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12 Books in 12 Months

writing books and blogging about it

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sisqo

A Side Note

If you’re at all interested in what I’m doing when not writing about Caligula, this post is for you.  I wouldn’t want you to get the impression I’m doing nothing but faffing about on Wikipedia trying to work out roughly when each of his senators died under mysterious circumstances (although the timeline is taking up quite a lot of time and effort at the moment, and it’s making my brain feel sad).

Until the end of February I am blogging about song lyrics on my ‘professional‘ blog in support of UNESCO’s Let’s Get Lyrical campaign.  So far I’ve mentioned the lyrical stylings of The Smiths, Justin Timberlake, Willow Smith, Amanda Palmer, Sisqo, *NSync, Razorlight and Avril Lavigne.

I try to write about something or other daily on my personal blog, often television (particularly Scottish soap River City) and things that have annoyed me in my internet travels.  This tends to involve a bit of backdating.

This week I’ve also been conducting interviews and writing articles for The Broughton Spurtle and The Edinburgh Reporter, which are both hyperlocal news sites in Edinburgh.  And I’ve gotten involved with a new page of satirical Scottish news stories, called I We Two Three.

It’s good to vary one’s output.

Burns Night

Today I have mostly been researching Roman Feast Days that might have given Caligula an excuse to organise a party or three, and watching MTV Classic – easily the best of all the MTV channels, it turns out.  90s hour is particularly fun.

Some of the festivals include:

January 15th – Festival of the Ass

This was not a tribute to bootylicious Roman ladies, but a commemoration of the time the goddess Vesta was saved by a donkey.  Oh come on, you remember that story!  She was the daughter of Saturn the fertility god?  Known for her chastity?  In lieu of rohypnol a shady character by the name of Priapus decided to try and do the nasties with her whilst she was asleep?  But a donkey brayed and woke her up so she escaped?  Surely everyone knows this….

February 15th – Lupercalia

Celebration of the she-wolf who suckled Romulus & Remus. A load of priests got together in a cave, sacrificed a goat, and anointed the Lupercii – young blokes – with the blood. Then some other priests wiped the blood away, using milk, like the wolf would have done I suppose.  The boys then skinned the goat and ripped the hide into strips which they tied around their waists.  Oh, did I mention they were topless?  Well they were.  Then they then got pissed and ran around Rome whacking everyone they met with these goatskin thongs.   As in the aforementioned strips of hide, not the pants favoured by Sisqo.  Young women who got in the way were thought to be blessed, especially in terms of fertility and procreation.  Go them.

June 11th – Matralia

To celebrate the goddess Mater Matuta, her statue was decorated with garlands by single women or women who had been married once.  They also cooked her cakes in clay pots.  Those are the best kind of cakes, don’t you think?  One female slave was allowed into temple on this day, and as part of the festivities she’d be ritually slapped on the head and then chased out of the building.  BANTER.

Compared to his peers, you have to wonder whether Caligula was actually as eccentric as they say…

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