Friday, April 25, 2003

I found this groovy site called the Sourcebook for Ancient History at Fordham University. It totally rocks. It's got connections to a lot of complete texts by the big guns of the times. I've been going through Julius Caesar and Augustus by Suetonius, who was sort of the Kitty Kelley of ancient Rome. Fascinating stuff. Skip over all the bits about which obscure dude was tribune in the fourteenth year of Augustus' mandate and all the tributes that were offered to Jupiter Biggusdickus at his temple on the Crapitoline, the little-known eighth hill the Eternal City was built on. There's all sorts of conspiracy and murder and massive dirty dealing. Read all of that. Robert Graves cribbed most of I, Claudius from Suetonius.

I looked into this because of that Italian nutcase below who compared George Bush to Julius Caesar, negatively. Lemme tell ya, every single American president, even JFK, has been like a saint in heaven, St. Francis of freakin' Assisi, compared to either Julius or Augustus Caesar. Hell, every senator we've ever had has been Mr. Upright Probity compared to any of the weasels Suetonius describes in the Roman Senate, and we've had senators even worse than Ted Kennedy. Jeez, even Aaron Burr seems comparatively honorable. I bet I find something similar to be true when I go through the other ten guys in Suetonius' scandal sheet. I sure found that to be true when I read the abridged version of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire a few months ago. My favorite was this one guy who seized power, in the period of full decline and total military dictatorship, along about 292 AD. Gibbon says about him, "He was an Arab, and so by nature a robber." Some other guy cut his head off a couple of years later and took over himself.

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