Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Hail Caesar

Fantasy Bob notes that during this week in 27 BC (about the last time England played 2 spinners) – Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus is granted the title Augustus by the Roman Senate. The historian consider that this marked the beginning of the Roman Empire.  Empire biscuits became possible.

While official histories make no mention of empire biscuits, they make it clear that in all other respects Augustus was some guy - as well as regularly massacring those who  opposed him he enlarged the empire bringing Egypt, Dalmatia and Spain into it, amongst other places. He reformed the Roman system of taxation, developed networks of roads, established a standing army, established the Praetorian Guard, and created official police and fire-fighting services for Rome. Much of the city was rebuilt under him.  On his death in AD14, Augustus was declared a god by the Senate and his names Augustus and Caesar were adopted by every subsequent emperor.

The eighth month of the Roman calendar was renamed Augustus in his honour. FB understands that it was his deathbed wish that his name was given to a month during the cricket season - he rejected all alternative offers suggesting 'You can't have August in February@  FB agrees.

But for all this, Augustus died unfulfilled - he was the victim of a spelling error - for he didn't mean empire he meant umpire.  It was his greatest wish to stand in an Ashes Test (or 'in ludo cinerum arbiter esse' as he snappily put it). Proof can be found in the statue illustrated which catches him practising dismissing a Germanic tribesman rapped on the pads by a shooter.

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