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January 13, 2017     Post-Gazette
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January 13, 2017

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PAGE 2 POST-GAZETTE, JANUARY 13, 2017 by Prof. Edmund Turiello A weekly column highlighting some of the more interesting aspects of ou r ancestry.., our lineage.., our roots. EXITUS JULIUS CAESAR The death of Julius Caesar by Cecil Doughty. Rumors spread that Caesar intended to move tO Alexandria, taking with him the resources of the state, draining Italy by levies, and leaving his friends in charge of the city. It was also announced at a senate meet- ing that because the Parthians could only be conquered by a king, Caesar was to be given that title. Splinter groups of conspirators now united into a general conspiracy of at least 60 persons. This conspiracy, which included Brutus and Cassius, was also brought about because of jealousy, per- sonal hatred, and a patriotic desire to return to the constitu- tion of the republic. Many signs foretold the ap- proaching murder of Caesar. A bronze tablet with Greek inscription was found in an an- cient tomb, and interpreted to have predicted Caesar's murder at the hands of his kindred, and then avenged at heavy cost to Italy. Herds of Caesar's horses refused to graze and were said to have shed many tears. The soothsayer Spurinna warned Caesar to beware of danger, which would occur not later than the Ides of March. The day before the murder, a little king- bird flew into the Hall of Pompey with a laurel branch. Other birds pursued and tore the branch into ~mall pieces. That same evening Julius dreamed that he was flying in the clouds. His wife also dreamed that Caesar was stabbed while in her arms. For these reasons and also because of poor health, Caesar decided to stay home on that fateful day, but was urged by Brutus not to disappoint the senate, which had been waiting for hum. On the way to the meet- ing, a note was handed to him revealing the plot and he held it in his hand with other notes, intending to read them after he took his seat. As he entered the Senate House, he laughed at the soothsayer Spurinna, calling him a false prophet and saying that the Ides of March had come without bringing him harm. Spurinna replied, "Yes, they had indeed come, but they have not yet gone." As he took his seat, the con- spirators gathered around him as though to pay their respects. It was Tillius Cimber who took the lead and held Caesar's toga by both shoulders. Caesar cried, "Why, this is violence." Just then, one of the elder con- spirators stabbed him below the throat. He tried to rise but was wounded again, and then saw that he was surrounded on all sides by drawn daggers. He dropped to the floor after receiving 23 wounds. He uttered not a word except a groan at the first wound, although some have written that when he saw Marcus Brutus, he said in Greek, "you too, my child." It was reported that of the 23 wounds, the second one in the breast was the only mortal one. All of the conspirators imme- diately fled and Caesar lay there lifeless for some time, until three slaves arrived to put him on a litter and carry him home, with one arm hanging down. "Et tu, Brute" or "You too, my child," that is the question. NF, XT ISSII~'.: Julius Caesar, Post Mortem Saint Oswald of Northumbria by Bennett Molinari and Richard Molinari Saint Oswald was born about the year 604. Hewas the son of Aeth- elfrith of Bemicia, an Anglo-Saxon kingdom in what is now south- eastern Scotland and North East England. Oswald's mother, Acha, was a member of the Deiran royal line whom Aethelfrith apparently married as part of his acquisition of Delta. Aethelfrith, who was for years a successful war leader, especially against the native British, was eventually killed in battle around 616 by Raedwald of East Anglia at the River Idle. This defeat meant that an exiled member of the Deiran royal line, Edwin {Acha's brother}, be- came king of Northumbria while Oswald and his brothers fled to the north As a result, Oswald spent the remainder of his youth in the Scottish kingdom of Dill Riata in northern Britain, where he was converted to Christianity. He was educated at the Iona Abbey with his brother Oswiu. Oswald is believed to have fought at the Battle of Fid Eoin in 628. Contemporary writings describe him as having "arms of great length and power, eyes bright blue, hair yellow, face long and beard thin, and his small lips wearing a kindly smile." He is also believed to have had a pet raven for years. In 634, Oswald formed his own army, returned to Northumbria, defeated King Cadwallon of Gwynedd, and took the throne of Northumbria. Prior to the battle, he had received a vision of Saint Coiman of Lindisfame; Oswald erected a large cross on the field of battle the night before. He attributed his win to his faith and the inter- vention of Saint Colmant, the victory is known as the Battle of Heavenfield. King Oswald brought Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne to Northumbria as bishop to evangelize the kingdom and built churches and monaster- ies in his realm. He also brought in monks from Scotland to help estab- lish monastic life. Oswald married the daughter of King Cynegils of Wessex, and convinced Cynegils to allow Saint Birinus to evangelize his kingdom. Due to victories in combat and family alliances, Saint Bede claims that Oswald was recognized as Bretwalda, a title sometimes given to an Anglo-Saxon king whose supremacy over the other kingdoms was acknowl- edged by all of Saxon England. His royal standard of purplish-red and gold forms the basis of the coat of arms of modem Northumberland. In August 642, at the age of 38, Oswald was martyred by the pagan king Penda--the same Pen- da whom he