Suscipe Domine Traditional Catholic Forum

The Parish Hall => The History Subforum => Topic started by: Vetus Ordo on January 28, 2020, 04:49:27 PM

Title: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: Vetus Ordo on January 28, 2020, 04:49:27 PM
Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?

(https://www.ancient-origins.net/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/a-depiction.jpg?itok=NI4Rc7Px)

A depiction of Emperor Nero with a tiger and Rome burning in the background during the Great Fire.

In Ancient Origins (https://www.ancient-origins.net/history-famous-people/emperor-nero-0013200).

Nero (in full Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus) was a Roman emperor who lived during the 1 st century AD. He was the fifth and last emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, which had been founded by Augustus. Nero is commonly regarded to be one of the worst emperors in Rome’s history. Most of the information we have today about Emperor Nero comes from the works of Tacitus, Suetonius, and Cassius Dio, all of whom were writing after Nero’s reign. These men belonged to the senatorial class, who hated the emperor very much. This would provide some explanation for the extremely negative portrayal of Nero in these historical sources. Nevertheless, Emperor Nero seems to have enjoyed some level of popularity amongst the lower classes. Apart from Roman history, Nero has a prominent place in the history of Christianity, as he is remembered as a great persecutor of the Church, and was widely considered by early Christians to be the anti-Christ.

An Early History and Loose Ties to the Empire

Nero was born on the 15 th of December 37 AD in Antium, near Rome. He was originally known as Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, and was the son of Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus and Agrippina the Younger. Nero had close links to the Julio-Claudian dynasty, especially through his mother. Agrippina the Younger was a sister (and reputed lover) of Caligula, and a daughter of Agrippina the Elder, the granddaughter of Augustus through Julia the Elder. This meant that Nero was the nephew of one emperor, i.e. Caligula, and the great great-great grandson of another, i.e. Augustus.

In addition, Nero was also connected to Tiberius through his maternal grandfather, Germanicus, who was the second emperor’s nephew and adopted son. Furthermore, Germanicus was the brother of Claudius, Nero’s predecessor and adoptive father. Although Nero was well-connected, it was initially thought that he would never have the opportunity to become emperor. In the year that Nero was born, his uncle Caligula had just succeeded Tiberius as emperor. The new emperor was only 24 years old at the time of his ascension, and both his predecessors, Augustus and Tiberius, lived well into their 70s. It was expected at the time that Caligula too would reign for many decades to come, and that in time, he would produce his own heirs. As things turned out, Caligula barely ruled for four years before he was assassinated in early 41 AD. Caligula had no sons, and his only daughter, Julia Drusilla, was also murdered, despite being a mere infant. It was feared that if allowed to live, Caligula’s daughter, or her descendants, could one day attempt to reclaim the throne.

(https://www.ancient-origins.net/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/41AD_0.jpg?itok=DPzY4pyN)

In AD 41, the debauched Roman Emperor Caligula was murdered. Gratus, a member of the Praetorian, draws a curtain aside to reveal the terrified Claudius who is hailed as emperor on the spot.

Caligula was succeeded by his uncle, Claudius. At the time of Claudius’ ascension, Nero was practically an orphan. His mother had been exiled to the Pontian Islands in 39 AD for allegedly participating in a conspiracy against Caligula. Suetonius records that Nero was sent to live with his aunt Lepida, where he had two tutors, a dancer and a barber. A year later, his father died from edema. When Claudius became emperor, one of the first things he did was to recall his nieces, Agrippina and her sister, Julia Livilla, from their exile. After her return in Rome, Agrippina married Gaius Sallustius Crispus Passienus, one of the wealthiest men in the city. Suetonius claiming that he “possessed an estate of two hundred million sesterces.” Suetonius also wrote that after Passienus made Agrippina his heir, he was slain by her treachery. Passienus died sometime between 44 and 47 AD. Agrippina’s next move was to put Nero on the throne.

