User: DWasson

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Roman Daily Life

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 10 December 2013
From the early days of the Roman Republic through the volatile reigns of such ignoble emperors as Caligula, Nero, and Commodus, the Roman Empire continued to expand, stretching its borders to encompass the entire Mediterranean Sea as well as expanding northward to Gaul and Britain. History records the exploits of the heroes as well as the tirades of... [continue reading]
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Byzantium

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 21 February 2013
The ancient city of Byzantium was founded by Greek colonists from Megara around 657 BCE. According to the historian Tacitus, it was built on the European side of the Strait of Bosporus on the order of the “god of Delphi” who said to build “opposite the land of the blind”.  This was in reference to the inhabitants of Chalcedon... [continue reading]
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Trajan

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 25 May 2013
Trajan or Marcus Ulpius Traianus, was Roman Emperor from 98 to 117 CE. Known as a benevolent ruler, his reign was noted for public projects which benefitted the populace such as improving the dilapidated road system, constructing aqueducts, building public baths and extending the port of Ostia. Trajan was also a highly successful general and won three major conflicts... [continue reading]
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Seleucos I

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 29 May 2012
Despite not receiving his share of the fallen king’s empire until several years later, Seleucos I Nikator ( Victor) was one of the more capable of the successors to the kingdom of Alexander the Great upon his death in 323 BC.  Seleucos and his descendants established what became known as the Seleucid Empire which lasted nearly two hundred... [continue reading]
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Ptolemy I

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 03 February 2012
Ptolemy I Soter (366 BC – 282 BC) was one of the successor kings to the empire of Alexander the Great. He served not only as king of Egypt but also the founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty, a dynasty which included the infamous Cleopatra VII. Ptolemy was a Macedonian nobleman, son of Lagos. Rumors circulated, however, that he was actually the illegitimate... [continue reading]
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Battle of Issus

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 24 November 2011
The Battle of Issus (5th November, 333 BCE) was Alexander the Great's second battle against the Persian army and the first direct engagement with King Darius III, near the village of Issus in southern modern-day Turkey. It was a major victory for Alexander, defeating the Persian army and causing Darius III to flee the battlefield. After... [continue reading]
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Constantinople

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 09 April 2013
Built in the seventh century BCE, the ancient city of Byzantium proved to be a valuable city for both the Greeks and Romans. Because it lay on the European side of the Strait of Bosporus, the Emperor Constantine understood its strategic importance and upon reuniting the empire in 324 CE built his new capital there -- Constantinople. Foundation... [continue reading]
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Aquileia

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 23 February 2013
Founded around 181-180 BCE during the time of the Roman Republic, Aquileia was an ancient Roman city located at the head of the Adriatic Sea on the Natiso River west of the Roman province of Illyria. Initially, the area was controlled by Transalpine Gauls as a way to manage travel over the Alps; however, due to its strategic location, it would eventually... [continue reading]
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Claudius

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 18 October 2011
After the death of Emperor Caligula and his family at the hands of the Praetorian Guard, the future Emperor Claudius (41-54 CE) was found quivering behind a set of curtains, fearing for his own life, and named emperor.  Historian Cassius Dio wrote, “At first the soldiers, supposing that he was someone else or perhaps had something worth taking, dragged... [continue reading]
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Domitian

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 25 April 2013
Domitian was Roman Emperor from 81-96 CE and his reign, although one of relative peace and stability, became engulfed in both fear and paranoia. His death at the hands of those who were closest to him brought an end to the short dynasty of the Flavians and it was those emperors who would follow, at least for the next one hundred years, who would see... [continue reading]
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Constantine I

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 19 April 2013
Realizing that the Roman Empire was too large for one man to adequately rule, Emperor Diocletian (284-305 CE) split the empire into two, creating a tetrachy or rule of four. While he ruled the east from Nicomedia as an “augustus” with Galerius as his “caesar,” Maximian and Constantius the Pale ruled the west. It was the son of Constantius... [continue reading]
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Commodus

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 29 August 2013
With the death of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius in March of 180 CE, the long reign of the five good emperors came to an end and with it so did the Pax Romana (the Roman Peace). Those emperors who followed for the next century would witness a time of both chaos and decline. The first of these inept emperors was Commodus, the son of Marcus Aurelius, who, according... [continue reading]
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Seleucos

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 29 May 2012
Despite not receiving his share of the fallen king’s empire until several years later, Seleucos I Nikator ( Victor) was one of the more capable of the successors to the kingdom of Alexander the Great upon his death in 323 BC.  Seleucos and his descendants established what became known as the Seleucid Empire which lasted nearly two hundred... [continue reading]
Encyclopedia Definition

