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21 March 2008


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Here's my link


I just wanted to let you know that I am thoroughly enjoying your comments. It's wonderful that you are enjoying this book so much. I think this would make great high school reading.


It's just so goddamn grim. The "execution" of Sejanus' children is one of the worst things I've ever, ever, ever read. And it happened. It's mentioned by Tacitus.

"It was next decided to punish the remaining children of Sejanus, though the fury of the populace was subsiding, and people generally had been appeased by the previous executions. Accordingly they were carried off to prison, the boy, aware of his impending doom, and the little girl, who was so unconscious that she continually asked what was her offence, and whither she was being dragged, saying that she would do so no more, and a childish chastisement was enough for her correction. Historians of the time tell us that, as there was no precedent for the capital punishment of a virgin, she was violated by the executioner, with the rope on her neck. Then they were strangled and their bodies, mere children as they were, were flung down the Gemoniae." (Book VI)

Awful as she is, Livilla's death always gives me a shudder too; remember way back at the beginning where she's making fun of Claudius after the wolf cub drops from the sky and Antonia says, "I'll lock you in your room without supper."? Yeah. Ugh.

Thank goodness for Calpurnia, right?

There's recently been kind of a reassessment of both Tiberius and Caligula in serious historiography (since all the sources we have belong to the senatorial order and they are the ones who suffered most from the "bad" emperors--remember Claudius' simile of the rotten apple?). One of the interesting theories is that Caligula really was a "good" emperor until that mysterious illness and it really did trigger some kind of insanity.
I think the project as a whole is complete nonsense, but it's good in that it forces one to actually *think* about how we judge not only the emperors but the accounts we have of their behavior.


Okay this is my innter trekkie talking but what in the world is the significance of Tiberius being Jim Kirk's middle name? Does it mean he is blood thirsty or misunderstood or what? After reading all your comments I just wonder why in the world Tiberius was the name they chose for him - it has to be significant (I mean please - it's not a common name!)

Okay - putting away my starfleet uniform now.... :)


I wondered if Caligula's godhood came from advanced syphilis...

I *do* want to know what happened among the Scouts. ;)

thanks for the belly-laugh, Colleen.

Off to read the next....


I love the pictures you've been posting of your book and notes, Heidi. I wondered about syphilis, too.

Colleen, that was hilarious. Sadly, I don't have an answer for you. CC? Any thoughts on that one? Is there a different, more likable Tiberius out there? Or are there differing viewpoints about this one? It does seem like an odd choice of name for a Star Trek hero.

I'm still reeling from the passages (both in I, Claudius and what CC quoted above) about Sejanus' children. I'm usually pretty good at wrapping my head around people's motivations and taking a step back when I look at different cultures -- but killing them all (and not even remotely quick and clean deaths at that) seemed so brutal and pointless. It wasn't even to hurt Sejanus, as he was executed first, right? Unless there was concern that the kids would grow up and want revenge? Or was it a warning to everyone else to keep them from getting uppity?

I forgot about that "I'll lock you in your room without supper" line. That's fantastic in a really horrible way.

...but it's good in that it forces one to actually *think* about how we judge not only the emperors but the accounts we have of their behavior. And that goes for history in general, right? That the history we read is always someone's version of events, no matter how objective they're trying to be.


CC, that scene was bad enough without knowing it was real. Grim indeed.


Well; the Romans really only had 12 or so "first names" in common use, and Tiberius is one of them, but let's face it: if you're talking about Tiberius, there's only one that springs to mind.

I'm not a Star Trek person at all, so my entirely uneducated guess (after the first thought: "Well they're both perverts.") is that the writers wanted to evoke the long history of human government and they didn't want to be super-obvious about it (so they didn't use "Caesar") and they didn't want it to get lost (and so they didn't use "Augustus" or "Alexander".

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