In every station of life you will find amusements, relaxations, and enjoyments; that is, provided you be willing to make light of evils rather than to hate them.
-Seneca, De Tranquillitate Animi (Peace of Mind), tr. Aubrey Stewart
#CanHelpWith jokes, if you need a joke related to a particular topic; general joke recommendations and editing. No guarantee of funniness or propriety.
@l I know some graduate-schooled people in early Christian studies (Matthew Ferguson, Richard Carrier) and amateur researchers in arms and armour such as Roland Warzeca. The dig at Sandby Borg and the Journal of Roman Military Equipment Studies were crowdfunded.
'When Winnie-the-Pooh was proposed for sale in East Germany, censors found its message too neutral, insufficiently progressive, and hence not representative of East German society.'
what the ancient Chinese thought of the Romans: http://depts.washington.edu/silkroad/texts/hhshu/hou_han_shu.html#sec11
Dan Carlin's "Celtic Holocaust", episode 60 of Hardcore History. Dan compares the Gallic tribes fighting Caesar to other struggles between low-tech indigenous groups and "high-tech" colonizers with greater economic and administrative complexity. An army travels on its belly; logistics and capacity for food production are key, not just weapons and armor. At some point in the tech tree "civilization" attained a decisive military advantage though Ghengis Khan did pretty well https://www.dancarlin.com/hardcore-history-60-the-celtic-holocaust/
I'm a sociologist who's preoccupied by media. Writing a post-nationalist history of television in Ireland right now. Interested in developing work on connections between tech and politics, also alternative, peer produced communication technologies.
#HARLBYZ 10. Byzantine urban life in the 6th century was dominated by rival organized societies: each part political party, part street gang, part hooligan athletic supporters club, part theological school, and collectively so powerful that the police had to rely on them to maintain order. These circus factions ("demes", originally chariot racing team fans), united to riot when Justinian imprisoned two of their members (a "Blue" and a "Green") very nearly overthrowing him https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nika_riots#Background
#HARLBYZ 9. Perhaps the greatest refactoring project of the ancient world was the creation of Justinian's civil code by his jurist Tribonian. They abolished the entire mass of conflicting legal writings that had accumulated over 1,000 years of Roman history; reorganized, clarified and rewrote it as a framework for future legislation. The old code had been so huge it was too expensive to make any new copies, and even the libraries didn't have a complete set of its volumes. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Roman-law
#HARLBYZ 8. There has got to be a Hollywood epic blockbuster of Alaric and Stilicho. One a Goth, the other half-Vandal half-Roman, coming up together in the Roman army. First friends, one marries into the Imperial family to become the most powerful man in the Western empire, the other sours on Rome, marries into barbarian royalty. They become enemies on the battlefield - culminating in Rome's first sacking in 800 years. Betrayal, romance, war, and mortal drama https://www.ancient.eu/Alaric/
#HARLBYZ 7 "Anchorite" (hermit) comes from PIE "withdraw from a place" (ana + khoros) totally unrelated to "anchor" from the Greek "ankyra" hook. The quintessential Christian institution of monasticism originated in pre-Islamic Egypt; St Anthony the Abbot, first to retreat into the deep desert of Nitria, encased himself in an old fortress on Mount Pispir for 20 years before being dug up by villagers - who found him serene and full of vitality, presumably having worked out all his demons.
#HARLBYZ 6. It's surprising to see such intense doctrinal warfare over the minutae of Christology (Nestorian, monophysite, Chalcedonian) until you consider the essence of the religion is to imitate Christ as closely as possible, rather than espousing any particular belief. Then it matters a great deal exactly how Christ pulls off the God-Man trick. The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (Jaynes) is a controversial account of possessing a dual divine nature.
#HARLBYZ 5 The Roman army lost its ability to win battles after replacing high-morale elite citizen soldiers with relatively untrained mercenaries, and relying on barbarian tribal units of questionable loyalty. Julian and Valens defeated. The USA lost in Iraq after outsourcing military duties to private contractors and security forces (Blackwater Halliburton and Bechtel), while expecting armed locals to defeat the insurgents for them. Can the US still claim the world's most effective military?
#HARLBYZ 4. I sometimes hear that Christianity is just Mithraism or some Jewish-flavored Hellenic cult, but this view is dated; the cults were a different type of beast.
"Modern reconstructions that view the mysteries as a cohesive religious phenomenon run the risk of oversimplification. Early twentieth-century scholarship, for instance, interpreted the ancient mysteries as a forerunner to Christian soteriological beliefs, thus challenging the latter’s originality. "
Map of #medieval trade networks https://easyzoom.com/imageaccess/ec482e04c2b240d4969c14156bb6836f discussion https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17115238
#HARLBYZ 3. Under Diocletian in the late Roman empire, service in the provincial legislatures (decurions) morphed from a duty of honor, undertaken by local aristocrats, to a means of social climbing by ambitious men seeking wealth through imperial patronage. Similar transition in the USA, from the classical concept of honor among the Founding Fathers (q.v. Joseph Ellis' biographies), to the Burr-Hamilton duel, to career politicians. I'd like ti check out J Freeman's "Affair of Honor".
Harl on Byzantium, 2. How to account for the appeal of Christianity to Constantine and his Roman contemporaries? The Romans had a warrior ethic, trained, by spectacles of cruelty, to identify with the victor. The image of the Passion offered an alternative: identifying with the suffering of the victim. The innate human ability to reverse roles (through empathy) could have provided the flash of insight leaving to a desire for an experience of forgiveness -which the church was happy to offer.
The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!