27 February 2007

Free time

And a whole week of it, too! Well, I still have one or two (or five, lol) things to do for school but apart from that I can do what I want, which is, of course, reading and writing. I've read The Song of Roland, Aesop's Fables, Black Beauty, Myths & Legends of the Celtic Race, and right now I'm halfway through The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. I still have a two feet high stack of unread books, plus Njål's saga which I got from the library yesterday, and I'm hoping to at least read some of them before the end of the week. And I have to get some writing done, or else my characters will kill me :)

21 February 2007


Okay, here we go...

Straight Historical, Historical Mystery, Historical Fantasy, Historical Romance, or Time Travel?

Hmm... Straight historical I guess. I haven't really read much historical fantasy, romance or mystery.

Historical Figures as Main Characters or Purely Fictional Characters in Historical Settings as Main Characters?
It depends on the story. Some stories work better with historical figures, others need fictional characters.

Hardback, Trade Paperback, or Mass Market Paperback?
I love hardbacks! Especially when they have beautiful covers with gold letters and gold edges and those nifty ribbons you can use as bookmarks *drools* Unfortunately they're usually too expensive, so most of my books are paperbacks. Cheap paperbacks.

Philippa Gregory or Margaret George?
Haven't read any of their books, sorry.

Amazon or Brick and Mortar?
None, I usually buy my books on play.com or in one of the bookstores in Trondheim if they're having a sale.

Bernard Cornwell or Sharon Penman?
Again, I haven't read any of their books.

Barnes & Noble or Borders?
We don't have them in Norway. Ark, Norli and Øksendal are my favourite bookstores here :)

First Historical Novel You Ever Remember Reading?
I'm not completely sure. It might be "Kruistocht in spijkerbroek" (Crusade in jeans) by Thea Beckman, or Ivanhoe (an abridged children's edition. Ugh. But I have a cheap "complete & unabridged" paperback now!)

Alphabetize by Author, Alphabetize by Title, or Random?
I'm not sure. I mostly sort my books by subject, but sometimes also by author, size, title or how much I like them. Tolkien gets an entire shelf for himself :)

Keep, Throw Away, or Sell?
Keep them! You don't throw away books!

Jean Plaidy or Norah Lofts?
I haven't read any of their books...

Read with Dust Jacket or Remove It?
Usually with dust jacket

Stop Reading When Tired or at Chapter Breaks?
Chapter breaks. Or the end of the book.

“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”?
I dunno. "It was a dark and stormy night”, I guess.

Buy or Borrow?
I usually buy my books. The library here isn't exactly brilliant (my friend wanted to borrow The Iliad once, and after 3 months they got her a Danish edition... 18th century Danish too.)

Buying Choice: Book Reviews, Recommendations, or Browsing?
Usually book recommendations, though I browse when I have the chance.

Dorothy Dunnett or Anya Seton?
Haven't read any of their books. Again. I seem illiterate now, don't I? Lol...

Tidy Ending or Cliffhanger?
I'm not very fond of cliffhangers. They're okay if it's a series and you know there'll be a part 2, but cliffhangers at the very end of a story are just annoying. I think open endings are my favourite. The Lord of the Rings has a *perfect* ending.

Sticking Close to Known Historical Fact, or Using Historical Fact as Wallpaper?

Morning Reading, Afternoon Reading or Nighttime Reading?

Series or Standalone?
It doesn't matter, I like both.

Favorite Book of Which Nobody Else Has Heard?
Define "nobody"! Lol... Uhm... let's see... Nobody in my class has heard of Beowulf or The Histories (Tacitus), and I think I have only met one other person who has read "Kinderen van Moeder Aarde" by Thea Beckman.

Aaaand I have to get back to my homework. Apparently there's a French test tomorrow. I haven't done *anything* to prepare myself for it, because there was a physics test yesterday and I had to practice for that. I wrote 80 pages last weekend so I'd better get a good grade.

Also, I didn't get a job in the bookstore. That means I'll have to spend eight weeks in the supermarket this summer. Curses.

17 February 2007

2 = 1

That was the answer I got to a math problem during yesterday's math test. Needless to say, it didn't go very well. And then to think that my math teacher actually said three days ago that I am such a genius that I could start with next year's school books. Uh... I think I've proven her wrong.

And another thing... All-day tests are ghastly, but necessary. I don't mind them that much. I can even live with the fact that the essay topics are of the same cliché type that we've written for the past ten years (and they still say we get "bonus points for creativity"). But *why* does it have to be in nynorsk?! ARGH.

Okay. I'm done ranting. I need chocolate...

13 February 2007

Trondheim. And I'm tired

Trondheim yesterday was amazing! I was allowed to see all the finds which weren't exhibited in the museum at the moment - they had everything from stone age tools to rusty viking swords to 16th century pottery shards. I met with an archaeology student who knew all about stone age tools and how they were made. He had a box full of little flint fragments that had been knocked off when some stone age guy made an axe 10.000 years ago or something, and by looking at them he could tell how this stone age guy had made his axe and what the little fragments had been used for. There was one bit which they had apparently tried to cut into an arrowhead, but it had broken at the wrong place.

Fascinating, but I'm still not sure whether or not I'm going to study archaeology. If I do, it probably won't be in Trondheim. They said they mostly excavated stone age sites here, and I'd prefer Roman stuff (now why couldn't the Romans have conquered - or at least tried to conquer - Norway?).
The museum people did say I could check to see if there were any "summer school excavations" which were open to non-archaeology students. I caught a fleeting glimpse of a brochure about excavations in Xanten, which would be absolutely amazing, since my novel takes place there, but of course I'm unable to find any information about it on the internet.

And I went to the bookstore again. I spent two hours drooling at all the books ('cause the local bookstore only has about 10 books) and ended up buying The Last of the Mohicans, Ivanhoe, Black Beauty and Aesop's fables. I was sorely tempted by Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and a book about Celtic mythology, but I didn't have enough money. And then I almost missed my bus. I ran after it for four blocks (on ice:P) until it finally stopped.

Gabriele, I asked about Magnus and Erling, but they didn't really know any good books. Like I said, they mostly study stone age stuff here.

I'm off to bed. I hardly got any sleep last night because I sat up writing physics reports and doing social studies homework until 2 AM. I fell asleep during French today, lol.

