Tuesday, August 19, 2014

In Memory of.... Augustus Caesar???????

Yep. And  you can thank my Elder Son for pointing this out to me.

Exactly, precisely, 2000 years ago (give or take a few weeks given the vagaries of the Julian calendar and the adoption of the Gregorian in the sixteenth century).... anyway, 2000 years ago, TODAY, EXACTLY, sorta*, marks the two-millennial-anniversary of the death (possibly by poisoning by his wife) of Augustus Caesar, The Divine Augustus, a man who made a lot of decisions and statements in open violation of the Roman Constitution because, um, he could.....

.....anyway, he died at the age of 75, after 40 years of rule over the Senate and the People of Rome, plus all its territories. (He would have been born 2000 years exactly before 1939. Go figure.)

There are a lot of highly propagandistic images and sculptures of the man which have survived through history. I must admit I like this one above: it portrays him in all his geeky-weasel-ness, a true pencil neck, which he was before his official portrait guys got through with spiffing up his image.

He started out well, I suppose. I like these two portrayals of young Octavian, as he was known, before he hit it big. (The actor is an awesome young man, Max Pirkis, who portrayed him in the HBO series "Rome.")

However, he must have broken very bad very early to turn into the kind of guy who could nail the hands of the greatest Roman senator, Cicero,** to the door of the Senate. (Imagine Ted Cruz's head on a stick in front of the Capitol Building for a sense of how outrageous that is.)  And never forget: he and his then-sidekick Mark Antony killed many thousands of people to remake Rome into their own image. Of course that was before they had a little falling out over a girl named Cleo (guys will do strange things to impress women sometimes). 

We remember the Emperor and forget that before he got the promotion he was a bloodthirsty terror-king.  A thug.

Anyway, life is funny. The guy who could do that supposably got pwned in the end by his own wife....

Or who knows, maybe not.  I love Robert Graves, but he was, um, an unreliable historian.

Anyway. This was the man who was King of Christ when Christ was in utero... he it was who decreed that His Mother should have to be in Bethlehem for the Nativity.

Which leads to one of my all time favorite lines from JESUS OF NAZARETH:

"So even Caesar obeys God!"

And so he did. To a degree. When it counted.

It is perhaps a little too late to bid him rest in peace. But remember he did accomplish something rather remarkable: 2000 years later we're still talking about him. Not many can say the same.


*Okay, so anal-retentative me checked it out. The perfect 2000th anniversary will occur on September 1 or 2, 2014. So sue me.

**By the way the proper pronunciation of Cicero's name is "Kickero." A pet peeve of mine.

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Keep it clean for gene.