After the No-B(erlusconi)-day last saturday Dicember 5 in Rome (a great success I am witness of) the singer–songwriter Daniele Silvestri has posted on Youtube a rap called L’imperatore Tiberio.

[It reminds me just a bit of the traditional Tammurriate danced in the South of Italy and possibly related to the ancient rites of Dionysus Bacchus – watch this.]

The rap is captivating, the insertion of Totò (a great Italian actor) is exhilarating, and the song time is beat with the syllables of “Ber-lus-co-ni di-me-tti-ti”, i.e. ‘Berlusconi resign.’

L’imperatore Tiberio
aveva donne di lusso

a cui teneva un discorso
sul ginocchio sinistro.

Poi emanava un editto
che toglieva di mezzo

chi chiedeva giustizia,
chi ne dava notizia.

E si vantava Tiberio
coi suoi amici più illustri

con gli aneddoti sconci
divertiva i ministri.

Ma sfuggiva i giudizi
sui reati commessi

nascondendo pasticci
per motivi fittizzi.

Emperor Tiberius
Had women luxurious

Whom he used to lecture
They sitting on his knee.

He then issued an edict
With which he got rid

Of those who asked for justice,
Of those who gave the news.

And bragging was Tiberius
With friends the most illustrious

With anecdotes obscene
His ministers he entertained.

But he escaped verdicts
On crimes committed

By hiding his mess
With points fictitious.

Read how Mary Beard in the UK Times compares Berlusconi to the Roman emperor Tiberius.

And, thanks to zeusiswatching, here’s the life of Tiberius by the Roman historian Suetonius – not for minors ok?


Related posts from our blog:

Caesar, Great Man (and Don Juan)
Is Berlusconi’s Power About to Decline?
October 3. Demonstration Held in Rome to Defend Media Freedom

UPDATE: Just a few hours ago Berlusconi was hit in the face with a model of Milan’s cathedral and knocked to the ground.

He had just finished a speech during a political rally in the centre of the Italian Northern city. According to ANSA the alleged attacker had received many years of treatment for mental disease. Berlusconi is now being taken care of in a Milan hospital and his condition doesn’t seem serious.

A signal of how harsh the political climate is getting in our country, and a horrible gesture to be firmly condemned whatever opinion we may have of Berlusconi and his policy.

23 thoughts on “Silvestri, Berlusconi and the Emperor Tiberius

  1. I am enjoying this song and video immensely. The images of Totò throughout are very clever and well edited. The tifosi-like chant towards the end is inspiring. I must find this rap. I very much like Daniele Silvestri (“Sempre Di Domenica” is one of my favorite songs by him).

    Perhaps, Man of Roma, you could post your thoughts about No-Berlusconi-Day, or have you already and I just missed it?

    If and when Berlusconi goes down, I hope he takes AC Milan with him (did I just say that out loud? : )


    1. Ah ah, I liked your comment. This blog is not specifically political, Louis, although politics pops in now and then.
      My opinion on the No-B-day? It was a success also because it was not driven by the left parties, being internet-based and spontaneous. Italians are gradually getting disappointed by him: he didn’t do much for the economy, he thinks he is a sort of monarch because “people voted for him” etc. Long story, not to be told here.
      I provide links to posts on Berlusconi in any case.

      Buon Natale Louis!


    1. They are kinda preparing a big coalition in order to replace him. Fini could be his successor, a decent man. All is still fluid though, and B so darn tough and with deep pockets.


  2. I saw this on tv just now, about the attack. No reasons are being given. I wonder how a man who is mentally unstable got so close to him!


    1. Hard to say. I think an unstable person is more difficult to control. But, as you suggest, something could have not worked in the security services and intelligence.


      1. I saw this too last night. With all the technological advancements in security and intelligence these days, it seems impossible that there could be a breech of security like this. A few weeks ago, an uninvited married couple finagled their way into a state dinner at the White House, and the secret service is now trying to ascertain how this could´ve happened.


        1. I read about that couple.

          As for B, I don’t believe much in a plot. Some protesters were at the right of the platform (see *here*).

          That guy didn’t seem though to belong to them, he was on his own. He was crafty enough to find his way up to him, who was standing near his car, and to trick Berlusconi’s body guards.


  3. I love the way you mix ancient and modern on this blog.

    (Have you cruised around ancient Rome on Google Earth at all?)

    I’ve been in Italy but don’t know it. Except, that is, through my imagination and reading Livy and Polybius for the past two years as part of my book research. I now look at maps of Italy and see the way it was in 218 BC, when Hannibal showed up unexpectedly somewhere near Turin.

    Back then, they were Gauls north of Rimini, Greeks down in the boot, and all sorts of things inbetween.

    Since then, as you explain in the previous posts, they have been all mixed up (not least with the slaves from all across teh empire, which must have outnumbered the local populations).

    Do you see any of the “Gallic” legacy in the north and the “Hellenic” in the south today?

    (Or the Carthaginian in Sardinia, for that matter?)


    1. Thanks for visiting my blog and for reading some of my posts.

      Yes, I have used a bit Google earth for that, but at a time when my RAM was not enough.

      Populations are surely mixed up here like everywhere. People are too obsessed by races, breed and similar, while if any survival of the Romans still exists in the minds of men it’s certainly due to cultural transmission.

      “Gallic” legacy in the north and the “Hellenic” in the south today? Oh so many and so evident. I have talked a lot about the Italian Greeks in my blog. And I have experiences and notes about Gallia Cisalpina but didn’t post anything yet.

      Just one brief impression. As soon as you cross the Apennines coming from south you all of a sudden feel that the people *are* different. Too long a story here.

      Unfortunately the Carthaginian in Sardinia I have no idea about.

      I though worked in Tunisia for 3 months and I plunged with so much pleasure in discussions with the local intellectuals in La Goulette coffee houses where people still reason – this might interest you – about the battles of the Romans and Hannibal, lining up beans on tables thus drawing up troops of both armies in order to celebrate Hannibal’s victories but also trying to understand what went wrong in the last fatal battle of Zama. Amazing.


    1. Reema, thank you so much! I am both warmed up and honoured! You passed me the ‘Friends’ award which is the most meaningful to me. I wish you all the best, my friend, and congrats for all the hits you’ve reached!


  4. I thought you might have known something about No-B day. I’ve been playing with Twitter, and found someone, though not an Italian, who attended No-B day in Rome.

    I went to the Milan version – but it was tiny.

    Milan, though, is back in the news what with someone having thrown the Duomo at Berlusca. Liked this observation:
    “All is still fluid though, and B so darn tough and with deep pockets.” – so very true.

    All the best from Milan,



    1. Welcome Zeus.
      Sorry I had to make an hyper link since apparently it’s a new WordPress’ policy to block urls copied like that.
      Yes, Suetonius, this blabbermouth. Thank you and ciao.


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