July 19, 1994
Dear Mr. Buckley,
You may line your hall with noble, waxen busts, but virtue, and virtue alone, remains the one true nobility. This comes from Juvenal, Satire VII, but it applies more so today to our leading men, because of so much artificiality in our land. Our wisemen of today behave like a bunch of yes men in Henry's court; and their ladies' demeanor shares much in common with the whores of the Coliseum in Rome, except the whores of Rome are, by comparison, more virtuous. Compared to even worse examples than in Rome, we might agree that our average men and women leading us would put Clytemnestra and Aegisthus to shame, whom we have already discussed. Agamemnon had it coming, you might say, for he had killed Clytemnestra's husband, Tantulus, and their baby and taken her for himself. Then he tried to sacrifice their first daughter, Iphigeneia, to blood thirsty Artemis, before his expedition to Troy. Bearing such a hatred for Agamemnon for this, Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus killed Agamemnon in revenge and with him his concubine Cassandra. In retaliation for this the son of the murderous Clytemnestra and Agamemnon, whose name was Orestes, revenged his father's death and killed Clytemnestra and her lover, but as a consequence of this act Orestes was driven to madness. This is how the House of Atreus died.
The Romans, no doubt looking upon this sinister model of "justice" dating from 1200 B.C., could always feel justified being not as wicked as the House of Atreus (Agamemnon). We Americans are worse, however.
When we read passages of the Bible, such as: and the nations were angry, or Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing? [Psalm 2.1], which we may compare to: everyone walks after the imagination of his evil heart [Jeremiah 16.12] which yet reveals: and for confusion they shall rejoice [Isaiah 61.7] and the nations shall see and be confounded at all their might: they shall lay their hand upon their mouth, their ears shall be deaf [Micah 7.16], etc., these precepts presume a fall from innocence among all the nations, which virtue condemns and for whose account justice demands rectification. Thus follows:
Psalm 9.17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.
We have already described the wicked through Psalm 12 et al. and may now add this general observation:
Psalm 14.2 The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.
14.3 They are all gone aside; they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
This, of course, is a pretty strong indictment of this age and the men with whom you and I have rubbed shoulders in the market: I with the poor and you with those who made them poor. The community of man in which we have been born is, in fact, like that community known just before the flood:
Genesis 6. 5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6..11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence..
The state of affairs described in the above passages of scripture
presume that the nations are introduced to the ways of God and
then forget them. It presumes a devolutionary process (otherwise
God should account for the corruption, not man); and rather than
intimate that the devolution was from a state of glory let us
admit first off that the devolution has been from worse to bad.
Mankind, in spite of the Gospel of Christ and other processes
designed to save communities from the evil inclinations, such
as lying, cheating, robbing, and murdering, has reached a stage
which rather than saving communities from evil things promotes
them. Since we are referring to the cultivation or sowing of bad
seed in lieu of good seed, let us look at the matter in Darwin's
terms: through well documented and studied processes which we
call natural selection we have evolved communities and nations
which are more evil, or murderous, today than they were when the
pronouncements against the nations were mouthed. Zarathustra described
what is really being sown in our hearts and souls: a superman
who is above God who would prove it through violence.
In spite of the flood, which was designed to destroy all of the violence in the earth-the flesh of man, animals, flying things, and crawling things upon the earth-in the family of Noah came an heir who would evolve into violence again; and he was a mighty hunter:
Genesis 10.8 And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth.
10.9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.
10.10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel..
11.1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.
11.3 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.
11.4 And they said, go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
11.5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.
11.6 And the LORD said, behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they imagined to do.
11.7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.
11.8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
11.9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.
Knowing that the Last Days shall be like the days of Noah (a precept which has many scriptural sources, beyond those already mentioned upon which Jesus drew) we can see one of the first pronouncements [in several scriptures besides the example given]:
Isaiah 33.3 At the noise of the tumult the people fled; at the lifting up of thyself the nations were scattered.
33.17 Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.
33.18 Thine heart shall meditate terror..
Judgment begins in the counting of the towers. During Nimrod's time there was but one. In our day the world is covered with them. Because the LORD determined upon seeing the one tower of Babel, now nothing will be restrained from them, which they imagined to do, it follows that when He counts the many towers of Babel in this day the same result listed in Genesis 11.7-9 will be discerned, when He again complains, Let us go down..But in this instance the effect will not be against one people with one language and one tower, but against all peoples and all towers, because:
Enoch 30.6 ..I cursed ignorance, but what I had blessed previously, those I did not curse. I cursed not man, nor the earth, nor other creatures, but man's evil fruit, and his works.
Sir, this argument began on the thesis, faith without works is death. As stated above, a logical means of judging the extent of man's evil works is by counting the towers built by the Nimrod's, the mighty one's in the earth, and in each one of those towers no doubt we shall see what we have described earlier as servants of the King of Pride [sic. Leviathan]
Let us call all of those towers of the servants of pride, Babel, and then let us go down and judge one of them, for the condemnation of the one even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD
is the same as judging them all. Thus, let us look through one window of the one tower, for what is going on within one window shows what is going on within them all. To be just in the matter let us follow Juvenal's (A.D. 55-140) theory, which says that one can judge a nation by examining what goes on inside its courts. So here we shall judge the towers according to the scene we see in one court. And the court we have chosen is one we all can observe: that of the people against O. J Simpson who, until he entered that court, was a mighty one on the earth. In this court, following the premise at hand, I suggest that it is not O. J. Simpson who is on trial but rather all of those who share his characteristics-who sowed his kind of seed as it were-who are the same ones who built the high towers.
Whether O. J. Simpson, at this writing July 10, 1994, is guilty of the charges against him remains to be demonstrated by the courts. The type which is illustrated in the murderer and the circumstances of the trial concerning Mrs. Simpson's murderer are the matters which we hold for examination in our hand. The circumstances which resulted in the vengeful butchery of Mrs. Simpson and her friend Mr. Goldman are the things which we weigh; and the guilt for those circumstances does not rest merely in the hands of Mr. Simpson but rather and more appropriately in our nation nay the world of high towers which bred him. The murderer of Mrs. Simpson, we argue, was expected to be produced out of those high towers, and he is symptomatic of the overall condition of those towers: that they now overflow with people who are by nature butchers. Foremost among the high towers of pride is America, and from the forgoing comparisons we can draw another concern, that America, being another Nimrod, has become one who has the ability to destroy the world in a flash, in the blink of an eye. Since you, Sir, have rubbed shoulders with some of the greatest men who have created this new Nimrod, the argument stands, that among those of the nations first to be scattered, and then flooded with the knowledge of the LORD, is this nation, keeping in mind that with this comes the Fifth Stage, (more of which we shall speak later):
Zephaniah 3.8..the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.
3.9 For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.
Haggai. 2.6 I will shake the heavens and the earth and the seas and the dry land;
2.7 And I will shake all nations..
3.22 And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother.
Luke 21.25..upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring..
How this nation has devolved and can be used to introduce this ignominious stage we shall now discuss. Keep in mind our presumption that everyone shall come down by the sword of his own brother. We showed several scriptural precedents for this in On the Breakage of the Holy Catholic Church.
All leaders bring with them a support group composed of family and friends. This support group becomes the center of power and tends to go through a period of growth, then suspicion and break-up, bringing foreigners into their midst [such as the Turks bringing into their dynasty their servants, the Mamelukes], then decline (usually being overthrown by the foreigners). This dynastic changing of the guard, as it were, in government Khaldûn identifies in Five Stages. These patterns of dynastic struggle appear in our own American structure-though much more compressed in time- which will be discussed later. As a general note we can say, in fact, that the Western nations as a whole-with respect to the five stages as a model describing the whole-followed the same processes. We may allude to this process as one might when unrolling a large scroll, seeing as each page appears a repetitious account, how one nation sought to outdo another, how one Heroic Age was attempted to be built upon another.
In imitation of the Heroic Age mentioned in Homer's Illiad and Odyssey , discussed in part above, we can see the development of a government which not only emulates the Heroes gathered around the Houses of Atreus, at Mycenae, and Priam of Troy, but also derives its lineage from them. Julius Caesar, said that he was descended from one of the nobles, named Aeneas, of the House of Priam. It is this noble descent which set into place the Golden Age of Rome, beginning in 44 B.C. with Caesar Augustus, nephew of the murdered father of the Roman Empire, whose name was Julius Caesar. The pattern here is that the founding fathers in the two cases just given, Agamemnon and Julius Caesar, are murdered, and it is their sons (or adopted sons) who produce a dynastic Golden Age following them. The life of this line of government follows a five stage pattern described by the Arab historian, Ibn Khaldûn (A.D. 1332-1406).
Let's call Julius Caesar's era Stage 1 and Augustus's Golden Age Stage 2 with reference to the argument we shall be building later in this work. The Golden Age, of Caesar Augustus, (B.C. 27-A.D. 14) was followed by an age of decline under Tiberius Caesar, which we may call Stage 3, and this was followed by a period of debauchery from 37 A.D. to 68 A.D., which we can identify as Stage 4. The final [fifth] stage of this dynasty of the Roman Empire, beginning with Julius Caesar, occurred in A.D. 68 and 69 under Galba, Otho, and Vitellus. Then, in 69 A.D., the Roman general, Vespasian, was called to Rome to assume the throne of Caesar and he began a new cycle of Roman government. He died after ten years of reign, and his elder son, Titus, assumed the reigns of power from A.D. 79- 81. Following his untimely death was Vespasian's younger son, Domitian, who reigned over the Roman Empire from A.D. 81-96; at the ebb of that decline, Nerva reigned in A.D. 96-98, followed by the emperor Trajan, who began a new cycle of government and reigned from A.D. 98-117.
In this small cross-section of history, which sets the background for the principles we might offer you, on the rise and ebb of virtue from one "dynastic " succession to another, we can often follow the beginning of major cyclic changes with a parricide and the mark of the ending of it with another parricide. Western history seems to be broken into cycles whose marker is a parricide or matricide, which thesis we shall expand upon in this text. In recent history we have the parricide of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Hapsburg heir of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, whose death ended the Hapsburg succession and set off World War I. Now the Hapsburgs were successors to the Holy Roman [German] Empire which was ocassioned when Charlesmagne divided his Western Frankish Empire between his two sons, one seated in France and the other in Germany. The German side became known as the Holy Roman Empire, created under the auspices of Christ's chief vicar, the Pope, in Rome.
In our own case we have the murder of Abraham Lincoln which marked a new cycle in American government, which continued about seventy years, until the beginning of World War II. Then a new cycle, called the New Deal, beginning with Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933-1945), ended in another parricidal convulsion, with the murder of President John F. Kennedy, November 22, 1963. Since then we have been in a "declining" period. The Kennedy era, incidentally, has been given a name, Camelot, tying itself to the heroic age of the past.
Camelot refers to the heroic age of the Round Table of
King Arthur. King Arthur and his cousins at the Round Table,
as we noted in our other works, came from a doubly heroic lineage:
first of King David the Jew, through Joseph of Arimathaea,
and secondly of Trojan nobility through the House of Brutus.
So it is that one heroic age likes to tie into, and justify itself
through, a noble predecessor. Through such links a people derive
a nobility which they then use to justify their sovereignty over
others, as was with the aquisition of Siegfried's titles
to Hitler, for instance.
Julius Caesar tapped into Troy's noble line through the refugees, under Aeneas, escaping the Trojan inferno circa. 1200 B.C., and Kennedy, by inference to King Arthur's Camelot, taps into the other branch of the Trojan refugees through their patriarch Brutus. The British historian Bede (A.D. 673) tells us that the British originally came from Amorica (Brittany), and we can see, in fact, a trail of cultural diffusion, marked by megaliths and dolmens/mound burials, from the Black Sea/ Lydian area to Italy (among the Etruscans), on to Spain and Portugal, and up the Western European coast to Brittany and thence to Britain. Heaped on this British heritage, of a certain, is the heritage of the Roman Empire, and thus our greatness as a people was founded. But we add a note of caution here, for following in the steps of the great also brings forth the plausibility that our fate may also be as theirs. For they lived by the sword-their heroes were warriors-and they died by the sword. This, dear Sir, we must keep in mind as we weave together the tapestry showing what was designed on looms long ago and now displays itself before us.
Our practice of justifying the greatness of our own government through links to other "heroic" governments does not end with romantic associations like Camelot, but rather this romancing of our self permeates our culture in all levels. Americans, for instance, believe they are, through their Christian heritage and association to the British, Chosen People and heirs to rule the world. This not only comes from the glories of the British heritage but also via an oblique sort of association which suggests we are now the rightful heirs of the Roman Empire. This not only comes through the de facto knowledge that we devised ourselves to become and are the greatest military power on earth, but also we justified our greatness through a line of succession which passed heir to heir as it were from the Roman Empire.
