Empire, Oil, and Disaster - blog about my new book

A religious sect getting more and more attention of the world. Jews in the Middle East already have problems with them. Coincidentally, a terrible terract happens in the largest city of the empire. The same religious sect is blamed for it. The year is 64 AD. The sect is Christians. The place is Rome of the emperor Nero.
Beware of September Ides!

Location: United States

Sunday, May 30, 2004

On ch.10/11: Distance between Caesarea and Jerusalem

Straight line distance is around 50 miles. As Albinus travel with two cohorts we have to count their speed. Normal speed for the army was 18 miles per day with up to 30 miles of a forced march. So we have something between 2.7 and 1.6 days. It seems more reasonable to make it three days for two reasons:
- getting into the city in the morning provided Albinus with a demonstration of force;
- there was not real reason to force soldiers to go fast. Albinus should have the cohorts well rested and in the best shape when coming to the capital of a troubled province.


Thursday, May 27, 2004

On ch.10/11: What was the age of most personages who met in Jerusalem?

King Herod Agrippa II was 37.
Procurator Lucceius Albinus birthday is not known, but he is likely to be older than fifty, because of his position.
Eleasar should be no younger than 30, as assumed by his post of the Governor of the Temple.
High Priest Ananias/Ananus should be in his fifties-sixties, because he already had a son who already was at least 30 (Eleasar).


On ch.10: Who was the king of Arabia at the time?

Malchus II (40-70 AD), who succeeded Aretas IV (8 BC-40AD), who was contemporary of Herod the Great and August Octavian. Malchus II had friendly relations with the Romans and helped Vespasian and Titus to conquer Jerusalem in 70 AD.
[1] Petra


Wednesday, May 26, 2004

On "war for profits"

A quote from the article on MSN:
  • "Terrorism and war. A terrorist attack in the Middle East, especially on oil production facilities, could hurt supply. Worries about this are leading futures traders to bet on higher rather than lower oil prices ahead. Instability in Iraq also raises questions about that country's ability to add substantially to the world supply anytime soon."

  • "Oil companies' profits. Some lawmakers say the oil companies are just too greedy. 'Big oil companies and refiners are getting rich and middle-class families are getting gouged,' Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said in a recent Senate speech, The Associated Press reported. 'It's clearly documented that refiner margins have doubled and tripled. The oil companies weren't content to make 25 cents on every gallon of gasoline. They now make 50 to 75 cents for every gallon of gasoline,' Reid said."

Interesting that in the post about a week ago, I estimated 2004 oil companies profits as "between $43 and $131 billions". According to this article, they have extra 25-50 cents per gallon. That makes it about [$.25,$.50]*42*9 mln.*365 = ~ between 34 and 70 billions per year.

By intersecting these two intervals, we are getting a more narrow estimate of between 43 and 70 billions in 2004 extracted out of our pockets.

See also Chapter 9 of September Ides.


Tuesday, May 25, 2004

A word about Caesarea

Caesarea (Caesarea Palaestina a.k.a. Caesarea Maritima) was built on marshes by Herod I (Herod the Great) somewhere between (according to different sources) 40 BC and 13 BC. It was originally planned as Roman-style city. It is located on the sea-coast approximately half-way between cities of Joppa (on South) and Acco (on North) about 30 miles from each of them. In AD 6 the city became the seat of the Roman procurators of Provincia Iudaea. The city had a large harbor, a temple of Caeasar, Herod's palace, and amphitheatre. Actual site is known and currently represent one of the tourist attractions.


Again, Roman coinage...

Sizes and weights of some actual coins:

Copper As, 28 mm (Caligula)
Silver Denarius, 19 mm, 46 BC (Julius Caesar)
Silver Denarius, 19 mm, 3.8 grams (Augustus Octavian)
Silver tetradrachm (provincial issue made for use in the province of Syria), 25 mm (Nero)
Bronze dupondius, 27 mm (Nero)
Follis, copper showing through silver wash, 27 mm (Diocletian, Minted in Trier, Germany, c. AD 305)

By the way, "follis", the coin introduced by Diocleatian, suffered from so terrible inflation that it gave the name to what we now call "follis".

