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Locusta the Poisoner—Ancient Rome’s Deadliest Assassin,

Perhaps the most feared woman in the ancient world, Locusta was a first century AD assassin who offered her services to wealthy and powerful Roman patricians, politicians, and military leaders.  So infamous were her deeds that her career was detailed by Juvenal, Seutonius, Cassius Dio, and Tacitus.  Born in Gaul (modern day France) Locusta was raised by her mother to be an herbalist, a healer who specialized in using medicinal plants and herbs. However, her career abruptly changed when she moved to Rome in search for greater opportunities, she found that her skills could put to much more lucrative uses killing people rather than healing.  Rome was rife with political intrigue, and skilled assassins were in high demand.

Locusta intensely studied poisonous plants, becoming a “master poisoner” in short time.  She knew of scores of different poisons; poisons that could bring about a heart attack, poisons that could cause a stroke, poisons that affected the nervous system, even poisons that would make it seem like the victim had died of something completely natural, such as the flu or plague.  For several years, Locusta hired out her services to wealthy patrician families and powerful politicians, or whoever was the highest bidder. In 54 AD Locusta was approached by Agrippina, wife of Emperor Claudius, with perhaps the biggest and most important job of her career; to assassinate the Emperor himself.  Agrippina wanted her son from another marriage to be Emperor, and thus Claudius had to go.  On October 13th, Locusta infiltrated Claudius’ palace, distracting a guard by placing a laxative in his drink.  She then tainted a dish of mushrooms, Claudius’ favorite dish, with strychnine.  Claudius consumed the poisoned mushrooms.  A few hours later, he began suffering strong stomach cramps, then he began foaming at the mouth and convulsing. Agrippina appeared to attempt to force Claudius to vomit the poison by sticking a feather down his throat.  Of course, the feather was also poisoned by Locusta with a potent toxin.  Emperor Claudius died a short time later.

When Nero came to throne, he made Locusta his personal assassin.  Among another of her famous hits was the poisoning of his brother, Britannicus, whom he felt threatened his rule.  Between 55 and 68 AD, Locusta was responsible for removing a number of Nero’s rivals and enemies.  Of course, Nero was not a popular Emperor, and after the burning of Rome he was stripped of his titles and declared an enemy of the state by the senate.  After Nero’s suicide Rome fell into a chaotic civil war as Roman generals and warlords fought for control over the empire.  One of these generals, a short reigning Emperor named Galba, despised Locusta because of her former status as Nero’s chief assassin.  On January 15th, 69 AD, Locusta was dragged from her home into the streets of Rome, and was publicly executed.

cosmofex  asked:

There's something i've been curious about: How do you come up with the magic-scientific terminology? Because I have previously looked up "claudication" and it turns out it's a medical term for leg cramps which, unless i'm missing steps in the logic chain, doesn't lead to "worldgate" easily. Is it just what sounds nice and sciency or is it based on actual terminology? (also confusing is online dictionaries "use in a sentence" using YW quotes, which don't match meanings, so it's not super helpful)

I really have to find a little time in the next little while to get the new installation of the Errantry Concordance kickstarted. (The old one had to be removed because it was constantly under attack by hackbots of various kinds trying to use it to house links to counterfeit Viagra.) (sigh)

Anyway: Most wizardly terminology in the YW universe is derived either from (broadly) scientific terminology or (more narrowly) medical terminology twisted slightly out of shape and/or subverted to my own purposes. Almost all terms are derived from Latin or Greek roots and assembled in ways consistent with the ways in which scientific terms are formed. (I took Latin in high school because I knew it to be a primary language of science and felt sure I’d be wanting it in college. The Greek came along with that more as a gateway into the ancient classics than anything else, but it too gets used routinely in scientific terminology.) I prefer to use genuine scientific concepts and terms to generate wizardly ones, because (a) I enjoy it and (b) I am lazy. Why waste time and energy making terms up when so many real ones are  lying around just waiting to be used? …But also: wizardly terms constructed using valid scientific usage sound more real. And the more truth you add to a lie, the stronger it gets. :)

Re claudication: The word goes back, originally, to the Latin claudo- root that means to shut or block something up. It also later came to mean a limp or lameness secondary to what was seen in ancient times as a blockage of local blood supply. This is also where the Emperor Claudius got his common appellation, by the way: Claudius is a second name, almost more a nickname than anything else – and too easily translatable as “Gimpy”. He limped from childhood, secondary to a dystonic / movement disorder from which he suffered his whole life and which caused some members of his family (and the public in general) to think of him, and treat him, as if he was mentally deficient – which he definitely was not. (The forensic medical people are still arguing over what was responsible for this disorder: possibly cerebral palsy or a childhood neurological insult via something like infectious encephalitis. See this article for what look like the best conjectures so far.)

…Whatever: where were we? When I was studying nursing, the term claudication was in general use to describe a narrowing or constriction of blood vessels (up to the point of obstruction, anyway, at which point other terminology cuts in). So when I started thinking about the concept of giving wizards a little portable pocket in spacetime, the word “claudication” naturally suggested itself, and “temporospatial” seemed an unavoidable add-on.

Therefore the entry in the Concordance defines claudication as:

A pinching or obstruction in some structure or medium through which another medium is normally meant to pass or flow freely. In wizardly usage, a constriction – normally artificial, but occasionally natural – in the structure of space, or (in the case of temporospatial claudications) of spacetime.

The most frequent casual usage for the term describes a small, “pinched-off” volume of space. Since space is already amenable to this kind of pinching (a much gentler version of which manifests itself as gravity), many wizards use one of these to keep personal belongings in. A claudication can be “hooked to” or associated with a specific mass – usually the wizard’s own body – so that it permanently follows the wizard around and is always within reach.