We can trace this line of succession, backwards, through the Glory of the British Empire, through the Glory of the Napoleonic Empire, through the previous Glory, the Age of Discovery, of the Portuguese/Spanish Empires, and before them the Glory of the Holy Roman Empire (lasting a thousand years): which was instituted via Charlesmagne (768-814). His father, Pepin, son of Charles Martel, became the hammer [like Charon's] which put an official end to the Roman Empire circa. 750 A.D. Whereas in the Age of Discovery, the world was divided between Spain and Portugal, before them it was divided between the Franks (Charlesmagne's foundations which became the Holy Roman Empire) and the Byzantine Empire, which was born under Constantine the Great (A.D. 306-339), after the Roman Empire had fallen into decline through the tetrarchy of Diocletian (emperor A.D. 284-305) under whom was the Great Persecution of the Christians. The Christians had something to do with the decline of Diocletian's tetrarchy. The tetarchy was a last ditch attempt to reorganize the convulsing Roman Empire into two sectors, with Diocletian himself as Augustus in the East and his friend, Maximian, as Augustus in the West. After a turbulent period Maximian was supplanted by his son in law, Constantine [the Great], and Constantine forced him to commit suicide (Diocletian, died in mourning for the loss of his friend, it is said). Constantine, now without any competition east or west, and seeing the greater threat to his empire from the slavs in the east, and being the Western and Eastern Emperor, moved his center from Rome to the East, and founded a new city at Byzantium, which was later called Constantinople. This shift of power from West to East allowed a gradual disintegration of Roman power in the West, a vacancy of which the Franks first under King Clovis's Merovingian dynasty, and later the Carolingian dynasty of Charlesmagne, were happy to fill. This move from West to East , by the way, was inspired, as it is said, by a Red Cross in the sky which Constantine reported was a sign that he should be emperor over all the empire and the vicar of Christ (which he became, as mentioned in On the Breakage of the Holy Catholic Church).
When we trace through the life-span of the Roman Empire to ourselves, we can see that from one succession to another there was the exchange of hands or scepters, as to who would be the heir, or Elect, but, regardless, the Heroic institutions were carried on. Laws, traditions, attitudes; all of these things continued, transmitted through monuments, literature, and religious institutions. We see, in fact, a stream of heroic continuity from Priam to the ancestors of Rome's first King, who were the Etruscans-who also are descended from the Lydian/Trojan line-thus, being blue-blooded, a nobility, among whom Cicero claimed to derive his heritage; and high among them were priests called Hauruspices. Whether of law or religion, Etruscan practices continue into our own era. This script, called the Latin Script, in which I write is not Latin at all but originally Etruscan. Etruscan dominion is believed to have lasted a thousand years, following the wake of the siege of Troy to the time of Cicero (B.C. 106-43) and the end of the Roman Republic, but in several measures their dominion lasted three thousand years.
Images from those remote times continue to haunt us to this day. The common image an American has in his mind as to what the devil looks like comes from Etruscan murals dating circa. 600 B.C., for instance. The liturgy of the Etruscan priests was passed on to their successors, the Latin priests, and their practices were largely adopted by the Christian Church first settled in Rome. Thus we see today bishops wearing "fish" hats which come from Roman priests (who may have borrowed their designs from Iraq) and bear little resemblance to the vestments and liturgy of Christ's Judaism. These priests, scaring the devil out of us using images of purgatory and hell, also use images against us which have more relationship to the Greco-Roman concept of hell than the Judaic concept. Christian concepts as to the ultimate end of this world also come from basic Greco-Roman ideas, as illustrated in our work, Works and Days among the Hyperboreans, and rather than emphasizing the foundation of a Kingdom of God on earth modern Christian pastors focus on the final, fiery destruction of mankind. This image of a final, fiery holocaust becomes self-justifying when we look at it from the standpoint as to who among the elect is entitled to survive the holocaust and reign as heirs: exactly who will be among the saved remnant? became the final question of the Christianized Roman world.
At first it was the Christian Community led by Saints Peter and James who were considered the Elect, New People of God, as previously cited. Then Paul assumed the crown of the Elect, and finally, through a series of failed Heroic claims to the crown, from one nation of Europe to another, the crown of the Elect seems to have arrived on Plymouth Rock in America. So it is that Americans believe that they are that elect chosen to survive the holocaust described in the Scriptures. Of course! Why shouldn't they be the Elect? But this logic only leads to the idea that Americans believe they are blessed with the power of God and [sic] entitled to murder everyone else who contests their heritage. This is demonstrated by the way they handled the Atomic Bomb, and continue to do so, insisting that other nations should destroy their nuclear weapons but ours should not. How about all that press of destroying Soviet missiles, or recent concerns over North Korea's possession of such weapons? Are we not saying to the world that no one else can be trusted with nuclear weapons except us? However, a survey of the evidence, Sir, will reveal that we may be the most dangerous Nimrod, and therefore we plead you to consider that you may be in the middle of the least to be trusted, who are given such power as to desolate this earth. We have many arguments to demonstrate this and urge you to continue to bear with us as we explore from the stairs of justice the burden of our complaint.
As The Old Man of the Sea and I were discussing
the O. J. Simpson case, yesterday, July 8, 1994, he shook his
old snowy capped and bearded head, and said that he was beginning
to have doubts in his previous attitude towards capital punishment
and was thinking that from his expierience in Chili, and now the
O.J. Simpson case-which tends to remind us of the darker side
in each one of us, striking deeply into our hearts-perhaps captial
punishment is in order for certain applications. I put my hand
on his shoulder and quietly said, Well, now Darwin, can't you see what you described as our darker side comes from natural selection? We've been breeding the murderer into ourselves, by making heroes of those who are the most aggressive. I
then added points about our natural thirst for violence, seen
on television, and how this merely illustrates how we see and
conduct ourselves at home. So the murderer of Mrs. Simpson is
inbred, and through a process of natural selection we [sic. all]
Americans perhaps carry the most profound, undiluted collection
of aggressive genes in the history of mankind. The Simpson case
is merely symptomatic of a larger problem which we have been cultivating
and selecting as we would aggressiveness in fighting dogs and
chickens, for instance.
We can see our true nature, in fact, just by watching the goings on in our courts. Juvenal first mentioned this, as noted earlier, and we think the O. J. Simpson case well illustrates a good part of what he had in mind.
This was one of the statements the District Attorney made when referring to the evidence that O. J. Simpson murdered his wife and her aquaintance, Mr. Goldman. The defense suggested that the trail of blood from the crime scene, then to the Bronco, and then up the driveway to Mr. Simpson's house, could have been left by anyone, including an animal (the Simpson dog had been found with blood on its paws). The District Attorney answered that whoever left the trail of blood left it also on the door handle to O. J. Simpson's Bronco. And dogs do not drive Bronco's she deduced.
Let's stay on this for a moment. The Bronco was named after a
wild horse which the cowboy's in our Wild West would tame. The
cowboys who tamed Bronco's were called Bronco-Busters. They today carry on the practice of their heritage in Rodeo's throughout Western America. These individuals are known for their ruggedness and untamed nature themselves they dress like it and conduct themselves according to a model which we have known as the Bronco-Buster. My own father and his family are of this sort of heritage, and one of my uncles was stomped to death by a bronco.
The Bronco-Buster/Cowboy was also known for his courage and other qualities which were necessary to tame the Wild West, including the fighting off of wild Indians. This extended to a heritage of independent souls who struck out, traveling alone and in wagon trains to settle lands previously occupied by various Indian tribes, fighting first the Indians and then each other, over land disputes and in saloons where drunkenness, pride, women, gambling and the skills of fighting ruled. The cowboys fighting for American lands and honor filled a mythical addition to our heritage. The cigarette brand, Marlborough, still advertises that hardy character, with a cigarette hanging off of his lower lip, who tamed the American Wild West. From this we could conclude that the ideal American male, being true to American nature, might be expected to drive a Bronco and smoke Marlborough cigarettes, and these two characteristics alone suggest that such an individual is not one you would want to mess with. He could turn on you at any moment. And all this, the individuality and ruggedness, the pride of being what we are in terms of our heritage, manifests itself from time to time an ego run amuck, living up to, and exceeding, every expectation we have solicited in ourselves..
Any manufacturer which uses a name which solicits the aggressive characteristics of our heritage is contributing to a process of natural selection. In a nutshell the Bronco automobile is designed to attract buyers displaying the characteristics of aggression which were so important in the taming of our Wild West. By attracting them and establishing through them a peer group, they exercise an influence which furthers selectiveness for aggression. The Bronco, of course, is not just any car. It is designed as a rugged, all terrain vehicle.
We don't suggest that anyone driving a Bronco type of automobile is prone to aggressive behavior, such as bar room brawls, but only to suggest that the peer group to whom it plays are a type whose history included very aggressive individuals.
It's every man for himself. Americans are proud of the independent qualities of their nature. In fact the quality is such that it describes perfectly a capitalistic society and a society which is most competitive in everything it does. It is a nation which breeds winners. Losers (who are typified by the "nurd," studious characteristics which are, conversely opposed to American prejudices, a man with a pen, as typified in China) are condemned. Men who distinguish themselves in war, athletic events, and other like activities, where aggression and competitiveness are easily expressed, win the highest accolades and income of our society. One who is distinguished in war and skilled and then sets a name for himself in the business world, becomes, in fact, the model upon whom our society feeds. So we tend to breed, through natural selection, those characteristics which are most likely to be most highly rewarded. These characteristics depend upon aggressive behavior, and all this says is that through the combination of amusements, expectations, and rewards, we have been selecting a social fabric which is becoming each year more refined in those characteristics which display aggression. Just as a dog breeder selects for aggressiveness in the Mastiff or Chow, so too have we done the same with our own people.
A breeder of Mastiffs would never be surprised if one of his dogs
attacked someone or, from another perspective, it attacked the
neighbor's cattle. Neither should we be surprised, then, to see
an O. J. Simpson butcher his wife. Here the aggressiveness does
not stop with killing one's competition, but carries into the
venue of butchery. When we look at the case from this perspective
we find it not unusual anymore to find people who appear normal
but carry a dark nature within them which sets them off not to
murder, or to eliminate competition, but to become another in
a long line of butchers of our society.
Within the animal kingdom male aggressiveness is normal and expected. The wild ducks who hang around my boat pretty well establish the typical model of this "wild" kingdom. As my rice bowel has raised a few of them I know enough about them to have noticed that they form patriarchal societies-life-time partnership not being uncommon-but the yearlings congregate around the matron, however, and both males and females fight for a place in the pecking order of their society. The pecking order is just that. Feathers fly as two contestants for the same territory pluck at each other's necks and wing feathers. After a short flurry of activity one or the other is run off, always ready on the next occasion to engage in another contest, however, until the pecking order is settled. The slip beside my boat under any other circumstance would, if claimed by a particular clan of ducks, be off limits to other clans. If I feed other clans (which I do-not by intention-because I have trouble from time to time distinguishing which member belongs to which clan), I interfere with the normal pecking order and sometimes that causes wars and very loud quacking protests from those whom I have befriended. So recognizing the social relationships I must attempt to be diplomatic on the one side and discourage regular visits by all the clans from the other side. In spite of the disruptions I have unintentionally caused in the clans of wild ducks around my boat, there is one thing I have noticed which applies to the animal kingdom in general but not to man: there are no butchers in the Wild Kingdom. The butchers occur in man alone [maybe there may be an exception among rogue tigers and lions; let the experts scratch their heads on that one; ed. note].
The butcher draws from that instinct in male animals (and to a lesser degree females) to fight off competition for the same household space. That fighter being already instinctive in us then only requires further refinement to breed a killer instinct; and breeding for the killer instinct even more cultivates the final stage: that of breeding butchers. In this stage the desire to kill yields to the new desire of revenge, best expressed in the desire to mutilate victims. The butcher seeks out victims to kill but for one purpose and that purpose is mutilation, or as we have termed it, butchery. That Americans have evolved through their own process of natural selection towards this end more than any other society we shall now propose, and being leaders of the world, it follows that the selection process within us which glorifies butchers, being glorified in our movies and literary monuments, is exported to other nations. We are not the only phenomenon of this type which has occurred in this age. We recall the Nazis, Mau-Mau's, Pol Pot Regime, Stalin's death squads, the Cosa Nostra, terrorists of all kinds, the situation in Rwanda where perhaps one half million souls were hacked to death in a three week period and other murderous plagues. That Americans are capable of equal atrocities is illustrated by the occasion when we dropped Atom bombs on the cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Japan. We propose that there is not a large difference between those willing to carry out mass murder and those who seek either one or several victims to butcher. My Wild Duck friends are at the moment incapable of either. So there are murderers and then again there are butchers-not to be found among Wild Ducks, but men. To close this part of our thesis, it is suffice to say that we in the Western World are not just breeding murderers but worse, butchers.
