Showing posts with label Ancient Roman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ancient Roman. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Barbarians and Romans


Barbarians – Protection at Roman Frontiers - Julius Caesar

Barbarians had been organized for protection at the Roman frontiers right from the time of Julius Caesar. The river Rhine and Danube demarcated the Roman Empire in the European continental segregating the citizens of Rome from the various people who had inhabited Germania, which is the Roman term for the location extending as far north as Scandinavia and far east as the Vistula River.

The empire had at no point of time isolated itself from the Germanic people known as barbarian who were recruited as soldiers for the Roman army and developed commercial as well as political bonds with their leaders who had occupied lands beyond the borders.Several of these barbarians would return to the homeland though others would stay with their families in the Roman territories and would rise to the highest rank in military.

The kingdom had established diplomatic ties with the Germanic monarchs who had inhabited the lands further than the borders in order to safeguard them from hostile barbarians much beyond the field. Possibilities of Roman citizenship together with military as well as economic support had encouraged barbarian leaders to support their well to do neighbours mainly with the provision of troops.

Barbarian Neighbours – Hierarchical/Wealthy Elites

The barbarian neighbours of the empire were hierarchical as well as wealthy elites. Refereed by the buried artifacts and some observation in the literature of Rome, ‘Gaul almost everywhere had been governed by elite families who had been merged together by marriage as well as service in the community and region’.

These provisions enabled the barbarians of high position to amass wealth like direct gifts of jewellery from the empire together with payment in gold coin which in turn could be utilised in the commissioning of luxury objects of personal beautification from the local artists.

In the later centuries of the empire the increasing strength and the extent of the military needed the assimilation of improved quantities of barbarians units called the foedarati, in the army. Towards the fourth century, around 75,000 soldiers had been posted in the Roman province of Gaul where most of them were Germanic.

Roman Belief – Superior to Barbarian Neighbours

Burns had described the relations between the Roman Empire and the barbarians towards the frontier in Western Europe through a span of 500 years. The Romans were of the belief that they were superior to their barbarian neighbours and looked on their own civil wars as serious affairs though made light of the endemic warfare among the barbarians.

 Rome had been interested in stability and peace on its borders and the barbarians were aggressive and invading each other inclusive of the societies with whom the Romans had agreements. Besides protecting the barbarian allies, Rome also pressured these allies in limiting the warfare.

The trade between the Romans and the barbarians had been universal which comprises of Celtic people whom the archaeologists had found signs of having large amount of Roman goods. This indicated that they had on-going trade.Towards the second century BCE, in southern and central Gaul, the Celts had created `highly refined iron products and the Roman trader had acquired Celtic iron wear for resale.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

History mystery: Roman Dodecahedron

Roman Dodecahedron-1
A dodecahedra found in Europe has been given the name, Roman Dodecahedron where a total of over hundred objects were found in various European parts of the Roman Empire. These date back to the second or third century CE and were made of stone or bronze resembling geometric shape having twelve flat faces with each face in a pentagon, a five sided shape. Moreover they were also embellished with a number of knobs at each corner point of the pentagon.

Roman Dodecahedron-2
The pentagon faces in most cases contained circular hole in them and were of different size. Some of the Roman dodecahedron was basic in design while others had patterns and markings on them and the dodecahedron which were found in Germany had circular grooves around the hole on the faces. They were between the size of 4 cm and 11 cm and a majority of these objects were found on the territories of France, Switzerland and parts of Germany where the Roman once ruled, though some were also found in Hungary and Great Britain. The use or function of the dodecahedra is unknown since there is no mention of them in any text of pictures of that time. Some are of the opinion that they may have been used as candlestick holders since remnants of wax was found inside one such dodecahedron while others speculate that they could be dice, devices for determining the optimal sowing date for winter grains, survey instruments, or used to calibrate water pipes, and army standard bases.

Roman Dodecahedron-3

Still others suggest that they may have been used for religious purpose artifact of some kind. The famous Greek historian, Plutarch identified the dodecahedron as a vital instruments for zodiac signs, taking into account the twelve sides which represent the twelve animals in the zodiac circle with others debating on the knobs as a means of decoration. Many have been baffled over the purpose and use of the different size hole, the reason of its discoveries all over Europe and not in a concentrated area. One such object found in a woman’s burial ground has given rise to more speculation leading some to believe that they were used as religious artifact probably used in rites derived from Celtic sources and this speculation is based on the fact that most of these objects were found in Gallo Roman sites.

Roman Dodecahedron-4

The Roman dodecahedrons are surely one of the ancient artifacts with their unique beauty, appearance, accompanied with the mystery behind it, thus enhancing its appeal giving rise to speculation among many historian, experts’ and artifact fanatics. Many have made attempts to unravel this baffling mystery each coming up with their own conclusion on its exact usage and function of this amazing ancient object. The fact that the Roman dodecahedron has still not been solved makes it one of the most interesting and appealing ancient artifact ever found and it is quite unlikely that we may ever know the purpose of the creation of this amazing artifact known as Roman Dodecahedron.