lesbiassparrow: (Sacred chickens)
Well, the man himself would have been horrified given that the Romans thought drinking beer was one step above strangling your parents in the barbarian stakes, but it still exists. And that makes me happy. Here's to Pliny!




And your Pliny the Elder remedy of the day: a wolf's liver in mulled wine will cure a cough. THE MORE YOU KNOW.
lesbiassparrow: (Default)
Because the Cicero post will take a while to write and also involve me looking at his delicious invectives which are in my office, I give you...BIRDS.

The Romans loved auspices. They were like bird crack to them. They loved them as much as they loved ablative absolutes and that, my friends, is a lot of love.

Want to take auspices? This is the entry for you! Also with bonus sacred chickens. )

I apologise for clogging up your flist with horrific knowledge about the Romans - sometimes I just can't stop myself sharing these things. THE WORLD MUST KNOW.
lesbiassparrow: (THEY MOVE LIKE COUGARS)
(Quite a lot of this comes from Pliny the Elder's wonderfully whacky Natural History Book 28 which I highly recommend to anyone who is interested in ancient Rome and Greece. It's a wonderful glimpse into what people believed.)

Romans seem to have thought that hyenas were hermaphrodites/or could switch gender (Ovid thinks the females do so right after having sex - no idea where he thought the womb went.). That makes it magical, so its body will have all sorts of magical effects. It was also thought to be sexually voracious, which means that it is very useful in love magic, where by a process of sympathy you could get that appetite transferred to the object of your desire.

Pliny lists 79 remedies from the hyena (I think the max for other animals is 19 and that's for the crocodile). I present a selection:

1. A hyena's anus worn as an amulet will make you irresistible to the ladies - one look and they will follow you. (You call also rub a tick on her groin if that doesn't get her going.)

More 'facts' behind the cut )

(Also, random fact from Pliny the Elder: if you are pregnant never, ever step over a beaver. DISASTER WILL FOLLOW. I don't know why you would step over a beaver, but just in case, forewarned is forearmed! Also the left foot of a hyena hung above a bed will kill a woman in labour. But, don't despair! Eating wolf meat or having someone who has eaten wolf meat sitting beside you helps.)

Also (and this must be the worst birthday gift EVER): I dedicate this to the lovely [livejournal.com profile] thedorkygirl and [livejournal.com profile] shangri__la who both have birthdays coming up.
lesbiassparrow: (Default)
(Other post coming soon, but mules weren't getting enough love.)

Pliny the Elder thought you could break mules by feedng them a lot of wine. I guess that's one way of doing it.

Also he has a hilarious recipe for a love charm that involves plucking three hairs from a female mule's tail. While she is, um, having sex. I suspect that one didn't do this more than once.

ETA: As hyenas and Cicero are currently even, the next post will be on hyenas. With possibly crocodile dung tossed in for good measure. No word on whether Cicero ever used it, but as it was used in rouge and Cicero doesn't strike me as a man to use rouge (though as there is a little evidence that some orators used to paint their faces for court, perhaps he did).

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