Fire Vestal Fire Pot
Fire Vestal Fire Pot


NEW: A candid interview with the Author

(Not Included in the E-Book)

Part 2 Continued…

New Excerpts added: 5/31/2006

Clarification Note:

In the discussion below, where we say that Caesar had no blood offspring, we do not mean that he was sexually abstinent with his later wives, although it could have happened that way. What we mean is that he never again performed the susceptio; or accepted a child to be his (a fuller discussion follows in the next page {Further Clarifications and Comments} below).


We’ve talked a lot about Roman politics and the state, as they relate to your story about Caesar; but this is also a love story… in many ways, the love story is what drives everything else. Your view of this seems very unique, since what is generally known about Caesar seems to be only the “man of the state” or the “soldier”. There really is no precedent as to the idea of Caesar as a “Dantesque” type figure, if I may coin a phrase. I mean, he was portrayed as a man, who had many affairs, and, more or less, used women for his own purposes; and then discarded them… take, for instance, his love affair with Cleopatra. How did you come up with this idea of him?


In a word: inconsistency!

History has portrayed Caesar as a man, who was a consummate playboy and philanderer extraordinary. It would have you believe that he was sleeping with practically all the wives of all of the important men in Rome, at any time. There’s the story of his speech in the Senate, when a note was passed to him clandestinely; and, immediately, Cato stood up and demanded to read the note, only to find, it was a love letter from Cato’s sister to Caesar.

This same history would have you believe, he was also a homosexual. And, also, that Octavian suppressed many of his uncle’s writings, because they were too "indecent" to be read at large.

Yet, as I have shown in the book’s preface, this was the same man, who rather than divorce his first wife Cornelia (a very trivial request in those days) defied a man (Sulla), who had just executed, without any remorse whatsoever, several thousand Marrians... whole families, mind you... and, had perpetrated one of the bloodiest purges in history!

This same man (this extraordinary lover) died without a blood heir, in a society, which counted a man, who did not have offspring, a failure. A Patrician Roman counted lineage as sacred, mind you!

Yet, he had had Julia practically as soon as he married Cornelia; and, as I have said, Cornelia, herself, more than likely, died in childbirth. Why was there no more children born after Cornelia’s death? It would have been the easiest thing in the world for him to have his own child, or even have just about any child declared his, even if it wasn’t his (say he was sterile for instance, which he wasn’t, or take, for instance, Cleopatra’s bastard child Caesarion). Yet, he died without a blood heir!

Another inconsistency was that his will declared the people of Rome his heir. Yet, Octavian said that he had made him his heir. Would this "great lover" have rather had Octavian be his heir, than have his own blood heir? Cornelia died, when he was about 31 or 32; so, he certainly had plenty of time to have a cartload of offspring! Whatever stopped him from having kids sure didn’t stop him from having them with Cornelia! Oh... and don’t say that he had epilepsy. Chronic epilepsy gradually destroys the brain bringing on dementia (which by the way Caesar certainly never exhibited); it has no effect on the genital or endocrine system. It doesn’t make one impotent! Anyway, “the falling sickness”, as it was called, or grand mal epilepsy was actually probably a publicity stunt to make people compare him to Alexander the Great. Also, epilepsy was considered a “sacred” disease, so it gave one an aura (figuratively not only literally).

All these things and many more, particularly, his character traits led me to realize that there were two Caesars: one before and during his life with Cornelia; and, one after. The first definitely created the second. I think that that second Caesar was the one, who perpetrated many of the myths about himself to gain political ends. The second created the image of himself, which he wanted the world to know. But the first was the real Caesar, and was the man behind the mask of the second. When Caesar buried Cornelia, he also buried the real Caesar behind the mask of the second. But the real Caesar was still always there; the force that would keep driving him on to create the world that he and Cornelia had dreamed of.

With her death, Cornelia had in essence become a part of him. In a way, the death of Cornelia had matured him; it had made him self sufficient; and, had fixed his objective in his heart with all the force that had driven both of them. The Caesar born of this union was now truly unstoppable!

Can a man and a woman be as close as this? This was in a way what caused me to write this book. Humans experience sex and procreation quite differently than any other creatures on this earth; there is a phenomenon called “love” which unites the two sexes through the unique human quality of spirituality. All humans experience this, even the promiscuous ones, who probably only think, they are only going after the sexual aspect of a union. We humans seem to crave affection instinctively; and sexuality is the physical way of finding it for most. But underneath, they are looking for the spiritual part of the relationship.

But most of these “loves” don’t work out. They end in an unsatisfactory sexual encounter, which leaves the participants empty. But there are those that work out. Of course, back in Caesars time, sex was risky, for the woman particularly; there was no reliable contraception, and abortion would usually end in death. Still, prostitution thrived, although I don’t think that they lived very long, or else, just discarded the unwanted offspring.

Anyway, the love that Caesar and Cornelia experienced was what some call a “Twin Soul” love. What makes this special is that there is no physical chemistry, which elicits it. It is a purely spiritual bonding that leads to the sexual bonding. It would seem (and I only hypothesize this) that the inner parts of the personalities bond; what the psychologists call the “ID” (the unconscious part of the personality). To most people, this would correspond to the heart or soul.

I guess you could say that two people simultaneously have an infatuation with each other, but only on a much deeper and more profound level.

But even here, if you study these relationships, which some call “love at first sight”, many don’t work out. People’s previous lives or circumstances, or what psychologist’s call the “Ego” (that part of the personality that we present to the world as us) gets in the way. But Caesar and Cornelia’s circumstances actually reinforced it. But as we said before, it also stopped them from fully enjoying it.