The definition for temporospatial claudication is a bit more specific:

Any pinching or constriction that affects both a volume of space and a segment of time or timeflow. Usually a temporospatial claudication is artificially induced, but there are occasional incidences of the effect in nature. (Black holes, for example, can sometimes have temporospatial claudications associated with them.)

The term is also used to describe a small pinched-off volume of spacetime kept for wizardly purposes. (SYWTBAW, et al)

So there you have it. Thanks for asking!

andquitefrankly  asked:

13. TRIVIA. GIVE ME ALL THE TRIVIA. please. :)

Ooh! Let’s see, here are some of my favourite bits of classical trivia (I know no other trivia). I should warn you that my idea of amusing trivia is quite… esoteric :’) (A couple of these are a little gruesome)

  • Ancient Greek had a pitch accent (i.e. the pitch of the syllable went up or down depending on the accent). This mattered, because once during a performance of a tragedy, an actor got the pitch accent wrong and said ‘weasel’ instead of ‘calm sea’ and we are still laughing about it 2000 years later
  • Once during a battle between Argos and Sparta, the Argive generals told their troops to do whatever the Spartan herald shouted. The Spartan generals figured this out and ordered their troops to attack when the herald shouted ‘have breakfast’
  • The tyrant Polycrates of Samos was so lucky in everything that he did that his friend Amasis, king of Egypt, advised him to get rid of the thing he valued the most. This was a golden and emerald ring (?????). Polycrates threw it into the sea. Soon afterwards, it turned up in the belly of a fish that a fisherman had caught and presented to Polycrates. Amasis said, ‘That’s it, you’re too lucky, I’m cutting off our friendship before the gods screw you over.’
  • The tyrant Peisistratos of Athens married an aristocratic girl in order to form an alliance with her family, but he thought the family was cursed, so he would only have sex with her ‘not in the customary way’ and I still do not know what this means because my Greek history tutor was the most awkward person ever and would not tell me
  • An Ancient Greek word for ‘extravagant dandy’ was ‘someone who is obsessed with fish’
  • The Greeks described the sea as ‘wine-dark’
  • Socrates didn’t wash 
  • Hippocleides doesn’t care
  • The great Greek general Pericles was mocked because he allegedly allowed his mistress to boss him around in bed
  • It is 100% true that Plato published a serious piece of work criticising Aeschylus for making Achilles top and Patroclus bottom
  • This is the what the Greeks came up with to explain intersex people: Hermaphroditus, son of Hermes & Aphrodite, was born a boy but attracted the attentions of a rather obsessive girl who tried to force herself on him. Fortunately for her, they were in a magic spring and she prayed to be joined to him always, so they were joined together in one body that was part male and part female
  • In Cyprus, the goddess Aphrodite was represented with both male and female sex organs
  • Alexander the Great used to get foreign kings to line up their favourite prostitutes and then he would make a big show of walking along the line and acting disinterested
  • Allegedly, Alexander met the cynic philosopher Diogenes and asked if there was anything he could do for him. Diogenes said, ‘Get out of my sunlight.’ Alexander said, ‘If I were not Alexander, I would wish to be Diogenes,’ and Diogenes replied, ‘If I were not Diogenes, I would also wish to be Diogenes.’
  • The Roman playwright Terence, considered by later writers to be the best example of ‘pure literary Latin’, might have been an African immigrant and is widely thought to have been a slave
  • Julius Caesar annoyed the populace of Rome because he used to answer his mail during the races
  • Cicero was told to change his name because it meant ‘chickpea’ and he responded that he would make it the most glorious name in Rome
  • It is 99.9% likely that it is actually the case that Cicero was not let in on the assassination of Caesar because he couldn’t keep his mouth shut
  • Caesar once said, ‘I know I am the most hated man in Rome, because Cicero hates me, and God knows Cicero is easy to please’
  • Cicero and his brother Quintus seemingly spent an alarming amount of time chasing Cicero’s secretary around, asking for kisses
  • The poet Vergil (Vergilius), for sadly modern-esque reasons, was nicknamed ‘Parthenias’ (which renders itself quite nicely as something like ‘Virginia’)
  • Augustus nagged all his poet friends to write an epic about him, and when Vergil said he would do it, Propertius published a poem saying ‘THANK THE GODS: someone else is doing it - and it’s pretty good btw you should read it when it comes out’
  • The poet Ovid was exiled for a ‘poem and a mistake’ and we STILL DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT IS
  • The emperor Augustus was teetotal and lame in one leg
  • As part of his propaganda against Augustus, Mark Antony claimed that Augustus singed off his leg hair
  • Augustus responded that Mark Antony was a drunken hooligan. Antony wrote a pamphlet defending himself, entitled ‘On the subject of my drunkenness’. To me this is one of the greatest losses of antiquity
  • The emperor Tiberius was obsessed with pears and cucumbers
  • The emperor Claudius allegedly ordered for his third wife to be executed, then got so drunk that he had to ask why she was not at dinner
  • Claudius had a son who died when he threw a pear core in the air, tried to catch it in his mouth and choked
  • Augustus complained that Tiberius used words in their strict etymological sense (or used literal equivalents of phrases that were used in a non-etymological sense), and the emperor Hadrian, when reading about this, commented, ‘It sounds like Augustus was not very well educated if he chose his words according to their usage and not their etymology.’
  • The emperor Galba is the only Roman male who is explicitly said to have had a sexual preference for adult males (i.e. of his own age) and not boys
  • Hadrian and his wife went travelling with Hadrian’s lover Antinous and an aristocratic woman named Julia Balbilla. At a tourist site in Egypt, Julia Balbilla carved a poem in the style of Sappho on a famous statue. One of my history professors said that this suggests Hadrian’s wife was a lesbian and they covered for each other
  • The historian Tacitus was a keen hunter. His friend Pliny went hunting one day and sent him a letter, ‘You won’t believe it, Tacitus, I went hunting, and I enjoyed it! I took all my books and I sat in the shade by the nets and it was so peaceful, I got so much done. You should try it!’

