November 01, 2008

A Classical Missive

I get a lot of letters from readers of my column, which run the spectrum from “Why don’t you reveal the real truth about” [fill in the blank], and a large proportion of very thoughtful ones, such as the following:

“In Claudius the God by Robert Graves the Emperor Claudius laments the saying of his friend and mentor Asinius Pollio “it will have to get much worse before it can get any better.” Nothing could be more true. The prospect of McCain, Romney, Huckabee, Clinton or Obama in charge is as worse as it gets. There is no hope. The election of any of these candidates is a reflection of the moral bankruptcy of the nation as a whole. I am a Roman Catholic who belongs to what one would consider a fairly conservative parish. Here is an intention read every Sunday ‘Let us pray for those who are protecting us and those who seek to harm us.’ Can you believe it? What of those who we have harmed by incessant bombing? The Emperor Claudius sums it up the best “let all the poison that lurks in the mud hatch out.”


“A Cornelius Cossus”

By the time of Claudius, the empire had already passed mid-point in its descent into the imperial bone-yard, although it still had a thousand or so years to go, if you count Byzantium. Our agony, I trust, will not be quite so prolonged.

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