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Julius Caesar: Legend Borne Out of a Lifetime of Adversity

by on August 12, 2020

Written by Ash G, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom
“Smooth seas don’t make good sailors” is a clichéd term but a very underrated statement, nonetheless. It is often said that something great is on the horizon when everything is going downhill. When life is pulling an individual back, it is often preparing to catapult them to greatness. The cross-section of Julius Caesar’s life has the potential to instill a greater appreciation for adversity in people.
Even from early adulthood, Caesar faced a very real possibility of death after his uncle Marius’s rival, Sulla, became the leader of Rome. He was executing everyone remotely linked to Marius. Young Caesar was forced to leave Rome and live off in exile for some time until Sulla was lobbied to pardon him.
He came back to Rome as a poor man, as even though he was able to keep his head intact on his neck, all his personal and ancestral belongings were confiscated. This would prove to be one of the basic dynamics that will haunt him for his entire life, and at the same time, drive him to attain the legendary status in history.

The Banishment of Julia Augusti (PART 3)

by on August 11, 2020

Written by Mary Naples, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom
Yet, as it turns out, Livia would not be unhappy for long. Poor Marcellus would not live to see his twenty-first birthday. After just two years of marriage, an epidemic swept through the Roman Empire that would infect Augustus almost to death. After he improved, it went after his young scion. Everyone expected the golden prince to make a full recovery.
When he perished it set off a period of mourning in Rome that resulted in some of the greatest poetry of the age. Both Virgil in the Aeneid and Propertius in Elegies wrote movingly of the prince’s passing. The ancients tell us that after her son Marcellus perished, Octavia withdrew from society.
A widow at sixteen, the ancients do not mention Julia’s feelings for her husband with whom she had been raised. And imagine how crushed Augustus must have been that the double Julian union produced no issue.

What is Evil? Why are we so interested in it?

by on August 10, 2020

It’s hard to anticipate, to accept. The idea that you could actually know someone evil.
That happens to other people, right?
But there I was, staring at the photo in the newspaper of my former classmate, clad in the orange prison jumpsuit in front of the judge.
The headline described the whole lurid affair:

A Day in the Life of an Ancient Athenian

by on August 7, 2020

Written by Lydia Serrant, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom
Athens, 424 BCE
It is daybreak on a Tuesday, and already the day is beginning to warm.
As usual, you wake up at sunrise to the sound of ritual singing coming from the courtyard. Your household slave has risen early and sings to the dawn as she prepares you a breakfast of wine, with yesterday’s slightly stale bread, for dipping.

All You NEED to Know About the Ancient Olympics

by on August 5, 2020

Written by Divya Gupta, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom
The first Olympic games were held in Athens, Greece in 1896. Around 280 participants from 13 nations competed in 43 sporting games. Since 1994, the famous Game has been held separately as the Winter and Summer Olympics every two years.
But did you know these modern games are inspired by the ancient Olympics in Greece which originated around 3000 years ago! From the 8th century B.C. until the 4th century A.D. these Games were held every four years, between July and September, during the religious festival honoring Zeus.
The Origin of the Olympics

The Banishment of Julia Augusti (PART 2)

by on August 4, 2020

Written by Mary Naples, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom
Because the mere hint of sovereignty had dispatched his dear Uncle Julius into the hereafter, he never called himself emperor, preferring to use the term Princeps, or first citizen, instead. Regardless of his title, a de facto monarchy is what his regime—the principate—would become. But like all successful monarchies, Augustus needed heirs. And in ancient Rome only males would do.
With two sons already borne to the twenty-year old Livia, the newlyweds must have had high hopes for a long line of offspring of their own. But with the passing of each year, it would become all too obvious that the “troublesome” Scribonia had succeeded where the ever-imposing Livia would most acutely fail. As a consequence of the first couple’s sterility, the fate of the Julio-Claudian dynasty rested solely on the fertility of its female kin, three of whom played key roles in early dynasty-building.
Representing the Claudian contingency was Livia, with her two sons (Tiberius and Drusus) in tow. Dating back to the foundation of the Roman Republic, the Claudians might have been royalty if monarchy were possible in the Republic. Moreover, Livia was a Claudian by birth as well as by marriage. Typical in patrician families, Livia’s first husband and the father of her two sons was also her cousin.