Constantius II AE3. 337-341 AD. CONSTAN-TIVS AVG, pearl-diademed head
right / GLOR-IA EXERC-ITVS, two soldiers holding spears and shields with
one standard between them, dot on banner, dot to left and right of top
of banner. Mintmark SMANS. RIC VIII Antioch 54.
Today a boring, but important, bit of information about interpreting catalogues and other materials describing coins. The coin image above comes from wildwinds.com, a resource for collectors and scholars that I often rely on heavily for high-quality images of the coins I want to discuss. Below it are two different descriptions of the same (in the first case) or very similar (in the second) case.
The essentials of the coin are this: it is a bronze coin of Constantius II (second son of Constantine I, the one you’ve heard of), struck in Antioch, Syria, between 337-341 CE. It shows the emperor on the obverse, and praises the Roman army on the reverse.
The two catalogues, however, convey this information very differently. In the first instance, the catalogue is, quite casually, actually describing three coins, while in the second, it actually is accounting for 101 examples. In the second, one actually needs to refer to a “type chart” in order to know anything about the iconography of the coin, while the first example includes this in the immediate text.
Most catalogues have some kind of key at the start to explain the conventions they have adopted. However, while some elements of descriptions are now considered standard (weight and diameter, for example), there is still little consistency across publications. Read with care, and ask questions, should you come across particularly tricky ones.
Between 354 CE and 361 CE a huge triumphal monument was erected next to the camp and city. Contemporary reports suggest that Emperor Constantius II had it built to commemorate his victories. When the remains of Carnuntum disappeared after the Migration Period the monument remained as an isolated building in a natural landscape and led Medieval people to believe it was the tomb of a pagan giant. Hence, they called it “Heidentor” (pagan gate).
Hey, I don’t know how good this bio is, but it’s a bio of Constantius II aka the emperor sandwiched between Constantine and Julian, and it’s on sale for under 2 dollars. I need a good Constantius II ref for my (eventual) literary project on him, Julian, Eusebia, and Helena, but I figure the rest of you might be interested as well.
Many years before, a man was
made deputy of Western Rome on behalf of the Emperor. When the man first
arrived to his newly appointed office a woman cried out “This is the man who
will restore the temples of the Gods!”
The man was in shock, for he
was not a Galilean as his uncle Constantine the Apostate or his mother Basilina.
For this man was Julian, a Hellene. A pagan. For now he was in the closet, but
even though he did not know it yet, he would one day animate the woman’s word.
Now just over half a decade
later, Julian received the news he wanted to hear. He swiftly begun to draft a
letter to his friend Maximus of Ephesus who introduced him to the very Gods
that his family abandoned decades ago.
“I worship the Gods openly and
the whole mass of the troops who are returning with me worship the Gods.” penned
the new Augustus, “I sacrifice oxen in public. I have offered many great public
sacrifices to the Gods as thanks offerings. The Gods command me to restore Their
worship in the utmost purity and I obey Them, yes and with a good will.”
Julian sat down his writing
utensil, his hands trembling in excitement. He looked to the heavens and the
Gods gave him a warm smile. Like a lighthouse guiding a ship in a storm, they led
Julian on the right path and landed him on the purple. The civil war that
erupted across the Empire had ended just as fast as it had begun, a bloodless
conflict. Julian’s cousin, the now-deceased Emperor Constantius II who had ruled
arbitrarily, the very man who years ago murdered Julian’s own father and
brother, was dead, having received Thanatos’ cold embrace in a fever far away from
any battlefield. Julian, the Caesar of the West, was now recognized as ruler
of the East. Julian was now the sole ruler of Rome.
No longer did he have to
shave. No, now he was newly bearded, with all the grace of youth. No longer did
he attend a mass to listen to the sermons of a bishop. No, now he publicly embraced the message of Heracles, the begotten son of the sun. No longer did he
scribe for someone else’s church. No, now he wrote for his Gods, his
philosophy and his temples. In his heartfelt gratitude to the Gods who he felt love for like
the family he never had, Julian legalized temples to be built again and public
sacrifice to be performed once again. Hellenism was to be made the state religion of
Rome again, and with the utmost piety.
