domenica 6 aprile 2008

Occhio non vede.....

Before everyone gets too excited about the blindness of David Paterson, the new governor of New York (not a disability first for US politics by any means), we might remember that the first political personality in all of Roman history was also blind.

Appius Claudius Caecus is most famous for overseeing the Appian Way, the first 'Roman road'.

But he made democratic history in 312 BC by promoting slaves' sons over aristocrats to the Roman senate.

Critics point out that he kept the priesthood posh. But he was a worthy forerunner for today's new Democratic man.

He is the first real character who comes to life in the history of Rome.

David Paterson himself comes nicely to life in this on-the-Clinton-stump encounter with The Times.

Caecus also made the first political speech in Latin of which we have any decent record - a prototype of the 'no surrender' rhetoric which is still with us - though not to be heard anymore from former New York governor, Eliot Spitzer, who has had to surrender his office to Mr Paterson for buying expensive prostitution.

Caecus was blinded because of a 'curse' it was said.

His own best known saying - also still with us and expecially so in New York this week, is that "every man is the architect of his own fortune".

Quisque faber fortunae suae - if anyone wants to write it on a subway wall.