Friday, March 5, 2010

Roman Thoughts

I've been on a bit of a Roman kick lately. I'm not quite sure what triggered it this time, but it's not as if I've never been down this road before. The Romans (and the Egyptians) have long been interests of mine, going all the way back to my childhood, a love only made more intense by my study of Latin in high school and, later, classical history. The funny thing is that, so far as I can recall, I never saw any Roman-themed films or TV shows when I was a kid and my readings in mythology were always of the Greek rather than the Roman sort.

I suspect that my Roman inclinations have more to do with my love of pomp and ceremony. When it comes to high-minded bombast, the Romans were definitely masters. It helps too that their history is so terrifically human, by which I mean that it's filled with all those virtues and vices that mark man as halfway between angel and animal. The ferment of the late Republic and the early Principate is, frankly, heady stuff and it's hard not to be simultaneously attracted to and repulsed by it. Indeed, I'd say that my feelings toward Roman culture in general is a strange mixture of attraction and revulsion. I enjoy learning about the Romans and their ways, but I am ever so thankful I did not live under their rule.

Robert E. Howard rather famously disdained the Romans, in contrast to his colleague and correspondent, H.P. Lovecraft. That's no surprise, given Howard's philosophical proclivities and, honestly, if one took Rome's worst traits -- its arrogance, its shamelessness, its cruelty -- as its most exemplary ones, it'd be hard not to come down on the side of the barbarians, as REH did. In my latest bout of Roman fascination, I can't deny that, older man that I am now, I do find the Romans a lot less personally attractive than I used as a younger and more foolish man, even if there's still something powerful about their culture, all these centuries later. I mean, my daughter has a child in her class named Julian, for goodness sake but none named Sargon or Hammurabi. Everywhere you go, there are terms, symbols, and institutions that we inherited from these guys. That's impressive stuff.

I don't think I've ever used the Romans in my gaming, at least not that I can remember. I've thought of doing so several times. The recent release of Cthulhu Invictus certainly gave me cause to consider rectifying this, but I haven't yet picked up the book and, even if I had, Dwimmermount is still going strong, so I'd have no time to run such a campaign anyway. Still, it's something I regularly consider and it's been on my mind lately. Maybe one day ...

45 comments:

  1. James, if you have not read "I Claudis" by Robert Graves I highly recomend it a very enjoyable work of literature that deals with the politics of Rome.

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  2. I, Claudius and Claudius the God are two of my favorite books (no surprise).

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  3. Rome and Greece have always been favorites of mine, though if anything repels me, it's the decadence and growing chaos of the late 4th and 5th centuries in the WRE. I've been looking at Cthulhu Invictus, too, and an adventure set during one of the Punic Wars would be an immense amount of fun.

    (Speaking of the Punic Wars, I highly recommend Goldsworthy's book on the topic: a great overall history. In fact, I like all of his books I've read.)

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  4. My personal favorite influence for my fantasy campaigning is the history of the Byzantine Empire. It is so much more rich and varied than any fantasy world even composed, with stories ranging from secret city-sized underground vaults and horrific torture chambers of mad despots, to a warrior emperor whose dying act of courage was to cast off the purple and dive into headlong into the desperate fight as his beloved city fell to the invading hordes.

    I recommend John Julius Norwich, who has written several scholarly, yet very accessible books on the second half of the history of the Roman empire; a history that has unfortunately been largely ignored here in the West.

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  5. Yeah, the Claudius books where great. When I was a kid older gamers got me into them. Another great benifit of being a gamer! (the Claudius TV series was pretty great too).

    I go through a roman phase every decade or so. Around 1979 when I created my first game world, I made the far away, evil empire very roman.

    I guess my last phase came last year when I got into HBO's Rome series, and spent a long weekend catching up with it on DVD. It is simply awesome for any fan of those roman cads! I especially loved the portrayal of Marc Anthony.

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  6. From a gaming persepective Basic Roleplaying Rome, The Life and Death of the Republic contains a wealth of details. I'll have to check out Cthulhu Invictus.

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  7. Always loved the one Roman-esque illustration in the AD&D second edition PHB/DMG, and similarly have been interested in ancient Rome from childhood, finally getting the opportunity to formally study the subject as an undergraduate. The study of history has certainly had a major influence on my perception of what is suitable for a pseudo-medieval fantasy adventure.

