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The decade of the 850s BCE transformed into years of great agricultural harvests, the warm summers that always brought the good rains in the end. Some empires were on the move during this time too, such as the powerful Olmec city states, the Zhou Chinese feudal kingdoms, the military advances of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, and the growing naval power of the Phoenician city states along the Mediterranean.

Another city was growing too. They called themselves, Thebes, and many of the original warrior-nobles descended from some of the great pharaohs of Egypt, such as Ramses, and the great king of the rich city of Mycenae, called Midas. At least, those elites said this was true. The city also had strong fortified walls and had a high and central place on a thin strip of southern Hellas, or Greece. Its aristocrats possessed good reputations for fierce fighting – since many of them were also sexually involved with each other.

This city was also well-known for its peculiar sacraments in honor of its patron god, called Dionysus, or in the Roman name, Bacchus. The ceremonies for this god were not the typical devotions for the Greek gods, such as Apollo, Athena, Zeus, Ares-Mars and Hermes-Mercury. The supposed solemn religious services of Dionysus-Bacchus often transcended into furies of wild drinking, erotic dancing, rough eating and other sensual explorations.

His festival was during the late summer recollection of the wine fruit, the grapes, and their magical transformations into fermented joy. Men and women of public dignity could transcend into crazy barbarians. And they didn’t seem to care if these sensual transformations took place among the darkened frenzies.

Alcohol represents the most powerful and fastest working drug for personal transformation. This very strong fermented concoction contains the power to let go of mind shackles, which can lead into simple and beautiful joyousness. Alcohol’s peculiar pharmacological power explains its might and cultural influence in all world cultures and throughout world history, and even in world cultures that supposedly hate it, such as the Amerikan empire, Evangelical Christianity and Islamic fundamentalism.

But like any drug, it has its very own shackles and snares. The drug of alcohol must go with three important spirits in order for the drinker to reach his or her personal transformations towards letting go and simple joy. Alcohol has to coincide with the wonderful company of family and friends, the practices of celebration and carnival, and always have some good food to soak up the toxins that coexist with the tangy tastes of fermentation.

Around the year 405 BCE, a famous Greek tragedian, or playwright, wrote a piece called ‘The Bacchae.’ The work tells the story of King Pentheus of Thebes that tried to confront the God Dionysus who had visited his city and initiated the crazy worship dedicated to the sweet wine of excess. Pentheus tried to ban, repress, control and survey the decadence of alcohol, yet he ended up getting killed by his own mother, (while he was dressed in a woman’s costume), during the sacred rituals of overindulgence, violence and sensuality. Other ancient Greek rulers tried to ban Bacchus and his holy rites of alcohol drinking, such as King Perseus of Argos and King Lycurgus of Thracia. Like Pentheus, they all failed miserably trying to prohibit the sacred rituals associated with magical wine.

The moral of the theatrical story was clear: leave Bacchus alone, let the people enjoy themselves, don’t try to control and destroy the party – for partying represented a celebration of life, a celebration of the Dionysian spirit that has existed inside all of us.

The Roman Empire would also learn this hard historical lesson. Around the year 186 BCE, the Roman Senate, representing the Roman Republic, had enough of the night-time ceremonies, the secret initiates of drinking societies, and the excessive wildness of the Bacchanalia rites. Bacchus was one of the major Roman gods and there were statues and temples of him everywhere – but the rituals went too far.

Roman slaves acted like military commanders, and Roman women took on the roles of Roman dignitaries. The alcohol consumed during the festival flew beyond indulgence. The secretive initiation rites in order to enter the drinking societies possessed suspicious motivations. The sexual indiscretions after some hot dancing were often quite notorious. The ecstatic music of pipes and drums often brought young women into frenzies of lust and screaming. Every Bacchic celebratory season, there were always violent deaths and other nefarious acts reported. There even existed worshippers, called Bacchants, which only served Bacchus – and they even they dedicated their lives to the god through living in continual drunkenness and dissolution.

Eventually, the Senate had the Roman army exterminate the hard cores that fully lived their existences in Bacchic ecstasies. Bacchus represented an imported god from Greece, and supposedly had its origins from the Egyptians anyway. The Roman Republic destroyed some temples lest some Bacchanalia fanatics try to hide inside them under the protection of the god. New Roman laws prohibited the annual night-time conclaves of secret societies meeting outside of the city.

The Romans did value pragmatism, so they eventually allowed the annual Bacchic celebrations, but they had to support the normal rituals for the gods: sacred oblations and ceremonies in public view at the temple doors, while the rituals and music were open to the full community. The priests and musicians performed the rites both during the day and at night. About fifty years later however, the Roman Republic would disintegrate through its own orgies of violence called the Civil Wars.

