Curia Hostilia

The Curia Hostilia was one of the original senate houses or "curiae" of the Roman Republic. It was believed to have begun as a temple where the warring tribes laid down their arms during the reign of Romulus (r. c. 771–717 BC). During the early monarchy, the temple was used by senators acting as council to the king. Tullus Hostilius (r. 673–641 BC) was believed to have replaced the original structure after fire destroyed the converted temple. It may have held historic significance as the location of an Etruscan mundus and altar.[citation needed] The Lapis Niger, a series of large black marble slabs, was placed over the altar (known as the Volcanal) where a series of monuments was found opposite the Rostra. This curia was enlarged in 80 BC by Lucius Cornelius Sulla during his renovations of the comitium. That building burned down in 53 BC when the supporters of the murdered Publius Clodius Pulcher used it as a pyre to cremate his body.

Continue reading

Teutonic Order

The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem (official names: Latin: Ordo domus Sanctæ Mariæ Theutonicorum Hierosolymitanorum, German: Orden der Brüder vom Deutschen Haus der Heiligen Maria in Jerusalem), commonly the Teutonic Order (Deutscher Orden, Deutschherrenorden or Deutschritterorden), is a Catholic religious order founded as a military order c. 1192 in Acre, Kingdom of Jerusalem.

The Teutonic Order was formed to aid Christians on their pilgrimages to the Holy Land and to establish hospitals. Its members have commonly been known as the Teutonic Knights, having a small voluntary and mercenary military membership, serving as a crusading military order for protection of Christians in the Holy Land and the Baltics during the Middle Ages.

Purely religious since 1810, the Teutonic Order still confers limited honorary knighthoods. The Bailiwick of Utrecht of the Teutonic Order, a Protestant chivalric order, is descended from the same medieval military order and also continues to award knighthoods and perform charitable work.

Continue reading

Amphictyonic League

In Archaic Greece, an amphictyony (Greek: ἀμφικτυονία), a "league of neighbors", or Amphictyonic League was an ancient religious association of Greek tribes formed in the dim past, before the rise of the Greek poleis. The six Dorian cities of coastal southwest Anatolia, or the twelve Ionian cities to the north, the dodecapolis forming an Ionian League emerging in the aftermath of a faintly remembered "Meliac war" in the mid-7th century BC, were already of considerable antiquity when the first written records emerge.

An amphictyony consisting of polities under the aegis of Apollo's shrine at Delos was apparently well-established in the seventh century, as the Homeric Hymn to Delian Apollo of that approximate date lists them, those cities and islands that trembled and refused to offer themselves for the birthplace of Apollo when pregnant Leto went to each in turn; the Homeric hymn presents an origin myth for the cult of Apollo on Delos. The joint Ionian festival celebrated there was the Delia. The Delian amphictyony was recreated in the 4th century as an instrument of Athenian hegemony.

Continue reading

Structural history of the Roman military

The structural history of the Roman military concerns the major transformations in the organization and constitution of ancient Rome's armed forces, "the most effective and long-lived military institution known to history." From its origins around 800 BC to its final dissolution in AD 476 with the demise of the Western Roman Empire, Rome's military organization underwent substantial structural change. At the highest level of structure, the forces were split into the Roman army and the Roman navy, although these two branches were less distinct than in many modern national defense forces. Within the top levels of both army and navy, structural changes occurred as a result of both positive military reform and organic structural evolution. These changes can be divided into four distinct phases.

Phase I
The army was derived from obligatory annual military service levied on the citizenry, as part of their duty to the state. During this period, the Roman army would wage seasonal campaigns against largely local adversaries.
Phase II
As the extent of the territories falling under Roman control expanded and the size of the forces increased, the soldiery gradually became salaried professionals. As a consequence, military service at the lower (non-salaried) levels became progressively longer-term. Roman military units of the period were largely homogeneous and highly regulated. The army consisted of units of citizen infantry known as legions (Latin: legiones) as well as non-legionary allied troops known as auxilia. The latter were most commonly called upon to provide light infantry, logistical, or cavalry support.
Phase III
At the height of the Roman Empire's power, forces were tasked with manning and securing the borders of the vast provinces which had been brought under Roman control. Serious strategic threats were less common in this period and emphasis was placed on preserving gained territory. The army underwent changes in response to these new needs and became more dependent on fixed garrisons than on march-camps and continuous field operations.
Phase IV
As Rome began to struggle to keep control over its sprawling territories, military service continued to be salaried and professional for Rome's regular troops. However, the trend of employing allied or mercenary elements was expanded to such an extent that these troops came to represent a substantial proportion of the armed forces. At the same time, the uniformity of structure found in Rome's earlier military disappeared. Soldiery of the era ranged from lightly armed mounted archers to heavy infantry, in regiments of varying size and quality. This was accompanied by a trend in the late empire of an increasing predominance of cavalry rather than infantry troops, as well as a requirement for more mobile operations. In this period there was more focus (on all frontiers but the east) on smaller units of independently-operating troops, engaging less in set-piece battles and more in low-intensity, guerilla actions.
Continue reading

Church of the Holy Ghost, Midsomer Norton

The Church of the Holy Ghost, Midsomer Norton, Somerset, England is a Roman Catholic parish church housed in a converted tithe barn. It is served by monks of the Order of St. Benedict from Downside Abbey and is a Grade II* listed building.

Continue reading