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  8. Well, REH had a certain amount of grudging respect for the Romans:

    "Dont think I’m fanatic in this matter of Rome. Its merely a figment of instinct, no more connected with my real every-day life than is my preference for the enemies of Rome. I can appreciate Roman deeds of valor and no one gets more thrill out of Horatius’s stand on the Roman bridge, than I do. I am with the Romans as long as their faces are turned east. While they are conquering Egyptians, Syrians, Jews and Arabs, I am all for them. In their wars with the Parthians and Persians, I am definitely Roman in sympathy. But when they turn west, I am their enemy, and stand or fall with the Gauls, the Teutons and the Picts! Fantastic, isn’t it?"
    --Letter to H.P. Lovecraft, March 2, 1932

    However, since his interest in the Roman period is really restricted to the barbarians, it's natural he didn't really do much with them. Still, "Men of the Shadows" features a Teutonic legionary. That's kinda close.

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  9. One of these days I am going to get off my ass and finish Legends of Rome, which I have about 30-40 pages written.

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  10. James, what did you think of the HBO series Rome? First season, at least . . .

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  11. that letter from REH to HPL is as clear an enunciation of the European myth as you're ever likely to find. Lovely, and highly useful to post-colonial studies, thanks.

    I've never cared that much for Rome because I never much liked the Roman impulse in British nationalism (in everything from neoclassicism and school Latin to imperial ideas about our proper arts being good government). The trouble is, it's so much better documented than any other ancient civilisation.

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  12. If you are really interested in the Late Republic, then please take a look at BRP Rome. Its very comprehensive and contains a lot of gaming material. Its the perfect complement to Cthulhu Invictus.

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  13. I recommend First Man in Rome by McCullough. It takes what is a impenetrable subject, Last Republic Rome, and really makes it approachable. Far better than anything else I read on the subject.

    The series starts out just before 100 BC during the time of Gaius Marius and continues through the civil wars of the late republic. But the first two books should suffice for gaming purposes.


    http://www.amazon.com/First-Man-Rome-Colleen-Mccullough/dp/0061582417/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1267820807&sr=8-1

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  14. I hate all would-be conquerors. I side with all men whose feet are on their own land while they fight against aggressors.

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  15. What I love about the first season of HBO's Rome is the clever marriage of Stopppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead with the history of Caesar, Pompey, and the Civil War. I also appreciate how Vorenus's utter dedication to preserving Roman ideals ends up making him an utter force of chaos.

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  16. There is the desire to dominate and be dominated in all people. IMO, fighting against it, internally and externally, is of vital importance.

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  17. I picked up a book on the history of Sorrento the other day, a small turistic town of a few thousand people maybe 200 miles from from Rome, thinking I might get be able to steal some ideas for D&D from the spares 25 pages or so that covered prehistory to the end of the Roman period.

    Here's what I gleaned: Some neanderthal remains were found in the caves near Sorrento which is nice.

    The locals were successively invaded by the Greeks, Samnites Etruscans and Romans.

    Pre-Oscan(the language of the Samnites, the people from the hills to the north) show that an Italic language was spoken in the region before the Saminite conquest. Before both these invasions they were a Greek colony, so thats 4 invasions in 300 years or so and potentially five cultures (indigineous, Samnite, Etruscan, Roman and Greek)coexisting or at least exterting an influence, all on Rome's doorstep.

    Sorrento is the site of Ulysse's encounter with the Sirenes, although in D&D terms these sound exactly like harpies. In the earliest times (indigineous through to early Greek) the Sirenes also had their own temple which the book suggests might have meant there was some kind of demonic cult in the region.

    Sorrento had temples to Cybele, Aphrodite and Ceres and a shrine to Athena (which may have doubled as a lighthouse). Note all apart from the Ceres are Greek gods (the book says Aphrodite not Venus so taken with the others I assume this is a colonial legacy).

    In the later period a patrician from Sorrento founded 3 colonial settlements in Numidia (modern day Algeria) including one called Minerva Chullu (which apparently means the Minerva of Sorrento but sounds like Minerva Chthulu to me).

    Pompeii is just down the road of which a lot has been written also Naples which was a massive Greek City (Naples coming from Neopolis, the new city).

