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.... + + , , + . ; Page 2 POST-GAZETTE, JANUARY 27, 2012 Stirpe by Prof. Edmund Turiello Nostra of the more interesting aspects of our ancestry.., our lineage.., our roots. COMMODUS, The Bastard of the Roman Empire We all know by this time that Roman emperors often adopted sons as successors and often honored those sons by bestowing their Own names upon them, or at times even the names of illustrious ancestors. We are minded that these were still pagan times in old Rome, and ancestor worship was a recognized part of their religion. The eighteenth emperor of the Roman world, and the one that now occu- pies our attention was popu- larly called Commodus or Commodus Antoninus. Eventually he bore the full title of Commodus Lucius Aelius Aurelius Antoninus. He was the natural son of Faustina, the wife of Marcus Aurelius, but in fact a bas- tard child to the emperor. There seems to be no ques- tion regarding the illegiti- macy of his birth, as most historians tell of his mother's escapades with the Roman gladiators, and of his birth out of her adultery. Commodus was probably conceived in a hay stack, but was born in Lanuvium, near the Appian Way on August 31, 161 A.D., and it was a sad day for the civilized world. He was one of twin boys, and when pregnant, his mother dreamed that she had given birth to serpents. The twin brother, named Antoninus, died at the age of four, but as for Commodus, even from early childhood he was cruel, dishonorable, debauched, and appeared to have inherited all the vices of his mother. At the age of twelve his cruel and brutal nature really sur- faced when he ordered that his bath keeper be cast into the furnace because the bath water was not hot enough. Fortunately, for the bath keeper, a compassionate slave in charge of the fur- nace, burned a sheep-skin instead, and the resulting stench satisfied Commodus that the job had been done. During his early adulthood he showed no regard for de- cency or expense, kept a brothel for his personal plea- sure, and had it continually staffed with women of un- usual beauty, He also devel- oped an attraction for the criminal element, the dis- honest, and those persons with little or no moral stan- dards. The most honorable men in his employ were usually degraded, insulted, and assigned duties that were far below their status. Even when some actors al- luded to him, that he was a man of depraved life, they were immediately banished and were lucky to get off without being executed. This is the nature of the person that was destined to become the eighteenth ruler of the Roman Empire. Commodus had accompa- nied his father on two expe- ditions to Germany during the wars against the bar- baric tribes. He ascended the throne as a joint ruler with his father and together they led the second expedition. Marcus Aurelius died while hostilities were still going on and notwithstanding the fact that the opposing forces were at the point of complete subjugation. Commodus made a hasty and disgrace- ful peace with them and hur- ried back to Rome. Once back in the capital city he led a triumphal procession with a boy friend named Saoteus. Both were seated in a chariot, and from time to time Commodus would turn and kiss his friend openly. In spite of all the care with which Marcus Aurelius had supervised his son's educa- tion, Commodus was ex- tremely ignorant, and it quickly became apparent that as the sole ruler he was indulging in the grossest vices. NEXT WEEK: The Bastard Ruleth Mayor Menino Leads First Ever US Conference of Mayors Food Policy Task Force Mayor Menino Chairs Committee of Mayors Who Will Work to Shape Food Policy for Cities and Towns Across the Country Mayor Menino hosted his first official meeting as chair of the US Conference of Mayors (USCM) Food Policy Task Force, held at the annual USCM event in Washington, DC. Mayor Menino was asked to lead the new Task Force due to the successful food and nu- trition initiatives he + has spearheaded in Boston. from starting Boston's first farm- ers' market 25 years ago to his most recent initiative inviting Bostonians to work together to lose one mil- lion pounds in 2012. The Task Force meeting was also attended by Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary of the USDA, and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake, who will serve as the vice-chair of the Food Policy Task Force. "All across our cities, a lo- cal food revolution is taking place -- we see it at our farmer's markets, in com- munity gardens, in our schools and in small