and the Histories. Two “Letters to Caesar” and an “Invective Against Cicero,” Sallustian in style, have often been credited, although probably incorrectly, to Sallust; the former title was attributed to him by the 1st-century-AD Roman educator Quintilian.

Sallust is somewhat limited as a historian; his work shows many instances of anachronisms, inaccuracies, and prejudice; the geography of the Bellum Jugurthinum scarcely reveals personal acquaintance with North Africa; he treats the destruction of Carthage in 146 BC as the beginning of the Roman crisis, whereas symptoms were clearly visible before that date. Nor is he a deep thinker, being content to operate with philosophical commonplaces. He makes no attack on the structure of the Roman state. His moral and political values are traditional; they commemorate the past to castigate the present. But his own experiences in politics imbued his analysis and his idiom with an energy and passion that compel the attention of readers. Sallust’s moralizing and brilliant style made him popular in the Middle Ages, and he was an important influence on the English Classical republicans of the 17th century (who, during a period of revolution and turmoil, advocated for a government modeled on the Roman Republic) and the U.S. Founding Fathers in the 18th century.
Sallust
  • Allegedly wrote around 50 BCE
  • Was popular in the Middle Ages CE
  • Important influence in the 17th Century and even the US Founding Fathers in the 18th Century CE
  • Only fragments remain
Tacitus
The Historiae began at January 1, 69, with Galba in power and proceeded to the death of Domitian, in 96. The work contained 12 or 14 books (it is known only that the Histories and Annals, both now incomplete, totaled 30 books). To judge from the younger Pliny’s references, several books were ready by 105, the writing well advanced by 107, and the work finished by 109. Only books i–iv and part of book v, for the years 69–70, are extant. They cover the fall of Galba and Piso before Otho (book i); Vespasian’s position in the East and Otho’s suicide, making way for Vitellius (book ii); the defeat of Vitellius by the Danubian legions on Vespasian’s side (book iii); and the opening of Vespasian’s reign (books iv–v).
Tacitus Roman historian
Cicero
Cicero was declared a righteous pagan by the Early Church,[108] and therefore many of his works were deemed worthy of preservation. The Bogomils considered him a rare exception of a pagan saint.[109] Subsequent Roman and medieval Christian writers quoted liberally from his works De Re Publica (On the Commonwealth) and De Legibus (On the Laws), and much of his work has been recreated from these surviving fragments. Cicero also articulated an early, abstract conceptualization of rights, based on ancient law and custom. Of Cicero's books, six on rhetoric have survived, as well as parts of eight on philosophy. Of his speeches, 88 were recorded, but only 58 survive.
Cicero
 
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KorbenDallas

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It’s a swamp. Even those alleged 8th century copies do not really exist, or are postdated. And that spells historical fabrication all over. They were located when? 15th, 16th centuries. Exactly the time smart individuals were capitalizing on everything antique.

Once again, everything was miraculously located after the 1400s.
 
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mythstifieD

mythstifieD

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Yup. I should note that that last one for Cicero, that 4th century copy was found in the 1800's. It gets murky of course because writers of the middle ages loved to quote Cicero, so they obviously had access to some other source for him that's now lost?

How do mainstream historians actually know when these writers lived? (Hence why I wrote Allegedly)

This is really screwed up. When I set out this morning to compile this list I was hoping to be wrong, but indeed NOTHING of Ancient Rome has original documentation it seems!

SOMEONE PLEASE PROVE ME WRONG, I really want to be wrong about this because this really disturbs me....
 

KorbenDallas

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Half of those ancient authors mention each other. For example you will not find any sources of Socrates because he allegedly did not write anything. But Plato supposely recorded some of Socrates’s thoughts and such. Hence comes our Socrates.

Just like I said, to quote someone ancient you simply need another ancient to mention that guy.

Sorry, but all your “sources” will be 15th century and later. Welcome to the club.
 
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mythstifieD

mythstifieD

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A year ago I would have never believed that possible but I'm starting to really think this through.

Riddle me this then, if these are all written in the middle ages why and how were they quoting each other? Was this MEANT as a fraud? Did they purposely reference each other to add to the validity of it all? That seems pretty tricky.

Or were these genuine writings, somehow misdated and misinterpreted?
 

KorbenDallas

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Think about the times preceding the discoveries of these so-called sources. The Inquisition was ruthless with books and people burnings, and what not.

My hypothesis is as follows. The main character names are prototypes of the real people. Their real names are not known. The antiquity was introduced to preserve the true history through presenting it as antiquity. The original texts were altered to fit the profile of the fake antique times.

