Blog

Episode 9 – Killed by his own Daughter

Episode 9 – Killed by his own Daughter

The Tale of Rome – Servius Tullius ends up under the wheels of a chariot, driven by none other than his very own daughter Tullia. We are also approaching the birth of the Republic of Rome.

Partial Transcription

Hello, this is Abel, in Beijing, China. Welcome to my podcast.

The Tale of Rome, Episode 9 — Killed by his own Daughter.

Last week we saw the end of Tarquin the Elder, and how Servius Tullius became the sixth king of Rome.

This week, we’ll see how this Tale continues.

The one thing we need to highlight again, is that the last three kings were the father—Tarquin the Elder, followed by his adoptive son—Servius Tullius, and then followed by his true blood son, Tarquin the Proud.

[…]

The tale goes, that—and this is according to Livy himself, the very own daughter of Servius, took a chariot and drove over the dying body of her father, effectively finishing his reign.

That’s right, Tullia, wife of Lucius, and daughter of Servius Tullius, carefully maneuvered the chariot so that the wheels sliced the old man’s body in two.

[…]

Episode 8 – Tarquin the Elder

Episode 8 – Tarquin the Elder

The Tale of Rome. The life and death of the first of the Tarquins, and a curious prophecy that came true.

Partial Transcription

Hello, this is Abel, in Beijing, China. Welcome to my podcast.

The Tale of Rome, Episode 8 — Tarquin the Elder.

Last week we saw the life of Ancus Marcius and Rome’s expansion to the Mediterranean Sea.

This week we’ll see the life of Tarquin, aptly nicknamed “the Elder” –after he managed to send away the two sons of Ancus Marcius away from Rome, and have himself elected king of Rome by a more-than-willing-to-oblige bunch of Senators.

And here I’d like to add that the tale of the Kings of Rome can be roughly divided into two big sections.

The first one consisted of Romulus, Numa Pompilius, Tullus Hostilius, and Ancus Marcius.

So, first a fighter. Then a pacifist. Then another fighter, and finally another pacifist who saw himself forced to wage wars, and ultimately did just that.

And so, today we are officially starting the second part of the tale of the Kings, because the three kings we haven’t seen yet, they all belong to one—the same family. The Tarquins.

And first among these is Lucius Tarquinius Priscus.

Then, we have Servius Tullius, an adopted son of Tarquin the Elder, and lastly, the real son of Tarquin, whom history named Tarquin the Proud, who took the throne by force, and who ended up being such a bad king, that the Romans kicked him out of Rome, and decided never again to have kings.

[…]

Let’s quickly mention here, that this was not out of the customary, since kings often sat at the forum, and acted as judges in people’s differences and disputes.

But then, when the king, too, was going to take his seat, one of the guys, ran to the king, and took out an axe that he had hidden in his robes.

In a single stroke, he lodged the axe, blade-deep, into the head of the king.

[…]

 

Double score for The Tale of Rome

Episodes 8 and 9 – in 48 hours

I’d like to announce a double score for this podcast. Come Sunday, you’ll have two new episodes, instead of one, to listen to:

Episode 8 – Tarquin the Elder, and Episode 9 – Killed by his own Daughter. Here are the covers:

That’s right, I’m working very hard to get the two podcasts on the same page, even though the Spanish language podcast, EL CUENTO DE ROMA is still 19 episodes ahead.

See you all, this Sunday evening!

Also, on EL CUENTO DE ROMA, we’ll have Episodio 26 – El Estado de la Unión – 390 AC., which means that we have half a year’s worth in the bag, there. I mean, 52 weeks is one year, right? So the, 26 is half a year…

Episode 7 – Ancus Marcius Founds Ostia

Episode 7 – Ancus Marcius Founds Ostia

The Tale of Rome – Ancus Marcius, the grandson of Numa Pompilius, shows that he is neither a lame priest nor a cruel bully.

Partial Transcription

Hello, this is Abel, in Beijing, China. Welcome to my podcast.

The Tale of Rome, Episode 7 — Ancus Marcius Founds Ostia.

Last week we saw the life and death of Tullus Hostilius, the third king of Rome, and we also saw how Rome itself became a synonym of war.

