Friday, September 08, 2006

8: The Roman Empire

A couple of hundred years or so later we come to Julius Caesar, the most famous Roman ever. Caesar was Rome's greatest general and the first Roman to take a very large bunch of soldiers ('legion') over to Britain.
Britain was regarded as an easy target for conquest in those days since the natives were merely a bunch of unruly savages whose interests seldom went beyond painting their faces, grunting and hitting each other. (Yes, I know.)  
However, perhaps discouraged by the bad weather and lack of intelligent conversation, Caesar limited his invasion to a quick look around, and quickly left again. He diverted his energies towards lots of conquering on mainland Europe until he got to the point where, when he decided he'd like to rule the whole Empire personally, nobody cared to argue.
After a while though his arrogance began to get on people's nerves and a bunch of his friends literally stabbed him in the back - but I ask you, if you can't be an arrogant sod when you're Emperor of Rome, when can you?
It didn't do them a lot of good in the long run because after a few years of unrest (in which Cleopatra is somehow involved, never mind the details) Caesar's nephew Augustus took over as emperor, followed  - sometimes in quite rapid succession - by a long string of other emperors, who got progressively worse. 
One of the the most notorious was Caligula, who we think of as mad partly because he made his horse a senator - but then these days we often give control of the country to a complete ass, so who are we to talk?  

No comments: