Well, Rome was a republic until he came along.
I am late in welcoming you.
Don’t be apologetic about lack of formal schooling. It has it’s place, but it’s place is overstated by those that have it. That said, it can be the easiest way to learn some things.
I have no idea of, or care to know about, the amount of schooling other contributors here may have. It is their observations and reasoning that count.
I came here through an archeology interest. That came from a history interest. Now we are arguing more of an anthropological point of view.
(By that I mean, archeology finds things, anthropology wonders why they are there.)
We all have different points of view.
I, for one, tend to believe the Bibles account of the history it mentions unless proven otherwise. Minimalist on the other hand (I believe) comes at a question from the other end of the pipe.
Ishtar, although a born Westerner, (I think) is trying to bring in an Eastern point of view, and Forum Monk, and the others, try to keep us all from getting our heads too big.
So, dive in. Ask questions and be polite.
(Boy, do I sound like I am a host here? I don’t mean to come across that way. I apologize to the people that do the real work here.)