A heart-shaped box of chocolate is a sign of love, a symbol — and often tool — of romance, and an intrinsic part of Valentine’s Day.

From at least the time of the Aztecs, chocolate has been seen as an aphrodisiac. So it’s reasonable to assume that it has been connected to love’s dedicated day of celebration for many centuries. But, that isn’t the case.

The roots of Valentine’s Day are ancient but far from clear, and likely originated in the pagan Roman fertility festival of Lupercalia. Those Romans, though, exchanged not candies but whippings — part of a complicated fertility ritual that began with sacrificing a goat and dog.

This morphed into a tamer Christian feast day in A.D. 496, when Pope Gelasius I commemorated a martyred saint, Valentine. Or saints. In the third century, the Roman emperor Claudius II executed two men named Valentine on Feb. 14th, albeit in different years.

How Chocolate Became A Sweet (But Not So Innocent) Consort To Valentine’s Day

Illustration: Alex Reynold/NPR

Claudius Wasn’t Perfect (Really).

There is another interesting thing that I would care to address that is rather amusing. I feel that media and books like I, Claudius tend to portray Claudius as someone who ‘saved’ the empire after Gaius (Caligula) died or ‘perfect’ or ‘pitied’ because everyone looked down on him. Many seem to feel that he’s just an innocent cinnamon bun that needs protection, etc. Yes, Claudius was forced to step into the role of emperor. People also looked down on him and his wives were horrible to him, but it’s important to note that Claudius wasn’t perfect.

1. He once had people executed in the ‘old-fashion’ style and had it all set up, but then had no executioner. So, waited until dusk for the man to arrive from Rome. (Suetonius. Claudius, 34)

2.  Demanded that all people who fell by mistake at the Games should have their throat slit and so he could watch them die. (Suetonius. Claudius. 34) 

3. He married his niece. I don’t care who says that Agrippina the Younger seduced him and that maybe true, but he agreed to marry her. Not only this, but he persuaded the patricians of Rome it was okay. (Suetonius, Claudius 26.)

Yes, Claudius did many wonderful things for the city and people of Rome, but it’s important to remember he wasn’t perfect. He is a claudian after all and their family was known for good and evil; and I think that Claudius was a bit of both. 

Thank you for reading. 

thicc-owl  asked:

But what about an Ancient Greek or Roman au with the daughter of a high status family and her childhood friend/next door neighbour of just as high status and it's been expected that they'll marry one day and theyve always been kind of disgusted with the idea of marrying each other because they're just friends but then they reach their teens and hit puberty and she's just like damn. Imma leave this one up to you too bc like I think you'd cast it really well idk

《I actually wrote this while being in Rome so I kinda like the vibe of this one》

Kuroo Tetsurou x Reader (Roman High-Status AU)

July 13th, 41 A.D.

“I heard Father talking to Mother in the garden this morning…”
Tetsurou looked up from his sandals slapping against the concrete pavement. The steady summer sun burned his eyes when he looked over at her, mud dusted skin and once preened hair. She was the definition of a disaster after tumbling down the hill behind her family’s estate. She fiddled with the hem of her skirt, a nervous quirk of hers, while her other hand ran against the leaves of premature olive trees.
“So? My parents talk in the garden all the time.”
“Yeah, well this talk was different.” She huffed. The fingers that ran across the olives seemed to tighten, dragging down overripe fruit with quick swipes. “They were talking about a wedding.”
“What wedding?”
She paused, sending him a dirty look out of the corner of her eye.
“Our wedding.” She muttered, the apples of her cheeks growing red. Tetsurou stared at her in awe, the soft pitter patter of his feet ceasing to a stop. He cocked his head, staring at her in utter disbelief.
“Whatever do you mean, our wedding?”
“I mean-” She paused, taking a deep and steady breath. “I mean we’ve been arranged.”
Tetsurou let out a pathetic noise, a whine, perhaps, and sunk to his knees.
“Is this a joke?”
“You really think I’d be joking?” She frowned, plopping down next to him. She slumped her shoulders and spread her legs, something her mother would faint upon seeing, and yanked a leaf off the tree above them. He watched her fiddle with it between her fingers, before ripping it apart at the veins.
“Well, it could be worse. You could be arranged to Nose-Picker Naevius on the other side of the city.” Tetsurou shrugged, flashing her a coy grin when she frowned.
“Please! Like I’d like to be wed to the likes of either of you!” Tetsurou almost laughed at her, right then and there. It wasn’t that he was fond of her, because he wasn’t, she was bossy and loud and let dirt sit under her fingernails, but she definitely wasn’t the worst possible suitor. He didn’t take much of a liking for girls, these days. He couldn’t quite understand the hype of marriage, and why he needed to get married anyways. He was a man, powerful as is, and he was sure he’d live just fine without some girl tied next to him. Girls were disgusting, anyways, spent all day weaving in the commons. __, though, __ didn’t seem like the type to weave, and maybe that’s why he didn’t mind her all that much.
“Hey.” He peeped, “Give me one good reason why I wouldn’t be a suitable husband.”
“You’re disgusting!” She fired back, with no thought in between.
“How so?”
She paused for a moment, eyebrows furrowing. Tetsurou kept staring at her with a smirk so devious, and if it wasn’t for her mother’s voice in the back of her head telling her to be a lady, she would’ve thrown him into the dirt right then and there.
“Well, you cried after emperor Caligula’s death! The man was a menace, don’t you know. Father had him over for supper once and all he did was sass the cook and look at his reflection in the vases! Figures a narcissist like you would feel remorse for that goat.”
“My father had him over for supper once, too, and he did the same. It was hilarious, Mother was trying so hard not to be rude, I thought her head was going to explode. I wish he was still around so I could relive that.” Tetsurou shrugged. “Don’t seem to be getting any laughs with emperor Claudius in reign, now.”
“I think he’s much better suited as emperor! Laughs or not!”
“Really? I saw him stumble down a set of stairs today and crash into a pillar. I could do a better job at that, and I’m ten.” __ pulled another leaf off the tree and tore it apart immediately, letting the remains scatter to the concrete. She wiped her hands against her skirt, adding streaks of green alongside the faded brown of mud.
“Please! You can’t even take care of yourself, let alone an empire!”
“Says the girl who can’t even keep her skirt clean.”
She shot him one last dirty look before rising to her feet.
“I’m never marrying you.” She stated. Tetsurou hummed, jumping up to stand next to her. “We can be friends, but I’m never marrying you. You’re icky and your hair’s a mess.”
“Who said I was ever going to marry you? You aren’t quite the princess of my dreams, either.”
“Father said, but I’m going to let him know that I would rather be thrown in the Colosseum then call myself a ‘Kuroo’.”
“Yes, have fun sassing your father. I’m sure that’ll end up perfectly. Tell me how that turns out if you aren’t killed.”
“Thank you, I will. Filth.”
“Bossypants.”
“Jerk.”


