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Orwellingly Yurz
SFN Regular

USA
529 Posts

Posted - 10/03/2006 :  18:28:30  Show Profile Send Orwellingly Yurz a Private Message
YO:Just THIS In/Who says history doesn't repeat itself? OY! Read on

>
>By ROBERT HARRIS
>Published: September 30, 2006
>Kintbury , England
>
>IN the autumn of 68 B.C. the world's only military
>superpower was dealt a
>profound psychological blow by a daring terrorist
>attack on its very heart.
>Rome 's port at Ostia was set on fire, the consular
>war fleet destroyed, and
>two prominent senators, together with their bodyguards
>and staff, kidnapped.
>
>The incident, dramatic though it was, has not
>attracted much attention from
>modern historians. But history is mutable. An event
>that was merely a footnote
>five years ago has now, in our post-9/11 world,
>assumed a fresh and ominous
>significance. For in the panicky aftermath of the
>attack, the Roman people
>made decisions that set them on the path to the
>destruction of their
>Constitution, their democracy and their liberty. One
>cannot help wondering if
>history is repeating itself.
>
>Consider the parallels. The perpetrators of this
>spectacular assault were not
>in the pay of any foreign power: no nation would have
>dared to attack Rome so
>provocatively. They were, rather, the disaffected of
>the earth: "The ruined
>men of all nations," in the words of the great
>19th-century German historian
>Theodor Mommsen, "a piratical state with a peculiar
>esprit de corps."
>
>Like Al Qaeda, these pirates were loosely organized,
>but able to spread a
>disproportionate amount of fear among citizens who had
>believed themselves
>immune from attack. To quote Mommsen again: "The Latin
>husbandman, the
>traveler on the Appian highway, the genteel bathing
>visitor at the terrestrial
>paradise of Baiae were no longer secure of their
>property or their life for a
>single moment."
>
>What was to be done? Over the preceding centuries, the
>Constitution of ancient
>Rome had developed an intricate series of checks and
>balances intended to
>prevent the concentration of power in the hands of a
>single individual. The
>consulship, elected annually, was jointly held by two
>men. Military commands
>were of limited duration and subject to regular
>renewal. Ordinary citizens
>were accustomed to a remarkable degree of liberty: the
>cry of "Civis Romanus
>sum" - "I am a Roman citizen" - was a guarantee of
>safety throughout the
>world.
>
>But such was the panic that ensued after Ostia that
>the people were willing to
>compromise these rights. The greatest soldier in Rome
>, the 38-year-old Gnaeus
>Pompeius Magnus (better known to posterity as Pompey
>the Great) arranged for a
>lieutenant of his, the tribune Aulus Gabinius, to rise
>in the Roman Forum and
>propose an astonishing new law.
>
>"Pompey was to be given not only the supreme naval
>command but what amounted
>in fact to an absolute authority and uncontrolled
>power over everyone," the
>Greek historian Plutarch wrote. "There were not many
>places in the Roman world
>that were not included within these limits."
>
>Pompey eventually received almost the entire contents
>of the Roman Treasury -
>144 million sesterces - to pay for his "war on
>terror," which included
>building a fleet of 500 ships and raising an army of
>120,000 infantry and
>5,000 cavalry. Such an accumulation of power was
>unprecedented, and there was
>literally a riot in the Senate when the bill was
>debated.
>
>Nevertheless, at a tumultuous mass meeting in the
>center of Rome , Pompey's
>opponents were cowed into submission, the Lex Gabinia
>passed (illegally), and
>he was given his power. In the end, once he put to
>sea, it took less than
>three months to sweep the pirates from the entire
>Mediterranean . Even allowing
>for Pompey's genius as a military strategist, the
>suspicion arises that if the
>pirates could be defeated so swiftly, they could
>hardly have been such a
>grievous threat in the first place.
>
>But it was too late to raise such questions. By the
>oldest trick in the
>political book - the whipping up of a panic, in which
>any dissenting voice
>could be dismissed as "soft" or even "traitorous" -
>powers had been ceded by
>the people that would never be returned. Pompey stayed
>in the Middle East for
>six years, establishing puppet regimes throughout the
>region, and turning
>himself into the richest man in the empire.

