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Why Must I Be A Roman Tribute In Love?
October 31, 2012 11:58 AM   Subscribe


 
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posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 12:08 PM on October 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


I loved this. It's so easy to think kind of glibly about history -- to anachronistically assume too much about the details, while also seeing the whole idea of a 'past time' as some kind of different dimension. Of course, it's always just been humans acting as humans, and things like this that combine detailed knowledge with a warm, personable approach are a great help in illustrating that.

Thanks for posting!
posted by Drexen at 12:12 PM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Didn't they forget the part where Lucius and his brother slip away to scribble some grafitti about famous personalities? Or does that take place after the drinking?

Anywho, I loved it. Only thing that irked me was the line "Rome was destined to be eternal through warfare." - and how it relates to modern day.
posted by pyrex at 12:17 PM on October 31, 2012


Teenage life for Roman girls: pregnant all the time.
posted by oinopaponton at 12:22 PM on October 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Not very different from most the developing world right now, to be honest. Kids fighting in wars, marrying young, working young, dying young, and a lot of them are learning two or more languages, too.
posted by empath at 12:30 PM on October 31, 2012


pyrex: Didn't they forget the part where Lucius and his brother slip away to scribble some grafitti about famous personalities? Or does that take place after the drinking?
You mean stuff like this?

(Previously)
posted by IAmBroom at 12:32 PM on October 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Even in relatively modern Central America, people were basically stunned that I wasn't married with kids. I did a home stay with a Mayan family in Guatemala, and the mother and father were in their thirties and had grandkids, which was normal and expected, not scandalous, the way it would be in the us. And they spoke three languages- Spanish, Mayan and some English. The civil war is over now, but there were children fighting in the civil war just a generation ago. Most of the kids in town worked in some way. There were kids as young as 10 or 12 selling trinkets and food to tourists, and a lot of them worked on the farms or in shops. And they have homes full of entire families, and everything in your life is pretty much determined by your family.

I guess what I'm saying is that probably most people in the world right now would identify more with an ancient roman teen than an American one.
posted by empath at 12:38 PM on October 31, 2012 [14 favorites]


Pretty nifty. I hadn't realized the Romans had window glass.

The narration seems to have been directed by William Shatner, though. "We must... have more.. pauses!"
posted by jiawen at 12:40 PM on October 31, 2012


I dunno how much the animation adds - you can pretty much just listen to this without missing anything. It's neat, though.
posted by subdee at 12:44 PM on October 31, 2012


Thanks to reruns on the USA Cartoon Express, I grew up with a very clear idea what life in Ancient Rome was like, animated even.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:07 PM on October 31, 2012


Not a word about Lucius' mother, sisters (not told if he has any), or indeed any women at all, just the 7-year-old girl his father has his eye on. Sorry for the tangent, but this sort of thing – addressing men's lives as all-inclusive: "teenage life" (of a young man, not a young woman), "with his family" (no, not all of them, there are only men) – is exactly what people mean when they talk about how patriarchal views are still upheld and inculcated. "Man" is seen as normal. Woman, adult, doesn't even exist. Even the slave isn't a woman.
Because women took no official part in public life, the lives of boys and girls began to diverge dramatically after they formally came of age, and memorials to women recognize their domestic qualities far more often than intellectual achievements. The skills a Roman matron needed to run a household required training, and mothers probably passed on their knowledge to their daughters in a manner appropriate to their station in life, given the emphasis in Roman society on traditionalism. – Women in Ancient Rome, Wikipedia
Any historical investigation into the lives of ancient women involves individual interpretation and much speculation. One can read the ancient sources concerned with women and their place in society, but to a large degree, they are all secondary sources that were written by men about women. No ancient journals or personal diaries written by Roman women were uncovered, so it is not known what their hopes and dreams were, or if they had any. What Roman women felt about most political issues and the numerous wars and upheavals is also a mystery. Nor can we read about what women thought of slavery, marriage, or the fact that they had no legal rights over their children or even themselves. – Ancient Roman Women, by researcher Moya K. Mason
Educational depictions of historical life should do a heck of a lot better than this video. It is interesting, and my comment's more directed to people thinking of making things like this – for goodness' sake, take into account the other half of humanity.
posted by fraula at 1:31 PM on October 31, 2012 [39 favorites]


Yeah, I thought the animation playing the rape of a seven year old for laughs was pretty crass.
posted by empath at 1:38 PM on October 31, 2012


I enjoyed the style of the animator, but I was all, "Why is the montage sequence in Greek red-figure style instead of Roman painting or sculpture" and "The guy should probably add that Aeneas wasn't real" and "Why aren't the statues painted?!" This is why no one asks my opinion about ancient things anymore.

fraula, you make an excellent point. There is some scholarship that would be enlightening about women's lives in, say, Roman Egypt, but it's far afield from here.

empath: to be fair, they would probably wait to hold the wedding until the girl had matured, at around fourteen or so. /gallows humor
posted by Countess Elena at 2:03 PM on October 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that while the marriage might be contracted while the girl was still young, the marriage itself was usually not completed until the girl was in her early-to-mid teens, right? Ah, Countess Elena beat me to it.
posted by PussKillian at 2:06 PM on October 31, 2012


and what bling did the Capitoline Hill kids wear?
why Bulla-va of course.
posted by clavdivs at 2:09 PM on October 31, 2012


I liked this Ted-ed animation better.
posted by markkraft at 2:12 PM on October 31, 2012


Honestly fascinating. Thanks.
posted by Splunge at 4:07 PM on October 31, 2012


As part of the Hard Core History podcast, Dan Carlin has one called "Death Throes of the Republic I" that starts off with a description of how Romans immersed their children in ancestor worship. Carlin's accuracy and tendency to the dramatic are sometimes criticized, but he makes it easy to imagine actually being there yourself.
posted by benito.strauss at 4:20 PM on October 31, 2012


I liked this Ted-ed animation better.

A nice animation, but he left out an important part about uninvited Christian Crusaders going crazy in 1204. Siege warfare can be complicated.
posted by ovvl at 4:38 PM on October 31, 2012


the mother and father were in their thirties and had grandkids, which was normal and expected, not scandalous, the way it would be in the us

It's not scandalous in every culture in the US, either.
posted by zippy at 7:58 PM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


empath: to be fair, they would probably wait to hold the wedding until the girl had matured, at around fourteen or so. /gallows humor

Yeah, the early engagement probably had more to do with linking the families and giving the bond time to mature (and offer more time to take advantage of it in other areas of life). Remember, this was a society where networks of patronage and familial interconnections tended to play an extraordinarily large role in everything, to a degree to which it is difficult to imagine in our modern world which has been atomized, legalized and institutionalized to hell and back. Marriage was an alliance between families as much as or more than a bond between two individuals.
posted by AdamCSnider at 6:39 PM on November 1, 2012


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