10 February 2007

Erling & Magnus

Gabriele, I've gone through my bookshelf, but there's not much there about Erling and Magnus. My mum has a book though, Norges konger og dronninger (Kunnskapsforlaget, Aschehoug & Gyldendal, 2005). It contains an article about Magnus Erlingsson (written by Knut Helle), and also a list of other books with information about him:

Sverres saga
Boglunga Sogur
Norske middelalderdokumenter, nr.7, 8 & 10, published and translated by S. Bagge and others, 1973
A biography of Magnus Erlingsson from Dansk biografisk leksikon 1, volume 9, by H. Koht, 1940
Konge og gode menn i norsk riksstyring ca. 1150-1319, by K. Helle, 1972
Norge blir en stat 1130-1319, by K. Helle, from Handbok i Norges historie, volume 3, 1974

There is some information about this period in my history book as well, but not much (we only have history three hours a week, and this year we have to cover everything from the first humans to 1850, so there isn't much time for detail). However, my schoolbook about Norwegian history does have a list of "recommended books" after each chapter. For the chapter about the vikings, early christianity in Norway and the civil wars, the list is as follows:

Gunnes, Erik: Rikssamling og kristning ca. 800-1177. Cappelens norgeshistorie, volume 2, Oslo 1976
Andersen, Per Sveaas: Samlingen av Norge og kristningen av landet. Håndbok i Norges historie, volume 2, Oslo 1977
Krag, Claus: Vikingtid og rikssamling 800-1130. Aschehougs norgeshistorie, volume 2, Oslo 1995
Alnæs, Karsten: Det ligger et land. Historien om Norge, volume 2, Oslo 1996
Sigurdsson, Jon Vidar: Frå høvdingmakt til konge- og kyrkjemakt. Norsk historie 800-1300, volume 1, Oslo 1999
Moseng, Ole Georg and others: Norsk historie I: 750-1537, Oslo 1999
Krag, Claus: Norges historie fram til 1319, Oslo 2000

The last three are written for university students, while the others are meant for a broader audience. They're not specifically about Magnus and Erling though.

Also, I'm going to Vitenskapsmuseet in Trondheim on Monday, for some sort of career's advice thingy. I'm supposed to be finding out more about being an archaeologist (what sort of education you need, wages, employment possibilities, etc.) but I doubt they'll mind if I ask questions about history. I'll ask if they know any good websites or books about Erling and Magnus.

If you need any other information about Norwegian history (especially stuff related to Trondheim), or want a Trondheim plotbunny, just say so, and I'll do my best on Monday :)

The Batavian revolt, part 3

The 3rd, and final part of my essay.

After Sabinus' unsuccessful war, the situation gradually calmed down a little. Some of the tribes began to regret their rashness and wished to return to their original allegiance with Rome. The Remi invited the leaders of the tribes to a conference at Reims to discuss whether they wanted to continue fighting or not. Despite the fact that their emperor Sabinus was – or at least seemed – dead, the Lingones and Treviri chose to continue fighting. They sided with Julius Civilis and the Batavians.

The Batavians were now the most important tribe in the area. They had the support of the Cananefates, the Lingones, the Treviri, the Ubii, the Cugerni, the Nervii and also that of various tribes from the other side of the Rhine.
However, Roman legions were already marching north to deal with the revolt: the Eighth Augusta, the Eleventh Claudia, the Thirteenth Gemina, the Twenty-first Rapax and the Second Adiutrix crossed the Alps, while the Fourteenth Gemina was summoned from Britain. From Spain two legions were summoned as well: the Sixth Victrix and First Adiutrix. A lot of legions, but they didn’t all hurry north to fight against Civilis. They had to pacify parts of Gaul and make sure the Rhine was manned. The commander of the Roman forces was Quintus Petillius Cerialis, Vespasian’s son-in-law.
Tacitus describes that the German and Gallic leaders didn’t exactly do their best to make things difficult for the Romans. Classicus spent his time in idleness, Tutor couldn’t be bothered to man the Rhine and close the passes of the Alps, and Civilis was still hunting for Labeo.

Tutor and his Treviri suffered a defeat near Bingen, after which many of the Treviri threw down their weapons and fled. The First Germanica and the Sixteenth Gallica (the legions that had surrendered to the Gallic empire), still at Trier, heard news of the Roman advance and took the oath to Vespasian. Then they hurriedly left Trier and went instead to the land of the Mediomatrici, further south. This made Tutor furious. He murdered their commanders (who were still imprisoned) and, with the help of one Valentinus, eventually managed to get the Treviri to fight again.

Cerialis reached Mainz with the Twenty-first Rapax, the Thirteenth Gemina and the Second Adiutrix in May 70. Here he found the Fourth Macedonica and Twenty-second Primigenia, the legions that had refused to swear allegiance to the Gallic Empire.

Civilis and Classicus, in the meantime, became aware of the Roman advance and the defeat of the Treviri. They hastily began to assemble their own troops.

Cerialis realised this, and sent messages to the First Germanica and Sixteenth Gallica in the land of the Mediomatrici, telling them to move to Trier at once. He himself gathered the troops that were available at Mainz and hurried to Trier as well. After three days’ marching he reached Riol, which was occupied by Valentinus and a large force of Treviri. They had strengthened their position with trenches and barricades, but this did not help them. The Romans won the battle, captured Valentinus and could continue their march to Trier.
The legionaries wished to plunder the city, since it was the town of Classicus and Tutor, but Cerialis restrained them. Cerialis forgave the First Germanica and the Sixteenth Gallica for their treachery, blaming destiny and the evil cunning of the enemy. Tacitus then writes that he spoke to the Treviri and Lingones, telling them that it would be best for them if they returned to their allegiance with Rome. The Batavians and other Germanic tribes did not care for the Gauls, Classicus and Tutor would make them pay taxes, they’d be better off if the Romans ruled them, and so on. A great speech, especially when you take into account the fact that Cerialis starts by saying, “I am no orator”…

Civilis and Classicus tried a last bit of “evil cunning”. They sent a letter to Cerialis, saying that Vespasian was dead and Rome weakened by civil war. Cerialis could take control of the Gallic provinces, and they themselves would be content with the present boundaries.
Cerialis chose not to respond to this. He ordered his men to build a rampart and a ditch around their camp, on the west bank of the river.
The enemy was advancing, but among them opinions were divided. Civilis wished to wait for reinforcements from across the Rhine, but Tutor thought it best to attack as soon as possible. Classicus sided with Tutor, and they followed his plan. At night, perhaps the night of 7/8 June, the Batavians moved up between the road and the river, the Ubii and Lingones by the road, and the Bructeri and Tencteri attacked from the hills in the west. They fell upon the Romans unexpectedly and managed to penetrate the camp. The Roman cavalry fled, and the bridge was in the hands of the Batavians. The Roman commander Cerialis drove his men back to the bridge and eventually managed to recover it. It was impossible to deploy in the normal line of battle though, since the fighting was going on inside the camp and the tents got into the way, but the Twenty-first Rapax found a more open space and successfully threw the enemy back.

