Archive for the ‘history’ Category

Didius Julianus

April 14, 2010

One of Rome’s most significant emperors was a chap named Septimius Severus, and one day there’s bound to be an entry on this blog about him. One of Rome’s least significant emperors was the man that came immediately before him, Didius Julianus. In fact, this is the man that time and time again I fall down upon when I’m trying to remember the order of the Emperors.* As such, I’ve decided to try to fix him in my mind by writing this entry.

The most interesting thing about Didianus was how he came to power. Currently, the UK is still coming to terms with the disreputable behaviour of its politicians, but no amount of duck ponds purchased at tax payers’ expense would cheapen the office quite as much as this short-lived Emperor’s pursuit of office did.

By the end of the second century, the Praetorian Guard had settled into the role of kingmaker they’d carved out for themselves. In 192, they’d decided that Commodus had had long enough at the top and the Praetorian prefect assassinated him. Rushing Pertinax to the Praetorian camp, they proclaimed the man Emperor. Owing to a misreading of the situation (the Praetorian’s believing their support to be a quid pro quo, Pertinax a mere quid), the new Emperor’s reign lasted a mere 86 days before the guards sharpened their swords once more and added another name to the growing list of murdered rulers.

They certainly weren’t prepared to make the same mistake again; before they used their military clout to install the next Emperor, they wanted positive assurances there’d be some monetary value in it for them. At the end of March 193, then, they announced that the throne would go to the highest bidder. The city prefect at the time was at the Praetorian camp when that announcement was made, and so he immediately put in a bid.

This is where our man enters the picture. Hearing what was happening, Julianus ran to the camp with an offer of his own. According to Cassius Dio, however, he was refused access. Unperturbed, he simply stood by the door and shouted an offer of his own. The two imperial candidates continued to outbid each other from this absurd position until eventually, Didius Julianus’ bid of 25,000 sesterces to each and every guard won the day.

The tawdry manner in which he became Emperor undermined any power that he’d expected to wield, however. The public would heckle him at any public appearance and various generals (including Septimius Severus) refused to acknowledge his rule. Such shaky foundations could never support his reign for long, and having come to power at the end of March, by the end of May he was stripped of his rank and sentenced to death. An issue that is cropping up time and time again at the moment is whether politicians have really understood the public outcry. Didius Julianus certainly didn’t, and his last words were a bewildered “But what evil have I done? Who did I kill?”

In an uncharacteristically generous mood, the new Emperor Septimius Severus spared the wife and daughter of the man who had so recently declared him a public enemy, and returned the corpse to them for burial. Didius Julianus was buried under the fifth milestone of the Via Labicana, or today’s Via Casalina.

*Oh come now. Yes I try and remember the order of the emperors sometimes, but you’re sitting there reading an obscure blog about Roman history. Let’s not get all high and mighty here.

Advertisements

Pontifex Maximus

March 29, 2010

As the product of a protestant/lapsed protestant family background, the ex-pupil of a Church of England school, and the technical recipient of a Methodist baptism, I felt a little like I was crashing somebody else’s party on Thursday evening as I rocked up at the Vatican ready to see Benedict XVI in the flesh.  For any reader with a similar sort of background to me, I’ll begin by explaining that he’s the guy that drives the Pope Mobile and, as anybody who’s read any of the countless papal inscriptions scattered throughout Rome will know, goes by the proto-hip hop tag of “P Max”.

The name, (pontifex maximus in its entirety, or chief priest) is in fact far more old-school than Christianity and dates back (at least as far as legend is concerned) to the second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius.  Whilst Romulus had founded the city and shaped its culture immeasurably, tradition ascribes the introduction of most aspects of the civic religious life to the pious Numa.  To occupy Romulus’ warriors, Numa gave them religion.  It was our chum P Max who made sure that the royal reforms were being duly carried out.

Away from the clean cut world of legend and myth, the origins of the position are a little hazier.  Etymologist argue over the meaning (possibly “greatest bridge builder” or maybe, based on Etruscan, “greatest road builder”) and the discussions about why the chief priest should be given a title pertaining more to mechanics than theology seem little more than guess work.  One popular suggestion for example, is that originally the priest’s duties genuinely did include building bridges.