Julian entered the capital
city of where he was born on December 11, 361 through its Golden Gate as sole Augustus
of the Roman Empire. The atmosphere was dreamy and energetic. He could hear the
cries of joy coming from his people, who appeared en masse to cheer their new
Temples were constructed and great
rituals were performed. He reformed the faith and devoutly organized it. He
wrote great literature and sang hymns of praise to the Gods. He both
refurbished the Oracle of Delphi and even begun helping the Jews rebuild the
Temple of Jerusalem. For this is the man who was going to restore the temples
of the Gods.
But his time was cut short. After
a failed campaign against an aggressive Persia at his country’s borders, he was
mortally wounded and laid semi-conscious in bed for three days. He was to die
too young to fix the world before it would stop making sense. The light in the
darkness was to fade.
An Oracle came before the semi-conscious Emperor who laid in bed. “A fiery chariot whirled among storm-clouds shall carry you to Olympus; loosed from the wretched suffering of men” spoke the wise priest, “You shall attain your Father’s halls of heavenly light, whence you have fallen and come into the body of a mortal man.”
It was June 28th that he was too greeted by a now-somber Thanatos. Serapis came before the dying Emperor and freed Julian from
his corporeal bonds. The gentle God lifted Julian’s soul towards the Islands of
the Blest; Elysium-bound, through a divine ray of light towards henosis.
Helios, the King of All, hugged Julian with warm embrace.
This is a non-fiction story, written for my literary journalism class
Constantine the Great Dick
Back when the Roman Empire was still a thing, Constantine the Great and his son ordered the destruction of pagan temples and the persecution of pagan worshippers. This was considered to be a dick move for many years.
Constantine the Great destroyed the Temple of Aphrodite and ordered the execution of eunuchs and generally did not like non-Christians. Consequently, he destroyed and looted temples, under the belief that pagans were liars and misguided who didn’t fit what he believed. After all, his religion was the one true religion and everyone else’s simply needed to be brought into the truth. Willingly or not.
Constantius II decided to one-up his dear old dad. He banned pagan sacrifices all together, including ones sanctioned by his government. Christians were encouraged to destroy, vandalize and desecrate sacred pagan sites, and a death penalty was enacted upon anyone who dared be pagan in public. As you can see, Constantius II was very fun at parties.
For years after, the Roman Catholic church and other Christian denominations decided to follow the model that Constantine and Constantine Jr had set in place. Pagans were evil and misguided. The Church said if you’re pagan, you’re going to burn in Hell. To save people from Hell —never mind that most pagan religions don’t believe in Hell— they set about forcing pagans to convert to Christianity, very like colonists who forced indigenous groups to convert to Christianity.
They had to start somewhere.
To future generations of Christians and Catholics, they taught one thing regarding the worship of idol gods.
If you worship some other god, you’re going to Hell.
Enter Loki, Stage Right
It’s difficult to hide a religion from one’s parents. It’s far easier to not be religious and pretend that you are than to be pagan and pretend that you’re not. To someone not in the know, a collection of statues is simply that or the result of a small hobby.
“And do people actually worship them?” Mom asked after I recounted the tale of how Loki and Thor recovered Mjolnir.
“They did,” I lied, grimacing at the lie.
“Remember what the commandments said,” Mom continued. “God the Father is the one true God, and you can’t worship any other gods except for Him.”
“I know,” I assured her.
Any Christian worth their salt knows the first commandment. In catechist, the first thing we’re taught is the ten commandments. We knew there was only one God. One single God, and if you’re Catholic, it’s God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. If you need to protect yourself against evil or invoke Him, you simply cross yourself and hope He has your back.
Perhaps as I grew older I was overlooked, or He decided he wanted to as cryptic as possible. After a year of trying to feel His presence, to feel the rush of happiness and faith that I’d felt as a child, moving between different denominations until I found one that felt right, I gave up. Priests told us be to be patient, that He “works in mysterious ways” but I needed His personal assurance and his comfort. They then turned around and said, “God will be there if you need him. All you have to do is ask.”
I asked, and I asked again, but I was met with silence. After a year of rejection, I took my rosary in my hands and held it in front of me. I sat in my dorm room reciting the prayers, but they were forced, stale words in my mouth. The rose-colored beads felt cold against my palm as I rolled them between my fingers. I wrapped the rosary around the little figure of the Virgen de Guadalupe before I took both her figurine and Gabriel the Archangel’s, placed them in a drawer, and closed it shut.
I was done.
And then He came, subtly and quiet. He was unnoticeable at first, but his impatience at my obliviousness grew until he took to shouting his name in my ear.