And to this very actual day, world ideologies, world religions and world empires have waged a most horrible war against Bacchus. Evangelical Christianity, Psychobabble, Mormon Christianity and fundamentalist Islam still rail against the demonic drink.

But more ominously, since the beginning of the 20th century, the early 1900s, the Amerikan empire has continually waged a holy war against Bacchus and his magical fruits. Some of the more notorious examples have included, a National Prohibition Amendment against alcohol, (1920-1933), state liquor stores and liquor control boards, alcohol sin taxes, dry counties, bar closing hours, Sunday bans on selling beverages, maximum alcohol content laws for beer, banning the importation of Absinthe or the domestic production of corn liquor, raising the minimum wage to imbibe alcohol from 18 to 21, the restrictive Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, or the infamous ATF, and Surgeon Generals that continually fulminate against the drug. Finally, there is the maximum police action against alcohol, or supposedly against drunk drivers, called Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or really, the nation-wide police prohibition action against any drivers that happen to have any alcohol in their blood streams.

Millions of American citizens have lost their lives, both socially and physically, through such state institutional violence. During Prohibition, both the US and state governments purposefully poisoned sections of the ‘illegal’ alcohol supply in order to destroy lives and murder ‘disobedient and degenerate drinkers.’ The US government and state government’s war on DUIs has only helped extort great quantities of citizens’ personal finances and increase the bloated prison population, which is now the largest in the world in both real numbers and in percentage of prisoners to the general population.

Yet it is still quite dangerous to drive on the roads, and deadly accidents still happen regularly in the States. Like Pentheus and the Roman Senate of ancient history, the twisted state cycles versus alcohol are still flexing their muscles of control and legalized violence. But the six truths of history never change, so the same historical cycle has fallen upon the Amerikan empire. Violence is now endemic in American society. A few crazies even prefer the public acts of willful mass murder to any partying whatsoever.

One extreme often follows its opposite extreme. This historical truth has generally explained the attraction of some Communists for suddenly changing over to Fascist movements.

Millions of unfortunate people around the world have taken that other extreme with alcohol. They regularly drink the sacred and fermented juices into the private realms of slow and painful deaths. They drink when they rise, when bored, when they use the toilet, the shower, during work, watching TV, and even before they go to bed. Alcohol helps them pass through their pathetic lives that they truly hate. If they only were dead; instead they exist as alcoholics. Bacchus has given up on them too.

The joyful and liberating spirits of alcohol only flourish under the marvelous company of family and friends, the sensual delights of festivities and carnival, and the delightful tastes of good food. All three of these wonders of life taken together, will transform the Bacchic liquefied gift.

Alcohol opens doors into treasure lands of mental wonder and sensual adventure, and yet when easily overindulged, it is also an intoxication breathing poison, all of which drowns the mind of awareness.

Anarcho-Historian Lesson #5: Seven Classical Methods in Maintaining Social Control over Subject Populations

Posted: November 6, 2013 in Africa, Amerikan Empire, Anarchists, Asia, Auctoritas, authority, battles, bread and circuses, Caesar, Celtic nations, civil war, Claudius, Cleopatra, clients, conspirators, Consul, contests, continual warfare, control, culture, Czar, Dacia, Danube, death, dictators, dignitas, divide and conquer, duty, Egypt, elites, empire, equestrian knights, eternal symbols, extermination, First Settlement, Fortuna, Gaul, Genius, Germania, gravitas, hierarchy, Hispania, historia, historical grandeur, historical posterity, history, holiday, holy day, honor, humanity, images, Imperator, justice, Kaiser, legal privileges, legitimacy, Lepidus, Mar Nostrum, Mark Antony, media, Mediterranean Sea, Mesopotamia, military, Octavian Augustus, pardons, Parthia, patron, patronage, Persia, piracy, political enemies, political methods, political system, political targets, Pontifex Maximus, Praetorian Guard, Princeps, religion, Rhine, rituals, Roman Empire, Roman legions, Roman Republic, Roman Senate, rule, sacred state rituals, selective events, selective justice, semi-divine powers, Sicily, slaves, social control, spectacle, state mythologies, state theater, staying power, subject populations, Syria, tactics, the crowd, the public, the State, Tiberius, titles, toga, token reforms, traditions, triumphs, tyranny, tyrants, United States Government, vengeance, violence, wars
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Octavian AugustusLive Aid #1 LondonMedieval legitimacyRoman-decadence

A violent year was ending; this ‘august’ day was also in the middle of a hard winter – and it was even rougher inside the moderate climes of Rome. This particular year was 27 BCE. It was the month of January, and the  new emperor of the great Roman Empire claimed the day of the 16th as an imperial holiday. The emperor’s name for historical posterity was Octavian Augustus.

