Complain all you want about our current leaders, but their flaws are chicken feed compared to those of the power-crazed, toga-clad rulers of ancient Rome. For proof, we have this series of short biographies of the Roman emperors, written by someone who was actually there, the Roman scholar Suetonius.
As I read, I would sometimes begin to cut a given ruler some slack, deciding that – at least compared to the others – he wasn’t so bad. And then I’d learn that he tortured and executed some unfortunate peasant for a trivial offense. And that he helped himself to a senator’s comely wife. And that he did worse. Much, much worse.
But I’ll give the emperors this: They didn’t discriminate with their atrocities. Most of them were apparently bisexual, using men, women, relatives, and children as sex toys, and they were just as likely to decapitate a general as a fruit seller.
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