Roman Emperor

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 31 October 2013
Prior to the birth of the Roman Empire in the latter part of the first century BCE, there had existed many empires among these were the Assyrian, the Babylonian, the Persian, and the Macedonian. All of these had great leaders such as Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes, and, of course, Alexander the Great. Yet, history tells us these great men were all called kings... [continue reading]
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Massilia

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 06 March 2013
Along the north-western coast of the Mediterranean Sea between Spain and Italy lies the ancient city of Massilia (modern Marseilles). Originally founded in 600 BCE by Ionian Greeks from Phocaea, the city would one day challenge the might of Carthage (defeating them in both the 5th and 6th centuries BCE) and dominate the region, establishing a number of colonies... [continue reading]
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Nero

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 29 June 2012
Emperor Nero was the last of the Julio-Claudians to rule the Roman Empire (54 AD to 68 AD). His fourteen year reign represents everything decadent about that period in Roman history. He was self-indulgent, cruel and violent as well as a cross-dressing exhibitionist. His lavish parties combined with the burning of Rome continued the economic chaos that had plagued... [continue reading]
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Titus

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 04 June 2013
On June 24, 79 CE Titus Flavius Vespasianus succeeded his father Vespasian as emperor of the Roman Empire. Prior to his ascension to the throne, he was considered by many as “…unpopular and venomously loathed,” yet after becoming emperor, “he became an object of universal love and adoration.” Historians consider the abrupt change... [continue reading]
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Caligula

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 18 October 2011
Among the great emperors of the Roman Empire stand Augustus and Marcus Aurelius. At the other end of the spectrum is the Emperor Caligula who the historian Suetonius simply calls a monster. In his The Twelve Caesars he further added: It is difficult to say whether weakness of understanding or corruption of morals were more conspicuous in the character... [continue reading]
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Tiberius

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 19 July 2012
Tiberius, the adopted son of Roman Emperor Augustus, never aspired to follow in his stepfather’s footsteps -- that path was chosen by his domineering mother, Livia. His 23 year reign as emperor (14 CE to 37 CE) would see him estranged from his controlling mother and living in self-imposed exile from the duties of running an empire. In 42 BCE Tiberius... [continue reading]
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Bucephalus

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 06 October 2011
Bucephalus was Alexander the Great’s horse and is considered by some to be the most famous horse in history. Alexander and Bucephalus’ initial meeting was unique but demonstrated the true character of one of the greatest generals in all of history. Initially, Bucephalus was brought to Macedonia and presented to King Phillip II (Alexander’s... [continue reading]
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Antigonos I

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 11 January 2012
Antigonos I Monophthalmos ("the One-Eyed") (382 -301 BCE) was one of the successor kings to Alexander the Great, controlling Macedonia and Greece. When Alexander the Great died in 323 BCE, a debate ensued over his massive kingdom stretching from Greece to India.  It was eventually divided among three of his most loyal generals and their... [continue reading]
Encyclopedia Definition

Galba

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 23 August 2012
With the death of Emperor Nero on June 9, 68 AD, the Julio-Claudian dynasty officially ended, leaving the Roman Empire without a clear successor to the throne. With the assistance of the army, Galba, governor-general of Spain, quickly rose to fill the void. Servius Sulpicius Galba was born into an aristocratic family on December 24, 3 BC to Gaius Sulpicius... [continue reading]
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Vitellius

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 18 October 2012
Vitellius was the third of the four emperors who ruled the Roman Empire in the year 69 CE. One of his predecessors, Galba, who had replaced the fallen Emperor Nero, was murdered by the Praetorian Guard for failing to keep promises to those who had put him in power.  Emperor Otho, Galba’s successor, committed suicide before the imposing armies... [continue reading]
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Otho

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 24 August 2012
Immediately after the assassination of Galba, Otho, the governor of Lusitania, was proclaimed emperor by the army.  However, the unrest that existed in the short reign of Galba would spell doom for the newly named leader of the Roman Empire, the second in the “year of the four emperors.” The youngest of three children, Marcus Salvius Otho... [continue reading]
Encyclopedia Definition

Vespasian

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 27 October 2012
Vespasian was the last of the four emperors who governed the Roman Empire in the year 69 CE. The previous three had died either by murder or suicide. Unlike Galba, Otho and Vitellius, Vespasian would die of natural causes in 79 CE. He and his sons, Titus and Domitian, formed what would become known as the Flavian Dynasty. Titus Flavius Vespasianus was... [continue reading]
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Nerva

