Those in the outer Roman provinces had freedom to practice their local religions, which were often seen as being merely different expressions of worship of the same basic deities. The philosophers, senataors and emperors generally paid lip service to the religion of the people as it kept them content. Throughout the empire, all essentially had the same privileges as well as the expectation of absolute servitude to the Empire. Anyone of moderate education, of approximately 120 million people covered by the Empire, was generally conversant in both Latin and Greek. Latin was the language of all civic administration. Approximately 4000 Roman miles of straight and well-made roads traversed the Empire. This absolute equality and ease of transport of goods and culture created content minds that fed a slow poison in the empire that helped lead to the eventual decay of this culture.
February 26, 2006
Before the time of Augustus (the first emperor) the Roman Empire had acquired a huge area of land. During the reign of Augustus he decided that the natural limits seemed to be the Atlantic Ocean (to west), the Euphrates river (to the east), the Rhine and Danube (to the north) and finally the deserts of Arabia and Africa (to the south). But Britain was really easy to take so that was taken as well. Later, Trajan attempted to venture more east but Hadrian pulled back out during his reign, maintaining Augustus’ borders. Marcus Aurelius (the second of the Antonines) later managed to capture Germany, north of the Danube. All in all, the Roman Empire encompassed about 160,000 square miles during the “age of the Antonines.”
Maybe this one will work. Problem is, I always feel that I have to have a “theme” for these things. My first go I tried posting my answers to the exercises to the Arabic book that I was studying. That didn’t go so well (entering things was kind of a pain, even with my perl script that let me enter the words in a transliterated manner and converting to HTML Unicode) and I didn’t keep up with it. Then my thought was to do book reviews of the books I read throughout the year: I take the bus to and from work so I tend to get a good 2 hours of reading in a day, if not more.
I had planned on starting that at the beginning of the year, and it’s already well into February, so I’m a bit behind there.
I’m currently reading the abridged (single-volume-Western-Empire-only) version of Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. So what I’m thinking now is that I will try to summarize, in no more than two paragraphs, each of the chapters. After that I want to gradually shorten the summaries until I can do the whole thing in one paragraph (a la Book-A-Minute). With hope, I will keep up with that but since I don’t actually have a real reason to do it, we shall see. Perhaps my problem is that I’d rather be reading than writing. Writing well is hard but I still keep thinking that I’d like to do it. Plus it will help make me a better writer.
If the whole DaF thing doesn’t work, then maybe I’ll do something crazy and simply write what’s on my mind for the day. That seems to be working great for my co-worker and friend Wesley. Of course, I also have a blog on his server that I haven’t been keeping up with…so fresh start here.