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December 30, 2011

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Page2 POST-GAZETTE, DECEMBER 30, 2011 Stirpe by Prof. Edmund Turiello Nostra of the more interesting aspects of our ancestry.., our lineage.., our roots. ADORATION OF AURELIUS The reign of Marcus Aurelius is said to have been much more eventful than that of his predecessor Antoninus Plus. He carried on the Pannonian war in person. This was a five-year struggle to put down all resistance in the province of Pannonia, a district between the Danube and the Alps. One particular battle of this entire campaign had become quite famous during those times. This was a battle in which the Roman armies were in serious danger of being overwhelmed, but for the advent of a sudden storm of rain, hail, and lightning, which completely confused the barbarians. The emperor and his Romans attributed this miraculous storm to the timely intervention of Jupi- ter. The Christians claimed, however, that victory was granted by Gdd, and were pleased when their group was granted the title of "The Thundering Legion." After the absence of eight years on the fighting front, Marcus returned to Rome where he received a hero's welcome of the highest degree. Meanwhile it had become common knowledge that the emperor's wife Faustina had provided herself with an assortment of lovers from among the gladiators: When this was brought to the attention of the emperor, and divorce was suggested, he said, "If I divorce her I must also return her dowry." The wisdom of his statement was in the fact that her dowry was the Roman Empire which Marcus had inherited from Antoninus Plus through Faustina. Aurelius remained in Rome for the next two years where he affected sev- eral popular reforms. Most notable of these were: The abolition of common baths for both sexes, taking addi- tional steps to reform the morals of the matrons and young nobles which had grown lax, inflicting lighter than normal penalties upon those found guilty of crimes, and forcing the careful administration of justice in all cases. After falling seriously ill for a lengthy time, he at- tempted to hasten his death by refraining from food or drink. After six days of fast- ing he called all of his close friends to his bedside and said to them, "Why do you weep for me instead of thinking about the death which will someday take you?" He also said, "Grant me Permission to leave, and I Will bid you farewell." He then covered his head with the bedclothes and took his last breath. He had ruled jointly with Lucius Verus for eight years, and after the death of Verus he con- tinued for an additional ten. His death came on March 17, 180 A.D. at the age of 61. The death of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus was mourned throughout the empire. The Senate and the people quickly acclaimed him a god and his image was held in veneration for hun- dreds of years after his death. So great was their love for him that anyone who could afford it and did not keep an image of Marcus Aurelius in their home was considered to be guilty of sacrilege. Unfortunately, Marcus Aurelius was never con- sidered to be friendly toward the Christians, who were persecuted during his reign. Although those persecutions were not characteristic of such a merciful person, they seem to have been caused by the influence of many of his close associates. He is considered to have been one of the most excellent emper- ors in recorded history, and his only weakness was in his concern for his illegiti- mate son Commodus, and in his constant efforts to reform that brutal bastard, who was, in truth, bego'tten in the adultery of Faustina. NEXT WEEK: Lucius Verus Res Publica by David Trumbull Win, Place On the elevator this morn- ing someone asked me who I thought would win in Iowa; I responded that I don't really follow sports. Friend Sharon H. responded: "If it's a race, the handicappers must be beside themselves with the best challenge that they've ever had." "Horse race" coverage -- who's ahead in the opinion polls, who's trailing in the polls -- is how the media reporting on the Republican presidential nomination contest is disparaged. You can just hear the typical news reporting, "They're off and it's Romney in the lead. And now they're at the first turn and Newt is pulling ahead. And now they're in the straight-away and Mitt is back in the lead again followed by Ron Paul with Perry nagging in the rear." Actually, it is a nasty slur on the racing indus- try, handicappers, and the wagering public to compare, to a horse race, the national press coverage of a presiden- tial election. You'll learn a great deal more about the condition of the entries and their history on the track by reading the Daily Racing Form than you'll ever learn about any candidate in the January 3rd Iowa caucus by reading the Boston Globe or the New York Times. I was thinking more "roller derby" than "horse race," but perhaps friend Kevin R. and Show nailed it when he replied: "Does it matter? The Iowa caucus looks to me like a very formal game of musical chairs." Libertarian friend, Alan C., commented: "It's a real test of endurance, following a sport where it usually seems like all the contenders are losers." My West Coast liberal friend Dave S. pointed out that "the successful presi- dencies of Tom Harkin and Mike Huckabee tell us all we need to know about the caucuses." And old high school buddy Carl P. re- minded me that "The Iowa caucus, another legacy of Jimmy Carter." The latest news on regard- ing the Republican contend- ers is that two entries, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich have been disqualified from the March 6th meet in Vir- ginia for failure to satisfy rules regarding nomination signature. Virginia voters have their ballot choices limited to Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. Rick Perry, this past Tuesday, filed suit in U.S. District Court challenging, based on First and Four- teenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, Virginia's requirement that nomina- tion petition circulators be eligible to vote in Virginia. The Supreme Court in the past (in a 1999 case relating (Continued on Page 11) "1 am a big believer in the 'mirror test'. All that matters is if you can look in the mirror and honestly tell the person you see there, that you've done your best." - JOHN MCKAY 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: I/Accept payments. (Check or money order only-no cash, please.) V' Process discount forms for senior citizens and disabled people. V' Resolve billing or service complaints. Review water consumption data for your property. V' Arrange payment plans for delinquent accounts. Need more information? Call the Community Services Department at 617-989-7000. 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