Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Rome

Caius Julius Caesar (101-44 BC): Ultimate in Roman cruelty and arrogance

From the many books I read for the French author Max Galo, this is the worst.

It felt that the author tried his hardest to fill the pages with the same dull refrains and doing his best to turn this book as an apology of Caesar, just taking Caesar diaries for granted as facts.

Every couple of pages I could read:

“Descendant of Venus Victerix, direct descendant of the founding father of Rome Iule, son of Enee, the son of Venus…” or  “The Iulii race, descendant of Troy who built Rome…” or “Lets go where the signs of Gods call us…” or “a gent related to the legendary King of Rome Ancius Marcius..”

Galo even reported that the legions of Caesar slaughtered 460,000 Germans, men, women and children within 24 hours and burned their villages… Even in modern warfare, with all the weapons of mass killing, I didn’t read of a battle where more than 30,000 were killed in a day.

Caesar has followed Euripides saying: “If you have got to be unjust, let it be for dominion. Otherwise, practice or fake piety…”

Born on July 13, 101 BC, his mother Aurelia Cotta kept hammering in Caius Julius brain that he was descendant of “Venus Victrix (Victorious) and from the founder of Rome (his father side) Iule (son of Enee, son of Venus…).

Mother Aurelia was the grandchild of the daughter of consuls, and cousin of 3 senators…

Mind you that the name Caesar comes from the name Carthage gave to elephants.

Dictator and brutal Sylla returned to Rome after vanquishing king Mithridates and resumed another wave of terrors against his Roman opponents. Young Caesar, from the family of hated Marius, was targeted to be on the list of those to be assassinated. Caesar is summoned to divorce his wife Cornelia, daughter of Cinna, but preferred to flee from Rome. The team of assassins managed to find Caesar, but he bribed the killer team and vanished to Rhodes.

Rhodes was the ultimate destination for the Romans to get education from eminent Greek scholars, philosophers and teachers. And Caesar spent two years in Rhodes in order to keep a low profile for a while.

At the age pf 20, Caesar joined the Roman proconsul Marcus Minucius Thermus in Asia Minor (coastal of current Turkey) battling with powerful monarch Mithridates. Caesar was dispatched to the king Nicomede 4 of Bithynie (Southern Black Sea region) in order to follow up on his promise to send a few ships to break the insubordination of a key Greek city-island Mytilene.  Caesar played the role of the male sex-slave partner for 6 months and lead back the promised ships.

The filthy rich Crasus lent plenty of money to Caesar in order to buy higher positions in Rome elite class, and expected to be paid back

Caesar was Crasus’ lieutenant during the Spartacus’ slaves revolt and observed the crucifixion of 7,000 slaves.

Ten years later, Caesar was sent to reconquer Spain and Portugal, which was ruled by a dissenting Roman General, and collect the taxes. Caesar remained there for a year and returned, rich enough to pay off his huge accumulated dept from Crasus.

For over 10 years, Caesar kept waging wars in France and Germany and tried twice to invade England: He knew that as long as he is leading legions and extending his proconsul title, it would be difficult for the Senate in Rome to demote him and order him to return.

Caesar married his daughter Julia to Pompeii in order to get the alliance of this most powerful general in Rome and secure his title. In the last three years of ruling Gaul, Ceasar had trouble with the Senate that feared Caesar power and wealth, bribing whomever he wanted. And Julia had died giving birth.

It is reported that Caesar slaughtered a million men, women and children were in France and Germany in order to establish the Roman presence in all these territories.  Another million were sold as slaves.

Vercingetorix, the military leader of the French tribes, was finally cornered and defeated in Alesia and taken prisoner to Rome: He will be assassinated 3 years later in his prison.

When crossing the Rubicon River in the city of Ravenne on Jan. 11, 49 BC, Caesar said “Alea jacta est” (the dice are thrown)

Pompeii had left Italy with a powerful army and settled in the Orient. Caesar left from Brindise with  500 horsemen and 15,000 infantry. Antony was to follow the army with the remaining troops and the siege materials.

