Pugnalata d’amore. Conversazione e sciocchezze varie (3)

Ecco il dialogo scaturito dal post precedente, che devo dividere in parti, perché troppo lungo. Qui partecipano, oltre al sottoscritto Man of Roma: Jenny, un avvocato di Chicago; Paul Costopoulos, un franco-canadese del Quebec, assai colto e conoscitore di lingue; Cheri, un’insegnante e scrittrice californiana; Geraldine, un’irlandese appassionata di musica e letteratura; ZeusIsWatching, un signore della Virginia che si è poi trasferito in Florida.

Jenny

Jenny: “Roma! Mi viene da svenire. Cioè, non ho idea di cosa significhi questo post. Sei sempre così irresponsabile con le parole, domenica pomeriggio?”
Man of Roma: “Sono anche peggio, come il mio blog dimostra”.
Paul Costopoulos: “Jenny, il post è coerente con la profonda romanità di Giovanni. Mai sentito parlare dei Casanova romani?”
Man of Roma: “@Paul, @Jenny: Ah ah ah Paul, sei unico. Jenny, tradurrò appena posso [il post era in italiano], ora sto guardando un programma televisivo che spiega perché l’Italia casca a pezzi 🙂
E non sono un Casanova romano, Paul, quite au contraire. E voi, gente del Nuovo Mondo, sareste perfetti se non ci fossero tutti ‘sti problemi a parlare di sesso.
Jenny: “Inimitabile Man of Roma: nessuna traduzione è necessaria. Ho capito. Ti stavo prendendo in giro, cosa che mi piace molto ma molto […] È affascinante, quello che hai scritto. Affascinante e vero. Vero. Saluti!”
Cheri: “Kerouac, Burroughs Ginsberg e altri hanno messo in parole quello che tutti noi, passata la più bella gioventù, proviamo alla vista qualcuno nel fiore degli anni. L’immagine [del post precedente] ricorda un tempo radioso in cui tutto era possibile. Una mia cara amica non ha problemi a invecchiare e non si cura del fatto che gli uomini più giovani non la guardino più. Dice sempre: ‘Abbiamo vissuto il nostro tempo’.

Cheri

Man of Roma: “Cheri, hai frainteso a causa del testo in italiano (ora c’è la traduzione). Il post riguarda ciò che tutti noi nel fiore degli anni abbiamo provato alla vista di qualcuno nel fiore degli anni. E’ l’intensità del rapimento d’amore, dai 10-12 anni in poi”.
E sono contento di non essere più ‘pugnalato’ per strada. Era una sensazione estremamente dolorosa (anche se incantevole).
Paul Costopoulos: “Sarò un vecchio sporcaccione ma le donne giovani e belle ancora mi solleticano. La pugnalata, beh, è troppo forte. Dopotutto essere a dieta non impedisce di dare un’occhiata al menu [after all being on a diet does not forbid a look at the menu]”.
Man of Roma: “Chi non è solleticato, Paulus. E non penso che le donne qui non siano solleticate dai giovani maschi nel pieno della loro gloria virile. Sono anche solleticato da qualche mia lettrice e a volte faccio lo sguargiulo. Inexcusably bad.
E Casanova non era romano, era veneziano”.

