North Korean Water Park Fun

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Munsu+Water+Park/@39.0395952,125.7788709,1223m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m15!1m7!3m6!1s0x8c0296261b92a7f9:0xf336ec2818049b1a!2sPuerto+Rico!3b1!8m2!3d18.220833!4d-66.590149!3m6!1s0x357e0288fd25a6d3:0x18b5aa84806e657d!8m2!3d39.0395947!4d125.7810652!9m1!1b1

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There is a water park in North Korea that can be seen on Google Maps called Munsu Water Park. It has reviews … and here are a few.  Very strange. These reviews must be satire. The reviewers have western names.

Hugh Lawlor

1 review

★★★★★ 3 months ago

Lovely place. I love the red water. The sharks following you on the water slides were a cool touch, although (sorry to moan) I would like my leg back please. I don’t know why I had to share the shower with a Kim lookalike…..bizarre to say the least, especially the soaping up

Tom

★★★★★ 3 months ago

Took the kids after the mornings great-leader-worship and boy was it worth it!  We got to go on all the latest rides like “Totalitarian Tidal Wave”, “Kim’s Big Kahuna”, “Dictator Deluge”, “Fascism Falls”, “Socialism Splash”, “Nuclear Niagara”, “Gulag Geyser”, “Red Rapids”, and “Wild Waterboarding”.  The reason for 4 stars instead of 5 is due to a beating I received when I stepped out of line for “Gulag Geyser”.  A 2 month forfeit of my family’s rations would have been MORE than sufficient.  To add insult to injury the idiot with the brass knuckles hit my glasses so now I have to wait for the great leader to materialize a pair with his sacred hands.  ANNOYING!  THEN, meanwhile, as I’m in the detention room for like 45 min, my son was considered orphaned and was shipped to a military camp.  Communication guys!  Other than that it was an enjoyable , family-based, water park, for which I now gladly owe my life and 2 generations of my family to the great supreme leader.  Re-visit likelihood: 8/10

Gavin Russell

13 reviews

★★★★★ 3 months ago

Our dear leader invented water parks just after he killed off the last of the dinosaurs (which he also invented). I loved the “die western pigs” Rapids! I thought the dead bodies we used instead of rubber rings was a nice touch. Daily executions by shark (also an invention by our dear leader) were fun to watch. I’ll definitely be back here! Siam park doesn’t come close.

Aiden Szostek

6 reviews

★★★★★ 2 weeks ago

Glorious leader needed a water park to rival the capitalists, he commissioned me to make the water park, adjacent the the dog of Weiner stand, for 3 days of hard fun labor, I finished and got meal’s for 5 days!

jel toko

6 reviews

★★★★★ 2 months ago

I definitely had a great time and enjoyed the water and all the slides a lot. Quite a shame I broke my neck and all of my toes when I flew out of the yellow “Seoul Supreme” slide, but medical support offered a few very rare bandaids and I’m okay now. I can’t move my neck though, but that’s fine. Had a great time and that’s all that matters!

 

kyle wiggington

Local Guide ·56 reviews·22 photos

★★★★★ a week ago

Loved coming here had some pretty sexy ladies there me and my boy kim jong hooked them up for later.

 

Mason Moore

1 review

★★★★★ a month ago

Beautiful Scenery. The daily fertility check is done while you are being waterboarded, very theme appropriate. The  ambiance is really boosted by the use of Gray and Gray. It was a creative color scheme that made it stick out as we trudged up the street, carrying the great officer’s wagon. Although we didn’t get to do anything, the slides sure were fun to look at. There were pictures of our great leader to stare at while our masters went down the slides. My wife tried to sneak onto the lazy river and was given a lethal injection. Very gentle security, when I screamed as my wife was murdered, they grabbed me by only one arm on my way to the firing squad. My last wish before death is to give this place a five star rating. Overall 11/10 Kid friendly and 60% Casualty rate for us peasants is a definite plus. Would go again if I wasn’t about to die for our great nation. This is Pyongyang Travel Guru, signing o– GACK!

Ethan Hunt

Local Guide ·79 reviews

★★★★★ 3 weeks ago

Amazing water park!

Despite the water’s greenish-yellow tint, and Kim Jong Un cutting in line all the time, it is a wonderful experience for all the family!

You may get shot a couple times by the guards, and may experience eternal bleeding, it’s all worth it.

THE BIG BANG EXPOSED

by Kenneth Harper Finton, ©2017

big bang

It is sound that causes a bang. Sound needs something through which to travel to be heard. There is no sound in the vacuum of space. Sound also needs a sense of hearing. Since none of these things were present for the Big Bang, we have to conclude that the Big Bang had no sound at all. It was neither a bang nor was it big.

The reason it was not big is simple. The Big Bang would have been everywhere because that is all that existed. The singularity from which it came was supposedly an infinitely dense single-dimensional point. Being unstable, we are told, it exploded violently.

Despite the anthropic descriptions we hear about universal theories, the appearance of infinite energy instantly occurred, without a sense of time, without a sense of space. The place it occurred had to be everywhere as that was all there was. Before that, no universe existed.

Existence is a strange and heady subject. To exist means to have objective reality or being, an actual being; it means being present in a particular situation or place. The word ‘exist’ was not even coined until the 17th-century and was likely an abbreviation of existence.

But if no universe existed before the Big Bang, then what was there? What was in its place when there was no place? Nothing? But nothing cannot exist because it has no being. The ‘it’ we seek cannot be anything.

Whatever it was, it did not exist because without objects it had no objective reality. An observer and an object for the observer to perceive is essential to objective reality. No thing can be present in a particular space or time without an object and an interaction [observer].

With no time or space into which a reality could be actuated, space would need to be created instantaneously for energy to have a place to go when it was released. The Big Bang explanation posits the expansion of the universe from a singular point. Space came into being as radiating objects that found dimensions to inhabit. Time came into being as these objects expanded outward in all directions, becoming vibrating strings that created virtual fields and brought to the observer a sense of duration in time.

And what of this observer?

What is the qualia of the observer? Observers are generally thought of as being people, but they can also be a system built from awareness. An observer is person or a system that observes.

The quality essential for observation is awareness.

Awareness must actually precede observation as awareness needs to be present for an observation to be recorded. Awareness comes before time, comes before space, comes before the universe, and comes before existence. Awareness without objects is similar to that proposed singularity from whence the universe sprang. It is present before anything is actualized into being is present without time and space as an eternal and infinite zero-point dimension from which the dreamscape of reality is constructed. All things are made manifest within eternal awareness, the essential foundation of all things.

I posit that all things are awareness in its myriads of localized forms. All things are formed and made of the eternal and non-material awareness which has always been present in the eternal now.

The one-dimensional point is where awareness identifies itself and gives birth to space by releasing universal fields where simultaneous events can occur—abstract fields of possibility. Actuality can be built, piece by piece, as awareness actuates universal mental conceptions that become the scope of our reality.

Assuming the Big Bang occurred, that which was initially released by the Big Bang would be an unformed virtual energy. Radiated energy is measured by the frequency of its vibrational waveforms. Virtual energy has no vibrational components, the first step to physical actuality.

Dimensional realities occur when the infinite becomes finite. When a dimensional limitation is placed upon virtual energy, vibrational fields are created. Because this occurs in the first-dimension, beyond and before space and time, mathematical patterns are created which nature can later emulate. These patterns last and sometimes repeat through eternity. They are precursors to the sense of time.

When virtual radiation slows to a vibrational state, a sense of time and duration is created. Since this radiation is awareness—as all things are composed of awareness in one of its many forms—the observing system can identify the frequency of these vibrations as an entity of substance. Awareness becomes aware of its own being, awakens from its great sleep, dreams of its own experience, and posits its own being into conceptual existence. Only then can nature begin the evolutionary process of universe building.

Seen from an infinite point, there is no time nor space in the lower first and second-dimensions. Everything existent is a part of an eternal now. Awareness, formed of its own being, creates time and space in localized pockets of consciousness. These local entities become networks that communicate and stores the information gleaned from observations.

Virtual radiation transforms into increasingly complex forms of light energy—like photons and cosmic rays—which vibrate in diverse patterns and frequencies as new dimensions are added to the primordial soup. The information recorded is encoded to become physical actualities.

Before spin and mass comes to exist, bosons—which have little or no spin and mass—crystalizes into the elemental hydrogen and helium as they pass through a universal Higgs field created by the timeless second-dimension which adds the spin and mass and begins the processes that form the great clouds of dense gases which fills the primitive universe. New dimensional senses evolve and come into existence. All the while, this new universe remains connected to the eternal awareness from which it was formed. Each new sense creates a different dimensional reality and adds additional limitations upon this eternal awareness.

We know nothing of these natural processes at the time of our birth.  Our personal selves are a very tiny part of the unconscious process that awareness develops. Our growth as a person follows the hereditary patterns laid out in our DNA. We are not conscious of the awareness behind our appearance in the universe. This awareness precedes consciousness and is lost in the misty visions of our personal identities. Our lives are similar to coming into the world in the middle of a motion picture we have never seen, except that we write the plot though our own free choices with the help and the hindrances of all the other playwrights that come to influence us.

We expand and extend our universe through consciousness. It is not that distant galaxies and black holes have no a priori existence of their own. They have an existence outside ourselves. The moon is present whether we see it or not. Our consciousness is like a moving snapshot of a moment in the now, different for everyone and every thing.

LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE MILKWEED

 

milkweed pod

Nature obviously has its own thoughts and ideas. Most of our own brilliant inventions are derived from observing nature in action. A simple walking through the fall landscape can bring us face-to-face with the brilliance of nature’s thoughts if we take the time to notice them.

Milkweed is the only food of the caterpillar for Monarch butterflies. It is an important 7459399-a-monarch-butterfly-on-a-milkweed-plantsource of nectar for bees and wasps and butterflies alike. How they propagate is not only worthy of our attention, but could be an essential clue to understanding the mind of nature itself.

The little brown seeds are enmeshed in light filaments of silky white hairs called coma that blow away in the wind to disperse and propagate new generations of the milkweed family.

Such revolutionary method for propagation has to develop from an idea in the mind of nature. Somehow, a genetic blueprint for this form of reproduction is developed and slowly revised over time. Due to the complexity of the parts of the plants involved, it makes sense to think of this natural process as an idea that is carefully nurtured and carried out by some natural thought pattern that regulates and develops the botanical universe. The common dandelion has a similar method of asexual reproductions the flowers turn to spore The offspring that grow from this method are genetically identical to the parent plant.

This milkweed floss is hollow and coated with wax, making very good for insulation properties.During World War II, milkweed floss was collected as a substitute for kapok. The milk in the milkweed contains 1 to 2% latex, but has not been widely used as a source for rubber of paint because other sources are more prevalent. The fibers are used to clean u oil spills. (Milkweed touted as oil-spill super-sucker — with butterfly benefits”. cbc.ca. 2 December 2014.)

Milkweed in the Asciepias species is the only food for the caterpillar of the Monarch butterfly. Preserving and growing milkweed is essential for the continuation of this beautiful insect.

Milkweed-in-seed2

GRAVITY SUCKS

Gravity scksSome years back, I believed that people  grew old and died because they became ill and their bodies deteriorated. As I age myself, I wonder if that is so. Cou
ld it be that people pass on because the world about them changes so much that they no longer feel attached to it? Can a person evolve to the point where withdrawing from the world seems the best logical choice? Does this changing of the world about us affect our consciousness and then our health? Does life culminate in the desire to no longer desire? Is death the natural end because we lose the desire and will to persist? Or is the will to persist yanked from us despite our rage against the darkness of the unknown night.

What is true for one might not be true for another. The sheer variety of humanity and the vast complexity of nature creates a different world for each entity that lives within it.

Inequality is everywhere because inequality is essential for movement. Inequality is gravity. It is that weak force that binds things together, feet to the earth and planets to the stars, friends to friends.

Each individual life is a cosmos unto itself.

As a young man, I easily saw the truth in the unity of all being but saw also that the world is a game of one-upsmanship. People compete to produce winners and losers. The world around us is stratified, socially and economically.

Social inequality is a constant, but nature demands a balance for stability. The highs must not be too high and the lows must not be too low.  When things are too far out of balance, they explode and gravity is overcome.

Gravity is the result of inequality. When things are equal, there is no push nor pull.