See Coins from Famous People in History


Monday, May 24, 2004

Gaius Ophonius Tigellinus

Gaius Ophonius Tigellinus (sometimes called Sophonius, sometimes spelled Ofonius in English) was born in Agrigentum (other names Agrigento, Acragas or Akragas), the Greek city-colony on the south of Sicily. Some of the remains of this city are dated as old as 5 BC. He was of humble origin and probably of Greek descent.

He was banished once by Caligula in 39, returned by Claudius in 41. Then he inherited a fortune and started to breed racing horses. That's how he became acquainted with Nero. In 62 he became the prefect of the praetorian guards.

He betrayed Nero short before his fall, and bought life with presents during Galba’s short reign. Later he had to commit a suicide when Otho became an emperor in 69.

[1] Annals by Tacitus, XIV, XV, XVI

See also Google search on “Tigellinus”, see for example, fact-index.com, 1911encyclopedia.org or romansonline.com


Sunday, May 23, 2004

Published chapters 7, 8, and 9

See September Ides site.


Wednesday, May 19, 2004

On ch. 5: Navigation in Anctient Rome times

Normal sailing period was considered from May 27th to September 14th.
March 10th to May 27th, and September 14th to November 10th were also considered reasonable periods.
The rest of the time in the winter navigation was practically impossible because of storms. This period was called mare clausum ("closed sea") used today to indicate territorial waters. See e.g. [1].

Nil came to Tarentum in late March, when mare clausum just ended, but the best navigation time did not yet started.

[1] Ostia - A Mediterranean Port


On ch.9: How much olive oil and wheat cost in Ancient Rome?

According to [1] in AD 301 one sextarius of fresh olive oil cost 40 denarii, and second quality olive oil 24 denarii. These prices were based on Diocletian's "Edict of Maximum Prices" published in AD 301 to hold inflation.

Now we have two problems: (1) This is not Imperial or Republican silver denarius, that's "Denarii Communes" - invention of the rulers of declining Rome to control the exchange rate. (2) There is 237 years between these prices and AD 64.

According to the same [1] in 300-301 1 gold aureus was equal to 1200 d.c., and in 301-307 it was 2400 d.c. Let's assume that (1) gold aureus did not lost much since Nero's time, which makes sense as it was one of the things inflation was measured against, and (2) devaluation of d.c. in 301 happened at the same time with the edict, and hence prices in the edict are applicable to 301-307 exchange rate.

Then we can convert d.c. into Imperial coinage used in Nero's time (see previous post on Roman money.) Then in AD 64 one sextarius of fresh olive oil cost 40 d.c. = 40/2400 au = 1 2/3 ses/sextarius = 6 2/3 as/sextarius, and for the second quality olive oil it was 24 d.c. = 24/2400 au = 100*24/2400 ses = ~1 ses/sextarius

Now, one more thing. Oil is measured in liquid units, while modius in previous post is a dry unit. According to [2] in 1 modius there are about 16 sextarii. Here is a small table of convertion to cubic meters from [2]:
culeus 0,5246
amphora 0,02623
cognius 0,00327875
sextarius 0,000546458
hemina 0,000273229
cyathus 0,000045538
ligula 0,000011385
modius 0,00875
sextarius 0,000546875

So, although it's not correct to measure oil in modii, we can technically say that olive oil have cost about 26-27 sestercii/modius for fresh olive oil and 16 sestercii/modius for the second quality.

For reference, most grains were about 50-100 d.c per modius:
Oat 30 d.c. = 5 as
Whole millet 50 d.c. = 8 1/3 as = ~ 2 ses
Barley, peas, and beans 60 d.c = 10 as
Wheat, cleaned barley, crushed millet, peas, and beans 100 d.c = 16 2/3 as = ~4+ ses

So we can consider an average grain price to be around 3 sestercii per modius.

[1] How much things cost in Ancient Rome
[2] Converter on the Web


On ch.9: How much oil and grain Rome consumed per year?

According to [1] Rome consumed yearly 60,000,000 modii of grain (~=420,000 tonnes = 525,000,000 litres) 20,000,000 modii of them were from Egypt.

Notice that this estimate is made based on two sources:
  • One anonymous source at the time of August stated that Egypt provided 20,000,000 modii of grain in the year.

  • Another - Joseph Flavius - said that at the time of Nero Egyptian grain fed Rome for four months a year, that means that it was 1/3 of the whole annual supply.

