Archive for the ‘History’ Category

I’ve had this thought many times before where I think about the past and how it belonged to one generation, especially to certain people, like leaders or celebrities with lots of money and influence, but then a time comes when that world fades away and those days where these people had power or influence cease to exist.

I was watching a documentary about Roman and the slave rebellion of Spartacus and near the end Crassus, the richest man in Rome of that time, crucified six thousand slaves and gladiators along the Via Appia, one of Rome’s oldest and most important roadways, every forty yard along the road. The documentary claims that Crassus crucified the slaves along the road so that Rome would not forget Crassus since Pompey arrived at the last moment and defeated five thousand escaped slaves from the slave army Crassus had crushed and Pompey took credit for bringing the slave rebellion to an end. Crassus did want to be known as a great general, but also Rome would want to make a severe example of slaves who fought against Rome.

Crassus’ attempt to be remembered brought back my thoughts about how a certain time belongs to a generation.  Crassus was the richest man in Rome.  He had it all, almost.  He wasn’t satisfied just being the richest, he also wanted to be admired as a great military leader like Caesar and Pompey, so Rome gave the aging Crassus rule over Syria. Crassus saw this as a chance to take on Parthia to the East, even though Parthia and Rome had a peace treaty between them. Crassus had plans to continue to conquer all the way to the East coast of China.

The Parthians traveled on horseback and they had excellent archers with plenty of arrows and they wouldn’t fight the way the Romans were use to fighting, which was face to face with each army engaging in the middle of the battle field, where the Roman soldiers in their formation were nearly unbeatable. Instead, the Parthians used their bows and arrows to rain arrows upon the hollow square formation Crassus had put his army in. Typically the arrows were exhausted after a while, but the Parthians had brought plenty of arrows with them.

Crassus’ son, Publius, was sent out with a cohort to attack the archers, but Publius and his horsemen were ambushed and Publius was killed.  The Parthians came back to Crassus with his son’s head on a spear. As darkness fell, Crassus’ army moved back to Carrhea, but this was not a safe place and the Parthians attacked again. As night fell, Crassus’ army tried to move out in the darkness, but the Parthians started raining arrows down on them.  The Parthians offered a truce and Crassus’ army wanted to make a deal. Crassus and some of his officers were killed when a struggle broke out between the negotiating parties, few of the remaining army made it back to Rome. Seven Roman legions were destroyed. Out of the thirty-five-thousand-strong army, twenty thousand Roman soldiers were killed and ten thousand more were taken prisoner.

There are stories that the Parthians poured molten gold into Crassus’ throat since he was thirsty for wealth.  There is another story that Crassus’ head was used as a prop in a Greek play in Parthia.

Seven Roman legions, 20,000 men killed and 10,000 taken as prisoners because of a vain man who wasn’t satisfied with being the richest man in Rome.  Add to that his own son died for his father’s vanity.

Anyhow I think to myself how western Rome was around for about a thousand years. These rich and powerful people lived in the superpower of the ancient world and how permanent it seemed that Rome and its way of life would just continue forever. Men like Crassus ruled the Rome of those days, but now Rome is just ruins scattered across Europe. The people of that Empire have ceased to be Romans. Sure there are descendants who come from the Roman people, but they are not Romans, they call themselves Italians or whatever. The world of Crassus is gone, never to return.

Something else to think about, Crassus’ vanity and death due to his vanity may have led to Caesar’s civil war with Pompey for control of Rome.  The three of them held equal power together, with Crassus gone, this may have led to the civil war that would see the end of Republican Rome and the start of the Caesars, the time of Imperial Rome.

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When I was about 14 years old the teacher took us to the library, I recall they use to lead us in formation from Junior High to the High School library, and we were to check out a biography to read.  I don’t recall my thought processes how I came to my selection, but I got a hardcover book about Alexander the great.  It had a lot of pictures, but it also had lot of writing.