In fact, Rome—again, became all the things nobody wanted to have in a neighbor.

This week’s episode deals with the fourth king of Rome, a man named Ancus Marcius.

Ancus Marcius was a man with many different and sometimes contrasting aspects. For one, he was the son of Numa Marcius, who in turn was elected by Numa Pompilius to become Rome’s very first Pontifex Maximus, which we talked about in Episode five.

[…]

We also cannot reliably assess all these events, and their dates. Anecdotes, above all, are to be read as a tale, and rather than taking them as pure facts, they serve the purpose of answering questions of the origins of Rome to the romans that lived centuries later, as well as trying to teach morals.

As a perfect example of these quite incredible mess-ups with dates, we have that Numa Pompilius, the now well-known second king of Rome, was born on April 21st of the year 753 BC, which just so happens to be the day Rome was founded.

Come on! Don’t make me laugh!

The other thing that we can kind of be sure of, is that one of the major jobs Ancus Marcius had to do, was to transcribe all those documents left by Numa Pompilius, about the religious ceremonies of Rome, since the third king of Rome, Tullus Hostilius ignored that job completely.

[…]

 

The World of Rome around 400 BC

The World of Rome around 400 BC

The superpowers of the time: Greece, Persia, and – on a minor scale, Carthage.

This map is self-made, using Adobe Fireworks. If you want to have the original PNG file of this image (2621 x 1414 pixels, with all the layers, styles and fonts), just leave a nice comment here. I’ll send you the file in less than a day.

Episode 6 – Tullus Hostilius’ Holy Cow

Episode 6 – Tullus Hostilius’ Holy Cow

Who was Tullus Hostilius, the third king of Rome? The bully of ancient Rome, or another king that ended up in god Jupiter’s frying pan?

Partial Translation

Hello, this is Abel, in Beijing, China. Welcome to my podcast.

The Tale of Rome, Episode 6 — Tullus Hostilius’ Holy Cow.

Last week we saw how—after forty years of peace, Rome went back to its martial virtues. By the hand of King Tullus Hostilius, Rome went back to war, and it doesn’t seem strange to me, that the English word “hostile” or “hostilities” come from this king’s last name.

Before we really dive into the rest of the life of Tullus Hostilius, I want to add a very short anecdote here.

When the Sabines attacked Rome in the year 752 BC, because of the issue of their kidnapped women, Romulus organized a counterattack, as you might remember from Episode 3 of this podcast.

You also might remember that the counterattack did not really bring any results, and that the Sabine women themselves solved the issue, at the end of the day.

Finally, you also might remember how those Sabines took their time to carry out their attack, and so, almost a whole year had passed between the kidnapping and the actual attack of the Sabines.

So. On the day of the attack, and while the two armies were stuck in a stalemate near the citadel of Rome, a warrior named Hostus Hostilius fought alongside Romulus and the other Romans.

And at one moment during that fight, this guy Hostus Hostilius, singlehandedly went on the attack, and while he was holding his sword high in the air, he ran towards the Sabines, screaming and going berserk.

Needless to say, a moment or two later, his companions joined in on the run.

And even though they got nothing out of this whole thing, the lone act of brave, crazy warrior made the Sabines pull back for a moment, and this deserved him a thank-you-speech, given by Romulus himself, on the next day of the battle.

Well… That was because Hostus Hostilius was one of the few casualties on that day.

Why do I mention this?

You see, Hostus Hostilius was also the grandfather of our third king of Rome, Tullus Hostilius.

And as it seems, the itch to fight ran deep in the veins of the Hostilius family.

Good. End of anecdote. Back to Tullus.

We now know that the name of the king—Tullus, was an extremely rare name at the time, but his last name—Hostilius, not – so – much.

We also know that there was a building that is said to have been built by this king, and the building was named the Curia Hostilia, and that THAT was the first building where the early senators of Rome used to meet and hold their sessions.

[…]

 

Episode 6 in 24 hours

Tullus Hostilius’ Holy Cow

The third King of Rome. Was he the reason Rome got so big, or was he just another bully of the classic world?

We analyze his life and death, and his view of the Roman gods. And of course, we get to see how he pissed them off so badly, they decided to fry him. Literally. All this, in some 24 hours!