March 29th, 49 A.D

Her hands were shaking.
Her hands were shaking and her mind was spinning, and oh god, she felt like she was going to puke.
Her mother insisted that today, out of all days, she reunite with her childhood friend, Tetsurou Kuroo, the wealthy boy down the street who she was destined to be wed to. She insisted that she’d rather not, it was her cursed time of the month and God forbid anything happen to her whilst she was draped in her finest white silk. Her pleas had no force though, and she was dragged along anyways. She hadn’t seen the boy in seven years, ties being cut off when she turned eleven. He had changed now, for sure, and she couldn’t fathom what he’d look like.
She imagined he’d be a lot more muscular. Rumor had it he was to be a part of the consul soon, so he had to be of decent shape. She hoped he had somehow learned to tame the childish fringe that hung in his face when he was younger, although she couldn’t imagine Tetsurou without it. Thinking about him put a small smile on her face, before her mother hit her on the arm.
“Are you excited to see him?” She pondered, and __ could feel her cheeks grow hot.
“I mean…” She shrugged, cocking her head towards the ground. “I’m a lot more nervous than excited. We’re not eight years old anymore, Mother.”
Walking through the Kuroo courtyard made her stomach roil even more than it was before. Her mother grabbed her by the hand, gave it a gentle squeeze, before marching up towards the gate and giving the lion mouth door knocker a heavy rap.
“I’m sure he’s just as nervous as you are. You do not need to worry, you’ve bathed naked with him before, you’re friends.”
“Mother! That’s not helping with the situation!”
Her mother only shrugged, straightening her shoulders when a slave opened the door for them. He nodded curtly, making way for the two of them to pass by. There was a rushed click of shoes against marble, and an all too familiar woman stumbled out into the commons.
“Oh, __, __, it’s so wonderful to see you again!” The short woman hobbled over to her and her mother, throwing her arms around both of their shoulders.
“My, what a beautiful young lady you’ve wound up to be, __. Tetsurou’s going to want to marry you right here once he sees you.”
__’s breath hitched, but she nodded, paying her respects towards her elder. Mrs. Kuroo looked the same as she did seven years ago, except the roots of her ebony hair started staining a deep gray.
“Thank you, Mrs. Kuroo, you look lovely yourself.” She managed to stutter out. The woman clapped gleefully, rushing into one of the doors at the end of the commons. __ looked up at her mother, furrowing her eyebrows in chagrin.
“I really don’t want to discuss my marriage whilst blood is dripping from my private areas, Mother.”
“You don’t have a choice. You don’t have to say anything. I’ll discuss things with Mrs. Kuroo, and you just have to sit there, drink the wine that’s served to you, and make yourself look presentable, understood?”
__ nodded, relaxing her eyebrows amongst her mother’s violent gaze.
“Yes, Mother.”
“Good girl.”
Mrs. Kuroo came stumbling out once more, an excited hue of pink dusted along her cheeks. If anything, Mrs. Kuroo was more excited about the wedding than either of the two actually being wed.
“Tetsurou should be out in a bit. He’s a smart boy, he’s studying the stars. He’s been very into science lately, and growing things.” She boasted.
“__ here, she’s very into literature. Her tutor remarks her as one of his greatest students. She took up playing the harp about a year ago, didn’t you, __?”
“I did, Mother.”
“Oh, isn’t that wonderful!” Mrs. Kuroo clapped. “It’s lovely to see you’ve grown up a proper girl.”
She wanted to ask her what she meant by that statement. Was she not proper before? Of course, she didn’t mind her clothes getting dirty and mussled up her hair, but she had the decency to be respectful. Behind closed eyelids, she rolled her eyes, but kindly accepted the so called compliment.
“Come here, ladies. I’ll have Brutus fetch us some wine while we wait for Tetsurou.”
Hearing his name out loud made her even more nervous than before. She clutched at the ends of her tunic as she took a seat, eyes nervously darting around the room. Mrs. Kuroo immediately noticed this, because she placed a hand on her shoulder and laughed.
“You don’t need to be nervous, my dear, __. He’s the same boy you knew when you were a child.”
She wanted to retaliate and say that no, he wasn’t the same boy she knew as a child. The Tetsurou she knew as a child only took interest in dirt and gladiator battles, never science or stars. Mrs. Kuroo kept yammering away, but suddenly silenced upon the sound of footsteps.
“Bragging about me now, are you, Mother?” Came a deep, hearty chuckle. Immediately, __’s heart dropped. It was him.
She didn’t dare turn around to greet him, although every part of her wanted to. God, his voice was attractive by itself. Her mother slapped her on her knee, an indication to stand up and greet him. So she did. She slowly stood up, brushed off her skirt, and faced him, eyes immediately widening upon the sight in front of her.
He was more attractive than she imagined. He was tall, extremely so, and had to be a good child larger than her. His face was thin and sharp, hazel eyes still youthful and attentive. He still had the horrible fringe, but it only added to his charm. He held a book in his hand, of some sort, and the vibe he gave off just made her want to melt.
Forget the consul, he could be a god, if he wanted to.
“Hello.” She stuttered, trying hard not to break eye contact.
“It’s been awhile, huh?”
“If seven years is while.”
Tetsurou chuckled, the tips of his ears growing visibly red. She could see the slight shake of his hands around his book, and that assured her that he was just as nervous as she was. The laughs that spilled out of his mouth were fake, but she didn’t have the audacity to confront him on it. She knew the ugly cackle that he was cursed to, and she couldn’t help but wonder what kind of facade he had pent up over the years.
They took a seat at the table, and __ didn’t dare touch her wine. Her hands were shaking so hard in her lap that she would definitely break the glass if she grabbed it. Tetsurou seemed to be sticking to the same thing. Although her eyes were glued to the table in front of her, she could feel Tetsurou’s eyes on her. This entire time, he’d been staring, as if he’d been analyzing her, like she was his prey. Needless to say, it was intimidating, especially when he was oh so attractive. At this point, she could feel her cheeks burning, every so often taking quick peeks upwards to catch his gaze. This time, once he’d caught her eye, she hadn’t looked away. He held her there with a stern gaze, before he took a quick glimpse at his mother before flashing her the nastiest silly face her could muster. At this, she couldn’t help but giggle into her fist. What he had done wasn’t at all humorous, but for some reason, she had laughed. She knew deep down in her heart that it was out of relief, that maybe he was the same, old idiotic Tetsurou from years past. Knowing this just made their arrangement all the more sweet.

