My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the True emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.
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Hermes Martia saeculi voluptas,
Hermes omnibus eruditus armis,
Hermes et gladiator et magister,
Hermes turba sui tremorque ludi,
Hermes, quem timet Helius, sed unum,
Hermes, cui cadit Advolans, sed uni,
Hermes vincere nec ferire doctus,
Hermes subpositicius sibi ipse,
Hermes divitiae locariorum,
Hermes cura laborque ludiarum,
Hermes belligera superbus hasta,
Hermes aequoreo minax tridente,
Hermes casside languida timendus,
Hermes gloria Martis universi,
Hermes omnia solus et ter unus.
“Hermes, the Martial delight of the age; Hermes, skilled in every weapon; Hermes, both gladiator and trainer; Hermes, the disorder and dread of his gladiator school; Hermes, the only one whom Helius fears; Hermes, the only one to whom Advolans falls; Hermes, skilled in defeating without killing; Hermes, himself his own substitute; Hermes, the fortune of ticket sellers; Hermes, the object of care and distress of gladiator-loving women; Hermes, proud with warlike spear; Hermes, menacing with sea trident; Hermes, to be feared with crested helmet; Hermes, the glory of every aspect of Mars; Hermes, alone all things and thrice a man!”
You wrote to me once listing the four chief virtues.
Wisdom. Justice. Fortitude. And temperance. As I read the list, I knew I had none of them. But I have other virtues, Father. Ambition – that can be a virtue when it drives us to excel. Resourcefulness. Courage. Perhaps not on the battlefield, but there are many forms of courage. Devotion to my family, to you. But none of my virutes were on your list. Even then, it was as if you didn’t want me for your son. I searched the faces of the Gods for ways to please you. To make you proud. One kind word. One full hug while you pressed me to your chest and held me tight would have been like the sun on my heart for a thousand years. What is it in me you hate so much? All I’ve ever wanted was to live up to you, Caesar. Father. I would have butchered the whole world if you only would have loved me.