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August 5, 2011

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. , . . Page2 POST-GAZETTE, AUGUST 5, 2011 Stirpe Nostra by Prof. Edmund Turiello A weekly column highlighting some of the more interesting aspects of our ancestry.., our lineage.., our roots. THE VORACIOUS AND VICIOUS Two of Vitellius' most prom- inent characteristics were his love for luxury and his cruelty. Every meal became a feast for himself and every night he indulged in a drink- ing orgy. Most of the time he forced or tricked someone else into picking up the tab for his feasts, which were known to have run as high as $20,000 for one sitting. An emetic is a medicine or substance that causes vom- iting. It is common knowl- edge that these ancient Romans often took emetics to avoid the acid indigestion associated with overeating. Vitellius usually resorted to this practice in order to sus- tain his heavy eating hab- its. An example of the kind of meal that was set before this voracious man is indi- cated by the spread offered at his own brother's home to celebrate the arrival of Vitellius into Rome. There were two thousand of the choicest fishes and seven thousand birds. Other plat- ters contained delicacies like livers of pike, peacock's brains, flamingo's tongues, and milt (reproductive glands) of Lamprey eels (yech). Even when traveling, if he came upon anyone who just hap- pened to be making a sacri- fice of food to some God he would snatch it up and devour it on the spot. Inflicting torture or death upon anyone for any reason was his other personal delight. Those who were selected for execution were invited to his court through every kind of deception and then seized. Two sons who attempted to intercede to save the life of their father were put to death with him. A Roman knight was ordered to be executed, and as he was being led away he called out to Vitellius saying, "You are my heir." After showing his will it was noted that a freedman was listed as a joint-heir along with the emperor; consequently, the freedman was also executed. Vitellius was even suspected of causing his ailing mother to starve to death because of an oracle that prophesied a long and secure rule if he survived his parent. Others say she was ailing and asked for poison and that he quickly granted her wish. During the eighth month of his reign, trouble started brewing in the provinces and some of the troops even swore allegiance to Vespasian. Offers to repent and even bribery failed to deter those who were determined to take control of the empire. When Vitellius received news that the enemy was drawing near and his own forces had deserted him, he then gathered his most cherished possessions: his cook, his baker and a girdle full of gold coins. He went first to his father's house, but after having second thoughts about remaining VITELLIUS incognito, he then too ref- uge at the lodge of a friend. He tied a dog in front of the door and put a couch and mattress behind it. The invading forces quickly forced their way inside and dragged him from his hiding place. Vitellius attempted to escape capture by lying about his identity, but he was soon recognized. He then begged for his life to be spared and to be placed in confinement, alleging that he had important infor- mation that was vital to the safety of Vespasian. But the invaders, intent upon extracting their pound of flesh, bound his arms, tied a rope around his neck and dragged him like a dog through the streets that were crowded with abusing and mocking citizens. They entered the Forum and this is where some people pelted him with dung while others hurled gross obsceni- ties at him, and still others taunted him about his bodily defects. He was tortured for a long time on the "Stairs of Mourning" and then killed by repeated blows. His head was paraded around Rome after his body was thrown into the Tiber River, and the spirit of the voracious and vicious Aulus Vitellius, the eighth emperor of the Roman Empire, was joined with those of his ancestors. NEXT WEEK: Vespasian the Restorer What's Wrong with "Secure Communities'" and Why Do Liberals "'Dream On"?. by Sal Giarratani Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Police Commissioner Ed Davis reversed course on the federal "Secure Commu- nities" program aimed at growing illegal immigration numbers in this country. The federal program is vol- untary at the moment but is mandated to become federal law by 2013. A few weeks ago when Governor Deval Patrick came out against this fed- eral program, both Menino and Davis continued to speak for this federal action plan. Weeks later, both of these officials have jumped over to the other side now opposing "Secure Communi- ties" as being both anti- immigrant and bad law enforcement. Davis not long ago expressed support in the program as being a good one. Now he's not that sure. Mayor Menino is singing the same new song, too. The only people affected by this federal program are those illegals getting arrested. No one is going around rounding illegal immigrants. Doesn't anyone at Boston City Hall get it? All illegals are law breakers. No one is innocent on that count. However, our police only have to contract ICE when someone who gets RENDERE PAN PER FOCACCIA. Tit for tat. (Continued on Page 13) The East Boston Elder Service Plan, port of the national networb of PACE (Program for All Inclusive Care of the Elderly), one through the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, has joined with the Art Connection, a not-for-profit agency dedicated to providing original art wore to those who otherwise may not have access to art in their lives. Donations are welcomed to continue to support the Elder Service Plan's activities program, the Winthrop PACE Center and events and projects lihe these. .Res Publica by David Tnmull I'm Going to Jail for "Good" On Thursday, August 25 th I'll be locked up in the Muscu- lar Dystrophy Association "jail" at Morton's Steakhouse, 2 Seaport Lane, Boston (near the World Trade Center), and I need your help to make bail, which has been set at $i,600[ I'm a repeat offender! In last year's MDA Boston lockup I was one of the top fundraisers and I'm counting on my friends and readers to support Jerry's kids and set a new personal record this year. MDA sends some 3,500 youngsters with muscular dystrophy to accessible MDA summer camps each year, at a cost to MDA of $800 per camper. There's no charge to families. Tens of thousands of people visit MDA's nationwide net- work of some 200 clinics and 38 MDA/ALS centers every year. MDA awards research grants to more than 330 teams of scientists and physicians worldwide. The Association also: assists with the cost of repairs to all types of durable medical equipment for those it serves; * facilitates meetings of more than 240 support groups around the nation; provides thousands of free flu vaccines; provides annual occupational, physical, respiratory or speech therapy consultations; offers advocacy and community outreach; provides online support services through the e-commu- nity myMDA and myMuscleTeam, a program that helps recruit and coordinate in-home help; conducts extensive public education programs; and publishes current, accurate and easy-to-understand information about research, health care and daily living with neuromuscular disease via two national magazines, numerous booklets and guides, and online at To donate, go to my blog where you'll find a link to "my lockup" which will take you directly to the MDA website where you can donate by credit card. Thanks for making a difference! Rapino Memorial Home 9 Chelsea St., East Boston 617-567-1380 Kirby-Rapino Memorial Home 917 Bennington St. East Boston 617-569-0305 Dino C. Manca Funeral Director A Family Service Affiliate of AFFS/ServLce Corp. Int'l 206 Winter St. Fall River, MA 02720 508-676-2454 Remember Your Loved Ones The Post-Gazette accepts memorials throughout the year. Please call 617-22 7-8929