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Re: [Imperial Rome] Favorite Emperor

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  • Jack Kilmon
    Itis a rule rather than exception that the least qualified and often mentally deficient individuals are cast in the highest positions of power by
    Message 1 of 18 , Jul 1, 2009
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      Itis a rule rather than exception that the least qualified and often mentally deficient individuals are cast in the highest positions of power by socio-political circumstance, force or electoral mischief.  Even in our own "empire" we have had our Warren Hardings and George Bushes.  Whether it their lack of intellect or just malicious greed (or a combination of both) the results are devastating.  Power hunger, greed and corruption are rampant in our own Congress and yet even our positions as electors in a representative repubic is not sufficient as we sit back and watch blatant abuses, "earmarks" and "scandals of the week."  Yet we can probably consider ourselves lucky that our congress is not plagued by lead poisoning.  Political historians pose that the best form of government for a large society is a benevolent dictatorship but it is that "benevolent" part that is illusive.  In many respects, Iran and North Korea resemble ancient Rome under crazy emperors.
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Tuesday, June 30, 2009 8:48 PM
      Subject: Re: [Imperial Rome] Favorite Emperor

      you are quite right about the lead intake. let alone what they did with body hair shavings! but what did tiberius do on capri for water. i recollect water from wells. i don't think there is a quick answer. we have a fair number of such characters today. was it DNA malfunction? chemical poisoning?  lack of hygene? just being rich and all powerful? it needs further study oh great and mighty universities of the world (hint for phd studies).

      m: Jack Kilmon <jkilmon@...>
      To: imperialrome2@...
      Sent: Tuesday, June 30, 2009 7:07:42 PM
      Subject: Re: [Imperial Rome] Favorite Emperor

      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Thursday, June 25, 2009 11:00 AM
      Subject: Re: [Imperial Rome] Favorite Emperor

      Thanks Jack

      I really meant favourite - in the sense of who do you actually like? Vespasian just makes me laugh. I like him - he can come round to dinner. I think that is what I mean. Who wd you invite for dinner?

      Agree with most of what you say about the Emperors  but I try to look at them from a post modern perspective. What made them the men they were? Acumen or accident? On drugs or what? So you start with the early gang being brain dead, in bred, psychotic creatures suddenly given unlimited wealth power and fame. The early equivalents of Brittany Spears, or drug addled sportsmen today.  The military had to take over. 
      It has been mentioned before but a considerable portion of the upper class population of Rome, with its lead plumbing, were suffering from lead poisoning.  It must be factored into the high infant mortality and poisonings that the historians blamed on conspiracies and the psychotic behavior of the upper class who could afford the piped in water.  It could explain the transitions of both Tiberius and Nero from resposible behavior early in their imperiums and becoming whack jobs later.  The moral?  Don't drink the water on the Palatine.
      I agree on Vespasian.  Probably avoided the leaded water being primarily in the field.
      But just generally, and this is just conversation and not a formal statement:

      Augustus - the gold  standard from which all were measured. So cool, so clever, so wonderful. 
      Caligula - barking mad nuttter.
      Marcus Aurelius and his Meditaions  - yes that's fine, but I hate to say this I think he was an air head and a bit of a hippy drippy, nit wit.  His adopted brother poncing around on a gilded barge in the Med with shedloads of girlfriends whilst pretending to rule the eastern empire and Marcus never seeming to realise. Commodus was no more his son than I am. But Gibbon thought Marcus was way cool so must be something in it.  

      Tiberius,and  Nero do seem to me to be suffering from a smear campaign and need re-evaluating eg Nero was quite popular with the plebs as he picked on the super rich but the super rich wrote the spin. Was Tiberius nothing more than pissed at the world because of Augustus' treatment of him? 

      Domitian, Commodus, Caligula, Caracalla, and lets not forget Elagabalus all in bred zombies walking. 

      But what of dear sweet cuddly wuddly Justinian?  Has he any fans? Has Julian? I wonder that's all.


      From: Jack Kilmon <jkilmon@historian. net>
      To: imperialrome2@ yahoogroups. co.uk
      Sent: Wednesday, June 24, 2009 7:00:50 PM
      Subject: Re: [Imperial Rome] Favorite Emperor

      Such a simple question...one I never thought of...yet difficult to answer.
      We have an initial tendency to define "favorite" as one who possesses
      qualities we admire, for example Barack Obama is my "favorite" president
      since 1952. A Roman Emperor that comes closest to possessing good
      qualities, for me, was Marcus Aurelius. I first read Ta Eis hEauton at 10
      and still read it at 70. Most of the Emperors from the Claudians through the
      Flavians were cruel, vicious whack jobs...maybe with the exception of
      Claudius. If we use the term "fascinating" rather than "favorite," its a
      different issue. The most fascinating, for me, would be Augustus. Tiberius
      was neither a victim or a hero. He rode on Augustus' steam. He hid out on
      Capris raping children and throwing them off a cliff while his chosen thug
      ran the Empire. Augustus, on the other hand, was a metaphor for Roman
      civilization. Much to admire yet a culture enamored with cruelty. Most
      fascinating? Augustus. Favorite? Marcus Aurelius. Most reviled? Nero,
      Caligula, Domitian, Commodus.

