Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Roman Days of the Week

Saturday-Saturni Dies-Day of the god Saturn
Sunday-Dies Solis-Day of the Sun
Monday*-Monandaeg-Moon Day
Tuesday*-Tiwesdaeg-Day of Tyr (war god)
Wednesday*-Wodnesdaeg-Day of Woden chief of the gods)
Thursday*-Thorsdagr-Day of Thor (thunder god)
Friday*-Frigedaeg-Friggs Day (Woden’s wife)

*these days were named to honor the Germanic/Norwegian gods

As with the months of the year, we owe the names of our week days to the Roman and the German Barbarian gods.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Roman Legion

Marching from their fortified camps, the Roman Army Legions battled the enemies of the Empire for more than six centuries.

The basic fighting unit of the Roman Army, the legion held from 5000 to 6000 legionnaires. The standing army normally had between 28 and 33 legions for a strength of around 150,000 legionnaires and up to an additional 300,000 auxiliary troops. At its greatest height the entire Roman Army numbered over half a million soldiers. 
In addition to fighting, Legionnaires were expected to assist in the construction of both temporary daily fortified camps and more permanent govenrment projects such as roads, walls and aqueducts.  Besides these traditional infantry soldiers, every legion included trained specialists, such as surgeons, engineers, surveyors, and craftsmen (blacksmiths, carpenters, farriers and the like). Due to their specialized duties these men were exempt from normal camp and hard labor duties.

Centurions(leader of a century-eighty legionnaires) were the officers that ran the fighting machine that was the legion. Each legion would have sixty of these indispensable officers.

Every legion was numbered and given a name such as Legion XIII-Gemini.

The Aquilifer carried the legions Eagle-the sacred symbol of the Roman Legion.

The Gladius Hispaniensis, or Sword of Spain, was the true killing weapon of the soldier. Each legionnaire was brutally trained to ruthlessly plunge the 60cm blade into the vitals of the enemies of Rome.

The pilum was a heavy throwing javelin that Roman soldiers would throw into the enemy at point blank range. Specially designed to bend upon impact, the pilum could not be reused against the Romans by an enemy.

Every legion was equipped with an artillery unit armed with catapults and the deadly Scorpion ballista. The latter could kill individual targets at ranges up to 300m.

The legionnaires of the Roman Legions were the world's first true professional soldiers, each serving twenty years before retirement. While the legions remained strong the Empire was secure.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Gaul-the Enemy of Caesar

>This map shows Caesar's campaign against the Gauls and his major battles.

Since the 4th century BCE, the Romans had faced the dangers of invasion by the fierce tribes of the Gauls. In fact, Rome itself was pillaged by the Gauls under Brennus in 387 BCE (although it would be more than seven centuries before another barbarian army was able to accomplish this feat-the Visigoths of Alaric in 410 CE). By the 1st century BCE the Romans were in a position to finish the question of Gaul.  From 58 to 51 BCE, Julius Caesar waged a war of conquest against the "Barbarian" Gauls and neighboring tribes. To the Romans this entire area was Gallia, just another area to be added as a province of the Empire. The Gauls did not see themselves as "barbarian." They believed the Romans were invaders determined to conquer and enslave the people of Gaul.

The warriors of Gaul were brave but poorly trained and equipped. As in many barbarian societies, each man brought his own equipment to war. In many cases this was little more than a shield and sword. Chieftains, as was appropriate to their rank and wealth, were the best equipped often with metal armour and high quality weapons.

Roman soldiers were equipped by the state with high quality weapons and armor and were professionally trained. A Roman legion would include a medical detachment, combat engineers, transportation units and most importantly a highly developed officer corps and chain of command. Romans fought as a well organized fighting machine, barbarians usually fought as a large mob.

It was not uncommon for some Gallic warriors to charge into combat without clothing. This was to impress their enemies with the bravery of the warrior and sow fear into the ranks of the enemy by the fanatic nature of these warriors of Gaul.

In the end, Roman military might and organization, under the leadership of Julius Caesar, over came the strength of numbers the Gauls held. Gaul became an important province of the expanding Empire and remained so until the Fall of the Western Empire in the 5th Century CE.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Through This Portal

The main entrance to heated swimming area of a Roman Baths was the portal to the daily ritual of cleanliness and community interaction. Thousands of feet per day for centuries entering though this doorway have worn the granite lintal into a smooth curve. One can only imagine what the baths looked like in the glory days of the empire when visiting the baths was a civic responsibility of all citizens.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

7th Grade History Syllabus

Linking the past to the present, students will analyze and evaluate the rich diversity of historical experiences that have created the world of today. While special emphasis will be placed on unique human experiences and historic actions of note, the role of past and current world events will be reviewed to keep the student apprised of their relationships to life in the world of the 21st Century.

History of Our World, Prentice Hall, 2005.

1st Trimester- Death of Empires
Roman Republic / Roman Empire / Barbarians/ Shang to Han Dynasties
Art Focus: Roman Mosaics
Research Paper Topics: Rome/China/Middle East

2nd Trimester-Medieval Times
Dark Ages / Byzantium / Islam / Feudalism / Crusades / Shogun Japan /
Sui to Yuan Dynasties / Mongols
Art Focus-Village Life, Castles & Cathedrals
Research Paper Topics: the Medieval World

3rd Trimester-Renaissance and Exploration
Renaissance / Ottomans / Reformation / Elizabethan Europe / Age of Explorers / Aztecs / Incas / New World Colonies / Ming and Qing Dynasties
Art Focus-Realism
Research Paper Topics: Renaissance and post Renaissance World

Lecture / Story Telling / Data Analysis / Art / Readings / Films / Discussions /
Note Taking / Research / Historic Simulations / Maps / Artifacts /
Evaluation of Primary & Secondary Sources / Timelines /
Any Thing Else That Works To Excite Students About History!

