Cinderella, The secret History of the Mongols and other Ancient texts I have perused, True story;)

Juius Caesar, The Civil War:

“Two triremes had sighted the ship of Decimus Brutus, which could easily be recognized from its ensign, and bore down on it from different directions. Brutus, however had just enough forewarning to make an effort and propel his ship a little way ahead of them. The two triremes collided at speed so hard that both were severely damaged by the impact, and in fact one had its beak broken off”- Julius Caesar, Civil war, part 2, 6. Reminds me of cartoon slapstick comedy…..

“a good commander should be able to gain as much by policy as by the sword”- Julius Caesar, The Civil War.

Julius Caesar, The Spanish War:

To think, if not for the failure of Gnaeus Pompeuius’s (Pompey’s elder son) invasian of the kingdom of Bogus, king Bogus may not have been able to help Caesar defeat the Boni/Pompeian’s in Africa, which would be totally bogus.

“one man, Antistius Turpio; confidant in his strength, he began boasting that there was not his match among his opponents. Then, like the legendary encounter between Achilles and Memnon, Quintus Pompeius Niger, a Roman knight from Italica, came forward from our ranks to engage with him. Antistius’s ferocity had drawn everyone’s attention away from the construction work; both battle lines were arrayed; for in this contest between two outstanding warriors, the outcome was uncertain, and it almost appeared that the fight between these two would bring the wart to a conclusion. Everyone was alert and eager, gripped by the enthusiasm of the partisans and supporters on his own side. The champions, with ready courage, came on to the plain to fight, their shields with engraved work, emblems of their renown, flashing*…..” {Text defective}- Spanish war, 25. Dammit Spanish war! That was probably going to be the coolest fight ever too…….stupid buildiup…………

Just finished reading the Spanish war after reading the African war, Alexandrine war and civil war. Aside from being easily the most poorly written (The Spanish, Alexandrine and African wars were not written by Caesar, who was a fantastic writer) about the only thing it illustrates well (there are many lacunae making much of the conflict incomprehensible) is the savagery of this last desperate phase of “Caesar’s” civil war, many have noted that the early part of the war (up to and to an extent including Pharsalus) was notably unbloody considering the scale of the conflict, in part due to Caesar’s famed clementia, the disclipine of his troops and his capacity to convince enemies to surrender or desert, after Pharsalus however increasingly only the real hardliners are left many of whom had already abused Caesar’s initial “mercy” and Caesar’s own troops and himself become tireder and less forgiving. It is perhaps no wonder that Caesar’s account of the civil war stops shortly after Pharsalus, recollections of the African war, and especially the Spanish war could hardly do his reputation for clemency credit nor Roman attempts to heal, the Spanish war was a particularly ugly conflict.
I mean after the battle of Munda, the Caesareans constructed a rampart out of the bodies of the pompeins they killed, while sticking thier heads on thier discareded pikes while beseiging the remnants of the Pompeian army………..Sh*t got dark!

 

The secret history of the Mongols:

Piece of advice if ever you offend one of Genghis Khans kin and he suggests the two of you sort it out with a freindly wrestling match, run. Letting the other guy win will not save you (seriusly this seems to be murder code for him).

Another thing to note about the secret history of the mongols is the propensity of Genghis and his brothers in it after slaughtering an entire tribe to abduct a small child from it to give to thier mother to raise as a gift, it’s like she’s collecting them. “Hi mum were back and look what we brought you, a one of a kind Tartar kid!” “oh isn’t he just adorable, but one of a kind really?” “well……as of yesterday……….”

Finished reading a partial translation of the secret history of the Mongols, Mongolia before and during the childhood and early life of Genghis Khan comes across as highly reminiscent of Hobbes state of nature. “Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of Warre, where every man is Enemy to every man; the same is consequent to the time, wherein men live without other security, than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them withall………and the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”

 

“cinderella”:

So just read the earliest datable version of the Cinderella (only she isn’t called cinderella) story (at least at the time the article was written which I think was in the fifties). This story purportedly has originates from the natives (non-Han Chinese) of Sichuan and was recorded by a Tang dynasty official and scholar in the 800’s. Instead of a ball we have a ‘cave-festival'(reading into it further it’s possible no caves were involved, tricks of etymology and so forth.), instead of a fairy godmother (and I suppose the industrious clothes mice) we have the bones of our heroine’s over 10 foot long fish friend, treacherously killed by her stepmother and the king (not prince) arrests and tortures people to get info on the golden (not glass) shoe! Also the stepmother and stepsister get killed by flying rocks for some reason and thier resting place becomes a place for cavemen to make offerings and pray to acquire women. But she of the gold shoe and her fish bones got to go live with the king and his other wives.

