I am not an historian. In fact I never particularly liked history as a topic. I do find a lot of people develop more of an interest the older they get and the more they become some part of it. I’ve got a videogame collection I am fairly certain in a couple of generations youngsters will think is a damn museum!
That said a visit to the Eternal City was enough to make me realise that there have been times, events, societies, people, technologies, sports, ideas, literature, paintings, sculptures and foods that have had huge impacts on who we are today and how we live.
I am from Great Britain, the country of England. I live on the Kentish coast, only a short drive from where Gaius Julius Caesar would have had trouble landing his ships in 55 BCE (and again in 54 BCE – he didn’t do so well the first time) before having a little bit of a scuffle with some local tribes. A few people got killed, a few hands were shaken and then he buggered off, as did Roman occupation of UK territory for a century.
I have visited Richborough Fort, Rutupiae, where Claudius’ fleet would have landed for their invasion of Britain. Future emperor Titus Flavius Vespasianus, Vespasian, would have been among them as Legate, the big cheese in charge, of the Legio II Augusta, the only legion known to have taken part in the invasion.
From the Byzantine-soaked East to the West Coast of the United States the influence of Rome stretches across the planet. Small pockets of culture remain relatively untouched, Southeast Asia, Oceania and sub-Saharan Africa, for example. But even there have they escape the Roman inspired republics, representative democracies, senators, scholars, Latin words, Latin-derived languages, Catholics and Christians?
There is an awful lot, linguistically, religiously, politically and socially to represent the legacy of Rome.
I felt this, deeply, when visiting Rome. I realised that whilst I had, at the time, no innate interest in history I was, at most, a droplet of spray on a wave of my current culture, the force of which was pulled by tides and currents that go back thousands of years.
It also helped that Romans were cruel, bloodthirsty, conniving, scummy, divided, contrary, horny little toerags.
They were, from the lowliest class to the highest office, a soap opera incarnate.
As one of the first societies to provide lots of written documentation, from earnest (if inaccurate) histories to trade receipts, they are also one of the first historical civilisations to provide ample material for comparison with our own lives.
So here’s my plan. I’ve read some shit, from as pop as pop-history gets to academic essays, about Rome, but a lot of you haven’t.
So We Lack Discipline is going to do what it does.
We’re going to give you the grown up primary school rundown on Roman history.
It will be inaccurate, no-nonsense and piss-takey.
This is the springboard, a starting point, and nothing more.
So there it is, strap in and get ready – it’s a hell of a ride.
Vivant Stulti Curiosi!
Move on in our timeline of ‘Roman History in a Nutshell’
The Founding – 753 BCE and Before
The Kingdom – 753 BCE – 509 BCE
The Patrician Era and the Conflict of the Orders – 494 BCE – 287 BCE
Wars with Etruscans Pre-753 BCE – ~264 BCE
Wars with Sabines, Veii & Fidenae ~753 BCE – ~287 BCE
The Latin Wars 7th Century BCE – ~338 BCE
The Gallic Wars ~390 BCE – ~284 BCE
The Rest of the Med ~2,000 BCE – ~3rd Century BCE
The Samnite Wars ~343 BCE – ~290 BCE
Want to read more about Romans? We’ve got a little for you.
Bad History: Boudica and Bullshit Nationalism – Looking at the use of historical figures for current political or social agendas.
Bad History: Did Rome ever Actually Fall? Questioning the ‘Decline and Fall’ narrative and looking at structures inherited from the Romans we have to this day.
A New Lease of Life? – A Discussion about the new floor in the Flavian Amphitheatre, the Colosseum, and what Vespasian, who initially commissioned the building, might think.
Top Ten Modern Things Romans Would Love – Introduction
Top Ten Modern Things Romans Would Love – Easily available abortion (CW)
Top Ten Modern Things Romans Would Love – Drawing dicks on things.
Top Ten Modern Things Romans Would Love – Energy Drinks
Top Ten Modern Things Romans Would Love – Gender and Sexuality Liberation (CW)
Top Ten Modern Things Romans Would Love – Travel and Tourist Tat.
Top Ten Modern Things Romans Would Love – AirBnB
Top Ten Modern Things Romans Would Love – Bipartisan Politics
Top Ten Modern Things Romans Would Love – Fast Food
Top Ten Modern Things Romans Would Love – Pro-Wrestling
Top Ten Modern Things Romans Would Love – Social Media (Especially Insta and Twitter)
What are the ‘Ides of March’ – Because I envitably get asked by my dad every Ides, I wrote about it!
The Mother of Rome: Livia Drusilla – Before the hit Sky TV series ‘Domina’ there was me espousing the life and works of Livia, the canny politician, the Patrician, the Patron and the wife and mother of an Empire.
The Pleb who Built Rome: Marcus Agrippa – It is my belief that the right-hand-man of Augustus had a much bigger part to play in the building and management of the Empire than did his friend with the titles. Find out why.