Saint Valentine is a widely recognized third-century Roman saint commemorated on February 14 and since the High Middle Ages is associated with a tradition of courtly love.

All that is reliably known of the saint commemorated on February 14 is his name and that he was martyred and buried at a cemetery on the Via Flaminia close to the Ponte Milvio to the north of Rome on that day.    It is uncertain whether St. Valentine is to be identified as one saint or the conflation of two saints of the same name.    Several different martyrologies have been added to later hagiographies that are unreliable.

Because so little is reliably known of him, in 1969 the Catholic Church removed his name from the General Roman Calendar, leaving his liturgical celebration to local calendars. The Roman Catholic Church continues to recognize him as a saint, listing him as such in the February 14 entry in the Roman Martyrology and authorising liturgical veneration of him on February 14 in any place where that day is not devoted to some other obligatory celebration in accordance with the rule that on such a day the Mass may be that of any saint listed in the Martyrology for that day.   Saint Valentine’s Church in Rome, built in 1960 for the needs of the Olympic Village, continues as a modern, well-visited parish church.

Father Frank O’Gara of Whitefriars Street Church in Dublin, Ireland, tells the story of the man behind the holiday—St. Valentine.

“He was a Roman Priest at a time when there was an emperor called Claudias who persecuted the church at that particular time,” Father O’Gara explains. ”   He also had an edict that prohibited the marriage of young people.   This was based on the hypothesis that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers because married soldiers might be afraid of what might happen to them or their wives or families if they died.”

“I think we must bear in mind that it was a very permissive society in which Valentine lived,” says Father O’Gara.   “Polygamy would have been much more popular than just one woman and one man living together.    And yet some of them seemed to be attracted to Christian faith. But obviously the church thought that marriage was very sacred between one man and one woman for their life and that it was to be encouraged.    And so it immediately presented the problem to the Christian church of what to do about this.”

“The idea of encouraging them to marry within the Christian church was what Valentine was about.    And he secretly married them because of the edict.”

Valentine was eventually caught, imprisoned and tortured for performing marriage ceremonies against command of Emperor Claudius the second.    There are legends surrounding Valentine’s actions while in prison.

“One of the men who was to judge him in line with the Roman law at the time was a man called Asterius, whose daughter was blind.    He was supposed to have prayed with and healed the young girl with such astonishing effect that Asterius himself became Christian as a result.”

In the year 269 AD, Valentine was sentenced to a three part execution of a beating, stoning, and finally decapitation all because of his stand for Christian marriage.    The story goes that the last words he wrote were in a note to Asterius’ daughter.    He inspired today’s romantic missives by signing it, “from your Valentine.”

“What Valentine means to me as a priest,” explains Father O’Gara, “is that there comes a time where you have to lay your life upon the line for what you believe.     And with the power of the Holy Spirit we can do that —even to the point of death.”

Valentine’s martyrdom has not gone unnoticed by the general public.    In fact, Whitefriars Street Church is one of three churches that claim to house the remains of Valentine. Today, many people make the pilgrimage to the church to honour the courage and memory of this Christian saint. Below is the Shrine of St Valentine in Whitefriar Street, Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland.

100 Days of Trump Day 64: Fallout New Vegas

Welcome Back to 100 Days of Trump, where I try to explain WTF happened in 2016 through 100 works of fiction, and I think we haven’t had quite enough video games in the last three days, lets talk fallout.  Now the Fallout series has a lot of depth, good characters, fun gameplay and interesting ideas so generally I recommend all of it….except Fallout 3….and Fallout 4….and Brotherhood of Steel…..Ok really just the first two games and this one, but the point is only New Vegas is really relevant to Trump, but play the first two if you like classic RPGs.