 

True Histories/True lies:

Finally reading True Histories by Lucian of Samosata, I can definitly see why this satire written in the 2nd century AD is sometimes dubbed the first work of Science fiction- even if I the “scifi” element seems to compose less than half the text, it’s got airships (technically), alien abduction, interstellar colonisation, multiple sentient and non sentient alien species, first contact (well depends whether you count mr. abducted but I suppose if you counted backstory…), organ doning or lending, paths through the sky, inter celestial body war and politics, “people” grown rather than born, pregnant men and (sort of) sentient appliances. Also lots of themes and allusians to events from the classical era, particularly in regards to celestial war and politics by way of satire- transposing them to a ridicoulous and overblown context, again Sci Fi has imitated him here, only more often then not we are now expected to take them seriusly;).

Lucian moon

If Ancient Romans had social media: Cicero, Caesar, Cato & Sulla

Cicero:

CiceroSubstance, integrity, honesty, consistency, bravery, their just words really, and I’m REALLY good with words so why don’t people think I have them!#AlsoIstoppedCatiline

All this concern about survelliance, popular unrest, terrorisim and election stealing just pass a Sensatus Consultum Ultimum take it #fromtheguywhostoppedCatiline

@Atticus Plautus and chill? #Amicitiagoals#CatilineIstoppedhim#Idontmeantobrag

Caesar:

JuliusCaesar bust red background

Crossing Rubicon#YOLO!

Caesar is tweeting #thirdpersonbetheshit

All of Gaul is divided into three parts #Futurelatinlessons

You know if we had had Twitter during the Gallic Wars it would have saved me so much time, wouldn’t have had to bother with this commentary cr*p!#literatureishard

Mind those unicorns in the forest #trippingballs

So many naked Gauls, should have called it the phallic wars lol #frenchfashion #winteriscoming

part of fleet got lost, rest having difficulty forcing a landing in Britain #Stillbetterthanthetube

And all of Gaul was pacified #Missionaccomplished

Oh Sh*t where did all these hairy Gauls come from #Thatswhatshesaid #Meandmybigstylus

ladies and gentlemen we got him #Vercingetorix#Reallyreallypacifiedthistime

Crossing Rubicon#YOLO!

dining @Pharoahspalace Holy sh*t thats Pompey’s head! #orderingthesalad

I came, I saw, I instagrammed #picsoritdidnthappen

Ides of March more like Ides have passed amirite#temptingfate

Cato (the elder):

Cato the elderGoing out for some groceries, I think I’ll get figs, fresh ones! #Carthagemustbedestroyed

Gah! everythings closed! so annoying where’s this city’s enterpreneurial spirit gone! I blame immigrants! #Carthagemustbedestroyed

Oh well guess I’m ordering pizza, I’m so bad. I think I’ll get anchovies, I like salty things #Carthagemustbedestroyed

Nothing on tv only foppish lefty nonesense and some Greek drama, I suppose it’s the news for me again#Carthagemustbedestroyed

You know say what you will about Trump but he’s really got this ruthless capitalist and socially conservative political outsider demagogue thing down pat and I should know #MakeCarthagesaltagain

Sulla:

sulla_normalahhh….I love the smell of roasted Pleb in the morning……..#lifternotleaner #deplorables=delectables

Watching Death Note. Premise seems familiar, can’t think why#itsonthetipofmystylus

Just writing my memoirs, History will be kind to me for I intend to write it…………. and silence all Hostile witnesses.#suckitChurchill

The Athenians used to (before I sacked their conceited arses) mock my blotchy skin by claiming that “Sulla is a mulberry sprinkled over with meal”, I suppose that would make me (after I slaughtered them) a cereal killer!#itsfunnycauseitstrue

………Well, I don’t here laughter, I made a joke, laugh! Now!!!#IKnowwhereyoulive

My apologies for that outburst, sometimes I can be a little…..fruity, ahaha! ahaha! ahaha! ahaha!#lookbehindyou

Genghis Khan the geonoicidal warlord that keeps on giving part 1: Littering makes Genghis Khan cry!……..then it makes him mad…….