Each side of the equation is different, but the equality creates the balance.

For most of us living on Earth, there is nothing as fine as the era in time in which we now live. How could this not be so, when this time is all we have? Are we not practical? We cannot live in another era.

Yet, eras change, and change brings new actors to the stage, new athletes to the field. Soon enough, we barely know the rules of the game because it has changed so much.

We spend our lives speaking our lines and doing our work. We seek what makes us feel good—through pleasures, work, pastimes, and relationships. It becomes the driving factor that motivates and moves us.

It is movement that produces the gravity that keeps us centered enough to survive. We—like our Earth, our Sun, and our Galaxy—must evolve and revolve as we orbit around something much bigger than us. Heinlein wrote: “Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” Love is one of the gravitational anchors that hold us in place.

Health does get worse with time and wear. Physical strength does deteriorate. Passion itself takes a tumble with age. We know this is so. Yet, our fast-changing world can become so unfamiliar that we can easily become those Strangers in a Strange Land that we heard or read about years ago.

Heinlein’s character said: “Thinking doesn’t pay. It just makes you discontented with what you see around you.”  Time passes and consciousness is overloaded with evaluations and judgments made by past choices. It becomes harder to distinguish the winner from the loser when you know each all too well. We can become confused or dismayed about the directions our society and nations are going.

“Thou art god, I am god. All that groks is god,” Heinlein wrote.

Grok may be the only English word that is derived from a fictional Martian language. “Grok” was introduced in Robert A. Heinlein’s 1961 science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land. It means to understand fully and intuitively with empathy of intuition. It is hard to grow old and not see the reality of these observations. “Random chance is not a sufficient explanation of the Universe—in fact, random chance is not sufficient to explain random chance; the pot cannot hold itself.”

Everything living has a blind instinct to survive built into its system.

“The only religious opinion I feel sure of is this: self-awareness is not just a bunch of amino acids bumping together.”

― Robert A. HeinleinStranger in a Strange Land

PURLOINED

 

Out of nowhere, that unknown place where thoughts breed and memories thicken, a song keeps running through my head.  It is not a new song, but a simple old melody with quaint lyrics. Nor is this tune one that would ingratiatingly ingrain itself on a normal brain.  Yet it did—and all because to the word ‘purloined’.

THE DARING YOUNG MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE

CHORUS: He’d fly through the air with the greatest of ease, that daring young man on the flying Trapeze. His movements were graceful, all girls he could please, and my love he purloined away.”

‘Purloin’ is a word you do not here often in the modern world. It means to underhandedly steal away. Though the root of the word has nothing to do with ‘loin’ in the erotic sense, the lyrics in the chorus insinuate a sexual arousal.

Once I was happy but now I’m forlorn

Like an old coat that is tattered and town

Left on this wide world to fret and to mourn,

Betrayed by a maid in her teens

Ah, yes, the proverbial maid in her teens—when hormones run rampant, passions soar, and common sense often flies into the stratosphere.  The maiden’s  curves and appeal are often the most voluptuous when she is in estrus, giving off the primitive scent of ovulation.

The girl that I loved she was handsome

I tried all I knew her to please

But I could not please her one quarter so well

Like that man on the Flying Trapeze

CHORUS:

He’d fly through the air with the greatest of ease

A daring young man on the flying Trapeze

His movements were graceful, all girls he could please

And my love he purloined away.

According to The Tin Pan Alley Song Encyclopedia, the 1868 song “The Daring Young Man On The Flying Trapeze” is “arguably the most famous circus song in American popular music”.

JULES LEOTARDThe song has a known history. It was about the exploits—sexual and artistic—of Jules Léotard, who developed the trapeze into an art form in the 1860s. He invented and popularized the one-piece athletic wear now called for him. The suit clearly displayed his underlying physique, a look that charmed women and inspired the song about purloined love.  The song was first published in 1867, words written by the British lyricist and singer George Leybourne, music by Gaston Lyle. Thomas Hischak says the song was first heard in American Vaudeville in the 1870s, where it was popularized by Johnny Allen.

Léotard, of course, invented the leotard. This simple one-piece garment allowed for the unrestricted movement which was so vital in his death-defying act. Later,  it would become standard wear for ballet dancers.

Léotard was paid a hundred and eighty pounds a week for his act, the equivalent of five thousand today, but died at age twenty-eight from an infectious disease and not from a fall.

Purloined in a lovely description for stealthy stealing. The end result of “purloin,” is that the object is gone, stolen, lifted, pilfered, embezzled, or pilfered or swiped. “but the style or manner of the crime varies with the term. They terms all have shades of meanings. “Pilfering” or “filching” is a hidden crime. A “heist” is a major theft that often involves George Clooney or Frank Sinatra.

One famous use of the word “purloin” is found in Edgar Allan Poe’s short story written in 1845, “The Purloined Letter”. It was one of three works that were forerunners to the modern detective story.  The Origin and Etymology of the word seems to be from Middle English, to put away, misappropriate, derived from the Anglo-French purluigner.

 

OF CLAUDIA AND PUDENS

 

EDITORIAL NOTE:  I produced, published, wrote and edited a historical and genealogical journal called The Plantagenet Connection between 1993 and 2003. This is a selection from Volume One. The journal is still available online in PDF form at http://www.theplantagenetconnection.com

 

CLAUDIA AND PUDENS

 

 

I have been checking into what might be the first documented marriage of a British royal with a Roman. The basis for this information is found in the works of the Roman poet Marcus Valerius Martialis (called Martial), the father of the epigram, born in Bibilis, Spain between 38 and 42 A.D. His first book of Spectacles was published around 80 A.D. His books of epigrams were published toward the end of the first century as well. We may safely assume that the epigrams were published in the order in which they were written, as the same names crop up over and over again and the subjects get older as the books continue. Martial was an immensely popular poet in his day. He insulted, ridiculed, and satirized the leading figures in Roman society. Though many of these folk are now unknown to us, they live on in his bawdy and irreverent epigrams through the ages.

Epigram 7.97: Martial sends one of his books to a friend in Umbria, the “fellow countryman (municeps) of his Aulus Pudens.”

Epigram 11.53: The poet asks how Claudia Rufina, “sprung from the painted Britons,” could have such graces and thanks the gods she has borne children “to her sainted husband,” and that she is awaiting so many sons and daughters-in-law. May she long enjoy her one husband, and the privileges belonging to the parent of three children.10 [“Although Claudia Rufina was born of the painted Britons, she has a Latin heart. How beautiful her form! Italian women would take her for a Roman; those of Attica for their own. You gods who have blessed her in the children she has born her sainted husband, grant also her hopes for sons-in-law and daughters-in-law. May she enjoy but a single husband and enjoy, always, her three sons.” Martial’s Egirgams, 11. 53.]

The question I am trying to solve is who is this British Claudia and who is this Pudens? Is the Claudia mentioned in the two above verses the same person? Anything other than circumstantial evidence is almost impossible. Claudia, in order to be so well-versed in Latin and in order to have the name of the former Emperor, is likely the daughter of a British king, probably King Cogidubnus, who took the name of Claudius, and who, according to Tacitus (Agric. 14), was made governor of certain states in Britain during the reign of Claudius. This accounts for his taking the names of that emperor, viz. Tiberius Claudius, by referring to the Roman custom of allowing freedmen, clients, and foreigners to take the names of their respective patrons.

He is the same person named on the inscription found at Chichester in 1723, an inscribed slab which created great interest when it was found. It was mutilated, but the inscription was restored by Roger Gale (Phil. Trans., No. 379), and informed us that a guild of workmen and their priests “dedicated, under the authority of King Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus, the Legate of Augustus in Britain, a temple to Neptune and Minerva, for the safety of the divine house (i. e., the imperial family), Pudens, son of Pudentius, giving the site.”

Pudens is also called Aulus Pudens and simply Aulus in the epigrams. The name of Aulus, which is here given to Pudens, may perhaps justify the suspicion that there was some kind of connection between Martial’s Pudens and Aulus Plautius, the conqueror of Britain, and it may have been his connection with this early friend of Cogidubnus that pointed him out as a suitable person to be sent to the court of a British prince. If Aulus Pudens were married to the daughter of Cogidubnus, there could not have been a more suitable appointment.

Few women were named Claudia in the first century. One had to have a right to the name. It was the emperor’s appellation and there were laws and traditions governing the use of the name. For the name to crop up as part of the Roman congregation in the early apostolic church is quite significant. For Claudia and Pudens to be mentioned by Martial as being married and Claudia being from Britain is quite significant. For Aulus Pudens to have the name of the conqueror of Britain, Aulus Plautius, is also significant. There is a likely connection here.

Claudia’s contact with Plautius and his Christian wife would be quite likely, as Plautius was not only a victorious general, but relation to the emperor. Claudius’ first wife was his cousin. Claudia the Briton, as a Christian convert, would have sought out and worked with the other Christians in Rome and thus would have known of Plautius’ wife conversion even if she arrived after Pomponia was tried and secluded. Being the daughter of a British king, she could have lived in the home of Plautius and thus known his wife even in her seclusion

The future emperor Vespasian was in Britain with Claudius and Plautius during the invasion in 43 A.D. His brother Sabinus had a son named Titus Flavius Clemens, who married the niece of the emperor Domitian. Clemens was later the most illustrious of the Christian martyrs, both by birth and station. It appears that Pudens and Claudia took Paul’s message to the highest levels of Roman society.


COMMENT:

Mr. Finton,

There is no need to resurrect a nineteenth-century chestnut like Guest when there are more recent studies which bring to bear a rigorous approach to Flavian prosopography. Both Brian Jones’ Domitian and the Senatorial Order (Philadelphia, 1979) and Pat Southern’s Domitian (Bloomington, 1997) examine in detail the claim that Titus Flavius Clemens and Domitilla were executed for Christian beliefs and conclude that there is no serious evidence for such a claim. The report of the execution of Tiberius Flavius Clem- ens is more consistent with his association with the circle around the Emperor Titus’ mistress Bernice and those who favored a more moderate policy toward Jews in the aftermath of the crushing of the Jewish revolt of 66-70 AD. Domitian repudiated Titus’ more conciliatory policy and vigorously persecuted Jews, especially Roman and Hellenistic converts. The deaths of Titus Flavius Clemens and his wife occur in this context, probably because of their connection to pro-Jewish sympathizers in Rome (the likelihood that they themselves were Jewish converts is rather less).

The only Christian connection present was the fact that a piece of property owned by Domitilla became a Christian cemetery approximately two hundred years after her death.

The study of Roman history, and particularly the history of Roman Britain, has advanced rather a lot since Guest’s death in 1880. As I have said before, the existence of a scholarly literature helps to avoid reinventing the proverbial wheel (and elevating discredited antiquarian scholarship above its proper place).

Greg Rose, University of Mississippi


COMMENT:

Greg,

I wouldn’t automatically discount the importance or the continued significance of the 19th-century research. I have recently been doing some Ptolemaic studies, where there has been an enormous amount of prosographical data and research published this century. Yet an important inscription in a highly visible place––the pylons of the Temple of Edfu––published in 1870 and at the centre of a major controversy ever since, was not re-examined till 1988. I myself have found a key issue related to my research which has not been addressed since 1899.

Chris Bennett


Editorial Reply:

I have examined these references and find little detail in their conclusions. They have simply dismissed the possibility that Clemens could have been a Christian.

As editor of The Plantagenet Connection, people send me this kind of material quite often. The belief that Clemens was a Christian martyr still prevails in the genealogical community which takes information found in old texts at face value. It is pleasant to finally be able to come to an understanding of these issues, one by one, and confidently refute or support the data by later research. Libraries hold far more older works than newer works and the public perceptions are often a hundred years off.

I am looking for one simple thing here:

Martial, a Roman contemporary poet, wrote verses to Pudens and referred to his wife Claudia as a painted Britain. Timothy 4:12 mentions both Pudens and Claudia as members of the early congregation of the church of Rome.

The only question for the moment is: “are these the same people?”

Guest’s suggestion (and my contribution) is that a British woman could not be named Claudia unless she was a client of the emperor and this identifies Claudia as the daughter of the British King Cogidnu- bus mentioned by Tacitus.

