Thursday, October 23, 2008

de officiis

Och i vår serie; klassiska paralleller som nyttjas för effekt och snobberi i modern tid, har vi nått till tidskriften Spectator, en oändlig källa, men låtom oss begränsa oss till två exempel.

Först, bankkrisen:

"At a personal level, credit was provided in the form of transactions between friends, neighbours and relations, marked by the absence of securities, interest or even written agreements (that implied distrust). Aristocrats, for example, felt an obligation to take on the debts of friends. In his On Duties, Cicero distinguishes two categories of givers: those who squander their money on public banquets, food doles, gladiatorial shows and wild beast fights (to gain political credit), and those who take over friends’ debts, help in providing dowries for their daughters or assist them in acquiring property. Crassus, whose total wealth exceeded that of Rome’s annual revenues, funded Caesar throughout his early spendthrift career. Caesar paid him back by conquering Gaul, making zillions thereby"

Därefter Hadrianus och Gordon Brown:

"The ruins of Hadrian’s enormous villa, near Tivoli, have been tidied up and are worth a visit. I was last there a year or two ago with Margaret Thatcher. When I asked her what she thought of it, she said: ‘Well, I think I could have done with something a little smaller.’ Then she added: ‘But of course Denis might have had different ideas.’ My guess is that he would have had it pulled down: ‘Think of the maintenance, old boy!’ It was criticised at the time, notably for its umbrella domes. Trajan’s old architect, Apollodorus, called them ‘pumpkins’. This inflamed Hadrian’s artistic amour-propre, and he promptly had the man slaughtered. Now I am all for taking strong measures against architects. I don’t go so far as the late Bron Waugh, who laid down: ‘All modern architects should be executed, on principle.’ Hadrian should have kept his temper. I suspect he was put up to it by the rent-boy. I am also pretty sure that Apollodorus’s scorn was justified. I myself don’t like Hadrian’s other two ‘masterpieces’, the Pantheon and the Castle Sant’Angelo, which I have drawn many times. Rather on the heavy side, both, like his youth."

Vad vore brittisk politik utan klassiska referenser, Thatcher och antydningar om sodomi?


Anonymous said...

Ah, en snabbtitt på den eviga lärdomens elyseiska land, England...

(Var det Gordon Brown som skrivit text nr 2? Lite oklar syftning där.)


SDIL said...

Nej, tyvärr. Texten ska vara en jämförelse, haltande sådan, mellan Hadrianus och Brown.