Coded gray.

Tuesday 2 July 2002

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Pic of the day: Yes, good old Julius. (Actually there is reason to believe he had less hair than artists at his time dared show.)

Ave Caesar!

Free books, how nifty is that? I downloaded an English translation of Julius Caesar's book about the Gallic wars. I've long had some interest in Caesar, but I've never actually read anything by him before. It is just too bad that he was not a more prolific writer. Then again, great people rarely are. Strange thing that.

***

There are a few people who remain visible through the fog of the centuries, towering above the underbrush of kings and generals and diverse rascals. Men and occasionally women who seem to do the impossible, to change the very flow of history. Julius Caesar was one of them. He was neither the first nor the last great strategist to lead the Roman armies, but he was probably the greatest; and his skills in diplomacy were held in as much awe as his skills on the battlefield. Even his bedroom skills were said to be unmatched.

Caesar transformed the vestiges of the Roman Republic into an empire in some European language, including my native Norwegian, the word for Emperor is derived from the name Caesar but those who followed him as rulers rarely filled his boots. He reformed the calendar, to one that is basically still used today, with very small modifications. He even improved architecture.

One throwaway detail fascinated me when I read about Caesar, years ago. It was said that he could read one letter while dictating another. This is something not even I could do ... seriously, it is very odd. The human brain simply does not work that way. We can automate many tasks, especially movements but also pattern recognition. But tasks that relate to language seem to share some limited resources, so you simply cannot run them in parallel. Was Caesar a mutant? An alien? A result of alien experiments on humans? Or was he just bluffing?

***

Sadly, Caesar's book on the Gallic wars has not shown me much about himself. He seems to have been a competent writer, for his time, clear and concise. But I wish that he had left behind a more detailed journal, something that could give some insight into his thought processes. I try to do that, but it is not quite the same, I'm afraid.


I'm truly sorry if you came here to read about the board game "Ave Caesar". All I know is it was about racing, was published by Ravensburger and is presumably out of print now.

"Ave Caesar - Morituri Te Salutant!" Hail Caesar, those who are about to die salute you! A greeting supposedly used by gladiators, though it is unsure whether this was a tradition.


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Three years ago: I am not in love

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