and growing businesses -- from food trucks to incubators for new food producers and caterers," Mayor Menino said. "I see this revolution in Boston every day and I see how these initiatives + bring people together to build The Agency for all your Insurance Coverages Richard Settipane AUTO HOMEOWNERS TENANTS COMMERCIAL Experience makes the difference SPECIALIST in RESTAURANT and BUSINESS POLICIES CALL TODAY FOR YOUR QUOTE 617-523-3456 - Fax 617-723-9212 1 Longfellow - Place Suite 2322 - Boston, MA 02114 Conveniently located with Free Parking I " [I ] I 1 stronger, healthier commu- nities. As mayors, we must ensure that all of our residents take part in this revolution." The Food Policy Task Force will focus on a number of food policy programs and initia- tives expected to impact the nation's cities this year, in- cluding the upcoming 2012 Farm Bill, growing local food economies, school meals, and nutrition policies. The Federal Farm Bill More than $960 million federal farm bill dollars have been spent in Boston over the last 5 years, represent- ing nearly $1.5 billion in (Continued on Page 7) I DIAMONDS 1 ROLEX ESTATE JEWELRY Bought & Sold " Jewelers Exch. Bldg. Jim (617) 263-7766 Res Publica by David Trumbull Now That's an Idea Every year since 1991 the Pioneer Institute has con- ducted a "citizens' idea contest" that seeks out and re- wards the most inno- vative public polic ideas. The 2012 com- petition will focus on federal programs that can be devolved to the states -- with benefits like cost savings, more effec- tive delivery of services, or innovation as a result. Sample topics include: Regulations -- Are there federal regulations that can be devolved to the states, resulting in job creation or increased economic vitality? Urban Redevelopment -- Are there federal programs aimed at helping revive older, industrial cities that would be better provided by state and/or local governments? Transportation -- Cur- rently the federal govern- ment collects taxes and redistributes transportation funding back to the states with strict limitations on expenditures. Is there a better way? Interstate Commerce -- Are there federal restric- tions on interstate com- merce that harm job cre- ation? Banking and Finance -- The Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank laws aimed to address failings in the bank- ing and financial services industries. Could a state- based approach be more effective? Health Care and Insurance -- Since World War It, the fed- eral government has expanded its role in fi- nancing and regulat- ing health care deliv- ery and insurance. Are there more effec- tive ways to insure and care for Ameri- cans through state policy? Education -- Since its establishment in 1979, the U.S. Department of Educa- tion has gained control over reporting, :spending, behav- ior, academic content, test- ing, special education, and more. Are there better ways to achieve common goals at the state and local level? The Competition grand prize is $10,000; three runners-up receive $1,000 each. The contest is open to all people and organizations- academics, non-profits, en- trepreneurs, government of- ficials, and all concerned citizens. Entrants from out- side Massachusetts are eli- gible, Ordinary citizens will not be at a disadvantage, because Pioneer Institute will work to provide quality entrants with the resources to develop their ideas. All applications must be postmarked or e-mailed by Monday, April 9 th, contact the Pioneer Institute for details. Got an idea for better gov- ernment?. Here's your chance to promote it, and maybe even win ten grand! DIVORCE * CRIMINAL 230 MSGR. O'BRIEN HIGHWAY LAW OFFICES OF FRANK J CIANO GENERAL PRACTICE OF LA W WILLS ESTATE PLANNING * TRUSTS PERSONAL INJURY WORKERSCOMP. 617-354'9400 Si Parla Italiano CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS 02141 WARD 3 DEMOCRATS TO HOLD CAUCUS Saturday, February 18, 2012 Registered Democrats in Ward 3 of Boston will hold a caucus at the Nazzaro Community Center, (30 North Bennett Street) on Saturday February, 18, 2012 at 10:30 AM to elect delegates to the 2012 Massachusetts Democratic Convention. Registration will begin at 10:00 AM. The Convention will be held on Saturday, June 2  at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield. Democrats from across the Commonwealth will gather during that day to endorse a candidate for United State Senate. The caucus is open to all registered ...... Democrats in Ward Three. For caucus information please Ward Chairman Jason A. Aluia at WardThreeDem @ gmail.com or call 617-447-4987.