OY!

>Robert Harris is the author, most recently, of
>"Imperium: A Novel of Ancient
>Rome ."

"The modern conservative...is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy. That is the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
--John Kenneth Galbraith

If dogs run free
Then what must be,
Must be...
And that is all
--Bob Dylan

The neo-cons have gotten welfare for themselves down to a fine art.
--me

"The meek shall inherit the earth, but not the mineral rights."
--J. Paul Getty

"The great thing about Art isn't what it give us, but what we become through it."
--Oscar Wilde

"We have Art in order not to die of life."
--Albert Camus

"I cling like a miser to the freedom I lose when surrounded by an abundance of things."
--Albert Camus

"Experience is the name so many people give to their mistakes."
--Oscar Wilde

HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 10/03/2006 :  19:11:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message
Wonderful quote, OY! We could learn so much from history, were we of a mind to do so. I hadn't known of this act of terrorism at Ostia by the pirates, nor of how it had set the stage for Pompey's consolidation of power (and, by implication, Caesar's later complete seizure of power). A brilliantly presented and applicable parallel!

My only quibbling problems with the quote are that it would be so much easier to read were it formatted better, without all the angle brackets, and it would be nice to get a link to your source.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Orwellingly Yurz
SFN Regular

USA
529 Posts

Posted - 10/03/2006 :  19:21:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Orwellingly Yurz a Private Message
YO: Halfmooner and other Roman history buffs: The Roman/Pirate scam story came to me from a retired judge friend who didn't supply a link for me either.

However, here's the address that follows the text I sent in my earlier post on the subject.

>Brad O'Hearn & Associates, Inc.
>6 Russell Court
>Northport, NY 11768-3511
>Tel. 631.547.1111
>Fax 631.757.1180
>ohearn@optonline.net

I'm guessing this is a public relations firm or a publishing house. I took it off because I not trying to sell anything. But here it is for those who wish to take it further. OY.

"The modern conservative...is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy. That is the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
--John Kenneth Galbraith

If dogs run free
Then what must be,
Must be...
And that is all
--Bob Dylan

The neo-cons have gotten welfare for themselves down to a fine art.
--me

"The meek shall inherit the earth, but not the mineral rights."
--J. Paul Getty

"The great thing about Art isn't what it give us, but what we become through it."
--Oscar Wilde

"We have Art in order not to die of life."
--Albert Camus

"I cling like a miser to the freedom I lose when surrounded by an abundance of things."
--Albert Camus

"Experience is the name so many people give to their mistakes."
--Oscar Wilde
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Original_Intent
SFN Regular

USA
609 Posts

Posted - 10/03/2006 :  20:54:18   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Original_Intent a Private Message
I would love to see the cites for this. The city had new walls enclosing a larger areacompleted 10-11 years later.
I want to know how Lex Gabinia was passed illegaly. Gabinius was a Tribune. The plebs could pass laws. I want to see the cite for the riot as well.
Nope, not in the pay of a foreign power, however the Antolian coast held pirate states.
Pompey kicked their butts, sent them running home, surrounded them, and offered them a pardon. Maybe because of his percieved integrity of his word, they trusted that they could either walk away, or be killed to the last.
Puppet regiems? They all answered to Rome.
Since pirates lived in states along the coast, and interfered with commerce and shipping, they commited acts of war. How should all war be persecuted.... With overwhelming force until victory is desicive.

Ceaser wasn't the first dictator. Sulla was a dictator deposed 15 years prior Ostia (I am unsure who the first dictator of the "republic" was). Comparing Roman and US Constitutions is rediculous.

I really like history, and there are few things I despise more the changing history to meet ones needs. What one needs to do is be creative and come up with a parable or fable..... but they are too damn lazy.

Again, if anyone has cites for me, I would really like to see them.

Peace
Joe
Edited by - Original_Intent on 10/04/2006 09:34:46
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 10/04/2006 :  10:47:13   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
Google is your friend. There's a second page to the piece, also.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 10/04/2006 :  17:05:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message
Thanks for finding the source, Dave.