Scheming Their Way to the Top

In 48 AD, Claudius had been ruling the Roman Empire for seven years already. In that year, the emperor had his third wife, Valeria Messalina, executed, as she was accused of plotting against her husband. This was an opportunity for Agrippina to draw closer to her goal of making her son emperor. According to the ancient sources, the emperor’s freedmen had a task of selecting a new wife for Claudius. Eventually, the competition narrowed down to three candidates – Lollia Paulina, the daughter of the consul Marcus Lollius, Aelia Paetina, Claudius’ second wife whom he had previously divorced, and Agrippina. According to Tacitus, each of the three women had their own patrons, who put forward the arguments in support of their candidate. Agrippina was supported by Pallas, whose arguments, according to Tacitus, are as follows, “Pallas, in his eulogy of Agrippina, insisted on the point that she brought with her the grandson of Germanicus, who fully deserved an imperial position: let the sovereign unite to himself a famous stock, the posterity of the Julian and Claudian races, and ensure that a princess of tried fecundity, still in the vigor of youth, should not transfer the glory of the Caesars into another family!” Tacitus goes on to state that Pallas’ arguments, “with help from the allurements of Agrippina” won Claudius over, and emperor made Agrippina, who was also his niece, his fourth wife.

Agrippina continued to work towards her goal by arranging the marriage between Nero and Claudia Octavia, Claudius’ daughter with Messalina. Octavia had in fact been betrothed to Lucius Junius Silanus Torquatus, but Agrippina’s scheming ruined the young man, and caused Claudius to cancel the engagement. Nero and Octavia were married in 53 AD. By then, Agrippina had been awarded the honorable title ‘Augusta’, which had previously been held only by Livia, the wife of Augustus, by the Roman Senate.

In that same year, 50 AD, Nero was officially adopted by Claudius, and took the name Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus. Since Nero was older than Britannicus, the son of Claudius and Messalina, he was effectively the heir to the throne at the time of his adoption. Claudius died in 54 AD, possibly poisoned by Agrippina herself. According to the ancient sources, she obtained a poison from the notorious Locusta, and had it sprinkled on some mushrooms, which the emperor was extremely fond of. In Tacitus’ account, the poison did not kill Claudius, and Agrippina had Xenophon, plunge a feather dipped in quick poison down the emperor’s throat, “under cover of assisting the emperor's struggles to vomit.” Once Claudius was dead, Nero, who was not even 17 years old, became the new emperor of Rome. At this point of time, Nero was not yet the monster that history remembers him to be. Instead, Emperor Nero’s reign got off to a promising start.

Promising Start to Emperor Nero’s Reign

The early part of his reign is considered a period of good governance, and the affairs of state were handled effectively. Credit for this achievement, however, doesn’t go to Nero alone, as it was actually his advisers, Agrippina, Sextus Afranius Burrus, the prefect of the Praetorian Guard, and Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Nero’s tutor, who were running the show. During the first five years of his reign, Emperor Nero (or, more appropriately, his advisers) brought some positive changes to Roman society. For instance, during the later years of Claudius’ reign, secret political trials were conducted before the emperor, and corrupt freemen wielded much power over the emperor. Both these features were abolished. Nero is said to have reduced taxes, gave the Senate more power, replaced gladiatorial combats with poetry and athletic competitions, and even pardoned those who plotted against him.

Debaucheries and Murders

As Nero’s advisers handled the administration of the empire, Nero began to indulge in his passions, which became increasingly extravagant as the years went by. In addition, Nero is recorded to have been dissatisfied with his marriage to Octavia, and that he began an affair with a former slave, Claudia Acte.

In 55 AD, Agrippina attempted to intervene on behalf of Octavia. By this time, however, Agrippina had lost her influence over her son. This was partly due to the encouragement given by Seneca to Nero, urging him to free himself from his mother’s grip. Agrippina, realizing that she may soon lose power, decided to throw her support behind Britannicus, who had a claim to the throne. Britannicus, however, died in 55 AD, poisoned by Nero, according to the ancient sources. Three years later, Agrippina herself was murdered by Nero. The emperor tried to assassinate his mother by having the ship she was travelling on wrecked. Agrippina, however, survived, and swam to the shore to safety. Although Agrippina was suspicious that the sinking of the ship was no accident, and that an attempt on her life had been made, she feigned ignorance, and sent her freedman, Agermus, to report to Nero that she was fine. Nero had a sword thrown on the ground, accused Agermus of trying to assassinate him, and had him punished. He also had Agrippina killed, and conjured the story that his mother had sent Agermus to kill him, but realizing that the assassination had failed, committed suicide.

(https://www.ancient-origins.net/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/Emperor.jpg?itok=96Eiye19)

Emperor Nero crouches over his mother, Agrippina, after ordering her murder.

Burrus and Seneca continued to run the empire for the four years after Agrippina’s death. In the meantime, Emperor Nero was free to pursue his passions. When Burrus died in 62 AD and Seneca retired, they were replaced by Gaius Ofonius Tigellinus, a favorite of Nero. In the same year, the emperor divorced Octavia, and married Poppae Sabina, who had become Nero’s favorite mistress. Soon after Tigellinus’ promotion, a series of treason laws were introduced, many capital sentences were carried out, and two of Nero’s few surviving relatives were executed.

