Reenactors from World War One, the Napoleonic Wars, the post-Marian Roman period and the early Medieval era take to the London tube to promote English Heritage.
— Calgacus, Chief of the Britions opposing Legate Julius Agricola (via primus-pilus)
When asked what was the right age for marriage, Diogenes replied: “For a young man, not yet; for an old man, not at all.”
When asked how he would like to be buried, Diogenes replied ‘face downwards’, when asked why, he explained that the Macedonians were rising in power so rapidly that the world would shortly be turned upside down and he would then be the right way up.
Diognes was breakfasting in the market place, and the bystanders gathered round him with cries of “dog.” “It is you who are dogs,” said Diogenes, “when you stand round and watch me at my breakfast.”
Some one wanted to study philosophy under him. Diogenes gave him a tunafish to carry and told him to follow him. And when for shame the man threw it away and departed, some time after on meeting him he laughed and said, “The friendship between you and me was broken by a tuna.”
Once, when watching an bad bowman at an archery contest, Diogenes walked over and sat down right next to the target, explaining that it was the only place where he felt safe.
When Diogenes noticed a whore’s son hucking rocks at crowd, Diogenes said to him “Careful, son. Don’t hit your father.”
One day Diogenes shouted out for men, and when people gathered, hit out at them with his stick, saying, “It was men I called for, not scoundrels.”
Diogenes was particularly upset by rich decorations, and at one rich man’s house, on finding himself surrounded by expensive carpets and sumptuous cushions, Diogenes spat in the owner’s face, and then wiped it with his rough cloak and apologized, saying it was the only dirty place in the room he could find to spit.
After being banished from Sinope, Diogenes said, “The Sinopeans have condemned me to banishment; I condemn them to stay at home!”
When Lysias the druggist asked him if he believed in the gods,” How can I help believing in them,” said he, “when I see a god-forsaken wretch like you?”
He was asking alms of a bad-tempered man, who said, “Yes, if you can persuade me.” “If I could have persuaded you,” said Diogenes, “I would have persuaded you to hang yourself.”
When some strangers expressed a wish to see Demosthenes, he stretched out his middle finger and said, “There goes the demagogue of Athens.”
At a feast certain people kept throwing all the bones to Diogenes as they would to a dog. He played a dog’s trick and urinated on them.
Being asked what creature’s bite is the worst, he said, “Of those that are wild, a sycophant’s; of those that are tame, a flatterer’s”.
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I would desperately love to know who made this.
The First Emperor of Rome.
Today we look at a common misconception of Roman history, namely who was the first Emperor of Rome. Now, the error most make is to assume that Gaius Julius Caesar was the first Emperor. This is simply flat out untrue. Even at the peak of his power, after the ending of the war in Africa, Caesar only held the position of Dictator. Before we move further into this you will have to forget the social ideas that we hold around the terms Dictator and Emperor and begin to consider the Roman perspective. Just as the label Tyrant did not necessarily have negative connotations in the Ancient Greek world, the position of Dictator was one of duty and trust. A Dictator could be appointed by the senate to rescue the Republic from imminent danger, and importantly for this discussion was to be given up/ renewed after a single year. The concept of Dictator was useful to the Republic especially during its early forays into Italy. A Dictator could focus the power of the senate into decisive actions, with the ultimate goal of preserving the Republic of Rome. While the rule of a single man could get things done efficiently without the infighting and discussion of the senate; Romans were still conscious to prevent complete power coming down to one man and therefore imposed a limited time for the individual to complete the task. There are a plethora of examples, especially from the early history of Rome (consult Livy if you’re interested).
Anyway, the reason that I understand how people confuse Caesar as an Emperor is that his Dictatorship was voted to him for life. I will point out that (if there are any lingering supporters of Pompey out there) the senate by this point was not only made up Caesar’s supporters (owing to many of his detractors fleeing for their lives), but for any remaining doubters they were coerced by Caesars veteran legions who occupied Italy. Say what you want about having a bigger stick, if your opponent has several armies on your doorstep you still do what he says. The other event this misunderstanding looks at is the offering of the crown to Caesar by Mark Antony during the Saturnalia (yeah the one with naked men with wolf skin, whatever floats your boat). In any case rather than this being a serious attempt to place himself above all others as king, this action aimed to do the complete opposite. It was a political stunt to persuade the citizens of Rome that Caesar would never accept such a position, a point made very clear in during this event with his continual refusal of a mock crown. So Caesar had amassed a great deal of power and would hold it if not for life then for the foreseeable future. But still his political power was still understood through the prism of the Republic and its institutions and technically he had not broken any tenants of Roman law, as the position was voted to him by the senate.
But, I hear you cry, answer the question you posed at the beginning then who was the first emperor. Well I hate to do this to you all, but no Roman man called themselves Emperor. Now you may argue that I am being needlessly flippant because of course the Romans spoke Latin and more generally Greek. But while that is the sort of point I would make to wind people up that is not what I’m getting at. Those in the position of what we today call the Emporership in fact called themselves the Princeps. Again you may say well it’s just a word Emperor = Princeps. This is false equivalency and goes back to the issue I mentioned above, which was the difference between the ideas that we think of when we hear the word Emperor and the ideas the Romans would have heard when someone said Princeps.
Rather than get into the Latin, Princeps roughly means the first among equals, and was often given even during the Republic to the leader of the senate. It was an unofficial title during the Republic and referred to the individual within the senate who commanded the most respect, authority and political power, but by no means suggested complete power. Augustus (Octavian pre 27BC) was given this title along with the name Augustus in 27BC, in reflection of his position in the senate (and his complete political and military supremacy (it helps)) after the ending of the civil war. The choice of title is important, not only was it a strong link to the Republic, but it implied that all were equal and Augustus simply the first off them. Now you and I may recognise an oxymoron (I’ve always wanted to use that word) when we see one, as how can everyone be equal but an individual out of that equal group be considered first, but this was different enough to the idea of a king and Dictator (a position his adoptive and by now long deceased father had made unusable) to allow Augustus to place himself above others yet be considered to be on an equal platform.
Under Augustus and his title of Princeps we find several roles which hold political, military and religious power within the Republic, being to converge. The rights of a tribune of the plebs, proconsul governor ( of more than one province), censor, consul and Pontifex Maximus are all gathered under one individual by the death of Augustus in AD 14. It is these powers coming together which form the core of the powers of the Princeps and signal the start of the Principate (another name for the period under the Emperors).
So in the end the answer to the question is up to you. In the strictest sense of the word there was never an Emperor of Rome. Caesar only held the position of Dictator, but it was given to him for life. Augustus is widely considered to be the first Emperor in the sense that he was the man under whom the Pricipate began. But there are other ways you can think about this and here are just two for you to consider. The position of Emperor is often considered to be one that would be inherited by ones offspring such as in a monarchy. In that case it is not until Tiberius that anybody in Rome would have been sure that the collection of powers Augustus held could be in any real legal sense passed on to an heir. Secondly under the reign of Diocletian the word Princeps goes out of use and he instead refers to himself as “dominus” or lord. Does this better represent the idea of Emperor? In any case once again nothing in history is straight forward and nor should it be otherwise I’d have nothing to post on.
Tsk tsk tsk, you forget that the title “Emperor” is a rendering of the title “Imperator” which was given to any general who could achieve victory.