There is almost a century between these two dates so the calculated 60,000,000 number is more indicative than precise.

How much oil then? I did not found the exact amount, but considering that the main food of Romans were porridge and bread, and both on average require about 10% of fat (modern non-low-fat recipes start from 11%), it seems safe to assume that oil import to Rome should be about 10% of grain import. Add here other uses of oil and 10% seems to be even more safe low estimate.

Hence, annual consumption of olive oil in Rome have to be 6,000,000 modii or more.

[1] Merchant vessels and maritime commerce in Roman times


Tuesday, May 18, 2004

"War for oil" or "War for profits"?

Anti-war press often mentions "war for oil". Pro-war press answers that American companies got very little of Iraqi oil, so where is the oil in "war for oil"? Here I have to agree with the latter. Wars are not really waged for oil, not yet anyway. They are waged for profit. But where is the profit? Here it is.

In 1996 I was buying gazoline at a gas station for $1.10/gallon. According to EIA crude oil was about $20/barrel in 1996.

In early 2004 crude oil was ~$30/barrel. Following proportional logic, the price at the gas pump should be $1.10 * 30 / 20 = $1.65

On 5/11/2004 I filled the tank for $2.50/gallon.

The difference is $0.95 per gallon.

Where does these $0.95 per gallon go? It does not go to oil producers (Saudis, Iraqis), they have the crude oil price. Hence? Yes, oil companies.

Now, how much do they get total? It's hard to tell precisely, but let try to find a rough number. According to the same source [1] in U.S. 9 million barrels of gasoline is produced (and apparently consumed) daily.

9000000 barrels per day
42 gallons per barrel
$0.95 extra per gallon
$359.1 millions per day or roughly $131 billion per year

Of course, currently (May 04) we have a peak price. In January I've seen the prices as "cheap" as $1.95 per gallon, which leaves only 30c extra or about 1/3 or this estimate. If we take it as a low estimate, then we can have both upper and low estimates of what oil companies are getting.

In 2004 oil companies will get somewhere between $43 and $131 billions.

That has nothing to do with Iraqi oil per se, like getting contracts for Iraqi oil or selling it. This is a pure profit from waging war in the main oil region of our planet, destabilizing this region, and hence getting the prices up. All the Iraqi oil can go to Europe or burn in the place, and U.S. oil companies still will have these money.

Now, I understand that this calculation is rough and approximate. So, if I am wrong, please, explain. Post a comment explaining why they don't.

[1] U.S. Energy Information Administration

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Monday, May 17, 2004

Working on chapter 9: Who could have Nero and Tigellinus talk about oil prices with?

Proconcul of Africa was my original candidate. Even though he spent most of the time in place, he could come visit Rome with some report or something like that. Still, leaving the province for too long does not seems to be usual or logical. Most province governors were sitting firmly in place and did not travel to Rome unnless asked to.

But then I found that Galba, the next Roman emperor, was also proconcul of Norh Africa, although about 20 years before from AD 45 to AD 47. Could he be the one who have lended an advice? And could be his position in Spain be a reward for that advice or a help with its execution? When I checked the date and the answer was "no". Galba was appointed an imperial legate of Hispania Tarraconensis (largest of Spain provinces) in 61, about three years before the described events.

But then, again, that's not a history textbook, that's a fiction, so why not? Let assume that in this version of Rome Galba got his post in Spain in 64-65.

[1] An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors: Galba (68-69 A.D.)


How Christians were treated in Ancient Rome...

You probably know, but just in case... Here is what Cornelius Tacitus wrote in his annals in AD 109 (see, e.g. [1]):

"...Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. ..."

Modern historians are not sure that Tacitus is truthful here, many Roman historians did not bothered much with checking the facts. Although it shows for sure how Christians were treated in Rome at the time of Tacitus himself.

[1] The Annals by Tacitus -- translation of [2], or the printed book here.

[2] Cornelii Taciti Annalium ab excessu divi Augusti libri.


Sunday, May 16, 2004

Working on chapter 9: Who was proconcul of North Africa in AD 64?

Frankly, I don't know yet. BUT: in 68 (apparently somewhere in late Srping) Lucius Clodius Macer, proconcul of North Africa, revolted against Nero independently from Vindex and Galba. It's likely that he was proconcul of North Africa for 4 years, that is in AD 64. It's no guarantee, of course, but it seems that you need to be in place for more than a couple of year to start a revolt and rely on local legions.


