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False Claims By Defeated Slaves Undermine Their Campaign

71 BC*

ROME (Routers) Diligent investigative reporters were shocked to learn today that many, indeed most of the captured slaves in yesterday's battle in Lucania who proclaimed "I am Spartacus" were actually misleading military authorities, and not the famous rebel leader at all.

One of the investigators, Probius Ani, lead chiseler at the Tempora Romae, shared the details. "We looked into their backgrounds, and while they were all slaves at one time or another, few of them had formal gladiator training, nor did they universally use the Thracian style of combat for which he was well known."

After the defeat, when authorities demanded to know which of the defeated was the leader, at first one of them jumped up and declared himself Spartacus**. But the situation quickly grew confused as another, and then another, and then dozens and hundreds of the defeated curs shouted out the same claim. Legitimate demands of proof of identity, gladiators' licenses, and tax and divorce records from them were met with a sullen resistance, making it impossible to tell which to properly punish.

"These slaves have no credibility," noted a proconsul on the scene. "Why should we grant any respect to a campaign based on false pretenses? Why should we not just spread their wealth around, and crucify them all?"

Given their duplicity against the news media and other legitimate authorities, it is increasingly difficult to argue otherwise.

[Hat tip to Mark Hemingway]

*Yes, before you comment to correct me, I know they didn't really have datelines dated BC)
**Yes, before you comment to correct me, I know it was only a movie.


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Paul Milenkovic wrote:

Was it comedian Paul Reiser who commented on the year 1:

What was life like in the year 1? Omigosh, it is already March and I am still writing "0" on all my checks!

So who are the modern-day Crassus and Pompey? Pelosi and Reid? Obama and Biden? Olberman and Krugman?

Big D wrote:

Might I recommend the old SDB "DWL" tag? for your footnotes? :P

Carl Pham wrote:

Well you could date your byline 677 AUC (ab urbe condita).

MarkJ wrote:

Oh man, this article is giving me mental images of Obama and Biden doing their own "oysters and snails in a tub" scene.

Thanks a LOT. ;)

I'm more amused by the two disclaimers at the end. Not a bad idea if you suspect that CNN might read this.


JD wrote:

Was the proconsul Barakus Obamaicus, leader of the Optimate faction?

II wrote:

Nice to see the kids at play here!

ken anthony wrote:

Someone needs some kids chewable irony pills. What causes liberals to lack humor and perspective?

Wacky Hermit wrote:

I'm still writing "0" on all my checks, only in the "amount" box. ;)

agesilaus wrote:

Knowing just what the Romans did to the captured slaves takes the amusement factor out of this.

I don't recall what the movie showed as the fate of the captured was.

Ryan E wrote:

Ha! The part about "Probius Ani" is perfect.

Beck wrote:

"...It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you to the truth... that you are a slave."

Steve Skubinna wrote:

Agesilaus, the movie showed them all crucified - save for Tony Curtis and Kirk Douglas (and it is doubtful that either was actually present at the conclusion of the revolt).

In the end, Douglas killed Curtis in a duel (again, the actual historical record suggests that Curtis was not, in fact, slain at that time and continued his film career) and Douglas was crucified (a disclaimer here is likewise probably needed but I hope I've made some sort of point by now).

Anyway, for what it's worth, Jean Simmons and Peter Ustinov were correctly portrayed as having surviving the film.

Meanwhile, here and now, in the real world, Joe the Plumber is only being figuratively crucified, so he's got that going for him. On the other hand, it's unlikely that after Inaguration Day 2009 he'll be able to work as a plumber, at least in Toledo, or to buy his own business.

Micha Elyi wrote:

Crucified, agesilaus. The movie showed the condemned slaves hanging from crosses that lined the Appian way for leagues and leagues.

Carl Pham wrote:

Knowing just what the Romans did to the captured slaves takes the amusement factor out of this.

Oh not just slaves in rebellion. IIRC, the Romans executed roughly 1 man out of every 50 after the Jewish War.

One of the reasons for the Pax Romana is that the Romana reacted exceedingly violently to any violation of it, at least, any violation that troubled the Roman hegemony. The modern equivalent would be if Jimmy Carter had merely nuked Tehran on 6 November 1979, even if a frantic Iranian government had released the Embassy hostages the previous day and put them on a Pan Am flight to New York, first class, with $100,000 cash each.