LOKI. LOKI. LOKI. LOKI. LOKI.
I brushed it off, thinking my mind had simply brought up the movie character, but it continued every day for a month before I finally got his message. He stopped when I did, no doubt patting Himself on the back for his good work. I talked with another pagan. I’d previously talked to her about her worship of the gods after coming across her on the internet.
“How does one go about worshipping the Norse gods?” I texted her.
“It’s far less formal then Catholicism,” she replied, almost immediately. “You don’t need anyone to speak to the gods on your behalf though of course you can ask a priest or priestess to peak with them on your behalf. But you alone are quite enough.”
I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that I would be able to hide this quickly if I needed to. My parents didn’t need to know about that aspect of my life.
“You must remember that they want your worship,” she added. “They do not want to punish you for some arbitrary sin. Just trust your intuition. Anything, done in good will, will likely be accepted. For all their warlike reputation, they are far gentler than most expect.”
I worshipped Odin for a few weeks, but Odin outright ignored me. My attempts at worship weren’t received, and there was no indication of his presence save for an empty feeling in my chest. Loki renewed his attempts to get my attention.
On a whim, I offered Loki a mixture of whiskey and Dr. Pepper. I drank the offering, expecting to feel the same emptiness as with Odin. There was a rush of feeling, of excitement and happiness, of freedom. Perhaps it was just the alcohol.
I didn’t want to just accept an alcohol fueled rush as a sign that it was Loki, so I bought a rune reading from the same woman I’d asked before.
JC: For a three-rune reading, am I on the right path with Loki?
S: First rune drawn, for question at hand; Haigalz upright. A rune of chaos and speaks here of your relationship with a god of mischief and chaos. Haigalz speaks specifically of chaos that leads to growth.
Second rune drawn, for “are you on the right path with Him” Fehu upright. The rune of luck and fortune. Very much yes. You’re heading the right way.
Things you should know moving forwards with him; Ansuz reversed. There will be times when you may not communicate with him as much as you do now; this is normal with any god, and you should not take it as a bad thing. He’ll always be back :)
If I’d been able to see Loki’s reaction on that day, I might have seen him celebrating the fact that I’d finally come to my senses. Instead, I simply had an impression of acceptance and warmth.
“Finally!” he must have said, after months of trying to get my attention.
My parents didn’t notice a change when I came home from college. I didn’t go to church anymore anyway, not after a little spat with a certain closeminded priest. He said I’d go to Hell for what I believed in, not something you tell a young seventeen year old. I wondered if he’d be able to tell at a glance I wasn’t Catholic anymore, but I didn’t want to find out nor did I want my parents to find out. My grandmother hadn’t liked that the boyfriend was Christian, not Catholic, though my mother had simply said that so long as he worships God all is good.
I did not need to know what it would be like if she knew that I no longer worshipped God. Most pagans I met kept their practice secret, knowing how their practice would be received in a majority Christian society. Under Constantine’s rule, I would have been killed. Living under my parents, I feared worse. They might kick me out which I thought I could live with if only because I wouldn’t have to see their disappointment and their shame at their pagan daughter.
They did not need to know.
Pagans in the Church are a great idea
There are phrases that just instill fear in a person’s heart.
For example, “You are going to die” or “Number forty-five is not Hillary Clinton” or “We got your report card.”
For me, it’s a very simple phrase from my mother.
“We’re going to church.”
This, of course, had nothing to do with my sister going to Pride the previous day— at least, according to my parents. They’d simply felt like going to church for the first time in the summer. Except it did have to do with Pride, because my parents are liars and they think God will help cleanse the family of the gay. The irony of two of their daughters being far from straight is lost on them.
My sister Jackie apologizes to me for being the reason but begs me to not make a scene. An absolutely unfounded opinion because I have never in my life complained about going to church.
“Why are we going to church?” I ask Mom not five minutes later.
She doesn’t answer, and instead tells me to finish getting dressed so I can eat before church.
We live practically right across from the church so my parents make us walk there. They trail behind, letting us older kids lead the way, so they can keep an eye on the youngest of the five. I wonder if I might be able to skip out on church, but I push it aside. Mom and Dad are not in the mood to let us skip out on church.
