Welcome back,its been a long time since I did a blog but for half term i decide to come back for this week it is about the romans!
the roman kingdom
The roman kingdom period is very obscure but in side the dark mists came some of Romes famous buildings and traditions for example the vestal virgins , the forum ,the Regia palace and the field of Mars to mention a few. The last king of Rome was Lucius Tarquinius Superbus who’s tyrannical force and abuse [and also forced labour and high taxes] made that even once the people over though him ushering a new age the republic.
the roman rebublic
After the overthrowing of Tarquinius and dealing withe an Etruscan threat the roman elite sat down to how to create a stably state kings didn’t work and oligarchs weren’t fair so they decided on democracy like in Athens [woman didn’t get a vote though!]. It was in this period that Rome rabidly expanded and fort great wars with Carthage.
the roman empire
The first nail in the coffin for the republic was the Marian reforms in 107 that made the troops more loyal to the general than the state. in the following years that followed generals and consuls began to act more and more independently with civil wars ,cvil strife and in some cases even splitting the empire in between them! [the fist and second triumvirate] but in 27BC Octavian beat all opposition and the senate reluctantly made him emperor. This the most famous period in roman history with tyrants like Caligula and Nero and great battles like Tunerburg forest it is also the time when the Roman empire reached its height in 117ad.
In medieval medicine there were two different types of professions, doctors and apothecaries. The doctors believed that if someone’s humours [body liquids] were out of balance it would make them ill, so the cures were blood-letting [draining blood], or purging [giving people something to make them vomit or have diarrhoea]. If you had a headache the doctors would drill a hole in your scull to let the demons out – this was called trepanning. The apothecaries used herbal treatments; a book shows that half the treatments worked. There were also a lot of quacks who sold “potions “ in the corners of festivals and on the sides of main roads.
The plague of 1347-51 was an outbreak of two plagues: one carried by fleas, the other by breathing contaminated air. The latter was very rare. The main plague was carried by fleas on rats and called the bubonic plague. According to Chinese sources, this disease probably came from Mongolia, where there was an outbreak in the 1330s. Both plagues started in Italy and then spread north, ending up in Scandinavia. There was a third plague the septicemic plague but it didn’t play a role in the plague of 1347-51.
The origins of the medieval tournament are unknown, but it probably started as a practice for the cavalry. In the late Roman period [400s], there was a large number of cavalry that needed training, but if it became a festival at that time we do not know. The Franks were brilliant at cavalry and certainly had horse-related games, but if those games were related to military training is again not known. The first person to make rules for a tournament was Geoffroi de Preulli who weirdly died in a tournament in 1066. When do you think tournaments started?
In medieval Europe, when besieging a castle there was a variety of siege engines, from battering rams to ballistas. The engines usually are classified into two types: projectiles and other. The most common types of projectiles are the mongrel (a type of catapult that gets its power from twisted ropes), the trebuchet (which gets its power from a heavy counter weight) and the ballista (which is a giant form of crossbow that could also fire stones). The most common other types of siege engines are the battering ram used to smash corners and burst through gates, the belfry, a siege tower used to get people onto the walls with archers on the top to give cover fire, and the cat, a type of cover that people used to protect themselves when filling in the moat or mining at the walls [sapping]. The cat is also is called a rat or tortoise. Which one, do you think, was the most effective when attacking a castle?
Mayans were such good traders that they were nicknamed “the Phoenicians of Middle America.” They usually traded in hollowed-out jungle trees going down rivers and coastal waters. The boats had one row of rowers on each side and in their middle had room for merchandise. The canoe’s ends were pointed to move easily through the water. The traders went as far as Northern Mexico and the most southern point in central America and their main product was salt. Ek Chuaj, the god of trading, was an underworld god who looked like a traveller with a basket.
The sacred cenote is a sinkhole filled with water, which the Mayans believed to be an entrance to the underworld. It is just north of the main temples in Chichen Itza, a city that was thriving in the 1000s AD. Its people were a curious mix of Toltecs and Itza Maya. You would have to walk 300m down a track from the main temples to reach the sacred cenote. At the cenote, Mayans occasionally made a human sacrifice though much more regularly they threw precious objects in the water. For a long time, people thought that the Mayans drowned the victims because this is what a conquistador wrote. However, an archaeological study of the all the skeletons showed that they were already killed before going into the cenote. What do you think?
For many years, historians thought that the Mayans were very peaceful and would spend their time doing astronomy and other peaceful arts rather than warfare but a 9.5 km long piece of earthworks at Tikal [a Mayan kingdom and a city] showed that warfare was a part of Mayan politics. Mayans usually used guerrilla warfare, ambush, raiding and traps [this was a spot of annoyance for the conquistadors] but if there was a battle it started with the sound of drums and horns followed by the two armies advancing towards each other and hurling projectiles then they attacked each other and discipline broke up. Soldiers were part time and most people never saw combat except if it was overthrowing a king.
Like most Mesoamerican cultures the Mayans got conquered by the Spanish, but the Mayans gave a harder time because they had many leaders and there wasn’t one emperor to topple. The first interaction between a European and a Mayan is when Columbus’s brother scouted an island off the coast of Honduras and met a Mayan trader. The next interaction was when the Conquistador Hernan Cortes stopped on his way to Mexico. After that a line of explorers came until Hernan came to conquer it in 1519. At that time, it had loads of kingdoms fighting each other. The last kingdom [Kingdom of Itza] fell to the Spanish in 1696.
The end of the classical Maya period [The Terminal Classic] is a mystery that has been puzzled over for decades. Why did the Mayans suddenly abandon and let the jungle grow over the walls and temples?
In the 900s (AD) there was a short and a very severe drought. The erection of defensive walls indicates that the drought was followed by an increase of warfare, even to the point that people dismantled temples and used their stones for the walls. The drought and wars are the most probably explanations for the end of the classical Mayan cities. However, Mayan territories had suffered from many droughts, even one that was recorded by Mayan scholars to last from 300 BC to 200 BC, so we don’t know exactly how and why the abandonment happened.
The Mayans stayed in the area, however, and lived in cities until the coming of the Conquistadores. Today, about 5 million still live in El Salvador, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala and southern Mexico.