The battle in the plain of Pharsale, in the middle of Greece, was decisive in August 9, 48.  Caesar army was mostly composed of infantry: 80 cohorts (each of about 300 soldiers). His army was vastly outnumbered by Pompeii cavalry, and yet the army of his enemy retreated to Turkey and later to Egypt.

The Egyptians assassinated Pompeii in order not to give Caesar an excuse to push forward into Egypt.

Caesar arrived in Alexandria on Oct.2, 48 (He was 53 of age).  He subjugated Egypt, married Cleopatra, had a son with her, and returned with Egypt’s Queen to Rome. Caesar erected the statue of Cleopatra in the Temple of Venus Genitrix.

July 25, 46 BC, Caesar is 55 of age and is returning to Rome after vanquishing most of the Lieutenant of Pompey such as Caton, Scipion, Afranius, Petreius, Juba... Only Labienus (Caesar lieutenant in Gaul) made it to Spain with the sons of Pompey.

The sons of Pompeii, Cnaeus and Sextus, along with Labienus and Varsus assembled 13 legions in Spain, and caesar began other war campaign to “liberate” Rome from its own enemies, those who refuse dictators for long-period of time.

Caesar chased them in Africa, Spain… and finally managed to become the sole powerful man in the Roman Empire.

The Romans dedicated the Temple of Jupiter Capitolin to “Caius Julius Caesar, half-God“, and a statue of him driving a char on a globe.

The simple people hate kings and invincible generals, but they are afraid of the God. The title Pontifex maximus (Great Priest) will turn hereditary to Caesar.

He was appointed dictator for 10 years, and the new title of chief police of morals (Praefectus morun). He is accompanied by 72 licteurs.

The plebe of Rome dedicated the Temple of jupiter Capitolin to “Caius Julius Caesar, half-Gof” and erected a statue of Caesar driving a char on a globe.

Only Caton could master the courage to lambaste Caesar for imitating the kings of the Orient, instituting polygamy (living with Cleopatra and his wife Calpurnia)

He is reported to have said: “I change Rome, I change the world

He reformed the calendar to be made of 365 days. For that, Caesar added 67 days between November and December, and started the new calendar on January 1, 45 BC. Thus the year 46 BC was of 445 days.

Salluste believes that we can conquer man by virtue. He wanted Caesar to defy the usurers and to refrain from giving gratis wheat and money to the plebe… The Roman youth must regain the habit of hard work in order to take taste in the virtue of working and not in cupidity and lax life-style…”

The devil is NOT in the details; (October 16, 2009)

 

            Details are what bring people together to communicate, dialogue, and negotiate to reach compromises.  The main wall that separate among communities is the concrete wall mixed with myths, general concepts, and abstract notions.  Strong with draft details each organization can start to sort out the differences and comprehend the big picture; it is never the way around in social behavior. I will discuss two cases, one religious and the other of political nature.

            After the crucifixion of Jesus many Christian sects were born in the Near East in the first four centuries.  Fundamentally, these sects were almost identical in applying the Jewish daily rituals or the Jewish 650 laws of “correct” conduct. What separated these sects were abstract concepts that did not harm their peaceful coexistence in separate communities of believers: they never attacked by force one another; military persecutions started when the Church acquired central power in Constantinople; whole “heretic” sects and entire communities had to flee to safety. 

            Thus, The Mighty Wall was erected after 325 AC when Byzantium Empire decided to adopt Christianity as the main religion of the Empire.  Thus, the central power concept of the Empire dictated that church should be centralized.  Instead of focusing in negotiating on the details that split the various sects an upper abstract super-structure on concepts was imposed; concepts such as the dual nature of Christ, the deity of the threes (the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit), the virginity of the mother Mary and on.  This time around, the sects were to join the Orthodox Church by force if need be: a central Empire cannot permit disunity, even on totally nonsense abstract conjectures!