Working on chapter 10: Who ruled Judea in AD 64?

King: Herod Agrippa II.

The king of Judea was Herod Agrippa II (AD 27 - circa 93) He is mentioned in Acts 25:13 before St.Paul is sent to Rome. Some sources say he was not actually a king but rather tetrarch, which was a lesser title, although Josephus Flavius states that he was actually a king. He received his education in Rome at the court of Emperor Claudius, and he remained loyal to Rome during the revolt in 66-73.

He is different from his father, Herod Agrippa I (circa 10 BC - AD 44), grandson of the Herod the Great, who was raised at the court of the emperor Tiberius and made friends with future emperor Caligula. Caligula made him tetrarch of Judea in AD 37. Agrippa I is mentioned Acts 12 as prosecutor of Christians.

He is also different from the uncle of his father Herod Antipas (21 BC - AD 39), who was tetrarch of at the time a separate area of Judea. When Herod Agrippa I was given his part, Antipas asked Caligula for a title of king, and instead was sent to Gaul, while his part of Judea was passed to Agrippa I. Herod Antipas is the one who was mentioned in the trial of Jesus Christ.

And he is definitely different from Herod the Great (circa 74 BC - circa 4 BC), founder of Herodian dynasty, who replaced previous Hasmomaean dynasty.

Procurator: Lucceius Albinus

This is a bit more tricky. Flavius ([1]) mentions four procurator before the revolt:

  • Felix Antonius

  • Porcius Festus

  • Lucceius Albinus

  • Gessius Florus

According to [2] Felix was recalled in AD 62, and Florus was procurator in AD 64-65, although according to [1] he was around until the actual revolt in AD 66. This also agrees with Christian sources, where St.Paul is arrested during Felix's term (Acts 23:24), tried and sent to Rome by Festus (Acts 24:27), and spent in Rome several years (Acts 27:9, 27:12, 28:11, 28:30) before he was executed, which is dated by AD 64 - AD 67.

So it seems like the question is if it was still Albinus or already Florus? Unfortunately it is not clear what was the month when Florus succeeded Albinus. Florus is more interesting option from the storyline point of view, because about him Flavius said: "Who by the barbarity of his government forces the Jews into the war." However, it's still an early spring, so educated guess have to be that it was Albinus. It's still ok for the story line, as according to Flavius he "steal and plunder every one's substance", "burden the whole nation with taxes", let criminals out of prison for bribes. Flavius called him "an arch-robber, or a tyrant". And, after all, could it be that Nil's report resulted in his replacement? Giving the ground to such a report would be a nice turn.

High Priest: Ananias

That was easy. For reference, Caiaphas who is mentioned as the High Priest during the Jesus Christ trial, held this position for about 19 years from AD 18 to AD 37. High Priest Ananias is mentioned in Acts (e.g. Acts 24:1), as well as by Flavius. Flavius mentions that there were two high priests - Ananias and Jonathan, but Jonathan was killed early in Felixes' term at power, while Ananias is mentioned in the description of the revolt in AD 66.

Flavius also mentions that in 66, right before the revolt, Ananias' son Eleazar "was at that time governor of the Temple," and that he was actually the one who brought the idea of rejecting sacrifices for/from foreigners (including the Roman Emperor), which ended up with the revolt. It's hard to tell what exactly "governor of the Temple" did, but considering relations with Ananias, it was probably somewhat similar to the "first priest" in some (e.g. Egyptian) temples. "First priest" was often successor to the High Priest as well as the head of the temple police and secret service. So, in this role he is likely to meet Nil.

Just FYI, in Encarta Encyclopedia I found the name of a member of the Sanhedrin Johanan ben Zakkai who escaped and later played important role in saving Jewish tradition by founding a school at Jabneh (near modern Tel-Aviv). Gamaliel of Jabneh or Gamaliel the Younger was probably also a member of the Sanhedrin but I did not found a certain confirmation. His got his name ("of Jabneh") after the revolt when he headed the school founded by Johanan ben Zakkai.

[1] The War of the Jews by Josephus Flavius

[2] Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898)

[3] The Lives of the Caesars by Suetonius – English-only e.g. Oxford Press, 2001, ISBN 0192832719; Latin-English parallel: Harvard University Press, 1998, ISBN 0674995708; or search Internet online for the text.

