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Romans and divine right

Yoo-hoo!
celandineb, darana, thanatos_kalos, and all you historians and anthropologists (aspiring ones such as erebrandir and yodge included): I have another question for you.

Did Roman emperors, who paid lip service to their own deification, rule by acknowledged divine right?

Again, I'll have to tell you later, in a running edit, why I ask.
Here's the gist of it: My father and I were having a discussion yesterday about why certain cultures seem to have a more ingrained tolerance for totalitarian rule.1 I conjectured that a long period of feudalism and in particular the principle of the "Mandate of Heaven" tended to foster this culture, whereas cultures that received the yoke later tended to throw it off sooner. It was a case of the damnable old frog-in-a-pot syndrome, I claimed. My dad didn't quite buy it, though.

So, I'm trying to get some real historians' viewpoints to corroborate or refute my hypothesis.

1 Yes, that's typical after-dinner conversation here. Does this surprise you? ;-)

--
Banazîr

Comments

banazir
Apr. 14th, 2004 11:36 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
Actually, there's a strong sense of "Manifest destiny" in Virgil's _Aeneid_.

Google and Project Gutenberg are our friends:
Latin
English

An age is ripening in revolving fate
When Troy shall overturn the Grecian state,
And sweet revenge her conqu'ring sons shall call,
To crush the people that conspir'd her fall.
Then Caesar from the Julian stock shall rise,
Whose empire ocean, and whose fame the skies
Alone shall bound; whom, fraught with eastern spoils,
Our heav'n, the just reward of human toils,
Securely shall repay with rites divine;
And incense shall ascend before his sacred shrine.


(Googled for nigh on half an hour looking for an online, line-numbered English translation; found many, but mostly Gutenberg Project derivatives. I would get a classics library in print, really I would; only, the ents and huorns would get me. Ents and me are like Lindsey and W&H. Um, yeah, comes of being a past graduate TA and present university prof. ;-))

In Book one, lines 225 to 296 (or thereabouts, I don't have the Latin in front of me) Jupiter tells Venus all about the glorious destiny of the Roman people, especially of the Iulii (Which was the gens of Julius Caesar.) The Aeneid was of course commissioned by Augustus, the first Emperor. And the term "divos", relating to a divinised human, is used in Virgil's earlier work the Eclogues. It may be seen in the _Res Gestae_ as well, I'm not sure.

Fascinating.
Do you have an eidetic memory, BTW?
I could never pull line numbers out of my head like that.

Does that help?
(and have I mentioned I'm working on my MA in Classical archaeology? ;)

Yes, it does! :-)
I added you to the list of requested respondents in an edit.

--
Banazir
thanatos_kalos
Apr. 15th, 2004 07:05 am (UTC)
Re: Thanks!
(Googled for nigh on half an hour looking for an online, line-numbered English translation; found many, but mostly Gutenberg Project derivatives. I would get a classics library in print, really I would; only, the ents and huorns would get me. Ents and me are like Lindsey and W&H. Um, yeah, comes of being a past graduate TA and present university prof. ;-))

try www.perseus.tufts.edu which is the internet database we use in Classics. :)

In Book one, lines 225 to 296 (or thereabouts, I don't have the Latin in front of me) Jupiter tells Venus all about the glorious destiny of the Roman people, especially of the Iulii (Which was the gens of Julius Caesar.) The Aeneid was of course commissioned by Augustus, the first Emperor. And the term "divos", relating to a divinised human, is used in Virgil's earlier work the Eclogues. It may be seen in the _Res Gestae_ as well, I'm not sure.

Fascinating.


isnt it?

Do you have an eidetic memory, BTW?
I could never pull line numbers out of my head like that.


No-- I had the English in front of me, in a prose translation. It won't match the Lain line numbers, but it'll approximate it. I only WISH I had eidetic memory; my retention rate is something like 80% for most things.

Does that help?
(and have I mentioned I'm working on my MA in Classical archaeology? ;)

Yes, it does! :-)


good. :)

I added you to the list of requested respondents in an edit.

Gracias! ;)
borgseawolf
Apr. 15th, 2004 07:17 am (UTC)
Re: Thanks!
try www.perseus.tufts.edu which is the internet database we use in Classics. :)

Yeah. I wrote an entire yearly paper using only that source and got an equivalent of A with merit for it :) Perseus rules.
thanatos_kalos
Apr. 15th, 2004 10:41 am (UTC)
Re: Thanks!
Yeah. I wrote an entire yearly paper using only that source and got an equivalent of A with merit for it :) Perseus rules.

I use it continually for stuff-- primary sources, translations, encyclopedias, maps, occasionally site plans...though they do sometimes get translations wrong, I must admit. :P
banazir
Apr. 15th, 2004 12:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Thanks!
try www.perseus.tufts.edu which is the internet database we use in Classics. :)
Oh, very good stuff!
Thank you.

Fascinating.
isnt it?
Ah, all my possessions for a moment of time...

I had the English in front of me, in a prose translation. It won't match the Lain line numbers, but it'll approximate it. I only WISH I had eidetic memory; my retention rate is something like 80% for most things.
Hrm, same here.
My memory is pseudo-eidetic: it only works spot-on for SF television quotes. :-P (Not even that, of late; I used to have perfect retention on ST:TNG and BTVS, and now don't even recognize most Firefly quotes put in front of me. It's very sad.)

As Dorothy Sayers had Lord Peter Wimsey say:
"I have the most ill-regulated memory.
It does those things which it ought not to do and leaves undone the things it ought to have done.
But it has not yet gone on strike altogether."
(That, I got mostly from memory, but as is often the case now, I had to look it up and make a correction. So annoying.)




borgseawolf: Yeah. I wrote an entire yearly paper using only that source and got an equivalent of A with merit for it :) Perseus rules.
thanatos_kalos: I use it continually for stuff-- primary sources, translations, encyclopedias, maps, occasionally site plans...though they do sometimes get translations wrong, I must admit. :P
Sounds (and looks) great.

--
Banazir

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