So what's new? you might say. In the wars conducted out of the Eastern Roman Empire, against the onslaught of Vandals and Visigoths, then Slavs, it is not unusual to read of an incident where 10,000 to 50,000 people are slaughtered. Such slaughters, conducted as acts of agression called War by one nation against another, are too commonplace in Western history, beginning with the time when the first Indo-European tribes began to filter out of the steppes of Russia into Greece, India, and Persia (Iran) first, until now. Genocide and enslaving women and children, after pillaging and burning a city, seemed to be a norm for Western behavior. Also in our various histories are many events of mass suicides, where an entire tribe will commit suicide rather than submit to defeat and have their women and children enslaved.
In contrast to the patterns of warfare, murder within a social group was not acceptable and carried a penalty following a common law [lex talionis ] accounted among the Ten Commandments: an eye for an eye, a life for a life. Within this scheme were extenuating factors which judges used to determine to what extent a penalty must be applied. And this all related to establishment of intent. If one robs another to feed one's starving family, those circumstances would mitigate the appropriate penalty, and where a murderous intent may not be established, blood money may apply, where the bereaved are reimbursed by the accused a certain value in cattle or money for the loss of their loved one. But one thing is clear in all societies I have studied, from the primitive to the complex, they all had governments instituted to maintain law and order within themselves. As a society they could conduct acts of robbery, mayhem, and murder against an enemy society. In the Western World, however, with the advent of the Persian Empire, then Greek and finally the Roman Empire the standards governing the internal matters of a society began to apply to the relationships between the nations. Because under Rome individual nations were all considered one nation subservient to Roman law. Roman citizenship was, in fact, extended to individuals within the various component nations within the empire. Through the might of the Roman Empire conflicts between nations were managed and a long period of peace was realized, though broken from time to time with one insurrection or another or attack upon the empire by new peoples, such as the Visigoths under Aleric, to the fringes of the empire, and where defenses were weak, as illustrated in the case of Aleric (A.D. 410), to Rome itself.
When butchery occurred in Western Wars, it was often applied as a punitive measure. With each new Empire come to rule the Western World came amendments to the law of warfare (note how Britain protested Napoleon's butcherous use of canons), and finally, as a result of Nürnberg and subsequent UN covenants, new world conventions of relenquishing a state's sovereign use of war came into being. This is verified by George Bush's and the G-7's open concession of UN sovereignty over matters of war-a precedence set during the UN War against Saddam Hussein, Jan 16, 1991, followed by the precedence of the UN military intervention in the affairs of Somalia to preserve life in 1992/1993. Here, then, we list a trend how international covenants have evolved to deter among nations those crimes which are, within the internal jurisdiction of nations, considered to be crimes. At the moment, for instance, there is talk of holding a UN Nürnberg type tribunal to hear claims of possible war crimes acts comitted in Rwanda.
By International Convention we know that the terms of international
justice are no different than those which apply within a nation.
Following the precept that a people tend to resemble their leaders,
if their government is corrupt and brutal, then the people will
also tend to be corrupt and brutal; or following the idea to the
end, if our international government is corrupt and brutal so
shall we all be. Our first line of defense in perserving virtue
and justice, therefore, is in the UN and the leaders who are its
pillars. The major pillar of the UN is America. Note this, however,
in America's particular, internal case, because of the brutal
way millions of homeless people are being treated within its cities,
and recognizing the general context of our complaint, we can
assess the fact that the American government, being corrupt and
brutal, merely reflects the fact that the American people have
become a people who are corrupt and brutal by nature [sic. design],
and these, in turn, are leading the United Nations. What a miserable
Following Juvenal's lead we can find that these characteristics the lack of virtue and justice in our International relations and internal affairs are easily observed in any individual case in any one of our courts. And thus, what we are seeing in the O. J. Simpson trial is nothing more than a mirror reflecting the dark side of our nature which is, as we shall now demonstrate, worse than the dark nature of Rome when Rome had seeped to its lowest level. We mention this because Americans like to justify themselves on the account that they can see other people with worse manners than they. They might draw upon the cruelty of the Roman Coliseum, or the life of Caligula, to demonstrate American superior virtue, for instance. To quell any voices to this effect we therefore offer a short inquiry comparing the bad manners of Rome to Washington D.C.'s.
Often the light of a new regime is so bright those following the founder's footsteps have trouble bearing the burden of their inheritance. Take Gaius Claudius Caesar (Caligula) for instance, who inherited an empire won by Augustus Caesar, sustained and built upon by Tiberius Caesar. Tiberius (reigned A.D. 14-37) was married to Julia, the daughter of Caesar Augustus, and died after a long reign at the age of 78. He had competition always, in the form of his step-brother, Germanicus-one of the most popular and most loved of all generals, by Romans and foe alike- whom Tiberius eventually had poisoned. The glory that was upon Julius Caesar and then Julius Caesar's nephew, Augustus, began to fade in the luxury of court life, when it lit upon Tiberius. Note how the Roman historian, Tacitus (A.D. 55-116), concludes his book on Tiberius Caesar:
Annals 6.51 And so died Tiberius, in the seventy-eighth year of his age. Nero was his father, and he was on both sides descended from the Claudian house though his mother passed by adoption, first into the Livian, then into the Julian family. From earliest infancy, perilous vicissitudes were his lot. Himself an exile, he was the companion of a proscribed father, and on being admitted as a stepson into the house of Augustus, he had to struggle with many rivals, so long as Marcellus and Agrippa and, subsequently, Caius and Lucius Caesar were in their glory. Again his brother, Drusus, enjoyed in a greater degree the affection of the citizens. But he was more than ever on dangerous ground after his marriage with Julia, whether he tolerated or escaped from his wife's profligacy. On his return from Rhodes he ruled the emperor's now heirless house for twelve years, and the Roman world, with absolute sway, for about twenty-three. His character too had its distinct periods. It was a bright time in his life and reputation, while under Augustus he was a private citizen or held high offices; a time of reserve and crafty assumption of virtue, as long as Germanicus and Drusus were alive. Again, while his mother lived, he was a compound of good and evil; he was infamous for his cruelty, though he veiled his debaucheries, while he loved or feared Sejanus. Finally, he plunged into every wickedness and disgrace, when fear and shame being cast off, he simply indulged his own inclinations.
This is how Stage 3 of Julius Caesar's dynasty ended. With the death of Tiberius, the throne went to Germanicus's son, Gaius Claudius [Caligula] Caesar. Caligula-named after the type of shoe he wore in Germany while accompanying his father's campaign-became extraordinarily effeminate and as emperor often wore women's clothes. His debaucheries, compared to his uncle's, make Tiberius' appear more to the side of virtuous than debaucherous. Whereas Tiberius had refused to accept deification, as was the case with Caesar Augustus, Caligula who installed Herod on his throne took to deification quite seriously and went so far to insist quite assiduously upon having his statue installed for worship in the temple of Jerusalem in A.D. 40. The Jewish historian and philosopher, Philo Judaeus, whom we have already discussed on several occasions, refused to allow installation of Caligula's abominable image in the Temple, to which event Caligula committed him to death for the obstruction of his orders, but fortunately before Philo could execute the order for his suicide Caligula had been assassinated in Rome. After this, among all the provinces of the Roman Empire, only the Jews were allowed to enjoy immunity from emperor worship.
Upon Caligula's murder, the brother of Germanicus succeeded him,
whose name was Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus. Claudius,
then aged 50, reigned from A.D. 41 to A.D. 54. His wife Messalina
was quite powerful and somewhat of a whore about town. After hearing
enough of the complaints about his wife, Claudius-known for being
easily manipulated-finally said to the detractors insisting upon
cutting her throat, we quote: bring the poor creature to me. With
Messalina gone and being somewhat indecisive like our current
President, the affairs of Rome continued to slide downwards to
what would be better described as a lack of government than government;
and this caused conspirators led by Agrippina (mother of Nero,
the daughter of Germanicus and granddaughter of Tiberius), to
deliver him his favorite mushrooms, laced with Locusta's notorious
potion. As was customary at dinner Claudius would fall into a
lethargic, drunken stupor, then relieve his bowels, and appears
to have passed the poison along with it. Claudius, still a bit
ill in his stomach, then led Xenophon to help him vomit up the
rest (but with a poisoned feather).
Claudius was a philosopher of sorts and not as bad an orator as we are led to believe, according to Tacitus. Whether he was a good tactician is debatable. He had a large lake created so to put on a real naval battle--with full size ships and marines and the like, filled from the prisons--and the carnage was so great the emperor's friends petitioned him to call the battle off, which he did. This is one of the few examples during the period in question where the Romans expressed any sign of Human Dignity. Because of his passive nature, while Messalina was alive, trapped between her and Agrippina's intrigues, many lost property-much of which Messalina confiscated-others were sent into exile or put to death. As under Tiberius--perhaps a bit more--the Roman elect continued to fear being asked to commit suicide for the slightest amount of virtuous conduct. In America today, by comparison, it is no longer just the elect who must fear suicidal, virtuous conduct. Following the slide from Tiberius through Claudius's lack-luster leadership, the Roman elect were well starved for a Nimrod. Agrippina had just the remedy, her son, Nero, by Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus, once she had poisoned Nero's companion, the emperor Claudius's [fourteen years old] son, Britannicus.
Nero had not only his two predecessors to inspire him to hold contempt for human dignity, but also many others were constantly feeding him both gore and glory. Assuming the throne at about the age of seventeen, Nero was seen as that man of courage who could lead its armies to pacify the barbarians on the fringes of the empire (Armenia was a problem area), and as he worked the crowds as it were, striking an excellent figure above them, the crowds went crazy over him. So excellent was he in appearance it inspired him to follow not only the profession of emperor but also write and perform in his own theatre presentations. His most noteworthy performance, of course, was when he set thousands of Christians on crucifixes aflame by the lust for blood in the Coliseum and by the deadened souls who walked by the tombs along the Appian way entering Rome.
Nero (A.D. 37-68), whose mother was the daughter of Germanicus and his father's lineage, derives his claim to the emperor's throne from the sister of Augustus, whose name was Octavia minor. Whatever the noble and virtuous Germanicus passed from his recessive, darker side into the blood of Caligula he passed in superior quantity to his cousin, Nero. This double dose of contempt for human dignity was certainly affected through the luxuries of court life. The luxuries of the emperor's palaces, many imported from far parts of the empire along with the ivory and ostrich plumes purveyed by Herod among many solicitors brought about perhaps the most notorious, debaucherous qualities in Nero. Herod, close friend of Caligula, and anointed by Caligula as king of much of that stretch of land which goes from the Euphrates to the Nile river, added to the norms of court life by leaving a trail of parricidal blood in Judaea. Herod, influenced by his sister Salome, managed to murder anyone who could slightly cause a contest for his throne. Among them were the Maccabean heirs, members of his own family, including his own children and mother, and when push came to shove, finally Salome. Actually, for those who like detail, Herod was originally appointed by Anthony Caesar as King over Cole-Syria, and whilst Cleopatra was vacationing in Syria (land Caligula eventually gave Herod) no doubt Cleopatra and Salome exchanged stories on how to corrupt those around themselves. Salome was the best of them, making Livia or Messalina look like amateurs, and knowing how stories of intrigue and power like to wiggle into gossip columns and school textbooks it is clear that Nero should have gotten the best education in corruption available in his times. As we mentioned earlier, quoting St. Anthony, people who rub against filth get filth on themselves, and if Nero had been the slightest exposed to Caligula or Herod, he would have been well educated for the most licentious behavior and associated atrocities ever conceived by man. But his debaucheries and atrocities pale compared to what our leaders have done to this nation.
Nero soon put his education and genes to work, first murdering his brothers and his mother, and then behaving as a common street hoodlum with his friends in the evenings, rolling drunks for their money, to wit:
Tacitus 13.25 In the consulship of Quintus Volusius and Publius Scipio, there was peace abroad, but a disgusting licentiousness at home on the part of Nero, who in a slave's disguise, so as to be unrecognized, would wander through the streets of Rome, to brothels and taverns, with comrades, who seized on goods exposed for sale and inflicted wounds on any whom they encountered, some of the last knowing him so little that he even received blows himself, and showed the marks of them in his face. When it was notorious that the emperor was the assailant, and the insults on men and women of distinction were multiplied, other persons too on the strength of a licence once granted under Nero's name, ventured with impunity on the same practices, and had gangs of their own, till night presented the scenes of a captured city. Julius Montanus, a senator, but one who had not yet held any office, happened to encounter the prince in the darkness, and because he fiercely repulsed his attack and then on reproach, was forced to destroy himself. Nero was for the future more timid, and surrounded himself with soldiers and a number of gladiators, who, when a fray began on a small scale and seemed a private affair, were to let it alone, but, if the injured persons resisted stoutly, they rushed in with their swords. He also turned the licence of the games and the enthusiasms for the actors into something like a battle by the impunity he allowed, and the rewards he offered..
