Friday, May 21, 2004

Roman Empire In Turmoil 180-285

Roman Empire In Turmoil 180-285 Overview the imperial reigns of the Severan emperors as part of a bigger work chronicling the Roman empire in turmoil from 180-285 AD.

From the site:

Pescennius Niger, the Roman governor in Syria, was urged by those in Asia to assume the throne, and Julianus ordered him killed. Septimius Severus, commanding in Pannonia, shrewdly sent a letter to Britain governor Clodius Albinus, declaring him Caesar, and marched for Rome. Julianus got the Senate to declare Severus a public enemy and fortified the palace, putting to death Laetus and Marcia. Meanwhile Severus not only won over most of Europe, he even persuaded those sent by Julianus to kill him. The desperate Julianus tried to share the throne with Severus; but the Senate sentenced Julianus to death, declared Severus Emperor, and bestowed divine honors on Pertinax. Julianus was executed in the palace after reigning 66 days.

Severus executed the praetorians, who had murdered Pertinax, and dismissed the guards, who had failed to prevent this. Severus also promised not to execute senators; but he was the first to violate this law by murdering Julius Solon, the senator who framed it. Severus was blamed for making Rome turbulent with many non-Italian troops and excessive expenditures on the army, though he was popular as the avenger of Pertinax. Severus was born in Africa on April 11 in 145 and rose in a military career. He punished magistrates proved guilty by provincials and secured the grain supply. Severus led his army against the forces of Niger and Aemilianus in a brief civil war. His generals defeated and killed Aemilianus in the Hellespont; then they besieged Byzantium. Severus defeated Niger at Issus, where 20,000 Romans died according to Dio Cassius; Niger was killed retreating from Antioch to the Euphrates. Severus punished supporters of Niger, crossed the Euphrates, and in 195 brought the Parthians and Adiabenians under Roman authority, though Dio Cassius complained this military conquest cost more than it gained. Byzantium was starved into surrender after three years. Its magistrates and soldiers were put to death; its walls were demolished, and its privileges were suppressed as it was subjected to nearby Perinthus.

Suspecting Albinus, Severus had his army in Mesopotamia declare him a public enemy and headed for Rome. Though both Albinus and Severus were born in Africa, Severus was only an equestrian, and Albinus was educated in the school of Marcus Aurelius. Yet Severus got the Senate in Rome to denounce Albinus, who had crossed the channel from Britain with three legions and auxiliaries, defeating Roman forces led by Lupus. This civil war was won by the army of Severus at Lugdunum (Lyons), where according to Dio 150,000 from each side fought. Albinus committed suicide, and the city was sacked and burned in 197. Severus returned to Rome and executed 29 senators who had supported Albinus. Severus had his son Antoninus (later called Caracalla) confirmed as Caesar. When Parthian king Vologases besieged Nisibis, Severus launched another campaign against the Parthians, relieved Nisibis, took Seleucia and Babylon, and plundered Ctesiphon (enslaving perhaps 100,000); but he failed to capture Hatra. In 199 Severus visited Egypt.

Severus returned to Rome, where Praetorian Prefect Plautianus was exercising great power over finances and even laws. In 203 Severus visited his native Leptis Magna in Africa, promoting municipal and cultural activities there. Severus returned to Rome to celebrate secular games the next year, spending a record 200,000,000 sesterces on the people. The coinage was debased, as the denarius was now less than half silver. Severus gained popularity by moving the postal service from private individuals to the imperial government. Plautianus was accused of plotting against the Emperor and was killed by an attendant of Caracalla. The eminent lawyer Papinian became praetorian prefect in 203 until 212 and was known for equity and humaneness. Caracalla and his brother Geta felt free to indulge in women and boys, embezzle money, and associate with gladiators. Dio described how for two years 600 bandits led by Bulla robbed travelers on Italian roads. Before being thrown to wild beasts, Bulla observed his band was large, because slaves were mistreated, and freedmen were underpaid. Severus paid soldiers well and relaxed discipline, allowing them to live with their wives and expect frequent donatives. Severus added two legions in Mesopotamia and one in Italy, and he put provincials in the praetorian guard.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

We the People...The Citizen and the Constitution

We the People...The Citizen and the Constitution. This is a description of an American program to teach about the history of the U.S. Constituion in schools.

From the site:

"We the People... The Citizen and the Constitution" is a national civic education program that helps elementary and secondary students understand the history and principles of our constitutional government. In addition, the program helps students develop a reasoned commitment to values that are integral to sustaining a democratic society. The program focuses on the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights and fosters civic competence and responsibility among students in public and private schools. The program is administered nationally by the Center for Civic Education through a network of 435 congressional district coordinators and 50 state coordinators. The program also includes the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. More than 20 million students and 70,000 teachers have been involved in the "We the People..." program.


The "We the People..." curriculum was developed by the Center for Civic Education and is presently funded by the U.S. Department of Education through an act of Congress. The program began in 1987 under the auspices of the Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights. The curriculum was written in consultation with leading scholars and educators from throughout the United States.
The upper elementary, middle, and high school textbooks examine the history and principles found in our Constitution and Bill of Rights through lessons that correspond to the essential questions guiding the National Standards for Civics and Government. The following are unit titles for the high school textbook: What are the philosophical and historical foundations of the American political system? How did the framers create the Constitution? How did the values and principles embodied in the Constitution shape American institutions and practices? How have the protections of the Bill of Rights been developed and expanded? What rights does the Bill of Rights protect? What are the roles of the citizen in American society? The unit questions in the upper elementary and middle school textbooks are similar in content. The "We the People..." curriculum complements the regular school curriculum and enhances the study of history and government. Students are encouraged to use critical thinking skills in a cooperative effort to master the content of the course and then demonstrate their knowledge through written and verbal assessments.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Harry S. Truman

Harry S. Truman This is a biography of American President Truman.

From the site:

Harry S . Truman ( May 8 , 1884 – December 26 , 1972 ) was the thirty-fourth ( 1945 ) Vice President and the thirty-third ( 1945 - 1953 ) President of the United States , succeeding to the office upon the death of Franklin Roosevelt .

Truman's presidency was very eventful, seeing the end of World War II , the beginning of the Cold War , the formation of the United Nations , and most of the Korean War . Truman was a notoriously folksy president, issuing many famous phrases including "the buck stops here".

Harry S. Truman was born on May 8 , 1884 in Lamar, Missouri . When Truman was six years old, his parents moved the family to Independence, Missouri , and it was there that Truman would spend the bulk of his formative years. After graduating from high school in 1901 , Truman worked at a series of clerical jobs before he decided to become a farmer in 1906 , an occupation in which he remained for another ten years. (He was the last president to not have a college degree.)

With the onset of American participation in World War I , Truman enlisted in the National Guard , was chosen to be an officer, and then commanded a regimental battery in France . At the war's conclusion, Truman returned to Independence and married his long-time love interest, Bess Wallace , and they would have one child, Margaret, shortly thereafter. Some claim that he was for a short time a member of the Ku Klux Klan, but this has not been verified.

Political career

In 1922 Truman was elected to local office with the help of the Kansas City Democratic machine, led by Boss Tom Pendergast, and, although he was defeated for re-election in 1924 , he easily won in 1926 and then again in 1930 . Truman performed his duties in this office diligently, and won personal acclaim for several popular public works projects. In 1934 the Pendergast machine selected him to run for Missouri 's open Senate seat, and he ran as a New Dealer in support of President Roosevelt . Once elected, Truman supported the president on most issues and became a popular member of the Senate "club."