The pontifex maximus was the head of the college of priests and his duties included everything from maintaining the calendar to overseeing funerals.  For more information on what he got up to, I’m sure Wikipedia will list the duties just as well as I could.  I want to zoom ahead to the late fourth century and the reign of the Emperor Gratian.  This Christian Emperor suppressed pagan rites as much as he could at the time (introducing limitations on property bequeathed to the Vestal virgins for example, and removing the Augustan Altar of Victory from the Senate House).*  He was the first Emperor who actively rejected the quintessentially pagan title.

This Christian distaste didn’t last.  Whilst Medieval Christians were reluctant to read the foul filth peddled by ancient writers, paradoxically they were more than happy to name themselves after the paganism’s religious leaders.   The title has never been used in the Pope’s official titles but from the high middle ages until today, it’s remained in use as a sort of papal nickname.

*Sensibly Gratian did recognise that there were aspects of paganism that you just don’t want to change, and he did nothing to prevent his own deification.

Trajan’s Column

March 22, 2010

The faintly unsettling room which houses the plaster casts of the complete frieze

I remember reading a great comic a few years ago explaining the theory of comics.  If I remember correctly, it was by a chap called Scott McCloud.  It was informative, amusing, thought-provoking and a great example of the places the comic form could be taken.  However, the fact that it arose from a genre never quite at ease with itself (whatever comic fans say, the careful defences of the form that we all have ready to reel off at a moment’s notice is an indication that we don’t really believe comics have been accepted into the realms of ‘art’), means that at one point the author went on a bit of a desperate search for pedigree and tried to trace the history of comics through Egyptian tomb art and so on.  The thing is, though, you would never write an analysis of 1950s pulp fiction as belonging to the same tradition as something like Beowulf, and any attempt to do so would be dismissed.  If you did set out to do so, there would indeed be certain parallels that could be drawn, but before we go on I think we’re all going to have to agree that the exercise would still be pointless.  That said, I’m going to be hard pushed to fight back the temptation not to fall into the McCloud trap for today’s post.  This week I had a chance to really take in Trajan’s Column and to a man who grew up on my Dad’s old copies of Creepy Worlds and Amazing Adventures, it’s very difficult not to note the similarities.

First, a bit of background.  Trajan’s column was built at about 110AD as part of a forum complex celebrating his victories over the Dacians (modern day Romania).  What with an ever expanding population, Trajan wanted to add another forum to the 5 which already stood in the valley.  Seemingly trumped by the lack of space, the Emperor and his Chief Engineer from the Dacian campaigns, Appollodorus of Damascus, got together and decided what to do about that particular pickle.  With characteristic Roman élan, they decided to simply remove a massive chunk of the Esquiline Hill.  The base on the column tells us that the column was actually built

Ad declarandum quanta altitudinis

Mons et locus tan[tis oper]ibus sit egestus

0r, “in order to indicate how lofty was the hillside removed through such mighty works”*.  It’s nice to believe that the column genuinely did mark the exact height of the hill which formerly stood there (putting it at 38m), and unless I find some evidence to the contrary, I’m going to go along with that story.

On the column, carved in great detail are the exploits of the Roman army in Dacia.  In fact, the level of detail is a little confusing.  When you stand by the column today, the height renders it impossible to really follow the narrative thread at all, and when it was built, the two libraries (one Latin and one Greek) which flanked the column would have made it even more difficult to make out any intricacies (although the paint that would have been there originally might have helped sharpen some details admittedly).  Had it not been for the Museo della Civilta’ Romana, I would have remained in the dark about what exactly was on the column.

Some of the barbarian dead

Romans in testudo formation

The man himself in one of his many appearances

What the hell, it’s nothing short of a comic.  It’s sequential art in which our hero Trajan periodically reappears in the different ‘panels’ to save the day.  It’s so much more interesting than that description lets on, however, and for a number of reasons.  Firstly, from a historical perspective, the details of life on campaign are transmitted more fully than one might have expected from what we would have assumed to be empty propaganda.  Only about a quarter of the pictures involve fighting.  The rest contain such mundane features as chopping down trees to build camps and so on.  You see soldiers chatting to each other, and most surprisingly there seems to be a homosexual couple depicted.  In the battle scenes, details such as the weaponry and armour of both the Romans and their enemies are carefully depicted.  We see the Dacians with their ‘battle sickles’, for example, and we see the Romans with their shields raised in the famous tortoise position.   In terms of art as well, the column holds its own.  Despite the frieze being 190 m long, the variety of techniques it employs (realism, allegory, implied narratives) make the whole thing interesting from start to finish.  Finally, for a piece of art one would expect to be so triumphalist, Trajan’s Column includes a real sense of pathos.  The agonised deaths and the strewn corpses that litter the battlefields show an understanding of the suffering of war which renders the modern day term ‘propaganda’ misleading at best.