For us to believe that there were two people named Claudia, both married to a Pudens, both of British descent, and both friends of Martial certainly stretches the imagination. Thus, I believe that the Claudia and Pudens mentioned in Timothy were indeed the same people that Martial knew

Therefore, we seem to have documented evidence of the daughter of a British king marrying a Roman in the first century and becoming a Christian. Further, other epigrams addressed to Pudens place him in a northern territory (probably Britain) and identify him with Aulus Plautius (as he wears the name Aulus as well). Since Plautius’ wife was a Christian, we can assume that Claudia came to Rome and learned the Christian beliefs from her teachers. Further, the inscription of the temple to Cogidubnus says that Pudens gave the land, so we can safely assume that he originally obtained it in some manner.

Greg Rose wrote: “The deaths of Titus Flavius Clemens and his wife occur in this context, probably because of their connection to pro-Jewish sympathizers in Rome (the likelihood that they themselves were Jewish converts is rather less). The only Christian connection present was the fact that a piece of property owned by Domitil- la became a Christian cemetery approximately two hundred years after her death.”

This Christian cemetery was not only owned by Domitilla, it was named for her. Flavia Domitilla was the daughter of the Emperor Domitian’s sister and the wife of T. Flavius Clemens. That she owned and donated land for a Christian cemetery is a clue of their Christian leanings. It still exists and is called the cemetery of Domitilla to this day! “Already in the end of the first century, we can see in the gallery of the Flavians in the cemetery of Domitilla, Daniel in the den of lions.”  (1)

The Christians of this era, though distinct from the Jews, were regarded by the Romans (and possibly even themselves) as a Jewish sect. When the Romans spoke of banishing the Jews or persecuting Jew- ish converts, they were speaking of this sect of chrestiani. (2)

Besides the documentation of the British marriage to a Roman, we have evidence of Christian conversions within high levels of the Roman aristocracy in the first century. Another pagan witness named Thallus confirms the penetration of Christian ideas into high Roman circles as early as 40 AD.  (3)

When Claudius expelled the Jews, he was expelling the Christians. They were not yet differentiated from the Jews. The exact phrasing of Suetonius was: “He [Claudius] expelled from Rome the Jews who, led by Christ, were the cause of continual agitations.”


COMMENT:

Chris,

I was not rejecting all nineteenth-century scholarship (which is the reason I characterized the Guest work as a “chestnut” and referred explicitly to discredited nineteenth-century scholarship), but rather Guest’s work. Clearly, there is nineteenth- century scholarship which can and should be read

with profit by scholars today ––almost anything written by Kemble or Sievers comes immediately to mind as examples. However, in the field of Roman British studies, Guest has long been ren- dered unimportant by methodological and source advances––Guest did not have the treasure-trove of the RIB to mine for prosopographical evidence, nor could he benefit from modern, scientific ar- chaeology’s contributions.

Greg Rose


COMMENT:

Mr. Finton,

There are good reasons for rejecting Guest’s contentions out of hand, as examination of his own arguments suggest. There is no evidence whatsoever that Cogidnubus had a daughter. This is purely speculation by Guest. Note the use of “if”, “may”, “would” –– this is indicative of just how uncertain Guest’s speculations are.

Guest’s contention here is simply a confession of his ignorance. Prosopographical and epigraphical studies have enormously advanced our understanding of first-century onomastic practices. The name “Claudia” is seen in inscriptions of imperial freed women as well as woman granted citizenship during the reign of Claudius. The name is not rare at all in the first century as epigraphic evidence made available by archaeology in the twentieth century demonstrates. The suggestion that the shared nomen “Aulus” is significant ignores the fact that the cognomen “Pudens” (meaning literally shaming) is associated with servile origin. Aulus Pudens was almost certainly a freedman––possibly associated with Aulus Plautius, but by no means necessarily so. Martial’s Claudia is likely of freedman origin as well on the basis of epigraphic evidence.

There is no evidence that the wife of Aulus Plautius was a Christian. This is purely a speculation. BTW, have you left something out of the quotation from Guest? Is he seriously suggesting that the Emperor Claudius was a Christian convert? That would be absurd.


Editorial Reply:

This question has been studied and argued since 1650 when James Ussher—archbishop in Ireland and a prolific theologian, whose rare books are scattered still across the world––began to argue this connection. Yet, these epigrams were written over a lifetime and the poet Martial’s writing days must have begun around age 30 or so––with some of the bawdy content, perhaps even an earlier age. He was an immensely popular poet, the Don Rickles of his day, insulting and pointing out the foibles in the cream of Roman society with poems long before committing them to book form. Perhaps he started writing these around 50 to 60 A.D. The fact that they were not published in book form until around 80 to 100 A.D. is not significant. This observation has not been argued in this century.

So far as prosopographical evidence is concerned, I have checked the Prosopographia Imperii Romani, which covers first-century Rome. (4)  The work stops at the letter “O”. Seventy-three women named Claudia are listed, only one of them a foreigner from Britain.

The two most important epigrams are these: Epigram 4.13: Martial, in an epigram addressed to Rufus, celebrates the marriage of his Pudens’ to the “foreigner Claudia.”

Book IV, XIII:

CLAUDIA, Rufe, meo nubit Peregrina Pudenti: macte esto taedis, O Hyrnenaee, tuis. tam bene rara suo miscentur cinnama nardo, Massica Theseis tam bene vina favis;nee melius teneris iunguntur vitibus ulmi, nec plus lotos aquas, litora myrtus amat. candida perpetuo reside, Concordia, lecto, tamque pari semper sit Venus acqua iugo: diligat illa senem quondam, sed et ipsa marito tum quoque, cum fuerit, non videatur anus.

XIII: “Claudia Perigrina [foreigner], Rufus, weds my Pudens: O Hymenaeus, bless the torches! Such a union precious cinnamon makes with nard; such, Massic wine with honey from the land of Theseus. The elms do not join the vines in closer love, not the lotus its water, not the myrtle its banks. O Concord! be the perpetual guardian of that bed; and may Venus be generous in equal bounty. May the wife cherish her husband, even when he becomes gray, and she when she is old, appear still young.” Epigrams 4.13.]

Not anyone can wear the emperor’s name. Claudia was not the common name that it is today. One must assume she is a client of the emperor and wonder if she is a foreigner where she is from. 11:53 answers that question:

Book I, LIII:

Claudia caeruleis cum sit Rufina Britannis edita, quam Latiae pectora gentis habet! quale decus formae! Romanam credere matres Italides possunt, Atthides esse suam. Di bene quod sancto peperit fecunda marito, quod sperat generos quodque puella nurus. Sic placeat superis ut coniuge gaudeat uno et semper natis gaudeat illa tribus.

LIII: translation

“Although Claudia Rufina was born of the blue-eyed Britons, she has a Latin heart. How beautiful her form! Italian women would take her for a Roman; those of Attica for their own. You gods who have blessed her in the children she has born her sainted husband, grant also her hopesfor sons-in-law and daughters-in-law. May she enjoy but a single husband and enjoy, always, her three sons.”

In order for Claudia to be born of the painted Britons and be in Rome, well- versed in Latin and Greek and the graces of culture, she had to come from a very high  station, which explains her name. The British King Cogidubnus took the name Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus and, according to tradition, his daughter would be named Claudia. In my view, this is why Claudia was in Rome and she WAS his daughter.

How did Pudens meet Martial? He is referred to early in the books at a much younger age as being in line for a promo- tion:

Book I, XXXI:

Hos tibi, Phoebe, vovet totos a vertice crines Encolpos, domini centurionis amor, grata Pudens meriti tulerit cum praemia pili. quam primum longas, Phoebe, recide comas, dum nulla teneri sordent lanugine voltus dumque decent fusae lactea colla iubae; utque tuis longum dominnsque puerque fruantur- muneribus, tonsum fac cite, sero virum.

XXXI

THESE, all the tresses from his head, Encolpus, the darling of his master the cen- turion, vows, Phoebus, to thee, when Pudens shall bring home the glad guerdon of his merit, a chief centurion’s rank. Sever, Phoebus, with all speed these long locks while his soft cheeks are darkened not with any down, and while tumbled curls grace iris milk-white neck; and, so that; both master and boy may long enjoy thy gifts, make him soon shorn, but a man late!

Encolpus vows to shave his locks when Pudens is promoted. In Book 5.48, this pact is fulfilled:“What does love compel? Encolpos has shorn his locks against his master’s will, yet not forbidden. Pudens allowed it and wept: [E. had dedicated his long hair to Phoebus if his master Pudens became first centurion (primi pali) and now proceeds to fulfill that vow] in such a wise did his sire yield the reins, sighing at Pantheon’s boldness [helios, the sun, allowed Pantheon to drive his chariot]; so fair was ravished Hylas [a beautiful youth drawn under the water by the enamored Nymphus], so fair discovered Achilles [who had been hidden by Thetis in wom-en’s clothes to prevent him from going to the  Trojan  War,  an  early  incident  of pacifism], when amid his mother’s tears and joy he laid aside his locks. Yet haste not thou, O beard [he is not yet a man]––trust  not  those  shortened  tresses––and spring slow in return for sacrifice so great!”

Epigram 4.29 is addressed to Pudens: “Dear Pudens, their very number hampers my poems, and volume after volume wearies and sates the reader. Rare things please one; so greater charm belongs to early apples, so winter roses win value; so her pride commends a mistress who pillages you, and a door, always open holds no fast lover. Oftener Persius wins credit in a single book than trivial Marsus [another epigrammatic poet who wrote an epic on the Amazons] in his whole Amaxonid. Do you think, too, whatever of my books you read again, think that it is the only one: so ’twill be to you of fuller worth.”

In Book 6.58, Pudens wears the first name of Aulus, the same as Aulus Plautius, conqueror or Britain who had the Christian wife. Pudens was stationed in a far northern post that seems to have been Britain, so the tie can be made to the Chichester tablet where Pudens’ name was impressed.

Book 6, LVIII:

CERNERE Parrhasios dum te iuvat, Aule, triones comminus et Getici sidera pigra poli, o quam pacne tibi Stygias ego raptus ad undas Elysiae vidi nubila fusca plagae! quamvis lassa tuos quaerebant lumina vultus atque erat in gelido plurimus ore Pudens. si mihi lanificae ducunt non pulla sorores stamina nec surdos vox habet ista deos, sospite me sospes Latias reveheris ad urbes et referes pili praemia clarus eques.

LVIII:

“WHILE it pleased you, Aulus, to survey anear the Northern Bears and the slow- wheeling stars of Getic heavens, oh, how nearly was I snatched away from you to the waves of Styx, and viewed the gloomy clouds of the Elysian plain! Weary as they were, my eyes searched for your face, and on my chill lips oft was Pudens’ name. If the wool-working Sisters draw not my threads of sable hue [i.e., grant me longer life], and this my prayer find not the gods deaf, I shall be safe, and you shall safe return to Latin cities and bring back a chief centurion’s honour, an illustrious knight withal.”

Epigram 7.11: “You compell me to correct my poems with my own hands and pen, Pudens. Oh, how overmuch you approve and love my work who wish to have my trifles in autograph.”

Epigram 7.97 is addressed to Aulus Pu- dens:

Book VII, XCVII:

Nosti si bene Caesium, libelle, montanae decus Umbriae Sabinum, Auli municipem mei Pudentis, illi tu dabis haec vel occupato. instent mille licet premantque curae, nostris carminibus tamen vacabit. nzm me diligit ille proximumque Turni nobilibus legit libellis. o quantum tibi norrlinis paratur! o quae gloria! quanl frequens amator; te convivia, te forum sonabit aedes compita porticus tabernae. uni mitteris, omnibus legeris.

XCVII: translation

“If you know well, little book, Caesius Sabinus, the pride of hilly Umbria, fel- low-townsman of my Aulus Pudens, you will give him these, though he be engaged. Though a thousand duties press on and distract him, yet he will be at leisure for my poems. For he loves me, and, next to Turnus’ famous satires, reads me. Oh, what a reputation is being stored up for you! Oh, what glory! How many an admirer! With you banquets, with you the forum will echo, houses, by-ways, colonnades, bookshops! You are being sent to one, by all will you be read.”

The other epigrams are these:

Epigram. 13.69: The poet never gets any cattae from Umbria; Pudens prefers sending them to his Lord.

Besides these epigrams, there are seven addressed by Martial to one Aulus, who is likely the same person as Aulus Pudens:

Epigram 5.28: Never Aulus, whatever your conduct be, can you make Mamercus speak well of you, even though you surpassed the whole world in piety, peacefulness, courtesy, probity, justice, flow of language, and facetiousness––no one can please him.