Latin WOTW: turpis

 

Latin WOTW: pullus

Latin WOTW: nisi

Latin WOTW: ex

Episode 5 – Numa, the God Whisperer

Episode 5 – Numa, the God Whisperer

Life and death of the second king of Rome.

Partial Transcription

Hello, this is Abel, in Beijing, China. Welcome to my podcast.

The Tale of Rome, Episode 5 — Numa, the God Whisperer.

http://www.thetaleofrome.com/rome-005

Last week we talked about the end of Romulus, the first king of Rome.

[…]

Numa also gets credit for almost all the most important religious institutions in Rome, and here goes a short list of his achievements:

ONE – Numa created the institution of Pontifex Maximus, which was the equivalent of the highest priest of Rome. There could be only one such Pontifex Maximus, and the job was for life.

Think of a Supreme Court Justice, in the US—unless a Justice quits or resigns, he gets to have the job forever.

The number one responsibility of a Pontifex Maximus was to overview the preparation and the delivery of religious services in Rome.

The number one privilege was that he was pretty much the only person in the city who was allowed to dismiss, and in some instances, disobey, both the Senate and the king of Rome, as you will see in future episodes.

Now, check this out:

Numa knew that the future of Rome would be filled with wars, as soon as he would be gone, and he knew that if a king would also be a Pontifex Maximus, religious services all over Rome would suffer, because such king would obviously give priority to war over all other things.

So, Numa solved this by simply setting in stone that kings or any future type of supreme rulers of Rome could not be elected to the office of Pontifex Maximus, while they reigned with the city.

He simply explained that the gods would punish Rome with plagues, floods, earthquakes, and all other kinds of disasters, if ever a king was elected to that office, and if ever the services to the gods were not properly done.

And in fact, the office of the Pontifex Maximus was left in peace by rulers for centuries. It wasn’t until the first emperor of Rome, Augustus dared to take the office of chief priest of Rome in his own hands, that Numa’s rule was being respected.

And that should speak volumes. Furthermore, the office itself still exists today.

That’s right, the institution created by Numa Pompilius is currently being exercised by the Vatican’s Pope, as the head of the Catholic Church, and that’s a tradition that’s been unbroken for some 2,600 years, now.

TWO – Numa Pompilius instituted the first vestal virgins within Rome.

[…]

Episode 4 – Throne of Thunders

Episode 4 – Throne of Thunders

The end of Romulus’ life, the way the Romans describe it.

Partial Transcription

Hello, this is Abel, in Beijing, China. Welcome to my podcast.

The Tale of Rome, Episode 4 — Throne of Thunders.

Last week we saw how Romulus dealt with three top topics of the day: the army of Rome, the female population of Rome, and the Senate of Rome.

This week we will see the rest of his life and how his life ends, not an ounce less mythological than his whole life before.

But before we start, I would like to make something clear: Rome, the city on the Seven Hills, had Seven Kings.

Right? Right.

From the year 753 BC until the year 509 BC, Rome had a grand total of Seven Kings. That means, those Seven Kings ruled Rome for 244 years.

Let’s see. Seven Kings – 244 years.

If I divide 244 by 7, I get 34.8, which means that each king must have ruled Rome for an average of 34 years and 9 months.

Even though this is not a physical impossibility, I can tell you something right away. In the course of human history, there has not been any empire, or state, or nation, or even a private company or entity that has been so blessed to rule for so long, and have only seven rulers.

The exceptional case of her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, is by far one of the longest reigns in recent history, but this cannot be seen as the norm.

Yes, she has ruled since 1952 which means she held the crown for 65 years. But that will not be repeated two, three, or—let alone, seven times.

A little more on that in a bit, but first let’s go to the Latin Word of the Week.

[…]

A big thunder cracked down on them, and a great dust cloud rose up, all around the throne and around the people standing by Romulus.

But… When the cloud dissipated, Romulus was no longer seated on his throne.

According to the legend, the senators who were next to Romulus during the military exercise, searched everywhere, but never found the body of their king.

He was gone with a thunder while sitting on his throne!

[…]

Episode 22 coming to El Cuento de Roma in 24 hours

Tito Livio y Virgilio

Episode 22 of the Spanish podcast El Cuento de Roma,
Tito Livio y Virgilio” is coming in 24 hours!

