Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Pridie Kalendas September

Modern Date : August 31st Market Day

Pridie Kalendas September
Day Before the Kalends of September

This is one of the dies comitiales when committees of citizens could vote on political or criminal matters.

This was the birthday of Caligula, the mad emperor. He was born Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus at Antium (Anzio). On this day in 40 AD he returned from his expedition to the channel, where he collected seashells. He celebrated a triumph over Poseidon for this victory.

The emperor Commodus, another nut case, son of Marcus Aurelius, was also born this day at Lanuvium in 161 AD. He was the first emperor to fight seriously in the gladiatorial games. He died because of this passion.

August was originally called Sextilis, or the sixth month (after March). It was renamed in honor of Augustus Caesar, the most revered of the Roman emperors.

In the Nigerian capitol of Lagos, masqueraders called Eyos wander the streets concealed in white robes, carrying long sticks. Each represents an individual family and symbolizes authority. A person crossing the path of an Eyo must remove his hat and shoes as a sign of respect. An offended Eyo will attack with its stick.

Raymond Buckland
This day is the birthday of Raymond Buckland who, with his first wife Rosemary, is credited with bringing Gardnerian Wicca to the USA.

Raymond Buckland came to the United States from England in 1962. He had written television comedy scripts for ITV's The Army Game and a pilot, Sly Digs, for BBC-TV. He was also personal scriptwriter for the British comedian Ted Lune. In the past thirty-two years he has had over thirty books published - fiction and non-fiction - with over a million copies in print. Titles have been translated into thirteen foreign languages. His publishers have included Ace Books, Warner Books, Prentice Hall/Parker, Samuel Weiser, Inner Traditions International, Galde Press, Visible Ink Press, Citadel, and Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. He has also written newspaper and magazine articles and five screenplays. Two of his books are each in their thirtieth printing; each with over 360,000 copies in print. One of his titles was a Book of the Month Club selection and another won the 1999 Visionary Award for non-fiction books.

Considered an authority on the occult and the supernatural, Raymond Buckland has served as Technical Advisor for the Orson Welles movie Necromancy, and has also worked as an advisor for a stage production of Macbeth with William Friedkin, director of The Exorcist, etc. Raymond is of Romany (Gypsy) descent and, as such (so he claims), is an authority on the Gypsies, four of his books being on that particular subject. He has lectured at colleges and universities across North America, including Penn. State University, University of Western Illinois, University of North Dakota, University of New Orleans, Kent State and Oberlin College (Ohio), New York State University, Ohio's Cincinnati University, and San Diego City College. He has been written up in such newspapers and magazines as The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, New York Daily (and Sunday) News, Cleveland Plain Dealer, National Observer, Look Magazine, Cosmopolitan, True, and many others.

Raymond Buckland has appeared on numerous radio and television talk programs, including: The Dick Cavett Show, Tom Snyder's Tomorrow Show, Not For Women Only (with Barbara Walters), The Virginia Graham Show, The Dennis Wholey Show, and the Sally Jessy Raphael Show. He has been seen on BBC-TV England, RAI-TV Italy, and CBC-TV Canada. He has appeared extensively on stage in England and played small character parts in movies in America.

Raymond has taught courses at New York State University, Hofstra University, New Hampshire Technical College and for Hampton (Virginia) City Council. He is listed in a number of reference works including Contemporary Authors, Who's Who in America, Men of Achievement, and International Authors and Writers Who's Who.

His latest books are The Spirit Book, Buckland’s Book of Spirit Communications, Wicca For One, and Cards of Alchemy. A DVD version of his Wicca video has also recently been released: Rebirth of the Old Religion. A prolific author, Raymond Buckland is currently working on his autobiography. Today he lives on a small farm in north-central Ohio.

Ante Diem III Kalendas September

Ante Diem III Kalendas September
Third Day to the Kalends of September

This is one of the dies comitiales when committees of citizens could vote on political or criminal matters.

August was originally called Sextilis, or the sixth month (after March). It was renamed in honor of Augustus Caesar, the most revered of the Roman emperors.

This day was Thoth 1 of the Egyptian calendar (after a leap year), the beginning of the civil new year, during the post-Ptolemaic Roman period in Egypt.

The Death of Cleopatra
Due to HBO's presentation of "ROME", I thought of adding info on Cleopatra to this post. The Pharaohs of Egypt were considered Gods by the Egyptians and there was a cult devoted to Cleopatra during the time of her reign.

On this day in 30 BCE, Cleopatra committed suicide, after hearing of Mark Antony's death and Octavian's plans to parade her as a captive through the streets of Rome. Cleopatra was a Greek by descent, being of the family of Ptolemy, one of Alexander's generals. Her son, fathered by Julius Caesar, did not survive.