Remember kids this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfjT9TvfsPM

leads to this:

http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/climate-weather/stories/was-genghis-khan-historys-greenest-conqueror

………*Ahem*:

“Bows!”
“Arrows!”
“Swords!”
“Saddles!”
“Horses!”

“Go Genghis!”

“By your Kuriltai’s poclamation, I am Genghis Khan”

Genghis Khan, he’s our hero
Gonna take the population down to zero

He’s our nightmares magnified
And he’s committing Genocide

Genghis Khan, he’s our hero
Gonna take the population down to zero

His enemies he will tear asunder
cities he like’s to loot and plunder

"YOU'LL PAY FOR THIS GENGHIS KHAN!"
“YOU’LL PAY FOR THIS GENGHIS KHAN!”

We’re the dogs of war
Khan’s enemies we will screw
‘Cause conquering Eurasia is the thing to do!

Looting and polluting is so the way
Hear what Captain Kirk has to say!

 

THE POWER IS MINE!
THE POWER IS MINE!

Final fantasy XV ending first thoughts (without spoilers)

Recently finished Final Fantasy XV. On the whole a good game and there’s plenty yet for me to in it but I have finished the principal story and am somewhat disapointed with it. I was expecting a greater variety of locations, especially for the key missions. Venice, sorry I mean Altissia is lovely but not fully utilized (and the leviathan fight is awful both as battle and spectacle) you basically don’t do anything in Tenebrae and the less said about the fortress in Nifleheim’s capital the better, they were going for menacing what they got was plodding and oppressively drab and Insomnia at night proved not to be much better. As in Final fantasy XIII the storytelling particularly for the latter chapters proved confusing though it has to be said it’s still clearly better than the utter mess that was 13 even in this area. Dramatic moments also struggle to have an impact when they involve characters we barely interact with or see (poor suchandsuch we hardly knew thee……but thats just it we hardly knew thee), this is made all the more noticeable by the fact that the interactions and banter between your 4 companions is often excellent, written and conveyed so much more effectively than much of the rest of the writing and storytelling as to threaten whiplash and does a lot paradoxically to both salvage the game and damn much of the rest of the writing further. The end boss fight is also pretty terrible (though not as bad as Leviathan…..very few things are). Despite this the game’s clearly a step in the right direction after 13 even if the actual storytelling is still awful.

Immortals: Style never dies.

Back in 2011 I saw a movie (with freinds……yes I once had them) that came out that year called the Immortals. It was one of those films inspired very loosely by greek mythology that came out in the years following 300 (seriusly it seemed to be almost a cinematic subgenre for about 5 years) and the following are (for the most part) my thoughts immediately after viewing said…………..why!? why are the Titans imprisoned in a fuse ball cube, why is thier a boat in a village located on a sheer cliff, why is everyone, including dead people! fighting in the sky at the end, why do we see up someone’s kilt, why is thier a guy wearing a barbed metal bull’s head mask (why would anyone wear that!?) why is thier no F*cking grass! or Soil! or trees or anything other than stone, sand or saltflats anywhere! including anywhere near any settlements? why does the bad guy make almost any of his decisions? for that matter why does Zeus! Why do the gods have a prime directive? why does the sidekick join the hero? come to think of it what does the hero even achieve? And why above all does everyone wear such patently ridiculous hats!