     So everybody knows that Fallout is a post nuclear world, but the premise of the…good games is that society collapsed…..nothing really changed.  People are exactly the same just with less fancy houses and and the sins of the Old World continue on to the future.  So ok, sounds like post Great Recession America, how is this about Trump?  Well FallOut New Vegas is about the player being trapped between three factions

 Caesar’s Legion, a violent reactionary sexist, racist, right wing militant extremist group who advocate racial supremacy, and a return to an idealized past that never existed.

The New Californian Republic, A bunch of corrupt moderates who couch their language in the ideals of democracy and progressive ideals but are duplicitous, warmongering, and have become increasingly sexist, racist, classist, and undemocratic but look good compared to the first group.

Mr. House, a completely amoral rich plutocrat whose utter selfishness and open hostility to submitting to any form of control are mixed with surprisingly progressive social policies and honest look at the problems.

    So New Vegas is an alternate universe if Bloomberg actually ran third party, and Trump wasn’t a complete idiot. 

Today though, I want to focus on Caesar’s Legion.  One of the themes of New Vegas is even though the US has been wiped out, everybody is clinging to symbols of the past, clinging to them out of context and justifying their actions by claiming continuity with the past.  The NCR claims to literally be the US goverment despite a century long gap between the fall of the US and the NCR’s founding, or the fact that it doesn’t use our constitution, or the fact that it is only located in California.  And its desire to seize control of all the American land means it prioritizes war over its citizen’s well being (stop me if this sounds familiar).  Mr. House is determined to preserve the culture of Las Vegas, or rather the way we imagine Las Vegas, with all of the actual realities of Vegas culture removed, its the city center without the city around it, forcibly preserved by an immortal dictator.  All the factions try to link themselves to a mystical past (a past we know is utterly whitewashed cause its our present), but the worst of them all, is Caesar’s Legion

    See, Edward Sallow was a history nut of the old world when he read about the Roman Empire, and sought to recreate it anew in post apocalyptic Nevada, arguing that since Rome is the foundation of Western Civilization, a return to true Western Greatness.  Wherever they go, they bring cultural purity, slavery, Roman era gender relations, and require absolute conformity to their way of life.  According to Caesar

“Pax Romana=It means a nationalist, imperialist, totalitarian, homo genius culture that obliterates the identity of every group it conquers.  Long term stability at all costs.  The individual has no value beyond his utility to the state, whether as an instrument of war or production”

But here is the thing, speaking as a big roman history nut…..THAT ISN’T TRUE.  Pax Romonus means “Roman Peace” and means just that, peace.  Rome was an Imperialistic, slave owning, genocidal empire that could be extraordinarily brutal, but guess what?  It wasn’t nationalistic, the Roman Empire was always borrowing ideas from other cultured cultures in order to improve their empire, it was extremely multicultural and interventionist.   I mean

   The Roman Navy was Carthaginian 

   The Roman Gods were Greek 

    Later they converted to a monotheistic Sect from Judea

    For a while they worshiped a Syrian god named Sol Invictus 

   Most of the Elites Spoke Greek

   The Roman Legionary Structure was influenced by the neighboring Samnites

   The roman Calvary was almost always Gallic, North Africa, German or Syria

    Trajan and Hadrien were Spanish

   The Severun dynasty was North African/Syrian (and btw the dynasty that most resembled New Vegas)

    The Ilyrian Emperors who saved rome from the Crisis of the Third Century AD, like Aurelian, Diocletion, Claudius Gothicus) were from the Balkans

  Constantine was Balkan/British

   Flavius Aetius (who defeated Atilla the Hun) was Scythian 

   Justinian and Belisarius weren’t Latin Roman

   Hell after a certain point, almost none of the Emperors are Roman any more, instead they are German, or Hunnic, Syrian or Raba, Spanish or African, Gaulic or Balkan, non Roman Italian, 

  In fact, one of the main reasons why Western Roman Empire fell is that it didn’t allow the various Gothic/Germanic strongmen to become Emperor in their own RIght.

    Rome was never a homogeneous unchanging culture, from Romulus to Constantine XI Roman is defined by its capacity to change and adapt, and its multi cultural empire gave it a lot of ideas to draw upon.  And when you look at White Nationalists today who fetishist Rome, it is a rome they don’t understand.    By the Way, that Hegelian view of history, that is believed by Steave Bannon. 

   Also…the transformation to dictatorship doesn’t go as Caesar claims, cause guess what?  Julius Caesar didn’t invade a foreign nation, he had a civil war with his own country.  And Augustus Caesar took pains to ensure that his Empire was a soft and nonthreatening as possible, the more authoritarian emperors like Septimius Severus were terrible rulers.  

Also The Julians didn’t claim to be “Son of Mars” they claimed to be descended from Venus Goddess of Love, hence her role in the Aeneid.  

    Also Rome didn’t emerge out of a harsh brutal land to fight against the weak fat settled people, Rome emerged in Central Italy, a lush fertile climate.  Hell according to legend, Rome was founded by the refuse and exiles from all the surrounding societies, who came to Rome for a second chance and married Sabine women.  Honestly Caesar (the in game Caesar not real life, not Julius Caesar) seems to be confusing Rome with Sparta, and which of those two civilizations conquered the known world?  I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t the one with the eugenics model.  It was the one with the independent aristocracy, and a Republic who did most of the conquest of Rome.  This is a map of Rome at its height 

and this is how much of that was taken by the Republic, not the empire

That is more than half, and a great deal of the remaining was conquered by Emperor Claudius, you know, this guy?

the one with the limp and the stammer and the twitch.  Rome’s Empire mostly fought Romans, Rome’s Republic conquered.  