From this point it began to go better with the Romans. Tacitus writes that the Germans were scrambling among themselves for loot instead of killing Romans. Then the auxiliaries, who had scattered at the beginning of the battle, came back, and this gave the Batavians the impression that reinforcements had arrived on the Roman side. The Batavians and their allies lost their nerve and retreated, and so the battle of Trier ended in a Roman victory.

For the Batavians things went from bad to worse. The inhabitants of Köln had killed the German troops stationed in the city, and, because they feared Civilis’ wrath, they now sent a plea for help to Cerialis. In return they offered him Classicus’ daughter and Civilis’ wife and sister (who had been left there as hostages). Civilis indeed tried to crush this rebellion, but after he found that the unit of Frisians and Chauci he wanted to use also had been murdered by the people of Köln, he retreated to Castra Vetera.

Meanwhile the Fourteenth legion Gemina had arrived from Britain. The Tungri and the Nervii capitulated to the legion’s commander Fabius Priscus. From Britain had also come a fleet, but this was partly destroyed by the Cananefates – one of the last successes of Civilis and his men. Cerialis followed Civilis north, his forces strengthened by the arrival of the Second Adiutrix, Sixth Victrix and Fourteenth Gemina legions. The Batavians had built a dam into the Rhine to hold up the river and flood the surrounding lands. They themselves were familiar with rivers and knew were the shallows were, but for the Romans it was a disaster. They were thrown into a state of utter confusion, but miraculously their losses were light, for the Batavians did not go beyond the flooded lands. The next day the battle continued, and this time the Romans had more luck. The Batavians and their allies fled back to the Rhine, but the Romans could not press their advantage; it began to rain, night was already falling, and their fleet was too slow.

Civilis had gotten some Chauci reinforcements, but he realised that he did not have enough men to hold the Batavian capital. So he set fire to it, and retreated with his men to the Island of the Batavians. Then he destroyed the mole that had once been built by Drusus Germanicus. The Rhine, when it flows into the Netherlands, splits into three branches: the Waal in the south, the Rhine in the middle and the IJssel in the north. (Originally the IJssel was not a branch of the Rhine, but Drusus had constructed a canal and a mole to lead water from the Rhine into it) The Rhine, the middle branch, was the biggest of the three. When Civilis destroyed the mole, however, the Waal became the broadest one. Since the Batavians lived on the Island between the Waal and Rhine, their land was now well protected against Roman attacks from the south.

Cerialis had to wait until he had built a navy before he could invade the Batavian homeland. The Second legion Adiutrix started building a bridge across the Rhine, near Nijmegen. The Fourteenth legion Gemina was sent to Mainz, while the Tenth Gemina, which had just arrived from Spain, took its place in Cerialis’ force. Despite the fact that the Romans were now in the majority, the Batavians kept fighting. One day Civilis launched a fourfold surprise attack on the Roman camps. Tutor and Civilis’ sister-son Verax attacked Arenacium (probably Rindern) and Batavodurum/Oppidum Batavorum (Nijmegen), where the Tenth Gemina and Second Adiutrix had their camps. Classicus and Civilis attacked Grinnes (perhaps Rossum) and Vada (perhaps Heerewaarden), where the cohorts and cavalry regiments had their camps. The Tenth Gemina lost a few officers, but all in all the attacks on the legions were not that dangerous. At Grinnes and Vada, however, the Batavians were winning, at least until Cerialis showed up with reinforcements. Then they were driven into the river. Civilis had to leave his horse behind and swim across the Rhine to escape. The Romans had lost many of their best men, and among them was a cavalry commander named Julius Briganticus. This Briganticus was in fact Civilis’ nephew, but he hated his uncle and had remained loyal to Rome throughout the revolt.

While Cerialis’ men were busy building ships, Cerialis himself went to Neuss and Bonn to inspect the new camps that were being built (Civilis and his allies had destroyed the old ones). According to Tacitus Cerialis was being careless. He didn’t worry much about discipline, and couldn’t be bothered to post pickets. As a result, the Batavians were able to tow away some of the Romans’ ships, including the flagship of Cerialis’ new navy. They had hoped to find Cerialis himself on board, but here they were disappointed: Cerialis had not even been at the camp that night. The flagship was given to Veleda, the prophetess who had prophesised the fall of the Fifth Alaudae and Fifteenth Primigenia at Castra Vetera.

Civilis couldn’t resist using his new ships in a naval battle against the Romans, but due to the wind and the current of the river the Batavian and Roman fleet sailed past each other before the battle had really started. Then he decided to take no more risks. He withdrew across the Rhine, leaving the Island to be ravaged by the Romans. Due to rainstorms the river began to flood the low-lying island, and the Roman camps were being washed away. Civilis claimed that he could have destroyed the legions at this point, but he decided against it. Cerialis had sent messages to Veleda and the tribes across the Rhine, urging them to cease their hostilities, since the alliance with Civilis had brought them nothing but trouble. Some of the Batavians also began to feel this way. The war which Civilis had dragged them into had proved fatal, they complained.
Civilis realised that public opinion was turning against him. He asked for a conference with Cerialis. A bridge across the river Nabalia (the IJssel or Vecht, probably) was cut, and this was where the negotiations were held, with Cerialis standing on one side and Civilis on the other side of the river. Civilis began his speech by saying that he had always respected Vespasian, and that it was his letters that drove him to revolt in the first place.

And there the Codex Laurentianus 68.2, the manuscript containing The Histories, breaks off. In other words, we do not know what happened to Julius Civilis. The alliance between the Batavians and the Romans was renewed though. Tthe Batavians were exempt from tax duties, and only had to supply the Romans with soldiers. They did have to destroy their capital and rebuild it further downstream, where it was more difficult to defend.

A note on the movements of the legions:
After Cerialis and their troops begin their march northwards, all the different legions become a little confusing. I’ve done my best to find out which legions were where at what time, but I’m a little confused myself (I need multi-coloured post-it notes…). The Roman legions that were summoned to the German provinces but aren’t mentioned in any of the last battles against Civilis were probably busy elsewhere, guarding the Rhine or making sure the Gallic tribes behaved themselves.