[4] Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia


Saturday, May 15, 2004

By the way, did the fire really happened on the third day of September Ides?

No, it happened (according to textbooks) on July 18th AD 64, that is A.D. XV KAL AVG or the fifteenth day of August Kalends, or (acording to Tacitus [1]) on July 19th AD 64, that is A.D. XIV KAL AVG or the fourteenth day of August Kalends.

Why did I moved the historical date to the third day of September Ides? Hm-m-m, well, say, I wanted to keep Nil's travel in spring and summer. Good enough? Check the Roman calendar at September Ides site

[1] Cornelii Taciti Annalium ab excessu divi Augusti libri.


Friday, May 14, 2004

Working on chapter 9: How much of the cost of a crude oil is in gasoline?

According to National Geographic ([1]) with a reference to Energy Information Administration and American Petroleum Institute the average American price of 1 gallon of gasoline consists of:

27% Taxes
48% Crude oil
15% Refining
10% Distribution and marketing

Apparently, ancient Roman proportions for olive oil were different. However, I think I will use the number for the real oil, it will make the picture more vivid. :-)

Besides, transportation of olive oil from Northern Africa was done by large biremes, so the cost of transportation was distributed over the large size, and hence should not be too high. Also, absence of refinery should affect the cost structure in favor of the wholesale oil cost in Africa. So, 48% paid in Africa seems to be not too much off the point anyway. That's, of course, the numbers that don't keep into account the profit.

[1] National Geographic, Vol.205, No 6, June 2004, p.80-109


Working on chapter 9: How much gasoline US produces/consumes?

According to the Energy Information Administration ([2]) daily production of gasoline in the United States is about 9 million barrels per day. I guess that means about the same or more consumption. As a reminder, 1 barrel is 42 gallons (when oil is concerned).

That's hardly relevant to the ancient Rome, but will be useful in the example I'll publish soon.

[1] Energy Information Administration - http://www.eia.doe.gov/
[2] U.S. Gasoline - EIA update.

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What coins were used in the time of Nero?

What coins were used in the time of Nero?

The coinage system was quite irregular and complicated in Rome at mostly all the times.

In 23 BC Augustus (the first emperor after Gaius Julius Ceasar) introduced the imperial system based on four metals – (1) gold, (2) silver, (3) brass (80% copper, 20% zinc), and (4) bronze (copper and tin) or copper. The coins were:

aureus (or denarius aureus) made of gold, 1/40 of Roman pound (~8.4 g) = 25 denarii
denarius made of silver, 1/84 of Roman pound (~4 g) = 4 sestertii
sestertius made of brass = 2 dupondii
dupondis made of brass = 2 asses
as made of bronze = 2 semii
semis made of brass = 2 quadrans
quadran made of bronze

Their exchange rate was:
1 aureus = 25 denarii = 100 sestercii = 200 dupondii = 400 asses = 800 semii = 1600 quadrans

Nero reduced the weight of aureus to 1/45 of Roman pound (~7.5 g or 0.0165 lb) of gold, and sestertius to 1/96 of Roman pound (~3.5 g or 0.0077 lb) of silver with up to 10% of copper. That was later used as one of the charges against Nero, expressed frivolously as “he minted bad money”. It happen after most of the events described in the book (the first book, I hope :-)), when Nero resumed official coinage in 64 (yes, after the fire, why else?)

Anyway, the coins looked relatively close to the modern ones, at least in size. If you want to imagine aureus and sestertius size think of a half-dollar and a quarter, only made of gold and silver appropriately. This similarity in size is especially visible compared to Republican coins like bronze asses (sing. as or aes, full original name aes grave) up to 4 inches (100 mm) in diameter and weighed one Roman pound (0.74 lb or 335.9 g.) introduced around 289 BC.

About the same time few other smaller (but not small at all) coins were introduced including semis, one half of the as, quadrans, quarter of the as, and uncia, 1/12 of the as. One half, quarter and 1/12 were not just denomination, that was exactly the weight/size of the coins. By the way, uncia is what we know now as ounce. If you noticed, measures of weight and money were closely interconnected in Rome. Quadran had later evolved in Britain into “farthing”, remember “Not a brass farthing!” in “My Fair Lady”? It was so small in monetary sense that it was that nominal fee for the reception for one day in Roman thermae (baths.) Insignificant in monetary sense, it was still originally pretty heavyweight for a change. It was originally ¼ of the Roman pound (libra, that’s why we write lb for a pound) or 84 g.

