Gates of Rome by Conn Iggulden, Book 1 in the Emperor Series

Gates_Of_RomeHaving already read the Conqueror series about Genghis Khan by Conn Iggulden, I was looking forward to the Emperor series. I must say I was a little disappointed as it did not have the same intensity.

To be fair, the Emperor series was Conn’s maiden attempt at writing epic historical fiction, and The Gates of Rome, his very first book. I suppose once Conn had cut his teeth on this genre with Emperor, he excelled on the Conqueror series.

Not much is known about the early life of Julius Caesar, but from inferences in the biography by Suetonius, Iggulden was able to create a fictional account of what may have occurred. Iggulden as he usually does, takes great liberties by introducing Gaius and Marcus as boyhood friends who grow up together learning the arts of war on Gaius’s father’s estate. Gaius as we know, is in fact Gaius Julius Caesar and Marcus is Marcus Junius Brutus who was the leading figure in Caesar’s eventual assassination.

In Iggulden’s fictional version of events, the two boyhood friends are separated in their early teens, with Marcus joining a foreign legion in Greece and Gaius entering politics in Rome under the patronage of his uncle Gaius Marius, who was a rival to Sinna, another famous Consul.

The rivalry between Sinna and Marius is loosely based on historical facts, but the eventual showdown between them in Rome is total fiction. After Marius takes control of the city, Sinna who was away on a foreign campaign, returns to defeat him. In the aftermath of this civil war, Julius Caesar is evicted from the city, joins a naval legion and swears to return and seek revenge for the killing of his uncle by Marius.

And that’s where the first book ends. I have not started the second book yet, but hope it gets better than the initial installment.

The evil that men do…

“The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones.” So said Mark Antony in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

Now if the religious texts are to be believed, one can conclude that Abraham the founder of the three major monotheistic religions was responsible for the proliferation of Patriarchy, that evil virus found in the minds of men who are mostly religious or traditional or both.

Off course, Patriarchy could well have evolved in the minds of the progenitors of Abraham, but the religious texts of these religions, if they are to be believed, don’t allude to such. However for the sake of this narrative, let’s stretch credulity as is often required with such tales, and accept Abraham to be the father of Patriarchy, even if the religious texts don’t acknowledge it as an evil mind virus.

Please bear with me for the long-winded introduction to the thing that is bothering my mind – a mind that has hopefully suppressed for eternity, the evil of patriarchy.

The depravity and megalomania of the clergy is well-known all over the world by those whose minds are fortunately not held captive by these despicable scoundrels; but those squatting down in Saudi Arabia right now with their gullible followers are the focus of my ire. You see, the Saudi clerics have convinced the pathetic men of Saudi Arabia that women should not be allowed to drive cars. Off course this is not all that women in Saudi Arabia are forbidden from doing, but this is one of the more ridiculous prohibitions dreamed up by men with seriously sick minds.

Manal Al-Sharif, one such women unfortunate enough to be living among these patriarchal pricks, was recently arrested for the “crime” of driving her own car. Thankfully human-rights groups have exposed the real criminals here – patriarchal men whose minds are stuck in the stone ages. Imagine if these idiots are allowed to continue practising their bigoted religiously inspired norms? How long before they have women arrested for thinking for themselves.

The video below is a tribute to Manal Al-Sharif for defying the ludicrous thinking [if one can call it that] of the men [if one can call them that] of Saudi Arabia.

Fortunately, such behaviour is not common here in South Africa. I live in a small town dominated by Islamic men, but their wives are seemingly allowed to drive cars; very expensive ones too. Depending on your point of view, the clerics here are either very lax or the patriarchal mind virus is not so dominant in this part of the world. Either way, it’s good news for both the women in South Africa, and the future of the human race.