Are medieval days here again? with a vegetable we love to hate
|Broccoli loving Drusus Minor|
|Now just three wives short of Henry VIII.|
At its peak, the Roman Empire covered approximately five million square kilometres and was home to roughly a quarter of the world's population. But despite its advanced infrastructure and immense power, the empire was brought to its knees by natural forces including disease and climate change. While we do live in a different world, where we are continuing to develop control over infectious disease, there are still lessons to be learnt looking back on ancient societies - and our control over such problems remains far from perfect. Pandemics and the unexpected changes they bring have always been part of the natural world and globalisation tends to increase the chances of widespread disease outbreaks.
Germany is today a top-ranking power: rich, strong, and efficiently governed. But just over 200 years ago, most of its current territory was a shambolic mess — part of the Holy Roman Empire, which even at the time was recognized as an anachronistic political fossil. More than a thousand years old at that point, this empire, not to be confused with the Roman Empire was a patchwork of hundreds of different duchies, electorates, principalities, kingdoms, church lands, and so forth, some of them just a few dozen acres (Liechtenstein is one of these relics which still survives), with an exceptionally complicated and illogical tangle of legal institutions overlaying them all..... ....Surpassed by history, the confederation was ripe for the picking by an opportunistic tyrant.This sound vaguely familiar?
The United States today also bears an uncomfortable similarity to that doomed empire. Who expected then that within about half a year, Donald Trump would manage to fast-forward the country through half a century of Roman history, to the doorstep of the Civil Wars that destroyed what little was left of Republican Rome.The storming of the senate and capitol hill was a strong reminder.
Of course, no historical analogy is exact. The collapse of the Republic was brought on by a combination of structural flaws in its politics and governance, and the self-serving ambitions of ruthless individuals that exploited them.
While the causes were many, inter-related, and complex, at their root was a system that defied any notion of the common good and was devoid of political means to resolve rather than exacerbate division.
But the Roman Republic was more like what we might think of today as a “publicly held corporation” and, essentially, treated as private property. Officials used public office to profit personally and directly (and openly).
The Romans had few compunctions about beggaring their defeated enemies.They had always been careful to reward their friends. Jenrick, Rawlinson, doling out lucrative contracts, helping billionaire property tycoons cut costs, or handing out lifetime seats in the"senate." The guiding principle is the same as those of the Roman republic, built on an arrogance of those who believed they were untouchable and that rules were for mere mortals. Of course, it takes money to make money, so only the very wealthy could afford to pursue these rewards because, along the way, they were expected personally to pay for the lavish spectacles, such as the famous gladiatorial games, that sated the public, as well as major public works and public building projects. The Roman state, in short, while ostensibly “public,” had long since been thoroughly privatized. Encouragement of betrayal, snitching/ dobbing on your neighbours; will a man´s death in the UK soon become a sport, a spectacle of Johnson's electorate metaphorically being being thrown to the lions. Along with the Etonian venality and incompetence, cavalier abuse of the constitution and breaking international law has now become the norm it seems.
|Govius Maximus and broccoli loving Drusus Minor|
|"How everyone roared"- Cicero|
From Sulla to Sullen: What does the Fall of the Roman Republic tells us about where Johnson and all the others are going?
Two senators, Gaius Marius and Lucius Cornelius Sulla, came to embody the worst of the Senate's excesses, plunging Rome into the greatest crisis it had faced in centuries: its first civil war. And that might be where we find ourselves today. While the political parallels are far from perfect, Marius, hardly a blameless figure, personified the cause of the populares—what we might think of as more-or-less progressive, advocating for an expanded democracy and economic redistribution. Sulla, a patrician who indulged a fairly libertine, sometimes vulgar, lifestyle even throughout his several marriages, was nonetheless the champion of the economic, social and political conservatives, prevailed and eventually became dictator.
Rome wasn´t built in a day, neither will post Brexit Britain.Boris Johnson summoned the various squabbling representatives of a kingdom he and sidekick Cummings had divided, and urged them with a perfectly straight face to resolve their differences.If this proved beyond their abilities,then he was very graciously prepared to step in and settle their controversies for them. This prize example of wit would long be remembered by these people.The very idea of being lectured by a bumptious prankster must surely have struck the barbarians, the latter day heirs of Socrates as a humiliating indignity. All the same they no doubt laughed politely, if hollowly. Johnson´s offers to settle squabbles had a certain ominous resonance .Boris Johnson is a man who combines a taste for classicism with the sensibility of a joker. He should know the Romans toppled statues too."Damnatio memoriae." Out of date, statues and monuments glorifying slavery. These memories of empire were nostalgia, nothing more. These reflected the presumptions of an age in which empires and monuments had grown larger than life. The small island race has now become a provincial backwater. Ideas above their station and hints that they imagine themselves a great power are regarded by Europeans with hilarity.
|"The Romans combined natural human psychology with a kind of imperial arrogance." |
Today, Broccoli is probably the most hated vegetable on Earth. Maybe that is because of the cabbage odour that permeates the kitchen when it is cooked. “Just don’t eat broccoli!”, you would say. But alas, broccoli is so disgustingly healthy that conscientious parents traumatize their offsprings by offering these green florets time and time again. American ex-president George H.W. Bush (father of the other Bush) is one of the most well known broccoli haters of modern times. A quote from 1990: “I do not like broccoli. And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.”
|Broccoli cous cous|
|Roasted broccoli with oranges|
Hmmmmmmm.Will the senate be back for a third term? and will Dias Medievais (Medieval Days) return to Castro Marim?
"Needs must when the devil drives" 16th century proverb