    What I mostly got from this was the fragmentation and cultural diversity in an area really not far at all from the seat of the empire, in fact Campania Felix was the region bordering Latium.

    Sorry for the long post, just though I'd share.

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  18. From the reviews I've read, Invictus might have some material that's pretty appropriate for D&D...

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  19. I'll second Aron's comment about the Byzantine Empire. I did a some research on it for story. You have this enormous city in Constantinople, which was just about all that was left of civilization after Rome's fall. It's buildings, traditions, and ceremonies were designed to awe the "barbarians" who visited. There was a collossal arrogance in their people and their rulers as they were descendants of anicient Hellenic culture and Roman culture. Constant political intrigue kept anyone wearing the purple boots from resting easy. They attacked, bullied, bribed, grovelled, and set their neighbors into attacking each other for a thousand years. In the end, Emperor Constantine XI died leading the charge to defend the city, after a final speech to his men the day before, crowning them all martyrs. Really amazing stuff to read about.

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  20. The Etruscans kick arse btw, this stuff pre-dates the Romans and is still standing in this day and age, look at the people in the picture, it's massive!!

    http://z.about.com/d/goitaly/1/0/G/8/-/-/perugia-pictures-2.jpg

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  21. It is hard to seperate Rome from Western society, even today.

    But this sounds like a good time to run a Mazes and Minotaurs game, hacked toward the Roman worldview....

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  22. My personal favorite influence for my fantasy campaigning is the history of the Byzantine Empire

    I have a fondness for the Byzantines as well, but I don't find them nearly as alien a culture as I find the Romans, so the attraction probably isn't as great.

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  23. James, what did you think of the HBO series Rome? First season, at least . . .

    I have very mixed feelings about it. I think the portrayal of the time, place, and culture is (generally) very well done and does a good job of conveying how similar and dissimilar the Romans were to us today. I become less happy with the hash made of some of the history and personalities, even though, taken as purely "fictional" events and characters, most are ably handled.

    I don't mind changing history or even positing a "secret" history behind what we know today. However, I dislike it when historical books, TV shows, and films do things that contradict what we know of real history. I, Claudius, for example, presents a lot of stuff that probably isn't true and was known to be so even in Robert Graves's day, but, because it's presented as if it were a secret history written by Claudius with access to sources we don't have, I don't mind the liberties it takes with history so much. So, I enjoyed Rome for the most part, but I had to turn off parts of my brain when watching it.

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  24. If you are really interested in the Late Republic, then please take a look at BRP Rome.

    That's a very intriguing recommendation, particularly given how much I've also been thinking about BRP and BRP-derived games lately ...

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  25. There is the desire to dominate and be dominated in all people.

    Saint Augustine would have agreed with you.

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  26. The Etruscans kick arse btw

    Yes, they do. I'm quite fond of the Etruscans, as my Dwimmermount campaign attests, but the trouble is we know so comparatively little about them that they don't exercise the same kind of pull on my imagination.

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  27. Funny, I just never gave much thought to the Romans. My areas of interest were Greek mythology and Native American legend.

    I can't say I have anything particularly against Rome, but my mind always conjures images of regimented conformity, which in itself does not appeal. I must say, though, they sure did make a mark on this world, huh?

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  28. >> James, if you have not read "I Claudis" by Robert Graves I highly recomend it a very enjoyable work of literature that deals with the politics of Rome.
    > I, Claudius and Claudius the God are two of my favorite books (no surprise).

    In which case, if you've not watched "I, Claudius" per http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074006/ ... as alluded to by Brunomac, I presume (the 9.3 rating isn't that far OTT, IMHO).

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  29. In which case, if you've not watched "I, Claudius" per http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074006/ ... as alluded to by Brunomac, I presume (the 9.3 rating isn't that far OTT, IMHO).

    Oh, I love the TV adaptation as well. I pull out my DVDs and regularly watch to reacquaint myself with it. In fact, I just finished re-watching it in response to my latest bout of Romanophilia.

