Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bad thoughts

A friend of mine (James Romm, of Bard College) is working on a book about death in the time of Seneca.  Apparently, the Romans had a practice of getting rid of enemies of the state by forcing them to commit suicide. The deal was, if you killed yourself, your heirs would inherit your estate and you could be buried with honor, or something like that. Otherwise, you would be executed and none of the good stuff would happen, your heirs were left out in the cold and you were thrown to the dogs.

The centurions would show up at your door, and you had to go kill yourself while they were there. That's a horrific thought. Imagine being of the mindset to go and do that.

I started thinking about this this morning when my alarm went off an hour earlier than it should have (it was set for last Thursday). Not good.

I suppose I should regard the early alarm as an harbinger of the kids going back to school next Monday, which will be a blessing, honestly.

But I could have been spared this particular historical tidbit. I don't really know why I'm passing it along to you, fair reader, save that it's a gripping image.

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