The Death of Crassus

Marcus Licinius Crassus was the richest Roman of his time.  He invested in real estate, owned mines, and traded slaves, but he also acquired wealth in less conventional ways.  He owned a private firefighting force, for Rome had no public one yet, and when he heard that a house was burning, he went there with his slaves.  Once there, he would offer to buy the house for much less than it was worth.  If the owner refused, he allowed it to burn.  If the owner agreed, he would save the house and its belongings, and sell the house at a great profit.

Eager for glory, he led an army against the Parthians later in life.  He was captured, and killed in the following way.  Knowing of his greed for gold, the Parthians poured molten gold down his throat, thereby ending his life.

The Roman Consulship

Once the Romans expelled their kings, they needed to decide who would now lead them.  Tarquin the Proud had so greatly ruined the concept of kingship, though, that the Romans developed an extreme hatred of the very name of king, and refused to ever allow such a person to rule them again.  In order to prevent any man from ever again acquiring a kingship, the Romans set up the consulship as their executive.

Two consuls shared power, each equal to the other, and if they disagreed, no action could be taken.  Additionally, their appointment was only for a year, after which, they were not supposed to be able to take office again for a decade, a rule that was frequently broken later in the Republic.

Nevertheless, the consular system persisted for centuries, and was one of the most stable systems of government in the ancient world, a superlative it shares with the Spartan dual kingship.  Perhaps having a double executive is superior to a single executive?

Cornelius Scipio Salvito

When Gaius Julius Caesar was fighting his war in Africa against the Pompeian forces during the Roman Civil War, the enemy troops were being led by Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius Scipio Nasica.  According to a long-standing prophecy, only a Scipio could be victorious in Africa, most likely in reference to the victories of Scipio Africanus Elder and Younger.  Caesar therefore took an unknown soldier out of his ranks, Cornelius Scipio Salvito, and kept him at the front of his army, in order to inspire his troops onwards to victory.

Roman Charity

During the Roman Republic, a woman was once imprisoned for a crime, but not immediately strangled.  Out of pity, the warden refused to murder her himself, but instead decided to allow her to starve to death.  Her daughter was allowed to visit her, after being searched in order to make sure that she was not bringing food to the mother.

Weeks passed, and yet the mother lived.  Wondering how this could be so, the warden spied upon the daughter’s next visit.  As he watched, the daughter took out her own breasts and nourished her mother with her milk.  The warden was so impressed by such filial piety that he reported it to the authorities, who, too, were so impressed that they remitted the mother’s sentence and allowed her her freedom once again, in honor of her daughter’s devotion.

A similar event happened between Pero and her father Myco, who was also imprisoned, and only sustained by the milk of his daughter’s breast.

Let Them Drink

Publius Claudius Pulcher, during the Fist Punic War, decided to launch a surprise attack against the Carthaginian navy at Drepana.  Before the battle, it was customary to offer grain to sacred chickens, and if they ate the grain, it was a sign that the gods approved of the battle.  The chickens refused to eat, and Pulcher, enraged, threw them into the sea, saying, “If they will not eat, let them drink!”

He engaged the Carthaginians anyway, and suffered a terrible defeat, losing almost the entirety of the Roman navy, and so demoralizing the Romans that it would be seven years before they again took to the seas.

The Roman Dictator

Usually, the executive power of the Roman Republic was divided in two and shared between two consuls who had equal power.  But when the state itself was considered to be in danger, a single dictator was elected, whose power was absolute for the duration of six months, in order that the danger could be dealt with without internal struggles sapping the energy of the state.

Tiberius and the Invention of Sexual Positions

It is rare that, in human history, a specific sexual position is given any sort of inventor.  Most of them probably predate humanity as we think of it.  The majority of the rest are simple enough that cultures independently invent them before they meet each other.  There are stories of cultures transmitting certain ideas.  For instance, it was said that the Greeks had taught the Persians about the possibility of anal sex, but even then, there is no original Greek inventor of the concept.

The single exception of which I know is the “daisy chain.”  This term has several variations, all of which involve a circle of people performing the same action on the next person that is being performed on them by the previous person in the circle.  However, the specific variation to which I refer is that in which a circle of men each anally penetrate the man in front of them.

According to history, the daisy chain was invented by the Roman emperor Tiberius, during his long retreat on the island of Capri.  A great deal of sexual improprieties were attributed to him, though, so perhaps this should be taken with a grain of salt.  Nevertheless, it makes the position unique in the annals of history to the best of my knowledge.