Grade Evaluation will be based on Class Work & Participation (20%), Home Work (20%), Research Papers, Projects & Presentations (30%), Quiz’s, Tests (30%).

Guardians of Empire

The Roman Legionnaire was the rock upon which the Empire stood. Professional soldiers who served up to 25 years, these warriors were well trained and equipped to deal with any enemy in any climate from the Arctic cold winters in Northern Europe to the scorching sands of Egypt.

On the march, each legionnaire was required to carry his weapons, armor, rations for up to a week, tent material, bedding, clothes and two posts for the camp wall (erected when the legion stopped for the night). This heavy load was often more than 80 lbs. of equipment, and earned the legionnaires the title "Marius' Mules" from the name of the general who reformed the army in the 2nd century BCE.

The Roman Army was proud of the fact that they were the best trained army in the World.  From the ability to march more than twenty miles a day, and fight a battle immediately afterwards, to elaborate combat formations the legionnaires were the most combat ready force of the Ancient World.  One of the more complex formations of the legionnaires was the Roman Testudo (tortoise) a defensive formation that allowed the legionnaires to advance in relative safety in the face of enemy missile fire.

The Roman Historian Livy said, the power of the Roman Army was based on three vital points: "Virtus-Opus-Arma" (Courage-Work-Weapons). As long as the Guardians of the Empire followed these truths the Empire was safe, when these failed so did the Empire.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Month By Another Name...

Did you know that the names of all the months are Roman Names?

January is: Mensis Janus the Month of the god Janus
February is: Mensis Februarius the Month of Purification
March is: Mensis Matius the Month of god Mars (war)
April is: Mensis Aprilis the Month of the goddess Aphrodite(love)
May is: Mensis Maia the Month of the goddess Maia(growth)
June is: Mensis Junni the Month of the family goddess Juno
July is: Mensis Julius(Quintilis)the Month of Julius Caesar
August is: Mensis Augustus(Sextius)the Month of Augustus Caesar
September is: Mensis Septem the Month Seven
October is: Mensis Octo the Month Eight
November is: Mensis Novem the Month Nine
December is: Mensis Decem the Month Ten

Next time you write the month as a date you are using the name given by the ancient Romans twenty centuries or more ago in the past.

Orginal Latin Alphabet




(the Senate and People of Rome)

SPQR, the symbol of the Roman Republic and Empire. Was to the Romans what USA is to Americans.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Roman Flushing Toliets

Artist drawing of the toliets in the Theatre of Pompey in Rome. This was a 100 seat toliet complex.

Seats at the Roman Port City of Osta, Italy.

Toilets from Roman controled Corinth, Greece

Sewer drainage line at the baths in Wroexeter, England

Romans were very proud of their puplic toilets that used running water to flush away the human waste into sewers. As you can see in the artists drawing, the seats were open to each other to encourage communication among the users. These were unisex toilets so your neighbor to one side might be male and female to the other. Toilet paper was unknown, instead you used a sponge on a stick that you dipped in fresh water, cleaned your self and replaced for the next user.

In the last picture I find it very interesting that 1900 years ago the Romans at Wroxeter had flushing toilets while those visiting the historic site today have to use the port-a-pot seen in the background.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Hypocaust-Radiant Floor Heating 1st Century Style

Hypocaust (Heat from Below) was a Roman engineering design that was used to heat both public and private buildings throughout the empire. The floor was raised on brick pillars and ventilation flues are built into the walls. Heat via a fire was produced and allowed to flow under the floors and out the flues heating the entire area through the floor. This radiant heat is clean and efficent. With the fall of Rome in the 5th Century, this technique of heating homes through the floor was lost in the Western World until the late 20th Century.

These pictures are of the remains of the hypocaust system found in the great baths of Wroxeter England.

Wroxeter-the Roman City of Viroconium Cornoviorum

Once the fourth largest Roman city in England, Vircoconium Cornoviorum was a civic and military center for more than three centuries. It has been called one of the best examples of Roman 2nd century town design and was the capital of Cornovii Briton. With the fall of the Empire the government here ceased and other cities grew in importance while Vircoconium's declined. The city was abandoned in the late 5th or early 6th centuries. Over time virtually the entire city was dismantled for its buliding materials. Today all that remains is one partal wall of the baths and the ruins of below ground walls of some of the town buildings

All The Glory That Was Rome

Main entrance to the baths.

This is all that remains of the Roman baths in Wroxter, England. At one time these ruins were the height of Roman engineering design with hot and cold pools, underfloor heating and flushing toilets. As befit a major city of the Empire, the baths were massive being able to serve up to 1000 people at a time.
After the fall of the Empire, the baths were abandoned as the barbaian conquerors had no need for such sophisticated social cleanliness. Over time the baths were demolished not by war, rather they were literally taken apart piece by piece to be used as construction material in near by villages and farms.

History is Alive and Well

Hello and welcome to this blog on the March of History. History is the story of people and is alive with all the stories of the lives of people. This site is dedicated to exploring history and its constant effect upon our lives today.