* Keep in mind that by the standards of the day, jokes about deformities were pretty mild.
* Remember those speeches Cicero gave about Mark Antony? The Phillipics?
* Here’s just one example:
* Let us speak rather of his meaner descriptions of worthlessness. You, with those jaws of yours, and those sides of yours, and that strength of body suited to a gladiator, drank such quantities of wine at the marriage of Hippia, that you were forced to vomit the next day in the sight of the Roman people. O action disgraceful not merely to see, but even to hear of! If this had happened to you at supper amid those vast drinking-cups of yours, who would not have thought it scandalous? But in an assembly of the Roman people, a man holding a public office, a master of the horse, to whom it would have been disgraceful even to belch, vomiting filled his own bosom and the whole tribunal with fragments of what he had been eating reeking with wine.
* And he wasn’t joking.
* But Augustus’ actions were never cruel or unusual.
* At least in his later years, ignoring his younger days as a triumvir.
* He didn’t parade or abuse his power.
* He was also happy to be the butt of some jokes.
* But not the butt of butt fuck jokes.
* Remember when Mark Antony and his brother Lucius claimed Augustus had let Julius Caesar and Hirtius butt fuck him?
* Moderation and courtesy were his standard.
* But keep in mind – in his younger days, he was about anything BUT moderation.
* Antony criticized him for fucking around, for holding lavish dinner parties when the rest of Rome was suffering under a famine, and for his love of expensive furniture.
* So I think he learned from his mistakes.
* Except for the women.
* Suetonius: He could not dispose of the charge of lustfulness and they say that even in his later years he was fond of deflowering maidens, who were brought together for him from all quarters, even by his own wife.
* There are also reports of acts of kindness and generosity.
* Once he heard a old minor senator, someone he barely knew, had gone blind and was going to commit suicide.
* Augustus went to sit at his bedside and talked him out of it.
* Because he was always out in public, there are lots of stories about his eccentricities.
* He adopted Big Julie’s motto of keeping his formal speeches clear, short and in simple language.
* He liked folksy sayings like ‘as fast as you can cook asparagus” or “they will pay up on the Greek Kalends” – there wasn’t such a day in the Greek calendar, so that meant they were never going to pay up.
* And of course his motto we’ve mentioned before: make haste slowly.
* SUETONIUS adds:
“Better a safe commander than a bold”; and “That is done quickly enough which is done well enough.” He used to say that a war or a battle should not be begun under any circumstances, unless the hope of gain was clearly greater than the fear of loss; for he likened such as grasped at slight gains with no slight risk to those who fished with a golden hook, the loss of which, if it were carried off, could not be made good by any catch.
* He was also superstitious.
* I think we’ve mentioned this one before, but after a torch-bearer beside him was struck my lightening and killed on a trip to Spain, Aug always carried a lucky piece of sealskin with him while travelling.
* If there was a lightening storm while he was at home, he’d hide in the basement.
* Maybe he though Zeus was out to get him?
* He thought a light rain at the start of a trip was a good omen.
* But finding his slaves had put this shoes out the wrong way around was a bad omen.
* I’m the same way with my slaves.
* But Suetonius has other stories.
* As patron and master he was no less strict than gracious and merciful, while he held many of his freedmen in high honour and close intimacy, such as Licinus, Celadus, and others. His slave Cosmus, who spoke of him most insultingly, he merely put in irons. When he was walking with his steward Diomedes, and the latter in a panic got behind him when they were suddenly charged by a wild boar, he preferred to tax the man with timorousness rather than with anything more serious, and turned a matter of grave danger into a jest, because after all there was no evil intent. 2 But he forced Polus, a favourite freedman of his, to take his own life, because he was convicted of adultery with Roman matrons, and broke the legs of his secretary Thallus for taking five hundred denarii to betray the contents of a letter. Because the tutor and attendants of his son Gaius took advantage of their master’s illness and death to commit acts of arrogance and greed in his province, he had them thrown into a river with heavy weights about their necks.
* He avoided extreme hot and cold baths like most of the Roman aristocrats.