The Fifth Alaudae and Fifteenth Primigenia, the legions which were destroyed at Castra Vetera, were never reconstituted.
The First legion Germanica, which was responsible for murdering Vocula, was disbanded.
The Sixteenth legion Gallica, which had surrendered to the Gallic empire was renamed (it became the Sixteenth Flavia Firma) and sent away to Syria. The same happened to the Fourth Macedonica; it became the Fourth Flavia Felix and was sent to Dalmatia (modern Croatia). Though this legion had defended Mainz against German attacks and fought for Cerialis, Vespasian still regarded it with some suspicion (it had supported Vitellius), and therefore it was punished.
The Twenty-second Primigenia on the other hand, was rewarded. This was Vocula’s own legion. It was moved to Castra Vetera after the revolt (they built a new base there).
The Sixth Victrix remained in the north after the revolt. Its quarters were in Neuss, where the Sixteenth Gallica had been stationed before.
The same goes for the Twenty-first Rapax. This legion had its quarters in Bonn, which had previously been occupied by the First Germanica.
The Tenth Gemina was stationed in Nijmegen, to keep an eye on the Batavians.

I think that's it...

The Batavian revolt, part 2

Part 2 of my essay.

The Romans were gone, Claudius Labeo was gone, and Civilis was now the leader of a free people. He had done what Vespasian had asked – kept Vitellius’ army busy – and if the letter isn’t just something that Tacitus made up, Vespasian would recognize their independence as soon as he became emperor. But apparently Civilis didn’t want to wait too long for that to happen. It might be that all his successes had gotten to his head and thought he was strong enough to fight Rome, or he might have felt that his brother hadn’t been avenged properly yet. Either way, in September 69, he attacked the legionary camp Castra Vetera, where the Fifth Alaudae and the Fifteenth Primigenia were stationed. He dyed his hair red and swore that he wouldn’t cut it until he had destroyed the legions. The Bructerian prophetess Veleda prophesised that the legions would be destroyed.

Civilis must have realised that even Vespasian could not let an attack like this go unpunished, but that didn’t stop him. However stupid the attack was, Civilis was well-prepared. Sometime earlier he had sent messengers to the eight Batavian cohorts in Mainz and gained their support. These men were experienced soldiers who had fought in many battles. Flaccus allowed them to leave Mainz, probably because he hoped to keep the war isolated in the north. Then he changed his mind, and sent a message to Herennius Gallus, the commander of the First legion Germanica in Bonn. Gallus should stop the Batavians, and he, Flaccus, would come with another force from the south so that the Batavians could be crushed. Then Flaccus changed his mind again. He sent another message to Gallus, warning him not to attack. However, Gallus’ soldiers thought it would be easy to defeat the Batavians, since they were inferior in numbers. As it turned out, they were wrong, and suffered a heavy defeat. The Batavian cohorts claimed it was self-defence, seeing as the Romans had attacked first, and marched north without any further difficulties.

The arrival of the eight Batavian cohorts meant that Civilis now had a proper army. The timing was perfect as well: The army of the Danube had just sided with Vespasian, which meant that Vitellius would be busier than ever. In addition, the coming winter would soon make the crossing of the Alps difficult. It would take a while before the Romans could retaliate.
As an added precaution, Civilis made his men swear allegiance to Vespasian, and even sent a message to the legions at Castra Vetera, asking them to take the same oath. The Roman reply was something along the lines of “Go to hell” – they still supported Vitellius.

Castra Vetera was a modern camp, with a ditch, rampart, gates and towers, but it was large and heavily undergarrisoned. Despite all this, the Batavians could not take it by force. They stormed the walls and were beaten back, then they tried to build siege equipment, but the Romans destroyed it. In the end, Civilis decided to starve the legions into surrender.

The Romans were already planning a counter-attack. Flaccus ordered the Fourth legion Macedonica to stay in Mainz, which had to be defended at all costs. He also sent messages to Gaul and Spain to ask for help, and posted pickets along the Rhine to keep the Germans out. He himself went to the First legion Germanica in Bonn, where the troops were rather angry at him. They felt he had betrayed them, and the situation would have become dangerous for Flaccus had not Gaius Dillius Vocula, commander of the Twenty-second legion Primigenia, come to his rescue. The trouble-makers were executed, and because the troops wished for Vocula to lead them, Flaccus handed over the command to him.
The First Germanica and the Twenty-second Primigenia continued their march north, and in Neuss they joined forces with the Sixteenth Gallica. At this point news began to arrive from the south – Vitellius’ army had lost an important battle, and it was becoming clear that he would not be emperor for very long. Vocula and Flaccus were probably worried about what would happen if they fought against Civilis. After all, the Batavian claimed to be fighting for Vespasian… They decided that it was time to side with Vespasian. The legionaries swore an oath of allegiance to him – though under pressure – and then they waited. If Civilis was really on Vespasian’s side they were now allies, and there would be no reason to fight.

Civilis knew what was going on, and here it finally becomes clear that he was not fighting for Vespasian, but for freedom or power of some kind. He knew he had to destroy Vocula’s army before it could come to the relief of the besieged legions. Vocula’s army consisted of three legions (though not at full strength) and various auxiliaries. It was too large to face in regular battle, so Civilis tried a surprise attack. The date suggested for this attack is the moonless night of 1/2 December 69. According to Tacitus the Romans were taken completely by surprise, but Vocula and Flaccus must have realised that Civilis would try to attack at an unexpected moment and been on their guard. At first it looked as though the Batavians would win – they drove the auxiliaries and legionaries back and managed to capture many standards. The Romans were saved by the timely arrival of some Basque auxiliary units, which had marched north when Flaccus had sent out his request for help. The Batavians thought a huge army was attacking and panicked; the Romans thought the same and charged with double strength. The Romans won, though their losses were severe. But it was nothing compared to the Batavian losses: their eight auxiliary cohorts had been destroyed, while the Roman losses “consisted of poorer fighters” (Tacitus, Histories 4.33).

After this the Vocula marched quickly to Castra Vetera to lift the siege. The camp’s walls were strengthened, the ditches deepened and supplies brought in, and the whole revolt could’ve ended here. However, Vocula was forced to return south before he could invade the Island of the Batavians and put an end to the rebellion. Tribes from across the Rhine – the Chatti, Mattiaci and Usipi – had crossed the river and were now threatening Mainz. Vocula took another 1000 soldiers from Castra Vetera and went south in a hurry. Civilis immediately renewed the siege and also attacked Vocula’s retreating army, but again the Batavians were defeated.

