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caldrail

Dying For A Meal

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Evidence suggets the Romans used cannabis for medicinal purposes. I've just read a book deaing with this sort of thing and although recreational drug use is not well supported in Roman sources, it's a fair bet some of them did. How widespread that practice was is open to doubt - there's no sign of a 'drug trade' and the use of such substances may well have been restricted. I've also been made aware that Roman legionaries had noticed the celts using substances to induce beserk rages and began copying them. Again, there's little documentary evidence.

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Rome was backwards even by modern Banana Republic standards.... more I learn of it, less awed and more dismally disappointed I become.

 

I don't drink or smoke, but I do have enough commonsense to know that if I'm a emperor, and the stupid people gave me a temple, and some worshipped me, but most just heckled me or gave me problems, as a proper far sighted tyrant I'd just change the sacrificial rites in the temples from killing a goat or a midget.... which does nothing for me, to smoking as much opium as possible, and for everyone to chill the hell out and let me do my thing.

 

Drugs aren't a luxury, but a means to stiffle and control. If you have the need for it in the first place, it means something is lacking.

 

This would only be in the case of me hypothetically being a imperial tyrant though, desiring a pragmatic means of control over and beyond the bread and circuses method, which can backfire, as in the Nike Revolt. My dysfunctional empire, if I didn't partically care for them, or even the longevity of the state, would be covered in fields of poppy.

 

The whole system of banana republics are silly in the first place, you end up surrounded fantastically rich by useless puppets, and anyone intelligent enough to want to talk with wants to kill you. In the end, the dynasty collapses in a few generations. All for nothing, beyond the sex with lots and lots of women of course.

Edited by Onasander

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The role of Caesar is not as clear cut as you might think. Caligula, for all his excesses, was beloved by the common people - so was Nero - but because Caligula treated the Senate with disdain and started assuming powers, his chances of keeping the Senate sweet rapidly diminished.

 

He went through this same process of deterioration, too, in almost all other respects. Thus, he had seemed at first most democratic, to such a degree, in fact, that he would send no letters either to the people or to the senate nor assume any of the imperial titles; yet he became most autocratic, so that he took in one day all the honours which Augustus had with difficulty been induced to accept, and then only as they were voted to him one at a time during the long extent of his reign, some of which indeed Tiberius had refused to accept at all. Indeed, he postponed none of them except the title of Father, and even that he acquired after no long time.
Roman History Book 59 (Cassius Dio)

 

What's important to realise is that Caesars who were tyrannical and openly flaunted their power were rapidly unpopular by those in influential positions, many of whom were directly vulnerable to their machinations. Antoninus Pius was so popular as a Caesar because he allowed the Senate to rule. He didn't interfere. The idea of benificient or democratic rule was as important in imperial times as before, only more difficult to assure.

Edited by caldrail

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I don't know if any were actually liked.... we're given opinions by people who have natural biases, just not always easy to discern from our distance.... after a while, especially after the Augustan Dynasty, the Senate just simply wasn't what it once was, and doubt any Roman would of debated that assertion.... but merely being retrograde and hands off, keeping strictly to a executive function as you suggest isn't necessarily "good" either. It can indicate a delusional anachronism on his part in a society that evolved to need a strong executive power penetrating everywhere. Had say, Caesar or Augustus taken this policy and just left the Senate to its business and instead created a war college and rapid reaction force, and better integrated the provinces.... yeah, I'd think they would of made good executives.... more so had they officially codified their limited positions and delineated how to run for said office. But they didn't. They chose monarchy instead. After a while, it's like a Heroine addict, hard to go cold turkey without deadly consequences. A good leader under such conditions should encourage better integration and increased autonomy, emphasis on honesty, integrity, duty.... and encourage institutions to do some soul searching in terms of purpose and identity, and emphasise working together for the greater good.... but that's not inherently republicans. That's still a tyranny, but a enlightened one, with a light at the end of the tunnel. It needs to be remembered, the Roman Senate even on it's best of days could be rather thick headed and short sighted itself. It sorta got itself in this mess on it's own.

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Some caesars defintely were. Caligula for instance is recorded as receiving adoration from a crowd. He hears one shouting "How about a days games, Caesar?", which the indulgent Caligula duly organised for him.

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Good for him. Maybe someone can request a additional Superbowl from Obama in February.

 

Like I said, I'm increasingly unimpressed by Rome, in comparison with the much higher standards of modern day backwater banana republics.

 

I'm impressed such a inherently backwards and grossly ineffective system, by seeming design, can evolve in a noticeable manner. You would think it would just eternally stagnate, but these parasitic dictators do seem to be learning from the mistakes of their predecessors, and mutate in response by degrees, all the while running embarrassing little socialissimo regimes full of corruption, human rights abuse, and pure two-faced ideological spin.

Edited by Onasander

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