The Great Fire: Hero or Villain?

In July 64 AD, the Great Fire of Rome broke out, which devastated the city. It is this incident that gave rise to the legend that “Nero fiddled while Rome burned,” which had begun as a rumor. In fact, Nero was not even in Rome when the fire started, but was at Antium, and that he contributed to the relief efforts.

According to Tacitus, “Nero, who at the time was staying in Antium, did not return to the capital until the fire was nearing the house by which he had connected the Palatine with the Gardens of Maecenas. … Still, as a relief to the homeless and fugitive populace, he opened the Campus Martius, the buildings of Agrippa, even his own gardens, and threw up a number of extemporized shelters to accommodate the helpless multitude. The necessities of life were brought up from Ostia and the neighboring municipalities, and the price of grain was lowered to three sesterces. Yet his measures, popular as their character might be, failed of their effect; for the report had spread that, at the very moment when Rome was aflame, he had mounted his private stage, and typifying the ills of the present by the calamities of the past, had sung the destruction of Troy.”

After the fire, Emperor Nero seized the opportunity to build the Golden House , a new palace, which, had it been completed, would have covered a third of the city. It is due to this ambitious project that another rumor spread, accusing Nero of deliberately starting the fire, so that he could build his Golden House.

(https://www.ancient-origins.net/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/Emperor2.jpg?itok=rx-6w51d)

Emperor Nero watches as Rome burns during the Great Fire.

On the other hand, Tacitus reports that Nero’s rebuilding of the rest of the city took into consideration measures that would prevent such fires from happening in the future. For instance, the districts were to be built “in measured lines of streets, with broad thoroughfares, buildings of restricted height, and open spaces, while colonnades were added as a protection to the front of the tenement-blocks.” Other measures included having water supply available “for public purposes in greater quantities and at more points,” and “appliances for checking fire were to be kept by everyone in the open.”

Whilst many blamed Nero for starting the fire, the emperor managed to find a scapegoat for the disaster, blaming the Christians, who were believed to be engaged in various wicked deeds. According to Tacitus, “vast numbers were convicted, not so much on the count of arson as for hatred of the human race,” and that “they were covered with wild beasts’ skins and torn to death by dogs; or they were fastened on crosses, and, when daylight failed were burned to serve as lamps by night.” By blaming the Christians for the fire, Nero is said to have inadvertently initiated the policy of persecuting Christians, which would be pursued later on by other Roman emperors. As a consequence, Nero became identified as the anti-Christ.

The End is Near

In the following year, an attempt on the emperor’s life, the Pisonian Conspiracy , was made. The plot, however, was discovered, and many of the conspirators, which included Seneca, were forced to commit suicide. It is clear that Emperor Nero was fast losing his popularity amongst the elite. In 68 AD, a rebellion broke out in Gaul, led by its governor, Gaius Julius Vindex. Nero did not deal with the revolt decisively, and it soon spread to other parts of the empire. Servius Sulpicius Galba, the governor of Hispania, was made emperor by the legions, and he declared himself the legate of the Senate and the Roman people. Nero was abandoned by the Praetorian Guard , and the emperor tried to flee. When he learned that the Senate had ordered his arrest and execution, however, Nero chose to commit suicide by stabbing his throat with a dagger. Nero ended his life on the 9 th of June, 68 AD, According to Suetonius, Nero lamented “what an artist the world is losing” before committing suicide. Although commonly said to be Nero’s last words, the emperor’s final words, according to Suetonius, were in fact “too late!” and “this is fidelity!”, uttered as a centurion placed a cloak around the wound, pretending that he had come to aid the emperor.

(https://www.ancient-origins.net/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/Emperor-dies.jpg?itok=C0WLM1ih)

Emperor Nero lies dead on the floor after committing suicide.

