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  1. #181
    アルテミット・ソット Ultimate Thot Five_X's Avatar
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    I wouldn't even say it's a matter of whiteness; it's a very peculiar Northern European beauty ideal that makes the Greek Cleopatra have to be "beautiful" in such a specific way in the 20th century. I don't think we can ever fully know what she looked like, and it's not super important or useful to know either.

    Evidently, she was an active stateswoman: she was engaged in diplomacy with various other states, not just Rome, and had many personal connections. We know that she reviewed various decrees involving the internal and foreign affairs of Egypt and, something truly remarkable, she wrote on at least one of them: we have a surviving example of what is believed to be Cleopatra's handwriting. She only has two recorded sexual partners, if we're going to talk about that, which makes you wonder how practised of a seductress she must've actually been. One concrete thing we can know about her personal relationships is that the generally quite austere Mr. Julius Caesar enjoyed her company well enough to spend two months doing seemingly nothing with her while a war was going on. We can imagine she must have been very charismatic!

    To me, the interesting sexual politics around Cleopatra lie in the question of whether or not Caesar intended to get her pregnant. As a politician Caesar wasn't remarkably radical in comparison to his predecessors Sulla and Marius or his successor Octavian, but having a son who would be the heir to a fabulously wealthy foreign kingdom was totally unprecedented - he would've known this. But, sometimes we humans do things that destroy ourselves in the fire of love.
    <NEW FIC!> Revolution #9: Somewhere out there, there's a universe in which your mistakes and failures never happened, and all you wished for is true. How hard would you fight to make that real?

    [11:20:46 AM] GlowStiks: lucina is supes attractive
    [12:40] Lace: lucina is amazing
    [12:40] Neir: lucina is pretty much flawless

  2. #182
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six SpoonyViking's Avatar
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    "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

  3. #183
    アルテミット・ソット Ultimate Thot Five_X's Avatar
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    "Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed / That he is grown so great?"
    <NEW FIC!> Revolution #9: Somewhere out there, there's a universe in which your mistakes and failures never happened, and all you wished for is true. How hard would you fight to make that real?

    [11:20:46 AM] GlowStiks: lucina is supes attractive
    [12:40] Lace: lucina is amazing
    [12:40] Neir: lucina is pretty much flawless

  4. #184
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six SpoonyViking's Avatar
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    Probably a little of column A and a little of column B, if we believe that Caesar really intended to be king of Rome.
    (At the very least, "king in all but name" seems like a safe assumption.)

  5. #185
    pythagorean tsugumi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Five_X View Post
    "Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed / That he is grown so great?"
    Spoiler:
    Is this a reference to eating Cleopatra out
    IYKYK

  6. #186
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six SpoonyViking's Avatar
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    XD
    It's Cassius talking to Brutus, saying that Caesar became so great by feeding on Rome itself, and that Rome is diminished because when people think of it, they think only of Caesar, not the city itself.

  7. #187
    アルテミット・ソット Ultimate Thot Five_X's Avatar
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    I think it's less Cassius talking about how Caesar became great, and more that he isn't great, he just seems so because those around him let him: "'Brutus' will start a spirit as soon as 'Caesar.'"

    He's trying to goad Brutus into fulfilling his destiny, that of his ancestor Lucius Brutus, who in Roman civic myth expelled the last king from Rome and founded the republic.

    "O, you and I have heard our fathers say
    There was a Brutus once that would have brooked
    Th’ eternal devil to keep his state in Rome
    As easily as a king."
    <NEW FIC!> Revolution #9: Somewhere out there, there's a universe in which your mistakes and failures never happened, and all you wished for is true. How hard would you fight to make that real?

    [11:20:46 AM] GlowStiks: lucina is supes attractive
    [12:40] Lace: lucina is amazing
    [12:40] Neir: lucina is pretty much flawless

  8. #188
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six SpoonyViking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Five_X View Post
    I think it's less Cassius talking about how Caesar became great, and more that he isn't great, he just seems so because those around him let him: "'Brutus' will start a spirit as soon as 'Caesar.'"
    Well, "great" in the sense of being beloved by everyone, not that *he* himself admires Caesar. Sorry, I should have been clearer!
    But yeah, your reading is spot-on, mhm!

