Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
It’s your last chance to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch in 2017. Help us gear up to fight the status-quo in 2018! Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Caligula’s Diatribes

by

During a recent excavation in Rome it was determined that the tattered remnants of what looked like a journal had been the handiwork of the Emperor Caligula.  Indeed, it has now been established that the following entry was written just days before his assassination by members of the Praetorian Guard and disgruntled Senators.  I, Publicus, have provided the following translation:

“….(unintelligible gibberish)…I feel so persecuted.  Probably in the history of all the Roman Emperors no one has been as mistreated as I.  These so-called scribes and political philosophers, like Seneca the Younger, writing for the cosmopolitan elites have been spreading demonstrably false stories about me.  Ye Gods! These nattering nabobs of negativity have the audacity even to challenge my sanity. Just because I like to indulge my whims, to which, as Emperor and Neos Helios, I am justly entitled. Seneca and others begrudge me my sexual conquests, suggesting that lusting after those of my own flesh and blood is somehow beneath any Emperor.  If an Emperor cannot brag about such licentious behavior what is to become of Roman masculus?!

….(unintelligible gibberish)…And what of my great works?  Why I have erected more glittering structures than anyone in history.  Of course, some are intended to promote my name, as it should be with any Caesar.  But my vision for protecting any territory claimed by Rome from invading hordes may soon be extended to a vast wall in Brittania.  If only those bickering Senators would just obey my demands.

…(unintelligible gibberish)…Those traitorous Senators, some of whom I had to put to death because their betrayals, are intolerable.  What is the good of having an Absolute Ruler if there are petty checks on my decrees?  Fortunately, I have the adoring crowds who pay no attention to the outlandish charges against me whether from the Senate or their allies among the scribes with their bogus gossip.

…(unintelligible gibberish)…Now I am besieged with challenges to my authority and the empire by some puny Eastern ruler. These threats do not disturb me in the least given all of the firepower that I command with my Roman legions and their technical prowess.  I will reign down fire and fury on this little dictator. While some may counsel diplomacy, I cannot abide such brazen efforts to undermine my dominion.  Starting a little war will be of great service to the empire and will help distract the rabble.  I’m sure this will be another magnificent win for…

Here the entry breaks off.  Apparently, some of Caligula’s inner circle was even concerned that he might order a pre-emptive attack that would cause havoc in that part of the world and, perhaps, even lead to unintended consequences, as do all wars.  It is not known if this bellicose behavior on Caligula’s part was the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak.  But, shortly after his ranting about eliminating the Eastern nemesis and the frightful preparations for war, the assassination plot was carried out.  But, of course, instead of the restoration of the Republic, another Caesar, Claudius, took his place.  Thus, the Empire continued…

More articles by:

Fran Shor is a Michigan-based retired teacher, author, and political activist.  

December 13, 2017
Gabriel Rockhill
The U.S. is Not a Democracy, It Never Was
Jim Kavanagh
Zionism in the Light of Jerusalem
John Davis
The Epic of Our Awakening
Linn Washington Jr.
The Shadow of Smuts on Trump’s Jerusalem Declaration
Timothy M. Gill
The Global Retreat From Human Rights in the Trump Administration
Robert Fisk
Trump’s Shameful Decision on Jerusalem
Lance Olsen
Natural Variability isn’t the Final Word on Climate Science
Robert Jensen
In Patriarchy, Sexual “Misconduct” Not Surprising
Cesar Chelala
Living in New York, Missing Home
Mike Bader
Grizzly Bear Goal Not Yet Achieved
Steve Horn
India May Ban Petcoke, One of Dirtiest Fossil Fuels Exported by Koch Brothers
December 12, 2017
John Pilger
Why the Documentary Must Not Be Allowed to Die
David Rosen
Politics Trumps Religion: The Immorality of Republican “Christian” Morality
Ken Levy
Apparently, Child Rapists Deserve the Death Penalty, But a Child Molester Deserves a U.S. Senate Seat
John Wight
Trump’s Jerusalem Ploy
David Swanson
Sun Tzu: The Ass of War
Ramzy Baroud
The ‘Last Martyr’: Who Killed Kamal Al-Assar?
Doug Johnson
Are Polls Showing a Win for Accused Molester Roy Moore Accurate?
Andrew Bacevich
A Harvey Weinstein Moment for America’s Wars?
Robert Dodge
Saving Humanity From Itself
Binoy Kampmark
Pakistan, US Drones and Idle Threats
Tom H. Hastings
Leave it on The Table Again?
Cesar Chelala
Living in New York. Missing Home
December 11, 2017
Oscar Oliver-Didier 
The Invisibility of Poverty in Puerto Rico
Patrick Cockburn
Trump’s Jerusalem Decision Risks Uniting the Entire Arab World Against the US
Uri Avnery
From Barak to Trump
Robert Hunziker
Dying Ecosystems
Paul Tritschler
The Year Without Summer
Ramzy Baroud
What Trump Has Done: The Entire US-Middle East Political Framework Just Collapsed
Francis Thicke
What Does “Organic” Mean?
Franklin Lamb
Foreign Proxies Prematurely Boast “Mission Accomplished” in Syria
Mike Whitney
Petty, Backstabbing by Washington Sinks Russia’s Olympic Dreams
Mel Gurtov
The Calculated Destruction of America’s Government
David Underhill
Roy Moore Runs to Seat Protestant Pope in Senate
Sheldon Richman
The FBI is Not Your Friend
Weekend Edition
December 08, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
We the Sheeple: the Blind Reading the Blind
Ted Nace
State of Fear: How History’s Deadliest Bombing Campaign Created Today’s Crisis in Korea
Paul Street
The Burning Earth Bears Witness in California
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Operation Paperclip: Nazi Science Heads West
John W. Whitehead
John Lennon’s Most Radical Message
Patrick Cockburn
Jerusalem Explained
Gary Leupp
Jared, Jerusalem, and Possible Jail Time
Oren Ben-Dor
Jerusalem, Partition, Justice and Peace 
CJ Hopkins
The Year of the Headless Liberal Chicken
Felicia Kornbluh
Why Not a Women’s Party? 
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail