Civis Romanus Sum


When Roman generals returned home after conquering ‘furrin parts’ with their armies, they were awarded a victory parade. Carried in a wreath-garlanded chariot, the author of the massacre which ended the war is moved along  a pre-ordained route towards the Temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill. Standing alongside the victorious general by his side, holding a golden crown over his head, is a slave; whose only other job is to murmur into the general’s ear that ‘he is mortal, and human, and all these things are fleeting, and ephemeral; and will soon pass’.

Preceding the victor are the Senate, the magistrates, along with musicians and jesters. The streets are thronged with adoring citizens, waving olive branches and singing as they welcome the latest son of Rome to return, successfully, from a foreign campaign. Following the victor’s chariot are the captured animals, the slaves, the pillaged treasures to help pay for an Empire which stretched beyond the charts. A chosen selection of the men from the victorious legions marched behind at the base of the column, all of whom did not wear their usual campaign armour, nor did they carry their full weaponry; as the Senate knew full well the problems which might occur when a general got ideas above his station.

At the end of the parade, the victor, having received his ‘Triumph’ sat down to a night of debauchery, all the soldiers got drunk, all the slaves were slaughtered, and the Roman Empire’s accountants began to write down exactly who got what according to the usual ‘spoils of war’ ratios applicable at the time.

That being the case, what the f*** are we doing organising a bloody triumphal parade for the ‘heroes of the Olympics’ up in bloody Manchester.

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