Epigram 6.78: The physician, Aulus, told Phryx, the noble toper, he would lose his eyesight if he drank. Eye, fare well (farewell), said Phryx; he drank and lost his sight.

Epigram 7.14: A coarse epigram on a woman––one of Martial’s acquaintances.

Epigram 11.38: Aulus! Do you wonder why a certain slave was sold for so large a sum? The man was deaf––that is, could not play the eaves-dropper on his master.

Epigram 12.51: Aulus, why do you wonder that “our Fabullinus” is so often deceived? A good man is always a tiro.

Martial also wrote nine epigrams ad- dressed to Fabullus. He seems to have been one of the Martial’s intimate friends, but was ill-regarded with no great respect or affection.

Greg Rose wrote: “There is no evidence whatsoever that Cogidnubus had a daugh- ter. This is purely speculation by Guest. Note the use of “if”, “may”, “would”––this is indicative of just how uncertain Guest’s speculations are.”

The only mention of Cogidnubus was in Tacitus, so there is no evidence of any children, yet kings had children with regularity. The evidence is in the existence of Claudia the painted Briton in Martial’s epigram. For those remote times it is as good as a birth certificate. If we are open about this, the answer is evident. Who else could it possibly be? What other British woman who spoke Latin and Greek like a native and had the manners of a queen could Claudia be? How else would this Briton wear the proud name of Claudia? How many of the women named Claudia in Rome were born of the “blue-eyed Britons” and spoke fluent Latin and Greek. Remember that Cogidnubus was made king right after the Roman invasion. Before that time, his daughter would not have known Latin and Greek, nor had Roman manners. Nor would have anyone else the island. It would take until 60-65 AD for such learning to occur. Reason tells me there was only one Briton named Claudia. Who else could she be other than Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus’ daughter? Who can name one more candidate?

Greg Rose wrote: “Aulus Pudens was almost certainly a freedman––possibly as- sociated with Aulus Plautius, but by no means necessarily so. Martial’s Claudia is likely of freedman origin as well on the basis of epigraphic evidence.”

What epigraphic evidence? And I agree that Aulus Pudens was associated with Aulus Plautius, but I would eliminate the “not necessarily so.”

Greg Rose wrote: There is no evidence that the wife of Aulus Plautius was a Christian. This is purely a speculation. By the way, have you left something out of the quotation from Guest? Is he seriously suggesting that the Emperor Claudius was a Christian  convert? That  would  be absurd.”

No, he was not arguing that Claudius was a Christian convert, but Aulus Plautius had a cousin who was one of the wives of Claudius. Plautius and Claudius had a family relationship. Claudius’ first wife was Plautia Urguanilla, who bore him a daughter named Claudia Antonia, born 27 A.D., died 66 A.D., and a son named Drusus. Plautia was a cousin of Plautius. Young Drusus choked to death when he threw a pear in the air and tried to catch it with his mouth. Claudius later divorced Plautia for adultery and supposedly for murder as well, but no one knows whom she was supposed to have murdered. [Suetonius, Claudius.26.]

The conqueror of Britain, Plautius, had a Christian wife. Her name was Pomponia Graecina. She was charged with “some foreign superstition when Plautius returned to Rome. The trial was recorded by Tacitus and took place in 57 A.D. She was handed over to her husband for judicial decision. He found that she was “innocent,” but she remained in seclusion the rest of her life. [The Annals, Tacitus 13:32.]

What other “foreign superstition” would she be charged witch if not Christianity? We must be open about this. Only when we recognize the truth in the pieces does the puzzle fit together.

There are Christian inscriptions of a Pomponius Graecinus at the end of the second or the beginning of the third cen- tury and several of Pomponii Bassi. (5} Plautius, a consul whose cousin espoused the Emperor Claudius, had become suspect because she led a life which was too austere in the eyes of those in her circle and has been accused of ‘foreign superstition.’” (6)

Mr. Finton,

The problem is one of interpretation of the evidence and distinguishing between evidence and speculation.

You wrote: “Remember, not anyone can wear the emperor’s name. Claudia was not the common name that it is today. One must assume she is a patron of the emperor and wonder if she is a foreigner where she is from. 11:33 answers that question.”

This completely misrepresents the onomastic situation. Every imperial freedman freed during the reign of Claudius could take the Claudian nomen (and every freed woman the Claudian praenomen), as could their descendants, as well as any person granted citizenship during the reign of Claudius (which is the only way Cogidubnus could hold the Claudian nomen), and their descendants. The same is true for every freedman and freed woman of any member of the Gens Claudia and their descendants. For the rules of Roman name formation, look at Bruno Doer’s Der Ro- mische Namengebung: ein Historischer Versuch (Hildesheim, 1974). For the onomastic practices and social and political roles of imperial freedmen (and their numbers), see Gerard Boulert’s Esclaves et affranchis imperiaux sous Haut-Empire (Naples, 1970), P.R.C. Weaver’s Familia Cae- saris: a Social Study of the Emperor’s Freedmen and Slaves (Cambridge, 1972), and W. Eck’s and

J. Heinrichs’ Sklaven und Freiglassene in der Ge- sellschaft der Romischer Kaiserzeit (Darmstadt, 1993).

You wrote: “In order for Claudia to be born of the painted Britons and be in Rome, well-versed in Latin and Greek and the graces of culture, she had to come from a high station, which explains her name. The British King Cogidubnus took the name Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus and, according to tradition, his daughter would be named Claudia. In my view, this is why Claudia was in Rome and she WAS his daughter.”

I defy you to show a single piece of evidence which suggests that Cogidubnus fathered any daughters, much less one who was spirited off to Rome. Why is it not equally possible for Claudia to have been an imperial slave from Britannia lat- er freed, or the daughter of a Claudian imperial freedman? High levels of literacy and cultural at- tainment are certainly not unknown among Julio- Claudian and Flavian imperial slaves and freedmen/women. Why does Claudia have to be the daughter of a British king? Just because you want it to be?

You wrote: “How did Pudens meet Martial? He is referred to early in the books at a much younger age as being in line for a promotion.”

A primus pilus––the first centurion of a legion––was of no more than Equestrian rank (if that, since promotion was from the ranks). This is attested by virtually all of the first century AD epigraphic evidence. This makes it unlikely that the Aulus Pudens of Martial was a close relative of Aulus Plautius (he would have been, then, Senatorial or Equestrian by birth and would have entered legionary service as a military tribune, not as a ranker). Pudens and its related forms is not quite so rare a name as you appear to think––there are at least six inscriptions with this cognomen prior to 114 AD and the wife of Lucius Apuleius was styled Aemilia (the feminine diminutive form of Pudens, entis). The supposed link between Aulus Pudens and Aulus Plautius is weakened by the fact that the senatorial Aulus family was of Picentine origin (there was an Aulus among the clientes of Pompey Strabo, the father of Pompey the Great), while Martial clearly indicates that Aulus Pudens was Umbrian (Epigram 7.97). This increases the probability that Aulus Pudens was the descendant of an Aulan client (probably a freedman) rather than a relative of Aulus Plautius.

You wrote: “In Book 6.58, Pudens wears the first name of Aulus, the same as Aulus Plautius, conqueror or Britain who had the Christian wife. Pudens was stationed in a far northern post that seems to have been Britain, so the tie can be made to the Chichester tablet where Pudens’ name was impressed.”

What is your evidence that the wife of Aulus Plautius was a Christian? What makes you think that Chichester (or more precisely the Romano- British town of Regni) was a legionary fortress or headquarters suitable for the presence of an inscription from a legionary primus pilus in the Flavian period? The archaeology of the site does not sustain such an identification. Only four legions were stationed in Britannia (II Augusta, IX Hispana, XIV Gemina Martia Victrix, and XX Valeria Victrix) from the Claudian invasion to the end of the Flavian period (Legio XIV was re- moved in 67 from Britannia and dispatched to Syria). Does epigraphic evidence of the fasti of any of these legions identify an Aulus Pudens as primus pilus? Your supposition that the Chichester inscription is related to the Aulus Pudens of Martial is mere idle, unsubstantiated speculation.

Finally, what is your evidence that the Pudens and Claudia of II Timothy 4:21 are the Aulus Pudens and Claudia Rufina of Martial’s Epigramma- ta? Don’t tell me who has speculated that the identification is sound. Don’t tell me “because the names are rare.” The epigraphic evidence and the prevalence of the Claudian nomen among imperial freedmen say that is an unfounded claim. This identification is more idle, unsubstantiated speculation––just the same as when Ussher opined it.

You have only indicated what you believe––not what evidence convinces you. The Epigrammata of Martial––no matter whether quoted in Latin or in English––are not evidence. Everyone concedes that the names Aulus Pudens and Claudia Rufina appear there. What is at question is whether they are the same people as in the Chichester epigraph and II Timothy 4:21, and whether Claudia Rufina is the daughter of a British king. And on those points you have cited no evidence whatsoever.

Greg Rose


Editorial Reply:

Greg Rose wrote: “Why, does Claudia have to be the daughter of a British king? Just because you want it to be?”

That is a good question that can also be reversed. If you do not want her to be so, you can argue from the other direction.

Greg Rose wrote: “I defy you to show a single piece of evidence which suggests that Cogidubnus fathered any daughters, much less one who was spirited off to Rome.”

The only reference I know of about Cogidubnus is the passage in Tacitus. That does not mention his children. If there are any more references I would like to know of them. If this is the only one, then there is no written evidence either way. That being so, we can assume he That being so, we can assume h had children. It was a common thing among kings in those days to have an heir. If one wife did not bear, another wife or mistress was taken. Other legends point toward Claudia and being a daughter of Caractacus.

Greg Rose wrote: “Why is it not equally possible for Claudia to have been an imperial slave from Britannia later freed, or the daughter of a Claudian imperial freedman? High levels of literacy and cultural attainment are certainly not unknown among Julio-Claudian and Flavian imperial slaves and freedmen/women.”

This is a good question, perhaps the root question. Since she probably married Pudens in Rome, how did she get to Rome. Where did she learn her manners? Is high literacy and cultural attainment in both Greek and Latin really that likely among freed women? Probably not. And a freed woman would not be born a Briton, as is documented.

Greg Rose wrote: “This makes it unlikely that the Aulus Pudens of Martial was a close relative of Aulus Plautius (he would have been, then, Senatorial or Equestrian by birth and would have entered legionary service as a military tribune, not as a ranker).”

No, I did not say Pudens was a relative of Plautius. He rose from the ranks. The reference was to the family relationship between Plautius and Claudius through Claudius’ first wife. How Pudens knew Plautius is the mystery.

Greg Rose wrote: “Pudens and its related forms is not quite so rare a name as you appear to think––there are at least sixwith this cognomen prior to 114 AD and the wife of Lucius Apuleiuswas styled Aemilia Pudentilla (the feminine diminutive form of Pudens, ___entis).”

I would like to see a reference to all six, as I have only found three. There were few named Pudens in Roman history. The three other known Pudens are: 1) Arrius Pudens, a consul in 165 AD. 2) Maevius Pudens, employed by Otho to corrupt the soldiers of Galba (Tacitus 1.24) 3) Q. Servilius Pudens, a counsul in 166 AD.7 With Lucius Apuleius as husband of Aemilia Pudentilla, we have the Pudens name associated with Lucius. That brings in another can of worms into the picture, as the legends show that Lucius the Great is the ancestor of Helen of the Cross. Perhaps the very name of Lucius came from an association with the descendants of Pudens and Claudia. Would it not be strange if this all did fit together and that the name of Lucius the Great did come from Roman relatives as the legends indicated?

Greg Rose wrote: “What is your evidence that the wife of Aulus Plautius was a Christian?”

The Tacitus description when she was on trial for “foreign superstition” with her husband as judge. There was no name for Christianity at that time. What else is a candidate for “foreign superstition” in such a high social office? Witchcraft? I think not. Nor is Judaism likely.
You wrote: “Your supposition that the Chichester inscription is related to the Aulus Pudens of Martial is mere idle, unsubstantiated speculation.”

