history Poetry

Hail, Mighty Rome!

I’ve always had a thing for Greece and Rome. Maybe it was the mythology I loved reading in the second grade, or the fact that one of the cartoons I loved watching after school every day was an old one my mom watched when she was young titled Hercules. (That’s where I first learned about Daedalus and Icarus.) I loved the stories. They were so fantastic and magical, and being a very imaginative child, I daydreamed about being Artemis or Athena or one of the myriad goddesses. (Mostly Artemis/Diana-in fact, in second grade I remember wanting to change my name to Diana because she was my favorite. Now that I think about it, that may be why I took up archery. 🙂 ) I also remember wanting to learn Latin when I was younger.

Lately, I haven’t been very inspired to write. Instead, I’ve been reading and most of it has been about the ancient Romans and the Greek philosophers. One reason is because my son’s marching band is doing their marching show this year about a goddess. It’s called Venus, Θεά του Έρωτα (Goddess of Love). That second part is Greek, by the way, and is pronounced Theá tou Éro̱ta. I haven’t yet pointed out that they’ve used the Roman name and the Greek language because, well, that would be bad form. Besides, they already have the t-shirts made up for the band to wear. But I smile every time I see it. The other reason is that Big Son is having to take his basic classes at university and we were discussing how badly I failed at Philosophy when I was in college. (I had a terrible professor.) And then, somewhere in there, I watched The Eagle and got started watching the series Rome on Amazon Prime.

I have to tell you, I am loving every minute of it. There is something very engrossing about these two cultures, and I’m drawn in again as I was all those years ago. Their development and way of life and how they were practically the center of the world at the time is intriguing. Recently, I’ve been fascinated by Rome’s army and the gladiators. The order with which the army comported itself, and its organization, is, in a word, impressive. As for the gladiators, most think that these were only slaves, but this is not completely true. There were volunteers, and, as in the case (possibly) of Spartacus (never have seen the movie, only read about him), deserters from the Roman legion were either killed or made into gladiators.

Is it any wonder that I combined the two and wrote a poem? Yes, I know it’s not historically accurate. At least I wrote something. 😉

I think I went through ten drafts before I was somewhat happy with it. It’s still not exactly how I want it but c’est la vie. I can always come back to it and edit it again. Hope you enjoy it, even with the inaccuracies. It was just for fun. 🙂

xo Jesi

We Who Are About to Die

By Jesi Scott

 

“Courage is the mask of the soldier,”*

For in his heart Fear took up residency,

so he hides behind this false bravery,

and forward into battle he goes

decrying his terror in the face of Death:

Ave, imperator, morituri te salutamus!**

Honor is all;

It is better to die than to live in dishonor.

Blood-soaked he stands among his brothers,

tears off the mask,

and denies Cowardice the right to survive.

 

And the gods on high stand and take notice.

 

*phrase from the book Ancient Romans byRosalie F. & Charles F. Baker III

** Hail, Emperor, we who are about to die salute you (traditional gladiator salute)

Jesi Kay
Jesi Kay, poet and aspiring novelist, was born in the Texas panhandle where wide skies, lazy summer days, and rolling thunderstorms sparked her imagination and left lasting memories in her blood. An early reader, poetry and mythology were her passions. So much so that when she was ten years old her step-father gave her his college mythology textbooks to read, which were full of classic poetry and more than enough tales to fill her romantic and inquisitive nature. Jesi loves reading, art, going to the theater, the romanticism of the Victorian era (but not the missing conveniences of indoor plumbing and central air conditioning), running when the heat and humidity cooperate, and cold weather so she can wear her favorite boots and knitwear. Also, she still has those college mythology textbooks, a little worse for wear over time but still intact and telling their stories to her. Jesi is a contributor at The Well Tempered Bards blog and at www.octpowrimo.com.

7 Replies to “Hail, Mighty Rome!

  1. Glad you wrote. I like what you wrote too!
    I couldn’t help but smile reading your prose in the beginning, because my mind was going through the same paths as yours (why use a Latin name before a Greek phrase?).
    It’s funny too because I was immersed in Roman culture just a few weeks ago, witnessing army practice and gladiator fights. And horse-drawn chariot races. IT was lots of fun!
    While there, we learnt that gladiators would rarely die in a fight, contrary to a lot of things Hollywood led us to believe. Just as the thumbs down motion didn’t exist, just the index finger up to request a life saved. What they explained basically is that gladiators were high profile athletes, with a high value, just like our footballers today. And the organiser of the games would have to pay a lot of money to the owner of the team if a gladiator were to die… Then as now, money was important, so they rarely fought to death 🙂
    Ok, ok, I know you said not historically accurate. I was just showing off my newly acquired knowledge. You know, there’s a saying that goes “Culture is like jam, the less you have of it, the more you spread it” or something like that. 🙂

    1. How funny that Rome seems to be going around lately. LOL.
      I read that about gladiators. I guess the truth just doesn’t make a good story.
      And show off that knowledge, girl!!! It’s a good thing. 🙂

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