pp. 398 – 399, Mary Beard

TRIGGER WARNING: Because some of those Roman Emperors #selfshakesherhead were clearly cray-cray.

The Emperor Commodus “dressed as a gladiator and” threatened “the senators in the front-row seats of the Colosseum by waving the head of a decapitated ostrich at them” (An eyewitness “had to pluck some laurel leaves from the wreath he was wearing and stuff them in his mouth to stifle the giggles.”)

Tiberius retired from public life almost entirely, preferring to stay in his villa on Capri where he used “little fishes” (euphemism for “boys”) to nibble at his _________ underwater. (There is a film re-enactment in Bob Guccione’s 1970s Caligula)

Mary Beard says the following is “even more chilling” than Tiberius or Commodus: Domitian would torture “flies by killing them with his pen.”

#what #Sorrybutno #youcannotbeserious #whocaresaboutflies

She derides Marcus Aurelius for being cliché: “Do not act as if you were going to live 10,000 years. Death hangs over you.”

Vespasian (69 CE) put “a tax on human urine.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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