To conclude, Nero is commonly considered to be one of the most wicked emperors Rome ever had, and he is remembered as such even till this day. Indeed, a list of the ‘worst emperors of the Roman Empire’ would not be complete without him. Whilst it cannot be denied that Nero was a terrible emperor, he was not without any positive points. For instance, the first five years of his reign can be viewed positively, whilst his actual conduct during the Great Fire of Rome is noteworthy. Nevertheless, these are often left out, perhaps unjustly so, leaving us only with the image of Nero the monster.
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: Prayerful on January 28, 2020, 04:58:23 PM
Dunno, tying someone to a cross and setting him on fire is a bit too 'bad boy' for me.
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: TheReturnofLive on February 02, 2020, 04:55:35 PM
He seems more like a teenager who lies in his bed listening to Linkin Park rather than being a "bad boy."
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: GBoldwater on February 12, 2020, 04:39:39 PM
Amazing to see someone waste their time making such a lengthy post about an historically infamous personage just to say he had some good points.
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: Fleur-de-Lys on February 12, 2020, 05:18:07 PM
Amazing to see someone waste their time making such a lengthy post about an historically infamous personage just to say he had some good points.

It really doesn't take long to copy and paste an article, probably less time than you wasted by responding to it.
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: Vetus Ordo on February 12, 2020, 05:22:31 PM
Amazing to see someone waste their time making such a lengthy post about an historically infamous personage just to say he had some good points.

It really doesn't take long to copy and paste an article, probably less time than you wasted by responding to it.

It's also amazing to see how the science of History actually works.

It's not enough to simply enumerate the deeds of character A or B. You need proper context and a critique of the source material. That takes time and trouble.
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: GBoldwater on February 12, 2020, 06:03:43 PM
Amazing to see someone waste their time making such a lengthy post about an historically infamous personage just to say he had some good points.

It really doesn't take long to copy and paste an article, probably less time than you wasted by responding to it.

True. And I missed seeing the link to "Ancient Origins".
Not really less time when you consider someone reading the whole thing first before the copy and paste!
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: GBoldwater on February 12, 2020, 06:05:18 PM
Amazing to see someone waste their time making such a lengthy post about an historically infamous personage just to say he had some good points.

It really doesn't take long to copy and paste an article, probably less time than you wasted by responding to it.

It's also amazing to see how the science of History actually works.

It's not enough to simply enumerate the deeds of character A or B. You need proper context and a critique of the source material. That takes time and trouble.

Christian history doesn't bother enumerating Pilates or Judas' good points. There is no point in doing so other than to try to make them not seem so bad for their dastardly acts they are infamous for.
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: Fleur-de-Lys on February 12, 2020, 06:06:37 PM
Amazing to see someone waste their time making such a lengthy post about an historically infamous personage just to say he had some good points.

It really doesn't take long to copy and paste an article, probably less time than you wasted by responding to it.

True. And I missed seeing the link to "Ancient Origins".
Not really less time when you consider someone reading the whole thing first before the copy and paste!

Did you not read the whole thing before responding?
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: GBoldwater on February 12, 2020, 06:26:13 PM
Amazing to see someone waste their time making such a lengthy post about an historically infamous personage just to say he had some good points.

It really doesn't take long to copy and paste an article, probably less time than you wasted by responding to it.

True. And I missed seeing the link to "Ancient Origins".
Not really less time when you consider someone reading the whole thing first before the copy and paste!

Did you not read the whole thing before responding?

I did not. It was too long. But knowing good composition, I read the end to see what the point was. It is a silly point. It's like those people talking about Hitler's good points.
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: Vetus Ordo on February 12, 2020, 07:16:11 PM
Amazing to see someone waste their time making such a lengthy post about an historically infamous personage just to say he had some good points.

It really doesn't take long to copy and paste an article, probably less time than you wasted by responding to it.

It's also amazing to see how the science of History actually works.

It's not enough to simply enumerate the deeds of character A or B. You need proper context and a critique of the source material. That takes time and trouble.

Christian history doesn't bother enumerating Pilates or Judas' good points. There is no point in doing so other than to try to make them not seem so bad for their dastardly acts they are infamous for.

History is not "Christian" or "Jewish." It's a scientific discipline. It looks to establish the truth of the historical facts and to explain them in context.

If you present just the bright side of the moon or just the dark side of the moon, you haven't really presented the moon, just a sectarian version of it. A historian, especially one that has been graced with faith, is morally obliged to present all sides of the moon.
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: GBoldwater on February 12, 2020, 07:45:40 PM
Amazing to see someone waste their time making such a lengthy post about an historically infamous personage just to say he had some good points.

It really doesn't take long to copy and paste an article, probably less time than you wasted by responding to it.

It's also amazing to see how the science of History actually works.

It's not enough to simply enumerate the deeds of character A or B. You need proper context and a critique of the source material. That takes time and trouble.