The real authors of those texts lived barely a hundred years prior to the initial text discoveries of 1418. Thank Poggio Bracciolini for that. So I would guess all your Plutarchs and Socrates’s lived after the 10th century.
 
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mythstifieD

mythstifieD

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I was looking for details on Rome in the dark ages. The thought being that if Roman History is made up, perhaps a lot of Rome's creation actually happened then? What was life like then? I found this rather detailed answer on Reddit. It's remarkable to me that the city went from a million people down to a paltry 20,000 people? But then he seems to contradict himself saying that people fled because the aqueducts were broken but actually they were fixed soon after the Gothic Wars. That the Coliseum was still in good shape up to 900CE. Most remarkable is how the peasants didn't think of Rome as a fallen Pagan mecca, but as a very Christian place full of churches. I'll post it in full here because maybe others can notice some other strange 'facts' behind exhibited here.

So first off, I just want to start with demography, because it is an indicator to the occupation of the physical space of the city of Rome, which is important for one's imagining of it.

Also, I want to mention that any demographic information we have on Rome for the "dark" ages (early middle ages 400-1000 CE) is speculative, and subject to a wide wide range. In chronology from high imperial to modern times:

  • Peak Rome (2nd century): 500,000 to 1.5 million
  • Late Rome (4th to early 6th century): 200,000 to 500,000
  • Post-Gothic War Rome (mid 6th century): 20,000 to 50,000
  • Early Medieval Rome (7th century to 10th century): 20,000 to 30,000
  • Renaissance Rome (15th century): 50,000
  • 1860: 200,000
  • 1900: 600,000
  • 1945: 1.6 million
Where to begin, where to begin.

So first off, if we skip to the immediate aftermath of the Gothic Wars, you'll see a massive drop in Rome's population, by the order of somewhere around 75-90% of its pre-war population in the late 500s. So expect a lot of empty ruined buildings for quite a long time.

Now one of the points of contention, is how this remaining population occupied the empty ruins.

Traditionally, it was thought that with the aqueducts broken during the Gothic War, the denizens abandoned the areas further away from the Tiber River, and settled on the Campus Martius, which is where the medieval population of Rome lived. This is represented in Buffalini's 1551 map of Rome, which show the bulk of the population around the Campus Martius (now Campo di Fiore). Even 200 years later, this was still the case in Nolli's map of Rome, showing the same Tiber cluster, though obvious with some expansion along the edges into the center of old Rome.

However, recent archaeology has showed that there was continuing occupation throughout the city, including activity in the monumental center of Rome, like a two story stone house built in the forum of Nervae in the 800s, as well as occupation in the outer lying parts of Rome previously, but still inside the Aurelian Walls. Not to mention that popes shortly after the Gothic War rebuilt the aqueducts, which survived until it's estimated around the 8th century when they finally fell into permanent disuse. Which means for an indeterminate time after the Gothic Wars, Rome was still occupied relatively uniformly, but at a lower density as perhaps a cluster of urban villages, until a tipping point when the denizens shifted to the Campus Martius. I suspect this would be around the 8th century, when popes moved out from under the Byzantine thumb and into the Carolingian orbit, as essential legitimizers and partners in Charlemagne's imperial project. With their increased prestige, it would make sense to coalesce the Roman community around its most powerful figure and patron, which he now was, whereas previously he was less so.

Something to think about though. Despite a 75-90% drop in population from late Roman times, a medieval Rome with a population of 20,000 still made it one of the largest cities in Europe. Excepting only Constantinople and Cordoba (with their populations of 200,000+) from 400 600 CE - 1000 CE, and larger than London or Paris. It would only be after 1000 CE, moving toward the economic revival of the high middle ages that Rome would move from first tier to second tier in population, but even during the high middle ages, it was still an important city for its religious and artistic centrality, despite it being middling a city in population.

So what was life like?

Rome was still a pilgrimage capital even in these "darkest" of dark ages, so there was a steady influx of people coming to visit the religious sites. In fact, when the people of Europe thought about Rome, they didn't think of the city in terms of its pagan monuments, but in terms of its multitude of churches and tombs. Rome to them was late christian Rome.

As exemplified by the decorations involved in the new churches of Rome in the 8th and 9th century, an artisanal community survived, although when compared to the lack of elaboration in the aristocratic housing (that simple two story stone building previously mentioned, which was the fanciest housing available in Rome), there wasn't "enough" commerce to employ permanent artisans.

Most houses were of the wooden nature, and would be built alongside, inside, or using aspects of the crumbling ruins of ancient Rome. A lot of land inside the city would be converted to urban pasturing or farming. Basically, medieval Rome would straddle as a sort of halfcity half-rural environment inside the bounds of its massive walls.