Still not satiated by Rome's indifference to his procacity,
he set fire to that city of about 2 million people at that time.
Then he blamed the Christians for the evil deed and persecuted
them with tortures which still held the record for atrocity until
the coming of Hitler. We make the comparison here with Hitler
because the tactics of Hitler's early brown-shirts were very much
like Nero's gang of ruffians.
The common thread of these parricidal maniacs, from Tiberius to Nero and particularly Herod, is that all of them saw no difference in bringing ruin to their own family than the ruin they brought to their own cities and nation. Americans as a whole have trouble differentiating such associations, like the indifferent Roman population, who would not demand virtuous conduct among their leaders (because they themselves were performing equally sordid crimes). The Roman citizens who passed by the fiery tortures of the Coliseum and the Appian Way and faced the Caligulas and Neros with a glaze over their eyes are the same people who pass each day the millions of our homeless and look upon our legislatures and Executive governments with a glaze on their eyes.
We introduce this work by means of this illustration only to persuade you that by comparison to the Romans' basest period of their history, the current era in America is much worse. Not one, but on many more counts are our people more base than the Romans.
Ibn Khaldûn, whom we shall address in more detail later, points out that the survival of a government, which must first be based upon virtue, is dependent upon its familial responsibility.
In the Bible the word for tribe or nation is interchangeable. Whether a tribe or a nation, the source of its prosperity or decline is derived from the center of its leading family(s); when they decline in virtue, so follows the nation.
No wheel can turn without a center, says Khaldûn.
Whatever treasure that wheel carries, then, if the center of the
wheel is not lubricated and maintained properly, will be turned
over with the failure of the center.
Every nation or tribe is an extended family, and at each center, or core, is a family who draws to it its closest friends and family. If the core family is virtuous and strong, being paragons to the rest of the nation, it creates what Khaldûn describes as group feeling, itself ever expanding as the empire expands. Examples of strong group feeling which permeated the Roman Empire include first Anthony Caesar and Germanicus. In modern parlance we might tend to call such a group feeling as a following, but in the final assessment the group feeling reflects the kinship ties of an extended family, whether adopted or by blood, whereas a mere following inclines towards the nature of a fan club which blooms and wanes with the fortune of their idol. We can again use the case of Nero, as the source of idol worship. Immediately after his accession the people began insisting making idols of him. In fact they demanded that they have the right to install an idol equal in size to that of Mars in the Temple of Mars! What was this person who deserved to have a statue in the Temple of Mars which was equal to Mars himself? Cutting a colorful, dashing figure one who loved to do the impossible , says Tacitus, 15.43 this was Nero. One of the impossible tasks Nero attempted and failed was a canal through several hills to Avernus. Where he succeeded very well was in insulting the dignity of his family, Rome and its Empire. The people were themselves so degraded they could not refuse the insults. This is a function of the loss of group feeling, where at the center of Roman society was a leader and his family whose only code was, it's every man for himself; you're on your own kid. Even Nero's mother, Agrippina, who felt secure in her place as Emperor's Mother, became alienated from her own son, first moved to lesser quarters and then murdered by him. So it is that Tacitus observed, Of all things human the most precarious and transitory is a reputation for power which has no strong support of its own [Tacitus 13.19; all quotes are from his Annals ]. If she were in constant fear of danger, so too was it with the rest of the population; and Nero reinforced this feeling of fear through his street gangs and then, in the final indignity, in setting fire to his own palaces and Rome.
How quickly Rome's group feeling disintegrated in but four generations of emperors! Whom should it be that should be blamed for this ? many Romans were surly asking. Referring to Nero's putting the blame for the burning of Rome onto the Christians-as Hitler blamed the Jews for the ills of German society-Nero created a following who shared the sentiments of destroying Christians. For the Christians were interfering with the worship of the gods, and the failure to worship a god at the proper time could have disastrous effects upon a city, so people believed at the time. Well, this still holds true today, for many Christians carry amulets and other "idol-like" creations around their necks to their patron saint and continue to propitiate him or her with prayers. The Christian religion has within it an abundance of saints, whose statues are situated in churches and town squares, which pretty well cover all the plethora of possible benefits and protection from evil once held by the gods.
During the reign of Caligula there were several earthquakes which
shook Rome and also droughts; and the fire in Rome severed their
connection with their gods even more. This earth-shaking period
was also occurring in other parts of the empire; i.e.: the land
raising in Ephes and sinking elsewhere. In Rome in Caligula's
reign there were several omens noted, among which were birds of
evil omen perched on the Capitol, houses thrown down by frequent
shocks of earthquake [Tacitus, 12.43], later a stadium was
shaken down, killing 50,000 of the audience, and at the end of
Claudius's reign the tree in the Comitium, which 840 years
before had sheltered the infancy of Romulus and Remus, was impaired
by the decay of its boughs and by the withering of its stem, was
accounted a portent, till it began to renew its life with shoots [Tacitus 13.58]. These and other portents aggregated considerable panic among the Romans. Added to what was happening in Rome to other portents around the empire and, knowing thus that the gods were angry, we can understand how Rome greeted the dashing Nero with obsequies deserved only by gods. Their hope that Nero would quell the anger, as it were, and restore prosperity was crushed, when the street gangs began to rule the streets; and many surely looked up at the porters of disaster called the Furies who continued dashing the gods' loathsome vials down upon them.
So Jupiter and earth shaker Neptune and the other gods became angrier as the decadence of the Julian/Augustan House increased; as the decadence increased crop failures had a more disastrous effect (since the Romans, whose strength was in agriculture, had gradually slipped into the fast paced city life and gave up their fields). In turn they relied more and more upon imports so much so, we might emphasize, that when natural disasters did strike (Rome was flooded on several occasions as well) the people were not able to reprovision themselves. Someone had to be at blame for this, and rather than take the blame upon their own shoulders, they accepted Nero's proposal of scapegoating the Christians.
In our own case we can see some surly people beginning to behave in the same manner, looking around for a scapegoat whom they can blame for our present troubles, of floods, numerous earthquakes (the highest frequency ever recorded), volcanic eruptions, droughts, floods, cold winters, and falling economic hopes. After they have finished with blaming President Clinton, no doubt, they will turn their angry countenances upon their neighbors. For if by comparison the gods grew angrier as the first emperor's family declined, we can say that God must be manifoldly more angry at our own decline. Rather than blame ourselves for our own misfortunes apocalyptic ministers blame God, seeing the disasters as an omen that Jesus is about to return and raise them to Heaven, punishing the rest; and others rolling dice and reading cards as is typical in our governments blame the House which is dealing the cards. Thus, whether the finger-pointing is directed towards the clouds or to the corrupt chambers of our governments, lacking any individual among our society being worthy of blame no one is blamed who is blameworthy. Now the ones who are really to blame for our misfortunes are those thick-skinned passer-bys who drop quarters, to buy off what conscience they may have, in styrofoam cups held out on our streets. But they, being cowardly by nature and never willing to assume culpability for any wrong; and being accustomed to lying and cheating and the things which accompany that process, merely shrug their shoulders as our nation burns. We complained earlier that Reagan and Bush, whose seats in hell are well secured, waiting for them, have been given a lesser position there, downwind from Nero, because Nero only set fire to a city, and Reagan and Bush set fire to a nation. Until the ashes and fallout of this regime are examined, however, it is dubious anyone would agree that Reagan and Bush should deserve seats downwind of Nero. But we have much time, as said before, and can wait upon the vicissitudes of justice.
A government grows and then declines. During Khaldûn's day (A.D. 1332-1406) the perfect model of government was dynastic. The dynastic model, which went through four stages of growth and a final, fifth stage, of death, fits the characteristics of our own American experience. The cause of the fifth stage as it applies to our own case cannot only be referred to Khaldûn's model but also that of Rome, as we have inferred. Since Rome's case is such a familiar and well recorded history, whose highest eminence under the Roman Republic is easily contrasted by its basest devolution during the period before 70 A.D., when Jerusalem was sacked, we may weigh its greatest superficialities and baseness to show how our own nation has fallen to even cruder levels. It is not the fact that we have fallen so far in virtue what we stress here, but, more significantly, we wish to doubly pronounce how quickly we have fallen!! In Khaldûn's model, the rise and fall of a dynasty could be measured in about five generations, using the customary period of 40 years to represent a generation. This comes to 200 years.
In all fairness to the model, we must begin our comparison
from the period of revitalization of our nation, during the Civil
War, and count from there how quickly we have fallen from the
heights of great virtue to the pits of Romanesque excess. As people
do tend to resemble their leaders, we must not blame the people
as a whole for their peccant conduct, but rather, as said, our
leaders are foremost to blame, which we shall yet endeavor to
As stated before, Sir, we believe from the illustrations about to be listed (towards the end of identifying those worthy of blame for our ills), in contrasting our leaders' behavior to common expectations of virtue, that you are not at heart one of that mob who offends us daily with their clandestine abominations, and will eventually take a stand well apart from them.
Arguments that so and so condemned so and so because he was more evil only come to idle chatter before just courts. No doubt making excuses for our depravity, our Media tend to confuse us, hiding the fact how base we really are; and to this end we have the Christian Church daily reinforcing in their flocks' minds how evil their flocks are but not, of course, as evil as the Jews. But all of this has been but idle chatter, like the old men of Priam's court, scratching their weathered, hairless scalps in front of the Scaian Gate as they watch foreign born flames consume it. But here we limit not the confusion to the men, but rather focus upon those women who stand with their men, adding to the confusion through their shrieks and howls, not being torn over the loss of their families and city, but more over being rejected by the last of Agamemnon's troops, so they scowl at the cowards who led them into their misery, who were afraid to throw the Spartan whore, Helen, out of the gate of the city. Why, you may wonder, were the women scowling at their cowardly husbands before the fiery gate of Troy? Their husbands (Paris had a crew!) brought into the city a whore and they themselves became contaminated by the whoredoms. It is a fact that when the whore Helen came to their fair city, following in her trail was a host of wrathful kings in a thousand ships. One would think that the Mycenaeans' and their allies would have been glad to get rid of Helen, but as we have listed in the beginning of this work, the House of Agamemnon was a House of ill repute, by all standards of human dignity; and since a people tend to follow their leaders it is reasonable to see how easy it was to mislead the troops following Agamemnon to spending ten years raping and pillaging foreign shores just to redeem their whore. Knowing these details, then, we can see how the Trojan women finally came to their senses, though it was too late, when they realized that they too should have averted cowardice and shamed their husbands for bringing home a whore, before the thousand, king laden ships arrived. After this manner, then, we would impose more upon your goodwill and patience, whilst we demonstrate the extent to which our own nation has brought a whore into its midst, who, like Helen, fraternized with the kings of this earth and who, if she is not shamed off our shores, will bring forth a wrath which will make the force of the thousand angry ships and their kings appear so much as child's play. Bear with us, we pray, as we show you that whore and how she has contaminated all of our women to behave as she; and they, behaving as she, abandoned not only their families but likewise their nation. The solution we shall endeavor to support then is to find women in our land who can see the signs before them and throw the whore out of our city.
There is good precedence for this, of women being the first to raise up against those whorish things which lead to destruction of their cities. The Parisian women are most famous (no doubt because they remembered the fate of their ancestors in Troy), who, as mentioned in the Second Coming of the American Revolution, marched in thousands upon Versaille, carrying their tots and toddlers with them; and they shamed their menfolk so badly in the march that a short time later their ranks filled with brave men, young and old alike, marching against that infamous prison called the Bastille. This note in the aforementioned book didn't seem to impact you much, so we thought to dedicate a piece to the ladies who saved their nations from time to time, hoping, in the process to stimulate one of our own ladies to take the helm, assuming one can be found.
Now this march on Versaille came about not only because of their noble lineage, but also due to the fact that they were ashamed of the homeless masses who were not only being deprived of basic necessities to sustain life but also their human dignity. These ladies had suckled and nursed the multitudes of homeless Frenchmen in the streets and their maternal instincts told these ladies that it was an insult to their very integrity as ladies to allow the abomination of abandoning their children to the streets to continue. These were not the first women in history who led their nation away from such abominations, and we hope they will not be the last. But we must ask, searching our own Plastic Age for such women, where art thou- Elizabeth I, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Esther of the Jews-and where, mind you, are all those women who were always with Jesus? Damn it! By Christ I say there was a major screw up when Jesus neglected to name a woman among the apostles! Should have appointed the Magdalene or the other Mary so our Christian women could have a noble, Christian example of continuing virtue and if need be putting their cowardly menfolk to shame!