As I read about Alexander the great and looked at the pictures of ancient portraits and artifacts I wondered to myself how long ago all of this happened.  I also wondered to myself if there were very few people back then since it seemed all this happened very long ago.  I even recall wondering if this happened close to the time of the dinosaurs. Perhaps 14 year old teens of today are brighter, but for me, this was one of the first times I recall wondering about the age of the world and how far back history actually went.  Every kid hears the stories about dinosaurs, but somehow it becomes more concrete when you start reading the historical accounts of a man who conquered much of the world and he did it way in the ancient past.

I had a similar experience when I watched Carl Sagan’s Cosmos series around 1991. For the first time I understood how the elements that make up everything were made.  I understood that stars were suns far away and the edges of the known universe were becoming known to me.  My world was expanding, although I may have had some sense of these things, sense of size of the solar system and galaxy and universe from school, but Sagan explained it so well.  Carl even mentions the day his world expanded when he got a book on stars and started reading about what they were and how far away they were.

There’s one problem with learning and erasing that fog that covers the past, it leaves little room for legends like King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, fairies, elves, dwarves. As you learn history, like Rome leaving Britain around 470 a.d., you find that your cherished legends have little space in which they could have happened. Those cherished fantasies of childhood give way to factual history.

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I got online twenty years ago, give or take a bunch of days. I had gotten a 3.5″ diskette from Prodigy and logged on in December of ’96. I don’t recall much of that month I was online, except for this chatroom where a guy and two girls were chatting. I had my moniker “DarkHero” and one of the girls asked me about the name. I left the chatroom soon after and that’s all I recall of my first month online.  Everything was new to me.  That little adventure was cut short after I got the phone bill.  I was charged thousands of dollars and lost the phone line and internet connection for the month of January.  It wasn’t till February of ’97 that I finally came back online and I have been online pretty much ever since.

I created my first website in those early days, it was a Dungeons & Dragons cartoon website. I learned some HTML coding so I could build my website and my ISP provided the hosting of my website. I would lose interest in the website and it would remain abandoned for long stretches of time and then I would come back and update it for a while and lose interest again.  Eventually I took in down around 2012 and I haven’t brought it back since.

I have spent a long time online and I have used many different forms of communication with other people around the world, from Powwow *now defunct* to ICQ, Newsgroup forums, chat rooms on websites and on and on. I feel I was inoculated to social media like Facebook because I burned out on chat long ago, unlike teenies and people who just got online recently and find themselves addicted to social media like Facebook.

I don’t recall when it started, but I began to notice that the old style of internet from the ’90s had been disappearing. You can still find those old websites, they have a plainness about their layout and if they have a lot of links, many, if not most, of the links will be broken. A lot of those old web sites have vanished because they were on defunct hosts like Geocities and Angelfire, so when those hosts went out of business, all those web sites disappeared.

Some of those old sites were just abandoned or the owners died and the sites remained like ghosts, shells of once active websites. I visited Russell Johnson’s web site before his death. Russell played the Professor in Gilligan’s Island. I also visited Bob Denver’s site and Dawn Wells’ site. Bob played Gilligan and Dawn Wells was Mary Ann. Russell’s site has since disappeared after his death and Bob’s is still there I believe. Dawn Well’s site is still there and still has a broken link to Russell Johnson’s website. I believe she has moved on to Twitter and so her website is no longer very active.

Dawn Wells’ Web Site

Bob Denver’s Web Site

Russell Johnson’s web site is no longer around.  You can’t even find it on Archive.org anymore.  Some guy with the same name appears to have taken over the domain and all of the Professor’s thoughts online have been erased.

The same thing happened to my old website. Some company took over my ISP’s old name and they erased everything on Archive.org that had my ISP’s old domain, including my old web site. I had enough sense to download backups of my old web sites from Archive.org.  Kinda embarrassing to read my old posts.

I felt this sadness to realize that the old internet I was use to is disappearing. You’d think the internet would be forever, but as technology advances, the internet changes with the times and what we might be use to now may no longer exist in twenty years.  Perhaps those of you who were online in the ’90s might feel the same way I do.

*This was posted on December 27, 2016 on a different blog, I’m changing to this blog*

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