The Romans reached Neuss, and here Flaccus distributed money to celebrate the accession of Vespasian. The legionaries had been loyal to Vitellius, and this is probably the reason why the celebrations got a bit out of hand. They remembered how Flaccus had let the First legion Germanica deal with the Batavian cohorts on their own, how he had forced them to swear allegiance to Vespasian… In “a wild riot of pleasure, feasting and seditious gatherings in the night” they murdered Flaccus. Vocula, dressed as a slave, got away just in time.

And now comes the fun part. The Gallic tribes had seen that the Roman legions in the area were too weak to crush the rebellion, and this made the Treviri and Lingones decide to revolt too.

In the meantime, Vocula had gotten back to his legions. They swore allegiance to Vespasian once more and continued to Mainz. The besiegers had already gotten away, though not unharmed: they had encountered Roman troops on their way.
When he had the situation in Mainz under control, Vocula left the Twenty-second Primigenia there with the Fourth Macedonica, and hurried north once more with the First Germanica and the Sixteenth Gallica to lift the siege of Castra Vetera. He was becoming suspicious of his men, and with good reason.
Civilis exchanged messages and held secret meetings with the Treviran and Lingon leaders. The most important of these were Julius Classicus, Julius Tutor and Julius Sabinus (the first two were Treviri, while Sabinus was a Lingon. Notice how they’re all called ‘Julius’). Classicus was the commander of the Treviri cavalry regiment, Tutor had been placed by Vitellius in command of the west bank of the Rhine, and Sabinus was, according to Tacitus, a conceited man who believed that his great-grandmother had been Julius Caesar’s mistress. A call of arms was issued through the Gallic provinces, though the conspirators themselves still pretended to be loyal to Rome. This didn’t work out too well, because, like I said, Vocula was getting suspicious. However, he had to continue northward in hope to lift the siege. In Köln he met Claudius Labeo, who had escaped from his exile by bribing his guards. Labeo offered to go to the Batavians and persuade them to return to their allegiance with Rome. He got a small force of infantry and cavalry as a bodyguard, which he used to carry out a series of raids against the Cananefates and Marsaci.

Vocula was drawing near to Castra Vetera when the Gauls broke away from the legions and built their own fortress. Vocula did his best to get them back on his side, but to no avail. He eventually saw no other option than to return to Neuss. The Gauls set up their camp at some distance from the Romans’. Soldiers began to pass to and fro between the camps, and eventually some sort of agreement was reached. Classicus sent a deserter of the First Legion Germanica (Aemilius Longinus) to murder Vocula. Herennius Gallus and Numisius Rufus (commanders of the First Germanica and Sixteenth Gallica, respectively) were confined.
Then Classicus appeared at the camp, dressed up as a Roman general. He made the men swear allegiance to the Gallic Empire. Tutor in the meantime surrounded Köln with a strong force to make its inhabitants and all the troops in Upper Germany swear the same oath. In Mainz the tribunes and the camp commandant refused to swear. The tribunes were executed, the camp commandant was expelled.

Then their thoughts turned once more to Castra Vetera, where the Fifth Alaudae and the Fifteenth Primigenia were still besieged. Despite the fact that it was heavily undergarrisoned, Civilis and his Batavians were unable to take it by force. However, the besieged could not hold out for much longer, for they were beginning to run out of food. Classicus sent some of the capitulated soldiers to Castra Vetera to offer quarter to the besieged and make them surrender. Munius Lupercus (the commander of the beleaguered soldiers) still hesitated. It was clear that there was little hope of rescue, but “the besieged were torn between heroism and degradation by the conflicting claims of loyalty and hunger.” (Tacitus: The Histories, 4.60). In the end hunger drove them to plead for their lives. There was no food left in the camp; they had eaten the mules and horses, and in the end they lived off shrubs and grass that grew between the stones.
The Romans had to leave all their possessions behind and take an oath of allegiance to the Gallic Empire. In return they would be allowed to leave the camp alive. However, they were not even five miles from Castra Vetera when they were suddenly ambushed. Many died in the fight that broke out, or while they fled back to Castra Vetera. The fort was thoroughly plundered and then set fire to. Those who survived the battle died in the fire.

According to Tacitus, Civilis loudly blamed his German allies for this “criminal breach of faith”, but even Tacitus is uncertain “whether this was mere hypocrisy or whether Civilis was really incapable of restraining his ferocious allies.” (Tacitus: The Histories, 4.60)

Whether Civilis ordered the men to be slaughtered or not, he had at least fulfilled his oath: He could finally cut his hair, which he had sworn to let grow until the legions were destroyed. A few had been taken alive as prisoners though, of these Munius Lupercus was one. He was sent as a present to Veleda (the prophetess of the Bructeri who had prophesised the destruction of the legions), however, he was put to death before he reached her. According to Tacitus Civilis even gave some prisoners to his young son, to serve as a target for his spears and arrows. However, Civilis did not swear allegiance to the Gallic confederacy. He relied instead on the strength of the Germanic tribes and the reputation the success at Castra Vetera had earned him.

Civilis and his Gallic allies were becoming more and more powerful. They ordered that the winter quarters of the legions, cohorts and cavalry regiments along the Rhine were to be dismantled and burned. Only those at Mainz and Windisch were spared.
Civilis and Classicus then turned their thoughts to Köln. Because the local authorities there had once kept Civilis’ son in honourable custody after he had been arrested, the city was not plundered. Instead the Ubii of Köln joined in the rebellion. Civilis’ wife and sister, and Classicus’ daughter were kept there as hostages to secure the alliance.
With Köln as his HQ, Civilis busied himself with persuading other tribes to join him. He got the Sunuci on his side, but then he encountered Claudius Labeo, who was still busy fighting his little guerrilla war. He had occupied a bridge over the river Maas with his fighting force – consisting of Tungri, Baetasii and Nervii. There was a battle, but none of the armies had the advantage until Civilis and his Batavians swam across the river to attack Labeo in the rear. Then Civilis rode up to the Tungri lines and held another nice speech, about how he wished for an alliance with them. The Tungri soldiers were so impressed by this that they sheathed their swords, and two of their nobles (Campanus and Juvenalis) offered the surrender of the tribe as a whole. The Baetasii and Nervii were added to Civilis’ army. Claudius Labeo himself got away just in time.