  9. #189
    死徒(下級)Lesser Dead Apostle Nanashi(kari)'s Avatar
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    Spoiler:

    Quote Originally Posted by Spinach View Post
    My opinion is better than your opinion, so it isn't up for debate. Much like Daybit, I am simply correct, and that is the end of the discussion.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gosserbam View Post
    I am not a shitposter at all.
    Quote Originally Posted by Petrikow View Post
    Impressive argument.

    Mine, however, is superior: you are dumb.
    Quote Originally Posted by chevkraken View Post
    And you want to be taken seriously?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ubergeneral View Post
    The planet is on fire.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kirishima View Post
    GOT DICK? ANY PENIS? COCK DONATIONS?

  10. #190
    アルテミット・ソット Ultimate Thot Five_X's Avatar
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    Fascinating to find in this account a Kissinger apologist
    <NEW FIC!> Revolution #9: Somewhere out there, there's a universe in which your mistakes and failures never happened, and all you wished for is true. How hard would you fight to make that real?

    [11:20:46 AM] GlowStiks: lucina is supes attractive
    [12:40] Lace: lucina is amazing
    [12:40] Neir: lucina is pretty much flawless

  11. #191
    pythagorean tsugumi's Avatar
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    Stanning Kissinger is the height of contrarian chic right now.
    IYKYK

  12. #192
    死徒(下級)Lesser Dead Apostle Nanashi(kari)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nanashi(kari)
    Speaking of the Franks sometime ago I realized due the method of succession I mentioned last page royal houses in regions the Franks didn't conquer (Iberia, Britain, Hungary and Bohemia) became of franking origin in the male line which is something I don't like aesthetically speaking.
    Speaking of this, I recently learned that the male-line of Scottish monarchs had already been Frankish centuries before the Stuarts died out. By this point I'm rather sure that the Franks getting around everywhere was just as important as christianization for Europe to go from a geographical region to a cultural region.
    Last edited by Nanashi(kari); January 14th, 2024 at 07:46 PM.
    Spoiler:

    Quote Originally Posted by Spinach View Post
    My opinion is better than your opinion, so it isn't up for debate. Much like Daybit, I am simply correct, and that is the end of the discussion.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gosserbam View Post
    I am not a shitposter at all.
    Quote Originally Posted by Petrikow View Post
    Impressive argument.

    Mine, however, is superior: you are dumb.
    Quote Originally Posted by chevkraken View Post
    And you want to be taken seriously?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ubergeneral View Post
    The planet is on fire.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kirishima View Post
    GOT DICK? ANY PENIS? COCK DONATIONS?

  13. #193
    アルテミット・ソット Ultimate Thot Five_X's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ideofago
    I ask this in full seriousness: how do you criticize fascism and have a roman empire banner? As I expect an answer better than what you and I think is the obvious, I'll elaborate further to be less ungrateful: what empire is not all empires? Is there possibly an ideology that can escape the very pitfalls that besieged her Holy Rome?
    Quote Originally Posted by Five
    There isn't much idealism to it, I have to say. I enjoy Rome because it was an agrarian society (i.e. most of its "GDP" as such came from agricultural produce) with a disproportionately large and literate urban society. It is a study in contradictions: a republican monarchy; centralised military despotism atop diffuse local committee politics; a deeply historicising society with no coherent philosophy of history.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ideofago
    Also, on the aspect of Rome being a realm of perpetual contradictions: could you relate a lack of a mechanistical ideology to its especially expansive reign? By a mechanistical ideology, I mean in respect to philosophical/cosmogonical unity, such as could be found in the perfectionist and unitary weltanschaunngs of nations such as Ancient Greece(historiography problems excluded, of course.) [I'm not sure this is very understandable, but I can't say I know how to explain myself further.
    Quote Originally Posted by Five
    I think, idea-eater, you have eaten too many ideas and are getting indigestion. You should probably take your expensive words back to the bank and exchange them for lower denominations. When I study history I study ideas, but even then I'm pretty generally a materialist and I focus on "ordinary" people. I don't use phrases like "perfectionist Weltanshauung" or "cosmogonical unity" because they're a kind of linguistic obscurantism. When I look at societies I look for contradictions - and I'm simple, so the more contradictions, the more interesting to me. Sometimes these contradictions are ideological, but fundamentally they have roots in material conditions. Look at Rome, for example: a society in which politics was defined as elite participation in urban rituals. At the same time, Rome was an agrarian society and its ideal citizen was a kind of rural yeoman farmer who lived and worked on his farm. Many Roman landowners, then, opted to delegate their increasingly large agricultural estates (worked by slaves) to others (specially-appointed slaves) and spend most of their time in the cities; productive land became concentrated in the hands of a very few, harming smallholding subsistence farmers who, at the end of the day, formed the majority of the population. Should any disruption happen to these people - natural disaster, plague, war, etc. - the relatively stable if precarious wavelength of peasant life is thrown into disarray: one cannot be fed by one's land alone, and social support structures cease to be able to produce sufficient excess for dependants. In the choice between death or dishonour, most people in such situations understandably chose banditry.