Paul

Paul Costopoulos: “Se Casanova era veneziano il suo nome è oggi sinonimo di tutti gli uomini che flirtano, in ogni parte del mondo. E ciò, credo, include Roma”.
Man of Roma: “Ma anche Montreal. Ho notato che passi più tempo qui quando ci sono delle lettrici, Paulus”.
Paul Costopoulos: “Ad ogni modo sembra che ovunque ci siano più blogger femmine che blogger maschi. E’ naturale. Le donne, salvo in Cina, sono il 52% della popolazione del pianeta”.
Man of Roma: “Vuoi dire che dovremmo bloggare in cinese per sfuggire alle tentazioni?”
Geraldine: “Mi fate morir dal ridere. Mi vengono in mente tutte le pugnalate e le frecce che ho ricevuto da Mozart. Non vale! Per aiutare voi uomini nel vostro dramma, per favore rivolgete le orecchie alla Bohême: “Quando m’en vo ‘soletta” Atto II. Female revenge. Yes!”
Paul Costopoulos: ““La don’è mobile qual plume al vento”, “Femme est volage, bien fol est qui s’y fie”. Mais nous les aimons quand même [ma noi le amiamo lo stesso]”.
Geraldine: “E’ uno dei motivi per cui amo gli uomini”.
Man of Roma: “Non dirlo troppo forte, Geraldine. Paul ed io siamo dei veri bucanieri in veste di pecora. E le debolezze delle donne, le idolatriamo. Anche se ‘la donna è danno’ siamo pronti a perdonare tutto”.
Geraldine: “Non ho smesso di ridere. Devo scrivere queste parole di Puccini:
Quando mi muovo da sola / Giù per la strada, / Le persone si girano e guardano; / Qualunque sia la mia bellezza, mi guardano / dalla testa ai piedi. / Allora assaporo il desiderio nascosto / Quel bagliore nei loro occhi / E dalle attrazioni visibili / Deduco il mio fascino nascosto / Circondata da questa nuvola di desiderio, / Quanto sono felice! / E tu che sai ciò, che ricordi e brami, / Perché mi eviti così? / So benissimo / che preferiresti morire / piuttosto che parlare / del tuo tormento!
[When I saunter alone / Down the street, / People turn and gaze; / Any my beauty they survey / From head to feet. / Then I savour the hidden longing / That gleams in their eyes / And from visible attractions / Can deduce my concealed charms / Sourrounded by this cloud of desire, / How happy I am! / Any you who know this, who remember and yearn, / Why do you shun me so? / I know full well / That you would rather die / Than speak / Of your torment!]”.
Man of Roma: ” Sì, tormento e gioia. La donna ha grandi mezzi per vendicarsi. ‘È sempre misero / Chi a lei s’affida, / Chi le confida / mal cauto il core!’. Verdi.
Ma, Paulus l’ha detto, noi vi amiamo, poco importa”.
ZeusIsWatching: “Ah sì! Esser feriti dalla bellezza di una donna. A qualsiasi età, correrò il rischio di venir lacerato da una freccia vagante”.
Man of Roma: “Si chiama freccia perché uccide dolcemente”.
Geraldine:Perir dans la volupté des tourbillons! 🙂 Verdi et Mozart”.
Man of Roma: “La morte più bella”.
Jenny: “WINE comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That’s all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and sigh.

William Butler Yeats
(Non che mi sia minimamente distratta al lavoro, oggi …)”
Man of Roma: “Meraviglioso. Ma, vuoi dire che oggi non sei stata ‘pugnalata’ da nessuno in ufficio? Si dice che le persone comincino le relazioni
per lo più sul posto di lavoro”.
Jenny: “Chi dice così vuol dire che non è un avvocato”.
Man of Roma: “Dio, ma allora sei come Richard!”

[continua]

Giulio Cesare, uno sciupafemmine. Dongiovannismo ieri, l’altro ieri e oggi

Monica-Bellucci_784x
Monica Bellucci assaltata dai maschi romani (Dolce e Gabbana)

Perché Casanova era italiano e Don Giovanni era spagnolo? E questa mania di Rodolfo Valentino e dei latin lovers? Italians do it better?

Difficile avere termini di paragone ma è certo che non pochi stranieri trovano che ci sia qualcosa di sensuale in noi latini, qualcosa che viene percepito come peccaminoso e quasi amorale ma, per questa stessa ragione, irresistibile (vedi la frizione tra inglesi e francesi in questo ambito).

Ho collaborato per qualche anno all’UNLB di Brindisi e quando gli studenti, provenienti dal nord America e da altre parti del mondo, mi chiedevano perché le ragazze locali fossero vestite in modo provocante e camminassero per il corso in modo così sinuoso (facendo pensare alle donne dei film di Montalbano, per intenderci, o a Belen) io rispondevo che ciò non indicava una loro maggiore disponibilità quanto piuttosto un costume italiano e latino.