During the subsequent years of his reign, he would use all of the ancient classical methods in maintaining social control over Rome’s subject populations. The Roman Empire would never experience its previous civil wars again, yet he snuffed out the Roman Republic from its existence. He replaced the Republic with an Empire and the rest was history.

The first method in social control was Octavian Augustus successfully claiming the rituals, images and titles of legitimate authority. His second method ingeniously utilized slow and repressive tyranny with token reforms. The third method represented the mastery of the bread and circuses spectacle. The fourth used the infamous, and always-triumphant, political technique of divide and you shall conquer. The fifth aspect of control made use of naming enemies and aggravating the public fear of such enemies. The sixth system of statecraft employed selective justice and pardons for some, while making brutal examples against a few easier targets, or called ‘the carrot and the stick’ approach. The final one, and most important method tied with the first one, availed in him creating state mythologies out of selected events.

And many patrician elites, the senate, the army, common plebes, farmers, artisans, foreign citizens, resident merchants and even slaves would commend the name of August for historical posterity. In fact, this dictator’s name now has the English synonym of prestigious. A month in our Gregorian calendar also has the name August. This short story is how it got that way.

On this day, the 16th of January, 27 BCE, called ‘the first settlement,’ his friend and associate, Lepidus, received the spiritual title of the top priest in the Roman religion, ‘the Pontifex Maximus.’ Lepidus and Augustus acted through a complete religious ceremony that included animal sacrifices and sacred rituals. Lepidus dressed accordingly in the beautiful robes and hat of a Pontifex Maximus. Octavian was not finished however, for he soon dashed into the public state theater in his imperial purple and crimson toga over his old military outfit, when he was previously a military commander of a victorious Roman legion. In one full super event, he claimed all three state powers and legitimized his rule: spiritual, political and military. Octavian Augustus would eventually take the imperial spiritual title of Pontifex Maximus from his old client Lepidus.

While Octavian claimed the semi-divine powers over life and death within the entire empire, he also instituted some important reforms on this sacred holy day. He symbolically handed over his legislative power to the Senate, where a faction of that body had warred against his late, assassinated protégé, Julius Caesar. Augustus made sure that the name and title of Caesar also possessed a semi-divine stature, and Octavian took the name of Caesar as the eternal symbol for the Roman emperor – and which would signify emperor even until modern history, with such bogus titles as Kaiser and Czar.

The entire ritual set up featured senators, military commanders with their officers in full military campaign dress, and a flourish of Romans, equestrians, gentleman farmers and distinguished citizens standing in awe inside of the imperial city, surrounded by grandiose, cleaned white temples and Roman imperial majesty. With all of the state pomp and ritual, which utilized all of the five senses and displayed the flourish of power and greatness, the emotional crowd screamed the new titles and powers of Octavian: ‘Princep,’ or First Citizen, ‘Consul,’ or legislative-military adviser, and ‘Imperator.’ or military commander.

This public ritual super event solidified both his power and legitimacy to rule, while he simultaneously showed his historic preservation of the old Roman values of ‘Dignitas,’ or public honor, ‘Gravitas,’ or public temperance, and ‘Auctoritas,’ or valued wisdom. In an ancient historical age without the Internet, video, television, film, radio and photo-print media, Octavian the Great had prepared a true masterpiece of state theater.

Octavian the Augustus claimed even greater honors, all for his ‘duty’ to Rome. He set up another date of glory called the ‘second settlement,’ where he claimed the powers of the ‘Tribune,’ or the sacred interests of the people, called the ‘Popolus.’ Augustus even claimed that the massive conglomerations of Rome actually represented one great family on the Earth, and so his ultimate title was ‘Pater Patriae,’ Father of the sacred country. In an Empire that swarmed on three different continents while possessing many different languages and cultures, this new truth was certainly something else to believe.

But sacred state rituals and costumes in the service of legitimacy needed some more backing for wider public support. Augustus became the Roman game and circus leader extraordinaire. Normally, such games and circuses happened only during Roman holy days, or holidays. But Augustus kept the party spirit burning with lots of back to back contests of chariot races, gladiator fights, mock battles, and even naval ones, and public contests of lyrical-musical, religious, poetic and physical glories. During these festivals and spectacles, Augustus distributed rations of bread, killed bull meat, and watered down wine to the anxious urban crowds in Rome. The theatrical comedies were in full operation, and the emperor even rebuilt the great Theater of Apollo.