Christian history doesn't bother enumerating Pilates or Judas' good points. There is no point in doing so other than to try to make them not seem so bad for their dastardly acts they are infamous for.

History is not "Christian" or "Jewish." It's a scientific discipline. It looks to establish the truth of the historical facts and to explain them in context.

If you present just the bright side of the moon or just the dark side of the moon, you haven't really presented the moon, just a sectarian version of it. A historian, especially one that has been graced with faith, is morally obliged to present all sides of the moon.

Do you know that NOTHING Nero did in a positive way covers for his evil deeds?

Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: Fleur-de-Lys on February 12, 2020, 07:54:41 PM

Do you know that NOTHING Nero did in a positive way covers for his evil deeds?

No one here has claimed that it did, including that one paragraph of the article that you say you read.
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: GBoldwater on February 12, 2020, 07:57:31 PM

Do you know that NOTHING Nero did in a positive way covers for his evil deeds?

No one here has claimed that it did, including that one paragraph of the article that you say you read.

I read the beginning and the end. The end shows that meaning of the whole article, to make the man look not so bad because he had some good point. That just stinking ecumenical.
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: Vetus Ordo on February 12, 2020, 08:02:16 PM

Do you know that NOTHING Nero did in a positive way covers for his evil deeds?

No one here has claimed that it did, including that one paragraph of the article that you say you read.

I read the beginning and the end. The end shows that meaning of the whole article, to make the man look not so bad because he had some good point. That just stinking ecumenical.

History is not concerned with moral judgments.

Your impression of Exsurge Domine is getting weaker.
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: TheReturnofLive on February 12, 2020, 09:04:29 PM

Do you know that NOTHING Nero did in a positive way covers for his evil deeds?

No one here has claimed that it did, including that one paragraph of the article that you say you read.

I read the beginning and the end. The end shows that meaning of the whole article, to make the man look not so bad because he had some good point. That just stinking ecumenical.

History is not concerned with moral judgments.

Your impression of Exsurge Domine is getting weaker.

No offense, and forgive me for saying so, but what a load of garbage.

History is absolutely concerned with moral judgments, and always has been, and those who say otherwise are liars. Otherwise people wouldn't be studying Slavery and Jim Crow, and wouldn't be studying the "domestic despotism" of days past. A friend of mine is writing a "thesis" right now on the relationship between Medieval Heresy and Patriarchy / Racism.

Have fun in ANY history department objectively talking about the positive things Hitler and Franco did without three pages worth of warnings and asterisks!

In order for a field of a study to exist, there must be some purpose behind why one should study, and that purpose will inevitably cloud one's objective assesment. As Nietzsche says, "We see that science also rests on a faith; there simply is no science 'without presuppositions.'"
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: Vetus Ordo on February 12, 2020, 09:49:44 PM
No offense, and forgive me for saying so, but what a load of garbage. History is absolutely concerned with moral judgments, and always has been, and those who say otherwise are liars.

You do have a way with words.

History, as a social science, is concerned with the accurate representation of the past. The development of the historical method goes back to Thucydides in Ancient Greece. Ibn Khaldun, the father of historiography, was another pre-modern figure whose scientific approach to the discipline laid the groundwork for the observation of the role of the state, communication, propaganda and systematic bias in the writing of history. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the whole science of history progressed by leaps and bounds and the overall production of historical knowledge flourished at an unprecedented rate.

You seem to be confusing the bias of some historians, influenced by political or religious views, with the goals and the methods of the science itself. Simply put, history examines and analyzes a sequence of past events and tries to objectively and impartially identify the patterns of cause and effect that determine them. Any history that is made on the basis of moral judgements of the past is not a scientific discipline.

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In order for a field of a study to exist, there must be some purpose behind why one should study, and that purpose will inevitably cloud one's objective assesment. As Nietzsche says, "We see that science also rests on a faith; there simply is no science 'without presuppositions.'"

Objective assessment is the goal behind the production of historical knowledge. You obviously haven't studied the historical method and the development of criticism in historiography, among other things.
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: TheReturnofLive on February 12, 2020, 11:32:20 PM
You do have a way with words.

Thank you.

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You seem to be confusing the bias of some historians, influenced by political or religious views, with the goals and the methods of the science itself. Simply put, history examines and analyzes a sequence of past events and tries to objectively and impartially identify the patterns of cause and effect that determine them. Any history that is made on the basis of moral judgements of the past is not a scientific discipline.

