Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Rubicon River

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…”

Massacres of 1860 between Druze and Maronite: Eye-witness Account of French diplomat in the field

In 1860, Mount Lebanon was composed of:

1. About 120,00 Christian Maronite

2. 30,000 Druze, claiming to be Moslem

3. 40,000 Christian Orthodox who were called Melkite or Royalist affiliated to Byzantium instead of Papal Rome

4. A few thousand of Shiaa called Metwalis

After the animosity of 1840 between Druze and Maronite, as the Egyptian occupying troops, headed by Ibrahim Pasha, vacated Lebanon and Syria and Emir Bechir II was sent to exile to Malta by the British, Mount Lebanon was wrecked with violence and massacres.

The resolution of the situation ended up dividing Mount Lebanon in two Kaemmakam, or two cantons, self autonomous: One canton administered by the Druze and the second one by the Maronite.

The dividing line was the Beirut-Damascus road. This line was somehow arbitrary since many villages in the Druze cantons were mixed. The Maronite canton was not mixed.

The Ottoman foreign minister, Chekib Effendi was sent to Beirut in 1845 to execute the resolution.

The Druze were not happy with the privileges that Emir Bashir II extended to the Maronites during his over 40 years of reign and were ready to have the Christians pay back as Bashir was exiled to Malta by the British.

Before Egypt Ibrahim Pasha retreated from Syria in 1840, he summoned the Moslem clerics and leaders of Damascus and gave them this warning:

“I have protected the Christians. If I learn that you are back to persecuting and harassing them, I will be back with my army and will take revenge…”

All the while the Maronite exacerbated the Ottoman administrators for demanding the acquired rights and privileges after Ibrahim Pasha vacated Lebanon.

In 1940 and again in 1845, the Maronites launched two offensives in the Druze canton and were smashed hands down.

The Druze warlords and chieftains behaviors were close to Medieval tradition: The Maronite were laborers at the sold of the Druze feudal lords and treated as chattel.

The village of Deir al Kamar was the largest Maronite conglomerate, smack within the Druze canton, followed by Jezzine (on the south) and Beit Merry (at the north and within the Metn district). Zahleh was the far away Christian main town in the Bekaa Valley.

Hasbaya, in the southern part of the Bekaa, was mainly mixed with Christian Orthodox who were very industrious and amassed wealth.

In 1857, the Christian Kaemmakam Bechir Ahmed Abi Lema3 was kicked out of office by the Christians, leaving a serious void in the administration. The Ottoman administration wanted to bring back this Kaemmakam to his post.

At the same period, the Christian feudal Khazen clan in Kesrouan had been chased out of the district for serious egregious mistreatment of the peasants, trying to abuse of them as chattel. Consequently, the Maronite canton had no one to administer it: The Maronite clergy was the sole power remaining to keep the peace.

The peasant appointed the illiterate Tannous (Tanios) Chahine as leader of the peasant revolt. They gathered in Antelias and promulgated the human rights for the peasants and work ethics.

The Maronite peasants in the Druze canton got contaminated by the spirit of the revolt in the Maronite canton and started demanding basic rights.

This revolt lasted two years until the Maronite clergy felt the heat and reversed the objectives of the revolt. A year later, the Maronite clergy appointed the young Youssef Karam from Bsherri (up north) to militarily lead the Maronites. Karam was closely linked to the clergy and France and welcomed the Europeans visiting the Cedars and gave them lodging and dinner.

The Druze Kaemmakam Roslan was very young and basically this canton was administered by Said Jumblat, residing in Moukhtara, and the assembly of Okkal in Bayyada.

Said Jumblat was filthy rich and had acquired vast properties. He was a bastard, very short, ugly, and wore Turkish attire instead of the Druze traditional sherwal.

In 1960, a row took place in Beit Mery, where the European traders and consuls lived for the summer season. This fight spread and the Druze assassinated a few Maronites and burned property.  In general, the Druze men do the killing and their women follow them to burn properties that have been vacated.

The first blood was shed. The European vacated the town, back down to Beirut, a couple hours of horse ride.

Beit Mery was legally in the Maronite canton, but the Metn district was tacitly considered a buffer zone. Consequently, the Nahr el Kalb (Dog River) was the Lebanese Rubicon river not to cross by either parties in period of military upheavals.

The Druze committed another massacre in Jezzine and calmly went back to harvest the silk worms.

The winter of 1961 was spent in both cantons in war preparations.

In Beirut, the Maronite bishop Tobia was the most active politically and harangued the Maronite for revenge.

The Druze attacked Deir al Kamar and the villages of East Saida. The Christians around Saida, fleeing the massacre, were denied safe entry to the city by the Moslems and more Maronites suffered this calamity. (Story to be followed)

Note: Memoirs of a French diplomat who participated in the French expedition of 1860 to Lebanon and Damascus. The book was published in 1903.

How would you like to die, Sir?

Does every inanimate object that I perceive must have a mind (soul)?

So that my mind could perceive it?

Beautiful abstract notion that could change our behavior?

Would I be willing to give my life to support this drastic notion?

I so often hear people say: “

Did I ever received the grace?

Have I ever been in a state of grace?

Do I feel at peace with myself and with the universe…?

And I wonder “what is this state of grace thing”?

I go on with my busy daily work and chores

And then my mind takes short breaks and starts talking with itself like:

“I know that I am among the living;

With such little odds to being born and survive

Has hazard acquired any meaning?

What is the meaning of my life?

Should I expect life to have a meaning?…”

I tend to call these moments “mind-break touched by grace

I resume my hurley burly daily busy work

And these instants of “unprofitable” queries recur frequently.

There are moments my mind takes another kind of break,

An extention to the previous wondering mind,

This auto-questioning is driven to a dangerous step forward.

My mind is saying: “I know that each of my traits is shared by thousands human beings,

Probably by animals too,

And I feel that with all that sharing story,

I am still a unique individual.

Well, this “unique” attribute is shared by God too.

Can’t I deduce that I am sort of a God?”

My mind has crossed the Rubicon River,

It crossed the red line to enemy territory.

My mind has to deal with the new situation, against all odds.

In this short break, my mind acquired a new name:

“Mind-break in state of grace”.

And life never stopped and I continued the living, the  surviving, the pondering.

One day, my mind took a plunge and decides:

“Why not? I am one of the Gods.

Who else is better positioned but me to be a God?”

My mind is revolving in this new state of mind:

My mind is in the state of “mind-break in God”.

Sufis would call it “being in unity with God,

In unison with God,

Friend of God,

Lover of God… And I love my new status”

My mind has crossed all the red lines,

My mind is taking on its responsibility to behaving as a God should behave:

God is no longer going to be indifferent to his brother, neighbor, animals, trees

God is to communicate his emotions, aspirations, hopes, errors

God has to deal with all the troubles, problems, joys, excitements of his fellow-man…

God is to be involved and takes stands for the weak,

The humiliated, the downtrodden, the meek, communities of dying languages…

My mind-God has decided:

It is worth sacrificing once life defending another man’s rights

(all the rights that my mind wishes to acquire, exceeding the UN super laws Charters of rights)

Against all odds and everybody.

Dying as a God is worth the entire universe.

How would you like to die, Sir?

A handful of ash, dirt, dust…

Eaten by worms, ants, crows, fishes, maggots, wolves…

Everything that you despised, handled with disgust, crushed, trampled, maltreated, ignored…

How else would you like to die, Sir?




March 2023

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