He steered Rome from a time of civil war and anarchy to a period of civility and prosperity. He took the title: Princeps, or first amongst equals (i.e. The Benevolent Dictator.) It’s hard in the end to judge what he did. These were such different times that they cannot be judged from 2010. Women were given away by men like commodities. People were executed. Children were executed. It’s so hard to process what it must have been like in 44 BC. Despite his participation in the debauchery and the executions and the battles where blood was spilled by many, there was an overwhelming reverence for Augustus which is what the title Augustus means: the revered one. Some people, in fact, believe that the Pax Romana brought to the people of Rome is the basis for the Anno Domini and is an allegory to Augustus. Perhaps this is because of his brilliant image campaign. Perhaps public opinion would have been different for Augustus if the common folks knew of what he did behind closed doors. Lord Acton once gave us a famous quote: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Augustus achieved absolute power.
Timeline Part 4 – Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus 63 BC – AD 14
He considered nothing more incumbent on him then to avenge his uncle’s death and maintain the validity of his enactments. – Suetonius
When Julius Caesar was killed there was a vacuum in the heart of the Empire. There was much uncertainty and there was unrest in the streets. Immediately, political jockeying was underway to see who would or could take over the Republic. Most held their ambitions close to the vest as no one could be trusted and confidence in the wrong soul would be met swiftly with murder.
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This post about tequila will start out talking about absinthe. Why? Because it’s purported that Vincent Van Gogh’s drink of choice, absinthe, has hallucinogenic properties. The hallucinogenic properties in absinthe have their origins in a drug called thujone which is most concentrated in grand wormwood (genus Artemisia Absinthium) and what gave the old world absinthes their green color. The funny thing about Absinthe today, however, is that it really doesn’t have any thujone in it, but rather green food coloring. When people describe their trippy experiences with absinthe, they’re most likely having a placebo effect and getting drunk from some high proof alcohol. I think (and it could be my imagination too) that the blue agave from which tequila is derived actually gives you more of an hallucinogenic twist than just drinking regular alcohol. It’s non-scientific, but many years of personal research have led me to believe that there is something different going on after a couple tequilas have been consumed. So, why don’t we get started and talk about tequila and its history.
Similar to brandy, as we turn the pages of history backward, we find that we must again give thanks to the Spaniards. In the 16th century conquest of Mexico for the Spanish Crown, distilling technology crossed the ocean and wound up in Mexico City. The Mexicans were already on to something for centuries drinking the fermented juice of the Mezcal plant in the form of a beverage called pulque. For hundreds of years, however, only the highest authority figures in Aztec and Mayan culture were able to celebrate in this pleasure of drinking pulque. When Spaniards arrived, they were able to change the Indian process into a distillation process and put into production North America’s first commercially produced distilled beverage and bring this blessing to the people.
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