No, I'm not. While the methodology and the historians are distinct, the methodology employed is always a result of historians who cannot ever be impartial, due to the fact that their very motivations for studying history will always influence the study of history itself. Even if it's a pure search for some kind of model of economics impacting human behavior, the idea that there could be some kind of model of economics impacting human behavior to be found in historical study will influence the data that's gathered, collected, and analyzed.

Let us not forget that models are mere replicas of reality as it exists, while ignoring no doubt countless upon countless factors and influences. Plus, our own biases and sense of morality / justice will undoubtedly impact what correlations and causations are salient and which correlations and causations are insignificant to us. The 19th century and before didn't look to why St. Joan of Arc was such a popular figure from a feminist perspective. Now, in the 20th century onwards, it's suddenly the key, the end all be all solution to why St. Joan of Arc was such a popular figure, especially among women. And you do not consider that our changing of social norms from a purely patriarchal society to that of women's rights (progressing to the point today of whining, bratty, spoiled feminist deconstructivism) had SOMETHING to do with that?

Ever find a model or theory of history that wasn't flawed? Has there ever been a model or theory of history which has been dismissed because it's "outdated and bigoted?" We cannot have racist or sexist models of history, correct?

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Objective assessment is the goal behind the production of historical knowledge. You obviously haven't studied the historical method and the development of criticism in historiography, among other things.

And the goal of sex-reassignment surgery is to change a so-called "socially constructed" gender of an individual. Doesn't make it so.

I need not to study the history of historiography to criticize the philosophical underpinnings of any scientific field.
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: Kreuzritter on February 13, 2020, 04:17:14 PM
.
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: Vetus Ordo on February 13, 2020, 04:47:29 PM
No, I'm not. While the methodology and the historians are distinct, the methodology employed is always a result of historians who cannot ever be impartial, due to the fact that their very motivations for studying history will always influence the study of history itself. Even if it's a pure search for some kind of model of economics impacting human behavior, the idea that there could be some kind of model of economics impacting human behavior to be found in historical study will influence the data that's gathered, collected, and analyzed.

You're moving the goalposts. We're talking about a social science and no social science can ultimately be devoid of the frailties of human interpretation. You stated that history is absolutely concerned with moral judgments (...) and those who say otherwise are liars. This is factually incorrect as far as the scientific discipline of history is concerned. That's all. The purpose of the historical method is to render the interpretation of the historical facts, and the critique of the historical sources, as impartial and objective as possible. That there are philosophical presuppositions at play, as well as other factors of bias in the sources or in the works of some historians, is recognized by the discipline itself. It's a work in construction. That's why the historical method was developped and why there's a cumulative process of analysis and critique.

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Ever find a model or theory of history that wasn't flawed? Has there ever been a model or theory of history which has been dismissed because it's "outdated and bigoted?" We cannot have racist or sexist models of history, correct?

No model that attempts to interpret reality is flawless. So? The goal of the scientific discipline of history is to collect and interpret the historical data as impartially as possible and to offer possible correlations and causative principles. There is no room for moral judgments as such.

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And the goal of sex-reassignment surgery is to change a so-called "socially constructed" gender of an individual. Doesn't make it so.

Ridiculous analogy.

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I need not to study the history of historiography to criticize the philosophical underpinnings of any scientific field.

It would be advisable to understand the methods and the goals of the discipline in question before declaring anyone who enunciates them a liar, though.
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: TheReturnofLive on February 13, 2020, 05:03:30 PM
You're moving the goalposts. We're talking about a social science and no social science can ultimately be devoid of the frailties of human interpretation. You stated that history is absolutely concerned with moral judgments (...) and those who say otherwise are liars. This is factually incorrect as far as the scientific discipline of history is concerned. That's all. The purpose of the historical method is to render the interpretation of the historical facts, and the critique of the historical sources, as impartial and objective as possible. That there are philosophical presuppositions at play, as well as other factors of bias in the sources or in the works of some historians, is recognized by the discipline itself. It's a work in construction. That's why the historical method was developped and why there's a cumulative process of analysis and critique.

No, I'm not, because human beings by their very nature are moral, and they will project their own morality, their own conditions, and their own life experiences onto the history to be studied. I mean, look at the very title of the article which you posted: "Nero: Does he deserve his bad boy reputation?"

And look at the conclusion sentence of the article:

"To conclude, Nero is commonly considered to be one of the most wicked emperors Rome ever had, and he is remembered as such even till this day. Indeed, a list of the ‘worst emperors of the Roman Empire’ would not be complete without him. Whilst it cannot be denied that Nero was a terrible emperor, he was not without any positive points. For instance, the first five years of his reign can be viewed positively, whilst his actual conduct during the Great Fire of Rome is noteworthy. Nevertheless, these are often left out, perhaps unjustly so, leaving us only with the image of Nero the monster."