[Tempo fa ascoltai questa frase in un documentario americano di History Channel: “Un esercito di Don Giovanni stava per sbarcare …“, in riferimento a una spedizione militare inviata da Mussolini da qualche parte nel Mediterraneo.

C’è da chiedersi se una star come Madonna abbia costruito la sua carriera in parte su questa ambiguità: la “sensualità speciale” italiana]

Ψ

Una serie del vecchio blog ‘Man of Roma’ intitolata Sex and the city (of Rome) cercava di tracciare connessioni tra i comportamenti dei latini contemporanei e le abitudini sessuali romane pre-cristiane, non gravate dal tormento del peccato cristiano (gli italiani, dicevo, erano più pagani e meno cristiani dei nord-europei perché il loro fu un paganesimo estremamente più civilizzato che ha lasciato tracce profonde; loro invece si civilizzarono con il Cristianesimo: una bella differenza).

Restringendo il campo agli uomini trattai in seguito anche il fenomeno del dongiovannismo, sempre con l’intento di cercarne le radici in un passato lontano.

Riporto qui alcune note che si riferiscono a ieri, a oggi e al passato misterioso dei millenni (più vicino di quanto si pensi).

 

Comportamenti irritanti

Alcuni comportamenti dei maschi italiani erano (e sono) pessimi, non c’è dubbio.

Quando i giovani del mio tempo sbarcavano all’Oktoberfest non appena il tasso alcolico andava alle stelle e la gente era in preda all’ebbrezza essi si sentivano in diritto di sedurre TUTTE le ragazze tedesche della loro tavolata, il che naturalmente generava non poca riprovazione.

Negli anni ’60 sciami di adolescenti romani (di cui ahimè qualche volta feci parte anch’io) cacciavano le turiste per il centro storico di Roma. Lo facevano razionalmente, proprio come i cacciatori che studiano le abitudini della ‘preda’, e ovviamente la maggioranza di queste ragazze non ne era affatto contenta (beh, la minoranza invece era il premio riservato a tale comportamento, volgare e intrusivo).

Oggi forse abbiamo meno sfacciataggine per la strada ma si è arrivati a un livello in cui la violenza e maleducazione degli uomini sulle donne è inaccettabile (è aumentata o diminuita? Solo le statistiche ce lo possono dire ma è certo che la pazienza delle donne è agli sgoccioli).

 

Giulio Cesare: il lato nascosto

Cerchiamo di capire meglio considerando i nostri progenitori – che ci hanno influenzati proprio come i nonni influenzano i nipoti – e tra essi scegliamo un romano tra i più ammirati (e amati) di tutti i tempi, Giulio Cesare. In via dei Fori Imperiali spesso i turisti depongono corone di fiori ai piedi della sua maestosa statua di bronzo.

Cesare era grande in tutto ciò che faceva, un’anima suprema, più razionale di Alessandro, astemio, dotato di intenso intelletto, coraggio, forza e audacia fino all’età avanzata.

Era anche un grande visionario e molti storici pensano che senza Cesare (che conquistò la Gallia e mise in condizione di non nuocere un’aristocrazia ormai decadente) il mondo greco-romano sarebbe perito molti secoli prima sotto i colpi dei barbari con enormi conseguenze per l’Occidente, il che lo rende ancor più un gigante rispetto all’uomo comune.

Eppure c’è un altro aspetto di Giulio Cesare che può lasciarci perplessi.

Era totalmente dipendente dal piacere sessuale (solo l’ambizione in lui era maggiore, sostiene Montaigne) e mise più volte in pericolo la sua carriera per questo motivo (gli asterischi sotto indicano azioni pericolose).

Cesare era molto bello e narcisista. Cercava di nascondere i capelli radi portando più spesso del dovuto la corona d’alloro (Suetonio). Si profumava con gli unguenti più preziosi e si depilava i peli del corpo: voleva che la sua pelle fosse perfetta come quella di una donna.