So there you have it.  Get yourself over to Trajan’s Column, proof that comics are art.  Sort of.

*Translation Tyler Lansford

Piazza Navona and ancient Rome

February 16, 2010

Carnival’s in full swing here in Rome, and Sunday saw Rose and I dodging excitable children in fancy dress on Piazza Navona as we took in a little street theatre.

More exciting than any of that, however, was the opportunity to regale Rose once more with my Piazza Navona facts.  Well now, lucky reader, your face too can glaze over with that impassive far away look of excited anticipation, because today I’m writing about the Piazza’s connections with ancient Rome.

The shape was determined by the building which used to sit there; Domitian’s theatre.  Designed for Greek sports the Latinized Greek word for ‘struggles’ (agonales) was associated with the place.  Over the centuries, this name evolved into Platea in Agone, Piazza N’Agone, and finally, today’s Piazza Navona.

Now, bang in the centre of the Piazza is Bernini’s Fountain.  There’s plenty of stories that could be told about as (as Rose would verify) but as this blog is about ancient Rome, let’s head for the church behind it.  This is San Agnese in Agone (named after the location of those Greek struggles once more) and here we find another link to ancient Rome.

Agnes was a 12 year old girl of aristocratic stock living under the reign of a favourite emperor of mine, Diocletian.  Ordered to marry an acquaintance of the Emperor, she refused on the grounds that she was dedicating her body

A fornex under Piazza Navona

to Jesus.  In the earliest surviving account of the story (St. Ambrose’s writings) the girl was put to death upon this refusal, displaying a stoic bearing which impressed Ambrose immensely.  However, the Catholic Church wouldn’t be the Catholic Church if it didn’t squeeze some sex into the story, and so as the myth developed, the naked girl was dragged to a brothel to be raped (thereby satisfying a law which forbade the rape of virgins).  Both the rape and execution were supposed to have taken place at the spot of St Agnese in Agone.

At one side of the Piazza, you can find an open archaeology site showing an arch or fornex.  If there were any truth to the more colourful versions of the young saint’s death, it would be to somewhere like this she would have been sent; these fornices underneath the stadiums were infamous sites of brothels.  Indeed, “going to the arches” became an idiomatic expression for visiting a prostitute in Latin.  For anybody interested in etymology, our own term “fornicate” stems from it.

Being a family friendly blog, I don’t want to end on such a seedy note, so let’s return to St Agnes.  Her other major Church in Rome St Agnese Fuori le Mura can be found a couple of kilometres to the east of Termini on Via Nomentana.  This church was built over the catacomb which held her corpse, and it’s here that lambs are ritually shaved to provide the wool needed for part of a new archbishop’s ceremonial robes.  Apparently the sole reason for the location is Agnese sounds like agnus, the Latin for lamb.  I don’t know for how many centuries the Catholic Church has been using that particular pun, but for ignoring the increasingly exasperated groans of the world around and just powering on through with it they command my respect at least.

The beards of Emperors

February 2, 2010

Column inches across the world have been devoted to the ongoing question of Berlusconi’s hair transplant, and now that Bill Gates has weighed in on the issue (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/28/bill-gates-silvio-berlusconi-hair), fresh life might have been given to the farce.

The exasperated Silvio must look back to the glory days of imperial Rome wistfully; Not only was public prosecution of an Emperor absolutely impossible, not only was autocratic rule given for life, but the imperial hairstyle was spared the ridicule poured on the modern day equivalent.  In fact, such was the respect accorded to the imperial do that historians and archaeologists today are able to date statues based on which imperial figure’s hairstyle is being copied. Elongated bun on a female bust, hair drawn down on both sides of the head? Ah, that’ll be an attempt to emulate Septimius Severus’ wife, Julia Domna. Must be, ooh… end of the second century AD then.

