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July 1, 2011

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". Page 2 " POST-GAZETTE,JULY 1,2011 Stirpe Nostra by Prof. Edmund Turiello mm A weekly column highlighting some of the more interesting aspects of our ancestry.., our lineage.., our roots. THE END OF THE LINE I wrote that Julius Caesar was a dictator but not an emperor. As a ruler with absolute power he made such a favorable impression on the Roman people that the Senate bestowed upon him the honor of dictator for life, the forename of imper- ator, and the surname of fa- ther of his country. Through Octavius (Augustus) he was offered a crown of olive leaves and the position of king of the Roman world, which he modestly refused, but it set the people up, or ripened them, to accept an emperor in the near future. Julius Caesar designated his grandnephew Octavian as heir to his fortune and to his name. After the death of Julius, Octavian accepted his inheritance, was elected emperor, and changed his name from Octavian to Augustus. During his 41 years of reign, Augustus received the admiration, respect, and affection of the Roman people, while history praises him for his restraint, patience, and true concern for the Roman tradition. Both Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar left such an indelible mark on the history of the world up to that time that the Senate con- ferred the title of Caesar on many succeeding emperors. This is the part of imperial history that is confusing to so many of us today. Some emperors were voted the title of Caesar by the Senate and some were not, while still others did not remain in office long enough to be evaluated. Some of them were gentle, kind, and very considerate, while many oth- ers were nothing more than brutal bastards. Nero's death ended what is commonly referred to as the Julio-Claudian line of Roman emperors, and these were five in numbers, that followed after the death of Julius Caesar. All five were in some way related to Julius through the female members of their families. We know that Tiberius, who followed Augustus, made such a bad impression on the people that at the first news of his death many people ran about the city shouting "Tiberius to the Tiber," while others prayed to their gods to provide him no everlasting home except among the damned. Caligula, the succeeding emperor became an insane tyrant who did more harm than good, and is regarded as the most grotesque figure ever to serve as emperor of the Roman Empire. Although I avoided com- menting on the negative side of the reign of Claudius during previous columns, there are credible historians who claim that he was treated as a buffoon in his younger days, his selection as emperor of Rome was made by the fickle finger of fate, and that his campaign which supposedly gained great victories in Britain was the greatest sham ever to be perpetrated upon the Roman populace. Nero, the last of the Julio- Claudians became one of the most cruel, depraved, and despotic emperors that ever ruled Rome. His own father said "Only that which is abominable and harmful to the public could be born of Agrippina and myself' and Nero certainly didn't disap- point his dear old daddy. An interesting comment by one ancient historian tells of an eagle that flew to Livia, the wife of Augustus, who was sunbathing at her villa. The bird dropped a white hen in her lap and it in turn was holding a sprig of laurel in its beak. Livia raised the hen and it hatched a great brood of chickens. She also planted the laurel, which grew into such a large grove that all of the Caesars gathered their branches from this place before going to celebrate their triumphs. We are told that after celebrating, each of the Caesars returned to the grove to plant their laurel branches in the same spot, and these also flourished. The story goes on to say that just before the death of each of the Julio- Claudian Emperors, the lau- rel that each had planted (Continued on Page 12) Boston Water and Sewer Is Coming to Your Neighborhood A Boston Water and Sewer Commission Community Services Department representative will be in your neighborhood at the place, dates, and times listed here. Our representative will be available to: V' Accept payments. (Check or money order only-no cash, please.) v e Process discount forms for senior citizens and disabled people. V' Resolve billing or service complaints. V' Review water consumption data for your property. e  Arrange payment plans for delinquent accounts. Need more information? Call the Community Services Department at 617-989-7000. Boston Water and Sewer Commission 980 Harrison Avenue Boston, MA 021 ! 9 Res Publica by David Trumbull The Long Struggle for Independence The American Revolutionary War began April 19, 1775, a date celebrated as a public holi- day -- Patriots' Day -- in the Commonwealth of Massachu- setts and the State of Maine. The war became a fight for indepen- dence with the July 1776 adop- tion, by the Americans' Conti- nental Congress, of the Declara- tion of Independence. As you celebrate American freedom this Independence Day weekend -- culminating in the free concert and fireworks spectacular at the Charles River Esplanade -- remember that independence did not come easily. The war took seven years, with major battles as late as 1781. When, on July 18, 1776, two weeks after the signing, the Declara- tion of Independence finally completed the long trek on the roads of the day from Philadelphia for the first public read- ing in Boston, it was not at all inevitable that we Ameri- cans should win independence from Great Britain. No one had heard of such a thing as a colony throwing off its mother country. And the idea that untrained volunteer farmer/ soldiers would defeat the best professional army and navy in the world was nearly inconceivable. Coming to aid of the American cause were the Kingdom of France, the Dutch Republic, and the Kingdom of Spain. Provisional Articles of Peace were signed at Paris on November 30, 1782. The final Treaty was signed Septem- ber 3, 1783. It was ratified by Congress on January 14, 1784, and by the King of Great Britain on April 9, 1784. Ratifica- tion documents were exchanged in Paris on May 12, 1784. The American negotiators, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay, secured, from one of the largest and most sophisticated world powers, a treaty which con- tained not only an unconditional acknowledgment of Ameri- can independence, but also important provisions establish- ing the territory of the United States as stretching from Canada to Florida and from the Atlantic to the Mississippi. American commercial interests were protected by a provi- sion for Americans to continue to fish the waters of the Atlantic off Canada. The Revolution began with noble sentiment -- We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalien- able Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. It ended with a legal agreement over bound- aries and fishing rights. Such is the unchanging course of human events. Noble sentiments are good, even neces- sary, but they have to be backed up by practical texts. So, having ended the war with the Treaty of Paris in 1783, the next big step for the young nation, in 1787, was to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty -- by draft- ing and adopting our Constitution. Salesian Boys & Girls Club Community Breakfast Post-Gazette columnist Sal Giarratani and Father John Nazzaro pose for a photo at the recent Community Breakfast for the Salesian Boys & Girls Club at Suffolk Downs on June 16. This Fundraiser sponsored by Suffolk Downs and the Fields Family Foundation was a huge success once again.