But getting back to this love of theirs, bonding on this level allows people to be very close. They have an inner connection, which allows them to feel the other’s feelings and anxieties. Again, here I offer my own opinion or guess on this, but I think from all the cases, I’ve read that such people share almost an ESP together.


Let’s talk a little about the bad guys in your story; essentially, there are four of them: obviously, Sulla, the Dictator; but also Chrysippus, the gladiator; Polartes, the pirate; and, also, Lucius Cinna, Cornelia’s brother.


Yes, I’m glad you mention this, because all of these so called “bad guys” sort of shows us the spectrum of Evil that exists.

Lets go down the line as you’ve mentioned them. First Sulla.

Sulla is, what we might call, the arch villain. He might be put in the same class with Satan, in Milton’s “Paradise Lost”.

Here was a man, who grew up with all the advantages. In a way, he was another Caesar; only, a bad one. He was a genius; an intellectual; a great soldier; he was courageous, as he often showed himself to be. His men admired him, but also feared him. He always knew what to do, and the right thing to do, in any circumstance. But he let his class prejudices, shall we say, to use Star Wars terminology, “seduce him to the dark side”. He was the preeminent “bad” Patrician. He saw his class as supreme, and all others, even the “New Men”, he had helping him, for instance, like Crassus, as mere expendable lackeys. For some reason, the ideas of duty and service, which most Patricians, even the greedy ones, seemed to take seriously never even entered Sulla’s mind; but more likely, he just rejected them out of hand. But unlike Darth Vader, he never gave in to the Force! But, still, in a way, he did; if you count his eventual retirement to first citizen and a life of debauchery, giving in. He is the personification of Evil, because he freely chooses it. He knows what he is doing, and is even quite honorable in doing it; like Satan, he is almost “noble”.

But what is the real anomaly in Sulla? He seems to have no heart! What’s worse, was he probably rejected it willingly! Arrogance seems to have totally done away with all the attributes of the heart; compassion, love (except of himself) and empathy. He sees human beings only as objects to be used. The pleasures of the flesh have pushed out, for good, any of this; and, to compound it, he has done this willingly! You get the idea, he knows what these things are, but yet has totally rejected them! This is what makes him appear noble; and also, you get the idea that he can spot a phony or hypocrite, either in an evil or good man... and, that he despises the hypocrisy in either! This makes his evil even more terrifying, because it seems almost as something to be admired!

In a way his life was the mirror image of Caesar’s. The negative of everything Caesar did. Caesar strove all his life to unite and improve mankind, while he strove to improve and solidify his class and their mastery. Both were idealists; the one, Caesar, strove to achieve the ideal of the “Good”, while the other, Sulla, strove to achieve the mastery of what he thought was the “Master Race”. Both were great conquerors and soldiers; and great leaders as well. While Caesar’s life always looked to the insubstantial principals, such as the “Good”, Sulla’s was grounded in the world... the material. In the end, both, in essence, committed suicide; Caesar allowed them to kill him, because he thought he could no longer achieve the principals he sought; and Sulla abandoned himself to a life of total carnal lust, which brought about his end very quickly, after his retirement; a virtual suicide in carnal pleasures.

Chrysippus is at the other end of the spectrum of Evil. Unlike Sulla, he does not know, nor will ever know, anything of love or its attributes. Born in the gutter, he grew up seeing the world and humanity as a vicious loveless place where only survival mattered. He became one more predator in a predatory world. Never having experienced love, he sought his pleasure only in inflicting pain. He is an example of the Evil ones that Timenes mentions; his will perverted, by a cruel and heartless world, into an evil will. We get the idea that he is irredeemable. The gladiatorial ring had actually freed him to prey on humanity. Unfortunately, Caesar’s age produced many such predatory beasts to prey on humanity.

Polartes is like Chrysippus, but perhaps not as far gone. We get the idea that he was probably an ex-soldier, who struck out on his own. Greed has perverted him into his evil ways. Later, when Pompey would deal with the pirate problem, he found that allowing men like Polartes (perhaps not as extreme) and his followers to obtain some land (“five acres and a mule”), and become farmers channeled them into productive and non-predatory ways of life.

Finally there is Lucius Cinna (the son), who although often failing the straight and narrow, in the end, redeemed himself; at least, in our story. His problem was ambition, and perhaps ambiguity in his upbringing. He’s not really a “bad guy”; he just needed someone to show him the way.

Now there is one type of evil characters, which the novel itself does not address directly; although it does indirectly. These are actually the traitors, who finally assassinated Caesar; I mention these in “A Study in Treachery” in the startup page of the e-book, and also in the note “Respondere ad malum” (to respond to evil) in the Dedication section. Dante ranked these as the foulest of evildoers, and placed them in the same class as Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of the Christ. Even Sulla could not stomach them, although he used them for his own purposes. In my “Respondere” I lump all the foul creatures, such as snoops, gossips and slanderers under this heading. They all reside under the category of those, who betray a trust; and their motives are usually greed or just plain malice. Tyrannies seem to breed them, like the Nazis, who taught children to inform (rat seems a more appropriate word) on their own parents. Unfortunately, they seem to be growing in ever increasing numbers in our present technological society (what does this say about current technology!! Or for that matter about our society!!). A society that has no honor, and will use any means to attain its way, is a society that is truly bankrupt, and will destroy itself eventually. If we fight evil using evil ourselves, then we have already lost. If a people cannot see this, then they are not worth saving. Why? Because every society is based on trust, if that no longer exists, then the society will disintegrate.

Further Clarifications and Comments...



Originally Published:

October 11, 2007


March 6, 2017