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  30. I have always found the Persians far more entrancing. It has been a mistake in Western (even the whole East-West tension can possibly be traced back to Thermopylae) education to rely too much on the interpretations of Herodotus. In all things Persian, Xenophon is probably more reliable. Achaemenid studies have really taken off in the last 30 years or so due to a number of new archaeological discoveries and there has been a growing movement to see events like Thermopylae with new eyes. Many people look upon the battle with great zeal as the epic last stand of the noble Greeks against a Barbaric and despotic power (just look at the atrocious movie, 300). What we know now is that the Persians were far more tolerant as rulers and managed to stabilise a massive Empire that has been termed the World's First Superpower. The Greco-Persian wars were the end result of a campaign of what we would now call 'Terror' by the Greeks upon outlying Persian townships and it is a misunderstanding to think that the battle was much more than a small loss to the Persians. After all, it was Achaemenid Gold and political diplomacy that partly drove the Greek city states against one another in the destructive Pelopponesian wars.

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  31. @ StephenP: Sure... and everyone whom Darius accused of being an opponent and/or rebel was an impostor to have their nose, ears and tongue cut off, partially blinded and kept in fetters before being crucified, etc., etc.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_translation_of_the_Behistun_Inscription
    << King Darius says: Within these lands, whosoever was a friend, him have I surely protected; whosoever was hostile, him have I utterly destroyed. By the grace of Ahuramazda these lands have conformed to my decrees; as it was commanded unto them by me, so was it done. >>

    Sure sounds like despotism to me, as a follow-on from Cyrus conquering Greek colonies and forcing them into subjugation.

    "Tolerance" is a relative word, just like others might wish to bring "peace" (actually meaning surrender/resignation). Might be fine for some people who don't like to rock the boat, but is anathema to free thinking and self-determination.


    Not that I'm holding up the "Greeks" or "Romans" to be shining examples in all regards, mind you.

    > even the whole East-West tension can possibly be traced back to Thermopylae

    Uh, sure... as was the Siege of Vienna "responsible for" East-West tension? Not at all sure what you're getting at, there: being walked over would've led to more "peace" automatically, I guess? :)

    Rome is fascinating. As are the Persians, the Greeks, etc., etc.

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  32. @ Irbyz

    I don't think I suggested that Persian tolerance was anything more than a desire for a stable Empire. Perhaps I didn't make it clear enough. There has been a fascination with Greek and Roman culture at the expense of the importance and vitality of Persian culture. They are all important of course.
    Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes and other Kings are products of their time. What is of note, however, is that as an Empire they saw tolerance of existing cultures and religions (Cyrus did free the Jews from Babylon after all) as a way to rule (before the Romans, make note). This fact alone marks them as worthy of further study. Herodotus is only too happy to call the Persians Despots, even as he himself was able to live relatively peacefully in a Persian colony and exercise his opinions.
    The inscription at Behistun is also a good example of Royal propaganda. Words such as those are as much a method of civil control as they are indicators of the age. In historical context, the Persians were incredibly tolerant. It was not until the late Empire (with rebellious Satraps etc) that we read of some rather more atrocious behaviour (to be fair, all Empires, the current one included, act in this way when threatened) Compare them with the Babylonians, Assyrians, Hittites. The Persian Empire is as filled with grey as our own world and it is a mistake to read too simplistically into it.
    Thermopylae is a small battle in a long list of military successes for the Persians. The schemes of the Persian court also contributed to the destruction of the power of Athens and Sparta later on.
    I also said 'possibly'. History is not simple of course. But let me ask you this: When one studies the battle at Thermopylae, is it not held up as a very great Greek achievement over an invading despotic power? I have even read accounts which suggest that it was the Wests's stands against an Eastern despotic power. I would suggest that that, as with so many things in history, is modern myth making and a gross over simplification of the reality.

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  33. I have read through Cthulhu Invictus and it tends towards a Pulp feel with monsters in the vein of Ray Harryhausen. This means that the Mythos is more overt and less subtle. The book lacks advice for the Keeper though, but will be supported with various forthcoming campaigns and scenarios.

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  34. Hinterwelt's Roma Imperious is more complete and very much a fantasy treatment of Ancient Rome. Eternal Rome is part of Green Ronin's Mythic Vistas line, so should be good (one of the few Mythic Vistas titles I never reviewed, so cannot say more), and Deep7 do Pax Gladius, a really easy pick up and play RPG with a ready made campaign. Or just a source for the campaign.

    Lastly, I can heartily recommend FVLMINATA: Armed with Lightning. Great artwork, nicely done setting, and I only wish that its planned support would appear.

