Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Superficial similarities between presidents and Roman leaders -- kinda cool, ultimately meaningless
having too much time on my hands | now | me

Posted on 03/13/2009 12:53:09 AM PDT by Jubal Harshaw

I was just going over a list of Roman leaders, and was struck by similarities to our own leadership over the recent decades. I started with Nixon, and this is what I have:

Caesar had a history that was superficially like Nixon’s: Julius Caesar came to leadership during the Roman “social wars,” a time of, well, social warring and unrest. Granted, the nominal issues during the Roman social wars were different than the issues raised during the American internal unrest of the late 1960s and early 1970s, but the widespread civil violence was a point of similarity. Both Caesar and Nixon had celebrated, early, unscheduled, departures from high office. Caesar is known to us, of course, as being the Dictator of Rome, but he was also the Pontifex Maximus. After Caesar’s death, the office of Dictator was not filled, but the office of Pontifex Maxiumus persisted, and was later incorporated into the office of Emperor.

Caesar’s successor had a similarity to James Carter: Caesar was replaced by the second triumverate of Roman history. More particularly, Caesar was replaced in the office of Pontifex Maxiumus by Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. Marcus can be translated as “defense” or “of the sea.” Aemilius can be translated as “industrious.” Lepidus is, of course, Latin for hare (as in hare vs. rabbit). So, the successor of Caesar was named for industrious sea defense against a rabbit. Seriously, does that not make you think of James Carter?

Caesar Augustus, the next leader was like Reagan: After the triumvirate fell apart, Rome became an Empire. Caesar Augustus was both the first Emporer and also the Pontifex Maximus who replaced Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. Augustus brought peace to the Empire, and dedicated such substantial resources to the Roman military that he was able to achieve peace (the Pax Romana) within the Empire. We speak of Ronaldus Magnus in, I believe, the same way Romans and their enemies spoke of Augustus: as a leader who stabilized a toppling social structure, and whose armies pacified external enemies.

Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus was like Bush I: Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus was the next Emperor and Pontifex Maximus. Tiberius had been a military leader who had come to power apparently mainly due to his connections with Augustus. Tiberius had a relatively short, uninspiring reign.

The next Emperor had certain similarities to Clinton: The Emperor / Pontifex Maxiumus after Tiberius was Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, also known as Calligula. Calligula was known for sexual indiscretions and various scandals. Calligula was successfully removed from office early, by the typical Roman method of being assassinated (Romans apparently didn’t believe in peaceful impeachment).

Superficial similarities between Bush II and Claudius: After Calligula, the next Emperor was someone who had apparently never been expected to be Emperor, and who had a speech impediment. This was Claudius. Claudius was arguably the most militaristic Emperor since Augustus. Claudius sent troops to the edge of the Roman world, and successfully added what is now England to the Roman Empire. Claudius also expanded the numbers of Roman citizens by extending citizenship to groups (colonies, in this case) that had traditionally been considered non-citizens.

Now, we come to the last Emperor in this list of parallels: Claudius was succeeded by Nero. Nero never knew his father, who had died when Nero was three. Nero was raised by his mother. Unlike previous Roman leaders, Nero had no history of accomplishment up to the time that he became Emperor. It certainly wasn’t Nero’s fault that he had no history of accomplishment; he was only 16 when he became Emperor. Still, the fact remains that he wasn’t particularly experienced in leadership. Nero was known for being unconcerned with the administration of the Empire, preferring to spend his time at the theater or other such venues. He would later be known for playing while Rome burned. To the extent that Nero was concerned with the administration of the Empire, however, some historians believe that he was most concerned with maintaining popularity with the lower classes of the time. Does that possibly sound like any particular president? Nero is also well known for persecuting Christians.

Here is, to me, the concerning part of this list: the year after Nero’s death is known as “The Year of the Four Emperors.” That year saw Roman civil war, and, of course, four Emperors in quick succession, ending with Vespacian.

You may wish to know that Vespacian eventually apparently turned out to be an OK leader; he is known for living an outwardly simple life, raising taxes, and ending the Roman civil war of AD 69. He established a short lived dynasty from 69 to 96 AD.

I think this sort of thing is interesting. Since I can’t have a late-night college bull session about this (I’ve been out of college for a long time now), I figured FR was the next best thing, and I was wondering if anyone else would be interested in going over these parallels. Anyone?

TOPICS: History; Weird Stuff
KEYWORDS: godsgravesglyphs; vanity

1 posted on 03/13/2009 12:53:09 AM PDT by Jubal Harshaw
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Jubal Harshaw

Well, this certainly gives us hope for the republic. If your portrait is accurate, we still have another 300 or so years to go.

2 posted on 03/13/2009 1:48:27 AM PDT by malkee (Actually I'm an ex-smoker--two and a half years-- But I think about it every day.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: malkee
Actually that would be bad for the Republic. That's because at this point its not a Republic anymore but a dictatorship. I equate Caesar crossing the Rubicon to the passing of the Income Tax Amendment: Points in time when the cancer that eventually killed the nation first began.
3 posted on 03/13/2009 2:11:43 AM PDT by Nateman (Until I see some ID he is PRES_ENT Obama.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Jubal Harshaw
Well, since we're having some fun with this ...

Many folks think that the book of Revelation, when it talks about Antichrist, is really talking about Nero.

And many folks view Obama as Antichrist.

4 posted on 03/13/2009 5:13:44 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (American Revolution II -- overdue)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Jubal Harshaw

When a President a appoints a horse to the Senate chamber, you’ll know we’re in real trouble. [although we already have “donkeys” and jackasses in the congress]

5 posted on 03/13/2009 11:00:42 AM PDT by TexasRepublic (I am inconsolate over the death of our country.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Note: this topic is from 3/13/2009. Thanks Jubal Harshaw.

Blast from the Past.

Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.

6 posted on 07/04/2012 7:02:11 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson