Roman battlefield connected to Caesar in the Neatherlands.

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Roman battlefield connected to Caesar in the Neatherlands.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2015-12-11 08:43pm

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/d ... aeologists

Archaeologists claim to have proved that Julius Caesar set foot on what is now Dutch soil, destroying two Germanic tribes in a battle that left about 150,000 people dead.

The tribes were massacred in the fighting with the Roman emperor in 55BC, on a battle site now in Kessel, in the southern province of Brabant.


Julius Caesar may have suffered mini-strokes, say doctors
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Skeletons, spearheads, swords and a helmet have been unearthed at the site over the past three decades. But now carbon dating as well as other historical and geochemical analysis have proved the items dated to the 1st century, the VU University in Amsterdam said.

“It is the first time the presence of Caesar and his troops on Dutch soil has been explicitly shown,” said Nico Roymans, an archaeologist at the institution.

The two tribes, the Tencteri and the Usipetes, came from an area east of the Rhine and had asked Caesar for asylum. But the Roman emperor refused and ordered his eight legions and cavalry to destroy them, the university said.

Caesar wrote about the battle in his account of the Gallic wars, Commentarii de Bello Gallico, but the exact location had until now remained a mystery. He said he wiped out the tribes, which would have meant more than 400,000 dead, but the university said the toll was likely to be 150,000 to 200,000.


A very interesting, though rather horrific if you think about it, discovery.

I wish the article provided more information on why Caesar decided to slaughter these two tribes.

Edited the title to more accurately reflect the article. Its not the battlefield that's a new discovery, its the fact that its been dated to Caesar's time.

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Julius Caesar battlefield in the Netherlands located

Postby Borgholio » 2015-12-11 10:05pm

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/11/julius-caesar-battlefield-unearthed-southern-netherlands-dutch-archaeologists?CMP=twt_a-science_b-gdnscience


Archaeologists claim to have proved that Julius Caesar set foot on what is now Dutch soil, destroying two Germanic tribes in a battle that left about 150,000 people dead.

The tribes were massacred in the fighting with the Roman emperor in 55BC, on a battle site now in Kessel, in the southern province of Brabant.

Skeletons, spearheads, swords and a helmet have been unearthed at the site over the past three decades. But now carbon dating as well as other historical and geochemical analysis have proved the items dated to the 1st century, the VU University in Amsterdam said.

“It is the first time the presence of Caesar and his troops on Dutch soil has been explicitly shown,” said Nico Roymans, an archaeologist at the institution.

The two tribes, the Tencteri and the Usipetes, came from an area east of the Rhine and had asked Caesar for asylum. But the Roman emperor refused and ordered his eight legions and cavalry to destroy them, the university said.

Caesar wrote about the battle in his account of the Gallic wars, Commentarii de Bello Gallico, but the exact location had until now remained a mystery. He said he wiped out the tribes, which would have meant more than 400,000 dead, but the university said the toll was likely to be 150,000 to 200,000.


The article doesn't go into detail why Caesar massacred the tribes when they asked for asylum, but I found an article (translated from German) that implies it might have been out of revenge for earlier attacks against Roman cavalry. I guess he REALLY wanted to teach them a lesson...

https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=nl&u=http://www.nationalgeographic.nl/artikel/genocidaire-slachting-onder-leiding-van-julius-caesar-bij-kessel&prev=search
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Re: Roman battlefield connected to Caesar in the Neatherlands.

Postby Sea Skimmer » 2015-12-11 11:18pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:I wish the article provided more information on why Caesar decided to slaughter these two tribes.


Negotiations broke down over where they were to settle if they became part of the Roman Empire. Caesar didn't want them resettled in a strategically dangerous location in Gaul, and couldn't ignore them militarily. The tribes may have actually struck first too.

I'm more then a bit skeptical of even 150,000 high death toll estimations though. Even that is a huge number of people. Its not specific to this battle, its just an unending thing in warfare to have great inflation's of casualties in specific battles, though sometimes casualties across entire campaigns or wars are actually underestimated when reverse engineered due to basic ignorance over the span of smaller engagements an day to day skirmishing and disease. Clearly the tribes couldn't have been completely tiny to have been even well, worth mentioning, but the shear act of chasing down and killing so many people by hand, and the amount of road space the units doing take up and how much they can move in one day vs people retreating ect... its gets involved.
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Re: Roman battlefield connected to Caesar in the Neatherlands.

Postby Tribble » 2015-12-11 11:50pm

Forgive me if I'm wrong here, but Caesar was never really an Emperor, right? IIRC he was an Imperator, Dictator Perpetuo, etc etc, but never really an "Emperor" in the way that we use the term. IIRC Augustus is generally considered to be the first true Roman Emperor (but again it was more along the lines of him having many titles/powers of which Imperator was one of them). I find it kind of odd that the article would refer to him in that way.
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Re: Roman battlefield connected to Caesar in the Neatherlands.

Postby Lord Revan » 2015-12-12 12:08am

Tribble wrote:Forgive me if I'm wrong here, but Caesar was never really an Emperor, right? IIRC he was an Imperator, Dictator Perpetuo, etc etc, but never really an "Emperor" in the way that we use the term. IIRC Augustus is generally considered to be the first true Roman Emperor (but again it was more along the lines of him having many titles/powers of which Imperator was one of them). I find it kind of odd that the article would refer to him in that way.

well it's complex and whether Caesar is or is not an emperor depends on context.
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Re: Roman battlefield connected to Caesar in the Neatherlands.

Postby Tribble » 2015-12-12 12:33am

Well, I suppose YMMV. I've never really considered him to be one, Dictator Perpetuo seemed a bit more appropriate title. He was Rome's final dictator, in their sense of the word. IIRC It was Augustus whom started the tradition of only rewarding the title of imperator upon himself and/or family members.
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Re: Roman battlefield connected to Caesar in the Neatherlands.

Postby Thanas » 2015-12-12 03:22am

Tribble wrote:Forgive me if I'm wrong here, but Caesar was never really an Emperor, right? IIRC he was an Imperator, Dictator Perpetuo, etc etc, but never really an "Emperor" in the way that we use the term. IIRC Augustus is generally considered to be the first true Roman Emperor (but again it was more along the lines of him having many titles/powers of which Imperator was one of them). I find it kind of odd that the article would refer to him in that way.


It is because there is no Roman Imperial title per se, it is more a collection of titles, honorifics and powers to allow for the illusion that the Republic still existed.

Sea Skimmer wrote:Negotiations broke down over where they were to settle if they became part of the Roman Empire. Caesar didn't want them resettled in a strategically dangerous location in Gaul, and couldn't ignore them militarily. The tribes may have actually struck first too.

I'm more then a bit skeptical of even 150,000 high death toll estimations though. Even that is a huge number of people. Its not specific to this battle, its just an unending thing in warfare to have great inflation's of casualties in specific battles, though sometimes casualties across entire campaigns or wars are actually underestimated when reverse engineered due to basic ignorance over the span of smaller engagements an day to day skirmishing and disease. Clearly the tribes couldn't have been completely tiny to have been even well, worth mentioning, but the shear act of chasing down and killing so many people by hand, and the amount of road space the units doing take up and how much they can move in one day vs people retreating ect... its gets involved.


Caesar has a habit of inflating numbers (hence the 400k he cites) but 150k seems to be doable, especially considering the other tribal migrations of large size (Helvetii, Teutons, Cimbri just to name a few). Generally, the population of the huge Germanic tribes tends to be underinflated by recent scholarship. Besides, 150k people in total would amount to most likely just 20-40k warriors, which is somewhat comparable to what effective strength Caesar brought with him on campaign.
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Re: Julius Caesar battlefield in the Netherlands located

Postby Thanas » 2015-12-12 03:24am

article already posted, merged.
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Re: Julius Caesar battlefield in the Netherlands located

Postby Thanas » 2015-12-12 03:25am

Borgholio wrote:The article doesn't go into detail why Caesar massacred the tribes when they asked for asylum, but I found an article (translated from German) that implies it might have been out of revenge for earlier attacks against Roman cavalry. I guess he REALLY wanted to teach them a lesson...

https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=nl&u=http://www.nationalgeographic.nl/artikel/genocidaire-slachting-onder-leiding-van-julius-caesar-bij-kessel&prev=search



A) It is dutch, not german.
B) The whole episode is described in great detail by Caesar himself.
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Re: Roman battlefield connected to Caesar in the Neatherlands.

Postby Lord Revan » 2015-12-12 03:07pm

Thanas wrote:
Tribble wrote:Forgive me if I'm wrong here, but Caesar was never really an Emperor, right? IIRC he was an Imperator, Dictator Perpetuo, etc etc, but never really an "Emperor" in the way that we use the term. IIRC Augustus is generally considered to be the first true Roman Emperor (but again it was more along the lines of him having many titles/powers of which Imperator was one of them). I find it kind of odd that the article would refer to him in that way.


It is because there is no Roman Imperial title per se, it is more a collection of titles, honorifics and powers to allow for the illusion that the Republic still existed.
wasn't there an emperor during the later imperial era (before the split though) who basically got rid of the illusions and became what we now consider emperors to be?
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Re: Roman battlefield connected to Caesar in the Neatherlands.

Postby Thanas » 2015-12-12 03:33pm

The title remained the same until the Byzantines changed it, but a few emperors decided to add to it by adding honorifics like being called "Dominus" etc. which implies a master-slave relationship. Diocletian was the first but kept the old titles on like over 95% of his coinage.

Constantine, he of the massive ego aka "I am the reincarnated christ" then made Dominus noster (Our Lord and Master) his main title. It then remained that way since Diocletian. But that is the Late Empire we are talking about here and not the Principate and this happened over 300 years after Augustus had become sole ruler of Rome.
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Re: Roman battlefield connected to Caesar in the Neatherlands.

Postby Tribble » 2015-12-12 06:17pm

Thanas wrote:The title remained the same until the Byzantines changed it, but a few emperors decided to add to it by adding honorifics like being called "Dominus" etc. which implies a master-slave relationship. Diocletian was the first but kept the old titles on like over 95% of his coinage.

Constantine, he of the massive ego aka "I am the reincarnated christ" then made Dominus noster (Our Lord and Master) his main title. It then remained that way since Diocletian. But that is the Late Empire we are talking about here and not the Principate and this happened over 300 years after Augustus had become sole ruler of Rome.


Fair enough, but why do some consider Caesar to be the first real Roman Emperor rather than Augustus? IIRC Augustus's rise to power was far from certain even though he was Caesar's heir, and he was largely responsible for developing the framework on how the Roman Empire operated. That's not to dismiss Caesar's accomplishments, merely that the two operated differently enough that I'm having trouble viewing Caesar as the first real Roman Emperor.
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Re: Roman battlefield connected to Caesar in the Neatherlands.

Postby Thanas » 2015-12-12 06:40pm

Tribble wrote:Fair enough, but why do some consider Caesar to be the first real Roman Emperor rather than Augustus? IIRC Augustus's rise to power was far from certain even though he was Caesar's heir, and he was largely responsible for developing the framework on how the Roman Empire operated. That's not to dismiss Caesar's accomplishments, merely that the two operated differently enough that I'm having trouble viewing Caesar as the first real Roman Emperor.


Probably because Augustan Propaganda always started with Caesar. Sueton's Live of the twelve Caesars starts with Divus Julius, or the deified Julius. Augustus whole legitimacy - and road to power - was derived from Caesar. Nowadays we consider Augustus to be the first true Emperor, but Roman Propaganda and Roman History clearly thought different.
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Re: Roman battlefield connected to Caesar in the Neatherlands.

Postby Simon_Jester » 2015-12-15 08:02pm

Please correct me without rancor if I'm wrong, but...

Julius did succeed in establishing himself as by far the dominant individual within the state. There was enough opposition to him to make an assassination possible, but during much of the Republic, if some individual had been deemed likely to make himself the de facto king of Rome, he would have been killed legally, with the Senate explicitly condoning his death. A conspiracy to assassinate him would not have been required.

In which case Caesar basically achieved the de facto status of Emperor for some time before his assassination, even if no one individual was to regain that level of power until after Augustus won his round of the Roman civil wars.
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Re: Roman battlefield connected to Caesar in the Neatherlands.

Postby Thanas » 2015-12-15 08:25pm

Some strong men like Sulla and Marius achieved the same status. But Caesar actually attempted to become king unlike them. If he had his way, I have no doubt he would have crowned himself.

So King definitely, not sure about Emperor though. His authority never reached the level of Augustus as in being a permanent authority. That is what is missing from Caesar IMO. He had the military, he had the religious and he had the popular powers. But he never had that sense of dynasty that Augustus had, as evidenced by Caesar trying out ways to form such a dynasty, like with Cleopatra. However this was not accepted by the people, unlike in the case of Augustus.

Had there been no popular opposition, IMO he would have married Cleopatra, crowned himself king and ruled Rome as a monarch.
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Re: Roman battlefield connected to Caesar in the Neatherlands.

Postby Simon_Jester » 2015-12-15 09:55pm

True. I suppose the question is whether you can be an emperor if the populace hasn't acceded to your establishing a dynasty.
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