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 17 April 2013
Marcus Cocceius Nerva was Roman emperor from 96 to 98 CE and his reign brought stability after the turbulent successions of his predecessors. In addition, Nerva helped establish the foundations for a new golden era for Rome which his chosen successor Trajan would bring to full fruition. The assassination of the Roman emperor Domitian in 96 CE brought... [continue reading]
Encyclopedia Definition

Pertinax

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 19 September 2013
Pertinax was Roman Emperor for three months in 193 CE and, as successor to Commodus, it was hoped that he would restore much needed sobriety to the office of emperor. However, the former teacher, as well as putting in order the affairs of state, also embarked on a series of state spending cuts which led to his general unpopularity and eventual downfall... [continue reading]
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Didius Julianus

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 23 September 2013
On March 28, 193 CE Roman Emperor Pertinax was assassinated by the Praetorian Guard, and like his predecessor Commodus, he left no apparent successor. Two possible claimants presented themselves to the Guard. These “protectors” of the imperial throne had vowed that no new emperor would be chosen without their approval and an “auction&rdquo... [continue reading]
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Macrinus

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 08 October 2013
It is a story that has been told countless times before - an emperor is assassinated leaving no heir or successor. On April 8, 217 CE Roman Emperor Caracalla was murdered, supposedly on the orders of the man who would eventually become his successor, Macrinus. This new emperor, during his 14-month reign, would have two major distinctions - he would never... [continue reading]
Encyclopedia Definition

Elagabalus

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 21 October 2013
Having failed to keep many of his promises to the army, Roman Emperor Macrinus (217 – 218 CE) was becoming increasingly unpopular, and it would only take a little lie from a young boy’s mother to change everything. On May 16, 218 CE a fourteen-year-old teenager was sneaked into the camp of the Third Gallic Legion in Syria and proclaimed the... [continue reading]
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Battle of the Granicus

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 20 December 2011
Alexander the Great crossed the Hellespont with his combined Macedonian and Greek forces and stepped upon the shores of Anatolia. His goal was simple:  to defeat King Darius III, the last king of the Achaemenids, and conquer the vast Persian Empire. In May of 334 BCE he had his first opportunity when he faced the Persians on the banks... [continue reading]
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Roman Religion

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 13 November 2013
In many societies, ancient and modern, religion has performed a major role in their development, and the Roman Empire was no different. From the beginning Roman religion was polytheistic. From an initial array of gods and spirits, Rome added to this collection to include both Greek gods as well as a number of foreign cults. As the empire expanded... [continue reading]
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Battle of Gaugamela

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 27 February 2012
The Battle of Gaugamela (1st October 331 BCE, also known as the Battle of Arbela) was the final meeting between Alexander the Great of Macedon and King Darius III of Persia. After this victory, Alexander was, without question, the King of all Asia. Gaugamela (means "The Camel's House") was a village on the banks of the river... [continue reading]
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Roxanne

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 08 March 2012
After Alexander the Great’s victory over King Darius III at the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC, he had to contend with small rebellions that broke out across his empire. In the summer of 328 BC, one such rebellion occurred in the eastern satrapy of Bactria, a rebellion that would lead to a chance meeting with the beautiful Roxanne. When Bactria rebelled... [continue reading]
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Alexander Severus

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 28 October 2013
At the urging of his mother, aunt, and grandmother, Roman Emperor Elagabalus named his cousin Alexianus (the future Alexander Severus) as his heir in the summer of 221 CE. After realizing the possible consequences of his actions, he planned for the young Caesar’s execution. Unfortunately for Elagabalus, the tide would quickly turn against... [continue reading]
Encyclopedia Definition

Gades

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 08 March 2013
Gades (modern-day Cadiz, Spain) was an ancient city located on the island of Erytheia, northwest of Gibraltar at the tip of the Iberian Peninsula and is believed to be one of the most ancient cities still standing in Western Europe. Although some sources place its founding by the Phoenicians of Tyre in the eighth century BCE, other historical records claim... [continue reading]
Encyclopedia Definition

Antiochia

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 22 February 2013
                Antiochia (Antioch) was an ancient city located on the Orontes River near the Amanus Mountains in Syria. The “land of four cities” --- Seleucia, Apamea, Laodicea, and Antiochia --- was founded by Seleucos I Nikator (Victor) between 301 and 299 BC. ... [continue reading]
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Caesarea (North Africa)

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 24 February 2013
Caesarea was actually the name of three separate cities: one in Palestine, one in Cappadocia (Asia Minor), and one in Mauretania, present day Algeria. The first city, Caesarea Palestinae, was built by Herod around 25 BCE and like the other two cities was named for Emperor Augustus. It served as an administrative capital for the province... [continue reading]
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Carthago Nova