Purely objective, huh? "Indeed, a list of the 'worst' emprerors of the Roman Empire' would not be complete without him," "Nero was a terrible emperor," "For instance, the first five years of his reign can be viewed positively, whilst his actual conduct during the Great Fire of Rome is noteworthy."

What if I'm a degenerate who views dominance is power - might means right, and I think Nero was one of the best emperors ever made? Why would your article be construed as objective?

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No model that attempts to interpret reality is flawless. So? The goal of the scientific discipline of history is to collect and interpret the historical data as impartially as possible and to offer possible correlations and causative principles. There is no room for moral judgments as such.

It's a lie, see above.

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Ridiculous analogy.

No, it's not. It's marketing vs. reality.

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It would be advisable to understand the methods and the goals of the discipline in question before declaring anyone who enunciates them a liar, though.

I'm not denying what the goals are, I'm just saying that those goals cannot possibly be met, and it's wrong to pretend those goals are met.
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: Michael Wilson on February 13, 2020, 05:11:54 PM
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It's sickening to realize what supposed Catholics listen to as "music." What wretched vulgarity. It's no wonder God has punished these last generations so thoroughly.
Look at it this way, if one is listening to what is regarded as today's music, that is punishment enough.
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: TheReturnofLive on February 13, 2020, 05:15:06 PM
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It's sickening to realize what supposed Catholics listen to as "music." What wretched vulgarity. It's no wonder God has punished these last generations so thoroughly.
Look at it this way, if one is listening to what is regarded as today's music, that is punishment enough.

I should probably change that now that that user's banned. Sorry, just wanted to mock him.
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: Vetus Ordo on February 13, 2020, 05:35:02 PM
No, I'm not, because human beings by their very nature are moral, and they will project their own morality, their own conditions, and their own life experiences onto the history to be studied. I mean, look at the very title of the argue which you posted: "Nero: Does he deserve his bad boy reputation?"

The article was written for a popular magazine. It's not a historical thesis or an article for a scientific publication. It's pop history which is what draws people to a given subject, hopefully to study it more in-depth. I've shared one or two scientific papers in this sub-forum before but the large public is not usually interested in that. What's interesting about said article, and the reason why I shared it in the first place, is that it attempts to give us a more complete view of the figure of Nero. Obviously it's not a proper historical essay and it does verge on moralizing depictions. That much is understood if one is educated and knows how to contextualize information.

In any case, I was responding casually to a troll until you popped in, triumphantly declaring that those who enunciate the goals of the scientific discipline of history are liars. Res ipsa loquitur.

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I'm not denying what the goals are, I'm just saying that those goals cannot possibly be met, and it's wrong to pretend those goals are met.

No-one is pretending anything. The discipline exists, it has a clear method, it has goals and it has auxiliary disciplines that contribute to the production of historical knowledge. Your repetitive appeal to human bias and the philosophical presuppositions that exist in any field of knowledge is besides the point, as I've already explained. I'm afraid you have but a passing knowledge of the discipline itself and I encourage you to read more about it.
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: Kreuzritter on February 14, 2020, 10:42:16 AM
No-one is pretending anything. The discipline exists, it has a clear method, it has goals and it has auxiliary disciplines that contribute to the production of historical knowledge. Your repetitive appeal to human bias and the philosophical presuppositions that exist in any field of knowledge is besides the point, as I've already explained. I'm afraid you have but a passing knowledge of the discipline itself and I encourage you to read more about it.

But it's not, because not only are the methods dependent upon presuppositions but even the goals. The very notion of an "accurate representation of the past" and what that is, before one even gets to how to go about constructing such a thing and questions of epistemology as they concern history, entails presuppositions about the nature of reality and language. You talk about "impartiality" and "objectivity", for instance, but we don't have to accept that these words even refer to any reality, let alone that such a reality is achievable.
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: Vetus Ordo on February 14, 2020, 01:17:39 PM
...entails presuppositions about the nature of reality and language.

So do all sciences and fields of human knowledge.

Unless one is arguing for some form of radical skepticism, I don't really see the relevance of that point.
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: Kreuzritter on February 16, 2020, 08:19:05 AM
...entails presuppositions about the nature of reality and language.