    And when the Legion tries to Cosplay as Real Rome, it never quite matches the true stories. 

   This stories resembles Roman propaganda, except…Rome rarely wiped out the entire population, in fact their empire was supported by a network of client kingdoms who betrayed their former rulers to side with Rome.  One of the most important pieces of Roman rule that if you surrendered, you were treated fairly, if you fought a bit and then surrendered, you were treated well.  If you fought to the death, stuck to your principles as Vulpes implies, then you were wiped out.  Just ask the Jews at Masada how Rome respects those who fight to the last.  

    So we have a violent, militant, reactionary culture fetishistic a past that never truly existed and they don’t seem to understand to justify extreme racism, violence, and horrifying sexism in order to fight against a corrupt hypocritical but far less awful democratic regime.  Sound Familiar

oh…..well that too but also this 

   Those who idealize history are always those who understand it the least, and New Vegas for all its buggy often frustrating gameplay glory, understands what happens when history is co-opted by those who don’t understand it but wish to use the symbols of nostalgia to justify their own atrocities.  Isn’t that Right Ulysses, so named after the man who traveled the ocean for 10 year trying to find home and then freed all the Slave?

Edit: I also want to talk about this real quick

Yeah that whole “War is great for its own sake” macho bullshit?  The Romans weren’t so into that, they were much more into “Hey, work for us, and you can keep all your stuff”  There is a reason why all of the ancient rome spoke of Roman Treachery.  

10

top ten historical females - asked by @sansaregina

♔ Elizabeth Woodville - Queen Consort of England from 1 May 1464 - 3 October 1470 and again from 11 April 1471 - 9 April 1483; married to Edward IV of England; leading figure in the Wars of the Roses and mother to the Princes in the Tower; successfully organised the betrothal of her eldest daughter, Elizabeth of York, to Lancastrian claimant to the throne, Henry Tudor (later Henry VII of England) with his mother, Margaret Beaufort.
♔ Hürrem Sultan - Haseki Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1533/4  - 15 April 1558; legal wife to Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, first former slave to be elevated to such a rank in centuries; one of Suleiman’s most trusted advisors; engaged in several major building programs throughout the Ottoman Empire; first woman to remain in the Sultan’s court for the duration of her life; arguably began the era of the Sultanate of Women despite not becoming Valide Sultan herself.
♔ Isabella of France - Queen Consort of England from 25 January 1308 - 20 January 1327; married to Edward II of England; invaded England in September 1326 with her lover Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March leading to the abdication of her husband and the coronation of her son, Edward III; was Regent to her son from 1326 - 1330.
♔ Eleanor of Aquitaine - Suo jure Duchess of Aquitaine from 9 April 1137 - 1 April 1204; Queen Consort of France from 1 August 1137 - 21 March 1152; Queen Consort of England from 25 October 1154 - 6 July 1189; formally took up the cross on the Second Crusade as the feudal leader of her duchy; had her marriage to Louis VII of France annulled on the grounds of consanguinity; had a tumultuous marriage to Henry II of England; Eleanor was arrested by her husband in 1173 for her role in the Revolt of 1173/74 in favour of her son, Henry the Young King, she was to be imprisoned until Henry II’s death in 1189; when her son, Richard the Lionheart, left his kingdom on the Third Crusade, he left Eleanor to act as Regent.
♔ Turhan Hatice Sultan - Haseki Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 2 January 1642 - 12 August 1648; Valide Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 8 August 1648 (nominal) - 4 August 1683; Naib-i-Sultanat of the Ottoman Empire from 3 September 1651 - 1656; concubine to Sultan Ibrahim I; after Ibrahim’s deposition, her son, Mehmed, ascended the throne as Sultan Mehmed IV; upon this Turhan should have been recognised as Valide Sultan, however, she was overlooked in favour of her predecessor, Kösem; due to Turhan’s ambitions Kösem allegedly planned to depose Mehmed in favour of a grandson with a more pliant mother, this was reported to Turhan and Kösem was murdered; as both Regent and Valide Sultan, Turhan wielded enormous power, almost equal to that of her son and was the only woman in Ottoman history to do so; by 1656 Turhan turned more of her attention to patronage and rescinded most of her power to the Grand Vizier; last of the great figures in the era of the Sultanate of Women.
♔ Isabella of Portugal - Holy Roman Empress, Queen of the Germans, Queen consort of Italy, Queen consort of Spain from 10 March 1526 - 1 May 1539; married to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor; her political union with Charles proved to be a love match; Isabella was to be a competent consort and was appointed Regent of Spain during her husband’s absences in 1529–1532 and 1535–1539; Isabella died after her sixth pregnancy ended in a stillbirth in 1539 and her death affected her husband deeply; in 1580 her son Philip II of Spain ascended the Portuguese throne claiming Isabella’s rights of succession and united  the Iberian Peninsula under one crown.
♔ Mary I of England - Queen Regnant of England and Ireland from 19 July 1553 - 17 November 1558; Queen Consort of Spain, Jerusalem and both the Sicilies; Archduchess of Austria; Duchess of Burgundy, Milan and Brabant; Countess of Habsburg, Flanders and Tyrol from 16 January 1556 - 17 November 1558; married to Philip II of Spain; when her father, Henry VIII of England, broke with the Catholic Church in 1533 he deemed his marriage to her mother, Catherine of Aragon, null and void and thus deemed Mary to be illegitimate; Mary was returned to the line of succession, in 1544; when Edward VI died, he excluded Mary from his will and the line of succession as she was Catholic; he named Lady Jane Grey as heir to the throne, whom Mary deposed (and later executed) on the 19 July 1553 after assembling an army and support in the days following her brother’s death; Mary’s first Parliament in October 1553, declared the marriage of her parents valid and abolished Edward’s religious laws; During 1553 Mary also returned her kingdom to the Catholic Church and the old Heresy Acts were revived; In January 1558, French forces took Calais, England’s sole remaining possession on the European mainland, it was an ideological loss that damaged Mary’s prestige.
♔ Livia Drusilla - Empress consort of the Roman Empire from 27 BCE - 14 CE; married first to Tiberius Claudius Nero with whom she had the future Emperor Tiberius, and Nero Claudius Drusus; she divorced her fist husband in favour of future Roman Emperor, Augustus when she was six months pregnant with her son, Drusus, and she married Augustus three days after his birth; Livia enjoyed the status of privileged counsellor to her husband, petitioning him on the behalf of others and influencing his policies; in 35 BCE Octavian gave Livia the unprecedented honour of ruling her own finances; Livia pushed her sons into positions of power with Tiberius eventually being declared Augustus’ heir in 4 BCE; when her husband died in 14 CE he left one third of his property to Livia, the will also adopted her into the Julian family and granted her the honorific title of Augusta, which permitted Livia to maintain her status and power after his death, under the new name of Julia Augusta.
♔ Catherine of Aragon - Queen Consort of England from 11 June 1509 - 23 May 1533; married first to Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales on 15 November 1501; after her marriage to Arthur, they both fell ill with sweating sickness and as a result Arthur died on 2 April 1502; Catherine was left a widow, during this time she lived as a virtual prisoner in London; in 1507 Catherine began to serve as the Spanish ambassador to England, the first female ambassador in European history; the Scots invaded England in September 1513 and Catherine rode north in full armour despite being heavily pregnant at the time and gave a speech to the troops; from 1525 onwards, Henry sought to divorce or annul his marriage to Catherine on the grounds that she had slept with his brother, her first husband, and was not a virgin when she wed Henry, so that he could marry the Lady Anne Boleyn; in 1531 Catherine was removed from Henry’s court and separated from her daughter; her marriage to Henry was annulled on 23 May 1533 but she continued to refer to herself as Henry’s only lawful wedded wife and England’s only rightful queen but was referred to as Dowager Princess of Wales on Henry’s order.
♔ Eleanor of Provence - Queen Consort of England from 20 January 1236 - 16 November 1272; married to Henry III of England; despite fulfilling all the necessary roles and duties expected of a Queen Consort at the time, Eleanor was deeply unpopular with the people due to her large retinue of Savoyard family members, who did not leave England after her coronation as well as her perceived influence over the King which created friction between the English barons and the crown, during his reign; Eleanor was made Regent in 1253 when her husband left for Normandy; she vigorously opposed Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester’s actions against her husband, and raised troops in France in Henry’s name; after her husband’s death in 1272, she remained in England to help raise her grandchildren.

