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August 09, 2003

Cum grano salis

My favourite part of this Guardian article concerning ancient barking moonbat Caligula is the editorial imperative to include a section about his "unhappy childhood". This is a joke, right? It says a lot about the Guardian that it is so hard to tell.

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Classicists have demonstrated a typical academic contrarianism in their attempt to revision the life of Caligula as a misunderstood victim of politically inspired writing rather than the madman he is potrayed uniformly by Roman historians. New archeological work lends support to the Roman view:

... Darius Arya of the American Institute for Roman Culture said a 35-day dig by young archaeologists from Oxford and Stanford universities had reinstated a key element in the traditional account.

"We have the proof that the guy really was nuts," said Dr Arya as he sat in the shade of a clump of trees a few metres from the excavation.

Roman histories claim Caligula incorporated the Temple of Castor and Pollux into his house. He reportedly used the temple as a vestibule and as a stage from which to display himself to the public. Modern historians found the idea too blasphemous to be credited but even more modern archaeology has found evidence of tell-tale construction work which supports the story.

And then... A Reuters feature has more:

"Everyone knows this guy was a little crazy. But now we have proof that he was completely off his rocker, that he thought he was one of the gods," Darius Arya, one of the directors of the excavation, said Monday.

"It's like someone -- a president or a king or you know, Bill Gates -- turning St. Peter's into their entrance hall," he said during a break from the dig in the Roman Forum in the heart of Italy's capital.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at August 9, 2003 11:19 AM