* But he scarred his skin from being too rough with the metal strigil he used to scrape off the oil that they used as soap.
* He still got sick a lot, and had weakness in his legs and hands, especially his right hand, which sometimes made it impossible for him to hold a pen.
* Before the battle of Actium he’d participated in the usual military exercises on foot and horseback.
* But after it, he switched to throwing and catching a ball for exercise.
* Then he switched to getting a slave to throw and catch the ball while he watched.
* only kidding.
* He would just ride and take a run which he ended by leaping.
* This was normal for a senator in his later years.
* In everything he did, he carefully cultivated the image of a normal respectable Roman nobleman who did nothing to excess.
* He went to great pains to make the Romans feel comfortable that he was a normal guy who just had their best interests at heart.
* He wasn’t a mad man, wasn’t a king.
* If only his successors had his temperament.
* Somewhere inside the Palatine complex of houses he had a private office that was his refuge.
* When he was in there, he wasn’t to be disturbed.
* He called it his workshop and it’s where he could plan legislation or other projects in detail.
* He also have a villa owned by one of his freedman just outside the pomerium where he could go to get some peace.
* On 1 January 1 CE, Or 754 ab urbe condita, Caius Caesar became consul.
* He was on the border with Parthia at the time, so his colleague, Lucius Aemilius Paullus, the husband of Augustus’ granddaughter Julia, the daughter of Agrippa and Julia the Elder, had the ceremony by himself.
* Paullus, BTW, is the grandson of Scribonia, Augustus second wife and the mother of Julia the elder.
* So…. Paullus is his wife’s… cousin?
* KISSIN’ COUSINS ELVIS
* Aug liked to put relatives into office.
* He’d recommend them to the voters but then ask them to choose them only if they were deserving.
* Caius, with his grown up advisers, was doing well.
* Partly because the Parthians didn’t have any appetite for a war with the Romans.
* Caius and the Parthian king met to negotiate, paraded their armies, and then had lavishs feasts.
* Peace was confirmed and a Roman nominee was placed on the throne of Armenia.
* Everyone went home happy.
* In 2 CE, Lucius Caesar was 19 years old.
* He left Rome for his first provincial command in Spain.
* There wasn’t any prospect of war breaking out there, so he could get some experience in a fairly safe environment.
* On his way there, they stopped at Massilia in Gallia Narbonensis, aka Marseilles.
* THE ANGELS
* And while he was there, he fell ill and died.
* Augustus was, of course, devastated.
* But at least he still had one son still alive.
* Meanwhile, with the loss of Lucius, Augustus brings Tiberius back from exile.
* He puts a couple of stipulations on it though.
* He needs approval from Caius, the heir apparent.
* And Tiberius needs to know he’s going to be a citizen.
* No dignitas, no command of an army.
* All he had to look forward to was getting old.
* Until Augustus died and Caius took power.
* Then he might be in danger, if Caius thought him a rival.
* But until then, he’d just kick back in Rome.
* But the convenience of Lucius’ death led to rumors that Tiberius was behind it.
* But scandals were rocking Caius’ party too.
* Lollius, CANDY SHOP, was accused of taking bribes from eastern kings and “committed suicide”.
* Then a large number of the Armenians rebelled against the new king.
* Which wasn’t surprising because he was a Median and not Armenian, so the local aristocrats didn’t like him.
* In 3 CE, Caius led an army into Armenia to suppress the uprising.
* At some obscure town the Romans were laying siege when Caius had the big idea that he could end the whole thing by going and negotiating with the enemy leader.
* He walked in and was wounded.
* He didn’t die straight away, but over the next few months his condition grew worse and his behaviour started to become erratic.
* CHARLIE SHEEN WINNING
* At one point he wrote to his father asking for permission to retire from public life, just like Tiberius had done a decade earlier.
* All the more bizarre coming from a kid in his twenties.
* And then on 21 Feb 4 CE, Caius died.
* Two years after Lucius.
* In his 67th year, Augustus was alone. Again.
* ALL BY MYSELF ERIC CARMEN
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