Cambiò moglie quattro volte. Probabilmente ebbe una relazione con il re di Bitinia Nicomede IV, con Cleopatra regina d’Egitto (*), con Eunoe regina di Mauritania. Forse dormì con non pochi dei suoi soldati.

Sceglieva personalmente schiavi avvenenti di sesso maschile (l’amore omosessuale non essendo condannato a Roma a condizione che gli uomini assumessero un ruolo non passivo, perché esser passivi era contro la dignitas).

Cornificò e venne cornificato. Fece l’amore con Tertulla, la moglie di Crasso (*); con Lollia, la moglie di Gabino; con Postumia, la moglie di Servio Sulpicio; persino con Murcia, la moglie di Pompeo (*), a cui successivamente diede in moglie l’amatissima figlia Giulia.

Ebbe anche una relazione duratura con Servilia, la sorella di Catone il giovane, il suo più acerrimo nemico. Servilia era la madre di Marco Giunio Bruto, uno degli assassini di Cesare (e forse il suo stesso figlio).

Ψ

Beh.

Se questi erano i modi dell’uomo migliore di Roma …

______________
Nota. Leggete la storia dell’affascinante Johnny Stompanato, italo-americano, prototipo dell’American gigolo, e di come sedusse la diva Lana Turner.
E, sul Chicago Magazine, la terribile vicenda nei dettagli del fatale triangolo.

 

Caesar, Great Man (and Don Juan)

Julius Caesar

Don Juanism

Why Casanova was Italian and Don Juan was Spanish? And this craze about Rudolph Valentino and this helluva Latin lover thing? Italians do it better?

Not so sure though someone says there’s something sensual (and annoying?) in them and in our Latin cousins, something felt as sinful and almost amoral but, for this same reason, irresistible.

[Did a star like Madonna build her career partially upon this and other ambiguities? I’ll think about it]

ψ

In other posts (see a list at the bottom) we had supposed connections between Latin folks’ behaviours and pre-Christian sexual mores.

In our last post we have imagined a connection between Italian cynicism and possible survivals of Paganism in our country.

It is time today to fathom a bit the phenomenon of Don Juanism.

Irritating Behaviours

Some Italian behaviours are irritating, without a doubt.

When the young males from here go to Oktoberfest in Munich, Bavaria, as soon as everybody is drunk they think they are entitled to seduce ALL the German women around, and of course they are very much frowned upon.

When I was a silly teenager, I confess we used to hunt for female tourists all over the historical centre of Rome. We did this rationally, exactly like hunters do, and of course the majority of the women weren’t so happy about it (well, the minority was our shameless, or shameful, reward.)

This behaviour was sort of common to all Italians (more or less) but now it only gets marked the closer one gets to the South of the peninsula, where good or bad traditions are preserved.

The men from the Italian South tend to be sexually free, while the women are kept under control (or kinda.)

A patriarchal behaviour that is still alive in many Islamic societies (see Ahmed Abd el-Gawwad, a Naguib Mahfouz’s character) and whose roots are prior to the Greco-Romans.

ψ

South Italian men try to seduce women, no matter what, when, how: they think they are all Casanovas.

And the Italian women? They are very provocative too in their own way although here we will concentrate on the men.

[Sept 2013 update: examples of South Italian women’s provocative behaviour are provided by some characters depicted by Andrea Camilleri in inspector Montalbano‘s series of novels and TV series]

Another Side of Julius Caesar

Caesar's bronze statue (modern copy) in Rome, via dei Fori Imperiali

There is something we have to understand. Searching far back in the past might shed light on present behaviours. Let us consider one of the most admired (and loved) Romans of all times, Julius Caesar (see above flowers from tourists at the feet of his majestic bronze statue.)

He had greatness in all he did, such a supreme soul, more rational than Alexander, abstemious, with intense intellect, courage, utmost strength and daring even in old age.

He had a great vision and many historians think today that without Caesar the Greco-Roman world could have perished many centuries earlier with massive consequences, which makes him even more a giant compared to the average man.