Octavian had also made sure that his rival enemies ended up fully destroyed and discredited. Octavian’s greatest concern was Caesar’s cousin and Roman hero, Mark Antony and his relationship to Cleopatra in Egypt. Octavian managed to pull the Roman Senate against the Mark Antony, and he had even read the supposed will of Mark Antony to the Roman people in the Forum market. Like a skilled manipulator, Octavian moved the public sentiment against the ‘dictatorial degenerate’ lying in waste at Cleopatra’s palace in Egypt. Eventually, Octavian managed to seize a Roman legion that exterminated his followers, and he even ordered their son, Caesarion, killed. Any Roman associated with such a rabble became a public enemy of the Roman people.

While the circuses and bread distribution progressed, Octavian warned the Roman people of the coming sacrifices ahead in order to maintain their wonderful empire. Continual war was the other standard in Octavian’s rule. The Celtic nations in Gaul, or France, and in Hispania, or Spain, still needed the iron discipline of Roman blood and fire. Augustus also had to exterminate the pirate danger in the Mar Nostrum, or the Mediterranean Sea.

Earlier, Octavian had finished off one of the sons of Pompey; Pompey the Great was an old Roman General and ally, later enemy, of Caesar. His sons still had a base of operations in the wilds of Sicily. Augustus’ latter warfare eventual paid off with full victories in Spain and in France. His Germania, or German campaigns, did not gain much territory. In fact, his war campaign against the German nations ended in defeat, but the Roman blood would demand future sacrifice in subduing them. His descendent Claudius would do the faithful job.

In the east, he took Egypt, grabbed more territory from Dacia, or Rumania, and Rome successfully battled the Parthians, or Persians-Iranians, whereby the Roman imperial standards moved from Mesopotamia, or Iraq, into Northern Africa, and on the northern periphery, from the Danube to the Rhine river. Octavian Augustus had many spectacular public triumphs in his city of Rome. His unforgettable triumphant returns featured marching Roman legions in sync, loud war drums, megalith flower displays, stolen religious objects on pedestals, massive stone gods brought back on ships, and thousands of unfortunate captured slaves in chains.

Octavian always maintained the astute politician role. He knew when to offer pardons and patronage, and with other unfortunates, exterminate them mercilessly. He had all of the Senatorial conspirators associated with the assassination of Caesar exterminated – including the noble Cicero, yet he lavished power and patronage on the rest of the Roman Senate to help ‘govern’ the Empire. He exterminated the last heir of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, yet he pardoned Mark Antony’s brother that warred against him in the Perusine War. He ultimately exterminated the sons of Pompey, or the Pirates of Sicily, and yet, he redistributed lands in Italy to his Roman soldiers that faithfully fought with him and even with those that fought for Mark Antony – and he pardoned his old ally Lepidus when his old and disgruntled client decided to battle against him.

Finally, Augustus was the master in creating a renewed imperial and cultural mythology. His death culminated in Roman holiday celebrations that included a monolithic funeral cortège of flower wreaths featuring his noble family and the successor emperor, Tiberius, the Roman Senate, the Roman Praetorian Guard, or elite soldiers, equestrian Roman cavalry, Roman legions stationed near the city of Rome, and throng of innumerable Roman nobles, plebes and citizens in mourning. Augustus financed many public work projects, and his most famous was the construction of the Pantheon, which still stands in the actual Rome of today. His burial took place in the sacred corner of the temple, and his ‘Genius,’ or essence received deification. His eulogies also spread to other writers, intellectuals and historians that Augustus patronized. The greatest work was the epic tale of the Romans, called the ‘Aeneid,’ which traced the early history of Rome back to the honorable and courageous, Trojans – and finishing with Augustus, of course.

And so, the mythology of Octavian Caesar Augustus still lives in historical grandeur, or historical infamy, if you are an Anarchist. His statecraft also continues to breed its monsters. Since those ancient times, uncountable emperors, dictators, thugs on thrones, tyrants, princes, kings, queens, dukes, state criminals, sociopaths, prime ministers, presidents and self-proclaimed leaders have utilized the same methods and have unfortunately made them work.

Now the readers know the truth of such tactics and we can counter them. Anarchists can tell this story and other such examples to the angry and the ignorant. The astute reader can also see how the current monstrosity of empire, the United States of America Empire, has also used, and continues to use, such sinister practices of public manipulation.

But the current evil Amerikan empire has even greater power at its disposal in statecraft and social control. This criminal regime in Washington D.C. has been, and always will be, the greatest at utilizing particular modus operandi: media advertising through image-phrase repetitions, emotional manipulations, and blatant news speak propaganda.