strange_complex: (Claudius)
So, the noble whale of London town is dead. What's more, a dead porpoise was found yesterday on the shore at Putney (I can't seem to find an online source for this Important News Item, but I assure you it's true - I saw pictures yesterday as part of Sky News' continuous live whale coverage).

In summary, dead and dying marine mammals are hurling themselves at our shores. You know what Cassius Dio would say. Get out of the stock market - now!

The next stage, apparently, is for experts to examine the body to ascertain the cause of death. I do hope they will pay special attention to the liver, since everyone knows that's where the gods most like to leave their messages to humanity.
strange_complex: (Claudius god)
Because, when looking up primary texts to illustrate a lecture on Augustus' use of imperial freedmen, you find gems like this:

Cassius Dio, Roman History 54.21.2 (on the year 15 BC) - 'Not only had the Gauls suffered much at the hands of the Germans, but much also at the hands of a certain Licinus. And of this, I think, the sea-monster had given them full warning beforehand; twenty feet broad and three times as long, and resembling a woman except for its head, it had come in from the ocean and become stranded on the shore.'

Presumably this 'sea-monster' was actually some kind of whale. But yes, of course: when a whale gets beached on your shores, you just know financial exploitation (Licinus' main crime) is bound to be around the next corner. Good old Dio.

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