However, lest Silvio envy his forerunners too much, it should be pointed out that there were limits. Julian the Apostate was Constantine the Great’s nephew, but instead of following the family trend of slipping towards Christianity, he developed a secret neo-platonic pagan zeal under the guidance of his tutor. Fully aware of the semiotics of beard growth, Julian revealed his secret religion upon his ascension to the throne and unleashed his newly unfettered whiskers on the world. In his short two year rule, the beard would grow into such a source of controversy that when the Emperor wrote a satire defending his controversially austere lifestyle, it was his beard which he named it after.

I’m going to go a bit off topic now, but this is probably the only post I’m ever going to write about imperial beards, so I quickly want to weigh in on the most famous of them all: Hadrian’s. Firstly, if anybody can tell me where the idea that it was grown to cover warts and scars originates from, I’d be extremely grateful. I often see it written, but it just doesn’t seem to ring true. Secondly, the idea that the beard was grown out of philhellenism is an old one, but I’ve seen it rejected by people recently. Instead, they argue that as an ex-military man, Hadrian got into the habit of not shaving whilst on camp. However, I can’t think of any other ex-Emperor with a military past (Trajan, Vespasian, etc) who had kept a beard as top dog, and the only bearded representation of an Emperor earlier than the man in question that springs to mind is a statue of the decidedly unmilitaristic Nero.  In fact, the original theory still holds plenty of water; Hadrian had lived in Athens before becoming Emperor (even becoming archon, or chief magistrate), and he maintained his ties to the city throughout his reign. His interests proudly displayed his love of all things Greek: architecture, poetry, philosophy and, of course, beards.

*If anyone’s interested, the Misopogon or ‘Beard hater’ is available here: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/julian-mispogon.html

Let’s hear it for Nero

January 25, 2010

When it comes to antiquity, there are people whom history hasn’t been kind to. Intentions have been misunderstood, achievements gone unappreciated and outright slanders have been perpetuated. Great artists have been forgotten, ingenious ideas reduced to scrappy two line fragments, and political reputations destroyed.

There aren’t many, however, who have come off as badly as Nero. His terrible reputation has arisen from that most enduring myth; his dilettante recital of the fall of Troy as his own city was consumed by fire. The thing is, though, it simply didn’t happen that way. Without any books with me (I still miss library access), I can’t remember any sources offhand which talk about the efforts the Emperor personally put in to stem the disaster, but as we’re all friends by now I’ll ask you to take me at my word that they do exist.

Nero’s decision to make scapegoats of Rome’s Christian population in the aftermath cannot be defended, but it can be explained. It’s a rare society which doesn’t find outsiders on whom to allocate blame – who knew about the existence of a single ‘Muslim community’ until we were constantly being told not to blame that monolithic beast for world terrorism – and Neronian Rome was no exception. The Emperor was probably harnessing sentiments already in existence rather than trying to force his own monstrous whims on the population. After all, with monotheism as alien (and alienating) a concept to Romans as polygamy would be to us, this weird new cult who were attacking the quintessential values of Rome needed to be reigned in. The fire must have seemed as good a means as any.

Whatever the reasons, Nero would pay for his political expediency with centuries of condemnation. Myths from the middle ages in Rome would tell of the rotting walnut tree infested with demons which sprouted from his secret grave (supposedly the site of Santa Maria del Popolo in the city’s Piazza del Popolo). Hebrew numerologists went as far as to name Nero as the Book of Revelations’ Anti-Christ. We may have calmed down with the religious rhetoric in this day and age, but I still can’t think of a sympathetic portrayal.

Any contemporary perspectives favourable to Nero have been lost irretrievably, and the enmity of the senatorial historians to the Emperor and his legacy mean that we are unlikely to reach a measured and fully informed opinion. However, in the years after his death, we know of numerous false Neros who popped up around the Empire claiming to be the real deal. Surely, this would not be a viable (if far-fetched) route to political power if Nero was already the pantomime villain of later centuries. The military and the Senate might have hated him, but there must have been an enduring popularity for the man amongst the more dispossessed.

This issue has come to the foreground recently, as an Italian historian has urged the city of Rome to finally reflect one of its most infamous sons by naming a road after him. The newspaper La Repubblica (the lefty one which Berlusconi regularly scraps with) is running a poll on the issue. Should you care to cast your vote either way, the poll can be found at http://temi.repubblica.it/repubblicaroma-sondaggio/?pollId=1838.