In addition to artisans, there would be very active local aristocratic families. Possibly related to the senators of the late Roman era, but nothing that can be definitively proven. These families would become prominent in the later election of popes, and the establishing of the Roman commune later. Which means politics was still lively in this era, and there was an aristocracy to partake in it.

From what I've read, I believe most of the monumental structures, the forums, the Colosseums, the temples, the basilicas were actually relatively intact even by the 9th century. Meaning their structure was solid and recognizeable, though their interiors would've been emptied. Although in 847 there was a major earthquake, that was believed to be what caused the collapse of half the Basilica of Maxentius, and undoubtedly causing damage to many of the other structures. There were also major floods in this period that weren't cleared when mud spilled into the monumental center, which lead to a rising of the ground level. Which is why when you visit the Forum today, you have to walk down a long path. The ground level has raised considerably since antiquity.

I believe in fact, the majority of the damage to ancient Roman monuments (aside from the earthquakes) was during the early Renaissance years, when builders began systematically pillaging the ruins for building material. Of course this has always happened, but the wealth of the late medieval/early renaissance era accelerated the use of spoila, and the destruction of many a ruin.

Keep in mind though, the data I'm giving you covers a long stretch from 565 CE - 1000 CE, none of it exactly homogeneous. But if I were to summarize a description for you, if you were walking around the city during its darkest period, lets say 700 CE, I would say you would be walking through a city of mostly intact Roman monuments, wooden single or double room houses, along with a sparse few two story stone houses where the aristocrats lived, on dirt paved paths that used to cross old roads, with farms and pastureland inside massive city walls with the occasional Roman ruin sticking up to be used as location or boundary markers. You'd see the intact though delapidated monuments of old Rome, though these would be in poor shape compared to Old St. Peters which would be much better kept up, across the river, and which would be for another 500 years, the largest cathedral in western europe.

Oh yea and mosquitoes. There would probably be a lot more mosquitoes, given the recurrent flooding combined with lack of drainage.
 

KorbenDallas

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Interesting read, but based on what?

I would personally look up to the so-called ruinists, or ruin artists of the late 17th early 18th century. Based on their accounts all those “ancient” ruins were destroyed in may be 15th century at the latest.

Piranesi was one of those, but there was a whole bunch of other ones at the time.
 

KorbenDallas

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Marcus Aurelius "Meditations"?
The editio princeps of the original Greek (the first print version) was published by Conrad Gessner and his cousin Andreas in 1559. Both it and the accompanying Latin translation were produced by Wilhelm Xylander. His source was a manuscript from Heidelberg University, provided by Michael Toxites. By 1568, when Xylander completed his second edition, he no longer had access to the source and it has been lost ever since. The first English translation was published in 1634 by Meric Casaubon.
 

Onijunbei

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A year ago I would have never believed that possible but I'm starting to really think this through.

Riddle me this then, if these are all written in the middle ages why and how were they quoting each other? Was this MEANT as a fraud? Did they purposely reference each other to add to the validity of it all? That seems pretty tricky.

Or were these genuine writings, somehow misdated and misinterpreted?
If the source is all from the same group (i.e. Benadictine monks or masons) then not much of a riddle.. Plus allegedly less than one percent of one percent of the population could actually read or write. If reading and writing was mass introduced to the public via.. say.. The printing press.. At that point people can just make stuff up and hide a lot of the written manuscripts which most likely were very valuable and only in the hands of a few. Hopefully this response makes sense to the quote of Mystified.. I may have misread it
 
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KorbenDallas

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If the originals were so valuable for 1500 years, it is very suspicious that not a single one survived for additional 300-500 years.

Additionally when you factor in the sudden surge of previously unheard of discoveries of ancient busts and statues which coincidentally also started in the 15th century... some questions should come up questioning the authenticity of all this antiquity.

And things just keep on piling up. Even the famous Capitoline Wolf was made 1500 years after the originally reported date. Now it stands as 11th, 12th century for the wolf, and 15th century for the kids.

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Once we factor in different African transformations, and Pompeii controversies, the possibility of some serious historical foul play does not appear that impossible.
 

gregory5564

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I always found it strange that our oldest complete works of Roman literature are from the Late Republic, more or less. That is to say, we have very few purported writings from the zenith of the Republic, or writings contemporary with the Punic Wars, or the Roman invasions of Greece. Almost everything we know about the Republic is told by people who lived during the Republic's fall. This category includes Cicero, Cato the Younger, Horace, Livy, Caesar (of course), Seneca the Elder, Vergil, and Ovid (who was born one year after Caesar's assassination, and grew up during the ensuing civil wars). Lucretius died ten years before Caesar's assassination which is still close to the Republic's closing.
 