Allow me to describe this quaint little church, once host to the Holy Torch that made the trip from south American to the United States, and home to one of the biggest celebrations of the Lady of Guadalupe. Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, built in 1911, and turned 100 nearly seven years ago, is small compared to most churches. The grounds are enclosed in a rusting iron fence. Half of it is dedicated to a cemetery that is older than most of the people living around it. There is a school that teaches kindergarten to high school, and a gym that takes up a quarter of the space.
Twenty years of coming here, and I didn’t think much of anything. Church was really something that you do, a place you go to because your parents made you. Sometimes you pay attention to what Father Whatshisname is saying, and sometimes you don’t even bother. Someone once said that the sermon was more of a book report presented to a captive audience. I’m inclined to believe them.
We walk inside, and I wonder if I can get away with not touching the holy water or creating a cross of it on my forehead. My mother is watching us. I have no choice, and I dip my finger in once before making a quick cross. My skin crawls at the feeling of the water on my forehead, and I wipe it away. The cross is still there, tingling, and I try to wipe it away again, but it remains.
Get out. Get Out. GET OUT.
We all cram into a bench. The seven of us manage to fit, though we’ve long since forgotten the concept of elbow room. I hiss at Maggie and my brother to stop when their poking war takes on civilian casualties. The pianist begins playing, signaling the starts of Mass, and everyone stands. The priest and the altar boys are last to take their seats. Before continuing, the priest waits for the piano music to finish.
The priest has begun with the Act of Penitence. I murmur along with the others, mimicking their movements if only for the benefit of my parents. I’m supposed to know these prayers by memory, thanks to a year long catechist for Confirmation. I paid little attention to those classes, having only gone because I thought everyone had to do this. Teachers and parents tell you that Catholicism is the only true religion. Everyone else is wrong.
Out. Out. Out.
I invoke Loki as I drift into a bored daze, barely aware of the priest’s words, a trick most people who go to church young learn very quickly. The words of the priest are a mere buzz as I focus on something that isn’t the prayer, my voice only barely enunciating the words for Glory, the song sung that praises God.
Out. Get out.
I apologize to Loki as I finish my pseudo-penitence. He doesn’t seem to mind and instead I try to find something else that may distract me. Barely ten minutes have passed since the beginning of Mass. Time rarely moves in church, and it seems like an hour will be an eternity today.
I become hyperaware of my situation, sitting between my brother and my sisters, in front of the priest and his two altar boys. He never notices me or focuses on me, and I wonder if it’s because he can’t tell there is a heathen in his flock, or if he simply doesn’t care. A cold dread sets in, digging its claws into my lungs, and I can’t breathe. Mom doesn’t notice as I panic beside her.
By my own devices, or perhaps by Loki’s influence, my thoughts drift to the stories in the Eddas. Thor being nearly wed to a Frost Giant takes a prominent position, a definitive choice by Loki, who enjoyed placing Thor in such a situation. Freyja rarely does anything she doesn’t want to do, commanding a certain respect and fear from the gods and her people.
Freyja is not slender or tiny, Loki reminds me. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something.
I make the mistake of looking at the intricate mosaic of our Lady of Guadalupe, my patron saint. Five years ago, I stood in front of her and declared her my patron saint in recognition of her help to my family and her patronage of Mexico.
She is disappointed.
I have no words for her and I look away.
Loki remains around me, and I imagine him sitting in the bench in front of me. His legs crossed, one long leg over the other, and fire red hair tied in a loose pony tail. I am reminded he is considered a fire god, warm and yet he will burn, gentle and yet mischievous. He doesn’t stop me from apologizing to the Lady, but I see him pat my shoulder, squeezing it slightly.
For the rest of the eternal hour, Loki remains. He comments on the near robotic nature of the church, of the structure and its neat little order. I have a small urge to declare myself a pagan and walk out of the church, but I am anxious about what would happen at home. Loki chides me for not taking the chance, but he understands. He’s never been one to sit still and let orderly things be.
It’s so boring.
I can’t believe you did this every Sunday
It’s so structured
Robots. I’m convinced they’re all robots
If you take me back here again, I’m going to tip a flower vase over.
Don’t even think about being structured with me. I guarantee you it won’t work.
I wonder why he remains for the entire hour, but we sigh in relief when we stand to receive the Eucharist. It’s a bland little disk and the flavor only comes courtesy of watered-down wine. The body and blood of Christ. I swallow it quickly and the wine burns my throat.
This doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t mean anything, don’t get any bright ideas. I’m only doing it for my mother. God, if he heard me, doesn’t reply but that’s not surprising.
Loki doesn’t care, and instead tells me about Sleipnir’s birth. Svadilfari proved to be difficult to distract up until Loki turned into a mare. All men are the same. Wag a pretty girl in front of them, and suddenly the upstairs brain stops working.
I think he was a giant, Loki muses.
Mom makes us wait until the priest and the altar boys leave. I fiddle with the case on my phone, subtly checking the time. It’s only been 53 minutes. One by one, we file out of the bench and walk towards the front and wait our turn to kneel in front of the Lady of Guadalupe.
I manage to avoid kneeling. Brushing my fingers against the bowl of holy water and make a cross on my forehead. It’s wiped away almost immediately when my mother isn’t looking.
Outside of the church, a few people are selling chicharrones, fried flour dough that tasted better when it is drowned in hot sauce. I buy a bag that is nearly bursting with chicharrones and douse it with Valentina, the spiciest hot sauce the vendors have, until Loki finds it acceptable. The chicharron briefly burns my tongue as I offer it to Loki.
Kiddo, Loki says as he accepts the gift, let us never do this again.
A Thousand years of Byzantium: The Succesor of Rome
This is a hetalia OC I’ve had a little over a year now and who I have somehow never made a finished piece of art for. I’ve written headcanons for about his entire life so far but- finally- here he is:
Byzantium/East Rome. - Constantinus Romilius Remus (Later Konstantinous)
Was created artificially from Rome’s own flesh when on 11 may 330 emperor Constantine moved the capital of the Roman empire to Constantinopel. Afterwards he and his twin brother would sometimes still be ruled by a single emperor but a decisive turn eastwards had been made.
Even after the fall of the western empire he continued to exist for a thousand years. He is named after his first emperor, who had a tendency to name things after himself (All Constantine’s sons are called Constantius II, Constantinus II and Constans…) and his last emperor. And he carries the epiphet ‘Remus’ the second half of the founding twins, but a name that also means ‘He who was later’. Aluding both to that Remus was born second and that his disposition was more calm than his brother Romulus. A similar thing can be said for Byzantium and Rome, his brother is a soldier and brawl and brawn. Constantine however is studyous and prefers intrigue diplomacy for settling his affairs.
He’s discovered a strong love for the culture of ancient Greece, and for her in general. They had a passionate love afair and he Grecified. However, the closer they got, the more he took on from her, the more she assimilated into him until one day she was gone and he realized he’d been her undoing… But she left him a son, one day to be modern Greece.
Feeling himself to be the proper heir for his brothers legacy his relationship with the Orphans left on the Italian peninsula is strained. In his eyes those boys are more Gothic than Roman. His relationship with Veneciano is especially strained which will in the end be the begining of his undoing which was finalized by the invading Ottoman empire.
So much for a short biography- but there is SO much more. Please ask me things about him that you’d like to know I Love talking about him.
KINGS of AXUM. Ezanas. Circa 300-350 AD. AE15mm. Struck after his conversion to Christianity in 330 AD. BACI LEYC, draped bust right in headcloth / +TOV TO APECH TH XWPA (May This [the cross] Please the Country), small cross in circle. Munro-Hay 52; BMC Aksum 90.
This week, another coin from the fascinating kingdom of Axum (Aksum). This time a small bronze from late in the history of the kingdom, just after the the king Ezana (Ezanas) converted to Christianity. Axum was among the first kingdoms to covert to Christianity and to publicly display its allegiance to the faith on coinage.
Ezana is among the best-attested kings of Axum, largely due to his religious conversion, which was the result of the teachings of his Syrian tutor, Frumentius. Ezana was also in contact with the Roman Emperor Constantius II, who requested that Ezana prove that this Christianity was Orthodox by Roman standards. Ezana ignored these requests and established his own, independent church, the origin of the modern Ethiopian Orthodox Church (now in communion with the Coptic Orthodox Church). Today Ezana is a Saint in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
Ezana was a powerful and influential king. His coins have been found as far away as India, proving that Axum in this period continued to be a powerful trading kingdom. Ezana was also a military commander who led campaigns into Meroe.
Ezana’s coins have an interesting, unique feature, in that some, like this one, bear a legend on the reverse: “May this please the country.” While this cataloguer believes this legend refers to the cross, and, by implication, Christianity, scholars believe that Ezana hoped that the coinage would be met with approval, possible following upon economic difficulties. Whatever it refers to Ezana seems to have been concerned for the approval of his people.