had earlier defeated at Heavenfield. Penda declared war on him, and the two armies fought at the battle of Maserfield (the present-day town of Oswestry in Shropshire). The Christian army lost the battle. St. Oswald, knowing that he was to be killed, kept praying for his soldiers' souls and with his last breath he called upon the name of Jesus. Penda cut off Oswald's head and right arm and hung them on a pole as trophies. Because he was killed in battle by invading pagan forces, he is sometimes listed as a martyr. He was noted for his personal spirituality, piety, faith, his 'devotion to his kingdom, his charity to the poor, and his willingness to take arms to defend his throne. Saint Oswald of Northumbria is commemorated on August 5 by Girard A. Plante She sat staring across the bright flowers and plants under tall old oak trees at the southwest comer in the Public Garden. Always smiling as I passed by on warm weekends during spring and summer or autumn the past nine years. I often thought of stopping a mere moment to say hello. Respecting her space was one reason I kept my distance. Another is that I rarely chat with strangers in my travels to my destinations in Boston or wherever I go. Yet approaching the woman is constant foot traffic, large packs of people. Not an isolated spot. Safe for a chat. On a bright, blue-sky day late last August, I stopped 20 yards away and turned to see whether she still kept her gaze on me. She had. I grew intensely interested as to who she was and why she sat on the same wood bench. Many such benches are scattered about Boston's Public Garden (circa 1843) to relax and enjoy the spectacular space. Every stroll through the park, she wore either a navy dress with white polka dots and fiat shoes or black dress with a shawl. Sometimes she had a light sweater across her shoulders. A tall woman with long grey haired pulled behind her head. Big sunglasses. A book always rested on her lap or next to her. Some people look younger than their age, others look older. She looked a strong, youngish 80 or older. My trek on a hot, sunny early September Saturday would be the right moment to meet her. I approached slowly and she smiled. "Such a beautiful day!" Finally, I hear her low deliberate voice. "It is lovely." Then more chatter: "You get on well in that buggy." I agreed. Then that familiar New England twang became apparent in her voice. "Where do you live?" she asked. "Not far from here. And yourself?." She leaned forward slightly and replied: "A few long blocks from this peaceful place." Our brief conversation ceased after I mentioned that I~e seen her sitting on the same bench for years. But only on the weekends. She smiled and quietly said, "I'm too busy weekdays to walk from my home to relax here." I hesitated to inquire further. "Nice meeting you. Enjoy the day, ma'am." She thanked me, nodding her head and smiling. She lifted her right arm slightly and waved as I left. While moving along to my destination, the Boston Harbor, I thought about her origins and what sort of life she had had. Four hours later while passing through that area of the Public Garden, I noticed that her bench was occupied by 20-somethings looking lost at a tourist map. As the chilly autumn air quickened, I returned to taking the public transportation that arrives at my house and brings me where I need to go. I only hop the Trolley to venture a few miles or less until the cold air and snow arrive. But on an amazingly rare warm early November Saturday morning, I hopped the Trolley and took the subway straight to Boston to enjoy the fleeting opportunity to do so. I passed through the Public Garden and saw college students, tourists, and others packing the park. Autumn always brings dozens of squirrels racing around looking for humans to feed them. The spectacle includes iPhones galore to capture adults and children feeding squirrels that walk gingerly to grab peanuts or bread straight from their hands. Dry brown leaves race across the pathways, chased by a mild breeze. A bright sun cuts through old bare trees. It was paradise on that short autumn day. Something conspicuous rested in place of the familiar figure on her bench. My Curiosity moved me directly there. A spray of baby's breath with long green stems tied together at the middle by a bright blue yarn stood neatly in the comer of the bench where she always sat. I moved closer to see the handwritten note card pinned tight to a stem. Still I recall some of the words. 'Thank you for saving me from myself, Miss Olivia. I'd probably not be in this sacred place if your wise counseling didn't help. I'm better now because of you ... " The neatly written words trailed off the side of the note card. I know her name without ever asking. She must have been a special woman whose years belied her age, whose gentle ways saved suffering souls. Life is filled with people like her. Italian Language Beginners Wanted! WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEARN TO SPEAK ANOTHER LANGUAGE, SUCH AS ITALIAN? The Burlington Sons of Italy Lodge 2223 is holding registrations for its 12-week 2017 Spring Semester of Italian Classes on Wednesday, February ist from 6:00- 8:00 pm, at St. Margaret's School, Winn Street, Burlington. Classes start on Wednesday, February 8% and cover Beginner to Intermediate to Advanced, six levels in all. There is something for everyone depending on your prior knowledge and expertise in speaking Italian. For details, go to and click on Italian Classes to view our class contents, instructor profiles, dates, times of classes, and more. These classes, offered twice annually for over the past 20 years, have received high acclaim and endorsement from Italian organizations. For additional information, call 781-272-0529 or e-marl bsoi lodge 2 2 2 3(~ol. com.