[below an updated Feb-2014-related-posts list]

Caesar's daughter Julia, wife to Pompey
Julia, Caesar’s daughter, became Pompey’s wife. Pompey was Caesar’s friend, ally, relative. Caesar nonetheless cuckolded him

And yet there is another side of Julius Caesar we might like less.

He was totally addicted to sexual pleasure (only ambition in him was greater, argues Montaigne) and he endangered his career a few times because of this.

Caesar was very good-looking and narcissistic. He tried to hide his thinning hair (like our prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.) He plucked the hairs of his body and made use of the most exquisite perfumes. He liked his skin to be as perfect as that of a woman.

He changed wife four times. He probably had an affair with the King of Bithynia Nicomedes IV (was Caesar bisexual? read here,) with Cleopatra queen of Egypt, with Eunoe queen of Mauritania. He perhaps slept with many of his soldiers.

He chose himself extremely beautiful male slaves (same-sex love not being such a misdeed in Rome provided men took the dominant, penetrative, role: read here.)

He cuckolded and was made a cuckold. He made love to Tertulla, the wife of Crassus; to Lollia, the wife of Gabinus; to Posthumia, the wife of Servius Sulpicius; even to Murcia, the wife of Pompey, to whom he later gave his beloved daughter Julia as a wife.

He also had a life-long affair with Servilia, the sister of Cato the younger, his great enemy. Servilia was the mother of Marcus Brutus, one of Caesar’s murderers – and possibly Caesar’s son.

ψ

Ok, ok, ok.

(if these were the ways of the best man in Rome …)

Capitoline She-Wolf. Rome, Musei Capitolini. Public domain

[Note. All anecdotes regarding Caesar’s sex life are from Suetonius’ Caesar]

Related posts:

Sex and the city (of Rome). A Conclusion
“Italians are Cynical, Amoral, Religiously Superficial”
Survivals of the Roman Goddess Fortuna (comments section)

Sex and the city (of Rome) 1
Sex and the city (of Rome) 2

Sex and the city (of Rome) 3
Sex and the city (of Rome) 4

About Caesar and France:

Stress and Joy. Conquest and Sorrow
France, Italy and the Legacy of Rome
Conquest Of Gaul. Debate On Julius Caesar’s Conduct, Motives, Achievements (2)

On Caesar opening a ‘New Frontier’ to the Mediterranean and shaping the future of the ‘West’:

Julius Caesar’s Conquest Of Gaul. When North-West Europe & The Mediterranean ‘Embraced’ (1)

Sex and the city (of Rome). A conclusion

Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli (1445 – 1510), an Italian early Renaissance painter
The Birth of Venus (1486) by Sandro Botticelli, an Italian early Renaissance painter. Detail of Venus’ face. Click to enlarge a bit

Italian version

Amazing Continuities

In Notebook IV of Antonio Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks we read an appreciation of Ernst Walser’s suggestion that, in order to better understand Italian Renaissance men, one should think of contemporary Italians (to a certain extent.)

We believe that, inversely, the same could be said of Italian Renaissance men. To better understand them one should think of the Ancients, namely the Greeks and the Romans (to a certain extent.)

ψ

OK. But don’t we have a greater distance between contemporary Italians and the Ancients?

We do. Nonetheless there are amazing continuities, and these only interest us. Which are these continuities?

An Army of Don Juans

Narrowing our focus on the themes discussed in Sex and the city (of Rome) 1, 2, 3 and 4, we’ve just heard this sentence in a History Channel war documentary film:

“An army of Don Juans was about to land…”.

The film referred to an Italian military expedition sent by Mussolini somewhere in the Mediterranean.

Elvis Presley. Public domain

Now, I find this funny, and I am asking myself: is this the way many people from the English-speaking countries consider us? A bunch of Don Juans lol?  I know it was perhaps a boutade but if this is even just partly true, what is the reason for that?

ψ

Other associations in fact arise.

