Ancient Roman Logistics & Expenses

Ancient Rome

Military Considerations

Half Rome’s budget at end 4th century went to feeding & paying the army of about ½ million.

Logistics of army supply was the single most important element that linked the imperial provinces together, along with the need to feed the imperial capitals.

Imperial Tax System

Underpinning all these structures, and making them possible, was the imperial tax system, which was based above all on a land tax, assessed on acreage, through buttressed by a much lighter tax on merchants and artisans.

High taxes were needed for several reasons:

  • To pay the salaries of soldiers, bureaucrats and messengers.
  • To feed the capitals of the empire.
  • To fund the enormous scale of Roman public buildings and state wealth. 
  • To connect the different parts of the empire together physically, as grain in ships moved northwards from Africa, Sicily and Egypt, and olive oil moved out of Africa, the Aegean and Syria. The movement of goods was essentially Mediterranean-based, as it was far easier and cheaper to transport in bulk by water than by land.

The Inheritance of Rome
The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages 400-1000

Chris Wickham

Tao Te Ching – A Timeless Message

The Tao

The way you can go
isn’t the real way.
The name you can say
isn’t the real name.

Heaven and earth
begin in the unnamed:
name’s the mother
of the ten thousand things.

So the unwanting soul
sees what’s hidden,
and the ever-wanting soul
sees only what it wants.

Two things, one origin
but different name,
Mystery of all mysteries!
The door to the hidden.

…..Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu Tao Te Ching
Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching: A Book about the Way and the Power of the Way
Ursula K. Le Guin
….. Ursula K. Le Guin website
….. Wikipedia


The Tao Te Ching was probably written about 2,500 years ago by a man called Lao Tzu, who may have lived at about the same time as Confucius. Nothing about it is certain except that it’s Chinese, any very old, and speaks to people everywhere as if it had been written yesterday.

The Tao Te Ching is partly prose, partly verse; but not as we define poetry now, not by rhyme and meter but as patterned intensity of language, the whole thing is poetry. I wanted to catch the poetry, its terse, strange beauty. Most translations have caught meanings in their net, but prosily, letting the beauty slip through. And in poetry, beauty is no ornament; it is meaning. It is the truth… I wanted a Book of the Way accessible to a present-day… perhaps un-male reader, not seeking esoteric secrets, but listening for a voice that speaks to the soul.

…..Ursula K. Le Guin

Healing Our Pain Through Transcendence

Transcendence

Life is Painful

There is a lot of pain in human life. Sometimes our pain is caused by an outside tragedy, such as difficult circumstances we go through. Sometimes events shake our world to its core. Other times we feel internal and emotional pain – which we are all very vulnerable to.

The Pain of Separation

The sense of being human, of being a person, is also painful because we feel a separation between ourselves and others, a separation between ourselves and the world. As long as this sense of fundamental separation continues in our consciousness, there is always going to be pain, pain that we cannot really describe – it is an existential pain. This pain also causes loneliness that can be deeper than just longing for companionship.

Healing Through Transcendence

The pain of this loneliness won’t go away by trying to fill our inner vacuum through acquiring external comforts. It can, however, be healed through what might be called true transcendence, which is the goal of many spiritual traditions, even many that don’t accept each other’s doctrines. True transcendence is the experience that we are no longer trapped in the narrow realm of the ego.

There is a part of us that longs to experience transcendence. Transcendence gives us the sense that all of our problems are gone. It is the sense that somehow we are one with everything. We don’t have to be spiritual to have this longing for transcendence. It is a universal longing.

Choosing Compassion
Choosing Compassion: How to Be of Benefit in a World That Needs Our Love

Anam Thubten

Background on Anam Thubten

Atoms – Ancient Beliefs & Modern Science

Atoms

Ancient Beliefs

Belief in atoms as the building blocks of matter has an ancient history. Some Buddhist thinkers in India, during the 6th century BCE, believed all matter to be made up of atoms, which they regarded as a form of energy. In addition, Greek pre-atomists such as Empedocles and Anaxagoras also conceived of invisibly tiny particles of matter. These early philosopher-scientists arrived at their view through a process of deductive thought alone.

Modern Science

Although atomism fell out of favor for many centuries, it was, in the end the model that would prevail, later supported by experimentation and observation. But the early atomists weren’t quite right. Their belief that atoms are the smallest, indivisible particles of matter proved to be incorrect, because atoms are made up of subatomic particles. And, as scientists have probed inside the atom, it’s proven to be a bizarre and unpredictable place.

How the World Works: Physics
How the World Works: Physics: From Natural Philosophy to the Enigma of Dark Matter
Anne Rooney

Background on Anne Rooney

Myths, Legends & Folktales

Myths, Legends, Folktales

Prose Narratives

Myths, legends, and folktales are narratives in prose – referred to as prose narratives. This distinguishes them from proverbs, riddles, ballads, poems, and other verbal forms.


Myths 

Myths are prose narratives which, in the society in which they are told, are considered to be truthful accounts of what happened in the remote past.

Characteristics of Myths

  • Accepted on faith, taught to be believed, and can be cited as authority in answer to ignorance, doubt, or disbelief.
  • Embodiment of dogma, usually sacred, and often associated with theology and ritual.
  • Main characters are usually not humans, but they often have human attributes – they are animals, deities, or cultural heroes, whose actions are set in an earlier world, when the earth was different than it is today.
  • Account for the origin of the world, of mankind, of death, or for characteristics of birds, geographic features, and phenomena of nature.
  • Recount the activities of deities – including their love affairs, family relationships, their friendships and enemies, their victories and defeats.

Legends

Legends are prose narratives which, like myths, are regarded as true by the narrator and his audience, but they are set in a period considered less remote, when the world was much as it is today.

Characteristics of Legends

  • More often secular than sacred.
  • Principal characters are human.
  • Tell of migrations, wars and victories, deeds of past heroes, chiefs, and kings, and succession in ruling dynasties.
  • Include local tales of buried treasure, ghosts, fairies, and saints.

Folktales

Folktales are prose narratives which are regarded as fiction.

Characteristics of Folktales

  • Not considered as dogma or history, may or may not have happened, and are not to be taken seriously.
  • Though they are often told only for amusement, they may present moral truths.
  • May be set in any time and any place, and in this sense they are almost timeless and placeless.
  • Fairies, ogres, and even deities may appear, but folktales usually recount the adventures of animal or human characters.
  • Have been called “nursery tales” or “fairy tales.”

Sacred Narrative: Readings in the Theory of Myth
Sacred Narrative: Readings in the Theory of Myth

Edited by Alan Dundes