Archive | October, 2011

Inside Caligula’s Head

31 Oct

Caligula In DragI was just saying the other day – Caligula needs rehabilitating!

The figure portrayed in Caligula: A Biography was a rational and competent leader, but “good” is not a word that comes to mind. He was capable, when pushed, of extreme viciousness, ranging from savage humiliation to torture and execution. Making him angry was never a good idea, but neither was trying to flatter him. The targets of his wrath were almost always his fellow aristocrats – which, according to Winterling’s analysis, is a crucial bit of context to keep in mind.

The core of his argument is that even Caligula’s wildest behavior reflected the instability of the political order, not of his mind. The transition from republic to empire in the decades prior to his reign had generated a rather convoluted system of signals between the Senate (the old center of authority, with well-established traditions) and the emperor (a position that emerged only after civil war).
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Blame Ambrose Even More

31 Oct

Mephisto in Bishop's GarbOn this most evil of days, it’s fitting to pay tribute to Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, the Christian who hobbled an emperor and defended the persecution of European Jewry.

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Evil Spirits Abound

31 Oct

Happy Halloween!Halloween might be fun and games now, but it’s always dangerous. Not the candy, the vandalism, or the assault on parents’ time and wallets – Jon Wells debunks all the conspiracy theories, and then falls for the religion.

You could argue that Halloween long ago lost its way in a commercial sea of bulk candy and cheesy decorations. On the other hand, some of Halloween’s old excesses have been restrained, which is probably not a bad thing.
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