Of course, history never really repeats itself; there are always variations on a theme in any two similar series of events.

Both Pompey and Bush used the excuse of terrorist acts to gain power. But there is a huge difference between Pompey's and Bush's actions in the wake of terrorism: Both (at least to some degree) overthrew the existing liberties and constitutions of their former regimes. But unlike Bush, at least Pompey delivered. He defeated his terrorists.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Mycroft
Skeptic Friend

USA
427 Posts

Posted - 10/07/2006 :  14:02:54   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Mycroft a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Orwellingly Yurz

YO:Just THIS In/Who says history doesn't repeat itself? OY! Read on

>
>By ROBERT HARRIS
>Published: September 30, 2006
>Kintbury , England
>
>IN the autumn of 68 B.C. the world's only military
>superpower was dealt a
>profound psychological blow by a daring terrorist
>attack on its very heart.
>Rome 's port at Ostia was set on fire, the consular
>war fleet destroyed, and
>two prominent senators, together with their bodyguards
>and staff, kidnapped.
>


As far as partisan rhetoric goes, this is inspired, but is it deeper than that?

I checked the Wikipedia article on Ostia and found no reference to this fire. It doesn't seem likely this writer would lie about it, but is it possible it was exaggerated?

Is this the same Pompeius Magnus that was the rival of Gaius Julius Caesar? If so, this pirate campaign is barely a footnote in the man's biography. Is it possible it was exaggerated in order to create an artificial comparison with modern times?

This smacks very much of preaching to the choir and then hearing the choir say "amen". I'm sure it's satisfying, but where is the skepticism?
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 10/07/2006 :  14:47:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Mycroft

quote:
Originally posted by Orwellingly Yurz

YO:Just THIS In/Who says history doesn't repeat itself? OY! Read on

>
>By ROBERT HARRIS
>Published: September 30, 2006
>Kintbury , England
>
>IN the autumn of 68 B.C. the world's only military
>superpower was dealt a
>profound psychological blow by a daring terrorist
>attack on its very heart.
>Rome 's port at Ostia was set on fire, the consular
>war fleet destroyed, and
>two prominent senators, together with their bodyguards
>and staff, kidnapped.
>


As far as partisan rhetoric goes, this is inspired, but is it deeper than that?

I checked the Wikipedia article on Ostia and found no reference to this fire. It doesn't seem likely this writer would lie about it, but is it possible it was exaggerated?

Is this the same Pompeius Magnus that was the rival of Gaius Julius Caesar? If so, this pirate campaign is barely a footnote in the man's biography. Is it possible it was exaggerated in order to create an artificial comparison with modern times?

This smacks very much of preaching to the choir and then hearing the choir say "amen". I'm sure it's satisfying, but where is the skepticism?

The Wiki article on Pompey includes a section on Pompey's war against the pirates.

The Ostia entry in Wikipedia mentions the pirate attack, though it does not specify a fire. Having to rebuild the port after the pirate attack, however, certainly implies it was destroyed:
quote:
In 87 BC, the town was razed by Marius, and again in 67 BC it was sacked by pirates. After this second attack, the town was re-built and provided with protective walls by the statesman and orator Marcus Tullius Cicero.
There's a very interesting discussion of the ancient history side of Robert Harris' article in this forum.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Original_Intent
SFN Regular

USA
609 Posts

Posted - 10/07/2006 :  15:39:57   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Original_Intent a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Mycroft

quote:
Originally posted by Orwellingly Yurz

YO:Just THIS In/Who says history doesn't repeat itself? OY! Read on

>
>By ROBERT HARRIS
>Published: September 30, 2006
>Kintbury , England
>
>IN the autumn of 68 B.C. the world's only military
>superpower was dealt a
>profound psychological blow by a daring terrorist
>attack on its very heart.
>Rome 's port at Ostia was set on fire, the consular
>war fleet destroyed, and
>two prominent senators, together with their bodyguards
>and staff, kidnapped.
>


As far as partisan rhetoric goes, this is inspired, but is it deeper than that?

I checked the Wikipedia article on Ostia and found no reference to this fire. It doesn't seem likely this writer would lie about it, but is it possible it was exaggerated?

