Monday, 20 June 2011

Why Caratacus

Caratacus was the King of an Ancient British Tribe who resisted the Roman invasion.
he was defeated and taken to Rome in chains. There he was allowed to address the Senate (presumably by a translator)

Tacitus records a version of his speech in which he says that his stubborn resistance made Rome's glory in defeating him all the greater. Cleverly he argued that if the Romans let him live, "I shall be an eternal example of your clemency."

The phrase that has always stuck in my mind however is that he is recorded as saying
"And can you, then, who have got such possessions and so many of them, covet our poor tents?"

This is often taken as that he was impressed by Roman with it's huge wealth and buildings but surely a the more subtle message is why are you so greedy ?

It may be that his words were embellished by others. Historians has a long history of doing such. Recorded history is littered with examples of "noble savages" - idealised versions of barbarians, native americans, etc who recorded words were 'adapted' to make the authors point rather than the speakers. But some how the words attributed to Caratacus ring true. He was after all a King who had a lot of possessions of his own he fought to hang on to.

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