This site was the palace of King Cogidubnus. The name Pudens was on the inscription. More recent excavations have found that it was a huge palace, truly fit for a king. It size and layout suggests how far the Roman authorities were prepared to go in rewarding loyal cooperation. This in turn hints to the high value they set upon their newly acquired province of Britannia. (8)

This site was the palace of Cogidnubus––his name is on the slab with Pudens at the right time–– and the inscription had been reinterpreted to show that he was called “the great king.” There is more than idle speculation involved here, considering the rest of the story.

Greg Rose wrote: “Finally, what is your evidence that the Pudens and Claudia of II Timothy 4:21 are the Aulus Pudens and Claudia Rufina of Martial’s Epigrammata?”

If one accepts that Plautius’ wife learned the teaching of Christ from someone like Timothy or Paul––the magnificently convincing founders of the early church in Rome––while Plautius was away on campaign like Tacitus suggests, then the puzzle begins to take form. Pudens was promoted and seems to have been in Britain from the epigrammatic evidence. Pud


ens’ name appears on an inscription with the name of Cogidnubus, so it makes great sense to identify these people with the Claudia with Pudens of Timothy. Pudenswould have obviously been converted by Claudia’s influence, and Claudia by the influence of Plautius’ wife or her children. They would have first-hand information that could be passed down to their grandchildren for generations––and thus the historical origin of the ancient legends.

Another interesting but unsubstantiated (as of now) bit of information was alluded  to by Guest. “The legendaries tell us that this royal missionary was himself converted by a certain Timotheus who visited Britain, and who, in one or two accounts, is described as St. Paul’s disciple. This is an obvious blunder, but there was another member of the early church who figures under the same name, and he, no doubt, was the Timotheus alluded to. The Timotheus in question is represented by certain legendaries as the brother of the sainted virgins Pudentiana and Praxedes, who, according to some, were the daughters, or, according to others, the granddaughters of Pudens. The reader need hardly be reminded that two of the oldest churches in Rome are dedicate to the saints Pudentiana and Praxedes.” I know nothing else of these legendaries.

Greg Rose wrote: “What is at question is whether they are the same people as in the Chichester epigraph and II Timothy 4:21, and whether Claudia Rufina is the daughter of a British king. And on those points you have cited no evidence whatsoever.”

Yes, that is the question. Is this true? Is there really no evidence? Is the slab, the names, the words of Tacitus and the descriptions by Martial all unrelated? I doubt it. I think they are connected. The problem is that if this is so, some other ideas about this time will also crumble. My world will not crumble regardless of the outcome of this matter. I view it as an unsolved mystery that can stand to be brought out of the closet and viewed in the breaking light of the 21st century. The resolution can go either way. The important thing is that it be resolved.


 COMMENT:

Ken,

Even if it turns out that there is no case for Claudia daughter of Cogidubnus, this is an interesting discussion. There is a strong, and totally  bogus, medieval tradition of a descent of British kings through a daughter of the emperor Claudius in Geoffrey of Monmouth. It would be interesting to know how this tradition arose. The type of argument being made here may be closely related to the way medieval genealogists made this deduction.

– Chris Bennett

 

Editorial Reply:

The bogus connection was through Arviragus’ marriage to Genuissa, daughter of Claudius. Arviragus was an historical person (mentioned in Juvenal) who rebelledagainst the Romans, but Caractacus stole the fire of history by being captured and taken off to Rome. Another legendary source has Caractacus converted to Christianity and having a daughter named Claudia Britannicus. If true, this would beanother British Claudia, but I am not certain about the source of this legend andfeel that the names and identities may have been confused. The origin of the legend ofClaudia Britannica is not with Geoffrey of Monmouth. At first, this confused me as I thought this Claudia might be the Claudiaof Martial.

Greg Rose wrote: “The Epigrammata of Martial––no matter whether quoted in Latin or in English––are not evidence.”

Brian Jones in The Emperor Domitian has this to say about Martial’s epigrams. “… everyone was terrified of the emperor [Domitian]. The evidence provided by the court poets Statius and Martial is consistent with this.”

Jones’ very first end note about Domitian converting his family home into a temple of the gens Flavia was attributed to Martial 9.20 as the source material. (9)  It is clear that Jones believes that Martial’s poetry can be used as evidence and that Martial was a court poet writing about the upper classes.

This issue of Pudens and Claudia has not been examined for a hundred years and the arguments have been forgotten. That is why it is necessary to reexamine them.

Similarly, until Brian Jones came out with his biography of Domitian in 1992, there had not been a book on this emperor for a hundred years. Jones says: “By the time of Domitian’s birth, the Flavians were less influential at court. Once Messallina had been replaced by Agrippina, the [Flavian] group centered on Antonia and became disunited; when Claudius sought advice about a suitable replacement for his third wife, some (e.g. Vitellius) favored Agrippina and others (e.g. Narcissus) favored Aelia Paetina. The victor showed little mercy to the vanquished –– the Plautia [gens] suffered the most, with Aulus Plautius’ wife Pomponia Graecina being charged with practicing a foreign religion (Ann.13.32) and two other Plautii forced to commit suicide (Nero 35.4) … for the Flavians, it meant that Vespasian was no longer welcome at court.” (10)  However, their fortunes recovered by 59 AD when Agrippina was murdered by Nero [her son]. The relationship between the Flavian and the Julii gens remained close. Domitian’s niece, Julia, about 11 years older than he, was born in the early 60’s, daughter of his brother Titus and his wife Arrecinna Tertulla who had close relatives named Julius.

Of Titus Flauvius Clemens, not much is known, in comparison to his brother Sabinus. Clemens married Flavia Domitilla, daughter of Domitian’s sister. They had seven children, two of whom were openly designated as Domitian’s successor. (Dom 15.1)

In 95 A.D. Clemens was appointed ordinary counsel with Domitian, no doubt to groom his sons for succession, but not long afterwards he was charged with atheism. According to Dio, he was executed and his wife banished. The fate of the children is unknown. Jones says: “Finally, the precise nature of Clemens’s ’atheism’ is disputed. Some have argued that they were both Christians or Christian sympathizers, others that they favored Judaism. In neither case is the evidence convincing.” [Ibid, p 48} Now, “atheism” is a strange charge for Romans to make. In those days when the mad emperors declared themselves gods, any sane person should have been an an atheist. It is similar to the strange charge made against Plautius’ wife of “foreign superstition.”


COMMENT:

Ken, I have a few reactions to the Edwin Guest paper you sent me.

1) Victorian sanctimony in full flood is really repulsive. Parts of this just made me cringe.

2) “Rufina” probably has nothing to do with gens affiliation––it means “red-head”––a very likely epithet for a Briton (cf William Rufus). At best its a convenient pun!

3) If the theory is correct, and Pudens was granting land to Cogidubnus during Aulus Plautius’ governorship then he was considerably older than Claudia. To be in a position of such power and trust during the 40s he must have been in at least his late 20s or early 30s at that time; i.e., 15-20 years older than her putatitive age. So you can factor that into reconstructing his career, to see if it fits with the likely age at which he becomes a centurion etc.

4) A “Claudia” in late Flavian Rome was, I think, much more likely to be born with the name than to have been granted it on receiving free status. Here a survey of PIR and whatever other first century prosopographies you can lay your hands on is essential––how many Claudians of any stripe can be traced after the death of Nero? If you can establish this point, then the plausibility of her being the daughter of a British king goes up considerably.

5) The internal evidence on Claudia alone might be sufficient to show that Martial’s epigrams were collected over a period of years before publication (from marriage to three sons in the blink of an eyelid!)––unless the sons were by a previous marriage of Pudens.

Anyway, keep me posted, this is an interesting investigation.

-Chris Bennett

 

Editorial Reply: To me, it looks as though the age is correct. Pudens could have held the land for quite a while before donating it for the temple, but if he were later a Christian, perhaps he would have done it earlier––before he was converted. It was a pagan temple. That aspect has confused scholars for a while. The fact of the donation presupposes a relationship with Cogidubnus that could have led to a marriage to his alleged daughter.

COMMENT:

Ken,

If the reconstruction on Martial is right, most of the epigrams were written during the period 70- 95––or can they be shown to have been composed under Nero? Pudens became a centurion during that time, lets say c70. But Aulus Plautius was governor of Britain 41-47. So, suppose Pudens was c25 in 45 (quite young), in order to make the grant––birth c20 AD. That means he became a centurion in his late 40’s to early 50’s. Possible, for a blighted career, but I think this is beginning to stretch plausibility a little far––a detailed review of the lower ranking officer corps in the first century Roman army is required. I don’t know of any, though I’m sure one exists.

-Chris Bennett

Editorial Reply:

Martial died no later than 101 AD. He was in Rome for 35 years. For another eight years he took a hiatus from Rome, so Book One of his Epigrams likely were written around 60-70 AD at the earliest. That leaves a problem with the Plautius connection. The first book of Martial’s epigrams has Pudens out of Rome awaiting his promotion to master centurion. Pudens, being the son of Pudentius, could have also received the land from his father,especially if his father was a Roman merchant who traded or held goods for land.

Also, Plautius’ alleged Christian wife, Pomponia, was tried around 47-50 A.D. and went into seclusion thereafter. It seems difficult to prove that she could have been Claudia’s Christian contact if she were truly in seclusion. That her family, especially her children, could have been allowed contact is likely. That would help to explain the legendary Christian strain in her descendants. I find it unlikely that her husband would let her personally attend meetings with Christians after the trial. His position was not that secure. That would leave out any direct contact with other converts for her, but she may have proxied through her family, especially her children. Also, if Claudia was a guest in their home because she was Cogidnubus’ daughter, she could have had personal contact with Pomponia. Pomponia’s teacher could have been either Timothy or Paul. Around 60-70 A.D., Paul back in Rome. Claudia could have met him at this time.

Claudia, as the daughter of Cogidnubus, would have been welcome in Aulus Plautius’ home and in the Roman courts. Martial was not only a court poet, but a frequenter of the royal baths, whose bathers were the subjects of his verses.

So far as Pudens is concerned, a birth date of Around 30 A.D. seems likely. That would make him around fifteen when Britain was being subjugated. He was awaiting promotion as a head centurion around 65 A.D. For Claudia to have been around 25 around 80 A.D., when she was noted as having three children, her birth date would have been circa 55 A.D. She would have been 15 when Pudens was awaiting his promotion and possibly his land grant. Cogidnubus, being described as “long faithful,” would still be around in70 A.D. I would like to think that a romance bloomed between the personable and handsome centurion and the British princess–– that Pudens received his promotion and his land grant, donated the land and carried the British lass away and back to Rome, but that is the imaginative storyteller in me speaking. If he returned with a Greek and Latin-speaking prize of a British princess, he would have achieved court status.

What we could have here are two divergent and separate Christian conversions, the one of Pomponia (carried on through her children and their children), and theone of Claudia the Britain, be she free woman or princess. However, Pomponia’s family (the children) would have been the right age to know Claudia and Pudens at the court. If the Christian strain  in the descendants of Pomponia is assumed, then secretive contacts with other Christians must be likely.

COMMENT:

Ken,

The following contain information on the in- scription: J.E. Bogaers “King Cogidubnus in Chichester: Another Reading of RIB 91” in Bri- tannia 10 (1979) pp.243-254 and plate IX, R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright The Roman In- scriptions of Britain, Vol I, Inscriptions on Stone, (Oxford 1965) pp. 25-6, RIB 91.

The original reading was as follows:

[N]eptuno et Minervae / templum / [pr]o sa- lute do[mos] divinae / [ex] auctoritat[e Ti(beri)] Claud(i) / [Co]gidubni r(egis) lega[ti] Aug(usti) in Brit(annia) / [colle]gium fabor(um) et qui in eo / [sun]t d(e) s(uo) d(ederunt) donante aream / … ]ente Pudentini fil(io)

“To Neptune and Minerva, for the welfare of the Divine House by the authority of Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus, king, imperial legate in Britain, the guild of smiths and those therein gave this temple from their own resources, […]ens, son of Pudentius, presenting the site.”