Where Caesar met his maker

December 1, 2009

Surely one of the most famous scenes from Roman history is the murder of Julius Caesar during a meeting of the Senate.  Scratch that; one of the most famous scenes from world history.  As you enter the Curia (the Senate House) in the Forum, the starkness of the building seems a fitting backdrop for the assassination.

In actual fact though, the Curia was temporarily absolutely out of action at the time.  In the chaos of Roman politics at the tail end of the Republic, supporters of the recently murdered rabblerousing politician Clodius had turned the Curia into a funeral pyre for their figurehead.  The Senate, therefore, were meeting elsewhere; the theatre of Pompey to be exact, part of Caesar’s great rival’s giant Porticus complex.

These days, the theatre’s long gone, although I think some foundations remain under some other buildings, but if you go to Largo di Torre Argentina you can see the back of the Porticus and the public toilets which made up another part of it.  The assassination itself would have taken place in the location of the modern day Teatro Argentina, one of Rome’s most important contemporary theatres.

The interesting thing about all of this is the lack of publicity the city of Rome gives to the place.  Largo di Torre Argentina’s a bewildering find when you stumble upon it; it looks hugely significant (and indeed it is – it contains some of the only Republican Temples still in existence) but it’s just fenced off and surrounded by busy roads.  The only concession to its significance is a rather dull information sign plonked at the side.  That Caesar met his untimely end so close to the spot came as a complete surprise to me.

Augustus and his celestial message

November 17, 2009

“I found Rome a city of brick and I left it a city of marble.”  So proclaimed Augustus in his Res Gestae (“Achievements” – a rather selective overview of the first Emperor’s feats penned by the man himself).  The fabric of Rome became a placard on which he could emblazon his message of personal and imperial grandeur; the building schemes he proudly boasted of were designed to reinforce the place of the princeps at the forefront of the Roman people.

As well as this, the literary world was heavily patronised.  It’s easy to over-emphasise the importance of literature in the ‘propaganda’ onslaught – as artefacts and monuments have decayed, events and actions been forgotten, and other cultural interests slipped in or fallen out of popularity, it’s not out of the question that somebody today might only have learnt about Augustus because of an interest in the poetry of the first century BC.  A typical Roman would have seen the building works etc on a daily basis without giving so much as a thought to their favourite of Horace’s Epodes.  Still though, with big hitters such as Virgil making epic poetry from the deeds of Augustus, as much political prestige as possible was being squeezed out of the literary world.

The final of the big three tools with which Augustus could spread his message was money.  This worked in the obvious sense of donatives to the public and the soldiers, and by the more subtle means of imprinting coins with a message to glorify Empire and Emperor.  The idea of putting an individual on a Roman coin was relatively new – it first occurred under Julius Caesar – but it was an innovation that the Romans ran with.  Brutus is supposed to have reacted to Julius’ coins with disgust at the kingly implications, yet during the civil war against Octavian and Antony, coins were created and embossed with an image of the great liberator himself.  Augustus would have had no second thoughts about using his own picture.

I found out the other day about a more surprising piece of propaganda, and one which people live with the legacy of today every time they turn to the last few pages of their paper.  The star sign Libra was apparently introduced into astrology* under Augustus (Virgil writes in the Georgics that it happened on the 23rd September of 63BC).  Before that, the constellation was simply seen as a part of Cancer and in fact the two main stars in the constellation are still known as Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali, Arabic for pincer of the south and north respectively.  Scales as a symbol of justice are used today; this is yet one more legacy from the Greco-Roman World.  This constellation was no more than a way to proclaim the just nature of everybody’s favourite leader.

So anyway, the question I’m putting to you is this: has anybody heard of any other examples of creative propaganda from Augustus or any of the other Emperors?

*Actually reintroduced.  The Babylonians and Egyptians had used it but for some reason it fell out of favour.

Pasta outside Castello San Angelo

November 8, 2009

The Barilla pasta magnets on currently displayed proudly have prompted this week’s post.  They’re a new addition to our kitchen after we were given them during the celebrations of international pasta day last Sunday.  I imagine that for anybody else reading this, your own celebrations were fairly low-key, but for those of us in Rome, Milan and Naples, Barilla saw to it that we were fed bowl upon bowl of free pasta.