Is this the same Pompeius Magnus that was the rival of Gaius Julius Caesar? If so, this pirate campaign is barely a footnote in the man's biography. Is it possible it was exaggerated in order to create an artificial comparison with modern times?

This smacks very much of preaching to the choir and then hearing the choir say "amen". I'm sure it's satisfying, but where is the skepticism?



Harris is a novelist. His "Fatherland" was an alternative history, with the Nazi's winning WWII.

The best I can do with anything on Ostia was the refrence from my first post. The fleet seems to have been destroyed, however I can find no refrence of the town being burned. However it seems to me to be a waste to build a bigger wall to surround a burned town. It also seems to me that they would have refrenced rebuilding the town, and not just a bigger wall. Who knows. I think Harris is trying to revise history for his own ends, for political andor commercial reasons.

I don't think the problem with the pirates was exagerated, I think it was played down. The writer states they were stateless, and owed no alliegence. The pirates, however, lived in "pirate states" on the Anotlian coast. Maybe not proper, modern states, but still a land and base. These pirates had been there for centuries, causing all sorts of mischeif.

See: this


Some hisorical theories identify them as part of / descendents of the "Sea People" who were a nasty lot. They would have burned Ostai to the ground and rebuit it themselves........

Peace
Joe

The Circus of Carnage... because you should be able to deal with politicians like you do pissant noobs.
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Mycroft
Skeptic Friend

USA
427 Posts

Posted - 10/07/2006 :  17:30:40   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Mycroft a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Original_Intent
Harris is a novelist. His "Fatherland" was an alternative history, with the Nazi's winning WWII.

The best I can do with anything on Ostia was the refrence from my first post. The fleet seems to have been destroyed, however I can find no refrence of the town being burned. However it seems to me to be a waste to build a bigger wall to surround a burned town. It also seems to me that they would have refrenced rebuilding the town, and not just a bigger wall. Who knows. I think Harris is trying to revise history for his own ends, for political andor commercial reasons.

I don't think the problem with the pirates was exagerated, I think it was played down. The writer states they were stateless, and owed no alliegence. The pirates, however, lived in "pirate states" on the Anotlian coast. Maybe not proper, modern states, but still a land and base. These pirates had been there for centuries, causing all sorts of mischeif.

See: this


Some hisorical theories identify them as part of / descendents of the "Sea People" who were a nasty lot. They would have burned Ostai to the ground and rebuit it themselves........

Peace
Joe


Now that you remind me, I am familiar with Harris and have read “Fatherland”, though that's the only of his novels that I've read.

Thank you for the link, it's interesting reading. Thank you also HalfMooner for directing me towards that history forum, that's interesting reading too.
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Mycroft
Skeptic Friend

USA
427 Posts

Posted - 10/07/2006 :  17:51:53   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Mycroft a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Original_Intent
...I don't think the problem with the pirates was exagerated, I think it was played down...


Wow, that's an understatement. According to the link you provided on Lycian Coast piracy:

quote:
By 69 BC piracy had brought commerce over the whole of the Mediterranean to a virtual stand-still and controlled an estimated 400 coastal towns and cities. Wheat from Egypt was the principal item being traded by sea (in large, easily-attacked ships) and Egypt was the "bread basket" of the Roman Empire. Without this wheat, Rome could not feed her herself or her subject populations.

Finally, facing near famine conditions and provoked by the capture of two Roman praetors, the Senate commissioned Roman general Cnaeus Pompey to wipe out the pirates. He was given extraordinary powers to fight against the pirates as well as 120,000 troops, 4,000 cavalry, 6000 talents of money and 270 ships to do so. The immediate effect was the return of the price in wheat in Rome to normal levels for Pompey was expected to finish the pirates' activities. He did. Pompey's campaign was a huge success and he later claimed that he had liberated the western Mediterranean in only forty days (this is probably true as most of the pirates had returned to the east). Under Pompey's command, Metellus Nepos cleared the pirates out of Lycia, Pamphylia, Cyprus, and Phoenicia.