Of course there is an answer to the last of these questions for the hats at least are fabulous, their are a distinct lack of immortals in this movie but these fashion choices are surely forever:

 

pfffttt you thought the minotaur was a monster hah! he was just a soldier wearing a mask made out of barbed wire and bull horns because....reasons..... afterall this is the real story without any of that supernatural cr*ap.....except for the energy bow........and the titans......and the olympian gods.....shut up.
pfffttt you thought the minotaur was a monster hah! he was just a soldier wearing a mask made out of barbed wire and bull horns because….reasons….. afterall this is the real story without any of that supernatural cr*ap…..except for the energy bow……..and the titans……and the olympian gods…..shut up.
*mumbles menacingly* "I'm sorry your going to have to speak up, I can't hear you over the stupidness of your hat" *mumbles angrily* "You know what forget I'm just going to imagine your dialogue in the form of song: For it it is a glorious thing to be the Crabby King!!!"
*mumbles menacingly* “I’m sorry your going to have to speak up, I can’t hear you over the stupidness of your hat” *mumbles angrily* “You know what forget I’m just going to imagine your dialogue in the form of song: For it it is a glorious thing to be the Crabby King!!!”
We are the oracle's of the god Pixar, here to enlighten you. You know because we're lamps......lamps........F*ck my career.
We are the oracle’s of the god Pixar, here to enlighten you. You know because we’re lamps……lamps……..F*ck my career.

immortals-movie

Immortals whip

immortals_hammer
No one knows what it’s like to bear this burden……this weight. the weight. Of the stupidest of hats.
Immortals all the hats
In the model-off for stupidest hat the competition was fierce…..and vacant…..mostly vacant.

 

Adrianople, Amalasuntha and never letting the facts get in the way of the truth.

On the 9th of August 378AD (at least according to wiki) the East Roman emperor Valens lead an army of around 20,000 (estimates range both higher and lower according to wiki) to a crushing defeat at the hands of a Gothic force, the emperor himself dying during the battle’s course or in it’s immediate aftermath at the hands of said foe, the first ever emperor to die in battle against a non-Roman force. For this reason among others Adrianople was a disaster on a practically unprecedented scale for the empire, one from which it would never recover, one that presaged it’s doom. Adrianople was the turning point, how could it not be with it’s tale of hubris, corruption, mistreatment of refugees and the stunning first ever battlefield death of a Roman emperor at the hands of barbarians?

Of course it was not the East Roman Empire whose fall was presaged but it’s western counterpart, who had lost no soldiers, much less an emperor in this fight, nor did that final fall take place for more than another 80 years…………Nor was Valens the first emperor to fall in battle with Goths, he was the 2nd…….and probably the 4th to be killed in battle with non-Romans, and then there was the one that got captured by the Persians and lived the remainder of his life in captivity……….

Furtheremore the 20,000 or so (upper estimates) Roman casualties, while significant was not exactly an exceptionally large figure for a Roman defeat in pitched battle, Carrhae and Edessa were much larger defeats and Cannae and Aurasio positively dwarf it in terms of casualties.

But these are merely facts, easily forgotten. But the truth endures and the truth is that at the battle of Adrianople the death knell of the western Roman empire was sound with the defeat and death of the first Roman emperor to die in battle (with non-Romans) as just punishment for the empire’s ungenerous migration policy………….And that Justinian, East Roman/Byzantine emperor during the 6th century invaded Ostrogothic Italy to put queen Amalasuntha back on the throne.

That queen Amalasuntha was dead before the invasian had begun and that said death was used as a pretext by Justinian to commence said invasians would seem to be one of those pesky facts, but as I just told you the TRUTH this paragraph is pretty much redundant.

But to return to the matter of the first Truth: The emperor Decius was defeated in battle by Goths at the battle of Arbrittus during Rome’s third century crisis (so-called because it was a period of political instability or…..crisis that occurred during the 3rd century, crazy right?) and killed in the fighting, next up we have Gordian the so-called 3rd who according to Persian sources was killed in battle with the Persian army and according to some Roman sources who were hostile to his succesor he was murdered by his succesor (Emperor Phillip “the arab”). Both traditions have an obvious vested interest and historians tend to go with the Phillip did it tradition but I believe the Persian account to be considerably more likely.

Next up we have Julian “the apostate” who was emperor less than 2 years before Valens. So his death wasn’t exactly ancient history to emperor Valens. Julian died from a wound inflicted by a javelin while fighting in a heated skirmish with Persian forces and thier are two traditions as to who threw said javelin. The first funnily enough is that it was thrown by a Persian soldier, you know the people he was fighting at that exact moment but the second is that it was a christian soldier in Julian’s army angered by the pagan emperor’s hostile policies to said faith. Julian’s death is famous among late antique scholars (if that is not a tautology…..), and occured not long before the reign of Valens at all. Furtheremore the concensus seems to veer overwhelmingly in favour of the first tradition and justifiably so, unlike with Gordian III we seem content to give this one to the persians.

