Triumph and Mules

Some of us apparently go through life with a questionning that does not go away, ringing in our ears like the slave's whisper at ceremonies that were bought (in our case, through friendship) or earned: "memento mori." That slave is the true self, it sees its lack of freedom in strange aspects of circumstance, like birth, education. By writing this, I do a disservice to the history of that whisper and the honour that was both civil and a rite, the triumphus. What was it like to be responsible for so many men, as a general in a war? As I write, I am thinking of Vespasian, who used one of his campaigns to make friends, not money, and the money that he needed he raised by selling mules, earning him the nickname mulio. To look at him then, would one know he would become emperor, his very own face on the currency that lesser men who bought triumphus would mint in their ultimately poor propaganda? The tides of the times shift, but it seems that to be truly great, one is helped if the flow of that river was controlled by systems put in place by predecessors. For example, what is Vespasian's endowment, the Roman Colosseum, without the precedent of Scribonius Curio's double theatre? To not build on such foundations, the questioning does not cease, one is left to forge one's own way in life, without public honours as affirmation that one is on the right way.
And yet, I write this, but you know about the Colosseum and its "moral degradation" of the Roman Empire exhbited there in the "sanguinary exhibitions" to quote Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities. If the grooves of life are in place, might we also posit that some excess, for some level of people, will ensue?
I do not know, but these are my recent thoughts that I offer here along with the message that I am falling behind in the reading and writing that I do for pleasure because I have been sitting for many hours trying to fix and even translate from scratch sentences for a book that I know I will not have time to proofread afterwards (so many disappointments in life).
At such times, in my private thinking, I tend towards approximations and tend to blur out the details. For this post I have picked a picture of the acropolis, which we know as the fort at the highest part of the city. We know, too, that the procession of the triumphus would end on Capitoline Hill, comparable to the acropolis; specifically, it would end at the temple located there dedicated to Jupiter. The caput in Capitoline also happens to refer to the highest part of the body (if related to fanciful etymology connected to the creation of the temple there). The blur I see has to do with high points and heads, that also have temples there.
If triumph finishes by pointing to something greater, how do the rest of us who don't get such laurels elevate ourselves? Not through what we have, but what we give (as shortly put in this Singaporean film); mule-trading Vespasian once made friends instead of money and those are the footsteps I would like to follow to satisfy the whispering slave.



Curves: thethiirdshift. Brush: favorite by ~egg9700. Both at DeviantART.

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