The new reading is basically the same as the above except line 5 now is shown to read: [CO]GIDVBNI RE[G(is) M]AGNI BRIT

(anniae or annorum?) …

Which makes the inscription read:  “… by the authority   of   Tiberius   Claudius   Cogidubnus, great king in Britain, the guild of smiths …”

More relevant to your present project is the following from Bogaers’s article. When referring to a card from Chichester Museum that reads: “ST. PAUL AND BRITAIN: Notes on the DedIcation Stone of the Temple of Neptune and Minerva, at Chichester, which connects the Roman Senator Pudens, the British Princess Claudia, and St. Paul with the city of Chichester,” he says: “All this has clear reference to the ’hallucinations’ of those who have supposed a close connection of the [Pu?]dens of the Chichester inscription which [sic] the Pudens and Claudia mentioned by St. Paul at the end of his second letter from Rome to Timothy, bishop of Ephesus (4, 21), and with the British lady Claudia Rufina, Claudia peregrina and Pudens known from Martial, Epigr. xi, 53 and iv, 13. Against any such ideas Hubner was strongly and rightly opposed.” (pp. 251-2).

Bogaers gives the following references for the above: A. Hubner, Corpus Inscriptionum Latinar- um, vii, no. 11, p.19, with further references: (Berlin 1873) W. Stukely, Intinerarium Curio- summ (1776), 200; C. Roach Smith “Roman Chichester” in Journal of the British Archaeologi- cal Association, XLIII, 1887, p.17

-Thomas Green, Exeter College, Oxford

Editorial Reply:

I do not understand the passionate displays that critics have about this subject. Tom  referred  to  a  1873  criticism  as “hallucinations”  about  this  connection. That the museum note about the plaque refers to Pudens as a senator shows me that the writer has him confused with a later  Pudens,  perhaps  Arrius  Pudens,  a consul  in  165  AD.  Though  the  data  is sketchy, I believe there is much more to it. The basic evidence in Martial’s poems remains unaltered. That a Pudens did mar- ry a British Claudia is beyond debate. Prosopographia Imperii Romani data showed no other foreign Claudia and only 73 women with that name.

The term “sancto marito” to describe Pudens translates at the least to “sanctified husband” if not “sainted husband.” Therefore, Martial was aware of Pudens’ religi- ous life. Pudens and Claudia are found in the biblical reference with Linus, who also became one of the very first pontiffs of the Roman church (from 67-79 AD), imme- diately after St. Peter. The Roman church became the leader in the Christian com- munity shortly after 50 AD. Martial began to write his poems under the reign of Nero. He was born around 40 AD and was 24 when he went to Rome in 64 AD. Christianity had much room to flourish at this time, even though Peter and Paul were executed and imprisoned. It would only be with the backing of aristocratic and influential Romans that this could happen.

The stone inscription was broken and it is hard to make Pudens out of dens, but the portion that says “son of Pudentius” is intact. No other letters but PV make a match.

A stemma that I picked up from the pro- sopography data shows clearly the family connections between the Julians, the Fla- vians, the Claudians, the Agrippinas, the Platonis, and the Clemens.

Now the crux of this is Guest’s theory that T. Flavius Clemens was the Saint Clemens and the pontiff of the early Christian church. This seems to be on some solid ground. The book Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology [edited by William Smith, Pub. John Murray, London, 1880], has much information on this:

“Clemens, T. Flavius, was cousin to the emperor Domitian, and his colleague in the consulship, AD 95, and married Domitilla, also a relation of Domitian.

His father was Flavius Sabinus, the elder brother of the emperor Vespasian, [remember it was in Vespasian’s reign that Christians had it much easier. Vespasian built many temples to Jupiter and Minerva and poured money into the provinces] and his brother Flavius Sabinus who was put to death by Domitian (Suet. Domit 10). Domitian had destined the sons of Clemens to succeed him in the empire, and, changing their original names, had called one Vespatian and the other Domitian, but he subsequently put Clemens to death during the consulship of the latter. (Seut Dom. 15). Dio Cassius says (lxvii.14) that Clemens  was put to death on a charge of aetheism, for which, he adds, many others who went over to the Jewish opinions were executed. This must imply that he had become a Christian, and for that same reason, his wife was banished to Pandataria by Domitian. (Comp. Phillostr, Apoll. viii 15; Euseb, HE iii.14; Hieronym Ep.27.) To this Clemens in all probability is dedicated the church of St. Clement at Rome on the Caelian Hill, which is believed to have been built originally in the fifth century, although the site is now occupied by a more recent, though very ancient structure. In the year 1725 Cardinal Annibal Albani found under this church an inscription in honor of Flavius Clemens, martyr, which is described in a work called T. Flavii Clementis Viri Consularis et Martyris Tumulus illustatus, Urbino, 1727. Some connect him with the au- thor of the Epistle to the Corinthians, Clemens Romanus.

COMMENT:

Ken,

Bogaers cannot be taken as ’the last word’, particularly as it appears to be a very short piece that cannot surely have considered all the evidence in detail.

-Thomas Green, Exeter College, Oxford


COMMENT:

You may already know this but I just ran across the reference while looking at something else.

In the account of the crucifixion in the Gospel of Mark (KJV), the person who is “compelled” to carry the cross is one “Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus.” Now my impression is that Alexander and Rufus are mentioned because the original audience of the Gospel would have known who these people were. That makes it quite possible that they were connected with the Christian church, and thus the Rufus mentioned may well be the same as Claudia’s husband mentioned by the Apostle Paul. However, Simon’s status as one who can be forced to carry the cross of a condemned man argues against the high status of his sons in the Roman Court.

Sarah Love

Editorial Reply:

Sarah,

This cross-carrying legend leads us directly to the origins of the legends of Helen of the Cross and is thus important. I doubt seriously that this biblical Rufus is the same as Pudens (Rufus Pudens) as his name was Aulus Pudens.

There is question as to whether the biblical Rufus was the half brother of the apostle Paul. Rufus was an early Christian, mentioned in the Bible several times. “And when they had mocked him [Christ], they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him. And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.” (St. Mark 15: 20-21).

Here we have Rufus’ father carrying the cross of Jesus. The author, Mark, obviously knew Rufus, but did not seem to know that Rufus was a half-brother of both Paul and Alexander. Pudens’ father was the Roman, Pudentius, as confirmed by the inscription on the British temple, a man of probable high standing in the governing circles, possibly a land owner and dealer in diverse Roman provinces. His mother, probably a Roman as well, remarried the Hebrew, Simon of Cyrene, when her Roman husband either died or divorced her.

Some have interpreted that Paul wrote about his half-brother and their mother in his Epistle to the Romans 16:13, “Salute Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.” Others see just two women and not the same mother. Claudia’s husband Pudens knew Rufus, if Rufus is the same man to whom Martial addressed his epigram. Pudens would have known him from the congregation. The biblical Rufus is likely the same man referred to by Martial when he wrote: “Claudia Perigrina, Rufus, weds my Pudens.”

Claudia was likely called “Claudia Rufi-na” from the color of her hair, but she could also have lived with a member of the related Rufi Gens. If Rufus and Paul were half-brothers, having the same mother, but different fathers, this would go a long way in explaining the Helen of the Cross mysteries.

One of the families of the Pomponian gens was called the Rufi. If we assume that Pomponia belonged to this family, we can account for Martial’s addressing the first of the two epigrams to a Rufus. Also, it may be the source of the name of Rufina given to Claudia in the second epigram. Rufina was certainly a name borne by female members of the Pomponian gens, as we do find a Pomponia Rufina mentioned in Roman History (Dio. Cass. 77.16).

The letter which St. Paul sent from Rome to Timothy shortly before his death, in the year 68, contained greetings from “Eubulus, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia.” (2 Tim. 4. 21). In an epigram addressed to Rufus, Martial mentions the marriage of ‘the foreigner Claudia’ with ‘his Pudens’ (Epigram 4. 13), and in another (Epigram 11. 53) extols the graces of a Claudia Rufina, who though ‘sprung thanks the gods that she had borne children to her ‘sainted husband’ (sancto mari- to).

The Latin sancto translates “sacred” and later “sainted”. This shows me that Martial knew of the Christian leanings of these people. I believe that the Rufus he addressed in the epigram could quite well have been the biblical Rufus. Rufus is a Roman name and the biblical had great associations. Rufus, Eubulus,  Pudens, Linus and Claudia were undoubtedly very important people in the church for them to be mentioned by Paul. They were the real leaders of the early Roman church. Linus went on to become the first Pope, immediately after Peter.

“The name Linus appears as the immediate successor to Peter in all the ancient lists of the bishops of Rome. Irenaeous (11) identifies him with the Linus mentioned by Paul in 2 Timothy 4.21. According to the LiberPontificalis, Linus suffered martyrdom and was buried in the Vatican.” (12)

When Plautius finally left Britain in AD 47, he set up Cogidubnus to reign. Before this time all Britons were Celts, isolated in their island fortress, wearing blue paint to battle. For a woman born in Britain to have the time to learn Latin, Greek and Roman manners––as we have evidence that Claudia did––she would need to have been reared in constant contact with Roman teachers. There was not enough time for anyone else to achieve this learning but the daughter of the great king Cogidnubus. Whether she was taken as an infant to Rome, or was whisked away by Pudens is unclear, but I think it is clear that one way or another, the Pudens of the Bible is the same Pudens whose name is found on the Chichester inscription near the newly excavated palace of Cogidnubus.

 

END NOTES:

1 The History of the Primitive Church, Lebreton and Zeillor, Macmillan, 1942. Vol 1, p 528.

2 Ibid, Vol. I, p. 296.

3 Transmitted in a fragment of Julius Africanus, conserved by the Byzantine chronicler George Syncellus (Framgmenta historicum graecorum, ed. by Carl Muller, Vol. III, p. 529.

4 2nd editon, ed. E. Groag, A. Stein & L. Peterson, 3 Vols 1933-1987.

5  De Rossi, Roma sotterranea,  Vol. II. p 282,362.

6 The History of the Primitive Church,  Vol. 1, p 383.

7 Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, edited by William Smith, Pub. John Murray, London, 1880.

8 B. Cunliffe Excavations at Fishbourne 1961-69, (Research Report of the Society of Antiquaries 26, London 1971.

9 The Emperor Domitian, Brian Jones, Routledge, 1992, pp. 1 and 30.

10  Ibid., pp. 8-9.

11 Adv. Haer, iii, 3.3.

12 Encyclopedia Britannica, ‘LINUS’.

 

 

 

THE PINNACLED HIGHLIGHTS OF EACH LIVING DAY

 

Pinnacle+Peak+Ocotillo

 

OUR ANNIVERSARY (9/22/17)

 

Only a few in the history of love

stumble upon circumstances

that allows them to live happily ever after.

The prince and princess of fairy tales

lived happily ever after

while the masses were left to endure

hardship, disdain and marital discord.

So we are the fortunate ones, you and I.

Fortunate that we found one another,

fortunate that our paths not only crossed,

but in that we travel this road year after year.

Today, we celebrate an anniversary

that commemorates this epic journey

we have taken together.

Our ups and downs will never cease,

but that which binds us

is so much stronger

than the world outside us.

Let troubles hail down upon us.

Still, our bond will shelter us

from the tempest.

We have always had our share of

life’s problematic quandaries.

If, from time to time,

I fail to show the appreciation

that I feel in the depths of my inner being,

please continue to forgive me as before.

Know this: I love you like no other

and our days together continue to be

the pinnacled highlights of each living day.

TOTAL ECLIPSE

©2017 Kenneth Harper Finton

 

TOTAL ECLIPSE

August 21, 2017, near Casper, Wyoming.

 

We had parked the night before

in a turnabout at the junction

of two lonely Wyoming highways.

By morning, a hamlet of onlookers had been formed.

Behind me, two elderly astronomers spoke

of virtual particles falling into black holes

as the brilliant noonday sun began to look like

Pacman on the prowl through the dark glass.

The proper exclamation at totality

became the subject of discussion.

“Ooooooooh” and “Wow” and “Holy Shit”

were all deemed appropriate reactions.

Slowly, like waiting on water to boil,

the shadow of the moon became the aggressor

as Sol lost its appetite and became

that which was consumed.

The summer air cooled and the colors

of the forced dusk flooded the senses.

There was the sensation of a passing cloud,

a waning of the light, a ghostly chill in the air,

as the smallest sliver of the Sun

was eaten away by the black shadow.

A shocking sky became manifest

in an instant, as the sun became a distant star

All of the agreed upon exclamations and more

rose from the crowd about me.

Everyone was in awe of the power

of that last intense speck of light before totality.

The vision was transformed in an instant into a black hole

with radiant beams of a five-pointed star

with a circular black center illumined

by the huge, vibrating rays of the corona.

Sunrise could be seen in all directions

as Sol slowly re-emerged in a Bronco blue and orange sky

with a circular black center illumined

by the huge, vibrating rays of the corona.

The world was never so lovely,

the Sun was never so welcome,

Venus hung above the horizon,

lost in the love of the blue shadows.

As the onlookers left, they joined the vast parade

of vehicles jamming the little-traveled roads.

We slowly passed where a motorcycle

ran off the road at a high speed.

A body bag was being lifted into a waiting ambulance

as notes were made into reports.

Of course, we wondered about the victim.

Who was this whose life’s fate was linked

to such a celestial drama?

The bag was full, indications of a large male corpse.

Did he have a heart attack?

Did he lose consciousness

At a vital moment?

We could do nothing.

We could say nothing.

I have learned nothing.

Total eclipses come in many ways.

 

PartialSunEclipse9

 

MELANIA, YOU LOVE HIM, RIGHT?

Melania, you love him, right? Some advice from Garrison Keillor

First Lady Melania Trump listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with administration officials on the opioid addiction crisis at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., on Tuesday. Nicholas Kamm, AFP/Getty Images

 

 

My wife has gone East for a couple weeks and now there is nobody to say, “You’re not wearing that tie with that shirt, are you?” Nobody to point discreetly at her left nostril and hand me a tissue. Nobody to remind me of the name of that woman with the glasses (Liz) whom I ought to know — I told my wife, “Her and me went to school together” so that she’d have the satisfaction of saying “She and I.” “No,” I said, “I don’t think you went to our school.”

It’s a comedy routine when she’s around and now it’s a lonely monk in his cell, quill pen in hand, making illuminated letters and living in darkness.

At this very moment, if you want to know the truth, the big crisis in my life is the fact that my iPhone has accidentally upgraded itself and I don’t know how to downgrade it except by hurling it into the river. My wife would know how to fix this.

Some genius at Apple designed it and now I need a password to make each call or text and the texting screen is odd. Instead of a simple “Send,” there is a row of icons. I press one and colored balloons float up in the background, I try another and the phone offers me a choice of cartoons to accompany the text — a ferocious gorilla in a cage, Snow White, a galloping horse — which must be big fun for 5-year-olds but I’m 75 and I don’t need balloons to accompany my texts, and meanwhile the thing keeps asking for my Apple ID verification, which I do not have. This hellish idiocy descended on me suddenly; evidently I clicked on a “Yes” I shouldn’t have clicked on. My wife would know how to do a reset. I’d like to reset the phone with a ball-peen hammer.

Man was not made to live alone. My friend Frank came to visit who has been divorced for a couple years and I sat and took issue with him on about half of what he had to say which required me to lean farther to the right than I care to lean but I did it for his own good and he was grateful for the opposition. He’s been alone for a long time, living on love and sympathy, and he needed the boost to self-esteem that comes from someone telling you you’re full of prune juice.

This is the American way. Those whom we love, we needle. Better honest skepticism than false piety.

One person can’t do it all. I pretty much handle foreign policy issues in our home because I am not inhibited by ignorance, whereas my wife handles science, technology and the arts. She reads science articles in the paper and explains them to me. She tends the plants in the yard and knows their names. She is well-versed on social convention and has sound opinions about music, books and design. The marriage operates on a delicate system of checks and balances. I say, “Let’s put a ping-pong table in the living room” and she says, “After I’m gone,” and so we don’t.

Everyone needs a truth-teller in his or her life and truth-tellers are becoming rare. It’s the Age of Sensitivity when we’re made to feel that we should be validating each other and not telling someone that his fly is open. Which brings me to the point of this column (“And about time,” I can hear her say).

Melania — do you mind if I call you Melania? — I assume that you love this guy. I don’t, even though Scripture tells me to. A bully and a braggart who is also a liar and somewhat clueless might be lovable if he were a cabdriver, but not a president. But you do, so fine. You owe it to him to tell him, “Darling, you’re making an ass of yourself. For the sake of your family, stop.” Would you let the man run around in a headdress of flamingo feathers singing the song about each and every highway and byway and not in a shy way with his trousers around his ankles? No, you wouldn’t. But that’s what’s happening now.

You married a New York Democrat and now you’re married to Aaron Slick from Punkin Crick. Make him stop. If you can’t tell him face to face, try Twitter. A short punchy message will get his attention. Something like, “You are dumb enough to be twins. Shut up and be beautiful.”


 

Garrison Keillor is an author, entertainer and former host of “A Prairie Home Companion.”

SOMEBODY DOWN THERE DON’T WANT YOU

Ted_Brown_ClaremontJalopy

©2014 Ken Finton

Clay said: You’ve heard about the type of guy who’s always gettin’ in trouble, just one fix after another without any in betweens––like the driftin’ cowboys on TV westerns, sort of tall and quiet, but trouble follers after ‘em like a friendly pup. Anyway, my life ain’t been quite the same since I  met up with him.

His name was Penrod Applehand. What God in the heavens ever saddled him with a name like that, no man knows.

It’s not that the trouble doesn’t really come to him from his own makin’,  mind you. It’s sort of like he drags trouble around behind him and every time he slows down it wheels up and cracks him on the back.

Tell you how I met him, now that I’m a-thinkin’ of it. I remember it was a dark night late last fall when the wind was a-whistlin’ through the trees like a teakettle a-boilin’ on the stove. The temperature had skidded down to nearly freezin’. The frost would have been on the pumpkin fer sure, but it was too late for pumpkins. All the pumpkins we had ‘round had been hollered out fer Halloween and was all dried up and rottin’ away on the manure piles. We live out on the edge of town near the railroad track, so we can keep chickens and an old milk cow without the town council or the health department complainin’ too bad. We got a few neighbors, but it ‘s just a stone’s throw from our place to the open country.

Anyways, I was a-sittin’ home that Fall evenin’, real tired and all snuggled up in my clothes with my feet on the stove when I heard this knockin’ come at the door. Right away I knew it was somebody there at the door because of this knockin’, you see.

I got up and walked out to the hall in my stockin’ feet, peekin’ through the darkness to see who I could see. Well, some danged fool had dropped as thumb tack and I stepped on the fool thing. 

The pain started up my foot and crawled over my knee. ‘Fore I knew it,  it come up into my lungs and come a-whizzen out in a whoppin’ scream that made Sis’s hair to curl. She ought to have thanked me for curlin’ her hair—God knows, it needed it—but she didn’t speak to me for three days after that, so I don’t know if she was happy about it or not.

Well, I went over to the door and there was this guy ‘bout my age, but a mite taller and a mite thinner than me. I told him to come in a second while I pulled the thumb tack out of my foot. He said ‘okay’ and stepped inside. I flicked on the light and sat down on the floor to tryin’ to pull that darned tack out. 

Sis came into the hall, her hair all curled and her face chalk white. This guy, he took off his hat. It was  one of those hats they use to climb mountains with–a big turned down brim and a big red feather that helps you to keep your balance when you’re a-roostin’ up there on them rocks. Sis smiled at this feller, but didn’t even look at me, so I said, “Christ, that hurts,” and she said, “Shut your mouth.” It made me feel better that somebody knew I was a-hurtin’. 

The guy said he had a flat tire and didn’t have a jack in his car. Now, I’m always ready to help a guy in trouble, so I offered to pull my car over, give him a little bit of light to work by and let him borrow my jack. He said he’d be very much obliged, so I started off to get my car while he and Sis walked out to the road.

His car was pulled off to the side of the road on a grade, almost tipped over. One tire was flat, but the others looked all right. Sis said she thought he could drive it ’cause it was only flat on one side. 

He laughed and thought she’d made a joke, only Sis wasn’t jokin’. She’s stupider than me sometimes. 

I pulled my car ‘round in front of his’n and pulled the throttle out a little so the battery’d stay up with the lights on, then I fished the jack out of my trunk. Lord, the wind got bitter all of a sudden.

We started jackin’ up the car, but the dirt was pretty soft and the jack kept a-slippin’ and a-goin’ crooked. Finally, though we got the car up and pulled the tire off. It had a nail stickin’ between the treads. That started as to thinkin’ ‘bout that thumb tack I ran in my foot and my foot got pretty sore just thinkin’ about it. “Christ, that hurts,” I said.  Sis said, “Shut your mouth.” She don’t say much other than that.

Right then the engine in my car started to pop and whinny a little, then it gasped one big breath and died. I tried to start it up again, but the starter just whined away and the motor wouldn’t take hold.  I looked at the gas gauge and figured out my trouble. I cranked down the window and hollered out: “Hey, you guys, I’m out of gas.” They started to laugh and I got a little hot under the collar. It wasn’t  that funny.

Just then I heard a crash like a sack of potatoes fallin’ off the kitchen table and onto the floor. I hopped out of the car and looked around. The jack had slipped off this other guy’s car and the car had come down. The handle of the jack was stickin’ up through the fender just as pretty as could be. It was my turn to laugh.

This other guy was a-laughin’ too. “It won’t hurt this car any,”  he said, but how do I get it back up?”

“Call a tow truck,” I said.

“I couldn’t  pay for it.”

We sat there a-laughin’ and tryin’ to figure out what to do until we got good and cold and had to go back into the house to warm up a mite. Later on we hammered the jack out from under the car and  got the car back up so as we could put the spare on.

He told me his name then, Penrod Applehand. I had a hard time keepin’ a straight face. He said he was new in town and worked in a factory over there across the railroad tracks.

Well, we got both cars a-runnin’ again and started up a real fast friendship. Sometimes I think there is a little bit of courtin’ goin’ on ‘tween Sis and Penrod, but I can’t tell for sure.  Still, I can’t get used to that name of his’n.  I’d shorten it to Pen, but it just wouldn’t sound right.

I saw quite a bit of Penrod after that. He was by our house off and on all winter long, but we really didn’t get out ‘til after the snow melted away and the sun started shinin’ warm again. Then, one day last Spring, Penrod had to take a trip over to Harding to see about a new job. Harding’s about a hundred and fifty miles, so he wanted me and Sis to ride along.

It was a real nice day for a ride, the sun a-shinin’ and makin’  everything golden.  An old man was  thumbin’ his way along the road and Penrod thought he’d do a once-in-a-lifetime good turn and pick him up. The old man sat in the back seat and for miles and miles he didn’t say much of anything. He was just a-lookin’ out on the countryside and smilin’ all inside his self. After we’d gone about a hundred miles, Penrod turned around and said, “Where do you want off,  Mister?”

The old man squinted his eyes and put his hand up to his ear and said, “Thank you, this will be fine.”

Well, there wasn’t nothin’ in sight, not a house or a barn or nothin’, just a lot of woods and fields and telephone poles. Penrod pulled his car over to the side, dropped the old man off, and we started up again.

Before long, we noticed that there was this car behind us. Penrod slowed down a little (I guess we was doin’ about seventy-five) and let the car catch up with us. It was one of those highway patrol guys, damn the luck. He flagged us over to the side and here was that old man sittin’ there in the front seat right up beside him. 

“You picked this man up,” the cop said, pointin’ back at the old man in the car.

“Yes, sir,” Penrod said. “We carried him all the way from Jasper.”

“Don’t you know kidnapping is a serious offense?”

“I didn’t kidnap nobody,” Penrod said.

“That’s tellin’ him, Penrod,” Sis said. “You tell him off good.”

I nudged Sis in the ribs so that she’d keep quiet.

“Get out of the car,” the cop said.

“Yes, sir,”  Penrod said. He started climbin’ out over Sis and me. The cop looked a little startled. 

“I said get out, not climb over on your girl friend’s lap.”

“I am gettin’ out,” Penrod said. “This door over on my side’s  stuck. It won’t open, see?”

“Well, get out some way before I get me a can opener.”

Penrod and the cop went over and sat in the cruiser a while. Pretty soon, he came back and said that the old man had walked away from a state hospital and the cop thought we were in on it.

Well, it took a mite of talkin’ to get out of that one, but finally, we got the cop to believe that we only picked him up because he was thumbin’ his way.

“It’s against the law to pick up hitch-hikers,” he said. “I’m gonna have to write you out a ticket for that. You’ll have to follow me out to the Justice of Peace to get it paid for. And while I’m at it, I’ll just give you another ticket for speeding.”

“I wasn’t speeding,” Penrod said. “This old car can’t go too fast. Listen here.” He started up the engine. He must of forgot about that broken muffler, ‘cause it sure sounded bad.

“Uh-huh… driving with a broken muffler, too.”

“It must of just broke while we was a-sittin’ here,” Penrod said.

“The way you was weavin’ all over the road, I’ll give you a ticket for reckless drivin’ too,” the cop said.

“But I wasn’t drivin’ reckless. My wheels are a little out of line, that’s all.”

“Maybe I ought to give this car a safety check.”

“Oh, no, sir,” Penrod said.

“It would never pass it,” Sis said. I nudged her in the ribs.

 “Follow me,”  the cop said.

Well, we followed him all right, almost twenty miles along those crusty dirt roads back to a log shanty stuck alone out in the woods. There was a little sign a-hangin’ in front of the cabin sayin’ Justice of  Peace.

Inside the shanty, there was this man, sort of crumpled up and fat at the same time. He had the worst case of shakes that I ever saw in a body. He could hardly raise his bottle up to his lips without sloppin’ some on his vest.

“Hank, I’ve got some more business for you,” the cop sald.

The judge didn’t waste no time. “Court is now in session,” he said, between sips.

“Speeding is one offense. Ninety miles an hour in a fifty mile an hour zone…”

“My car won’t even go ninety,” Penrod said.

“I can find somethin’ else wrong with that car if’n you don’t shut up.”

“… yes, it will, too,” Penrod said.

“Also,” the cop said, “he picked up a hitch-hiker, drove reckless and he’s  got a noisy muffler. What do you figure we ought to get off this one, Hank?”

“Well, John, I don’t know,” the Judge said, thumbin’ his way through a little black book. It looked like a Bible, but it was pretty wore, so I knew it wasn’t a Bible. It was prob’ly one of those law books. 

“I’d say that it ought to be worth fifty dollars.”

“I reckon so,” the cop said. “And then some.” 

“Seventy-five,” the judge said. “Seventy-five plus costs.”

“But I ain’t got seventy-five dollars,” Penrod wailed.

“You got somethin’ we could take in trade?”

Penrod looked at Sis. I did too. 

“Oh, no,” she said. “You ain’t tradin’ me.”

“How much you got, kid?” the Judge asked.

“Fifteen bucks.”

“Wait a minute, let me figure,” the Judge said, pickin’ up a piece of paper. Fifteen from seventy-five leaves sixty dollars. Sure you ain’t got any more?”

“Not a red cent.” 

“Sixty dollars and the costs are hereby suspended.” the Judge said. “It’ll cost you fifteen dollars.”

Penrod opened his mouth fixin’ to argue some more, but I nudged him in the ribs and said, “That’ll be just dandy, Judge.” 

That ended the trip to Harding. We didn’t have enough money to get the rest of the way. On the way back some old man was thumbin’ his way along the road, smilin’ all inside himself.

We went right on by.

Yes, sir, I believe ol’ Penrod finally learned his lesson about pickin’ up hitch hikers, but he’ll never learn about cars. Sometimes I believe, honest-to-God, that he has pistons in his stomach and fuel pumps as kidneys.

We got this neighbor that lives near the railroad tracks who buys a new car every year. He came home one day last week with one of those sleek, new, shiny red cars that caught everybody’s eye, especially Penrod’s.

“Do you think you could get Mr. Powell to let me drive his car?” Penrod asked.

“Well, I don’t know,” I said. “He don’t generally…”

“Listen. Tell him I’m a mechanic from Harvey’s Garage and we have to take the car out for a thousand mile test. That way we’ll be able to git it.” 

“That might work,” I said.

“That ain’t all,” Penrod said. “I know where there’s a car just like that, only it’s been smashed up a little. The whole front end’s all caved in, but it still runs. What we’ll do is this…”

The next day I went over to Mr. Powell’s place. He was out in his yard pickin’ dandelion greens. “Hello, Mr, Powell,” I said. “How are the greens this year?”

“Fine, Clay, just fine. A little ruffage for the stomach. Makes a body feel as frisky as a colt.”

“You’ve got to boil ‘em in two sets of water,” I said. “Pour the first pot off and boil ‘em again and then they’re pretty sweet.”

“Did you see my new car, Clay?”

“Yes, sir. By the way, I was down at the garage today and one of the guys was a-tellin’ me that they’re gonna send a man out to take it for a thousand mile test.”

“A thousand mile test?”

“Yes, sir. It’s somethin’ new that they just came up with. They always take a car out for a thousand mile test. That way they can tell if everything’s right—if the horn needs fixin’ or the fuel pump’s bad.”

“That sounds like good business,” Mr. Powell said. ‘That company is on the ball and that’s what I like to see. People on the ball. They make the world go ‘round.”

Right about this time, Penrod came a-struttin’ down the road wearin’ his usual faded jeans and grease-stained shirt. He came up into the yard lookin’ so innocent and serious that I couldn’t help but laugh a little.

“Mr. Powell,” he said. “I’m from Harvey’s Garage. It’s about time for the thousand mile checkup.”

“Yes, Clay here has been tellin’ me about it. Good business, I say. Very good business. You’ll find the key in the ignition switch.”

“Want to come along, Clay?” Penrod asked.

“You bet,” I said. I wasn’t about to miss this one.

Penrod revved up the engine and pulled out of the driveway. “It worked,” he laughed. “Just like a charm.”

“Don’t you think Mr. Powell will get the cops on you?”

“Nah, leave it up to me.”

We drove out Highway 26 to Ball’s wrecking yard. One of the guys from the yard crew was a-workin’ on a transmission out in front of the building. 

“You got the car ready?” Penrod asked.

“Sure thang,” this fellow said. He smiled and his teeth stood out against his greasy face and his gums showed somethin’ horrible. He opened a rusty gate and we follered him out behind the building where a new car just like Mr. Powell’s was a-sittin’. A guy couldn’t hardly tell the difference between Mr. Powell’s car and the one that had been wrecked.

“You’ll have to bring it back before the boss gets back from lunch,” the guy with the greasy face said. “The boss’ll really be burnin’ if he finds out what’s cookin’.”

Penrod got into the wrecked car and motioned me inside.

“Thanks, Toothy,” he said. I’ll be back ‘fore long. If your boss does get back, just tell him I’m thinkin’ of buyin’ this car and fixin’ it up, so you let me take it out to see how it drove.”

The front shocks was broke and so was one of the springs. The whole front sagged way down and the hood was crumpled clean up to the windshield.

We drove slow back to Mr. Powell’s. He was still out huntin’ for dandelion greens when we got there. His head was bowed down and he was cuttin’ away with his putty knife.

Penrod turned in the drive and the wheel rubbed on the fender. The bumper grated on the gravel. Mr. Powell looked up, his mouth fell open and he dropped his putty knife. We pulled to a stop and he just set there on his haunches with his mouth hangin’ wide open, big enough for a coon dog to hop into.

Penrod got out of the car. “I had a little trouble, Mr. Powell.”

Mr. Powell’s whole face just sorta sagged. I couldn’t help myself. I  started to laugh and had to cover up my face with my hands. Penrod, well, he didn’t even crack a smile. I don’t know how he did it.

“Your car’s in fine mechanical order,” he said. “Or–it was, anyway. You need a little body work, but I know where you can get somebody to do it right cheap. It’ll prob’ly only cost around seven hundred dollars or so.”

Penrod turned around to me. “Ready, Clay?”

I hopped out of the car and walked over to him, keepin’ my grin under my hands and pretendin’ I was a-wipin’ my nose.

“We’ll  see you when it’s time for your two thousand mile checkup,” Penrod said.

Mr. Powell didn’t say a word. He just stared at the car with his mouth open and kept pinchin’ himself every now and then.

Since my house was right next door, we went over to my place and ‘fore long I heard Mr. Powell slam the door and go into his house. We could hear him just as plain as could be. “Martha, pour me a glass of lemonade. I have a murder to commit.”

It all seems a mite funny now, but at the time it was somethin’ else. Penrod and I went back to the wrecking yard and picked up Mr. Powell’s car. We drove it back to Mr. Powell’s. There he was a-sittin’ out on his steps with his shotgun laid across his knees, just a-starin’ at the wrecked car.

Penrod pulled into the drive and drove the car out onto Mr. Powell’s lawn. “Oh-oh, you shouldn’t  have done that,” I said. “Mr. Powell’s awful proud of his lawn.”

Mr. Powell came up beside the car carryin’ his shotgun and Penrod just sat there behind the steerin’ wheel with that weird grin of his plastered all over his face. 

“You didn’t wreck my car after all?”

“No, sir. It was just a joke.”

“You pulled up on my grass.” 

“I’m sorry, Sir,  Penrod said. “I’ll back it out on the street.”

He put it in reverse and spun the tires, takin’ a big hunk of Mr. Powell’s lawn with him. Penrod got out of the car. “I hope there ain’t no hard… Eeeps!”

Mr. Powell fired the shotgun straight into the air and bellowed like a bull. He charged straight at Penrod, swingin’ that gun of his’n like a club. I shut my eyes and started a-prayin’. When I looked up, they were runnin’ down the street, Penrod runnin’ for dear life and Mr. Powell right behind him still swingin’ that shotgun. For an older guy, Mr. Powell could sure run. I watched until they ran out of sight and then went home and sat down to keep my knees from a-shakin.

Well, Penrod got out of that one without much harm, but cars are gonna be the death of him yet. Just last Sunday he dropped by while Sis was finishin’ up the dinner dishes. 

“Let’s take my car out for a drive,” he said. “I just spent every last dime that I ever had puttin’ new pistons, mains and piston rings in. Let’s see how the ol’ babe runs now. 

“That car of yours won’t get us nowhere,” Sis said. “It’s dangerous to even be in it.”

It didn’t take much persuadin’ to get Sis in the car. She took the same seat she usually does, right next to Penrod–leavin’ me by the window. We were all set, waitin’ fer Penrod to get in. 

“Everybody out,” he said.

“What for? Let’s go.” 

“You gotta let me in. That door on the driver’s side won’t open. Remember? It’s stuck.”

We got out and Penrod scooted over behind the wheel. The engine started hard, but we finally got it goin’ and pulled out onto the road. Trouble was that we didn’t get any farther than the railroad tracks. Penrod went to slow down and it stalled the engine right on the tracks. He pushed on the starter and the engine growled. “Darn new rings and bearings make the motor tight,” he said. “I don’t think I can I get it started.” 

“Well, this is a beautiful place to stall out,” Sis said., “right on the railroad track. What would happen if a train…”

Well, we didn’t have to wait long to find out. Right then, the two o’clock express hooted and came into sight about a quarter of a mile down the track.

“Get out,” Penrod said. “Get back real far and I’ll try to get this thing started.”

Sis and I  hopped out. Sis got back and I started, pushin’ on the car while Penrod kept a-pushin’ on the starter. It wouldn’t budge. The train was really a-movin’. I could hear the wheels hummin’ on the rails.

“Put it in gear,” I yelled, “and let out on the clutch. Maybe it’ll move by the battery alone.”

Penrod put it in gear, but the battery was too low by now. It stopped completely. The train was a-gettin’ too close for me to stay any longer. I ran back a little toward Sis. Penrod was still in the car pushin’ away at the starter. Before long, I  couldn’t hear the hum of the starter over the roar of the train. 

“Jump, Penrod!  Jump!” Sis yelled.

I ran up toward the car so I could holler better. “Penrod, you fool. Get out of there.” 

The train was only about two hundred feet away. Penrod gave up and jumped out of the car. Before he got as far as me, the train hit and the car sailed up in the air, the front part landin’ on one side of the tracks and the back part bein’ throwed a hundred feet down on our side of the tracks.

Penrod came up beside me all out of breath. “There went my car,” he said.

Sis came runnin’ up behind us. The train was a-slowin’ down and stoppin’. “Penrod,” Sis said, “are you all right?” 

“Fit as a fiddle,” he said.

“It’s a good thing that door opened when you needed it,”  she said.

Penrod had forgot about the door bein’ stuck. So had I.

“My God,” he said. “That was a close one.”

“Sure enough,” Sis said.

 “Somebody up there must love me,”  Penrod said.

That didn’t sound right to me. “I think somebody down there don’t want you,” I said.

“Oh, shut your mouth,” Sis said.

She don’t say much other than that.