And yet…….the truth of Valens being the first emperor to meet such an end endures in spite of the preceding examples, none of which I should add are obscure among students and scholars of the middle and late Roman empire and while clashing traditions grant serious leeway with Gordian and a little (though not much) with the famous Julian there’s still Decius and as far as I’m aware the circumstances of his death are uncontested and is chiefly remembered for 2 things: A persecution of Christians AND FOR BEING THE FIRST ROMAN EMPEROR TO FALL IN BATTLE WITH BARBARIANS.

Despite this in the last year of my undergraduate degree I attended a lecture given by an extremely knowledgeable late antique scholar that if I recall correctly claimed just that and it got me thinking. Thing is I’m fairly confidant that wasn’t the first time I’d heard someone who would obviously be aware of Decius (and Julian) at the least say that. And I’m quite certain I’ve seen qualified scholars do the same on documentaries not just pop historians and narrators. In fact I’m fairly confidant I’ve said it and thought it long after hearing of some of the above examples myeself. So this can not be merely a matter of genuine ignorance.

But the truth is a powerful thing. We had all likely heard this detail repeated to us so often that when it comes time to talk of the significance of Adrianope dear old decius death is simply forgotten. Due to the power of Ammianus Marcellinus- our principal source for the battle and a figure many scholars hold in borderline reverence the prominence given to Adrianople is near assured, subsequently Adrianople would play a key role in the narrative of the barbarization of the Roman army and thier loss of control of immigration policy, which in these narratives is the key to West Rome’s subsequent fall. Adrianople was at one time seen as the turning point in military history that lead to the dominance of cavalry over infantry in the medieval era to come and now it is heavily utilized as a cautionary moralising tale about the dangers of racisim and harsh immigration policies, if only Rome had been kind to these Gothic refugees and embraced them this would not have happened, sound familiar? And somewhere in there the notion that Valens was the first emperor to die in battle with barbarians is given birth and takes root. For it’s symbolic value to whatever significance you wish to give Adrianople is too potent to be ignored and so is internalized and repeated frequently without question.

Thier are of course as hinted other issues with traditional or common views of the overhyped defeat at Adrianople, for one it’s difficult to see how a tale of refugees, many of whom entered the empire “illegally” and certainly against the wishes of the Roman government turning on their new government, killing it’s head of state, extorting privileges through violence and playing a key role in the West Roman empire’s decline & fall is an obvious morality tale in openness, cultural tolerance and why it’s silly to fear immigrants and refugees….so you know here’s a story about them destroying civilisation…….but from here I would like to move on to a more sinister case of not letting facts get in the way of the truth: the aforementioned matter of Amalasuntha and the small matter of her being dead.

Gothic immigrants: taking our jobs and taking our statues, but apparently not our clothes.......
Gothic immigrants: taking our jobs and taking our statues, but apparently not our clothes…….

The same proffesor previusly mentioned (this is going to come across as quite damning but despite our differences this is a man I deeply respect) during the same course as before in a tutorial claimed that as with Justinian’s invasian of the vandal kingdom in North Africa his invasian of Ostrogothic Italy was launched to effect regime change in the monarchy in question (granted the hereditary principle proved to be somewhat de facto and limited with the Ostrogoths in particular), namely the restoration to power of the deposed queen Amulasuntha. I was taken aback by this assertion and raised my hand, the proffesor allowed me to speak and I said words to the effect of “but Amalasuntha was dead”, the proffesor acknowledged that as a fact and said by way of explanation basically that he didn’t want to confuse the other students with extraneous detail. Wow. let’s not let little details like Amalusuntha’s death before the invasian had begun get in the way of the theory that said invasian was launched to put her back on the throne.

