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Ancient worldz is a blog were I compare the worlds that ancient and medievil peoples inhabited and thrived in to the modern world. I also try to illustrate the stories with my drawings and painted miniatures.
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Elagabalus is back! Obama, return of a historical figure?



While reading a book on roman Emperors, I happened to stumble upon, a little known Roman Emperor named Elagabalus. I began to see some parallels between Varius Avitus Bassianus Elagabalus and the modern day Barack Hussein Obama. Get me clear now, many things are completely different form the modern day situation, and this past example. This is just my musings on the similarities the popped into my head while reading about Elagabalus.

Elagabalus and Barack Obama both share names from the middle east, and a mixed heritage. Obama has white and black heritage, Elagabalus had north African, Syrian, and Roman origins. Many people in the country were they came rule were bigoted against them because of their foreign origins.

Their childhoods are fantastically familiar to one another. Both had to leave the countries they would one day come to rule with their mothers . They were raised in a foreign states Obama in the Philippines and Elagabalus in Syria. Obama and Elagabalus's fathers disappeared from the scene at an early age. Because of the exodus from the comfort of the land of their birth both were raised primarily by both their mother and grandmother.

The former Emperor Macrinus was very unpopular because of his failure to gain victory over an inferior enemy (the Parthians who were from modern day Iraq) caused considerable resentment among the Romans. Sound familiar to Bush? Iraq? Malcontent with a long war with no victory? Macrinus also suffered from bad popularity in the late-summer of 218 A.D when a massive thunder storm caused catastrophic flooding, and Macrinus' appointee as urban prefect proved unable to repair the damage to the satisfaction of the populace and had to be replaced. The Romans became even more enraged when Macrinus never even showed up to comfort his people and oversee rebuilding. I believe this sounds familiar to Katrina and New Orleans, which caused his popularity to fall. One of the greatest early criticisms Obama and Elagabalus was their youth and inexperience. Elagabalus was only 14 when he became the youngest Emperor in Roman history at that time

The Romans said it was time for a change.

Elagabalus and his followers promised change to Macrinus's incompetent leadership and a return to Roman greatness. Macrinus was overthrown and Elagabalus started his reign as a extremely popular and hopeful new leader.

During the beginning of his rule, Elagabalus showed a disregard for Roman religious traditions and sexual taboos. This is similar to the way in which the conservative right views Obamas support of the Gay marriage leaders, and his abortion stance. In Elagabulus's case it was his open acceptance of transsexuals. The conservatives were silenced by the masses of Romans who just wanted to return to government that was not incompetent.

This was the situation at the beggining of the rien of Elagabalus.

Love to hear any questions, comments, feedback, good or bad.


5 comments:

F. Ramey said...

It is an interesting comparison and one that I was not really aware of. To be honest, there were so many Emperors in such a short period of time that I could never remember all their names and I am not even sure if I have heard of this guy before now.

I really like the idea for your blog and although I have only read on it for about ten minutes I plan to check it out some more. I think that the theme for this blog and the one that I am starting are similar so I will definitely be in touch!

Octobriana (Oz) said...

I find the similarities a tad superficial, though in many ways the United States seems to be a period in its history similar to the Roman Empire at that time.

Historyscientist said...

I think Obama has a bit more sense than Elagabalus, but it was a fun comparison.

I don't think we'll see the marines chucking the body of Obama in the Potomac somehow.

Oscar1986 said...

Historyscientist thanks for your comment. I agree Obama has not turned out like Elagabalus very much.. however I believe the greatest similarities are between Rome around the 3rd and 4th centuries and the current decline of the United States. Obama is controlled far to much by his handlers to go on any sort of crazy tirade like Elagabalus.

Piotr Henryk Nowacki said...

Nice comparison! Definitely enough similarities to make that comparison in the first place. It's good that you mentioned the 'change' thing because the only thing has changed is the president, all of Bush's policies have continued under Obama.