            Consequently, the labeled “heretic” sects had to flee beyond the eastern shores of the Euphrates River (to the Persia Sassanide Dynasty).  The Nestourian sect reached China and translated “their” Bible into the Chinese language. Many other “heretic” sects settled in the Arabic Peninsula; the Christian-Jewish “Ebionite” sect was firmly entrenched in Mecca; the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad, Ain Warkat, was the Patriarch of this sect and Muhammad learned to read in the Aramaic Ebionite Bible; Muhammad aided his uncle in the translation of this specific Bible into the Arabic slang of Mecca.  Thus, Islam is originally a common denominator “heretic” Christian sect, one of many Christian sects in the Arabic Peninsula; the Prophet had to delete all the abstract notions to unite the sects; it was named Islam or the belief in the One and only God.

            The strong animosity of the Catholic Church of Rome against Islam was not directed at a religion such as Buddhism or Mazdean but at a new “heretic” Christian sect usurping its central power in the Near East. The Orthodox Church in Constantinople was more lenient with Islam because it understood its genesis and the causes for the need of this new “heresy”; for Constantinople Islam was the oriental counterpart of Protestantism to Rome when Islam became the dominant religion in the region. 

            It is said: “the enemy of my enemy is my ally”; this Machiavellian principle was lost to obscurantist Catholic Church. Rome was too far away and fought Islam with the ignorance of abstract concepts. For the Catholic Church in 1,000 AC, Islam was doubly “heretic” instead of just the counterpart to the central Orthodox Church of the Byzantium Empire: it failed to realize that if Islam spread so fast and so widely it is mainly because most the labeled Christian heretic sects quickly converted to Islam as representing their system of belief against the monopole of Constantinople.

 

            The other case is the concept of a Syrian Nation with well delimited natural borders including Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and part of Iraq to the west of the Tiger (Dujlat) River. This concept was highly widespread among the people of the region as the Ottoman Empire was dying during WWI.  It was still even more alive during the mandate of France and Britain to the region (Near East) after WWI. The people in the Syrian Nation speak one language and have the same customs and tradition.  This nation was as natural as ABC; the immigrants were first called Turks during the Ottoman Empire and then they were all called Syrians regardless of location or religion.

            The main problem is that the political parties spent two critical decades proving the evident (according to the newer definitions of the West for a Nation) instead of making the effort to developing draft detailed programs on the type of political administrative structure for this nation, the social representation, and election laws; (for example, is it a Federal structure like the USA where each mandated State is fully autonomous with local government and local parliament, or provinces tailored made to religious, ethnic, and sectarian majorities, or loosely united States with open borders, common money, central army, or centralized foreign affairs; is Syria to be a monarchy and what kind). 

            Instead of discussing detailed programs, political parties mushroomed with abstract concepts not based on facts or pragmatic long-term goals. The colonial “mandated powers” of France and England had field days of “dividing to rule”.  Every sect established its political party in every potential State claiming either total independence, or seeking a pan-Arabic Nation of Arabic speaking majorities in States, or Islamic Nation.  We watched the emergence of communist parties disclaiming the notion of affiliating to a nation, to sectarian parties claiming democracy, socialism, and progressive. The worst propaganda that was encouraged by the colonial powers is to incite citizens against the Syrian people with the objective of discrediting the word Syria and giving it a bad connotation.

              Natural borders of chain of mountains, desert, or large rivers do not necessarily protect from invasions; natural borders certainly encourage people to trade and interact inside the borders.  It is the internal rough geography and terrain that protects from outside military incursions.  Once a force crosses the border then Syria is an open land all the way to Egypt. Syria, or the Near East, was continuously occupied by foreign armies: these foreign invaders had to retreat quickly or get absorbed culturally. Whatever monuments, constructions, temples, sport arena, or scholarly works that were attributed to invading nations (Persia, Egypt, Greek, Rome, or Arab) are basically the work of the Near Eastern civilization, their scholars, their craftsmen, and their adventurous business acumen.

            The City-States in the Near East (Tyr, Sidon, Byblos, Ugharit, Mary …) competed in commerce and trade but never attacked one another militarily.  In Greece, City-States frequently waged military wars against one another.  The Near Eastern people adopted defensive strategy; even Carthage in its apogee refrained to antagonize Rome militarily.

