Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Crassus Out of the Bath

(fm the BC thread "High Society")
Correction from peterike appended below, with gratitude.

The problem with being a Patrician is that occasionally you have to act like one.
Cicero to Caesar I believe, was it in Spartacus?

Our genial host’s initial entry raised two topics. First, the AGW money pump. Second, the sad state of what passes for elites these days. Both are tangled forests where monsters lurk. Both rest on roots as solid as Birnam Forest that comes to Dunsinane.

Elites are natural and necessary for a species that supports a complex social organization. There are many privileges for members of the Elite. What is demanded of them in return?

Historically there were two routes to power over those who work. You could belong to those who fight or those who pray.
The potential cost for those who fight is obviously the risk of death in combat. Those who pray appear to have a better deal. Vows of chastity and poverty may have been invented to impose compensating costs. What we have now are elites who not only are useless and wrong headed, that to be fair is neither new nor intolerable, but who are unwilling to demonstrate even the slightest pretense of sacrifice for the greater good.

Can anybody envision Lord Finsbury leading the troops into battle? The Aztec Priest who ripped your heart out to feed the Sun was more useful.

One of the disadvantages of being a patrician is that occasionally you’re obliged to act like one.

Crassus, as played fabulously by Lawrence Olivier, to the character of Marcus Publius Glabrus, portrayed as something of a Roman doofus by John Dall. Glabrus has just told Crassus he will be leading six cohorts of troops to take on Spartacus. Glabus is summarily defeated and sent back to Rome in humiliation.

This occurs just after one of those great, witty moments in the script. When Crassus hears of the plan to pursue Spartacus, he shouts:

Great merciful bloodstained gods! Your pardon. I always address heaven in moments of triumph.

Ahhhh, you hadda be there.

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