I’ve seen references lately that Rome suffered through a leader like Trump (Caligula), survived him and had several more centuries of power. Some thoughts about that:
- The world moved slower then. Empires lasted longer because the world moved at a slower pace before powered engines, flight and instant communication. So a few centuries then is a much shorter time frame than now.
- Rome did not “survive” Caligula — they assassinated him. Not saying we should assassinate anyone, but the Romans took matters into their own hands (i.e. Acted rather than waited).
- Rome was facing challenges, but not the same as today I dont’ think. They did not have a powerful China, an antagonist in Russia and small states with nuclear missiles to contend with. I feel like these are much more dangerous/lethal times for the US, than Rome was facing with Caligula. Stakes are higher — and more instantaneous — for us at this moment than Rome faced in 1st Century AD/CE.
It’s scary to think where the world might be today with Trump in office at the times that Abe Lincoln, FDR, Ike and JFK had to navigate scary times.
Anyway, my two cents.
Finished Handmaid’s Tale season 1. Elizabeth Moss is a great actress – it didn’t dawn on me how much different June is than her Mad Men character until this morning, she did it so effortlessly. It is amazing how religious zealots doing “right by God” can oppress, rape and kill people so willingly. Can’t wait for season 2
Very tired this week. Think from all the travel.
Wife M and Daughter L made banana chocolate chip bread yesterday – I’ve had like 10 slices.
Studied The Thirty Year War: In 1618, The Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II began imposing Catholicism in Central Europe, resulting in uprising and igniting a major religious war that would last until 1648. The uprisings were crushed, but ignited a greater series of conflicts that eventually involved most of the major European powers over a 30 year period. The people of Germany – where the war primarily took place — were especially devastated through looting and civilian casualties, and by the war’s end there were more than 8 million casualties, there were major shifts of power, France emerged as the new world power and the Netherlands emerged as a new world power during what would be called The Dutch Golden Age.
Wife M and I started watching Better Things, about an actress and single mother juggling her career and 3 teen-age daughters. It is endearing and hilarious.
Daughter L’s friend is struggling at her house again. She will likely be living with us again soon. I love that she has a safe house to come to, and that Daughter L and Wife M welcome her.
The NYT had a blurb about Marcus Garvey today. I’d never heard of him before so wanted to make a note of it here… He was born in Jamaica in 1887, and famously urged blacks to return to Africa and claim it as their own. When a black man ascended to the throne in Ethopia, Garvey was hailed as a prophet and was revered by Rastafarians as a Black Prophet and Messiah. None other than Martin Luther King said he was the first man to give blacks a sense of identity and destiny… Wow. How is it that I’d never heard of him?
Al-Walid I sent an army of his men (varied reports but approximately 10K) out of modern central Saudi Arabia and conquered the Iberian Peninsula in 711 (not much is known about the Iberian Peninsula before the 8th Century). The Moors would rule this area for the next 7 centuries and their presence had a lasting impact on Spanish culture.
Researchers analyzed thousands of skeletons to get a general idea of the health of pre-Columbus Americans. They learned that in general they were fairly healthy 1,000 years before Columbus, but health was on a slow decline since then (interesting that EUrope was going through plagues and such in the Medevial ages while the American’s health was declining). Societies that relied on farming were generally less healthy, and the navites along the Brazilian coast most healthy (plains INdisans were also healthy). Urban envinronments appeared in America 2000 years ago, and agriculture 7000 years ago. And like with the Middle East, the appearance of these things match a decline in health. Also, in the Mayan culture, which had more urban and agriculture, people were less healthy.
Am reading “Fur, Fortune and Empire” and am finding it to be an interesting book. For exampple, the settlers on Plymouth were more or less coerced at the final momnent to sign a new and less favorable agreement with their employer, and although they sought religious freedom their journey was paid for by investors who had them focus first and foremost on trading for valuable Beaver pelts with the Native Americans. The company that paid for their voyage was led by a sociopath, who didn’t give enough goods and supplies to the pilgrims, and made unreasonable demands of them. Also, they were supposed to settle farther south than Plymouth (and those lands had better fur trapping locations) but settled in Plymouth for safety reasons, then virtually hunted the Beaver to extinction in that area. Finally, they expected to find a thriving Native settlement in Plymouth, but found it nearly abandoned – most of the Natives had been wiped out by the diseases that Europeans brought with them (and wiped out much of all the native populations in the Americas).
My parents attended a lecture on the history of Edinburgh (Scotland), and learned that (like many European cities) plague ravaged Edinburgh in the 16th and 17th centuries. At one point, Edinburgh asked people to stay inside and to hang a sheet on the door if they had the plague, so the plague doctor would know to visit their house. But the doctor died of (what else?) plague. So the city advertised for a replacement plague doctor, offering a lot of money for anyone willing to accept the role. One man did, and before stepping into homes designed a special leather suit with a breathing mask (a long beak stuffed with cotton with air holes at the end) to wear while treating patients. The doctor survived, and eventuallly the plague abated. But the city of Edinburgh was unable to pay, since they had expected the doctor to die of the plague so had not set money aside. The doctor never did receive his money.
Source: Lisa Didier, History of Edinburgh Scotland (lecture), 2016