If the emperor has no clothes, history will expose him

11 giugno 2009

The Roman ruler Tiberius was as notorious for his sexual frolics as he was keen to keep them quiet. Remind you of anyone?

(pubblicato sul Times il 3 giugno 20090 a firma di Mary Beard, professor od Classics dell’UniversitĂ  di Cambridge )

Benito Mussolini notoriously saw himself as a new Augustus, a 20th-century reincarnation of Rome’s first emperor. Sixty years later (and almost as far to the Right), Silvio Berlusconi seems more reminiscent of Augustus’s stepson and successor, the emperor Tiberius, who ruled the Roman world from AD14 until he was smothered in his bed in AD37 by the Prefect of the Praetorian Guard (Rome’s equivalent of the Head of the Security Services).

Rumour of sexual frolics with adolescent favourites on secluded Mediterranean islands are no doubt the most newsworthy thing that the Italian Prime Minister and Tiberius have in common. Mr Berlusconi has chosen Sardinia as the playground retreat of his old age. Tiberius spent most of his early seventies on the island of Capri, in his so-called Villa of Jupiter (a property that fell not far short of Mr Berlusconi’s Villa Certosa in its lavish amenities, boasting heavy security and a thalassotherapy pool, among other luxuries). Leggi il seguito di questo post »