Life in the time of Empire.

Monday, 23 September, Year 5 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

After many years finally a new tagline is added to the rotation of Trilema taglines you can even now admire on the upper left side. The newcomer goes :

Mentula cum doleat imperio, tibi, lector, culus. Non sum diuinus, sed scio quid facias.i

I've been reviewing the classics, hence the recent write-up on Fulvia. Turns out the classics have quite a lot to say about current day affairs. Who knew ?!ii For instance, take this bit of Martial :

Pedicatur Eros, fellat Linus: Ole, quid ad te
de cute quid faciant ille uel ille sua?
Centenis futuit Matho milibus: Ole, quid ad te?
Non tu propterea sed Matho pauper erit.
In lucem cenat Sertorius: Ole, quid ad te,
cum liceat tota stertere nocte tibi?
Septingenta Tito debet Lupus: Ole, quid ad te?
Assem ne dederis crediderisue Lupo.
Illud dissimulas ad te quod pertinet, Ole,
quodque magis curae conuenit esse tuae.
Pro togula debes: hoc ad te pertinet, Ole.
Quadrantem nemo iam tibi credit: et hoc.
Vxor moecha tibi est: hoc ad te pertinet, Ole.
Poscit iam dotem filia grandis: et hoc.
Dicere quindecies poteram quod pertinet ad te:
sed quid agas ad me pertinet, Ole, nihil.

In a very plain first pass English translation, something like this :

Eros fucks men's holes, Linus gives head. Oleiii, what's it to you what one or another does of his own skin ? Hundreds has Matho fucked, thousands. Ole, what's it to you ? Not you but Matho will be driven to pauperity by it. Sertorius has his last meal of the day by morning's light. Ole, what's it to you that may undisturbed snore the whole night long ? Seven hundred Tito owes Lupus. Ole, what's it to you ? Don't extend him credit and that's that. All that disimulates matters that indeed have bearing on you, Ole, things that indeed merit more of your attention. For your toga you owe, that's your business, Ole. Nobody extends you credit, that also is your business, Ole. Your wife is not just yours alone, that is your business, Ole. Your daughter is of age and soon requires a dowry, that is your business, Ole. Fifteen things I could say that are your business, but I say naught, because what you do is none of my business, Ole.

Now tell me, the United States have invented ruinous credit, so that the life of each citizen depends on the continuation of its extension, and procuring credit and maintaining credit is the chief concern of every waking hour of every adult ?iv Not new. Quite very anciently Roman.

Or perhaps the United States have invented Rettardit, and Assbook and whatnot. You know, those places where people with broken credit, slutty wives and perverse sexual preoccupations hang around to discuss the deeds and proclivities of others in a desperate but ultimately doomed bid to forget their own troubles. Not new. Quite very anciently Roman too.

Consider 9.5v and 9.7vi, which both deal with using children sexually : the first thanking dear government for having suppressed the trade in castrated teenagers, the second expressing the thanks of infants for their newfound imperial protection. You thought the United States invented "sexual predators" ? Not so, the emperors were here first as well.

What's left, I ask you, what exactly is this vaunted Progress made out of ? As Republic gives way to Principate, free market to planned economy and freedom generally to sprawling bureaucracy, the same "progressive" notions are perpetually entertained, and represented as some sort of grand discoveries. The same patterns repeat, privately as well as publicly, whether we're woolen toga wearing goat slaughterers or nylon clad keyboard massacrers.

After Domitianvii the Empire still had a couple good centuries to cap half a millenium's worth of Republican history. If time compresses as the world cools and ages pass, it may be the case that this new empire may have even a few good decades left in it to cap a couple centuries worth of Republic. Will it be three, or will it be five, or will it be one and a half ?

Rien ne va plus, les jeux sont faits.

———
  1. "As the government's cock hurts, reader, so does your asshole. I'm not a fortune teller but even so I know what you've been up to." []
  2. Everybody. []
  3. Latin employs the vocative. Thus if your name is Ollus, you shall be addressed as Olle. Romanian is the same way, if your name is Maria then you will be addressed as Mario. English is more barbaric, and thus one called Todd will be at most addressed as ye Todd. Or Toddy. []
  4. Consider also 2.44,

    Emi seu puerum togamue pexam
    seu tres, ut puta, quattuorue libras,
    Sextus protinus ille fenerator,
    quem nostis ueterem meum sodalem,
    ne quid forte petam timet cauetque,
    et secum, sed ut audiam, susurrat:
    'Septem milia debeo Secundo,
    Phoebo quattuor, undecim Phileto,
    et quadrans mihi nullus est in arca.'
    O grande ingenium mei sodalis!
    Durum est, Sexte, negare, cum rogaris:
    quanto durius, antequam rogeris!

    []

  5. "Tibi, summe Rheni domitor...". []
  6. "Tamquam parva foret sexus..." []
  7. Who was condemned to oblivion by the Senate, as you are no doubt aware. Or are you ? []
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2 Responses

  1. MP:

    What’s left, I ask you, what exactly is this vaunted Progress made out of ? As Republic gives way to Principate, free market to planned economy and freedom generally to sprawling bureaucracy, the same “progressive” notions are perpetually entertained, and represented as some sort of grand discoveries. The same patterns repeat, privately as well as publicly, whether we’re woolen toga wearing goat slaughterers or nylon clad keyboard massacrers.

    Wikipedia:

    As Emperor, Domitian quickly dispensed with the republican facade his father and brother had maintained during their reign. By moving the centre of government (more or less formally) to the imperial court, Domitian openly rendered the Senate's powers obsolete. In his view, the Roman Empire was to be governed as a divine monarchy with himself as the benevolent despot at its head.

    In addition to exercising absolute political power, Domitian believed the Emperor's role encompassed every aspect of daily life, guiding the Roman people as a cultural and moral authority. To usher in the new era, he embarked on ambitious economic, military and cultural programs with the intention of restoring the Empire to the splendour it had seen under the Emperor Augustus.

    Therefore your argument is invalid.

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    2
    Mircea Popescu 
    Monday, 23 September 2013

    Ay verily, so very invalid.

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