Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

Part Two: How The Roman Republic Became a Police State

Part Two: How The Roman Republic Became a Police State

Thu, 18 Aug 2022 10:00

Robert is joined again by Andrew Ti to continue to discuss The Roman Republic.

See for privacy information.

Listen to Episode

Copyright © 2022 iHeartPodcasts

Read Episode Transcript

Hey, Robert here. It's been like two months since I had LASIK and I'm still seeing 2020. All I had to do was go in for a consultation, then go in for a maybe 10 minute procedure and then my eyes have been great ever since. You know, I healed up wonderfully. It was very simple, couldn't have been a better experience. So if you want to explore LASIK plus I can't recommend it enough. They have over 20 years experience in the industry and they performed more than two million treatments right now if you want to try getting LASIK plus you can get $1000 off of your surgery when you're treated in September, that's $500. Of per eye, just to schedule your free consultation. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried true crime. And if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams. Let's breaker handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her social discoveries on chimpanzees, the four O months the chimps ran away from me. I mean, they take one look at this peculiar white ape and disappear into the vegetation. Bring wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. Ohh America. Alright, I started the episode Sylvie. I mean, you could have done worse. Yeah. Yeah. America, I've heard you start. I've started. We all love America, and so let's celebrate it. Andrew. Of all, of all, of all of the countries that are America, which one is your favorite and why is it ancient Rome? Wait, I I there was a bobble. Just a tiny bubble in your audio. So I'm I missed the middle of it. Wait, what is? He said of all the countries that are America, which is my favorite, and why is it? Why ancient Rome? Yeah. Yeah, exactly. I think it's. I mean, honestly, so far it's got to be. Just the the sword control bills that do. I do love the sword control bills. Yeah, yeah, it is. It is very funny. I guess it is a little tricky too, because living at a time, if you go back to part one when it's like weapons of war are banned, but weapons of war includes things like horses. Yeah, well, yeah. A weapon of war is like a sharp piece of metal in this period of time and not really much deadlier than like a big heavy stick, right. Like, it's. Yeah, it. It is. It is different. Like, again, these are you can also find. On articles about people talking about ancient Roman like weapons limitation laws and people trying to make comparisons to assault weapons. And it's like, well, it doesn't really work very well. Among other things, number one, people support assault weapons bans in the United States generally because of like, massacres of schools and malls and stuff. And the Romans supported a ban on the carrying of weapons within the palmarium because they were trying to stop armed mobs from taking political power, right? It's not about stop Rome. Ancient Romans did literally nothing. To stop murders. There were not police you did not like. If you committed a murder, there was no like unless you killed a famous rich person. There was nobody to like. Do like. They didn't give a ****. Again, people died constantly, right? Like you we just talked about that Lady had 12 kids and three of them made it to adulthood like they didn't. They didn't. They would not have banned us. They would not have banned assault weapons if the the the worry were that civilians were getting murdered. They banned weapons carrying because they didn't want people to take over the government. This sort of, yeah. The almost exact opposite, yeah. It's it's literally like the opposite reasoning. It was not to protect life, yeah. That was absolutely no one's concern, and it should Rome. So after the assassination of Tiberius Gracchus, things got worse very quickly for our Roman friends. Now, Tiberius was not yet 30 when he died. I think he might have been in the 20. He might have been like Cobain, you know? Yeah, yeah. Kurt Cobain and Tiberius Gracchus. 2 Socialist kings by the time. By the time you're in your 30s, you should have been assassinated for assassinating culture at least. Yes, now tiberius. Yeah. So he's he's young, and he's got this younger brother who we talked about a little bit in the first episode, Gaius, who's like just starting to be an adult when his older brother gets murdered. Now you can find a bunch of writing from historians at the time about Gaius, and it's all the same, sort of like hagiographic **** about how cool he was and how, like, he loved his soldiers. When he becomes a, he becomes like a the equivalent of like a Lieutenant or something when he's like 17, like all of these people do. And he's right. He's supposed to be good at that and eventually he winds up getting elected tribune like his brother had been. He has to break his law to get elect the break the law to get elected. He has to like actually desert the army, but he talks his way out of getting in trouble for it because again a lot of Roman law is just like, well, we're pretty sure our ancestors wouldn't have liked it if this happened, but he he talks his way out of it. So his brother's reforms had been passed after he was murdered, but they've been kind of kneecapped by patricians. So they pass a land reform bill and then they. Spend the next couple of years like taking back everything that they've given to poor people, pretty much. So Gaius starts pushing for a bunch of, like, really pretty radical reforms at the time. He wants to give more public land to the poor. He wants to hand out free grain. He wants to set up a state dole so that the poor aren't reliant upon like, rich people as clients who can then tell them who to vote in order to, like, survive. He wants to provide public funding for military equipment so that poor people can be in the army. He wants to raise the draft age, and he wants to make everyone in Italy a Roman citizen, which really ****** off the the rich and powerful people in Rome. And he's he's politically successful in a lot of this. He actually gets the Senate to send money back to conquered nations because he thinks that, like Rome's being unfair to the places they conquer, which is like kind of a wild thing to succeed at getting the Senate to do so. This makes him as popular among the people who had murdered his brother as you might expect. Now Plutarch describes the change as Gaius is trying to push in the Roman government as changing it from aristocratic AL to Democratical, and perhaps he would have succeeded given time. But he made the mistake of leaving Rome to found a colony in Libya which gives his enemies the opportunity to slander him to voters, and when he returns, he gets attacked in the street by a mob, and the majority of people failed to come to his aid, like nobody comes to protect him when this group of like hired thugs comes to murder him. And he gets beaten to death and his head is stuck on a spear and brought to the Senate. They threw his corpse into a river. They love throwing corpses and rivers the Romans which is a bad idea by the way if you're going to kill, if you're gonna if you're political movement is going to massacre a bunch of people don't throw their bodies in the river. You need that water. Yeah especially you know in pre pre water treatment plant times. Yeah if you want to my my famous favorite meme the the one from predator with the two the the the black guy and the. Yeah, I like clasping hands. It's going to be like ancient Rome, the Aztecs, throwing all of the corpses in the