In the meantime, the Lingon Julius Sabinus (the conceited one) had claimed the title Caesar. One of the first things he did as emperor of the Gallic Empire was attack the Sequani, a tribe which was still loyal to Rome. Apparently he did not trust the First Germanica and the Sixteenth Gallica, the legions that had surrendered, for they were sent away to Trier.
Instead, Sabinus “led a large and ill-disciplined mob of his countrymen against the Sequani” (Tacitus: The Histories, 4.67). He lost the war, panicked, and decided to fake his own death. He set fire to a farmhouse where he had taken refuge, so people would believe he had committed suicide there.

To be concluded... *insert dramatic music here*

The Batavian revolt, part 1

It's here, finally! I'm posting it three parts though, as it's rather long. Part 1 deals with the causes of the rebellion and the first battles. Part 2 is about, well, more battles, basically, and also the alliances with various Gallic tribes. Part 3 is about the Roman counterattack. All quotes from Tacitus' The Histories are from the Penguin Classics edition, translated by Kenneth Wellesley. Other sources I've used are the book "De opstand der 'Batavieren'" by Hans Teitler and the website livius.org (mostly for information about the different legions, since I'm always mixing them up. The site also has a great article about the revolt which was very helpful during NaNo).

First, another picture of Nidarosdomen (the Nidaros Cathedral) in Trondheim, because this post will look terribly depressing and boring without any pictures :P

And now... the essay.

First, a short version:
In 69 AD the Batavians, a Germanic tribe living in what is now the Netherlands, revolted against the Romans. The Romans fought back, and eventually won.

And now, the long version *grin* I think I got all the ninjas out, but I'm not guaranteeing anything! ;)

The Batavians were a Germanic tribe who lived around the Rhine delta, an area known as the Island, in what is today the Netherlands. According to Tacitus, they were once part of the Chatti, but after they were “driven out by domestic dissensions” sometime between 50-12 BC, they settled further west (there’s a map here). It is possible that the Batavians quarrelled with the Chatti because they were pro-Roman and wished for an alliance with Rome. They seem to have adapted to Roman rule without many difficulties, and the Romans greatly valued them as allies. The Batavians were not exploited financially; instead they supplied the Roman army with soldiers. The Batavian cohorts fought in the German campaigns, and later also in Britain where “they added to their laurels”. There were a number of Batavians in a cavalry unit that served as the emperor’s bodyguard. In their homeland they also had a cavalry force, which Tacitus describes as being highly skilled in amphibious warfare. They could swim the Rhine with their horses and their weapons, without breaking formation. The Batavian cohorts were still commanded by their own nobles, and by the time of the Batavian revolt the important Batavians had all gained the Roman citizenship (which is terribly annoying because I now have a severe lack of Batavian names). Two of the most important and influential Batavians were Julius Civilis and his brother Claudius Paulus, who were of royal descent.

I’ve already written about their names and the whole Julius/Claudius mess – you can find that post here.

Whether Paulus and Civilis were called Julius, Claudius or Bob, they were both arrested on charge of treason by Fonteius Capitio, the commander of the Roman forces in Germania Inferior. Tacitus writes that they were falsely accused, though we cannot be sure if he is telling the truth (or if he even knew the truth). This took during the reign of Nero, presumably in 68 AD. At this time Nero was becoming increasingly unpopular. The governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, Gaius Julius Vindex, revolted against him. He was supported by Servius Sulpicius Galba, who was governor of Hispania Tarraconensis. However, this revolt was a complete disaster. The commander of the legions in Germania Superior (Lucius Verginius Rufus) sent his men south to deal with it, and Vindex was killed. It could be that Civilis and Paulus supported Vindex’ revolt.

Either way, Paulus was executed by Capito, and Civilis was sent to Rome, to Nero. When he arrived in Rome however, Nero had committed suicide. The senate had recognized Galba as emperor, and he now pardoned Civilis. Why? Tacitus doesn’t say, so I have to draw my own conclusions. Civilis might of course really have been innocent, but if he was guilty of treason, it would be treason against Nero (which Galba probably didn’t mind very much). Pardoning Civilis could also have been an attempt by Galba to try to calm down the people in the German provinces. The legions were distrusted by Galba because they had sided with Nero – and thus obstructed Galba’s own accession. Verginius Rufus was immediately replaced by Marcus Hordeonius Flaccus. The native population were looked upon with the same suspicion, and Galba even dismissed the Batavian bodyguard.

This gave the Batavians a couple of good reasons to revolt, but there’s more. When Civilis returned to Germania Inferior, the legions “clamoured for his head”. It could be that they suspected him of murdering Fonteius Capito (though Tacitus writes that Capito was assassinated by Cornelius Aquinus and Fabius Valens, legionary commanders of the Fifth Alaudae and First Germanica, respectively). Civilis was once again pardoned, this time by Aulus Vitellius, the commander of the legions of Germania Inferior. Vitellius had just been proclaimed emperor by his army, and this time it’s pretty easy to understand why Civilis was pardoned: Vitellius needed the support of the Batavians. Eight Batavian cohorts (usually attached to the Fourteenth in Britain) were currently stationed in the land of the Lingones (in France, around Langres), and these would be a real asset in the war against Galba. Vitellius got the support of these cohorts, but around that time Galba was lynched on the forum in Rome. He was succeeded by Marcus Salvius Otho. The war against Galba became a war against Otho.

Vitellius sent to great forces southward to Italy, and to sum it up quickly: they won. Otho committed suicide, and Vitellius became the new emperor. He then realised that the northern frontier along the Rhine was dangerously undergarrisoned. The eight Batavian cohorts were sent northward again – they ended up in Mainz (Mogontiacum). Not long after they received orders to march to Italy again, because Vitellius was now facing a new enemy: Titus Flavius Vespasianus (Vespasian), the commander of the Roman forces in Judaea, decided to do a bid for power as well. Vitellius desperately needed more troops, so he ordered Flaccus (the commander of the legions in Germania Superior, and now also of Germania Inferior since Vitellius had gone south) to send more men. Flaccus must have known, or at least guessed, that the Batavians were planning something. He thought it unwise to send the remaining legionaries to Italy, but he obeyed when Vitellius ordered that he recruit new soldiers. Batavians of military age were called up, but the recruiting sergeants went even further than that. According to Tacitus they dragged off old men (to exact a bribe for their release) and boys (to gratify their lust). Needless to say, the Batavians were not at all happy and began to resist service. Tacitus continues with the description of a banquet in a sacred grove, where Civilis holds a nice speech about the glory of their nation and how they were being repressed by Rome. They used to be honoured as allies, but now they were treated as slaves… They could revolt now and gain their independence, since the greatest part of the legions was busy in the south. And so on.

