the-roman-senate

Requested by @keeganwj

Bewear the Ides of March!

Julius Caesar was stabbed by the Roman Senators, not hugged. Yet, if the ancient senators were actually Bewears, hugging Caesar would have been equally effective as a method of assassination. According to the Pokédex, Bewear has a habit of hugging its trainers…to death. So today, let’s figure out how this might happen.

The human spine, also known as the vertebral column, is a vital part of our skeleton and nervous system. It is made up of 33 different bones called vertebrae, separated from each other with intervertebral discs. The first seven (colored in red) are called cervical vertebrae and are located in your neck. The middle twelve bones in your back (in blue) are called the thoracic vertebrae. The lower back (in yellow) consists of the lumbar vertebrae. The last 9 vertebrae (5 in green / 4 in pink) are fused together and form the sacrum and the coccyx, or your tailbone.

It’s not easy to break a spine; the discs between each vertebrae are made of squishy cartilage that is specifically designed to absorb shock and prevent your back from breaking. The segmented nature of the vertebrae allows the back to bend in several directions, also to avoid breaking by being flexible. Not to mention the walls of muscle that surround it. 

For death to occur, the individual vertebrae need to shift dramatically so they damage the nerve that runs through the middle of them. Typically, spinal-injury deaths are related to the phrenic nerve, which connects your brain to your lungs and allows breathing to happen. Several arteries also run through the vertebral column, and if they are pinched or crushed it can result in a stroke.

Of course, how much force needed to break a spine depends on whose spine you are crushing: children have more delicate spines than adults, and so on. However, it also depends on where on the spine you are crushing. The neck (cervical spine), for example, requires a force of 3,000 Newtons (roughly 700 pounds) to fracture. But Bewear doesn’t strangle its victims, it hugs them – so Bewear is attacking the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae. Various studies find the absolute limit for lumbar vertebrae to be about 1600 Newtons (360 pounds) of force.

This is surprisingly reasonable. Boxers and professional martial artists’ punches have been documented over 4,000 Newtons (900 pounds), and kicks can exceed 9,000 Newtons (2,000 pounds). Squeezing is a little different, since it is pure muscle work instead of a forward thrust, and human grip strength at its strongest is about 150 pounds. So you might not be able to crush a spine with your bare hands, but can Bewear crush a spine with its bear hands?

Probably. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but most animals are stronger than humans in terms of muscle exertion. Some chimpanzees have been shown to be eight times stronger than humans. This is mostly because of the way we use our muscles: humans have developed a lot of control. We can finely tune our muscles, precisely control our finger movements, only using certain muscle fibers at one time. This saves us energy in many ways: you don’t have to use your entire bicep to lift up a pencil, like you might when you’re lifting weights. Other animals don’t have this control: It’s all or nothing for them. Physically, the way their muscles activate prevents them from having the fine control that we have. In other words, Bewear is incapable of giving a small hug. It can only give big, spine crushing squeezes.

Bewear’s hugs must deliver a force of 1600 Newtons (360 pounds) in order to break a trainer’s vertebral column.

Incumbent

Incumbent - “lying down”

With this election, one is reminded that an incumbent may feel a little too comfortable with their position. It stems from Latin “cumbere” (lie down) and oddly enough is the same root that “cubicle” comes from - originally meaning a room to lie down in, now meaning a room to hate your life in ;)

5

Arch of Augustus

Rimini, Italy

27 BCE


The Arch of Augustus at Rimini was dedicated to the Emperor Augustus by the Roman Senate and is the oldest Roman arch which survives. It signaled the end of the via Flaminia, which connected the cities of Romagna to Rome, and spans the modern Corso d'Augusto (the ancient decumanus maximus), which led to the beginning of another road, the via Emilia, which ran northwest to Piacenza.

 Its style is simple but at the same time solemn. The central arch, which is of exceptional size, is flanked by two engaged columns with fluted shafts and Corinthian capitals. The four clipei (shields) placed next to the capitals each depict Roman divinities: Jupiter and Apollo on the Roman side, Neptune and Roma facing the city of Rimini. The gate’s principal function, aside from functioning as a city gate, was to support the lavish bronze statue of Augustus, depicted driving a quadriga. Follow ClassicalMonuments for a daily ancient treat!

Me applying for a job
  • Interviewer: Okay, thank you very much, is there something else you want to say?
  • Me: ...
  • Me: Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam
  • Interviewer: what
  • Me: what
  • Cato the Elder: nice
3

An Empire for Sale

The Roman Emperor Commodus was not a good emperor, being known for a legacy of megalomania, lunacy, and tyranny. Commodus’ reign came to an end in 192 AD when he was strangled to death as part of a conspiracy by his maid and the Praetorian Guard, the personal bodyguard of the Emperor. As part of the conspiracy, the Praetorian’s installed a Roman Senator named Pertinax as Emperor under an agreement that he would pay the Praetorians a large sum of money. Under Roman law, the Emperor had to the confirmed by the Senate, so the Praetorians merely forced the Senate to confirm Pertinax with the threat of violence.