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mythstifieD

mythstifieD

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I found that very weird too after looking into this. If we take them at their word that these folks wrote at the times traditionally given, then it's still weird that no one cared to write an account of these glorious events! But even stranger when you consider that almost none of these works actually survived, and those that do were discovered in the middle ages. Carthage was utterly destroyed so that's how they excuse them for not writing their version of the Punic war down. No other observers bothered to write anything? Did no other cultures comment on the destruction of Carthage? The Punic wars? Highly suspicious! Has no one actually ever asked these questions before??
 

whitewave

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Probably more people have questioned these things than you think. Not just architecture either. There's a lot of shenanigans going on with a lot of different aspects of history.

I'm an herbalist/forager (among other things) and I spent my first year of retirement studying herbal medicine 8-14 hours a day. I read the ENTIRETY of books, including publishing dates, boring acknowledgements, references, etc. Questioning some of the information I read (and/or wanting to know more details) I also went to the library for the books mentioned in the reference sections at the back of the books. After reading about 80+ books that year and following each of their references I discovered that they all quoted each other and, if you went back far enough, they ALL were quoting Dioscorides (1st century)!

Really? In 2000 years NO ONE has done any original research? No chemists, botanists, alchemists, farmers, colonists to new lands, nobody? That seems a tad unlikely considering there was supposedly an entire 1000 years of Dark Ages when people were starving to death or dying of plague and nobody had a grocery store or hospital. You'd think someone would've taken on the task of learning about edible/medicinal plants.

Our history seems to be in the middle of another rewrite as well. Was looking in Barnes and Noble for a book on edible/medicinal plants (that I didn't already have) and found one that listed apples as poisonous! Maybe if you're Snow White! Also listed almost all wild edibles as poisonous. I guess in another generation (or less) everyone will be completely dependent on the commercial food and pharmaceutical industries, afraid to try anything that doesn't come prepackaged in bubble wrap.

And why ARE those cities in China sitting empty? Has it already been decided where the strike zones are to be, wiping out what's left of our ancient structures that make us question the official story? Architecture is the most obvious of the official story lies we're told but they're not the only lies being told.
 
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mythstifieD

mythstifieD

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After reading about 80+ books that year and following each of their references I discovered that they all quoted each other and, if you went back far enough, they ALL were quoting Dioscorides(1st century)!
There's a joke in philosophy that all later philosophers are merely footnotes to Plato and Aristotle. Maybe it's not a joke.

one that listed apples as poisonous! Maybe if you're Snow White!
Dr Oz (what a name!) did a whole bit on Apples having arsenic in them. It's ridiculous, trace amounts means nothing. Maybe if you eat ten trees worth of apples in one sitting you'll feel a bit of the effect....

Our history seems to be in the middle of another rewrite as well.
You ever wonder about these blatant high rank criminals, flaunting around like they're invincible? You think that at least history will remember their misdeeds. But all the newsclippings praise their genius and accomplishments? They ARE invincible. They write history, and we dumb plebs forget so fast.

I have an ambitious idea, but don't know how to start. I was thinking of making a thread where we collectively try to trace back genealogies as far as we can reliably go. How far back do you think we could go? Would we find gaps? Would we find contradicting ages in different documents? I think the best line to look through is Royalty since no one else would be documented well in antiquity. So we go country by country, and map out their Kings and Queens step by step, cite our sources. Then do the same elsewhere. Theoretically a war between King 1 and King 2 in 500 CE should line up perfectly right? What if it didn't.. what if it's off by 100 years--or more??
 

ISeenItFirst

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If you ate enough apple seeds... I believe the arsenic is concentrated there. Still would take more than a few apples worth of seeds.
 

KorbenDallas

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I think Fomenko and Nosovsky already did just that. They discovered an approximately 1000 year discrepancy with many roysl individuals being doubles, and sometimes triples of themselves. Often presented as rulers of different countries.

The most obvious example even the historians could not hide pertains to the Kings of Sweden where Charles 13th is also the 2nd, Charles 15th is also the 4th, etc.

Russian Empresses Elizabeth and Catherine (whatever numbers) are officially listed in succession one after another, while in reality it appears that one ruled Russia, and the other one was the ruler of the Moscovian Tartary.
 
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mythstifieD

mythstifieD

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Yes I'm very interested in their research. But I have a hard time finding any of it in English, or even anyone of substance taking them seriously in English
 

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