In other words, Tacitus describes the revolt as some kind of heroic fight against oppression – the noble savages fighting against a great (but decadent) empire in a struggle for independence. It probably wasn’t as simple as that. Independence and freedom were probably just two of the motives. The Batavians, after all, were not ruthlessly exploited by the Romans, not financially at least. But the past year had given them a lot to be angry about. First there was the execution of Paulus and arrest of Civilis. This was followed by the dishonourable dismissal of the emperor’s bodyguard by Galba, and the fact that they were distrusted. Add the second arrest of Civilis and the forced recruitments to this, and it’s not that difficult to understand that they were thinking about killing Romans. Furthermore, there were tribes in the north – the Frisians and Chauci – who had gained their independence from Rome some years earlier (28 AD), and the Batavians might’ve wished for freedom like this as well. Whatever their motives, Civilis was an ideal leader with some powerful personal motives of his own. He wanted to avenge his brother, naturally, and he probably also wanted more power.

I’ve already mentioned that he was of royal descent, and though the Batavians were no longer ruled by kings, Civilis’ family was still important and influential. But others were also becoming powerful… The first Batavians who were given Roman citizenship were given the nomen Julius. You could say these were the “old elite”. The “new elite” were the Claudius-Batavians – those who had gained the citizenship later, during the reign of Claudius or Nero. The old elite obviously didn’t want to give any power to the new elite. It might be that Civilis wished to crush the new elite and once and for all establish his family as the most important of all – if it was necessary he would first fight for independence and then become king of his new Batavian Kingdom. The fact that Civilis’ greatest Batavian enemy was called Claudius Labeo supports this theory. If Civilis was in fact called Claudius Civilis it becomes more difficult.

Then there’s a religious motive. Tacitus mentions a prophetess of the Bructeri, Veleda. She predicted the fall of two Roman legions by Batavian hands (and she was right too), and perhaps she also incited the Batavians to revolt in the first place.

In all likelihood there were many reasons for the revolt. Civilis might have tried to restore power to the old elite and his own family for quite a while, and then decided to take advantage of the messy situation in 69 AD (the year of the 4 emperors). The legions were only at half-strength, and his countrymen were angry after the dismissal of the emperor’s bodyguard and the forced recruitments. It was an ideal opportunity to fight for independence. And he also had one last trump card: Tacitus mentions that Civilis had a letter from Vespasian, where the Roman commander *asks* him to revolt. Trouble in the north would keep Vitellius from deploying all his armies against Vespasian’s legions. In return, the Batavians would be granted independence.

So Civilis wishes for more power, and sees that this can be quite easily achieved if they revolt against the Romans. His people are angry because of the forced recruitments, there are few Roman troops in the area… And if they succeed, Vespasian will give them independence… It seems pretty foolproof.

Whatever the motives, it did not take long before they took up arms against the Romans. Civilis is described by Tacitus as “being unusually intelligent for a native”, a statement which is further enhanced by the fact that he only had one eye, just like Hannibal. It could be true and it could be not, but the comparison with Hannibal must’ve had quite an effect on Romans. That Civilis wasn’t stupid is shown by the fact that he didn’t blindly storm Roman forts. Instead, he sent envoys to the Cananefates (who lived between the Batavians and the sea) and induced them to revolt. The Cananefates placed “a foolish desperado” called Brinno on a shield, thus electing him as leader, and with the help of the Frisians they attacked two Roman auxiliary units at their nearby quarters. The posts were captured and sacked, but the Cananefates could not destroy any of the other forts – the Romans set them on fire themselves (so that the rebels couldn’t use them). Archaeologists have found burning layers at various forts, and at Traiectum (modern Utrecht) they have also found fifty gold coins which were buried there by an officer.

The troops themselves rallied to the eastern part of the Island, under a senior centurion called Aquilius (a coin has been found that belonged to a Gaius Aquillius Proculus from the Eighth Legion Augusta). Seeing the panic spread amongst the Romans, Civilis began to criticize them. He suggested that the Roman army should leave the area, while he and his Batavians dealt with the Cananefatian rebels, but the Romans realised it was a trick.
Then Civilis gathered all his men and attacked Aquilius and his “army”. Despite the fact that Flaccus sent 24 ships with reinforcements, the Romans suffered a defeat. A cohort of Tungri auxiliaries switched sides during the battle, and the fact that a lot of the rowers were Batavians didn’t exactly help the Romans either. The helmsmen and centurions were murdered, and in the end the ships either deserted or were captured.

After this battle the Batavians “were acclaimed as liberators as the news spread like wild-fire through the German and Gallic provinces.” (Tacitus: The Histories 4.17)
Germanic tribes from across the Rhine sided with Civilis, who also did his best to get the Gallic tribes on his side.

The Romans stationed in the lands of the Batavians had now been defeated. According to Tacitus, Flaccus himself also supported Vespasian, and tried to hush up Civilis’ revolt. However, after messengers arrived with news of destroyed forts and scattered units, he realised that things were getting out of control. He ordered the legate Munius Lupercus to crush the revolt. Lupercus commanded a camp (Castra Vetera) containing two legions (Fifth Alaudae and Fifteenth Primigenia). Along with the legions went a unit of Ubii, a unit of Treviran horse and a Batavian cavalry regiment. This regiment was commanded by the Batavian Claudius Labeo, a personal enemy of Civilis (Claudius: “new elite”, remember?), so the Romans decided to trust him. A mistake. The Roman army encountered the Batavians near modern-day Nijmegen, and were met with the sight of captured Roman standards which Civilis had brought with him to demoralize his enemy. The battle had not lasted long before Claudius Labeo and his Batavians switched sides. The Ubian and Treviran auxiliaries panicked and fled (according to Tacitus anyway), and the legions retreated to Castra Vetera. If Tacitus can be trusted, Claudius Labeo is largely responsible for the victory of the Batavians, but Civilis hated him as much as ever. He could not kill him though, as some Batavians might be angry about this, but he could not allow him to stay either, because this would cause dissensions. In the end he sent him to a place of exile among the Frisians. Again, this is all according to Tacitus so it might be a little biased, but it’s still interesting. If Labeo was popular (and probably pro-Roman, at least when it suited him) then the people probably weren’t completely united under their glorious leader who would lead them to freedom.