Why Latin folks are considered sensual (or sensualists) by many people in the United States and in the UK?
Why Casanova was Italian and Don Juan Spanish? And why all American women went crazy for Elvis Presley (or even more for Rodolfo Valentino) who came from the south of the USA, an area marked by some Spanish & French influence ? Was it only because he was just handsome and his voice great?

Now the BIG question: is it possible we’re facing here some of those long-period permanences or survivals French historian Fernand Braudel built his historical method upon?

I mean, aren’t we dealing here with remnants of ‘alien’, pre-Christian, ways of living one’s sexuality?

Isn’t this what is so seductive, though felt as sinful and almost amoral, but, for this same reason, irresistible?

ψ

It is not our intent to exhaust (or to applaud) the phenomenon of Don Juanism, a complicated topic with a few unpleasant aspects (you might like this post on Julius Caesar’s Don Juanism). No self-indulgence here, pls, all we care about being the possible survivals of a far away past.

ψ

Let us thus continue with our associative questions.

Amoral Pagans

Venus of Urbino (Venere di Urbino) by Titian, painted in 1538.
Venus of Urbino (Venere di Urbino) by Titian, painted in 1538. Oil on canvas. Uffizi, Florence. Click for a much better and larger picture

How come the North Europeans who came down to Rome during the Renaissance were both spellbound and disgusted?

Is it because they perceived the Christian religion was not taken seriously by the Romans and by the Italians of that time?

Can’t it be this was due to the fact that most of these Northern people started to be really civilised only with the spread of Christianity, eg with Christianisation, while we were already civilised one thousand years earlier?
[highly civilized during ancient Roman times: Italian Renaissance didn’t come out of a desert, read a moving page here]

Can’t it be that they are the true Christians (culturally, at least, so no matter if believers or not) while in us paganism (and behaviours attached to it) has left some (or many) traces?
[ See an overview of the MoR’s blog main themes]

Sandro Botticelli. Portrait of a Young Woman: 1480-85
Sandro Botticelli (1445 – 1510), painter of the Florentine school. Portrait of a Young Woman: 1480-85. Click for credits and for other paintings by Botticelli

Can’t it be the reason (I am obsessive, I know) why the Christian religion was here felt mainly as a political thing, eg a way of governing the minds and the spirits of men, in ways not dissimilar to when ancient Rome was governor of nations?

Why our cardinals and even numerous Popes had lovers? Why the great Polish Pope (who surely had no lovers) was appreciated more by the big politicians of the planet (who flocked to his funeral) and less by the spiritual gurus of our time?

[Today the Vatican is perceived as a political – more than a spiritual – institution, I don’t have many doubts about it; even in Germany the Dalai Lama is more popular – 44% – than the German Pope Benedict XVI – 42% -, data emerged from a poll published by Der Spiegel in July 2007]

Why in the end many British and American historians, when discussing the Italian Renaissance, show(ed) until recently some kind of moral repulsion?

Saint Peter Cathedral in Rome. Public domain

Let us therefore listen to the words of Preserved Smith, an American historian of the Middle Ages, who wrote the Renaissance entry in the 1956 edition of the Britannica:

“A succession of worldly pontiffs brought the Church into flagrant discord with the principles of Christianity. Steeped in pagan learning, desirous of imitating the manners of the ancients, thinking and feeling in harmony with Ovid and Theocritus, and, at the same time rendered cynical by the corruption of papal Rome, the [Italian] educated classes lost their grasp upon morality …”

“The Christian virtues were scorned by the foremost actors and the ablest thinkers of the time … The Church saw no danger in encouraging a pseudo-pagan ideal of life, violating its own principle of existence … and outraging Christendom openly by its acts and utterances.”

Italian society – Preserved Smith continues – was hardly aware that the New Learning it had mostly contributed to create had provoked “an intellectual force of stupendous magnitude and incalculable explosive power …”. His conclusion is beautiful (though tragic for us):

“Why should not [Italian] established institutions proceed upon the customary and convenient methods of routine, while the delights of existence were augmented, manners polished, arts developed and a golden age of epicurean ease made decent by a state religion which no one cared to break with because no one was left to regard it seriously? This was the attitude of the Italians when the Renaissance, which they had initiated as a thing of beauty, began to operate as a thing of power beyond the Alps”.

