Posted by: ken98 | September 19, 2009

On the Constitution of the Roman Empire, in the Age of the Antonines

Day 7

Ken, leave it to you to just dive into all this without giving me any guidance. You’re currently between consulting contracts right now as I recall and have plenty of time on your hands. The only reason I’ve been able to catch up to you is because of this wretched injury. I just finished Chapter Two.

God, what a bore! It was almost as dull and vague as Chapter 1. Lists, lists, lists, lists, lists, lists, lists, lists! Vague rambling generalized narrative. Thankfully he didn’t resort to using the term, “gentle reader.” Yet.

I’m very impressed with your commentary and all the photos. Much more thoughtful than I probably will be. Very academic, but I’ve heard of a few of the scholars you mentioned. In fact I’ll probably be making mostly satirical editorial comments as we go along. You know how much I despise academicians. What was that goober’s name again??? Bachrach? Road ruts!!!!! Kill me now!!!

As for Chapter 3 on the constitution of the Roman Empire? What!!! Constitution!!! Empire??? Aren’t they mutually exclusive? Emperors are omnipotent beings whether they consult the Senate (or other august body of elites) before they slaughter thousands of people and animals or not!

What Gibbon is talking about is how Augustus preserved all the hollow trappings of the Roman Republic, pretending to give power and privilege back to the Roman Senate, when actually he could do almost anything he wanted. In the Age of the Antonines refers to the period between 96 AD and 181 AD when the so called “Good” emperors ruled: Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius (he who loved, according to one translator, “joys”), and Marcus Aurelius. They represent the pinnacle of the Roman Empire. After that everything went to shit, hence the title of Gibbons work.

I’ve only read the first few pages of Chapter 3, but I suspect that Eddy G. will posit that one of the reasons these five emperors were so good was because they maintained and honored the empty civic ceremonies which created for the Roman Senate and the rest of the Roman elites the delusion that they actually still had power. I shall report back as soon as possible as to the veracity of my claim.

Hey Ken, I want some maps. I love maps. You’ll have to tell me how to download maps. Bye for now. I hope you don’t hate me for being mean and savage. It’s my nature.


  1. Hey, I found your blog while searching on Google your post looks very interesting for me. I will add a backlink and bookmark your site. Keep up the good work!

  2. Ken here – Mean and savage become you. You are an ornament to History – and an antidote to my (progressively) drier and drier prose. I, for one, welcome blond, bruising, Norwegian berserkers bearing razor-sharp wits and heavy-duty, hard-core historical backgrounds. But that’s just me.

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