In Rome, the celebrations were held in the Giardinni San Angelo next to Castello San Angelo.  To look at this castle, you’d struggle to find any suggestion of the work of ancient Romans, and as far as I know, you’d eventually have to give up on the fruitless quest; there are no signs at all.  However, originally the castle was built as the tomb of Hadrian.  His statue still stands in the gardens and his name is given to the nearby piazza Adriana, but the building itself has been drastically altered.

The original building was designed by the Emperor himself who had always held a considerable interest in architecture.  It was a grand, white marble structure, and if the Pantheon is any guide (another project the Emperor was involved in) it would no doubt have been a fabulous building. It was known as the Mausoleum of Hadrian until the sixth century, but before we look at why the name was changed, it’s time for some background.

After the Roman Empire in the west had fallen, Rome had become something of a ghost town.  The papacy continued to operate from there, but otherwise the city’s halcyon days of political and cultural significance were behind it.  Hobbes described the papacy of the time as “the Ghost of the deceased Roman Empire, sitting crowned upon the grave.”  Pope Gregory I began to change all of that, however, and under his guidance, the city was successfully portrayed as a destination for pilgrimage.  With the tourist trade dollar flooding in, Gregory began to claw back the glories of old Rome.

However, none of this rejuvenation could happen until the plague that was coursing through Rome had ended. That supposedly happened after Gregory saw a vision of St Michael above the Mausoleum and the name was changed accordingly.  After that, pope after pope added to and reinforced the building to make it the Vatican’s defensive stronghold.  During the 1527 sack of Rome, one pope remained holed up in there for months.  It was this period that saw the Castle become the building we recognise today.  (And incidentally, it was also in this period that Hadrian’s remains were removed elsewhere and later destroyed in a fire).

As we sat next to the castle munching on our trofie al pesto, I noticed an inscription explaining that the park we were sitting in had been created by another figure from Italian history, namely Mussolini.  Whilst you see his building work etc on a daily basis over here, it came as a surprise to see something carved in stone explicitly naming him as responsible for the Gardens.  Rather than rewriting history, however, the inscription was left as it was; as yet one more layer of history serving as a backdrop to contemporary Rome and all of its pasta-based events.

Places in the Aeneid

October 24, 2009

When Homer uses the words “Danaan” or “Achaean”, anybody with a smattering of knowledge on Greek epic would read that to mean simply “Greek”, and probably (with a great deal of justification) put the change down to an attempt to keep to meter. It’s the same with place names; when I’ve read the Aeneid in the past, I’ve seen the words “Aeneas set sail for Hesperia” written down on the page and registered something along the lines of “Aeneas set sail for some place but it’s probably not particularly important where so keep reading Sam, just keep reading.” Since moving to Italy a year and a half ago however, these names often have added significance for me. When I read about the funeral games for Anchises being held in Drapanum, there’s an exciting realisation that Virgil’s talking about Trapani, a place I passed through in July.

Living on Via degli Ausoni as I do, one word which keeps cropping up is of particular interest to me: “Ausonia”. It’s normally used as an alternative word for Italy,* but the Ausones were a distinct people, and were in fact one of the three tribes of people met by Greek colonists when they first came to Italy. Dionysius of Halicarnassus writes very briefly about them (1 11,2-4; 12,1), and his dating suggests they were in modern day Calabria (the toe of Italy’s boot) in at least the sixteenth century BC. In the fourth century BC, the Ausonians allied with the Samnites against Rome, and as Livy writes in his Ab Urbes Condita 9.25, their main cities were destroyed as a result. One thing that’s particularly interesting about the Ausones within the context of the Aeneid is that according to myth, they were said to have descended from a son of Circe and Ulysses. The Greek is of huge importance to the lineage of the Italian people then, but at the same time, he is one of the only people viewed in an unambiguously negative light throughout the poem; we have one more complication in an increasingly complex poem. In the melting pot of cultures which would converge and become Rome, could the inclusion of the treacherous Odysseus’ line be gently undercutting the patriotic tones?

Incidentally, whilst I’m posting on the topic of places in the Aeneid, I remember the first time I ever read the poem I’d wondered about the “eternal fame” promised Caieta (the nurse of Aeneas) in book 7 and the Sybil’s promise that the place where Palinurus died would bear his name “for all time to come” (book 6). If anybody’s interested, the bay of Caieta still exists although the ‘C’ has softened to become “Gaieta” as does the town of Palinuro.

*Although not exclusively, see Evander’s account of Saturn’s reign in book 8, for example.