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Journeys of my Soul, a Book from Livia Augustus
I Am Livia (More or Less)
If you don't want to learn anything, then put this book down. Ha! I'll bet half of you are already back to your mindless trivium, namely that box you all watch, or that facebook, where no one has the time to read the bleatings of others, but plenty of time to set down ones own.
As for the other half, well, there's hope for you yet. Why try to set the record straight now, some two thousand years after the fact? You wouldn't believe it if I told you. How am I, Livia Augusta writing at this very moment? We'll get to that later too.
I've had many names in my life; Livia Drusilla, Livia Julia, Claudia Livilla, Julia Augusta, but for our purposes, call me simply Livia. You will be my Locus Consultaris, my guest of honor; an honor you may have not wanted in the old days, what with all that nonsense about poisoning, but, even if I were such a monster, I'm disembodied now, and can harm no one.
A few bare facts, shall we? Since the Roman calendar has only 28 days, my birth date of January 30th, 58 BC, would have read as, three days into February, but we'll use your newer calendar. Also, 695 AUC was important to myself, as a Roman too. It, (anno urbis conditae) means I was born 695 years after the founding of Rome.
I was born into this world with the help of my Father, Marcus Livius Drusus Claudianus and my Mother Alfidia. My Mother's family were rich equestrians around Fundia, along the Appian way, with a great deal of farmland, but no one of senatorial rank. My Father descended from the Claudians, land poor at the moment, but, along with the Julii and Livii, (which he was adopted into) part of the most powerful families in Italy.
History books see saw as to whether I was born in Fundia, or Fundi, or whether those names are simply a bastardization of the word latifundium, meaning estate. Well, I can tell you, I was born in Rome. No Claudian of my Father's rank had time to bury themselves in the countryside.
It serves us to revisit some of my more outstanding ancestors, not because they were moral examples, (though we were not hampered by Judeo-Christian ethics at that time), but because they were examples of the Claudian pride. We were known to be a haughty race, and dangerous too.
They say that the abduction of Verginia, (daughter of Lucius Verginius) by Appius Claudius caused terrible repercussions for the Claudians. Appius should have remembered the rape of Lucretia by Sextus Tarquinnius, (Son of Tarquinnius Superbus). Lucretia stabbed herself and died, rather than face the shame (though how it could be her shame is inexplicable), of being raped. Well, Lucius Junius Brutus spoke so eloquently, with so much wit at her funeral that, with Collatinus's help, the Oligarchy was abolished. A well set word can affect much.
One anecdote sticks in my mind; the one of Publius Claudius Pulcher, a consul, who in 249 BC attacked Carthaginian fleets at Drepana. Before battles, the use of prophetic chickens were customary, and they augured very ill indeed, refusing to eat. With that Publius was supposed to have said, "If they will not eat, let them drink.", and tossed 'em all overboard. Quando esse nolent indeed! Publius lost almost every ship, but was not asked to kill himself. which considering everything, was quite a miracle.
Which, if you'll listen, this is your first lesson. Wit and humor are not trivial, they are essential in any life. I see the bloated people of Americanus shuffle about as if life is some awful trial to be gotten through. Well, without wit, perhaps it is.
Caligula did not call me "Ulixes Stolatus" for nothing; and no, I'm not going to tell you what it means. Look it up, you lazy good for nothing. I say these things out of affection. Take a breath, put your shoulders back, and use that space between your ears.
I can hear you say... I can't make a difference. My dream is too difficult to realize. No one cares. That may be so, but if you truly care, that is enough to begin.
Even if all the world says you're wrong, that still doesn't make it true. Surely, you know that by now....don't you?