Isn’t It A Pity (Verison 1) | George Harrison
All Things Must Pass.
August 31st 12: Caligula born
On this day in 12 AD, the future Roman Emperor Caligula was born in Italy. Born Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus, he is today known by his nickname Caligula (‘Little Boot’) which Roman soldiers on the German frontier called him when he was a young boy because of hisfootwear. As great-grandson of the first Emperor Augustus the young Caligula was born with imperial blood. After his parents were killed by imperial forces he was adopted by his great uncle Emperor Tiberius and eventually became the third emperor upon Tiberius’s death in 37 AD. With the support of the army he quickly moved to eradicate any challenges to his reign, having Tiberius’s grandson and rival heir executed. As emperor, Caligula lavished Rome with grand games and building projects but soon became despised for his increasing megalomania and apparent insanity that seems to have stemmed from an illness early in his reign. He supposedly tried to humiliate the Senate by making his favourite horse Incitatus a senator. Caligula also reversed previous imperial trend by actively encouraging worship of himself as a god. For example he frequently dressed up as the Roman gods at public games and decreed statues of him should be built in temples. His reign was also brutal in its vicious treason trials and frequent executions of dissenters; he even made it a capital offence to mention a goat in the presence of the very hairy Caligula. Emperor Caligula also had imperial aspirations, and undertook military campaigns in Germany and planned one to Britain. In 41 AD, after a four year reign, the increasingly unpopular Caligula was assassinated aged 29 by his own bodyguards. He was succeeded by his uncle Claudius, who proved a much more even tempered and moderate leader."I am nursing a viper for the Roman people"
- Emperor Tiberius
August 25th 79: Pliny the Elder died
On this day in 79 AD, the famous Roman author and philosopher Pliny the Elder died. Pliny was a prominent Roman citizen, serving in the army and becoming a friend of Emperor Vespasian. Among his written works include his comprehensive Natural History which is the precursor for all modern encyclopedias. In his capacity as fleet commander of the Roman Navy, Pliny witnessed the eruption of Mount Vesuvius which destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum. Following the eruption, Pliny crossed the Bay of Naples in an attempt to rescue a friend from the devastation and to observe the phenomenon directly. Despite the rubble raining down on his boat, Pliny pushed his boat onward and declared "Fortune favours the brave". Once he reached the shore and found his friend, Pliny’s party became stranded on the shore. The next day he collapsed and died, supposedly from the toxic fumes, however the rest of his party returned safely. In his will he legally adopted his nephew Pliny the Younger who also became a renowned philosopher and served as a provincial governor of Bithynia; his letters to Emperor Trajan provide fascinating evidence of the relationship between emperors and governors in the Roman Empire.