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  35. > In historical context, the Persians were incredibly tolerant.
    I ca'n't quite see the likes of Aristophanes going down well with them on a personal critique level. ;)

    > Compare them with the Babylonians, Assyrians, Hittites. The Persian Empire is as filled with grey as our own world and it is a mistake to read too simplistically into it.
    That's true enough, of course. Rome in many timeframes and in various ways was (if you were on the receiving end) as bad, or worse, than any of the above. There were worse parts of the world to be living in, though.

    > When one studies the battle at Thermopylae, is it not held up as a very great Greek achievement over an invading despotic power? I have even read accounts which suggest that it was the Wests's stands against an Eastern despotic power.
    Over here, Thermopylae was always taught in the context of Marathon, Salamis and Plataea. For those who might wish to suggest a comic book is a substitute for a proper grounding in history, that's their problem. :)
    Thermopylae /was/ undoubtedly a "heroic" engagement but more important as a symbol than for any strategic impact.

    > I would suggest that that, as with so many things in history, is modern myth making and a gross over simplification of the reality.
    It is also amply clear that the Persians were not welcome, no?

    ...Behind them follows a throng of luxurious Lydians and those1who hold in subjection all the people of the mainland, whom Metrogathes and brave Arcteus, their regal commanders, and Sardis rich in gold sent forth, riding in many a chariot, in ranks with three and four steeds abreast, a spectacle terrible to behold. They too who live by sacred Tmolus pledge themselves to cast the yoke of slavery upon Hellas — Mardon, Tharybis, anvils of the lance, and the Mysians, hurlers of the javelin. Babylon, also, teeming with gold, sends a mixed host arrayed in a long line, both mariners borne in galleys and those who rely on their skill in archery. The nation too which wears the sabre follows from every part of Asia in the fearful procession of the King.

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  36. The TSR historical supplement Glory of Rome is very nice if one wants to play a Roman campaign. It does not have lots of details, but all the basics are there.

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  37. @ Irbyz

    On Thermopylae as a symbol. Oh I completely agree with you. I suspect that it has also been used (and continues to be) as a symbol of Western Democracy. It's a seductive story of heroism and it's all too easy to gloss over the strategic impact and the actual numbers involved. For example, there are a lot of people who mistakenly think that the Spartans defeated over 1 million Persian soldiers. That is simply not the case. Modern investigations put the figure at far less than that.
    The Greeks, by ands large, did not like the Persians. The Greeks were well known xenophobes and thought of other people as barbarians (meaning foreign). A lot of this attitude comes from the environment they lived in. City States open to attack from neighbours. The passage you quote sounds like Herodotus (unsure). As with most things, it is not always to be taken literally. Historians also have biases and descriptive words like 'fearful' and 'luxurious' are certainly likely to be entirely subjective and colourful. The Persian military were impressive. They drew ranks from all corners of the Empire so they were a very multi cultural bunch and must have looked impressive to any onlooker, especially a Greek who already hated anything Persian. The Persians were really not much different to modern Empires trying to impose their own cultural institutions on other regions. The Imperial impulse has never changed. History teaches us that if nothing else !!

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  38. That's a very intriguing recommendation, particularly given how much I've also been thinking about BRP and BRP-derived games lately ...

    Come to the Dark Side, James. We have a 85% chance of cookies....

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  39. Mhmm... I'm pretty sure that the vast majority of the populace would not consider Spartan society as equivalent to a broadbrush Western Democracy if they were obliged to live by their rules. ;)

    > The passage you quote sounds like Herodotus (unsure)

    Aeschylus (who actually fought in the early Persian Wars, of course; unlike Herodotus who was using second-hand information) and thus a dramatic presentation, but a fair enough indication that Persia was not welcome to exercise absolute power over their lands and enslave its population as were the spoils of war in those days... That is hardly the same as "xenophobic", IMHO (and xenophobia is hardly a beneficial trait when one must engage in extensive trade, maritime and otherwise).

    > The Persians were really not much different to modern Empires trying to impose their own cultural institutions on other regions. The Imperial impulse has never changed. History teaches us that if nothing else !!

    True enough, although there are inevitably varying degrees of intention and method in time and place. Likewise for "empires of the mind". :)

    Regards,
    David.

    =
    > Lida wrote:
    > The TSR historical supplement Glory of Rome is very nice if one wants to play a Roman campaign.