Roman Emperors questions for RP characters, Part III
Diocletian - Can you imagine your character dying of old age? Maximian - Has your character ever regretted a noble deed? Galerius - How does your character feel about weird religious cults? Constantius Chlorus - If your character met a pixie, would they fight it? Valerius Severus - How susceptible is your character to threats or persuasion? Constantine the Great - Would your character ever join a weird religious cult? Maxentius - Is your character afraid of water (lakes, rivers, oceans)? Licinius I - What’s the best thing a friend has ever done for your character? Valerius Valens - Does your character take pleasure in upstaging people of a higher social status (aristocracy, old money, Etc.)? Martinian - Describe a time your character needed and received leniency. Maximinus II - How would your character approach trying to talk someone out of joining a weird religious cult? Constantine II - How much does your character resent their siblings? Constantius II - Is your character the type to excel through staying out of conflicts? Constans - What is your character’s stance on gay marriage (theoretically, if it isn’t a topic even considered in their era)? How about homosexuality itself? Vetranio - Would your character accept a promotion through their partner or significant other? How would they feel about it? Julian - Would you describe your character as a conservative? Jovian - Is there a book your character would burn? Why? Valentinian I - How important is traditional masculinity to your character? Valens - Does your character have a reputation for being a bit of a wuss? Gratian - Does your character ever receive accolades they don’t deserve from people they disagree with? Valentinian II - Does your character mainly serve his own interests or those of others? Why?
The statue of Zeus was one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. It stood at 43 feet tall, built at the Heart of Olympia inside a Grand Temple. We know this statue existed because of coins depicting it and several writers in the ancient world unrelated to each other documenting its beauty and demise.
In 354 CE an edict of Emperor Constantius II orders the closing of all Pagan temples. Between 440 and 450CE Christians began destroying Pagan temples and monuments in Athens, Olympia and other cities. The statue of Zeus in particular was problematic. By 475AD the statue was moved to Constantinople where it was demolished and burned in a great fire of the Palace of Lausus.
The question remains; why destroy something so beautiful and perhaps the closest representation of god ever made? In Eastern/Orthodox Christianity there is an obsession for Orthodox Icons and Iconography. When presented with such icons you get a primitive, old looking two-dimensional image designed to relay heavy emotional landscapes to its viewer. The very fact is that the Statue of Zeus was a colossal blow to the generations of Christians after Constantine I who grew up with early iconography. The idea alone that the Pagan art was older contradicted Christian asthetics and iconography altogether because of the beauty and level of skill pagan art had.
Because the statue was so massive, destroying it was impossible and a process which took years. During those years there is an irony within the effort and the passion taken unto the Christians in destroying something that represented the very embodiment of God, one chisel at a time.
The fetish for iconography became a later problem in the Byzantine empire that it was outright banned along with all other religious materialism by Emperor Leo III (717CE-741CE). Because Christianity had a need to erase the past, this insecurity is reflected through Christian Orthodox Icons. Catholicism doesn’t have this problem because of the pagan aesthetics and Platoism adapted in the Rennaissence. May this all be a reminder to you that propaganda comes in many shapes and forms and to never leave your materialistic impulses un-tempered. The difference is; Pagan Materialism is rooted to thousands of years of Native European folklore, Mythology, and religion; therefore there is no reason for it to be corrupted or to be presented in a corrupted manner.
i. Too many Germans (see: Adrianople)
ii. Not enough Germans (see: Adrianople)
iii. Removal of the Altar of Victory (thanks Constantius II, u asshole)
iv. Replacement of the Altar of Victory (make up ur damn mind)
v. Re-removal of the Altar of Victory (wait, seriously? And then they replaced it again???)
vi. Climate change (Conservative senators were anti-water wheels)
vii. The sack of Rome by the Gauls. Yeah, the first one. It set them down a road of bad urban planning.
viii. They ran out of advice from the Sibylline books (thanks Tarquinius Superbus, u cheapskate).
ix. Lead pipes, they turned the Romans into violent conquerors.
x. Bishop Ambrose. No particular reason, he was just kinda an asshole.
xi. Roman numerals were damn hard to do math with.
xii. None of the emperors followed us on Tumblr. Just sayin.