To be continued...

8 February 2007

Crazy weather...

First it's raining for a week, and then suddenly the temperature drops to -25*C. I wore three pairs of socks today and my toes were still cold.

But some goods news too. Four of my books finally arrived! And my copy of the Song of Roland has both an English version and an old French one (well, parts of it anyway). Now I hope they hurry up and send the rest soon. I've already made room for them on my bookshelf.
Also, I finished The Iliad today. I can't wait to read The Odyssey. (One thing though... is it normal to laugh out loud when reading old texts like these?)

The essay about the Batavian revolt is coming, I swear! I'm almost finished with it now, but it still has to be edited a bit, I think. And it's getting rather long...

Ah well, time to put on another pair of socks and study for the history test tomorrow :)

4 February 2007

Roman names

Not only do they have too many names, Gabriele, but they're also confusing, especially if they're important to the plot :)

I've been writing my essay about the Batavian revolt this weekend, and while writing something about Civilis' motives for revolting I stumbled upon a problem. His name.

"Two of the most important and influential Batavians were Julius Civilis and his brother Claudius Paulus, who were of royal descent. "

I typed it, and then suddenly noticed something which I had given very little thought to earlier. Why is Civilis' nomen "Julius", while his brother's is "Claudius"? Shouldn't they have the same nomen?

And just to make it even more confusing... In older history books, Civilis' name is given as Claudius Civilis. In newer history books he's called Julius. Apparently the Claudius-bit is due to a mistake in the earliest known manuscript of Tacitus' The Histories (the codex Laurentianus 68.2, which dates from the 11th century). In my copy of The Histories (Penguin Classics, translated by Kenneth Wellesley, last revision 1995) he is called Julius Civilis. Paulus, on the other hand, is still called Claudius Paulus. However, in the book De opstand der 'Batavieren', by Hans Teitler (published in 1998), they are called Julius Civilis and Julius Paulus.

I'm not too familiar with Roman names and Roman citizenship, so please correct me if I make any mistakes.

Non-Romans could gain Roman citizenship by serving 25 years in the auxiliaries. Tacitus writes (Histories 4.32) that Civilis is complaining about "the dangers he had endured for five and twenty years in Roman camps". If I remember correctly auxiliaries served longer than legionaries (they served 20 years, right?). But this statement by Civilis saying that he served in the auxiliaries (instead of the legions like Roman citizens) could also have been made up by Tacitus (wouldn't be the first time, lol).

Anyway. With the citizenship they also got a Roman name, and would take the nomen of the emperor. The nomen Julius would show that they (or their ancestors) were granted the citizenship by Augustus or Caligula. The nomen Claudius would mean that Tiberius, Claudius or Nero was emperor when they became Roman citizens.

If Civilis was Julius Civilis and Paulus was Claudius Paulus, they must've gotten the citizenship *themselves*, rather than inherited it from their father (they would inherit the same nomen, wouldn't they? Well, assuming they were both born into a legal marriage anyway.)

If Civilis had earned the Julius-nomen by serving in the auxiliaries for 25 years, and we assume that he finished his service during the last year of Caligula's rule (41 AD), he would've joined the auxiliaries in 16 AD. This would make him rather old during the Batavian revolt (in his late sixties). Seeing as he's swimming rivers and falling off horses and fighting and whatnot, this seems a bit unlikely. The Dutch Wikipedia site says that Civilis was born in 25 AD, though I haven't got a clue what their sources are. It seems reasonable though, he'd be in his forties during the revolt.

But, if Civilis was indeed born in 25 AD, he'd be 16 when Caligula (the last "Julius-emperor") was murdered. He couldn't have served 25 years in the auxiliaries during his reign at least. Could he have gained Roman citizenship during Caligula's reign in any other way (some sort of heroic feat, perhaps) while Paulus had to serve 25 years in the auxiliaries before becoming a Roman citizen? Paulus would then finish his service during the reign of Claudius and Nero, and thus end up being called Claudius Paulus.

Another possibility is that Civilis was born into a legal marriage and that his father was a Julius-Batavian, while Paulus was born outside of marriage. Civilis would then inherit his father's citizenship (along with the name Julius), while his brother (or rather, half-brother) Paulus had to serve 25 years in the auxiliaries (again, he'd finish during the reign of Claudius or Nero, and be called Claudius Paulus).

Of course they could both be called Julius, and the Claudius Paulus part in my copy of The Histories could be a mistake which they haven't found yet. It's possible, because Paulus is only mentioned once.

But then... if Civilis is called Claudius Civilis in the codex Laurentianus 68.2, how did they figure out that he was actually called Julius? All the articles and books I've read about the subject start with saying that Julius Civilis is sometimes wrongly called Claudius Civilis, but none of them say *how* they know that this is wrong. Perhaps they were really both called Claudius...

In the beginning of this post I wrote that their names were important to the plot, and I'm finally getting there now :)

During the Batavian revolt, the most important Batavians were Roman citizens. The ones who got the citizenship first got the nomen Julius, the ones who gained it later got the nomen Claudius. You could say there was an "old elite" and a "new elite", the Julius-Batavians and the Claudius-Batavians. This article here, by Jona Lendering, contains an interesting theory about the names (page 2 of the article). One of the reasons that Civilis revolted might be that the Claudius-Batavians were becoming too powerful, and that he wished to restore power to the old elite (including himself). There is some evidence to back this theory up: One of Civilis' personal enemies was a Batavian called Claudius Labeo, while Civilis' Treviran and Lingon allies all had the nomen Julius.

Again, I know little of Roman names and citizenship, so I'm really just guessing.

And now it's back to the social studies project, lol.

3 February 2007

Globalization and its effects on the culture and economy of both industrialized nations and developing countries...

... or the most boring social studies project ever. I've got about a week to make this topic interesting. And someone accidentally smashed a test tube of HCl during chemistry today, and some of it got into my schoolbag. I think I got most of it out though. At least I hope so, lol.

My books still haven't arrived, though I ordered them about a week ago. Three of them haven't even been sent yet.

I've started writing the essay about the Batavian revolt, but I have no idea when I'll be finished. In the meantime, here are a few pics :)

This is Nidarosdomen (the Nidaros Cathedral) in Trondheim.

Lilacs in my garden...

A gull...


At the foot of Mt. Karioi, New Zealand