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Letters by a modern St. Ferdinand III about cults

Gab@StFerdinandIII - Plenty of cults exist - every cult has its 'religious dogma', its idols, its 'prophets', its 'science', its 'proof' and its intolerant liturgy of demands.  Cults everywhere:  Islam, the State, the cult of Gay and Queer, Marxism, Darwin and Evolution, 'Science', Globaloneywarming, Changing Climate, Abortion....a nice variety for the human-hater, amoral, anti-rationalist to choose from.  It is so much fun mocking them isn't it ?

Tempus Fugit Memento Mori - Time Flies Remember Death 

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Adrian Goldsworthy, 'Caesar', 632 pages, 40 pages of source notes.

Colossal genius.

by StFerdIII

For an educational and entertaining summer time reading, you can't beat 'Caesar' by the prolific and superb Goldsworthy. I suppose a character as massive as Caesar can only be covered with justice in nothing less than 600 pages of smallish font. I am no Caesar historian but it is highly unlikely that any other one volume account of one of history's most notable and influential characters can beat this effort. The story line, detail, presentation and method of writing are simply superb. The entire epoch and eras around Caesar's life from 100 BC to 44 BC are covered and the information rendered is surprisingly cant-free, revisionist-free and focused on the context of the times.

For those who tire of the insipid displays on the History Channel and other mass media outlets, where Caesar and other ancient leaders are scaled on axes of pyschopathy and insanity, Goldsworthy's book is a realistic antidote. I suppose Caesar would receive more favorable modern ratings if he had been a sandal wearing metrosexual, prostrated to Mother Earth and chattering that all non-Roman cultures were superior. But in ancient Rome being a nancy-boy and a seer of the occult, whilst ignoring the political, military and social reality of the world at that time, would have been rather disastrous. Caesar's genius as presented in this book is that he understood the political-economy of Rome and was a great leader whether in the field leading men, in the Senate reforming the sewage system, or at the merchant guild issuing new regulations around trade, pricing and quality.

Besides the fantastic information provided, and the glittering depiction of the life of a man with no equal, what I took away from this book, was that Caesar was the best chance that Rome had for reform. This is somewhat surprising for our dark-age culture in which we hate the past and the deeds of those like Caesar. I am sure Caesar is simply portrayed as a more successful barbarian-ruffian in the 'good' schools, then the complicated figure as presented by Goldsworthy.

Few would dispute Caesar's claim to greatness, but it is much harder to day that he was a good man, or that the consequences of his career were unambiguously good. He was not a Hitler or a Stalin, nor indeed a Ghenghis Khan.....At times he was utterly ruthless, ordering massacres and executions, and on one occasion the mass mutilation of prisoners....More often he was merciful to his defeated enemies, for the essentially practical reason that he wanted them to accept Roman rule and so become the peaceful tax-paying population of a new province. His attitude was coldly pragmatic, deciding on clemency or atrocity according to what seemed to offer him the greatest advantage...His campaigns were not noticeably more brutal than other Roman wars.”

He was a man of the age – and the most capable Roman in history. The hinges of history swing on such men in direct contrast to the sordid 'peoples history' which now abound. Remove the likes of Caesar and the people's history does not exist. In contradistinction to the Senate and Rome's aristocratic land-owning families, Caesar desired a far reaching set of reforms to improve the lot of the less-well off and to tame the teeming masses of the expanding centers of Roman urbanization.

Previously the Republic had been dominated by a narrow senatorial elite, whose members all too often abused their position to enrich themselves by exploiting poorer Romans and the inhabitants of the provinces alike. Caesar took action to deal with problems that had been acknowledged as real and serious for some time, but which had not been resolved because of a reluctance to let any individual senator gain the credit for the act.”

When Caesar improbably won the civil war against the greater forces and money of Pompey, he was a King in all but name. His main concern was reform, not Kingship.

After his victory he ruled in a very responsible manner and in marked contrast to the senatorial aristocracy – his measures were designed to benefit a much broader section of society. His regime was not repressive and he pardoned and promoted many former enemies. Rome, Italy and the provinces were all better off under Caesar than they had been for some time.”

When Caesar was murdered by the cabal of alarmed aristocrats he was in the planning stages for an invasion of Parthia. He was also deep into policy on land reform, sewage improvement, fire and police protection, improved roads and the building of a canal across the Corinthian peninsula [to allow the faster and safer movement of troops to the east]. The senate of course obsessed about the senate. When Caesar was murdered ironically enough in front of the statue of Pompey, the Roman masses basically revolted. Within 2 years the conspirators and murderers and most of their families were dead. By 31 BC Octavian, Caeser's nephew-in-law [he had no male children]; assumed the status of Emperor. His innovation was to hide his dictatorship behind the skirts of the senate. His power was more absolute than anything Caesar had envisioned for himself.

At one point during the 1920s in order to make money, Churchill considered writing a massive biography of Napoleon. He would have done better to choose Caesar as his topic. Napoleon was a monumental disaster, a megalomaniacal destroyer of most of Europe; a man who retarded European growth by a generation whilst slaughtering 10 million people and raping the treasure of the Continent for his own personal use. The French Revolution, so revolting in many ways, had to end in a Napoleon. It was inevitable. The opposite is true of Caesar. A brutal man to be sure, and one who killed and enslaved about 2 million men and women in his wars in Asia, Africa, Gaul, Italy and Spain. But he also a man who was the only bulwark against Augustinian despotism and Kingship, and a man who reformed land, social services and the political – economy for the benefit of the masses, and for Rome. He was rich but also in a huge debt dispensing millions in today's money to buy favor with the masses and the impoverished. This was both cynical and justified. Caesar was a welfare state politician in some respects. But one man cannot overcome 60 self-absorbed, envious and haughty senators who feel a divine right to rule as the knighted aristocracy. When Caesar was murdered so too was any hope of meaningful reform.

This book is an education. More people should read the real life story of one of history's most interesting and dynamic personalities.

 


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