      Jack Kilmon

      > --- In imperialrome2@ yahoogroups. co.uk, Gerry Carter <gec12gec16@ ...>
      > wrote:
      >> I am worried. There seems to be a lack of Roman news on the group. Talk
      >> about scraping the barrel, I mean to say - King Arthur and the lighthouse
      >> are not our interests. Come on guys think of something to discuss. Like,
      >> was Domitianus the setting sun which the Empire mistook for the dawn?
      >> Tiberius - victim or hero? Who is your favorite Emperor and why? Lets
      >> discuss.

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    • Gerry Carter
      Oct, thanks A simple view for now. But if I were a Roman, I wd wonder how dare you defy/contradict the cult of my gods (lares etc) when we Romans have been so
      Message 2 of 18 , Jul 10, 2009
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        Oct, thanks

        A simple view for now. But if I were a Roman, I wd wonder how dare you defy/contradict the cult of my gods (lares etc)  when we Romans have been so very willing to go along with yours. (OK, yes, we pretend to - but it will do won't it? prior to your subjugation?). All those religions you mention must have looked like like 'loony tunes' to Romans. And worse, representative of those who wd wish to disturb the eternal sunshine of our perfect Roman world order - Pax - and so require destruction/elimination. 

        Complicated view - fact finding 'CSI' style mission to Anglesey required. On this I need to ponder further, as it really bugs me and I do not believe anything given in evidence to date.


        From: "OctCocceius@..." <OctCocceius@...>
        To: imperialrome2@...
        Sent: Monday, June 29, 2009 7:41:37 PM
        Subject: Re: [Imperial Rome]Relevant Roman discussions.

        Hi again gec
        Interesting post and I agree the area covered by present day Wales was useful to the Romans for extraction of metals. However, the obsession with Mona was, I believe, totally due to the fact that it was the most important Druidic centre in the country, they practised human sacrifice and Druids found it easy to stir up trouble because, as Holy men, they were accepted across tribal borders. Now, as you are aware, the Romans were extremely tolerant of the religions of peoples in their Empire EXCEPT where they did not fit in with the Roman peace and challenged the unifying religion of the cult of the Emperors. Out of the hundreds (thousands even) of deities/religions that were worshipped in the Empire, only 3 religions produced adherents prone to any or all of: insurrection, indifference to public service and refusal to make offerings to the Emperor cult - the Druids, Jews and Christians.
        In all cases the Roman military hit extremely hard. The Druids were virtually wiped out, the Jews cowed into submission after two very bloody Jewish wars but Christianity went from one extreme to the other - firstly the authorities banned it and tried to obliterate it, then about 280 years after the crucifixion (a penalty reserved for sedition against the Roman state) of Jesus at the hands of the Roman authorities, Constantine made it legal and a few years later made it a preferred state religion even though the majority of peoples in the empire were pagan!
        Christianity was unique in the fact that the original Jewish adherents of Jesus Christ (=Messiah, Hebrew =king, english) heaped  destruction upon themselves and the rest of Judaea. They fought an impossible war for independence from Roman rule to establish a Jewish state answerable only to Yahweh/God i.e. the kingdom of God. These Jewish Christians (including the disciples and those who had known Christ) were largely wiped out by Titus and the legions in 70CE and eventually reabsorbed back into mainstream Judaism. It did not stop another totally futile revolt against Roman rule in Hadrian's reign by Bar Kochba whose followers regarded HIM as the Messiah - negated on his death like Christ when he did not return to save the Temple. Inevitable defeat resulted in all Jews being banned from even entering Jerusalem..
        On the other hand, after the death of Jesus and before the fall of Jerusalem, Paul (who never met Christ) made himself self-appointed apostle to the Gentiles mainly in the Greek speaking east. They took the bait, history was rewritten as the main Gospels became progressively more anti-semitic until the blame for Christ's crucifixion was totally taken from the Romans and placed on the Jews (incidently, a religious blasphemy could have been punished by the Jews by stoning to death without involving the Roman authorities) . Now Greek-speaking gentiles were no strangers to dying and resurrected Gods and hence the new religion started to take hold. There was no doctrinal opposition to Pauline Christianity after the destruction of the Jewish Christians hence Pauline Christianity has come down with the help of Constantine who outlawed "heretical sects and thoughts" by suppressing other gospels (e.g. Gnostic gospels) and any version other than Catholic Christianity - it was because of these moves that the Greek Orthodox church separated from Catholicism.
        A long way from Druidism I know but Druidism, Judaism and Christianity were all anti-Roman and reaped the wrath of Rome upon themselves. Any further views?

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