Alas! All the noble blood of ladyhood has been washed away! The greatest of them today do at best a pantomime of their menfolk-which is nothing less than whoredom- and all this only added more yes men to the numbers of men moaning around our falling gates. Scan a modern woman's statements and writings and you will play hell trying to find one word which has any relevance to the salvation of any nation, let alone our own. Except for the statements on menopause and making your man a better lover, you can't distinguish their contributions to our society from those of the cowards with whom they sleep. Not one of them has the guts-or presence of mind- to march on our capital, as in the case of Versaille, to yell, throw the whores out! This is not a joke. You know as well as I that the French women were tired of the bastards of Louis XVI and the levitating behavior of his queen peeking above her mask, wondering whom she might lay one evening or another. Throw the whores out! shouted the Parisian women. My God, I say, if we had but a little French blood left in our veins things might have been a bit different.
Knowing the precedents of the courageous women in the past (a few of whom did visit this nation, we admit, but their genes seem to have faded) we hope we may further inspire you to turn your heart more to the needs of this nation. We have the intuition that your unrequieted faith in the community of man leaves our women too much at ease with your assurance that all is well and for the best, when in fact there are multitudes of wrathful people, among whom are ladies I suspect, lamenting at our gate.
It's worse here, I say! Anachronistic as it may seem, in this
most fortunate of all places, of earth, where else, mind you,
would you ever find in history a President with tin cup in hand?
We all know (my God, man, we have millions of hard core beggars
on our streets to testify of it) that tin cups are things of the
past, and, as Gibbon was right, drinking from the base metals
was poisonous to Rome. But this is the plastic age, Sir! Tin and
other base metals, [for drinking and begging], went out of use
with the Romans. Today our beggars use Styrofoam cups. Well, who
would notice this anyway? That our President has his hand out
with a tin cup -as if he could afford one-when in reality he must
use a styrofoam cup like all the rest of our multitude of beggars.
I suspect the reason for the tin cup comes from a subliminal tendency to use aphorisms more true to the baseness of our times. We can understand this. Two thousand years ago leading Roman sages had the same problem: Juvenal complained that he was at his wits end trying to find a base enough metal to describe his time (A.D. 55-140), which included, to please our Catholic scholiasts, the Great Persecutions of Domitian. Juvenal was offended in awarding a metal of the Five Ages of man (Gold, Silver, Bronze, Heroic, and Iron) to describe Roman society. Should he have known of plastic I am sure that he would have snatched it for his age, though his age had far more metal in it than ours, as unruly as it was, to wit:
Juvenal, Satire III
Cordus could hardly be called a property owner,
And yet what little the poor man had, he lost.
Today the final straw on his load of
woe (clothes worn to tatters, reduced to begging for crusts)
Is that no one will offer him lodging
Not even stand him a decent meal.
But if some millionaire's mansion is gutted,
Women rend their garments,
Top people put on mourning,
The courts go into recess..
Not to bore you too much on how utterly depraved Romans were then, we should rest here, but note that the reasons the courts went into recess is to head up a charity drive for the poor millionaire's losses, where other charitable rich came forward with materials to rebuild his mansion, replacement for his clothing, treasures, antiques, furniture, etc.; and he is restored in better condition than he was before. Now many of those who were on the receiving end of Rome's charity were arsonists..
We must stop pretending: all of the good qualities which we describe
through the precious metals were used up long ago by the heroic
and dark ages of men. Even the Dark Age, we must assess,
contained more precious metal than ours and, whether rich or light,
these do not fittingly describe our age; for our age is impoverished,
as we can see in the homeless masses on our streets, and much
darker. In the Dark Ages, there were brilliant monks, at
least, who maintained the old books so that we would have some
model of integrity passed down to us. To find such careful monks
in this age would be a quest of little avail, for were one to
secure a [seemingly] worthy manuscript more likely than not it
would have come from a hand well versed in pandering to the rich
at the expense of the poor.
If faith without works leads to death, as we here continue to demonstrate, it follows that a people who have no faith promoting good works are by nature-and illustrated by these examples of Roman degradation-consigned to death. By default, Sir, because of the pliable nature of our leaders, and the glossed look on our peoples' eyes when the subject of Human Dignity is mentioned, historians must account that we live in a period absolutely devoid of metal and best described as the Plastic Age . Recognizing this, it follows that a quest to find a virtuous man to defend our gates might be like pissing into the wind. As a side note, we should be getting a step ahead of the historians anyway, by acknowledging the true nature of our age, since future archeologists digging through our garbage will surely change the name of this age to the Plastic Age; this leaves the nomenclature of the Industrial and Atomic ages to generations more worthy of the title.
Recognizing this difference and the fact that any metal which was in us got rubbed out of us decades ago through the worn out, rusted zippers of our womens' faded Jeans, then allow me, Sir, to continue to augment my argument by a fair comparison of our times with those of Juvenal's time, as he saw his own times, when Christianity was first being set, and when, as said, there were men still deserving of medals and crowns of laurels. Today in America, if any metal is discovered it is quickly hidden under the table and, with respect to the traditions of awarding the crown of Laurel to our Poet Laureates, even this has fallen into desuetude, since laurel now seems fitting only for pot roasts. Well, thank God for our Irish traditions anyway, for there might yet be hope: maybe--by a blarny chance mind you-- we might find another Shelley savoring a pot roast who will remind us again the glory behind the laurel!
The tin cup is a good place to opine this part of our text, because the idea of the tin cup began with relevance to the beggar's (I now refer to the sages) from one time to another who at most had no more than one shirt between them. One beggar, Diogenese of Sinop, separating himself from the others, preferred the altogether and spent most of his time stoically resolved to live like a pickle with a tin cup. Since his day there has been considerable footnoting as to whether he lived in a jar or a barrel. But Juvenal (A.D. 55-140) warns us to keep the proper perspective (incidentally agreeing with all the other sages in our troop), that we should not be as metal-less as his tiny time. Witness:
Juvenal, Satire VII
..our skinflint millionaires may flatter artistic talent,
May load it with compliments
(like children admiring a peacock)-
But nothing further.
So the prime of life slips by,
The years when you might have been a sailor, soldier, farmer,
Until the spirit grows weary,
Until old age creeps up on your penniless gift of the gab,
And you hate yourself and your art.
Your private patron,
For whom you forsook the book- lined haunts,
Of Apollo and the Muses,
Knows every dodge to avoid shelling
out on you.
Why he's a poet himself, remember,
And in a thousand years, he thinks,
There's been no one but Homer to touch him.
If the sweet itch for renown stirs you to give a recital,
He'll fix you up with some peeling dump of a hall in the suburbs,
It's doors all barred and bolted,
Like gates of a city under siege.
He'll lend you a claque of freedmen
And other hangers-on
To sit at the end of each row,
But none of these noble patrons will underwrite your outlay
On hiring seats and benches,
The upper tiers and the frame- work of beams that supports them,
The cushioned front-row chairs
That have to be returned, double quick,
When the performance is over.
Yet, still we keep at it, ploughing
the dusty furrow,
Turning up barren sand.
You can't get out, you're hooked
by writer's itch;
The craving for bookish renown becomes a sick obsession.
But the outstanding poet,
Whose inspiration is rare and unique,
Who makes nothing from common stock,
Strikes no debased poetic currency,
Minted with platitudes,
Though I can't think of one just now,
Still I'm sure they exist.
Such a paragon's life is bound to be free from anxieties,
Unclouded by bitterness;
He's a woodland-lover,
And just the right sort to drink at the Muses' fountain.
How can grim poverty grasp the enchanted wand of inspiration,
How find that singing grotto if you're forced to scrape and pinch to meet the body's need for cash?
..It calls for lofty temperament,
Not some petty mind scared stiff at the cost of a blanket..
Can we expect a modern playwright to match the ancient tragedians
When, in order to finish his Atreus,
He must hock his coat, and the dishes?
Numitor can't spare a penny for a friend,
Though his mistress never goes short,
And he scraped up enough (remember?)
To purchase that tame lion-
Not to mention the meat it scoffed.
Of course it comes cheaper to feed a lion than a poet:
Poets have bigger bellies.
Fame may satisfy Lucan, lying at rest now in his park with its statuary;
But for epic poets less well endowed,
Poor starvlings, glory alone,
However great, must remain eternally insufficient...
What about writers of history?
Do all their labors bring them a bigger return,
Or merely consume more midnight oil?
With unrestricted licence
They pile up their thousand pages,
And an enormous stationary bill:
The vast extent of the theme,
Plus their professional conscience,
Makes this inevitable...
Does any historian pull down a newsreader's wage?
Oh, they're an idle lot, though, too fond of their shady deck- chairs.
How about barristers, then?
How much do you think they extract
From all their work in court,
All those bulging bundles of briefs?
They talk big enough,
Especially when there's a creditor listening, or, worse still,
Some dunghill with a weighty ledger
Comes nudging them in the ribs,
And makes trouble about a bad debt.
Then they huff and puff like a bellows,
Pump out tremendous lies, spray spittle all over themselves..
What Juvenal was complaining about, from the poet to the historian to the barrister, is the fact that anyone worth his salt could not be found. Whilst those who attempted to be virtuous starved, his world was filled with a bunch of whores who sold themselves out to those things which bring profits rather than the treasures of the ancients. We speak of that Wisdom of the prophets called salt which brought God's beatitudes and peace of mind.
Now a triumphal attorney was allowed to hang a bunch of palm
leaves outside the entry to his garret, and both Juvenal and Tacitus
claim that they seemed to settle for this prestige more than money.
Except for this Juvenal's time compared to ours is about the same,
except we have fallen on baser times as said before and our barristers,
in bemoaning their need for money, release far more spittle.
How our nation has fallen to such a state of disgrace, below that of Rome, we hope causes in you some alarm. For my part we can see an obvious alarm, that all is not well, in the state of our own President, now-while in office mind you!-reduced to begging with a (its the Plastic Age) styrofoam cup. This, I think, reflects the over-all fallen state of our society and how justice serves the mighty: when the office of our President needfully bows with the common beggars it helped to create.
Clinton brings to mind a beggar I met in Berkeley, who was in a wheel chair, who had risen to great fortune and then, through an accident on a soccer field, was paralyzed. His wife then divorced the poor sot, took his house and Jaguar, and left him (so he says) to live down the street in a cardboard box once occupied by a refrigerator. He was able to cut a small window flap in the box so that he could see what was going on around him, and lived in it for a couple of years. A kind neighbor would bring him food, and this is how he sustained himself. I would cringe at the thought of him laying rain and cold soaked under the box; but then just before I last saw him I wondered whether he ought to return to the safety of the box, because he was a drunk and another beggar had made fun of him by pouring his vodka bottle over his head and then robbed him of his welfare money and blanket. This is a common incident, I confess, and surely not something of credit to our journals' perspicacious eyes. After all, there are more significant things to discuss in our media, and when beggars are mentioned it is with the idea of removing them from our streets altogether (some hint at restoring the ghettos of Warsaw) and, of course, stopping their welfare checks. But there are worthwhile leads which our leaders could investigate: why, for instance, a beggar in a wheelchair carries only cash and is easy spoil to the quick-footed when the disability checks arrive (bankers by nature resent beggars). So beggars steal from beggars, knowing the most likely person to be carrying cash is another beggar on disability after the 15 th or the end of each month.
I had been trying to help the disabled man, and at the moment I arrived the beggar-robber was long gone and his disabled victim, whose name is Ron, was then running his claw-like arm through the vodka in his hair. Fortunately he had an arrangement with the Safeway store manager where the dousing took place and was able to go into the John and clean himself up. He slept under the overhang of the store, when he could, but I remember a more fortunate paraplegic than Ron who, through the charitable nature of the local Catholic community that live near Nob Hill, was permitted to sleep under the carport behind Saint Mary's Church in San Francisco. He was forced to leave, however, because other homeless creatures attempted to sleep there too. Here we have an example of a church (like St. Mark's Lutheran Church below them) who never learned the old adage, that charity first begins at home.
The last time I saw Ron after he had spent a few months in a nursing home--was again on the street near the Safeway store, but he was so drugged he at first didn't remember me. Then he asked me to hold his styrofoam cup which he used for collections and also drinking, while he contorted in his wheelchair, and then, after I had removed the money for him, he positioned the cup in his crotch and pissed into it. This was the last time I saw Ron. I mention Ron because I sure hope our President never has to endure such a demeaning fall. To think that some woman's daughter gave birth to this man, nursed him at her breast, only to have him spend his adult life a common beggar in the street. But this is the fate of many mother's sons these days, to end up as beggars on the streets, and these cases are the more extreme hardships I discovered. Now all this ties together with the President's styrofoam cup and the death of our nation. Should you bear with me even more, I shall go into a little more detail how the connection of an abandoned son or daughter only aborts our infant society and how the relationships of Juvenal's times well apply to our own, but our case is worse.