Here is our future English version counterpart.

In both The Tale of Rome, and El Cuento de Roma, every 22nd episode will be a BIOGRAPHY episode.

And this time I chose Livy and Virgil

Enjoy!

My mom fell into a coma

Dear friends!

I have sad news. Two days ago my mother, who is living in Croatia, fell into a coma, due to a stroke to her brain.

She is 78 years old, and I have received news from the hospital that the outcome is uncertain.

I am flying from China to Croatia (via Frankfurt) tomorrow, Sunday. My brother is on his way there as I write this, from Germany.

The launch of this podcast will be postponed for a few weeks, until I settle everything. And right now I don’t even know what do I have to settle, because only God knows how long this whole situation will last.

I do pray for a miracle, but I wonder if such miracles do happen in our times.

Since I did have a few episodes already recorded for the Spanish podcast (El Cuento de Roma), those will go on air tomorrow and next week.

The launch of this podcast is postponed to September the 30th, International Podcasting Day.

You are welcome to visit my Facebook page, at https://www.facebook.com/west4east if you feel like giving me (and my brother) words of support in this tough moment, but regardless, I will be keeping you all posted about my mother’s situation.

She lived three years in the US (with me), one year in China (also with me), 16 years in Argentina, some 25 years in Germany, and the rest… well, in Croatia.

Since my dad died, which was in 1990, she only ate bread and water. That’s 27 years now. The reason was that on the day my dad passed away (we lived on a farm in Argentina), he only ate some bread and had some water. He asked her to prepare some meal, and she told him she’d do it as soon as she’d be back from a short errand to the local market. When she returned, my dad was dead. She never stopped blaming herself.

I pray to GOD that they reunite in whatever better place there is up there (or out there), and that they don’t go through the pain we mortals do.

God bless you all!

Abel

UPDATE:

Four hours after I wrote this, my cousin passed me the news from overnight. My mom had passed into eternal life, while sleeping.

 

20 Days to Launch

20

That’s right. Twenty days to the official launch of The Tale of Rome.

And so, before the end of August, you’ll have the following episodes available online, to go with your commute, break-time, or group discussing material.

Throne of Thunders

(August 20)


Numa, the God Whisperer

(August 20)


Tullus Hostilius’ Holy Cow

(August 20)


Ancus Marcius Founds Ostia

(August 22)


Tarquin the Elder

(August 27)

 

I will try to set up a LIVE event on YouTube on August 22nd, 11 PM (Beijing time), which would be 11 AM on the East Coast, and 5 PM in Europe.

Since I have ZERO experience in setting these LIVE events on YouTube, I can tell you that anything can happen, but I hope to have an hour-long chat on YouTube with whoever goes here on that day, at that time:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-G4DAjVwV16boMThyzFcKQ/live

 

We are on iTunes

Yay! This time it took me only 24 hours to get approved by Apple Podcasts.

Link provided by Apple:

https://itunes.apple.com/cn/podcast/the-tale-of-rome/id1263330345?l=en

Please subscribe if you have iTunes.

Episode 3 – Roman M Seeking F

Episode 3 – Roman M Seeking F

Romulus takes care of setting up an army and a Senate. Also, he makes sure of getting wives for his new Roman citizens.

Partial Transcription

Hello, this is Abel, speaking from Beijing, China.

Welcome to the Tale of Rome, Episode 3 — Roman M Seeking F.

Last week we saw how, after many generations, Rome was established at the edge of the river Tiber, and we also saw how Romulus, Numitor’s grandson—and son of Rhea Silvia and god Mars, became the first King of Rome.

I think if for a common man there is nothing as sweet as having a home of his own, for a man the size of Romulus, there couldn’t have been anything sweeter than having a city of his own.

The only tiny problem for the moment was that his city was still not able to defend itself, and it also couldn’t grow.

So, we are going to see how Romulus addressed these two issues of high priority.

[…]

After Romulus founded his city, it became pretty obvious that it would be necessary to attract people to the city.

Rome needed new inhabitants.

To that end, Romulus opened the gates of his city, but what happened next was that the first immigrants to the new city were, to put it in nice words, characters of a colorful past.

