History for the Rest of Us

Scalae Gemoniæ

Scalae Gemoniæ

Dec 22, 2012

The Scalae Gemoniæ was a flight of steps leading up to the Capitoline past the carcer, on which the bodies of certain criminals, who had been executed, were thrown and left exposed for a time — a frequent practice during the empire. They are often mentioned, first under Tiberius, and are called scalae Gemoniæ, …gradus gemitorii, and…gradus Gemonii. Only two…passages give any topographical information, but that does not determine the course of these steps with precision. It is probable, however, that it coincided approximately with the present Via di S. Pietro in carcere. It is possible that the Gradus Monetae, mentioned by Ovid, may have connected in some way with these steps. Gemoniæ was undoubtedly connected in the popular mind with gemo, ‘I groan’ but incorrectly. It is rather derived from the proper name Gemonius, but the reason for its use is unknown. The most famous to be meet their demise on the sight were the former confidant of Tiberius, Sejanus; and the emperor Vitellius. Death of Sejanus and his Family Cassius Dio mentions the Scalae in Roman History – Book LVIII: ‘For the moment, it is true, he [Sejanus] was merely cast into prison; but a little later, in fact that very day, the senate associated in the temple of Concord not far from the jail, when they saw the attitude of the populace and that none of the Pretorians was about,…condemned him to death. By their order he was executed and his body cast down the Stairway [Scalae Gemoniæ], where the rabble abused it for three whole days and afterwards threw it into the river. His children also were put to death by decree… His wife Apicata was not condemned, to be sure, but on learning that her children were dead, and after seeing their bodies on the Stairway [Scalae Gemoniæ], she withdrew and composed a statement about the death of Drusus,…then, after sending this document to Tiberius, she committed suicide.’ Death of Vitellius Tacitus refers to the Scalae in The Histories – Book III:’Vitellius, compelled by threatening swords, first to raise his face and offer it to insulting blows, then to behold his own statues falling round him, and more than...

Birth of Jesus Christ

Birth of Jesus Christ

Dec 22, 2012

The Birth of Jesus as recorded in the ‘The Gospel According to St. Luke’ King James version of the Bible: And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward...

Constitution of the Iroquois Nations

Constitution of the Iroquois Nations

Dec 19, 2012

The Gayanashagowa, the Great Binding Law, or Great Law of Peace of the Iroquois Six Nations is an oral constitution which created the Iroquois Confederacy. It was developed by The Great Peacemaker, a Huron man, and his spokesman Hiawatha. Constitution of the Iroquois Nations: THE GREAT BINDING LAW, GAYANASHAGOWA 1. I am Dekanawidah and with the Five Nations’ Confederate Lords I plant the Tree of Great Peace. I plant it in your territory, Adodarhoh, and the Onondaga Nation, in the territory of you who are Firekeepers. I name the tree the Tree of the Great Long Leaves. Under the shade of this Tree of the Great Peace we spread the soft white feathery down of the globe thistle as seats for you, Adodarhoh, and your cousin Lords. We place you upon those seats, spread soft with the feathery down of the globe thistle, there beneath the shade of the spreading branches of the Tree of Peace. There shall you sit and watch the Council Fire of the Confederacy of the Five Nations, and all the affairs of the Five Nations shall be transacted at this place before you, Adodarhoh, and your cousin Lords, by the Confederate Lords of the Five Nations. 2. Roots have spread out from the Tree of the Great Peace, one to the north, one to the east, one to the south and one to the west. The name of these roots is The Great White Roots and their nature is Peace and Strength. If any man or any nation outside the Five Nations shall obey the laws of the Great Peace and make known their disposition to the Lords of the Confederacy, they may trace the Roots to the Tree and if their minds are clean and they are obedient and promise to obey the wishes of the Confederate Council, they shall be welcomed to take shelter beneath the Tree of the Long Leaves. We place at the top of the Tree of the Long Leaves an Eagle who is able to see afar. If he sees in the distance any evil approaching or any danger threatening he will at once warn the people of the Confederacy. 3. To you...

The Pink Panther – The Pink Phink

The Pink Panther – The Pink Phink

Dec 18, 2012

On December 18, 1964 the first animated Pink Panther short, The Pink Phink appeared. The short would be the first time an animation studio would win an Academy Award for Animated Short Film with their first release. The short was released by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises and, of course, had for its soundtrack the legendary Pink Panther theme song by Henry Mancini. In the short, the “Little Man” is attempting to paint his house blue, but everything he paints is painted over in pink by the Pink Panther. Eventually the “Little Man” buries the can of pink paint. Thinking he has resolved his problem he briefly rejoices, only to see grass, trees, bushes, etc. begin sprouting up in pink. The short finishes with the “Little Man” getting a coat of pink paint himself, courtesy of the panther, before the panther moves in to the newly painted home. Listen to the classic Pink Panther Theme on Spotify: Pink Panther Theme by Henry Mancini Related Stories: Bugs Bunny Garfield The Incredible Hulk Batman Li’l...

Consualia and the Sabine Women

Consualia and the Sabine Women

Dec 15, 2012

The Consualia Festival was held twice a year, on August 21st and December 15th. CONSUALIA [was] a festival, with games, celebrated by the Romans…in honour of Consus, the god of secret deliberations, or…of Neptunus Equestris. Plutarch…say[s] that Neptunus Equestris and Consus were only different names for one and the same deity. It was solemnized every year in the circus, by the symbolical ceremony of uncovering an altar dedicated to the god, which was buried in the earth. For Romulus, who was considered as the founder of the festival, was said to have discovered an altar in the earth on that spot. The solemnity took place on the 21st of August with horse and chariot races, and libations were poured into the flames which consumed the sacrifices. During these festive games, horses and mules were not allowed to do any work, and were adorned with garlands of flowers. It was at their first celebration that, according to the ancient legend, the Sabine maidens were carried off. Virgil, in speaking of the rape of the Sabines, describes it as having occurred during the celebration of the Circensian games, which can only be accounted for by supposing that the great Circensian games, in subsequent times, superseded the ancient Consualia… SOURCE:A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities Livy describes the abduction of the Sabine women as follows: And now the Roman state was become so powerful, that it was a match for any of the neighboring nations in war, but, from the paucity of women, its greatness could only last for one age of man; for they had no hope of issue at home, nor had they any intermarriages with their neighbors. Therefore, by the advice of the Fathers, Romulus sent ambassadors to the neighboring states to solicit an alliance and the privilege of intermarriage for his new subjects…No where did the embassy obtain a favorable hearing…The Roman youth resented this conduct bitterly, and the matter unquestionably began to point towards violence. Romulus, in order that he might afford a favorable time and place for this, dissembling his resentment, purposely prepares games in honor of Neptunus Equestris; he calls them Consualia. He then orders the spectacle to be...