river. Umm. So whether or not you want to see the brothers Gracchi as they become known to the ages, as the first Socialists or as precursors to Donald Trump, this brief period of time in the spotlight they have makes one thing very clear. The ruling class in Rome is willing to break any rule and violate any norm to keep the money flowing and maintain their shocking rate of wealth accumulation. From this point on in the Republic's history, the rich only get richer and the poor tend to get poorer. But once it becomes clear that it's OK to murder political rabble rousers and their supporters to keep them from redistributing. And it becomes increasingly hard to argue that there aren't a lot of other political things that are worth doing a murder over. And so people start murdering over everything. And while Roman politics is getting a lot more murder rate and 113 BC, this huge migration of Barbarians, they're generally called Germans. But like they're not actually Germans, but whatever, they're, they're the they they sweep down from central, central ish Europe and they start invading Italy. Now the Romans do what they always do, which is they put together this, this. Army 20,000 men and they March out to stop them. And you know, Nancy Pelosi is in charge again, so the army gets wiped out, just just absolutely massacred. So the Roman state, which had never meaningfully reformed public lands or fixed the problems the Gracchi had railed against, can't really replace the lost men. But thankfully they have a guy on hand, a military leader, a dude named Gaius Marius who he's been elected consul a couple of times at this point, and he's Co leading a military campaign elsewhere in the empire. And it just so happens this guy Marius is like. Yeah, like top 10 military minds and like all of history, like if you're, if you're ranking like all the like he's up there with like Subutai and **** like he's he's very, very good at being an A military leader and he's going to be the guy who reforms the Roman military. So the Roman army that you've seen in any movie with like Romans where they all have that like segmented armor and like you know, you've got the lesions with the big Shields and the swords and the hat. He invents that before him. It's a very different looking army. They have like different classes. They have got guys. It's very different. Story, I mean it's it's like everyone because everyone bought their own ****. So it's right. Exactly, exactly. So he reforms the military and he also, he he basically succeeds in making the state pay for it. So for the first time you've got regular people, they're called the proletariat. Proletariat, yeah, proletariat, something like that. The poorest people are in the military and he start, it's very controversial what he's doing, but there's a a disaster. Happening at the time, getting their ***** kicked by these, these Barbarians. So he's like, look, we have to we have to recruit from poor people and arm them at the state's expense. And this works out really, really well. And Marius is, as he's a brilliant military leader, he's also a really good politician. He's good at winning elections and and exercising power and building coalitions. But he's also, he's not really a patrician. He he's he's a rich guy, but he's kind of a rich country guy. So everyone could all of the patricians. He's a redneck, right? He doesn't speak Greek, right? He can't even ******* speak Greek. So they're like they hate his ***. Like there's a little bit, I actually a little bit of their reaction to him that is kind of Trumpy. And that, like, you've got this, like, entrenched political class who just doesn't like the way he talks, right? I think it's kinda gross. But also, he's super popular among regular people because #1, he's like massively improving their lives because along with letting them be in the army, he makes it so that if you're in the army, you get a bunch of land after you retire, right? Like, you get like this land that we're conquering, we're going to give it to soldiers. So instead of coming home to a farm that has been taken from you, you come home and you get given a farm by the State Farm, you know? And that's like a pretty cool deal. For the time. So to make a Long story short, he he wins this war and he becomes such a hero that he is styled the third founder of Rome. Like to the if you want to talk about the degree to which he wins this war against these Barbarians, if I'm remembering properly, they basically create a new God of death that's made in his image because of how many of them he kills. Like it's it's that, it's he's like that. It's like that kind of war, right? So he becomes like known as the third founder of Rome. Which is, you know, most like, he's he's a big part of who's, like, pushing that title for himself. Right. Because he's. Yeah. It's good, good branding. Yeah. And he's absolutely a populist. And in fact, he draws a movement towards to him to become known as the Populares, which is, I think it's pretty obvious what that means. And they're they're opposed by the optimists who are like the rich people who want to reduce the political power of the plebes. Eventually, all of this leads to a nasty civil war between Marius and his old Lieutenant, a patrician politician named Zola. Now. Sulla is like the number one, it has to be said. He is like the queerest dude in ancient Rome and very open about it. He's a fun ******* guy. Like, read it like, Sulla is a is a neat character and he he is just like this, like, very, like some people will say sadistic, definitely mass murderer. Very, very good general. And he and ******* Marius have this, like, series of horrific battles. They have this massive civil war. Just bleed. It wipes out like a generation of Italian because they're both really good. Neither of them are Pelosi types. They're both actually good at having armies, so they just massacre each other. Now Marius loses at 1st and he has to flee to Africa, but then he re invades Italy and he conquers Rome and he massacres all of Sulla's followers in the city. But then he dies because he's like Joe Biden age. And so, so look comes back and he kills all of Mariah's followers, including like there's like 8000 Italians, members of this tribe elsewhere in Italy. Marius was trying to give political rights to because there's this big fight over whether or not Italian should be Roman citizens and he just genocides solely just does a genocide on his feet. He stabs 8000 people to death, which is a lot of people to stab to death when you think about it. Very rarely do that. Many people get stabbed to death in a short period of time. It really is that, like, you know, it's so I I know that obviously our brains are numb to, like, the numbers of war and like, what, what, like automatic weapons and like, you know, modern bombs can do. Yeah. And it is really like sorts. This is swords. This is swords. It is, it is swords and sharpened sticks and like arrows, which are basically sharpened sticks. So solar just kills ******* everybody he can get his hands on who are his enemy, and then he's dictator. He makes himself dictator, which is a political position in Rome, right? Dictator previously is like, it's a you have, it's a job you have for like six months a year. He makes himself dictator for however long he wants to be, but after a while he gives up the job and he retires to his mansion to **** a bunch of hot dudes. So is that's a pretty fun character. I mean, as far as like I'm the dictator, but you know what? I. I'm tired. I'm gonna go first. Hiring from dictator is like a pretty amazing. That's like, no one does that. Like, he's a monster. These guys are all monsters, but he's a pretty entertaining monster. So there's a number of cool