Many of our presidents, Jefferson, Grant, etc., etc. spent their retiring years in abject poverty. Because of this our Congress thought it worthwhile to provide our Presidents with sufficient monetary reward to assure that at least they spend their last years in dignity-regardless of how the rest of the nation was doing. It was either this or hire only rich Presidents who had the means of stiff-arming corruption and the long arms of the courts and their riff-raff who are gifted in fleecing people out of fortunes.
Well, all this led to was a place where whores would find better opportunities. It so happens that this was a problem of Juvenal's time as well, and he concluded (rightly so) that the fall of Rome to such new lows as he had seen was due to the whores who occupied many of the arcades and markets in Rome. Some, of course, were in purple and out collecting on bad debts. More often than not flakes trying to outrun their debtors could be seen hobnobbing in the market, and this was generally because they were not really looking for fruits (though Rome's markets were overstocked with them) and other bounty but rather they were on the take. Find an unsuspecting friend, tell him your hard-luck story, and you would be sure to have your palms appropriately greased. Often one would see one purple toga tumbling into another, like falling dominoes, as they struggled to catch a flake. Of course, there were both kinds of flakes in the market: the high society kind, who were the high rollers, and the true mendicants; but it was more often than not extraordinarily hard to tell them apart until the tin cup came out. And then, depending upon who you were, the pitch would be either for a small coin or a small fortune. This is the way governors and beggars competed in Rome.
The other kind of whore hanging about the Roman market and the arcades was the scarlet kind. Ruby red rouge and lipstick--you know the kind. Interestingly they negotiated along the same terms as the governors and the beggars, and were often themselves in hot pursuit of prey, trying to out whore the pro's, often being among them Anthony's uncle and Dolabella. Imagine the whore Bernice, sister and wife to Agrippa II (her third husband), vying for position against Anthony's uncle for the same lay! Sorry, I just let go another anachronism. Agrippa II is the guy who judged Paul (as if he should know right from wrong!) and Anthony's uncle actually lived about a hundred years earlier in Agrippa II's grandfather's, Herod's, time. In spite of the error, we leave this anachronism to show that the wicked don't change. Like father, like son; if the mother's a whore, so will be the daughter. This is what Khaldûn says, anyway, whom we yet must weave into this work, as we need him to illustrate why nations rise and fall like whores. This is relevant, because we need to impress upon you the ideas of virtue, by which we opened this work. We list, how for instance, the rape of the Sabine women who had the highest reputation of chastity almost caused the fall of Rome when Rome was yet in its infancy and her youth were not yet trained in the virtues of honoring chaste women. This relates to our topic at hand, because the President with the styrofoam cup in hand was like one of those uncouth youths of Rome who compromised the chaste Sabine women (so a few suitors say).
Hearing of the rape of the Sabine women, Mettius Curtius led a
company against Rome and almost brought their disgusting behavior
to an end. By comparison, we have more ladies who have been raped
and wonder whether a Mettius Curtius might yet again be found,
who might be enough revolted by our whoredoms to show our uncouth
the proper way to conduct themselves. But when, as in Rome, you
have even the emperor Claudius's wife spreading her legs around
town, setting the custom for both high and low born, we realize
that as in Juvenal's time (unlike that revolutionary age illustrated
in Louis XVI's time) there would hardly be a chance today for
a Mettius Curtius to be born. History shows such ignoble legs,
being baser than Rome's, whether high-born or low, do not sow
The truth is our times, in spite of the fluid or plastic nature of our "virtuous" who are loaded with platitudes of correct conduct, are much rougher than early Rome; and the likelihood that any women like the Sabine Women, for instance, or noble sons such as Mettius Curtius, could be found here is somewhat remote. Nevertheless, punishing as it would seem, we write to those American ladies who may still be chaste and should be ruffled over the idea that the babes they suckle should end up in such ignoble circumstances as I have lamented; and, by inference to Rome's drunken state of affairs, which portions I am the more compelled to disgorge.
Rome was saved from falling to the level of our base station,
and no doubt besides those virtuous men like Juvenal we must acknowledge
women like Priscilla who shamed Roman leaders towards the righteous
life from time to time. Both Juvenal and Priscilla, to illustrate
our point, realized that Rome was falling into the hands of whores
and to save Rome they would shame the whores out of the city.
A proverb says that whoring around is one of the oldest occupations. But does this justify our preoccupation with doing it? Just because it is ancient practice? Well, then, if the Romans whored around it ought to be a good lesson to us , you might say. How could you even think of such a thing? Rome lasted a thousand years in spite of its whoredoms. The Holy Roman Empire, following in its steps, lasted another thousand years in spite of its whoredoms , you might add, so they must have done something right with all of their whores in the marketplace. So what's the problem ?
May I reply to this argument?
Our nation is not yet a quarter of a millennia old. We're so young and uncouth we don't have any history or models worthy of quotation. Except for our founding fathers, I would have no one to quote. Such are our hard times. For our whores are so barren they haven't given us anyone to quote!
To discover how hard our times are, due to the excessive whoring around, compare us now to the Age of Pericles or Demosthenes who had the privilege of quoting sages of their own nation 3, 4, even five hundred years before them! How much luckier, then, was Juvenal, who could not only quote 3, 4, maybe even five hundred years of Roman sages before him, but in addition he had a thousand years of Etruscan heritage to draw upon plus six hundred years of Greek wit. Look at me, then, strapped, at wits end, to find men of my own nation worthy of sharing the same space with the Juvenals, Ciceros and Demosthenes, or even the Priscillas-much treasured by the ancient world-but severely spited by this world.
Prisca means ancient and Priscilla means
little ancient. We begin with the whoring tradition fifty years before Juvenal, at the time Agrippa's wife, Bernice, was playing whore about town, which after a manner of speaking was seen as a means of giving equal opportunity to the best and worst of Rome to dip into the same hole as the emperor. The emperor, Gaius Caesar (Caligula), appointed Agrippa to rule over Judaea, and Caligula himself had a reputation for being a whore. While his wife was out a whoring he also would be a whoring with young boys, and if you can see my eyebrows raise a bit as I say this Agrippa was one of Caligula's boys. So Caligula, in his best female
attire, was being poked by Agrippa and Agrippa was dipping Bernice
and Bernice was spreading Caesar's best about town. Ah, come
on ! you might say, they weren't that advanced ! How
could any nation two thousand years before us be as open and free
as we ?
You confounded sceptics who can't see this! It's true. We are far more advanced in this way than they. Witness, for instance, the innovation we've brought to the gay life through the Yellow Pages! The Romans didn't have the luxury of letting their fingers do the walking, but had to rub shoulders in the dirt of the Forum. And for a lady like Priscilla (trying to convert whores) this must have been a revolting thing to do.
This doesn't mean that the Romans didn't live their fantasies out in print, but only to say that our nation has done it better. Rome had its Roman Gazette and a Roman Review and I had an opportunity to verify this for myself, that in terms of living one's fantasy out in print, we do it better. But then the consequence of this has good and bad effects, for the Roman's always led their articles with first the good news, then, as in the cliché, the bad news.
I was in Rome with my wife and as we were walking near the Esquiline slums and approaching the Forum we came upon an aristocratic gentlemen in black tie, appearing as if he had just come out of the opera. It was late in the evening, the moon was nearly full and reflecting off of the bony columns sticking out of the dusty pit where the Roman forum once was (which was then still being transformed from a shepherd's field to a tourist attraction). My wife and I were at the height of success, about thirty years old (at forty you're chucked to the Solient Green lab up the hill), and the gentleman was also about our age. He, remarkable as it would appear, was an Italian in spite of his American gestures and accent. He said he was an Architect, but as we walked by his office on the way to the forum, having engaged him in scintillating conversation for about ten minutes, he pointed out his office which had palm branches hanging out front, leading me to suspect he was really a lawyer. Maybe he was a legal architect. Whatever. Anyway, because of his architectural background and my lust for the antiquities, I found a perfect soul mate with whom I could converse. He, living midst the ruins and raising new ones, and I passing through ruins, to study how they might have fallen. A perfect match.
After discussing one and another site in the Forum, with the Coliseum gaping in front of a widening shadow in the distance, we came to a pitiful digression on how the early Christians were treated in Rome. Looking back upon that conversation again causes me to compare those times even more to these, because today Christians are so poorly treated they are hard to locate. In Juvenal's time Christians were easy to locate, for the most part, since they worshipped in caves and catacombs beneath the streets of Rome. Many, of course, were in high circles trying to persuade a damsel into the Christian Communion (which caused many women to give up whoring for the chaste life of being faithful alone to Jesus). This, in time, caused a bit of trouble in the emperor's household. Domitia, the wife of Domitian, complained that her circle of lady friends was diminishing, owing to their conversion to Christian chastity, and begged to have the emperor throw some Christians to the lions in revenge. To find the Christians, who by then began to hide out, he put some of his servants to the wrack and wrenched the whereabouts from them, discovering they would best be found in the caves and catacombs; then he sent his Centurions to the hollows to yell, halloo, and out would come Christians who, when questioned, would proudly step forth and account for themselves, that they were truthfully Christian.
Yes! It is true, and if there were truthful people hiding in Rome so too ought it to be in America's case. Christians then told the truth, even though they might endure the most horrible forms of death confessing the fact! But, as I said, Christians these days are not (though they pretend to be so) what those early Christians were and certainly have not the courage to stand up for a nation's honor nor their own. Take Priscilla and her husband, Aquilla, by comparison, who accompanied Paul to Ephesus and then, leaving him went on to found a church in Rome.
Now Priscilla was the editor of the Roman Review , believe
it or not, and I learned this from my architect friend. Bear with
me whilst I tell you the tale. Then I had a fascination for ancient
scripts, having even composed myself a work deciphering Etruscan
Script (whose language, incidentally is like Latin but conjugates
similarly to Spanish). Having gotten into this part of the discussion,
and the architect-- being extraordinarily amazed at my knowledge
of the Etruscan language and how the idea that the Spanish connection
would cut the theory of the Romance Languages all to hell--grabbed
first my arm and then on his other arm drug my wife and me down
the street, saying, come, I have to show you something which
will amaze you !
We arrived moments later at an ancient archway which looked like the face of Chartres Cathedral with its towers lopped off, and he carefully opened a small wooden door in the decaying facing which swung so unruly I thought it would fall off its hinge. Inside was a small desk behind which a lady was eating what appeared to be a pork and potato pie but turned out to be an empanada. Being properly introduced to her, her name being Proserpine , he then took her aside and spoke to her privately; and then she came forward and said in a snobbish accent that she would be pleased to show us the scripts of the catacombs. While I was wondering what she was doing behind the desk eating a pork and potato pie--thinking she might be from New England or some such ungodly place where they still try to fake the king's English--my friend the architect pointed out stacks in the ancient room. Ancient scrolls were stacked one atop another, called stacks still today, oddly enough, though modern librarians don't stack scrolls anymore. Anyway, my wife and I now found ourselves in a real ancient scriptorium, and the lady named Proserpine had several scrolls spread out on a large table nearby. Seeing that she was busy we hesitated to interrupt her dinner, but she replied that it was no trouble to show us the main stacks in the catacombs because she needed a break from her tables, where she was restoring the scripts. For the record she was not from New England but Lizard Point , near Plymouth, England, and she was readying the scripts for a special exhibit in Bath, to be shipped on the following day. Well, all's well that ends well , I said, sympathizing with her, seeing that she was somewhat stressed from the work of the restoration, but it was for a good cause she explained, and we went through another creaking door and down a long tiled staircase whose walls were of crumbling, plastered Christian images of the Jewish prophets.
Since the torches inside a cave burn no brighter in the daytime
than at night and one should never leave off for the morrow what
one can do the night before, we had no hesitation in following
her. Nor did we fear for our safety. For in those days the only
criminals in Rome worked in the courts, and if they were not seen
there they could be found in Naples wearing London Fog raincoats
lined with all kinds of cheap, but fake, designer label watches.
