Daily Archives: April 1, 2021

The die is cast!

It’s time once again! The moment you were all hoping for: Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire is getting my patented Western-Lit-In-Only-One-Sentence ® treatment. I’ll try to do it all at once without fainting from oxygen deprivation. Hang onto your laurel wreath tiaras ‘cause here we go:

Julius is a Roman general who is really good at coming at, seeing and conquering everybody he has a big army who likes him so he thinks “Hey, why not conquer Rome?” they cross the Rubicon River and after that there’s no turning back the Republic is over, baby he uses his army to take over Rome and run the whole show until he’s assassinated by some senators then it’s civil war between Marc Antony and Julius’ nephew Augustus—Augustus wins and becomes Rome’s first emperor then his stepson Tiberius who is a good general takes over but he’s pretty gloomy then it’s Caligula who tries to appoint his horse to be a consul but the army kills him then Claudius who walks with a limp and has a show on PBS next up is Nero who fiddles while Rome burns and blames the fire on the Christians Nero kills himself so another civil war and there are 4 emperors in one year: Galba, Vitellius, Otho and last is Vespasian who sticks around for 10 years then his son Titus takes over for 2 years and Titus’ brother Domitian for 15 years then there is Nerva then Trajan who has a column with some nice lettering and Hadrian who builds a wall in England to keep the Picts out Gibbon really liked Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius Antoninus but Marcus’ son Commodus is a nutjob who likes to play gladiator (Russell Crowe had to fight him in the movie) then there were 5 emperors in one year the fifth one Septimus Severus had an 18-year term his son Caracalla was in for 6 years until he was murdered after him I can quote in elegaics all the crimes of Heliogabalus who is murdered then his cousin Alexander Severus (assassinated) after him for 3 years Maximinus of Thrace so he celebrated his coronation anniversary thrice then is assassinated and Gordian III is assassinated who’s next? Phillip who is killed in battle and then Decius who is killed in battle just for laughs let’s remember the old empires run by the Assyrians, Medes Babylonians, then Persians okay back to ad 251: Gallus is around for 2 years, there’s a civil war then Valerian rules from the eastern half then his son Gallienus rules from the west again Claudius II keeps the Goths out but dies of the plague Aurelian defeats just about all of Rome’s enemies but he’s cruel and gets assassinated then for 9 years we get in quick succession Tacitus, Probus, Carus, Carinus, Numerian who are all killed by their own soldiers then Diocletian says “This place is pretty big, maybe we should have 3 emperors at the same time” so he and Maximian, Galerius & Constantius Chlorus then Severus, Maximinus Daia, Constantine, Maxentius, Licinius try to work out a tetrarchy but there’s more civil war until Constantine the Great takes over he changes Byzantium to Constantinople and converts to Christianity, makes it okay to worship Jesus and sets up a lot of Christian doctrine but, oh! his kids: Constantine (slain), Constans (murdered), Constantius II (persecuted and exiled), Magnentius (suicide) and Vetranio meanwhile there’s a war in Persia and another civil war, Sarmatian and Quadian wars, Sapor invades Mesopotamia, Germans invade Gaul and the Greek and Latin churches start arguing Constantine’s nephew Gallus is executed by Constantius II and nephew Julian massacres Christians, invades Assyria and Mesopotamia, is killed by the Persians…

(whew—give me a second—just need to catch my breath—pant-pant)


Back to the beginning of The Western Civ User’s Guide to Reading & Writing.