side effects to sola massacring. All of Marius's guys, #1, all of the people who were like Populares, who are like populist politicians supporting like folks who are on Marius aside. They either get murdered or they have to flee the city. And one of these people who has to flee Rome and, like, hide. Somewhere else is it dude you might have heard of? Named Julius Caesar, right? He's one of Marius's buds. So another thing that happens is that under solo, the plebs are stripped of all political power. Though that like position tribune of the plebs that have caused so much trouble with the they that that doesn't exist anymore for a while. It comes back, they regain the power. Pretty a lot of the power they'd had and like the decades after solo leaves. But they lose basically all political power for awhile and the last thing that happens is that. All of the people Solem murders have there, and he's like, he's he's like a Stalin type figure with his murdering. He makes a list like there's like a list and and you get a bounty if you like, kill or bring in somebody who's like on his list, you get like a chunk of their stuff. And so some people get really good at murdering or tracking down or are hiring people to murder folks on that list. And so they get a bunch of their stuff. And he's like, so again, if you help him kill his political enemies, he'll give you their ****. And by hook or by **** a lot of the property of people who had been supporters of Marius winds up in the hands of a guy named Marcus Licinius Crassus, who is the Elon Musk of ancient Rome. He is the wealthiest man in the world. And he's also not he. He's like Musk not just because he's the richest guy in the world, but he's also a, some would say, a trailblazing innovator. Right now, Musk's great innovations are PayPal, which is banking but slightly less regulated, and and that car company, CRASSIS, is innovation is he starts the first firefighting brigade in Roman history, right. People have been obviously fighting fires for forever because it's a horrible problem, right? Like a terrible, terrible problem in ancient Rome. But he's the first guy who builds, like an actual. Professional fire brigade. Now, these guys are all slaves and the fire brigade is a for profit endeavor. So what happens is when your house is on fire, crassus's guys will show up and be like that. Seems like a real problem. You got sell us your house for like basically nothing, and we'll put the fire out. So he gets real rich doing this, right? He makes so much ******* money. It is hard to convert old Roman currency to modern dollars. But he's like a billionaire right? He's a multi billionaire for all intents and purposes he's got like Elon Musk money, right? Right? Is so rich that a few decades later he's going to buy an army of 40,000 men to invade Iran. It doesn't work out for him. It's really badly. But he's part of this like tradition of like now rich guys can buy an army if they right, right, right. Yeah. Because they basically what they do is like, I'm gonna donate this money to the state in order to buy this army because I think we need to be a war with these people and crassus's case they get their ***** kicked very badly and he gets killed by having molten gold throat bored now his throat which is obviously yeah no, it's a dope. It's a dope punishment because the the Parthians who are like basically Iranian are like. Hey, you're the richest man in the world. You know, it would be a fun way to murder you is to make you drown in your own molten gold. We're gonna, like, melt down your money and and kill you with it. Which is rad and should be done more often in history. Yeah, like today, for example. Now it's just pouring molten NFT's down their throats, right? That's right. They do not have the same panache. So Crassus is one of these Roman politicians that most people have probably heard about. He's famously he's part of this triumvirate that runs things for a while at the tail end of the Republic. The other two guys in the triumvirate are Julius Caesar, who everybody knows, and the Naias Pompeius Magnus. Or or simply Pompey the great. Now I'm not going to 1st off I should note he's called Pompey the great because that is the nickname he gives himself, but he he he basically he's like poppy's whole strategy was he would go Rome would be at a war. Somewhere, and some political guy who was good at fighting the war would almost win it. And then Pompey, because he was good at politics and rich, would like buy his way into taking over the army. And then he'd finish the war and then be like, look at this big victory I won. Guess I get another big, fancy day marching through the city. And so, like, he gets that he he gets voted the name Pompey the great effectively because, like, the other senators are making fun of him because they're like, like, like, like, it's like, it's a, it's a, it's like kind of a mocking nickname to most people because he's like, we all know you're kind of full of ****. He's like an executive producer of the wars. Exactly. Exactly, yeah. He's he's an EP. He he actually kind of is like, I mean, in a number of ways, he's like the, he's like the, the, the, the Weinstein of military history, right? Yeah, Julius Caesar's the Ben Affleck. I'm not going to explain it. So I'm not going to like rehash all of this. In Roman history save to say that, like the fact that three guys wind up basically in charge of all government policy is, is not a good step in towards like a more Republican form of government. Right? So what doesn't talk and get talked about enough? Because this is the thing everybody talks about is like the triumvirate and Pompey and Caesar and Crassus and stuff. This is like most of what? People know about the Roman Republic is this tale end. What doesn't get talked about enough is how **** actually got done on the ground. Because in the 80 or so years since the brothers Gracchi, Roman politics had turned into a constant low level gang war. And again, you've got these big mobs of clients. So, like after it becomes common to kill people for political purposes, senators and elected officials won't travel through town without like a bunch of their guys with them, right? So part of your job is clients, like at least you know. The chunk of clients you have are like veterans who are like big tough guys. You get your vets and your boxes and stuff, and anytime you go through town to take care of business, you have like 50 or 100 guys with weapons like your guys following. You like to watch your back, right? Because now people get murdered all the time because they propose bills. And one of the things this means is that pretty regularly you'll get these groups of like senators and elected officials and like their goons and they'll just murder each other in the street. There will be these gang wars between like. Members of Congress it it is. It's literally like a ******* like Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi, right? Like bands of men with like sharpened sticks wailing and each other in like Washington. Which would be a better system than we have. Now, don't get me wrong. Now it's like a Cold War versus. Yeah, that. Yeah. Oh yeah. So, like, and a lot of one of the actually the most popular weapons is like ceiling tiles. Like it that's if you really want to kill somebody, you get some dudes up on a roof to just start hucking ceiling tiles down on them. That'll kill ************ fast. Ohh yeah. Yeah. So sense. Yeah. I mean, that's how it's a good way to kill people. So the most successful of these gangsters, because another thing that happens is that, like. Yes, Senator, you've got like your mobs of clients, but like a guy who's professionally building a a a mob of armed people to get into