    When looking at the Roman Empire as a society, you must understand before getting into any philosophical ideas that it was fundamentally an agrarian military dictatorship. There were no bureaucratic institutions as in modern states. It was founded, and relied on, charismatic and wealthy military leadership: soldiers fought because they were paid, and generally they were quite poor because Roman military life was deeply corrupt and resembled the social structures of modern prison gangs or cartels.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ideofago
    So, Marxist teleology. Got it.

    I mean, perfectionist Weltanschaunng is wordcock for busybody worldview- like old people in small towns that get mad at you for the littlest thing out of place; cosmogonical unity is just... conservatism really. The thing here is that as a national identity, Rome seems very peculiar to me because it's the furthest thing from cohesive, or even existant, but it's also like the oldest trick in the book and the de-facto standard in a still eurocentric world.

    Also, I would say that there'a a point to be made about analyzing Rome as the furthest extension of an agrarian society, but I realize that is a complete talking out of my ass, so I'll rephrase it as a question: to my (admitedly shallow) knowledge, the downfall of Rome, as was taught to me in high-school, was due to sucessive droughts in resources, compounded by worsening economic cycles- the silver shortage, the slave shortage, etc. From a materialist standpoint, I guess this is a very simple problem to be analyzed: not enough resources, not enough workers, so everything gets thrown out of whack.
    But, was such a problem so causally, accidental? As in, of course it's no accident that perpetual exploitation leads to ecological and economical mayhem, even in a technologicaly less advanced scale, but this sort of macroscale problem can't just happen right? I realize this is some very dangerous ideological territory, what with the whole fascism and all, but, was Rome's death avoidable?
    Quote Originally Posted by Five
    The conception of a "death" of a civilisation is one that inherently understands broad groups of people as existing in one cohesive society, but largely ignores what (and who) defined that society or civilisation - doing this fairly readily because civilisational thinking is done in hindsight. Rome never died; it changed over time. Its most well-established and organisationally useful establishments still remain with us: modern secular law was built on Roman legal practise, and the population centres founded by Rome - from London to Istanbul to almost every city in Spain - are still important. Does it particularly matter that there isn't a peculiar autocrat in the Italian city of Rome who calls himself Caesar? The language and customs of 3rd century AD Rome would be utterly alien to Romans of the 3rd century BC, but we consider both of them essentially "Roman civilisation."

    When you put together a jigsaw puzzle, it creates a large and beautiful picture out of very small pieces. However, the next most important thing to putting it together is fastening it with glue and putting it in a frame. The Roman elite - what we really talk about when we talk about "Roman society" and stuff like that - didn't do either of these things. You can think of this ideologically, for sure: by and large, Roman elites were particularists whose ideal figure was a small patriarchal landholder with a dozen or so slaves or tenant farmers. Their view of history was fundamentally moral: if the rulers followed the moral path of their ancestors, then society would be harmonious. Even this didn't form a cohesive identity, because of course you had the whole eastern half of the empire where most of the population was concentrated and they spoke a hundred different languages. In the sense that civilisational thinkers tend to use the term, there was no Roman civilisation: a large group of people united by common recognition of cultural objects and rituals - typically myths, literary texts, or public ceremonies. But such a thing as distinct from simply an ethnic group has never really existed. At most there are legal civilisations: common sources of legal traditions and political frameworks. At this point I'm getting away from the question, though.