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 22 February 2013
Along the southern coast of the Iberian Peninsula lies the ancient city of Carthago Nova (New Carthage, modern day Cartagena in Spain). Originally named Martia, the area was captured in 228 BCE by Hasdrubal Barca (brother of Hannibal and second son of Hamilicar Barca) during the Carthaginian conquest of Spain. However, it would remain under their rule... [continue reading]
Encyclopedia Definition

Quaestor

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 06 March 2013
Among the lowest ranking magistrates in both the early Republic and Roman Empire was the quaestor - “the man who asks questions.” Although the original position (quaestores parracidii) first appeared under the rule of the kings as a prosecutor of murder cases or police inspector, the office came into prominence during the young Republic around... [continue reading]
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Olympias

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 01 June 2013
Alexander the Great owed much to the influence of his parents: from his father, Philip II, he learned the art of warfare, but by far the most influential person in his life was his mother, Olympias. From her he inherited not only his love of learning but also his fiery nature, strength of character and as one historian put it --- “his thirst for blood.&rdquo... [continue reading]
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Antoninus Pius

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 25 June 2013
When Roman Emperor Hadrian died on July 10, 138 CE, he left, as did his predecessors, an adopted son as his successor, Antoninus Pius (138 – 161 CE). Antoninus - whose last name means dutiful - was a just and compassionate man, well-liked and respected by the common people as well as those in government. For the next 23 years his reign (second... [continue reading]
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Valeria Messalina

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 16 July 2013
She was about 15 and beautiful, while he was over 50 and the future emperor of the Roman Empire. In 38 CE (dates vary) Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus --known to history as Claudius-- married his second cousin, Valeria Messalina. This was not a marriage made in heaven; some even claim she only married him to align herself with one of the most powerful... [continue reading]
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Maximinus Thrax

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 18 November 2013
The young Roman Emperor Alexander Severus secured the imperial throne after the assassination of his cousin Elagabalus by the Praetorian Guard in 222 CE. Thirteen years later in 235 CE, after unsuccessful assaults against the Parthians and Germans, the army, tired of his inability to command, murdered him and his mother, Julia Mamaea, and rallied behind... [continue reading]
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Gordian Emperors

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 25 November 2013
When Maximinus Thrax was named Roman emperor upon the death of Alexander Severus, the news was not well-received by many in Rome and the Roman Senate considered him an illiterate barbarian. His financial excesses, principally used to fund his military expeditions in Germany, weighed heavily on the minds of many of the senators. An opportunity soon... [continue reading]
Encyclopedia Definition

Philip the Arab

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 08 January 2014
In 244 CE Roman emperor Gordian III responded to an uprising in the eastern provinces instigated by the Persian king Shapur. Under the superb leadership of the Praetorian Guard prefect Gaius Furius Sabina Aquila Timesitheus, the revolt was swiftly suppressed. Unfortunately, after the commander’s sudden death, his successor, Philip the Arab... [continue reading]
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Diocletian

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 02 February 2014
After the defeat and death of the Roman emperor Philip the Arab in 249 CE, the empire endured over three decades of ineffective rulers. The glory days of Augustus, Vespasian and Trajan were long gone and the once powerful empire suffered both financially and militarily. There were constant attacks along the Danube River as well as in the eastern provinces... [continue reading]
Encyclopedia Definition

Decius

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 12 February 2014
In 249 CE Roman emperor Philip the Arab sent senator Decius to be the governor of the troubled provinces of Moesia and Pannonia. Roman legions under the ineffective command of the governor there were deserting to the invading Goths who were angry because Philip had cut indemnity payments. After repelling the Goths and restoring stability to the region, Decius’s... [continue reading]
Article

Battle of Hydaspes

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 26 February 2014
For almost a decade, Alexander the Great and his army swept across Western Asia and into Egypt, defeating King Darius III and the Persians at the battles of River Granicus, Issus and Gaugamela. Next, despite the objections of the loyal army who had been with him since leaving Macedonia in 334 BCE, he turned his attention southward towards India. It was there... [continue reading]
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Livy

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 17 March 2014
Without the valuable contributions of historians, later generations would have little knowledge of the past - the good as well as the bad. Herodotus and Thucydides, the fathers of historical writing, would never have written their histories. Without Plutarch one would know nothing of the lives and accomplishments of many of the great Greeks and Romans. Lost would... [continue reading]
Article

The Army of Alexander the Great

by Donald L. Wasson
published on 04 April 2014
No military commander in history has ever won a battle by himself. To be successful he needs the support of a well-trained army who will follow him regardless of the cost whether it be a stunning victory or hopeless defeat. One need only read of Leonidas as he bravely led his 300 Spartans to inevitable defeat at Thermopylae. History has had its share... [continue reading]
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