street fights is always going to be better than just some politician who has his like his like toadies following him. So you get these professional gangsters who build political mobs to street fight on behalf of different sides of the big Roman political divide, right? And the most successful of these gangsters is a guy named Claudius. Now Claudius is another rich kid. His family had sided with Sola. During the last civil War, which is like, you know, that's the the aristocracy side. But Claudius didn't follow in the footsteps of his father, who'd been elected consul. Instead, he starts to develop a reputation as the kind of guy who can get things done in a dark alley. In 63 BC, a senator named Cataline tries to overthrow the government and massacre all of the elected leaders of Rome and assumed control in a coup. Kind of tries to make himself dictator again, like suhad. And while this is all going on, this is a complicated story. But while there's this like coup attempt, Claudius. Because he's kind of a young, strapping dude. He volunteers to act as bodyguard for the consoles, for the elected leaders Catalinas trying to kill. And when all the dust is settled, he's become one of the guys you go to in Rome when you need a gang of thugs to protect you or somebody else, right? He kind of like, he's kind of like building a private security firm, like that's literally like, really what? This is like, you can hire Claudius and he's got like, ******* goons who will watch your ******* back and they're good at it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, there's a lot of ground to cover here, and I'm not gonna give Claudius his due because he's a fascinating guy, but I would be doing everyone a disservice if I didn't read you this one excerpt from his back story, and I'm gonna this is coming from a write up and quote, the cult of Bona DEA. The good goddess is somewhat of an anomaly in classical Rome rather than the standard gods with the priesthood and open worship. The good goddess was worshipped in a less formal fashion, similar to the Greek mystery cults. The celebrations of Bonadie were not of the city's normal ecclesiastical rights. And in fact, the predated the earliest recorded history of the city. Even her name was a secret known only to women and never recorded. She did have a temple where only women were permitted entry, and every year on the first day of May, they would hold a sacred celebration in this temple. This was one of two such celebrations held throughout the year, but the second, in December, was not held in the temple. Instead it was hosted by the wife of the chief magistrate with the aid of Rome, Sacred Vestal virgins, the year the chief magistrate was Rome's high priest Gaius Julius Caesar. Quite why Claudius decided to infiltrate the Bonnerdale festivities in 62 BC is a mystery. The main rumor at the time was that he did it in an attempt to seduce the Hostess, Caesar's wife, Pompeia. The more likely reason is that he did it in an attempt to win some credit with Rome's bohemian set and set himself up as an iconoclast. Whatever it was, he disguised himself as a woman and slipped into the house. Unfortunately for him, Caesar's mother Aurelia was there, determined to make sure that things went smoothly, and she immediately noticed this unusually tall and heavily cloaked women. The right of Bonnerdale was such a rare opportunity for Roman women to throw off the shackles of propriety, and as such masking your identity like that was very unusual. A relia had a servant girl follow Claudius and she immediately noticed. When he let his voice slip, she called him out on it and he fled the scene. Though he was not definitively identified, everyone knew it was Claudius. A public outrage in his conduct, stoked by his brother-in-law, led him to be formally charged with the sacrilege the following year. The punishment for a man who witnessed the mysteries of the good goddess was to be blinded. Just cloud show. ****. It's as a fun note. Cesar divorces his wife after this not because she'd done anything, but because the fact that this guy was maybe trying to **** her means that people might suspect she'd done something and Caesar's wife has to be above suspicion. Oh my God, he just wanted a divorce, like these guys are all. Again, the cool thing about ancient Romans is like, you could among number one, you could make an incredible ******* like like soap opera show that's just about the lives of all these people. They are like the, the just, just all, very every one of these ******* people that we've talked about would have had a reality show if TV. Right, right, right. Like, see, yeah, Cesar Caesar almost basically did kind of have the equivalent of their reality show. So one of the things that he's doing, he and he kind of comes to power later in life. He doesn't have a lot of money. Umm. So he has to work with Crassus and stuff. But when he gets his military command of Gaul #1, it's kind of because he's so old and hasn't really distinguished himself politically. It's kind of like if Pete Buttigieg suddenly got elected supreme commander of the of the US military and then and then conquered the entire Middle East in five years, right, like, if like that. But it's kind of because that's what Caesar does, is he, like, he's kind of a joke. He's this, like, silly ******* that everybody's, like, laughing at. And then he conquers. All of Western Europe, Robert, I'm like. It is really. He's not to compare them, because Pete Buttigieg is useless and Julius Caesar is very smart. But one of the things Caesar does while he is conquering again all the ******* Europe, like he like he's his in his manner. His forces are regularly outnumbered 4 and 5 to 1 by some accounts. Even more than that. Like he's an incredibly competent military leader. While he's doing this, he's writing every day about what he's doing and then sending his diary back to Rome to be published and read out to people in the city. So he is turning his life into the the equivalent of the time of reality show, to build a legend around himself and to make himself into a popular figure. Like he's kind of doing the Trump thing too, where it's like, yeah, I've got this, I've got the most popular show in town, everybody shows up to listen to the latest pages of Caesar's diary being read. I mean, hell, he's you gotta do both, I guess. But yeah, yeah, he's there. He was very savvy guy. Yeah, yeah. Military victory. So Claudius goes to trial as to whether or not he's going to get blinded for like, sneaking into these these women's rights. And he he doesn't get blinded, but only because Caesar and Crassus back him and they bribed the jury to acquit him. And prior to this, he kind of been on the optimate side of things politically. But he's now like a popularity because. Caesar and Crassus, you know? And this is kind of the start of his his life as a creature of Caesar and Crassus. In 59 BC, he runs for election as tribune of the Plebs. Now, as we've talked about, this is the veto job, and it's very important, but also, it's the tribune of the plebs. You can't have this job if you're a patrician, which Claudius is. So he pays a guy who is 4 years younger than him to adopt him as his son. Like he pays a poor man who's younger than him to adopt him as his son and make him a plebian, and then he changes his name from CLAUDIUSCLODIUSI mean it's slightly different in Latin, but like he basically changes it to a different spelling of Claudius to symbolize that, like now I'm a commoner. But the the main benefit, number one, he can veto **** which, since the Gracchi that's become like, the thing you do if you get a tribune on your side, you can just Stonewall everything. It's like the, uh, the filibuster, right? Like