Generally the panderers would work Naples' streets between 6:00
and 8:00 A.M., after the street sweepers had gone by and the police
began minding the meters and the maids tending them. Generally
at such times in the morning there would come a flood of barefooted
men out of the hotel across the street from the castle, all running
to their cars either to put money in the parking meters or to
get something out of the car for their wife. Half the time it
was for the wife, because wives excel at leaving some part of
their make-up kit in the car, no doubt to get back at their spouses
first thing the next day for the duress they tolerated the night
before. Knowing this typical western behavior pattern, the slick
operators were out in droves, posted near our cars, rubbing their
hands, reminding me of hawks gnawing the limbs of trees waiting
for ground squirrels to greet the sunrise. Roman Centurions did
the same, we were soon to learn from our hosts, as they waited
near the doors of caverns for Therapeutae (another name for the
early Christians) to come out to greet the sunrise. But that's
Well, back at the caverns our friend led us down into the meandering passages of the place of the dead, then he motioned to a small niche before which was a rather emaciated, leathery body of a woman, fully dressed in some tattered though still brightly colored, blue and green, Renaissance clothing (which was the last time she was dressed; it had been the custom to maintain her in style, age after age, because she was a Christian saint). He told us that she is that same Priscilla mentioned in Paul's epistle to the Romans. Next to her was another lady named Procla, but she wore a green samite Victorian dress with a matching broad brimmed, white plumed hat. She had been better attended because many believed that she was a greater saint than Priscilla-even the catacombs had a pecking order! Next to Procla was a man with a praetor's badge, mouth wide open with some missing front teeth, who was sitting with a skull in his hand. He was wearing a blue checkered Persian turban, with matching socks, and a blue robe. His name was Justinus and was one of the writers of the ancient scriptorium, who was highly critical of Caligula. Behind Priscilla was a small bronze, encrusted door which the architect, kneeling down and crossing himself, opened and from which he removed two codices. Someone had cut the pages of ancient scrolls, which happened to have been written on both sides, and laid them in a leather binding, called a codex. Although the pages were loose, the perfect temperature and low humidity of the cavern, being 68° all year around, maintained everything in a perfectly preserved state. Our architect friend held the codex's cover beneath the light, carefully folding it over, and said, look, these are the works of Priscilla ! Imagine that ! I exclaimed to my wife.
He noted that all of the codices date from about 60 A.D.--remarkable
because they antedate the earlier ones in Egypt by several hundred
years--and he began to read from one codex. Lo and behold the
pages he read were a Roman Journal complaining about Juvenal,
who spanned the reign of Nero through Vespasian's Dyanasty, and
was the same age as Priscilla!
At that time I had no idea who Juvenal was, but having become familiar with him through time, I now have come to more fully appreciate the context of Priscilla's and Justinus' Codices.
Juvenal, it turns out, was a High Priest himself, a poet inspired by the Muses, as was Priscilla and Aquilla. Unlike the Christian Community today, many of the early Christian ministers were women. But then, perhaps concerned that some women might start attempting to sacrifice strangers rather than sacrifice for them (share one's home and food with them, which was the original Christian communal way-hated, incidentally, by the whores of the market) there was much to do in the Priscillean Codex over women in the ministry. Priscilla, a convert to Christianity from the Black Sea area, and a sister-in-law of Pontius Pilate, through Pilate's wife, Procla, was among the advance guard in defense of women's rights to minister to the heathen. Priscilla was a Jew and her husband, brother of Procla, was a converted Jew. Priscilla first, and then her husband, Aquilla, converted to Christianity when attending a synagogue at Ephesus. Unlike many of the gentile outside of Judaea, Aquilla, being a Roman by birth and brother-in-law to Pontius Pilate, as said, was not opposed to sacrificing his foreskin. It was the foreskin scalpel, however, which drove off most gentile men from converting to the church, but their wives went over to the cause of Christianity whole-sale. This caused quite a commotion among the apostle Paul's cadre, because Paul did not feel that the Holy Ghost treated equally male and female (only males should be chosen for the priesthood he argued); so that faction began issuing laws prohibiting women from the ministry. At first there was resistance, but after Mary Magdalene, who was one of the leading ministers of the church, died, few women had the courage to minister, but among those courageous enough to stand up to Paul was Priscilla. This issue and more is apparent in Priscilla's journals which carried the header, Roman Review . Among other codices, as we saw in successive visits to the catacombs, were daily journals called the Roman Gazette . The Roman Review was more conservative in nature and had much to say against the libertine times of Gaius Caligula and in particular the later emperor Domitian. Added to this in her later Roman Reviews she composed sixteen satires, Against Juvenal. Why Juvenal ? we asked. Juvenal was not a Christian but was, in fact, the High Priest of the recently deified god Vespasian. Vespasian was the Caesar who defeated the Jews in the Jewish Wars and was fortunate enough, with his son, Titus, to receive a full Triumphal procession after Jerusalem fell in 70 A.D. Following this, of course, were the concession rights for memorabilia of the Triumph: finely engraved silver coated tin cups with Vespasian's name on them, tapestries of his victory, embossed menorahs of all sizes and other memorabilia, columns, statues, holy water from a spring which he had blessed, etc. Among the collection in the catacombs were a few decomposing copies of Josephus'Jewish Wars which carried Vespasian's autograph and a small vile of his holy water. Vespasian was known as a healer, like Jesus, though he denied it, but many historians of the time, as Josephus mentions, thought Vespasian was that Messiah come out of Judaea, etc.; so Juvenal, being his High Priest and making a fair income off of the holy water concession, was a ripe target for Priscilla's precocious attacks on priests, mixed with occasional diatribes against men chasing the whores in the market. These articles I thought unfair, with respect to Juvenal, since he really was an ally of Priscilla's in the mission of restoring virtue to Rome, and comparing him to barristers and landlords was a bit too much.
When my architect friend got to the deeper Roman Reviews in the Codices, my wife's eyes began to light up, something which I came later to regret. Although I have seen many ancient scripts, even the Code of Hammurabi in Ankara, Turkey, these codices had some of the most outrageous satires on law I had ever read. Once you could work through the shrewish, disguised diatribes against Juvenal, over-all they carried some wonderful literature penetrating quite deeply into the soul of the times-unlike the media of our day. Juvenal no doubt replying to the Roman Review, and particularly harassed by the Roman Gazette, had poked back at the women: They'll drain you dry, he said. Of course he was describing their conduct allegorically to make fun of the whorish practices of the Roman Senate. Priscilla took this personally, because through Procla, who is still considered by some to be a Christian Saint, she had a few relatives in the Senate, among whom were the Graccii, and the Graccii had a reputation for virtue and were thus short lived.
Shortly after my wife and I arrived home from our European Vacation,
and our adventure among the dead, to my dismay I found a book
by Gloria [#!!#?#] resting upon my wife's nightstand. Had she
never have seen the Roman Review of Priscilla the appearance of
Gloria's book on my wife's nightstand would never have happened,
sorry to say. Then came trouble.
Although we both had professional occupations, duties in our household were pretty unevenly divided. My wife did the laundry and the cooking, I did dishes, vacuumed and dusted, scrubbed the entry and kitchen floors, and did all of the outside work on our small half acre estate. I built a wonderful 1,500 sq. foot redwood deck in back, with many flower boxes, etc.; I planted a magnificent arcade of birch trees lining the driveway, installed a small orchard of various kinds of fruits, planted tasteful shrubbery all around our eight sided plot, mowed, built an impressive, neighbor intimidating rot iron gate aligned to either side by brick columns and walls; I weeded, dug holes, filled up holes, and, at the end of my many labors in the yard, grunted and moaned in the evenings to our two dogs, who were most sympathetic to my trials during that period of my life. My wife preferred to delay children until she had accumulated whatever professional desires she had in mind, so I had to settle for the two dogs' sympathy. Anyway, because we could afford help, she had a house-keeper come every week or two to clean the places she said I had missed, and apart from cooking (a gourmet she is) and the laundry, she carried the full burden of planting the spring flowers in the flower beds I made for her.
But then came trouble when the book from Gloria arrived at her nightstand. The book was quite unusual, I thought, because I had never seen my wife read at bed-time. She completed Gloria's book in a few days, nevertheless, and from then on she said I would have to do my own laundry and cook my own breakfast (days later she tried to delete dinner). I didn't have to do her laundry nor plant the spring flowers, however. Within a couple of weeks of enduring verbal abuse in addition to having to do laundry, we separated and divorced; and because it has now been about twelve years since I have been unencumbered by those terrible labors, it seems fitting that my thoughts of her should have been conjured up after having called to mind the memorabilia I brought with me from Proserpine's Pits.
When I visited Proserpine's pits I was then not an average American.
I lived a bit higher on the hog than average, was a bit more in
debt than average, and made a better living than average. Then
came the divorce.
What happened after divorce to me and my ex-wife is the average American dream during the Reagan-Bush -Gloria [#!!#?#] era . Let's keep it simple and belay the long appellation of Reagan-Bush-Gloria and just call it the Plastic Age, according to the criteria we have already given. There was nothing real in it, the jobs, the income, and, of course, the American Promise. Those who admired how the Romans lived, which we shall further discuss, would not agree with this assessment, however.
My wife and I were War Babies. Average kids raised to replace the babies lost in World War II. Remember the time when no one locked their doors? That was average too. Even when I arrived in L.A. in 1961, just out of the Airforce, when clouds of smut prevented one from seeing anything at the end of the warehouse where I worked; that also was average, or normal, for the L.A. times. Then, upon my divorce when Reagan came into office in 1981, seeing him as an Average American, many Americans opted to strive to his heights of corruption.
Everyone began to preach that it was perfectly acceptable to sell one's soul for the sake of money and power. The end justifies the means became a new battle hymn for our republic. Not being able to stomach the song myself nor being what they presumed to call average, I copped out and went the other direction: I would not sell my soul any more for any reason. I had had my fill of soul-selling: I had been engaged in Aerospace projects which supplied all kinds of innovative ways to kill people en mass, from thermo-nuclear warfare and the radial charts of their dead to biological and chemical warfare. No. There are enough people already doing this they don't need any more help from me, I concluded. So I quit that occupation and moved on, and on, and on, searching a way to make a living without destroying things (which is quite hard to do in the Plastic Age). Even advertising became noxious to me, once I began counting all of those free newspapers either blowing down our streets or overflowing the garbage cans, and the forests which were being destroyed to support them. Good grief, I thought, remembering the ancient Scriptorium, at least the Romans were easy on the forests! This became one of my earliest revelations, comparing the Romans to us, how the Romans, as despicable as they were, were decent people compared to the average Plastic Age American .
What Americans became and what I was taught did not match. I was told in Grammar School that my generation is not to allow the sins of its fathers (World War II, etc.) to be repeated; thus, remembering this, after my divorce I tried to focus on being responsible, of avoiding the sins of our fathers, for the sake of those who follow us, and began to wander, first this way, then that, after that gauzy requirement. Achieving little in the outset, I began to write. So I wrote about things we ought not to repeat. The sins of our fathers, I mean, and to give credit where credit is due, I must admit that much of my early work I lifted from Priscilla's Roman Review. But this is not what the average American bought in the journals and bookstores! They wanted plastic features. Lots of plastic. Things which could be used, abused, and then tossed away. All kinds of violence, incest, sharing partners, how to make a better lover out of your lover; rape, murder; you name it.
You may verify the extent of America's lust for these things yourself, apart from the easy way of scanning the journals at the grocery checkout: browse the teen-age, young adult section of Walden's or other bookstores. I was amazed to find that the only selections available (as I was looking for ideas on children's books) were those which emphasized crime, violence, sex, and all kinds of hideous adventures-all being straight rewrites from the Adult section down the isle! ( I wondered whether there was any connection between the subject matter and the address on fifth Avenue where many of them were published). It was obvious to me that the American people did not need any more help in the area of Children's books, so I forgot about this as a possible audience to whom I could write. As an aside, since I discovered the Children's Stacks I had hoped to find someone who might resent having such narrow options being made available to their children, who might be familiar with Charles Dickens or Mark Twain, but I have yet to find anyone who thinks that style of writing is relevant to our day and age.
I was trying to sell brass pots and pans, to use an aphorism, to a society which was interested in plastic throw-away containers and children. I had become an anachronism myself. But I made a vain attempt to reach the virtuous over the years anyway. For instance, seeing a poem in the Atlantic Monthly eulogizing the grisly fate of chickens hanging upside down with their necks cut, I thought to write a reply, using an old poem from Justinus, which was immediately turned down. Here's how the poem went (forgive the form and meter; I tried to adapt Justinus to what the Atlantic Monthly had published):
The Atlantic Monthly and Chicken's 'n Eggs
Three poems I read
To chickens said
Without much meter
Made the poem's reader
Feel he read
But poems are hard to please
Those who edit and sees
Fit to publish for the reader
Though it be dense
And speaks of dangling creatures
Hanging from a line and dead
With a revolting scent.
Since the publisher likes chickens,
Though to read, me it sickens,
I know I must write
To compete with this site
Where chickens scratch
Or dangle or hatch
So that the reader I will elate
And bring forth poetry and abate
A class who think that most in life
Is "chickens throats cut with knife,
Hanging from a clothes' line
Spitting blood so we may dine".
I'm sorry to say
For these chicken poems I pay
And now I feel guilty this day
Whenever I eat the eggs chickens lay.
Though eggs don't scratch
Or could the colonel cook a batch,
Nor their feathers pluck,
Someone ought to write on eggs,
Because the chicken
Won't scratch with his legs,
Nor would we hang them slashed in neck
With blood dripping awash the ground,
Or see them on the ground peck
If eggs weren't 'round.