APOLLONIUS OF TYANA: TEACHER AND MIRACLE WORKER

Apollonius of Tyana, whose name means “Follower of Apollo”, was a wandering philosopher, ascetic, and miracle worker, often described as a prophet, religious reformer and teacher. He lived in the eastern part of the early Roman Empire in roughly 15-100 AD. He followed Pythagoreanism; and for this abstained from animal sacrifice, wine, women and stayed on a strictly vegetarian diet. He believed that the Gods were the most beautiful things, and could be reached by a spiritual procedure involving nous (intellect), and that the soul was immortal. Primary sources on Apollonius comes from his biography, “ Life of Apollonius of Tyana” by Philostratus, which itself takes from sources such as local knowledge from the towns Apollonius visited, memoirs written by the disciple of Apollonius named Damis, and a book on him written by Maximus of Aegae. There is also information on Apollonius written by the historian Cassius Dio. It is said that Apollonius was a devotee of Asclepius, the God of Healing.

He was known for traveling the Empire, and possibly even outside of it, seeking knowledge with his disciples and performing numerous miracles, such as raising a woman from the dead on her burial day, predicting a plague to strike the town of Ephesus and healing it when it arrived, the ability to remain youthful looking, accurately predicting the future, and being aware current events occurring on other parts of the world; such as the death of the tyrant Domitian.

It is said that he lost favour with Emperor Severus, who ordered his hair cut to part him from his magic powers. Shortly after Apollonius disappeared; merely vanishing from the courtroom never to be seen again. It is said by his followers that he had passed away and was taken up to the heavens.

The influence of Apollonius of Tyana on Hellenism was notable, having directly impacted the Emperor Aurelian and having influenced members of Diocletian’s administrationship. It is possible he had influenced philosophers Iamblichus and Porphyry who themselves influenced the Emperor Flavius Claudius Iulianus Augustus (Julian).

Even after his disappearance among men, his influence on the living did not end. In the late 3rd century, two centuries after Apollonius, Emperor Aurelian was dealing with a civil war. He was destroying every city that resisted him, but when confronting Apollonius’ hometown of Tyana the Emperor had a vision of Apollonius who implored him for mercy, stating, “Aurelian, if you desire to rule, abstain from the blood of the innocent! Aurelian, if you will conquer, be merciful.”. The words resonated, and following this Aurelian decided to spare Tyana. Following this many more cities submitted to him upon seeing that the Emperor would not exact revenge upon them.


Bibliography:

“Apollonius of Tyana.” Apollonius of Tyana - Livius. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2017.

“The Life of Apollonius of Tyana.” The Life of Apollonius of Tyana Index. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2017.

“University of St Andrews.” Apollonius of Tyana | Old Testament Pseudepigrapha - School of Divinity, University of St Andrews. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2017.

Bellezza, Angela. Historia Augusta. Genova: Pagano, 1959. Print.

“Apollonius of Tyana.” Apollonius of Tyana - New World Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2017.