Anyway, even the smallest of republican coins – uncia – was about 28 g or, as it’s easy to guess, roughly about an ounce. Imagine yourself going around with such “change” in the pocket. Later during the Punic Wars, when bronze was highly needed for weapons, as and all its derivatives were significantly decreased in mass and around 155 BC it was about 1 ounce or 1/12 of its original size.

The quality of the mint was poorer than with the modern coins, especially with the coins produced in colonies. Before Nero resumed official coinage, the shortage of coins in Britain and Gaul resulted in local coinage of a very disparate mint quality.

Notice that golden and silver coins were for official use such as salaries, while the rest of coins (brass, bronze) were used in everyday trade, at least at first before the following debasement. So in a tavern and when buying an olive oil Romans were likely to use sestercii (pl. of sestertius, in English it should probably look likes “sesterces”) or smaller coins. In particular “as” (pl. asses) was a very popular coin.

Beside this system, older coins were still used for as long as 3rd century as well as variety of local currencies.

Sources (among others):
[1] Life in Ancient Rome by F.R. Cowell – A Perigree Book, 1980, ISBN 0-399-50328-5
[2] Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome by Lesley Adkins and Roy A. Adkins – Oxford University Press, 1994, ISBN 0-19-512332-8
[3] The Lives of the Caesars by Suetonius – English-only e.g. Oxford Press, 2001, ISBN 0192832719; Latin-English parallel: Harvard University Press, 1998, ISBN 0674995708; or search Internet online for the text.

Working on chapter 9: What were the liguid units in Rome?

What were the liguid units in Rome? Was there an equivalent of a barrel? Gallon?

Here are the main liquid units that were used in trade:

1 congius = 12 heminae = ~0.9 U.S. Gallon
1 amphora or cadus (a cubic Roman foot) = 8 cognii = 25.79 liter = ~7 US gallons
1 culleus = 20 amphorae = ~144 US gallons

1 cochlear/cochlea (snail shell) or ligula (spoonful) = about 1.14 centiliters or 0.34 fluid ounce
1 ciathus = 4 cochlearia
1 acetabulum = 6 cochlearia
1 quartarius = 2 acetabula
1 hemina = 2 quartarii
1 sextarius = 2 heminae = ~ half a pint

culleus - leather bag for holding liquids
hemina -ae - half of pint

Modern US units
1 barrel = 42 gallon for crude oil, 40 gallons for “proof spirits”, 31 gallon for fermented liquors
1 US gallon = 4 quarts = 128 US fluid ounces =3.7853 l
1 quart = 2 pints = 0.9464 l
1 pint = 0.4732 l

As we see, congius is almost identical to a gallon, and probably was used in the street (retail) trade. The wholesale trade of olive oil was apparently based on larger units like culleus and amphora. However, amhora is only about 7 gallons, and culleus is around 144 gallons. So we don't have an equivalent of the modern oil barrel (42 gallons).

[1] Latin Dictionary: Latin-English, English-Latin - HarperCollins, 1957, 1993, ISBN 0-00-458644-1
[2] Life in Ancient Rome by F.R. Cowell – A Perigree Book, 1980, ISBN 0-399-50328-5
[3] Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome by Lesley Adkins and Roy A. Adkins – Oxford University Press, 1994, ISBN 0-19-512332-8


Thursday, May 13, 2004

Here is how the book starts...

The Third Day of September Ides

Ancient Rome, early spring A.D. 64, alternate universe...

Some history-literate readers will say that the story does not reflect true historic events. "Hey, Rome did not depend on olive oil from Greece! And anyway, how can oil prices get an empire into economical trouble? D'oh!... Not that oil!"

The answer is simple: this is an alternate universe, where anything is possible. And if you don't see a connection with our world, maybe it's because there is none. Or maybe, it's because you just don't see it.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Beware of September Ides

This blog will be used while I write my book on the Empire, Oil, and Disasters... No, that's not what you think. Well, not exactly, if you know what I mean...

And the book will show up (6 chapters are already there) on September Ides site.


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