OK, let’s be more honest here! The first arrivals were people on the run from other places.

Fallen or escaped gladiators, crooks and beggars, fugitive slaves and prisoners of war, people who owed too much money and people who used to collect too much money from others, pimps and smugglers, pickpockets and murderers, and a whole lot more.

You name it, Rome had it!

Anyone who offended any of men’s laws or any of god’s laws, moved to Rome to have a fresh start.

[…]

Episode 2 – Immaculate Conception

Episode 2 – Immaculate Conception

Romulus and Remus are born, grow and help their grandfather Numitor to retake Albalonga’s throne. Afterwards, they found Rome.

Partial Transcription

Hello, this is Abel, speaking from Beijing, China.

Welcome to the Tale of Rome, Episode 2 — Immaculate Conception.

Last Week we saw how Aeneas managed to escape Troy, and how he finally settled on the western coast of Italy. And we saw how his son came to found a city named Albalonga.

Today we will see how his grand-grandchildren prepare the stage for us, so that we get to see how Rome as founded.

And to get there, today we’ve got it all.

Traitors.

Vultures bring messages from the gods.

An amazing saving of two babies floating in a basket along a river. We even have a woman conceiving children in a rather miraculous way, something that people in the western civilizations call an “Immaculate Conception.”

After Ascanius, the kingship was passed from father to son for many generations, until we got to the 13th generation, and the power came to rest upon the shoulders of a man called Numitor.

As Numitor became King of Albalonga, his brother Amulius watched, filled with jealousy and hatred.

Soon enough, Amulius decided to take the throne all to himself, and by lying to the people of Albalonga, and by using false rumors, Amulius managed to chase Numitor out of the city.

The sons of Numitor were killed without any mercy.

But Amulius decided to spare the life of Numitor’s daughter, a woman called Rhea Silvia, and instead of killing her, he ordered her to become a Vestal Virgin. By converting her into a Vestal, Amulius felt assured that she would not have any children, and there would be no threat to his own future generations.

A Vestal Virgin, as historians explain to us, spent her whole life dedicated to the service of the goddess Vesta, goddess of the home and the heart.

Vestals had to fulfill three conditions in order to be accepted in the temple of Vesta, where they would be in charge of keeping the divine flame on, for all eternities.

One: they had to be virgin.

Two: they had to come from a prominent family of the society.

Three: they had to be incredibly beautiful.

Episode 1 – Once Upon a Time

Episode 1 – Once Upon a Time

Aeneas leaves Troy, stays in Carthage for a while, and later navigates to Italy. There, he joins the forces of King Latinus. Later on, Ascanius founds Albalonga.

Partial Transcription

Hello, this is Abel, speaking from Beijing, China.

Welcome to the Tale of Rome, Episode 1 — Once Upon a Time.

Rome was founded in the year 753 BC, but to start our tale we need to do two things:

ONE—I want to tell you a bit about this podcast, as a project, and TWO—we need to travel a little bit back in time. Some 500 years back, to the twelfth century BC.

To the Trojan War, to be more exact.

Alright, let’s go with ONE, and let me sum up this podcast in exactly three sentences.

I was born in what once was called West Germany, and being fond of the history of both China and Rome, I began writing historical fiction novels, one of them being set in Roman Egypt during the latter part of the 2nd century AD.

I soon realized I needed more research to write my book, and after going through many other books, documentaries, maps, and podcasts, I decided I had to create my own account of what actually happened before I could continue with my writing.

Knowing that podcasting was a totally new field to me, I first decided to delve into a narration of the story of Rome in Spanish language—a language I acquired in both Miami and Argentina, while always keeping an eye set on an English version of the same podcast, once the time was right.

So, here we have it. Three sentences.

The Spanish podcast is LIVE since April, and this—the English version, is coming to the world right now, as you are hearing me speak.

And I guess, by now you know where my accent comes from, even though I lived for almost half my life in the States.

And yes, I do live in China now, but that is stuff for some other footnote, in some other episode.

Perhaps.

I also like to say that I started podcasting as a way to talk about the things I like to talk about, such as ancient Rome.

Now, let’s go with TWO. Let’s go to the last years of the Trojan War.