Well, Giancarlo is taking the week off from Amiculus for work in Milan, so no new art in this update.
Well, now, wait a minute, that's kinda' mean, leaving you guys high and dry like that, so hey, what if we move forward with more...
ROMAN DEBAUCHERY FUN FACTS!!!
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1) Family Ties of the Caesars: No Roman emperor was directly followed by his natural son until Titus succeeded Vespasian in A.D. 79. But that doesn't mean they didn't keep it in the family, especially among the Julio-Claudians, the first imperial dynasty. While Tiberius was unrelated to Augustus except by adoption, Caligula was both great-grandson and great-grand-nephew to the first emperor. Claudius was Caligula's uncle and cousin. And Nero was Claudius's grand-nephew, his second cousin, and his stepson, not to mention his own mother's lover. Mercifully, the Julio-Claudian line ended before the emperors started appearing in their portraits with gills and webbed feet.
2) Are You Not Entertained? Some say the Roman gladiatorial games grew out of an Etruscan funeral tradition, where slaves were made to fight to the death upon the demise of their master. If so, it didn't take long for them to lose any ceremonial meaning once someone learned you could sell tickets to them.
Naturally, once you had enough of a crowd to fill the Colosseum, you had to up the ante on the thrills. Game masters and rulers did this in a number of ways, using large numbers of fighters (10,000 gladiators in the largest games), exotic animals (from lions and tigers to giraffes, ostriches and even a whale) and just plain silliness (women fighting dwarves). Celebrity death-matches were few and mostly fixed: the emperor Claudius was the guy who fought the whale, which was likely beached at the time.
Upon Constantine's conversion to Christianity, gladiator matches were seen as the sadistic, horrible, wretched, gory yet still terribly-exciting spectacles they were, and, after another 200 years, were immediately banned. Christian Rome was forced to subsist on a sober entertainment diet of deadly riots at the chariot races and live sex in the theater, which, everyone agreed, couldn't compare with an old man poking at a humpback with a pointy stick.
3) And Speaking of the Theater...Modern drama owes a lot to Roman theater, which built upon the more stylized Greek foundations to create a more realistic, naturalistic structure to comedy and drama that writers such as Shakespeare relied upon for many of their works. That said, what started out as a continuation of a proud Greek theatrical tradition eventually devolved into lewd, debauched spectacle by the high empire, replete with circus acts, gratuitous nudity and sex, fake blood and viscera by the bucketful and, worst of all, mimes. (Shudder.)
Actors themselves were valued in Roman society at the same level as prostitutes and gladiators, and different emperors dealt with actors differently. Augustus banned all men of status from the stage, except for a dwarf named Lycius (dwarves again!) who had a very powerful stage presence and speaking voice. Justinian I, on the other hand, married Theodora, a nubile young actress previously known for kinky animal acts involving swans. Can't imagine what his reasoning must have been.
Other emperors dabbled with the profession themselves. Nero had the most overt artistic ambitions of any emperor, as previous fun facts have demonstrated. Toward the end of his life, it is said he became obsessed with becoming a mime. He was soon after deposed and driven to suicide. Not that I'm suggesting there was a connection or anything.