Emperor Caligula to the Roman Senate, c. 40 CE

My other new law: Only the hunkiest man in Rome can be Emperor

Gentlemen whose opinions I do not really care for:

I have decided to appoint a new consul to lead our legions in the East. we have lost the initiative in our campaign there, and in my infinite wisdom I have decided a radical change is necessary. Therefore, in my duty as living God of Rome, I do hereby appoint the great Incitatus to lead our army.

Before the inevitable mountain of papyrus is dumped at my most luxuriously appointed manor, let me say that yes, he is my horse. And he is twice the soldier of any man I have ever met. He saved my bacon on more than one occasion, and he deserves his just rewards.

Besides, I have seen the future of combat, and it is cavalry. And who better to modernize, nay, revolutionize, our frankly stagnant tactics than something that knows how horses work inside and out? I fully expect him to whip our embarrassing troops into tip-top shape by Saturnalia.

Some of you have expressed the opinion that the men will not take a four-legged general seriously, or perhaps that he will be hampered by his inability to speak Latin. Firstly, he is commanding the Eastern legions, and his knowledge of Greek is more than sufficient. Secondly, I would have no problem dumping traitors into the arena. My lions are always hungry.

Donec fatui sunt,

de Caligula

Analysis:

Long before the days of Mr. Ed, women and horses were making significant strides toward equality. As one of the most oppressed minorities on the planet, horses are often seem as victims or mere servants of men. But in fact, horses throughout history have made remarkable, heretofore unknown contributions to society.

Did you know it was a horse who first suggested that the earth revolves around the sun? Yes, Copernicus’s trusty steed Brownie made the calculations from her barn, which had a terrific view of the stars. The first horse to sail around the world on an inflatable raft was Timmy the Terror in 1712. And a literary horse named Drizella whispered the idea for Mrs. Dalloway into Virginia Woolf”s ear. Of course, this was after the book had already been written, but it was still remarkable. 

After the Great Horse-Pony Wars of 1842 to 1845, horse king Charles the Second made the first overtures toward peace by instituting a precursor of the Truth and Reconciliation missions wherein ponies were granted amnesty in return for giving full accounts of who they had kicked in the head, whose barn they had set fire to, etc., during the wars.

Predictably, it was wildly ineffective and the violence continues to this day, but the point is, the horses were trying.

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