So do all sciences and fields of human knowledge.

Unless one is arguing for some form of radical skepticism, I don't really see the relevance of that point.

That you don't see the absolute relevance is irrelevant to its truth and its implications for the veracity of "history". I don't need to be arguing from a position of "radical skepticism" to reject presuppositions underlying the world view, indeed the basis for their ideas of an "impartial" and "objective" attempt at an  "accurate representation of the past", of most historians.

"Radicla skepticism" is not sole alternative to the dogmatic intersection of world views these historians and you have in common.

It's funny how entire disciplines whose "findings" are continually shoved down our throats as truth are built upon a metaphysical and epistemological house of cards that is simply taken as a given by their practitioners.
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: Kreuzritter on February 16, 2020, 09:45:43 AM
Here's a more mundane and practical question for Vetus:

What's your opinion of historical criticism, and the textual and literary criticism it subsumes, as it pertains to the Bible? It too has as its alleged goal the same ones as history in general, and it has its methods. Its findings are none-too favourable for the traditional view of the origin and reception of scripture, indeed, its most mainstream theories flatly contradict the Christian narrative of things.
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: Vetus Ordo on February 16, 2020, 05:58:56 PM
Here's a more mundane and practical question for Vetus:

What's your opinion of historical criticism, and the textual and literary criticism it subsumes, as it pertains to the Bible? It too has as its alleged goal the same ones as history in general, and it has its methods. Its findings are none-too favourable for the traditional view of the origin and reception of scripture, indeed, its most mainstream theories flatly contradict the Christian narrative of things.

Generally speaking, I have a favorable opinion of it. Historical and textual criticism are useful tools that have enabled us to make valuable progress in our knowledge of the Scriptures, their textual variants, the historical pedigree of the narrations, their inner coherence and their contextual existence vis-à-vis other ancient texts, regardless of the conclusions that some skeptics have upheld. Abusus non tollit usum. What we know about the Bible today is incomparable to what we knew just a century or two ago.
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: TheReturnofLive on February 16, 2020, 06:12:26 PM
Here's a more mundane and practical question for Vetus:

What's your opinion of historical criticism, and the textual and literary criticism it subsumes, as it pertains to the Bible? It too has as its alleged goal the same ones as history in general, and it has its methods. Its findings are none-too favourable for the traditional view of the origin and reception of scripture, indeed, its most mainstream theories flatly contradict the Christian narrative of things.

Generally speaking, I have a favorable opinion of it. Historical and textual criticism are useful tools that have enabled us to make valuable progress in our knowledge of the Scriptures, their textual variants, the historical pedigree of the narrations, their inner coherence and their contextual existence vis-à-vis other ancient texts, regardless of the conclusions that some skeptics have upheld. Abusus non tollit usum. What we know about the Bible today is incomparable to what we knew just a century or two ago.

Ah, like how logically impossible it must have been for Daniel to name Alexander the Great and how logically impossible it must have been for Jesus to predict the Temple's destruction.
Title: Re: Roman Emperor Nero: Does He Deserve His Bad Boy Reputation?
Post by: Kreuzritter on February 17, 2020, 05:32:27 AM
I quote from Robert M. Grant's A Historical Introduction to the New Testament:

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There are a few important passages in the New Testament in which it can be proved conclusively that textual alteration has taken place.

Looking at these "conclusive proofs", all they conclusively prove is that Biblical critics who believe them have no concept of what a proof is and what a sound argument entails.

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(1) The ending of the Gospel of Mark (16:9-20) is no part of what its author originally wrote: (a) Justin alluded to it and Irenaeus quoted from it; it is included in some important uncial manuscripts, mostly ‘Western’. (b) On the other hand, it is absent from the writings of Clement, Origen and Eusebius, and is omitted in Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus, as well as in the older Latin and Syriac versions; the Freer manuscript contains a different ending entirely. (c) Therefore, though it was undoubtedly added at an early date, it is not authentic.

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(2) The story about a woman ‘taken in adultery’ and forgiven by Jesus does not belong to the Gospel of John. (a) It occurs in the Byzantine text of the gospel, usually as John 7:53-8:1 but sometimes after John 7:36 or 21:24 (in a small group of manuscripts it is found after Luke 21:38). (b) No manuscript before the end of the fourth century contains it; no Church Father, in the same period, refers to it. (c) Therefore it is not authentic.

These "arguments" may be subjectively convincing, and the conclusions may even be true, but they are not proofs. And the hidden premises they would need to invoke for validity are false.