Madonna and child by Raphael, Italian High renaissance. Public domain

And in fact Italy was soon to be colonised by that same ‘power’ she had mostly contributed to bring into being.

[Speaking of paganism, Gramsci argues in that same Notebook IV: “There is no doubt that Italian religious feelings are superficial, as there is no doubt that religion here has a character which is mainly political, of international hegemony“]

So it seems we are often considered amoral and not true Christians. Are we amoral? Are we not true Christians? Are we decadent, rotten? Or maybe someone is simply not fully capable of understanding us?

Life with no Pang of Conscience

Sandro Botticelli. Magnificat Madonna. Uffizzi, Florence. Religious and non religious themes alike were painted with eroticism. Click to zoom in
Sandro Botticelli’s Magnificat Madonna. Uffizzi, Florence. Religious and non religious themes alike were painted with eroticism. Click to zoom in

I will finish this draft conclusion of Sex and the city (of Rome) with this interesting passage written by a British historian, C. P. Rodocanachi (of Greek descent, probably), and dedicated to what he considers a potent factor of the Greek miracle (Athens and the Greek Miracle, Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd, London 1948).

This text sheds light in our view on the Greek mind and, to a certain extent, on the Roman mind, plus on some aspects of Italian Renaissance men as well:

Absence of conflicts of conscience: the Greeks were quit “of this inhibiting and agonizing struggle. Their morals were civic and not religious. Their sense of duty was directed exclusively to the city … They knew nothing of the Christian idea of good faith, of intentions conditioning acts in such a manner that the most law-abiding citizen may feel himself a great criminal at heart …”

“[They] may be considered as being intrinsically amoral and this very amorality was a powerful constituent of balance of mind which they could never have attained if their conscience had been torn, as ours is, between the conflicting forces of good and evil, virtue and vice, pleasure and sin.”

They could enjoy beauty, taste the delights of life without a pang of conscience. So long as they were faithful to the laws and interests of the city they had no damnation to fear, either in this world or the next.”

Botticelli. Youth

ψ

Related posts:

Pre-Christian Rome lives (where this movie by Fellini reveals papal Rome’s pagan nature)

Sex and the city (of Rome) 1
Sex and the city (of Rome) 2

Sex and the city (of Rome) 3
Sex and the city (of Rome) 4


“Italians are Cynical, Amoral, Religiously Superficial”

Survivals of the Roman Goddess Fortuna (comments section)

Caesar, Great Man (and Don Juan)

Capitoline She-Wolf. Rome, Musei Capitolini. Public domain

PS. I had to erase a few insulting comments to this post. They were written by some commentators from the UK. I ask for pardon if I have offended somebody, it was not my aim, really.

My style is sometimes aggressive but I am fond of the British people. I wouldn’t have toiled so much to learn their language decently enough.

ψ

The main idea behind this post is the fact (an historical fact, no doubt) that the people from the Italian peninsula (and elsewhere) were civilized long before Christianity arrived.

By civilization we refer to something distinguished from culture (see a discussion on it) for the reason of a higher level of complexity, a larger geographic locus, the presence of sophisticated urbanisation etc.

This fact, the existence of a pre-Christian high-level civilization – the Greco-Roman – may have engendered cultural differences (alive yet today) vis-a-vis  cultures who mostly reached a ‘fully civilized’ stage together with (and thanks to) Christianity.

Such differences may regard survivals of the Roman religion in Italy and elsewhere – traces which scholars recognize and which Protestants, it is known, always tried to eradicate. They may also regard, why not, sexual behaviours as well.

Did scholars research on these difference? If so, how far they went? We do not know, our research on roman-ness being a knowledge journey.

See the comments area for further information.

ψ

As for the expansion of the Greco-Roman ‘civilization’ toward North-West Europe:

Julius Caesar’s Conquest Of Gaul. When North-West Europe & The Mediterranean ‘Embraced’ (1)