The Praetorians thought that being the power behind the throne would be just ace. Soon the Praetorian Guards fell into sloth and drunkeness, it’s members wanting to not only wield the power of an emperor but live like emperors as well. The only problem was that Pertinax reneged on his deal, only paying a portion of the agreed upon sum. In addition Pertinax tried to enforce military discipline upon the Praetorians, trying to reign them in and transform them from being overprivileged pampered slobs back into elite soldiers. The Praetorians didn’t take too kindly to this and thus murdered him on March 28th, 193 AD, a mere three months after installing him as emperor.

After the murder of Pertinax, the Praetorians announced that they would host an auction for the throne. Learning from the mistakes of the past, the Praetorians hoped to milk the empire for all it was worth and demand cash up front. Rome’s wealthiest and most powerful citizens gathered to participate in the auction in hopes of buying the empire.  After several rounds a bidding war developed between Titus Flavius Claudius Sulpicianus, the Prefect of Rome, and Didius Julianus, the Proconsul of Africa.  Sulpicianus bid 20,000 sesterces (silver coins) to every Praetorian Guard. Julianus however won the bid by offering 25,000 sesterces, an enormous sum that Sulpicianus could not match.  The guards saluted him and declared him emperor. They then forced the Roman Senate to confirm him as emperor at sword point.

Unfortunately for Didius Julianus, his time as emperor would be very short.  The people of Rome were resentful of having an emperor ascend to power through pure greed.  Whenever he made a public appearance people would greet him with insults, jeers, and obscenities while pelting him with stones and rotten vegetables. Worse yet, his provincial governors refused to recognize him as a legitimate Emperor of Rome and refused to carry out his orders. This was especially bad because the Roman governors not only controlled the legions and auxiliaries, an army which numbered in the hundreds of thousands, but controlled the infrastructure and day to day governing aparatus of the empire. Julianus, at best, commanded the Praetorians, numbering around 5,000 men at most, by then a force of drunken and unruly men, and the city cohorts or Rome, a police force numbering around 5,000. The people of Rome didn’t take him seriously, the governors didn’t take him seriously, the Senate was resentful of his rule, and his power didn’t stretch far beyond his palace. Poor Didius Julianus was emperor of not much of anything.

Immediately Roman Governors began to march on Rome to oust Julianus. The closest and also the most powerful was the Governor Pannonia Septimus Severus. Julianus sent an envoy to Severus in hopes of negotiating a power sharing deal, but Severus refused and the senators sent to negotiate defected to his side. Julianus then sent a small force of Praetorians to slow down or halt the advance, but Severus’ army easily swept away the small force. Upon reaching Rome, Severus called for the heads of the Praetorian leaders responsible for the murder of Pertinax, and promised to spare everyone else, recognizing that they were mere innocent bystanders or pawns of the Praetorians who acted under the threat of harm.  The Praetorians quickly produced the responsible men, who were immediately executed, and Rome was surrendered to Severus without a fight.

Didius Julianus was declared an enemy of the state by the Senate. He was executed by one of his palace guards, his reign lasting 66 days. Septimus Severus was recognized as Emperor of Rome by the Senate. A civil war would erupt between Severus and some provincial governors for control of the empire. Severus would remain on top, thus founding the Severan Dynasty.

Here’s another Tomarry/Harrymort prompt that no one asked for:

Ancient Rome, where - wait for it - Tom, orphaned at a young age, was sold as a slave to a wealthy Roman man (Gellert) who sees potential in him as even a child, and is eventually trained to become a gladiator (who were just glorified slaves, in Ancient Rome).

He is very good at this.

Tom kills with unprecedented swiftness and violence, hoping, like all gladiators, to someday buy his freedom. It’s almost like some other force is at work when he steps into the ring. His opponents often end up running from him under his glare, and he is referred to as ‘Voldemort’ by spectators. They eventually forget ‘Tom’ ever existed.

Enter Harry, high-born aristocrat and sole Heir to the very rich and influential Potter family, who has just started his role as patrician within the Roman Senate. Albus, current emperor and most powerful man in Rome, has taken a liking to the young new politician and invites him to sit with him at the Coliseum that night.

'Have you ever seen gladiators fight?’ he asks. Harry hadn’t, but even he had heard the whispers of 'Voldemort’. Albus smiles.

'You’re really in for something, then.’

…so basically, a politically powerful Harry, a physically powerful but socially disadvantaged Tom, the potential for some scandalous Gellert/Albus (because of course Gellert will invite all the most powerful figures in Rome to his crazy, lavish party, where his Gladiators are just there as eye candy, which is how this whole thing kicks off), and… and I think someone should write this. ✨