            Egypt and Persia frequent invasions in the Near East did not last long.  The Greek were absorbed: what Europe claim as Greek civilization is nothing less than the civilization of the Greek writing Syrians who spoke Aramaic.  Rome was finally absorbed: the Roman Laws are of the legal minds from the school of Beirut and the latest Emperors were born, raised, and educated in Syria. The Byzantium Empire was fundamentally a Near Eastern Empire.  The Arabs from the Arabic Peninsula were absorbed when Damascus was selected as Capital during the Umayyad Dynasty; the Arabs were absorbed by the Persian civilization when the capital shifted to Baghdad.  The Mogul retreated quickly but established long lasting Empires in India and Afghanistan. The Ottoman conquered this land and could not be absorbed: the Syrian people were already exhausted from many years of successive invasions, religious obscurantism, and immigration by scholars to greener pastures.  France and England retreated within two decades.  Israel failed to retreat on time and is now being absorbed as Near Eastern regardless of Israel attempts to seeking European image.

            Consequently, failing to writing a draft on a possible administrative program for the Syrian Nation opened the door to abstract concept instead of working out negotiation and dialogue on pragmatic matters that concerned the people.

100 years old RLM and she is kicking (April 25, 2009)

 

            Rita Levi-Montalcini (RLM) received Nobel Prize in 1986 for discovering “Nerve Growth Factor, NGF”.  RLM is 100 years old and still coming to work and running the non-profit neuroscience research center called the European Brain Research Institute (EBRI) in Rome. The Italian President Ciampi named her Senator for life in 2001.

            In 2001, RLM had wondered “In what scientific domain has Italy always been the best?” Galvani and Volta discovered animal electricity; Golgi invented cell nerve coloring; Vittorio Erspamer isolated serotonin and other neurotransmitters; Giuseppe Levi (her professor) was among the first to experiment with in-vitro culture.  Consequently, RLM research center would be dedicated to neurosciences.

            RLM is writing another book; she had published “Praise to Imperfection” and “The Ancestors”.  In “Ancestors” RLM described 70 bright women thinkers.  She likes to remind the new generation that human brain is of two parts: the tiny archaic or limbic brain that is 3 millions years old in evolution and that is identical to mammals and which control our emotions (positive and negative) and the newer cognitive brain, the neocortex, which has been in development for only 150,000 years as man invented language. The old brain saved man from the ferocious animals when he descended from trees but then it will destroy man by using the mass destructive weapons.  She believes that the end of humanity is soon because the old brain will activate the lethal weapons.

            RLM hires mostly brilliant women researchers because women were denied education for centuries.  She said: “Only hungry people enjoy eating”.  There are no genetic differences between man and women; there are voluntary epigenetic (development) differences exercised by patriarchal cultures.  RLM distributed 6,700 educational grants in Africa since 2001 because she wants to tend to analphabetism, a disease far worst than leper, cholera, and tuberculosis combined.  Her hero feminine scientist and thinker is Hypatia.  Hypatia lived in Alexandria in the 4th century AC; she invented the astrolabe, the planisphere and taught philosophy in the street. Bishop Cyril got jealous of her intellectual fame and harangued zealot Christians to tear her to pieces; Hypatia flesh was burned afterward in the public square.

            RLM has demonstrated that NGF is present in the ovocyte and the sperm and it can cure Alzheimer, Parkinson, and lateral sclerosis amyotrophic patients.  Her eyesight and hearing are almost gone but she claims that her thinking is much more active than when she was 20 years old.  RLM only vanity is luxury dresses.

            RLM has the attitude of turning catastrophes into opportunities.  When the Mussolini regime issued laws in 1938 that restricted RLM horizons she installed a laboratory in her apartment and then moved on to doing research at the University of Washington in Saint Louis in 1960.  After the Israeli massacres in the Palestinian camps of Sabra and Chatila in Beirut (Lebanon) in 1982, RLM lead a demonstration to Israel’s Embassy in Rome and carrying the banner that read: “Sabra and Chatila are part of our struggle” for human dignity and defending human rights.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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