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The Heresiarch
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A statement I've always found a little puzzling occurs at the start of Suetonius' Life of Tiberius and refers to the Claudian family being divided into a patrician and a plebeian branch, the latter being "of equal prestige". How does that work? Is Suetonius referring to two separate families that happen to share the same name? Otherwise, if patrician status was transmitted exclusively by descent, surely either all the Claudians should have been patrician, or none of them.
Fascinating programme. Though I don't think I've used the word "willy" since I was in primary school. To hear it in the mouth of a distinguished professor of classics was a trifle disconcerting... On which subject, you dismiss (rightly I'm sure) the notion that the Pompeians were obsessed by sex. Instead, you put the preponderance of phalloi down to a celebration of maleness in a male-dominated society. I'm not too sure about that. In any case, it rather conflicts with what modern feminists claim when they see evidence of male domination in the copious amounts of female flesh on display in every high street. I wonder if it might be something rather more random. The penis motif might be one of Richard Dawkins' memes, perhaps. One day, an unknown Roman thought it would be a good joke to stick a giant penis outside his house. Maybe a pun on his name, or it started out as an (affectionate?) nickname. And it just sort of spread.
Toggle Commented Dec 15, 2010 on Pompeii on the television at A Don’s Life
The best summary of the Blair/Hitch debate I've read.
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