    Historiography of the more distant past is inherently telescopic. Big things are brought up close, and seem more cohesive and familiar than they really are. It's simply what makes it useful for organising research and researchers. In this sense, Rome seems more coherent and distinct than it really was to those who lived in it. At the same time it's made to feel especially important to those people who live in its cultural, institutional, and geographical orbit. The idea that the end of the Roman Empire was such a severe shock is what makes modern people so insistent on finding explanations for it. It's not about creating a reasonable sequence of events: it's about emotional and psychological satisfaction. If we identify with Rome to some degree, we consider it a part of our own living body. A wound to it is a wound to us. Medieval European monarchs and the Catholic church certainly saw themselves as extensions of Roman authority and legitimacy long after there was a Caesar in Rome.

    If anything, what is remarkable about Rome is how long it managed to maintain itself as the sole, stable centre of legitimate political authority for so long over such a large geographical and cultural area. It was, ultimately, unable to adapt to shocks and shifts over time, and so that authority fractured along with its control over territory. In terms of culture and institutions, besides law it was a chimera that shifted its predominant form from one century to the next. What "died" with Rome is something we have entirely created in hindsight as an imagined civilisation that existed in a recognisable form for an ultimately very short period of time: the civilisation of gladiators, slaves, armour-clad legionaries, worship of a central pantheon, monumental architecture, and Latin literature. Among the elite some of these concepts lasted longer, but among the great mass of the populace it couldn't be farther from the truth.

    To get back to the centre of things, Rome was again a disproportionately urban society. This urban society which created the most well-known landmarks of "Roman civilisation" could only exist with a vast and much less-documented agricultural society beneath it. Remember that everything more or less comes down to the production of material goods and maintenance of infrastructure: semi-skilled non-agriculturally productive labour. An urban artisan who makes decorative objects or useful tools or shaped metal, etc. for a living can only do so if they are able to produce enough goods or services themselves to secure food and shelter from others who provide those. Consequently to that, there must be both at least some agricultural surplus as well as methods of securely storing and transporting food - and people who are paid, in turn, to dedicate their working time to doing these things. In this kind of pre-industrial, pre-modern-institutional state, if the agricultural basis of this society is disrupted and the secure flow of surplus food is restricted, the rest of society which produces no food for itself cannot maintain itself in the same form for long. So, it has to adapt in some way: new social relationships are created and then codified in law. Those which no longer function are gradually replaced by the new ones which better fit contemporary material reality. Necessity forces contradictions in society to resolve themselves in some way or another. So in late Roman Europe you had landholders establishing new laws and customs to tie peasants and the poor to particular tracts or land or professions, enabling over time what would become broadly recognisable as medieval manorialism; unable to maintain standing armies, roving warrior groups used violence to establish new property and kinship relationships, intermarrying to create alliances and relations of interdependence and reciprocity based on land ownership, social prestige, and military service. So Roman power expressed itself in new and different ways. A formal, modern sense of "Rome" as a particular thing that lives or dies is, I think, not much more than an aesthetic ideal. With about a thousand dollars and some language practise you can buy the necessary accoutrements to live it as though it were real. Or you can create a social media account with an establishing photograph of a marble statue, and talk about civilisations.
    I ended up typing too much so I am putting this here for readability and posterity. VMs sadly have only so much space. Maybe this conversation (minus the excised parts where I advertise my ancient fanfiction) will be interesting to some people.
    <NEW FIC!> Revolution #9: Somewhere out there, there's a universe in which your mistakes and failures never happened, and all you wished for is true. How hard would you fight to make that real?

    [11:20:46 AM] GlowStiks: lucina is supes attractive
    [12:40] Lace: lucina is amazing
    [12:40] Neir: lucina is pretty much flawless

  14. #194
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six SpoonyViking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Five_X View Post
    I ended up typing too much so I am putting this here for readability and posterity. VMs sadly have only so much space. Maybe this conversation (minus the excised parts where I advertise my ancient fanfiction) will be interesting to some people.
    It is, mhm!

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