Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece, or Ancient Egypt- if you HAD to live in one...

So here’s the deal:

For reasons I’m not at liberty to go into, you and any of your loved ones who are willing must enter a Temporal Relocation Program. You have the choice of the Roman Empire under Augustus (or we could go a little later if you like, but the Pax Romana’s a safe temporal neighborhood), Golden Age of Greece (let’s say Athens after the death of Socrates when there’s a lull in the bloodshed), or Egypt (hard to pick from thousands of years, but we’ll give you a choice of the reign of Ramses II OR you can speed ahead a millennium and change and live in Alexandria ca. 100BC).

For any and all of the above you’ll be given all necessary vaccinations, independent wealth from farmlands owned (i.e. you won’t be a slave or have to be a slave merchant), a hidden cache of automatic weapons, a hidden modern toilet with septic tank, and modern antibiotics, all to be used only in the event of emergency. You’ll of course be given lessons to develop fluency in their language and basic customs. (You’re encouraged to keep a low profile, but in the event you become an enemy of the state somehow we will do all in our power to get you out, but
1- We’ll relocate you to a place of our choosing, and it might be 17th century Versailles or it might be prehistoric Scotland and either way you’ll deal with it
2- We don’t always answer the Temporal Phone
so you really need to piss off as few people as possible.
Which time/place would you choose and why?

Rome, certainly. I’d hope for a place in Northern Italy or Switzerland. Someplace far away from intrigues and crazed German barbarians. Although Britain also has its appeal. There was the problem of the Catuvellauni around AD30, but I could probably rely on my rep as a wizard of note to avoid any unpleasantness. Basic sanitation and bathing are well established, and the cuisine is at least edible. Cure a few villagers, advise on crops, otherwise be a good neighbor, and I’d get by. If somebody gets ugly, I’d have my bodyguards take care of them. Oh, yes. The life of a wealthy Roman citizen in Octavian’s time could be quite…satisfactory.

Forget the other choices. Egypt is too hot and sandy, no pillows and lousy beer. Greek wine of the period was crap, and I would get sick of olives before too long. Rome it is.

Is there a difference between the first ancient Rome and the second one?

I’d go with Rome (the first one). If I was a citizen and had some moderate wealth, I’d be living the sweet life under Augustus. As a woman, my options wouldn’t be too fabulous in any of them, but IIRC Greek women weren’t supposed to be seen in public. Not too fond of the desert, so Rome it is!

I think I’d go for Alexandria. I don’t like the heat all that much, but it’s more cosmopolitan, and was reputed to have better sanitation. The chance to read texts that have been long lost.

Ancient Rome. I’m shallow–I like baths. And having slaves. (I…could have slaves, right? The OP said I wouldn’t have to be one or be a merchant, but I’d get some to wait on me and give me oil massages, right?)

Plus, all that I, Claudius and HBO’s Rome has gotten me primed for Roman times.

Athens circa Pericles.
And when I get into trouble I’m headed to 17th century Amsterdam or Edo.

Augustan Rome. Relative peace and reasonable prosperity over large swaths of territory so that you have freedom of movement if you felt like getting around and seeing the world ( you could always visit Alexandria ). Plus probably the best general level of amenities.

Golden Age Greece was just to uncertain - too many competing power centres equals too much restriction to movement and too much threat of sudden violence.

Late Ptolemaic Egypt was a bit of a mess, with a very restive countryside and Alexandria an isolated Greek island. Meanwhile Egypt under Ramses II undoubtedly lacked the full panoply of Roman amenities.

Nope, Rome wins based on sheer cosmopolitan scope and ( somewhat ) peaceful stability.

Augustan Rome for me. I just don’t know what I’d do there if I had to keep a low profile. Because otherwise, I’d be doing stuff from Lest Darkness Falls and inventing paper and the printing press and hard liquor. Then I’d flood the empire with books on basic sanitation and medical care.

I’d go for ancient Rome for most of the reasons listed above. The ability to be a privileged citizen of an empire larger than both the other civilizations would be fun.

Besides - Rome has fishing and mining. Who needs agriculture, the wheel, or hunting?
On a side note - has anyone else been reading Turtledove’s Crosstime Traffic series?

Ancient Egypt, for its morbid culture.

At first I thought Egypt, but now that I think about running, drinkable water …

Rome it is. :wink:

Ramses II? Bah!

I would choose 12th or 18th dynasty Egypt in a shot. Prosperous, relatively stable (if I remember correctly - it’s been a while). I guess the 19th would have been ok, but I’d pick those two first. And the 18th dynasty had Hatshepsut (the female ruler) and Ankhenaten (the questionable monotheist). It would be interesting to watch how social life changed or didn’t.

(I’ve been interested in Ancient Egypt since I was about six, and read a lot about it, so Egypt is a no brainer, even though the other places would be cool too.)

Rome, easy.

The Roman economy boomed.

Also, being more cosmopolitan, my non-Roman appearance wouldn’t incite quite so much hostility.

Great question.

Also a tough one, too. In a pinch, I’ll say Egypt. Hell, I’d get to see how the pyramids got built or be able to read things from the Library of Alexandria.

Although Greece is a very close second place (not that Rome is a distant third).

Well, crap. No matter what, it’d be nifty as fuck. How about this: I’ll take whatever one is left and be happy with it.

Ancient Greece - I always wanted to party with Bacchus - you may know him as Dionysus. All those women and wine and and Sparagmos. Oh yeah!! I wouldn’t partake of the Omophagia though. Eeww…

I guess the partying would have to be with non-alcoholic wine as I don’t drink that anymore either… :slight_smile:

Bacchus’ parties are over-rated. Believe me, I know!

Very interesting question and choices, Sampiro. Sort of like the episode of Star Trek The Original Series (TOS) with Mr. AtoZ, where the sun was going nova and the planet’s inhabitants chose to go back in time to whereever they wanted to in the history of the planet. Although Mariette Hartley’s character had been punished and sent back to an Ice Age Era. But then she got to fool around with Spock …

Okay, getting back to the topic at hand: given that we’d have (hidden) modern toilets and access to antibiotics, I think I’d pick Ancient Rome under Caesar Augustus (Octavian) - that mostly due to being hooked on HBO’s Rome, I’ll hasten to admit. And having wealth is important also - the lives of the non-wealthy were quite likely very hard. I think Egypt would be a bit too warm (HOT!) for me, and too much sand. laughs I was tempted by Ancient Greece, but wasn’t sure how it would be for a woman there. Hell, probably about the same as in Ancient Rome, but I think some of the wealthier women were just looked at as eccentrics or at least in a “live and let live” fashion. And at least the Romans were big on bathing! My god, I don’t think I could stand not being able to bathe and be clean - or rather, I couldn’t stand stinking!! Heh, not sure what I’d do about -others- stinking, but maybe they wouldn’t so much in Ancient Rome. Guess I could always burn more incense …

Hmm, I’m thinking I’d probably choose Rome over the others. Running water, bathing, all important. Women didn’t really have rights there either, so speaking as a woman, I don’t think any of the societies would have been good.

However, since I’ve chosen Rome, what class would I belong to? Plebes were definitely the poor, however, there were many rich (merchants) belonging to the knight class. Above them were the…crap, I forgot the name for that class…but think of belonging to senatorial class. They were big on family lineage, etc. Tons of intrigue and poisoning too. Hmmm, tough call.


That class is pretty much out, for the reasons you listed. Big on family, of which you have none. Better to be a wealthy merchant, who made his fortune on the frontier as a dealer of Spican Flame Gems and Anterian Glow Water.