So if piracy had brought Roman trade to a standstill and the Roman Empire to near famine, it was in no way at all an exaggerated emergency they were responding to.
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Original_Intent
SFN Regular

USA
609 Posts

Posted - 10/07/2006 :  18:45:13   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Original_Intent a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Mycroft

quote:
Originally posted by Original_Intent
...I don't think the problem with the pirates was exagerated, I think it was played down...


Wow, that's an understatement. According to the link you provided on Lycian Coast piracy:

quote:
By 69 BC piracy had brought commerce over the whole of the Mediterranean to a virtual stand-still and controlled an estimated 400 coastal towns and cities. Wheat from Egypt was the principal item being traded by sea (in large, easily-attacked ships) and Egypt was the "bread basket" of the Roman Empire. Without this wheat, Rome could not feed her herself or her subject populations.

Finally, facing near famine conditions and provoked by the capture of two Roman praetors, the Senate commissioned Roman general Cnaeus Pompey to wipe out the pirates. He was given extraordinary powers to fight against the pirates as well as 120,000 troops, 4,000 cavalry, 6000 talents of money and 270 ships to do so. The immediate effect was the return of the price in wheat in Rome to normal levels for Pompey was expected to finish the pirates' activities. He did. Pompey's campaign was a huge success and he later claimed that he had liberated the western Mediterranean in only forty days (this is probably true as most of the pirates had returned to the east). Under Pompey's command, Metellus Nepos cleared the pirates out of Lycia, Pamphylia, Cyprus, and Phoenicia.


So if piracy had brought Roman trade to a standstill and the Roman Empire to near famine, it was in no way at all an exaggerated emergency they were responding to.




Well, I didn't want to bust the balloon too hard on the lack of skeptisism on the fictional (alternative history) writers piece. Maybe he just forgot he,and everyone else forgot he was a fiction writer.......

And thanks HalfMooner, for the forum link...

Joe

The Circus of Carnage... because you should be able to deal with politicians like you do pissant noobs.
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 10/07/2006 :  19:24:39   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message
That is a great forum, isn't it?

Of course, there's no way to very closely equate what happened more than 2000 years ago in the Rome to what's happening now. But I'd argue that neither the pirate attack that destroyed Rome's primary port (where most of the vital Egyptian grain came in), nor the 9/11 attacks needed to be exaggerated in order to be politically exploited. Some parallel can be seen in that both tragedies were the excuse for the aggrandizement of power by men willing to carpe the heck out of their diem.

The arguably weak parallel breaks down, though: When Pompey got the green light to go after the pirates, he didn't destroy just one pirate base and then march off to occupy Germania. He went after Rome's clear and present enemies. The Senate and People of Rome at least got something in return for their liberties.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 10/07/2006 19:39:30
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Mycroft
Skeptic Friend

USA
427 Posts

Posted - 10/07/2006 :  20:03:53   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Mycroft a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by HalfMooner

That is a great forum, isn't it?

Of course, there's no way to very closely equate what happened more than 2000 years ago in the Rome to what's happening now. But I'd argue that neither the pirate attack that destroyed Rome's primary port (where most of the vital Egyptian grain came in), nor the 9/11 attacks needed to be exaggerated in order to be politically exploited. Some parallel can be seen in that both tragedies were the excuse for the aggrandizement of power by men willing to carpe the heck out of their diem.

The arguably weak parallel breaks down, though: When Pompey got the green light to go after the pirates, he didn't destroy just one pirate base and then march off to occupy Germania. He went after Rome's clear and present enemies. The Senate and People of Rome at least got something in return for their liberties.



That's another problem with the OP. What are these liberties that were supposedly sacrificed so that Pompei could run his anti-pirate campaign? The tone of the piece evokes images of formerly free Roman citizens living under martial law, but the only things actually listed were about the concentration of power, which was clearly necessary and not uncommon, and a rather vague grumbling about how citizens used to be able to shout “Civis Romanus sum” while abroad and be guaranteed safety. Which, while certainly nice, was not a legal right but rather a sign of how Rome was feared and respected in the world at that time. Not a word said about any abuse of this power, how any citizen actually suffered, and it shouldn't be forgotten that Pompei did yield his power when his campaign was over.
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