So here's a toast to eggs
Which give us things to talk about:
Though they don't have legs,
They're important to us there's no doubt.
I'm just sorry we can't find
More important things come to mind.
Agreed! It was a lousy chicken poem. Our nation has this common stuff being fed to it every day. My God! To think someone might salute an embryo; it's disgusting (I fear I may have offended women who claim Rights to Choose ,-who should live and who should not). Those who make decisions as who should die and who should live how could they enjoy other than struggling victims whose throats had been slashed? Being regularly fed battered, hacked up gore, I realized they didn't need any more help in the chicken field either, so I continued my quest for an audience to whom I could say, avoid the sins of our fathers. Through the seventies and then into the eighties I then focused on human dignity ; but this material was returned in the mail much more quickly. An example of our new merchandise (also lifted from Justinus) is:
How often I wished during a solemn night's rest,
Watching a sensitive scene, a moment of compassion;
Hearing the soft, touching words of love,
To be able to express in words the thoughts and warmth
That enveloped me so.
How can I profess my love for man,
My dreams, my hopes, my understanding;
And how can I transfer in words those enduring ancient melodies,
Of Tenderness, the greatest works of an age;
And how can I reflect in a mirror of unrest
Those moments of worth which we ought to know?
And most of all, how can I convey that which
Both you and I know all should know?
Well, what do you think? Using Justinus made me a man falling into the trap of becoming an anachronism, out of his time. Well, I was beginning to see a pattern here, for as time went by I found myself encountering events of which I had earlier written (never would I have suspected Justinus was a prophet--though I should have known better because he was in Priscilla's Roman Review ). No wonder I was out of sync, I realized, for I had been writing about the abject depravity of American conduct before Americans realized their conduct was depraved! Have you ever heard of such a thing? Let me give you another bad example, from more of the prophetic collection lifted from Justinus:
In defense of old forests and old poets and sages
Why must that haughty oak come down?
Daring to crowd the wintered waste around,
Withered arms, propping a tiring crown,
Sighing leaves, tending the evening sound.
Against the time when the headsman's axe
Hastily comes to take oaken blood.
I'll grip the blade of the maniacs'
And with the withered boughs I'll too meet the mud;
But when I fall with the mangled oaken mass
To join a barren frameless moon,
What of my blood which still flows warm
Midst the aged chips the headsman's hewn?
What is it that wills the oak and me
The discarded lot of maturity?
Well antique diction and old trees, being inappreciable as yet, I decided to change my tack a bit and sent out a bit of Justinus's humor which was at least funny to the Romans and should catch the attention of those slogging around their barnyards, which I believed to be an audience surely to be attuned to the idea of avoiding the sins of the fathers.
Two silly birds
Two silly birds sat sneering on a rock one day,
"How odd the toad" they snickered and cooed;
"How odd the lizard that knows not it's grey,
And how odd the cow who only mooed!"
They chided the horse, the pig, the hen;
Even they gossiped on the Wooly Wig Wirt.
Nothing escaped this perceptive press of the pen:
They, alas, even scorned the rocks and the filthy dirt.
Then the very silly birds eyed a sparrow hawk
And senselessly stayed upon their look-out rock.
So that's why they were silly birds.
The Portly Pig
A portly pig pawed the pen one day
To prine himself in the slop.
Disgusting he was so much at play
The animals begged him, "Oh, pig, stop!"
He splashed in the mud and rolled in the dust
And squealed with such delight,
A butcher found him far to mussed
And took the ox, a much tidier sight.
The Downy Duckling
There once was a downy duckling,
Who tired of being the last.
He jumped in front of a suckling
Was first for the farmer's repast.
A Flighty Fawn
A Flighty Fawn crossed a field
Against his mother's wishes.
The hunter's wounds have just now healed;
Now he's stealing bait from the fishes!
The Precocious Partridge
A precocious partridge talked to a sage
Rolling through a meadow;
This rolling bush he tried to page
Since a sage is a wiser fellow.
This barnyard humor got me absolutely nowhere. Whilst it describes perfectly the Roman state of mind, thinking themselves perfect and first in line for dignity, I sincerely believed the poems better described Americans; and at least some farmers might like them for their children. But seeing no response I realized my quest must explore other prospects besides barn-yard animals to get their attention. But time began consuming me as it does with everything else, and then seeing not only trees and various kinds of animals being processed by our slaughter house, I began to show a sensitivity to a lot of fallen souls lining up as well. Such a large part of our nation was homeless, and I wondered why this too became accepted as an American norm.
Being there. I became sensitive to the homeless, because I had almost been there myself. There were a few times after my divorce until my wife and I sold our property that I had to sleep in my car. Having lived the experience myself I was amazed to see the numbers of people sleeping in their cars, and then later even greater numbers who had even no cars and many wearing their only possessions on their backs. This is not very Christian, the way these millions are being treated, I complained in my subsequent works, though I must say that Jesus did tell his disciples to go out only with the robe on their back, one pair of shoes, and no purse. But then I noticed that all of the millions of homeless on our streets are not ministering to anyone.
Abandoning the barn-yard approach, I began writing about the homeless indignities in books which some beggars began handing out in the street (in thanks for the passer-bys support), thinking it might be a way for the beggars to minister to the people. But these tiny books weren't received very well by the Berkeleyites, where they were mainly dished out. Ambivalence seemed to be the normal response to my books on beggars, and, having scoured the other prospects for an audience, [sic. who should avoid the sins of their fathers ], I discovered that anything which complained about ambivalence-the main feature of my books is universally unpalatable. Thus, I discovered like Gandhi that one cannot help the untouchables among whom I counted millions of our own Homeless either by getting them to raise up against those who are suppressing them or by getting a passer-by to take an interest in their welfare. So I abandoned the Tiny Books on Beggars project.
I finally came around to the conclusion, having explored every option I could think of, that I ought to search for someone who is like Priscilla of Rome's catacombs. This took me on a wandering sort of path through many wastelands, and finally-realizing that there ought to be some American mothers with their maternal instincts still intact-I decided to formulate something which might draw their attention. Are there any mothers who have their maternal instincts intact? was the big question, however; and the other concern I had was, of course, how to reach them. One could not reach them discussing heavy metals, because their senses had been dulled by too many Romances, and ideas, such as my Children's Poems, I discovered, were too complicated and nonviolent for them.
But still, I had copied the Codices of Priscilla, and if Priscilla could get through to the Roman ladies, I felt sure that there must be some material in the Roman Review which could get through to a few American ladies--assuming, of course, there still are such to be found. I would test them with Priscilla's works--being careful not to offend them-- and whoever responds, I concluded, might then be likely ladies who would stand up for their nation, like the Sabine Women, for instance, or even defend it, like the French Women who marched upon Versailles and shamed their cowardly men into taking up arms against the unmerciful regime of Louis XVI. As noted, we have examples of such ladies in our own history, but they seemed to have died out after the Vietnam Era. Some of them should still be alive , I concluded, but then I began to notice lots of them among the beggars in the streets. Such was my problem searching for Priscilla-like ladies. I found that even those who were seemingly ladies seemed to have lost heart. Interestingly, many of those whom I found begging in the street had demonstrated in the Vietnam War era, but now, on behalf of their own welfare, they no longer had the interest to demonstrate. My quest for a lady continued notwithstanding, recognizing I would not likely find one among the beggars.
Few there are in history who equaled the Lydian women, from whom are derived the word, lady. They were so esteemed by their husbands, for their chastity and beauty, they left a legacy for all women to mimic: to be a lady . This carried on through the daughters of Troy, of Aeneas, among whom were the Etruscan brides, whose beauty can still be seen atop sarcophagi, laying in death beside their husbands, smiling at the beauty of their joined lives in death as they were in life. Scenes from the Etruscan tombs portray this theme well, how the Etruscan men adored their wives, and the wives adored their husbands, and they both shared in the bounty of their marriage. Now I know you may think this was aberrant behavior in human history and may even be so bold as to say, Helen of Troy was not a lady ! hoping to defuse my argument that the Lydian women were perfect examples of ladies. Argue as you may that the Trojan (also called Lydian) woman should be drug down because of Helen, I have a rebuttal: Helen was not a Lady . She was an adulterous Spartan who abandoned her husband, Menelaüs, and ran off with a Trojan lover, Paris. That she was not a lady is illustrated in the fact that he was always looking over his shoulder, scorning his wife's somewhat liberal airs towards other men of his father's, court [re: Roman Review VII.3-24, On the Ladies of Priam's Court , by Justinus]. By the way, her whoring around was universally recognized by the ancient world as being unladylike. We mention Helen, because she offers a fair comparison of average American womanhood today. The main difference between Helen and American Women is that Helen made sacrifices to the Crimean Bitch to avoid the goddess's wrath against Lydian children; whereas our women sacrifice their own children to whatever bitch might take them. Oddly, American women will give a child its breast and then have no pains of conscience throwing it away herself, or allowing someone to do so, into the pits of our Inner City streets. This is maternal love, I ask? Well, one might say, perhaps citing as examples Romulus and Remus, the Romans did it. Our women are worse, I reply . Hear my argument. There is much more.
Here we rely upon Juvenal as our authority and proposition, that American women enjoy abortion more than the Romans did . One of the problems Juvenal complained about, in fact, was the problem of abortion. If you will hear the facts, you will discover that Roman women two thousand years ago were actually more sophisticated and humane in their shedding of the womb than our women, for they had drugs which made abortion easy and painless. Also they did not have physicians who preferred using dismembering hooks and vacuums. This is not to say they didn't have the technology, for there were men who did dive into wrecks on their beaches using what was later adapted as vacuum technology. Thus, when it came to abortions, because they used painless drugs, the Romans had a far greater respect for life than we. Even when it came to punishing murderers, the Romans were more attentive to a humane taking of life.
Well, in most cases this is true of Rome. A plain old murderer in ancient Rome, for instance, would visit the headsman who, if you are pleasant to him, will sharpen his axe and take careful aim, removing one's head with one chop on the block. If you were not pleasant with him, then he might be provoked, remove his cowl and yours, and use a dull axe, looking at the ladies in the crowd rather than your neck. Hacking a piece of your cheekbone, maybe the side of your face, a piece of your neck, and then, yielding to a few hacks on the neck bone, your head would fall into the basket to be quickly grabbed as a souvenir by one of the crowd. Paraded around on the end of a spear-that would be the end of your head. If you were a parricide the penalty was a bit worse, but nevertheless far more gentle on a man than in our own American practices. If you were a parricide, having killed your own father, in you would go, to a specially sewn leather sack, with a snake, monkey, dog, and chicken (sometimes only a monkey). Being properly tied the sack was then thrown either into the sea or the Tiber river. This shows us that the Romans not only were humane in their worst treatment of the worst murderers of the time they more so had greater respect for one's father. In America there is no distinction on murder, be it child, father, or mother. This is probably because of the fact that today over half of our population (included in the number are those born out of wedlock and those of broken homes) don't know their father.
I was lucky, I suppose, because I didn't have to suffer this average
experience. My father died when I was seven years old (heart trouble).
But then I was brutalized by a step-father, which is about normal
for the population. Don't spare the rod, was his motto. He was
legal, though, because the rod was never larger than his thumb,
but his hands were larger than average, so whether I was an abused
child or not is probably debatable. Today there are stricter standards
on what is abuse and what is not. But still, compared to Rome
we are more abusive, which we can illustrate by the records of
our children forced to run gauntlets in our streets, drugged,
shot up and stabbed, bit by bit, and then murdered. A Roman child,
for instance, was not taught the arts of war until after puberty.
First he would be taught the three R's, agriculture, etc., then
he would be taught how to handle a knife, etc. Young Roman girls
were taught the arts of running a household. By comparison, as
we illustrated, both young boys and girls in our age are taught
how to use knives and automatic weapons before they learn the
three R's. Teaching either our male or female youth how to manage
a household, of course, was abandoned because Americans no longer
carried the tradition of a family household anyway. Since the
three R's were once necessary to maintaining a household it follows
that America could be expected to slack off teaching these things
Ambiguous lines of authority. Following this, lacking the tradition of maintaining a house and family, with the women of the house now being the head of the house and the men in a child's life ambiguous (that is to say mothers choose to sleep with many men and this can be confusing to kids), our children have now a new tradition: It's every man for himself. But I wonder about the young girls. For they were robbed of their ladyship because of the new tradition, and as all the young men shove and push to get at the head of everything, drawing the girls into the scrunch, those young girls who might have preferred to become ladies are seduced anyway, to loosening their skirts and cheerleading the maelstrom from the sidelines.
This ain't new , one might reply, for they did it in Rome . Agreed , I answer, but the women of this Plastic Age are worse . Let me explain.
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