I mean props for commitment to the goth aesthetic, having a corpse queen and all but I think there may be issues with practicality there. I was so taken aback by this response that I had no idea what to say (and besides was reliant as ever on forbearence with extensions for passing……I’m not a good student….) and so trusting that I had sufficiently confused the narrative by that statement alone let the matter drop (the person I was queen-of-the-deadwhen I first got to university for better or worse would have been less likely to do so). To address any defences of this take in breif Amalasuntha’s assasination was known to Justinian and he used it as a pretext to start the war so there was no not knowing or pretending she was alive even from the outset. Amalasuntha’s assasination is no incidental detail, it kills this theory outright (much like Theodahad) and without assistance, that is fact.

But the truth is we don’t like big men in history, we find the notion that major actions and decisions in history are sometimes the result of ambitous and idiosyncratic plans by individuals to be naive and childish, we believe in the cautionary Iraq war parable against regime change and honestly we just don’t like Justinian very much…….and Valens was the first………and so we have the truth: Valens was the first emperor to die in battle and Justinian was George W. Bush if he had tried to replace the taliban with the charred corpse of Ahmad Shah Massoud.

 

Still…..might have been an improvement on Karzai.

Pointing dude: "This man can't be pope he's dead!" Guy behind stand: *scoffs* "a minor detail!"
Pointing dude: “This man can’t be pope he’s dead!”
Guy behind stand: *scoffs* “a minor detail!”

Regards,

Samuel.

The (new) king of Clowns.

People have been going on about Trump being a new Hitler. Really it’s not a very good comparison, some people have gone with Mussolini which is probably a better one. However there is a much more modern figure that fits the mould much better. Trump is Silvio Berlusconi……..the joke of Europe………just let that sink in for a bit……….bunga bunga……….

berlusconi-1

PS. of course Berlusconi was I believe his countries largest media mogol, which makes for one of a number of key differences.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) presents Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi with a book printed in Russia about Berlusconi's political life, during their meeting in the presidential residence Bocharov ruchei in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi, April 2, 2002. Putin called Italy a privileged partner and noticed that its role in Europe is growing, Itar-Tass agency reported. (Credit : REUTERS/ITAR-TASS/KREMLIN PRESS SERVICE)

Was Bob(us) right?

http://bobcarrblog.wordpress.com/…/right-to-kill-caesar-a-…/ Bob Carr’s reasons for why he lost the Macquarie’s was Brutus right debate a number of years ago. He talks as if the ancients had any real notion of war crimes, that Rome under Republican government was not warmongering (the Principate was far more peaceful) and as if this was a contest between autocracy and democracy not between two potential tyrants (Pompey & Caesar of which Caesar proved the kinder more capable master) or between Caesar and a corrupt, unstable and self-righteous oligarchy. I remember being bitterly frustrated during the debate that the opposing team never corrected Bob Carr and co’s assertion that Rome was a democracy, rather than a state that even when it was functioning as intended (which by Caesar’s time it was most certainly not) weighted votes formally by wealth and birth and even that was assuming you were not a slave, male and a citizen. But then one of the members of the opposing team was a politician as well and if it’s one thing they love it’s corrupt, unstable oligarchies, it’s what gets them out of bed in the morning. Equating Caesar with Hitler, Mussolini (he wished) and Napoleon and stating that the Caesar myth still endure’s because he was assasinated before he faced his waterloo “and the mob, up till now bribed with handouts and circuses had turned on him” is facetious, unlike the three other dictators you see Caesar had WON his wars, there was Parthia to consider but decisive defeat there was unlikely certainly there was no chance of a grand coalition of states of comparable power forcibly overthrowing Caesar and replacing him with a regime of their choosing. As for the Mob turning on him well, they seemed ok with emperors far worse than Caesar for the next……1500 years (including the Byzantine period)…….those were some bread and circuses huh?

The end times are upon us!

 

The end is nigh! Fear the uprising! Fear the Furby singularity! They’ve infiltrated the webb!

 

 

It Shits cars! Why does it shit cars!?

 

Am I the only one that finds the last few seconds where it asked about cat video’s to be the creepiest part of all? Mark my words the apocalypse is upon us and it will will be filled with singing furbies forcing thier human slaves to watch cat video after cat video until madness takes them and ends thier torment……….and you thought this was going to be about the election.

Get Donald to pull the plug on furbnet before it’s too late!