When Cleopatra VII ascended the Egyptian throne, she was only seventeen. She reigned as Queen Philopator and Pharaoh between 51 and 30 BC, and died at the age of 39.

The demise of the Ptolemies power coincided with the rise of the Roman Empire. Having little choice, and seeing city after city fall into Rome's grip, the Ptolemies decided to ally with the Romans, a pact that lasted for two centuries. During the rule of the later Ptolemies, Rome gained more and more power over Egypt, and was even declared guardian of the Ptolemaic Dynasty. Cleopatra's father, Ptolemy XII had to pay tribute to the Romans to keep them away from his Kingdom. Upon his death, the fall of the Dynasty seemed even closer.

Hence the controversy over Cleopatra's real motives. Was she trying to save her throne, or did she have a more noble cause? Was she protecting her Dynasty, or was she preventing more interference from the Romans in Egypt?

As children, Cleopatra and her siblings wittnessed the defeat of their guardian, Pompey, by Julius Caesar in a duel. Meanwhile, Cleopatra and her brother/husband Ptolemy XIII were duelling, albeit silently, over the throne.

In the middle of all this turmoil, Julius Caesar left Rome for Alexandria in 48 BC. During his stay in the Palace, he received the most famous gift in history: an oriental carpet... with a 22 year old Cleopatra wrapped in. She counted on Caesar's support to alienate Ptolemy XIII. With the arrival of Roman reinforcements, and after a few battles in Alexandria, Ptolemy XIII was defeated and killed.

In the summer of 47 BC, having married her younger brother Ptolemy XIV, Cleopatra and Caesar embarked for a two month on trip along the Nile, aboard a her legendary boat. Together, they visited Dendara, where Cleoptara was being worshipped as Pharaoh, an honor beyond Caesar's reach. They became lovers, and indeed, she bore him a son, Caesarion. In 45 BC, Cleopatra and Caesarion left Alexandria for Rome, where they stayed in a palace built by Caesar in their honor.

Caesar's acts were anything but overlooked by the Romans. In 44 BC, he was killed in a conspiracy by his Senators. With his death, Rome split between supporters of Mark Antony and Octavian. Cleopatra was watching in silence, and when Mark Antony seemed to prevail, she supported him and, shortly after, they too became lovers.

Mark Antony's alliance with Cleopatra angried Rome even more. The senators called her a sorceress, and accused her of all sorts of evil. The Romans became even more furious as Antony was giving away parts of their Empire - Tarsus, Cyrene, Crete, Cyprus, and Palestine - one after the other to Cleopatra and her children.

It was the boiling point when Octavian declared war on Cleopatra, and off the coast of Greece in the Adriatic Sea they met in one of the most famous battles in history, Actium. The Egyptian defeat was often attributed to the early withdrawal of a coward Cleopatra from the battle scene, although this claim is now discredited by most

Octavian waited for a year before he claimed Egypt as a Roman province. He arrived in Alexandria and easily defeated Mark Antony outside the city, near present day Camp César. Antony was asked to be taken to Cleopatra. He died in her arms and was burried as a King.

Ocatvian entered Alexandria in 30 BC. Cleopatra was captured and taken to him, and the Roman Emperor had no interest in any relation, reconciliation, or even negotiation with the Egyptian Queen. Realizing that her end is close, she decided to put an end to her life. It is not known for sure how she killed herself, but many believe she used an asp as her death instrument.

With the death of Cleopatra, a whole era in Egyptian history was closed. Alexandria remained capital of Egypt, but Egypt was now a Roman province. The age of Egyptian Monarchs gave way to the age of Roman Emperors, and Cleopatra's death gave way to the rise of Rome. The Ptolemies were of Macedonian descent, yet they ruled Egypt as Egyptians - as Pharaohs. And, Cleopatra was the last Pharaoh.

St Fiacre
An Irish hermit who went to France in the seventh century, he was known for his misogyny which is why he is the patron of sufferers from venereal diseases, and for his passion for gardening, which is why he is the patron saint of gardeners. He became the patron saint of taxi drivers simply because the stand for hired carriages in Paris was near the Hotel Saint-Fiacre. He is also invoked by those suffering from hemorrhoids, and there is a stone in Brittany which supposedly bears the imprint of his buttocks on which sufferers sit to be cured. According to Tobias Smollett, the English King Henry V, who died of piles, got them after sacking a Scottish chapel dedicated to Saint Fiacre, and thus complained that he was not only plagued by
living Scots but also by dead ones.