Yes, the ancient world understood real imperialism.

Jim C. wrote:

If you wanted to fix the date, you could use A.U.C. (For the uninformed among us, that's years from the founding of Rome.) Rome was founded in 753 BC, so 71 BC would be 682 or DCLXXXII A.U.C.

Jim C. wrote:

Excuse one last quibble: "Tempus" is singular. It should be "Tempora".

(and sorry for my previous comment, I didn't see Carl's comment, but I don't think he got the date right.)

But regardless of my quibbles, congratulations on another great satire.

Rand Simberg wrote:

I thought about making it plural, but I wasn't sure whether it was tempus:tempi or otherwise, and didn't take the time to look it up (I'd long forgotten my declensions). But I should have remembered the old saying "Oh tempora, oh mores..."

Habitat Hermit wrote:

"So who are the modern-day Crassus and Pompey?"

Soros fits perfectly as Crassus, could be a distant relative. Not sure who would fit as Pompey, maybe Ayers. If one can include dead people (and since we're talking "Democrats"...) then Alinsky is a much better fit.

Karl Hallowell wrote:

I think the triumvirate, Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey belong to a future when the Republic has completely failed. We can help fight that future, but in the end what happens shall be the responsibility of the people of that time.

Carl Pham wrote:

The only difficulty, Karl, is that we'll only know the Republic has failed in retrospect. After all, the Senate voted Octavian the title Augustus in 27 BC for restoring the Republic, ha ha. I doubt we'd know the last moment when liberty could've been rescued until long after it's passed.

What is interesting is how well aware the Founders were of this problem. Madison in particular made an exhaustive study of the inherent weaknesses of democracies, from the Romans through the modern (in his day) examples in the Netherlands. Although in his day, and ours, the focus is usually on the threat of a power-mad President seeking to impose his will on an unwilling citizenry and legislature, Madison gave long and careful thought to what he considered an equally plausible threat: that an impatient and ambitious majority would voluntarily invite a Caesar to become their master, to bettter achieve some cherished end (like "saving the planet" or achieving "fairness" for the "middle class") that a minority insisting on its liberty and property would otherwise thwart.

Habitat Hermit wrote:

I disagree, it's becoming extremely plain that a last moment would be Obama winning this US election.

And then according to Senator Biden there will be a manufactured crisis to test Senator Obama's inexperience. He's using that self-fulfilling prophecy as an argument to vote for Obama. And once again according to Biden Obama will not be able to handle this on his own because it will not be apparent that Obama's solution is the correct one.

To paraphrase Biden: voting for Obama is voting for collective suicide.

"Sword and shield" only works if both can be counted on, with Obama that's not the case according to his own choice for vice president.

(Guess I need to start practicing "Здравствуйте Россия")

John White wrote:

This is funny. That's for sure. But Joe the Plumber is hardly a Spartacus. The parallel doesn't fit rationally, and it only serves to deflect us from the fact that both Obama and McCain took seriously some comments made by someone on the campaign trail who did not present himself accurately. It makes one wonder how they might deal with intel about WMD's should either one of them become president. I agree that a real triumvirate would only emerge as our republic would start to fail. Let's pray that doesn't happen.

Rand Simberg wrote:

...someone on the campaign trail who did not present himself accurately.

There was nothing inaccurate in the way he presented himself. He was a plumber, named Joe (even if it was his middle name) who wanted to earn a lot more money and wondered how Obama's tax plan would affect it. It's really, really stupid, even nuts, to think that the McCain campaign should have "vetted" him.

It makes one wonder how they might deal with intel about WMD's should either one of them become president.

The fact that the Obama campaign was caught completely off guard by the Palin pick makes me wonder the same thing about them. Except much more so, because that was actually an important thing for them to know.

The quibble about his name is loony. Lots of people go by their middle names. The late Francis Xavier Aloysius James Jeremiah Keenan Wynn went by his sixth middle name.

(And I thought Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus was a mouthful.)

Maybe a moonbat out there will concoct some Bush connection out of the fact that Joe's last name stands with a W.

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on October 18, 2008 7:08 PM.

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