you can stop anything from happening. You can just yeah, yeah, that's ultimate power he makes. He makes himself into the Joe Manchin. But the other thing is that, like, because all of Roman politics is determined via street fights, if you kill the tribune of the plebs, any, like tribunes are sacrosanct. They're sacred. When they're holding office, so if you kill one, you are immediately put to death. So he basically gains like a force field for himself in the street, so he's like Joe Manchin and that he can shut down politics. But also now he's got like the if you touch me in a street fight, you get murdered like it's a force field again. They it's a better system than we have, I think. So eventually the optimists get their own Street Fighter who is even better than Claudius at building a gang of violent people to murder. Folks, for political purposes, and this is this gangster named Milo who is also pretty ******* rad. Milo is a is a hoot, so these two send their goons to beat and murder people organizing for the other sides. Assassinations and street fights grow to become like a daily occurrence. There's basically a low level gang war at all times all throughout the city of Rome, and you never know if you're going to get caught up in between these mobs of like armed young thugs. Just like murdering people in the streets. Now, these two St gangs each kind of like represent a different political bloc, but they also represent, there's 2 angry young dudes who hate each other in charge of them. So it's it's very much both like a political proxy fight and also just a street fight between two gangs that hate each other. Yeah, it all comes to a head in 52 BC when Milo murders Claudius after beating him in a street fight, and this is a real problem now, I bet some people are wondering at this point as we talk about all of this. Going on where the **** are the police in this, right? Because at this point in Roman history, there's like a million. There's close to 1,000,000 people in the city of Rome. It doesn't really hit a million until, like, that's the 1st century AD, but there's like probably six, 700,000 or more people living in the city at this point, which is there will be no city in Eurasia with a population that's similar in size until the 1800s, right? And this is like 50 BC, you know, so Rome is able to get that big because it's very modern in a lot of ways. There's sewers, a lot of homes have central heating, they have running. Water. But one hallmark of modern life that Rome lacked was anything that vaguely resembled law enforcement. And I want to quote from a write up from Doctor Linda Ellis here. The other government could usually cope with major disorders. Personal violence plagued the city under the Republic. The police powers of the government were rudimentary, with few officials and limited staff trying to maintain some semblance of order. So if you committed a crime in Rome like treason or ******* in the money with the money that was serious, you would get punished, right? Some high up elected official would like. Then the guys after you, right? Usually these were guys known as lictors, who are like, basically if you have political office that comes with any kind of power, you get these dudes who hang around you. And they carry these things called fascias, which are like a bundle of sticks with an axe tied to them, which is where we get the word fascism. And you can send them to do things and they basically have can speak with like, the power that you have. It's it's a way of being like, well, you know, if I'm actually running this empire, I might need to be making things happen in more than one place or like. And Secret Service was a little more proactive, kind of. But instead of, like, protecting you, their job is mainly to go and, like, tell people to do things on your behalf. So yeah, you can if, like, somebody does some serious treason, there's the ability to kind of enforce the law against them. But there's not cops. And so, like, if if a popular or a wealthy guy like murder somebody, they're not going to get punished unless, like, the person they murder has more money than them and like friends who, like, arrange a mob to, like, go and fight his supporters. And property crime is not really a crime, it's a civil matter. As doctor Linda Ellis writes quote, when the average citizen of Rome became a victim of crime, he had to rely on his neighbors and relatives for help. Roman nobility could also call up a mob of clients to do battle for them. In rural areas of Italy, the situation was worse and land owners hired armed bands to protect themselves and intimidate their enemies. There were even a few private armies of thugs at Rome. Self-help was always the main way to deal with criminals in ancient Rome, and there was no concept of public prosecution, so victims of crime or their families had to organize and manage. Got the prosecution themselves. So it's kind of everybody doing the gang **** at this point, which is, you know? We'll talk about how it works because in some ways it works better than what's gonna come next. In some ways it doesn't. But this, again, it is worth noting that, like, this is the system that like a million people live under in the densest city in the modern world, and they they mostly figure their **** out. Now, as we know, in 49 BCE the tensions between the optimates and the popularities that have been settled in the streets turn into open war, right? You get, you get your Caesar. He crosses the Rubicon, which is a river. He fights this big war with his old friend. Bobby and. And Caesar wins. Right? And then he gets the **** stabbed out of him. And then there's another horrible civil war between the people who had killed Caesar and this kid who's related to him, who he kind of like makes his inheritor named Augustus. And Augustus wins the Civil War, and he winds up as the emperor. Right. This is the history. Everybody knows. This is like the most famous period of all of Roman history. Cleopatra is in the mix for a while, then she's not. Yeah. So the characters I've heard of. Yes. Yeah, we are. We are now at the point in history. Everyone knows about it. Going to talk about what Augustus does to deal with the fact that, like, when he takes power, everyone has just gone through like 150 straight years of constant assassinations and like street fights and three different civil wars that had all killed significant fractions of the male populace of the Roman Empire. And they're kind of tired of it. People, like, are not happy with the status quo. They're like, you know what? We were OK not having any political power, if you can stop everyone from murdering everyone. All the time. So that's the that's what what Augustus comes to power with, right? And Speaking of. Murdering everyone you know who's gonna murder you. The podcast. The sponsors of our podcast. Oh yeah, they'll kill your ***. That's they will, Sophie. They'll kill your ***. That's their promise that no, I didn't see that in the ad copy or the promo codes. OK, well, promo code, a man is coming to attack you in the night with a knife. Yeah, well that sounds like a difference of opinion. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the bill to find all these nuts fees. There's no luring you in with free subscriptions or streaming services that you'll forget to cancel and then be charged full price for none of that. For anyone who hates their phone Bill, Mint Mobile offers premium wireless for just $15.00 a month. Mint Mobile will give you the best rate whether you're buying one or for a family and at Mint. Families start at 2 lines. All plans come with unlimited talk and text, plus high speed data delivered on the nation's largest 5G network. You can use your own phone with any mint mobile plan and keep your same phone number along with all your existing contacts. Just switch to Mint mobile and get premium wireless service starting at 15 bucks a month. Get premium wireless service from just $15.00 a month and no one expected plot twist at That's Seriously, you'll make your wallet very happy at Mint Mobile. Com behind now a word from our sponsor better help if you're having trouble stuck in your own head, focusing on problems dealing with depression, or just you know can't seem to get yourself out of a rut, you may want to try therapy, and better help makes it very easy to get therapy that works with your lifestyle and your schedule. A therapist can help you become a better problem solver, which can make it easier to accomplish your goals, no matter how big or small they happen to be. So if you're thinking of giving therapy a try, better help is a great. Option it's convenient, accessible, affordable, and it is entirely online. You can get matched with a therapist after filling out a brief survey, and if the therapist that you get matched with doesn't wind up working out, you can switch therapists at anytime. When you want to be a better problem solver, therapy can get you there. Visit behind today to get 10% off your first month. That's better My name is Erica Kelly and I am the host and creator of Southern Freight true crime. There are so many people that just have no idea about some injustices in the world and if you can give a voice to them, you can create change. To be able to do it within podcasting is just such a gift. I believe it was 18 months after I got on with speaker that I was making enough that I could quit my day job. It was incredible. I always felt like an ambassador for speaker, but that's because I'm passionate about podcasting. It's really easy to use. I always tell people I am so not tech. Took me 5 minutes to get comfortable with speaker, and when I find a new friend that has an incredible show, I want them to make money. I want them to be able to do what I did. Follow your podcasting dreams. Let's break your handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's Get paid to talk about the things you love with spreaker from iheart. Ohh, we're back. I wanna, I want to note one thing real quick here. So we're we're recording this like the day after the FBI raided Trump's house, which is a very funny moment. Everybody's still enjoying it. You will be listening to this in the future when the entirety. Yeah who knows what's going to happen next. Yeah. Gettysburg. Two and three have already happened by the time you've heard this. Yes. There there are no people left in Virginia. Yeah it's it's a nightmare. But anyway, so the that like right after that happened you get all these right wing like media leaders and thought leaders started like saying **** about like now the war is on like get ready to fight. ******* Steven Crowder being like tomorrow we go to war. My favorite quote that one of these ********* came put out is this guy Jesse Kelly who is according to his Twitter host of the nationally syndicated Jesse Kelly show, host of I'm right and yeah he's. I guess some sort of anti communist ***** ** ****. He's got like half a million followers on Twitter. So yeah, I think, I think he's a Fox News guy. Yeah, that seems right. So his post when everybody's like Fed posting on main after Trump gets rated is do not quote laws to men with swords attributed to Pompey Magnus. Now he likes this because number one, they all fetishize weapons as doing things that weapons don't, which is provide on their own some sort of autonomy weapons are. Useless without organization as anything but, like tools of either personal violence or a bullshittery. But the other thing that he's doing is like, this is like the you can't govern us because we have, we have, we're armed, right? Like that's the thing that he's saying here. The funny thing about this, number one, Pompey Magnus, is we've just covered was a gigantic fraud. Like, literally, like, ******** his way into, like, repeated military commands and stuff. He's the same as, like, I don't know, those Republicans who get up on stage and do a bunch of push-ups to show that they're big. Right, right. Pose with a gun or whatever. Yeah, exactly, exactly. Yeah, it's like that sort of ********. But the other thing that's funny about this is that during the civil war with Caesar, Pompey gets his *** kicked because, again, Caesar's really good at fighting wars and Pompey is a gigantic fraud, and he gets captured by Tallamy, who's the leader of Egypt at the time, who's like. Allied with Caesar, and while he's being sent like as a prisoner to Caesar, Tallamy has by some accounts a 15 year old boy stabbed him to death and cut his head off. Then they stick it on a spear and parade it through town. So Jesse Kelly, that may not be the guy to hark to as like you're your hero of, like, it kind of militant resistance, appropriate right wing. Yeah, like politician. Giant fraud who starts a fight and then gets murdered. Very funny. So Augustus is the emperor, right? And everyone is very tired of political violence because it has just gone on way too ******* long, right? And this is again, actually, it's not entirely wrong to kind of think about the political power that has kind of been gained. Not that these are too similar, but like the the political power that has accrued, especially in the last few years around gun control as a result of like, exhaustion at the constant spread of massacres, it's not entirely different because the. These people in Rome, they've had lot, most of them have lost family and these ******* fights, it's this constant drum beat of violence and these constant series of civil wars, and they're just like ******* exhausted. And so the one of the reasons Augustus is able to take and hold power is that he promises and delivers. I'm going to put a stop to that **** right? We're not going to have to deal with this anymore. And that is a pretty enticing thing for people at this point in Roman history. Now, different leaders had attempted to deal with Roman mob violence prior to Augustus. When Pompey took over the city during the Civil War, he had brought his armed soldiers into Rome, crossing the Pomerium illegally in order to restore order and put an end to lawlessness. And while Pompey had led his soldiers violate sacred law by taking weapons into the city, he had banned the private ownership of weaponry within the city, which happened several time in Roman history and never actually happens. Right? Because again, it's it's pretty easy. You could just like take a chair leg right. Like, it's not hard, it's not like what the weapons we're talking about you can't really ban because people are just like, making like, sure. OK. I mean, you need knives to. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. And people are going to have roof tiles that you can hug. It looks, you know, slings are not hard to make a leather glove glove with, like, metal. Anyway, it's not hard. So when Augustus takes power, though, he expands the ban on private ownership of weaponry. He bans the carrying of arms during assemblies or judicial proceedings. And eventually he passes a law known as the Lex Julia de V, which makes it illegal to carry weapons. Or any reason in the empire outside of hunting or personal protection when you're traveling between cities, right? So in addition to this, he establishes the 1st police force, the 1st police force of any kind, anywhere in the Western world. Now, different regimes had all had ways of, like dealing with dissent or cracking down on stuff. There had been stuff that was kind of policy. The Spartans have essentially their version of like a fugitive slave patrol and stuff. But what Augustus builds is very different. Among other things, it is a permanent armed force in the city of Rome itself, which had never happened before, right? And so this is part of one of the things that makes Rome has always kind of been ungovernable. And so this is as ugly as it gets. It's also a check to the power of the aristocracy because they can never hold too much power because at any moment the Bob could get angry and just murder everyone because there's way too many of them and there's no army in Rome to stop them, right? So it's just like, how big are your gangs? Are they bigger than everyone else in the city? You know they're not. So you can't do certain things now he because the the police force he builds their primary job is not stopping crime or. Investigating murders. They're riot cops, right? That's what he puts into the city. He calls them urban cohorts because, like, cohort is a military unit, right? Kind of broadly equivalent to, like, I don't know, a battalion almost. In modern military terms, these urban cohorts are military units, commanded and organized similarly to the regular military legions which operate under the military chain of command. They are militarized police, and their job is to put down riots, to corral the power of the mob and to make St. Combat and Coos, basically impossible. Again, they don't handle petty crime, they don't do anything if your home is invaded or if like your kids murdered or whatever. So they're they're the same as cops today. Actually, there's there's a lot of similarities between them and they're heavily again there. These are militarized police. Now this is like the urban cohorts are like the daytime cops. And then there's night time law and part of what they're doing is law enforcement. They're called card the vigils, which is where we get the word vigilante, even though. They're not really vigilantes, and the vigils are initially just a fire brigade. They're made-up of Friedman who knew how to fight fires, and their job is to like be distributed through the cities that when a fire starts, you can get a team of guys there to try to stop it, right? Because again, the biggest thing that Romans have to worry with on a day-to-day basis is fire. So because, like, while you're I'm actually just going to quote from Doctor Linda Ellis here to talk about, like, how what these guys do evolves over time. At first, the vigils functioned primarily as a firefighting force, since the main threat to cities than in now was destruction by uncontrolled fire. They were equipped with water pumps, buckets, and axes for breaking down the doors of houses on fire or suspected of being a fire risk. Artillery was used to shoot dampening materials onto fires and to create the fire breaks by leveling buildings. The vigils patrolled the city at night. And had the right of entry into private homes, which put them in the position of witnessing crime and taking on the role of policemen, from capturing thieves returning runaway slaves to maintaining public order. So they have the right to go into your home because you have to be able to make sure you're not starting a fire, that you can't keep up with that like a fire hasn't started, that you haven't fallen asleep or whatever, and like your your house is burning down. But because of this now we're allowed to do no knock raids on your house if we think it might be a fire. What if we see a crime we have to have? The ability to like, prosecute a crime too. And so they kind of become cops because they have the ability to bust into anybody's house for any reason. So this is so, it's so interesting that that, like, that characteristic begets the job and not the other way around. It is really interesting, right? Because it's very because our police, it's not how I would have assumed that, but it makes sense. It's like that power creates the ******* thugs that become police. And it's interesting because like in in our system, our police, who are thugs, came out of fugitive slave patrols, which were just a worse kind of thug. In this case, the police came out of an absolutely necessary job. You're gonna have a ******* million people. In a city in Zero SBC, you need professional firefighters, right? Otherwise it's just suicide. But kind of. And you get how this, like, evolves, and then they become cops because, like, well, I get this guy's breaking the law. What am I supposed to? Are we supposed to just let this happen? You know, it's interesting, yeah. It is really different though from what you would expect. So the birth of this, and this is this is a fairly advanced law enforcement force, right? Like, if you're thinking about what's around at the time you've got, these are like at any given time, thousands upon thousands of heavily armed men. Like the vigils have artillery, they have catapults and **** which they used to fight fires, but which could also be turned to like fight riots. Which by the way, I would love to watch these guys fight a fire because I want to see people like stop a fire with a ******* catapult. It's pretty cool **** but. So one of the things that this does is you've got this advanced law enforcement force, you've disarmed the city. The only people with weapons are these cops. One of the things that this makes a hell of a lot easier is the state can enforce unpopular laws. Now you think back to Lucretia, right? Romans get rid of their first or their Last King because, like, there's this stupid *** law and he does like his son does a horrible thing. Rape somebody in this stupid *** law leaves an even worse situation. And everybody's really angry about it. And because the mob is the mob, they are able to, like, kick the king out. And that's how the Republic starts. That's not gonna be possible. Nothing like that is anymore, because now you have riot cops in the city. So it's really easy for the state to force people to accept laws that are unpopular. A good example of this, during the reign of Nero, the mayor basically of Rome is murdered by one of his slaves. Now they can't figure out who did it, right? They don't know which slave there's no as one of the people he owns in his household. But he's got hundreds. I think this might have had like like 1000 or more like a **** load of slaves. Like a ******* small town worth of slaves. Now, under Roman law, if you can't figure out which specific slave did it, you have to execute the entire household. Every man, woman, and child in a lot of these slaves are kids who lives with this guy. Now everyone in Rome, when this happens, is ******* horrified by this. And in fact, stuff like this happened in the past, and it had provoked riots, which had often stopped this sort of justice from being carried out in full. Right? Because people, Romans, they don't think slaves are, like less human, right? They have less rights due to what they believe is a pretty natural political condition. But there's still horrified at the thought. If you're going to kill like, 500 people because, like, one of them is a murderer and, like, you're gonna murder a bunch of kids, like, that's ****** **. My dad was a slave. My grandpa was a slave. Like, I don't think this is right. And in the past. Romans attempting to like Roman leaders attempting to carry out these laws in order to maintain the status quo would have had to like **** ** a bunch of people to do it and would have been put at risk by doing it. That doesn't happen anymore by the time Nero is in power. The vigils on the oven urban cohorts are professionalized. They're very good at stopping dissent, and so a huge show of force is sent out by the police state as the Romans move in to execute these slaves, as English historian PKB Reynolds wrote in his 1928. Paper on ancient