    A good recommendation, from what I recall.

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  40. Come to the Dark Side, James. We have a 85% chance of cookies....

    I suspect that, when I need a break from OD&D, my next campaign will likely be a BRP-based one, possibly RuneQuest, as it's something I've long wanted to run. I have a great fondness for BRP and I'd venture to guess that it vies with the original Traveller in being my second favorite rules set after D&D.

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  41. I picked up "Basic Roleplaying ROME: The Life and Death of the Republic" earlier this week, and am happy with the purchase -- in spite of the fact that the text runs too close to the binding. It is very comprehensive, much more of a sourcebook for low-magic roleplaying in Rome than a set of rules for roleplaying in Rome (although what is there looks perfectly fine). It is also one of the most "adult" treatments of Rome in gaming, and includes rather extensive lists of Latin slang.

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  42. @ Irbyz

    No, of course not. Sparta was basically a Police State. They even had the equivalent of a secret service. I was referring specifically to Athenian Democracy.
    There are always two sides to a story. We know the Greek side very well. The sources are numerous and well documented. Persian history fromt hat period, on the other hand, has only recently come to light. Now we are beginning to see the Persian perspective. I would never suggest that their Empire was kindly or goodly in any particular way. Cyrus, for example, was a man filled with brilliance and Imperial ambition. To make an Empire, blood must be spilled. He was thus a product of his age. What differentiates Cyrus and many of the successive Persian Kings (to varying degrees) is the application of mercy before cruelty. Even as Cyrus decimated the Lydians and captured King Croesus, he exercised mercy by allowing Croesus a luxurious lifestyle and even allowed them to retain the treasury at Sardis and maintain stewardship of the newly conquered territory under Persian Aegis. The Lydian repaid that mercy by rebelling and in turn Cyrus showed them no mercy for this. King Cyrus was a brilliant tactician and diplomat. His rise to power and creation of a world super power (which it was, no doubting) remains unparalleled. The Greeks were indeed Xenophobic. I don't say it as a throwaway line, it is a well researched fact. Of course, they traded. Xenophobia does not prevent one from that ! The Persians had as much right as any other global power to impose their Imperial ambitions;which is to say, as much as did the Macedonians or the Spartans during their many internecine wars, or the Athenians with their own ambitions. If you are on the side of the victors, it is always a different perspective, is it not?

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  43. I don't have anything to add to a discussion of which ancient civilisation had more in common with enlightenment values, but I think you all might enjoy James Scott's recent lecture on how centralised states create barbarians. Warning: this link goes straight to a big streaming video - you can download the lecture as mp3 or video via buttons on the right side. He also has a book on the subject.

    I thought it was pretty interesting for reconfiguring my ideas about steppe and sown: I've always wondered about the displacement theory of barbarian invasions - that such and such a bunch of ne'er-do-well nomad wasters were perfectly safe until state X displaced them, at which point they raged out of the snowy uplands and laid everybody low... Scott doesn't fix that problem, but he encourages other ways of thinking.

    His area is SE Asia, and the first half is about asking why civilisations can't climb hills in that region. The second half is where the real meat is for game design, I think. Scott's disliked centrally organised states for a long time, and will be the first to tell you that they're the only ones printing official histories.

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  45. If you're interested in ancient Rome, miniatures wargaming, roleplaying and the intersections between the three, then run, don't walk, to buy a copy of Simon MacDowall's Goths, Huns and Romans. (There seem to be at least three different editions: from Diane (ISBN 978-0788190056), Argus (ISBN 978-1854860118), and Sterling (ISBN 978-0806984605, as Romans, Goths, and Huns), with differing availability.) It includes a wargaming system, Comitatus, which has a strong focus on the generals' own units of household troops: this feature makes Comitatus well suited for modelling "Dark Ages" warfare, but also seems to be the obvious way to build any massed-combat "endgame" around the D&D PC group. (Here's the later second edition of Comitatus courtesy of LSHM Waco.) More broadly, Goths, Huns and Romans' picture of ambitious warlords eating at table with their personal brute squads shines an interesting light on many RPG situations, especially on old-school D&D with its NPC retainers in service to upwardly-mobile PCs. And not least, the book contains two roleplaying scenarios, one a multi-army miniatures wargame, the other a debate; I haven't playtested them but they look very nice.

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