Urbi et orbi: the city ruling an Empire (III)

The saying “urbi et orbi” was remarkably successful in referring to a “city” that had a notable success in becoming the capital of the “orb” and also because in itself the phrase contains an attractive word game, apun, consisting of relating Words of different meaning but which differ only in a phoneme or a letter; that is because “urbi and orbi” is a paronomasia.

Urbi et orbi: the city ruling an Empire (I)

This Latin sentence, which means “for the city (Rome) and for the world”, is applied today in a literal sense exclusively to the blessings that the bishop of Rome, that is, the Pope, imparts to all the faithful Catholics of the World by granting them plenary indulgence and remission of sins. In a broader sense it is used to refer to any type of message addressed in a general way to all the inhabitants of the earth.

Prodigies, miracles, wonders, portents, phenomena, monsters (II)

Among these prodigies, the lightnings, the apparitions of divine beings wrapped in marvelous lights and halos stand out and impress the Romans. The appearance of some goddess to small shepherds is documented already in an Egyptian text of the time of The Middle Kingdom of Egypt (2.000-1800 b.Ch.) to which I dedicate a next article.

May your life be like your speech (talis oratio qualis vita) (I)

“The face is the mirror of the soul”, “By the way of expressing yourself, we know the way of being yourself”, “May your life be like your speech” or “think that you say and say that you think” are expressions and ideas that we have been using it since Greco-Roman antiquity in which Stoic thinkers generalized them.

Male/Female (Qui…Quae…)

It is a well-established question that women in general in the ancient world, in Greece and in Rome, hardly play any public, social and political role, remaining largely invisible, even in different stays within their own home; so we call “gynoecium”, γυναικεῖον, the rooms of the house for the exclusive use of women; the “andron”, Ἀνδρῶν, is the part of the house reserved for men.

The citizens of Capua were consulted

As it is well known, the Athenians invented back in the fifth century BC. the democracy or political system in which the citizens, the people, the “demos”, chose their rulers. This grandiose fact, whose most advanced development only exists in a few present Western countries, does not allow us to ignore the great limitation of that original democracy: only the citizens, a minority among the inhabitants of Athens, had these rights; Nor women, nor slaves, nor foreigners could vote.

Neither should we ignore the ease with which the people were “manipulated”, impressed, to make damaging agreements even against democracy itself, when there emerge the “demagogues” who even impose “tyrants”.

Ovid in the Prado Museum-Madrid (Ovid V)

The most famous Latin poets of the three of the time of Augustus, Virgil, Horace and Ovid, undoubtedly the most influential of them all in Western culture has been Ovid, although not the best valued by literary criticism. The influence of Ovid has been felt since antiquity itself, during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance to the present day in all arts, in literature of course, but also especially in painting and even in music. This is a subject very attended by the scholars and to which perhaps I should on my part dedicate some ample comment at some time. Something of this I have said in some of the articles that I have published in the thread of the celebration of the bimillenary of the poet’s death.

Was the Ovid’s exile real or mere fiction? (Ovid IV)

Was the exile that fueled part of Ovid’s poetry real or was it only a poetic fiction with which the creative poet has deceived us two thousand years?

The question may seem a modern exaggeration, characteristic of scholars who seek notoriety at any price. But it is not so and it is worthwhile to devote some time to this topic that was already raised at the beginning of the 20th century, and to which since then serious reflections and studies have been dedicated.

Some Roman public service contractors were fraudsters

In ancient Rome, and from Republican era, it is leased to private the exploitation of land and resources of the state, which were all conquered by the roman legions, and even strong companies of investors were established for it. This activity generated a space where it was easy to confuse the private with the public and produced some episodes of corruption which to some extent remind current events.

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