Roman policing quote the law was upheld however on this occasion, but elaborate police precautions were necessary when the sentence was to be carried out. So because they have this powerful police force, the mob cannot act to stop an injustice, right? Because they just get the **** murdered out of them by the cops. And it's interesting. Reynolds this is a very fascinating paper. I recommend reading it if you're interested in ancient Rome. Right after talking about how the birth of policing made it possible to massacre all of these kids, he goes on to write that quote. It is not really going too far to say that in the middle of matter of police services, it was not until the beginning of the 19th century that the cities of Europe regained the standards of civilization which had existed in the Roman Empire 1800 years before. It took us 2000 years almost to get back to having cops who could make this kind of thing possible. What? What an achievement. Yeah, it's the pinnacle. Yeah, I mean. Yeah. Yeah. So. Right. It's like like the mob rule or the the not mob rule but like the ability of mobs to enact like some sort or like put it to you know to act as a check against like state power and the power of the wrist ideally. Yeah. That's jury nullification now. But yeah and again everybody especially when you because I I made the probable mistake of like bringing up you know guns and assault weapons and and and that debate in this whenever we want to like talk about. Ancient ****. And like, apply it to a modern terms, there's a desire to have like a simple answer and there just isn't cause like, yeah, constant mob warfare was really bad. Yeah. The establishment of a police state was also really bad. Yeah. Yeah. And I think it is. I think there are things to learn about this about like the dangers and and whatnot of different political things that you can do. But I think it is fundamentally silly to like, try to draw two direct Aline, yeah, this is 2000 years ago, but it is like, it is worth noting that like. OK. You give up the ability of the people to check the state's power and then so the state can enforce much less. And that is something that is worth noting. Yeah. And that's, you know, constant gang warfare is good either. Yeah. I mean it is like, like this is how apartheid states like the one we currently live in that like, you know, we are currently ruled by a racist white nationalist minority and they are able to do but, you know. Yeah. It's hard to know if the alternative is better. Yeah. It it's just it's it's just worth talking about this history without trying to like. And so This is why you should vote this way on this law 2000 years later. Like, let's just talk about. Yeah. Again, I am not trying to, like, I'm really not trying to just make, like, a coy political point. I just think it's actually worth studying this if you want to think about the problems inherent to society. Like, it's just good to know this stuff. So of course you're not just going to stop people from objecting to tyranny. Because you have a bunch of armed thugs who can crack heads in the street, you're going to also need a secret police force, right? Obviously, you know, right. And Augustus actually established 2 secret police forces. Now, one is kind of informal, basically, because you have this pretty big empire and you have all these military units spread around. You have like a supply service, right? Who needs to, like, take messages from like, oh, these guys up in ******* France or these guys all the way down in Jerusalem have like, uh, you know, they need more of Spears. They need more Shields. And, like, I've gotta take that information. I gotta get it to this guy. I gotta get you have, like, supply runners, and they're literally, like, riding horses and, like, physically moving around cities to carry messages. And so naturally, he turns these guys who are called, called frumentarii into a Secret Service right into, like, his, his spies. Because they're traveling everywhere and nobody pays much attention to them. So they're a pretty good pick to act as, like, you're, hey, you can keep an eye on things. Tell me if, like, unrest is boiling up, you can be a spy. Basically because you have the ability to go anywhere you know. Reynolds writes, quote, the Emperor Hadrian, we are told, knew all secrets through the frumentarii, and as the empire became more despotic, so the activities of the frumentarii multiplied. In the persecutions of the Christians it was the Frumentarii who searched men out and who affected arrests. Probably too. The soldier who guarded St. Paul was a frumentarii AUS, and if the emperor desired the speedy removal of a prominent noble against whom it might be dangerous to proceed openly, the frumentarii were employed to carry out the deed. In fact, they performed all The Dirty work that has always fallen. With a lot of the secret police in an absolute despotism, they were so efficient in their work that they incurred universal hatred and historian of the 3rd century complaints that they tyrannize over us and later writer bitterly calls them a pestilent crew, and in another passage, the plague of the Roman world. In response to this general odium, the Emperor Diocletian disbanded them at the end of the 3rd century. But their duties were far too important for the emperors to be able to dispense with their services, and a new corps was soon enrolled, specially designed as a secret police. This new force blew aboard the curious title of agents for Affairs, which was sufficiently vague to cover their manifold activities. But the agents were soon no better than their predecessors, and as early as the middle of the 4th century, the emperor Julian had had to reprove their corruption, and soon they had just as bad a name as the Frumentarii. So that's pretty cool. That's a pretty cool bit of history right there. There's just no way, right? I guess the lesson, of course, is like, that kind of power necessarily creates. Yeah. This ******** evil people, yeah. Only bad people want that job, and they do bad things when they get it. It's also worth like, again, you go back to the cracky when some rich people want to kill a guy they just have to ******* hire about and murder him in the street. And everybody knows what's happened, right? It's real ******* clear what goes down. And because of how much they've ****** people off, they have to, like, give people a bunch of what they had asked for and stuff, even though they murdered the guy. Now you just have one of these ******* Spooks kill him, right? Like now you've got like the the Emperor's. Can Spooks. He can kill him, and nobody's allowed to talk about it or ask about it. It's not obvious what's happened, you know? So the last and most powerful police agency in ancient Rome were the Praetorian Guard. In some way, these guys are the evolution of mobs of armed supporters who tried to protect, to protect Tiberius Gracchus and the gangs run by Milo and Claudius. You know, during the civil wars, all of these guys who are fighting each other had like units of bodyguards that are like the toughest soldiers they've got. And Augustus had formed his into an elite military unit, which started at like 5000 men and eventually becomes like 9000 guys. And these were during the Civil War, just like. Shock troops, right? But they become his like Elite riot force, right? Because the urban cohorts are just 3000 men and the legions are rarely in Italy. So the praetorians are always the strongest armed force near the center of power. So Augustus keeps like 2/3 of them in the city of Rome ready to crack heads when heads need cracking, and he sends a third of them elsewhere in the Italian peninsula to like Garrison different hotspots. And they they basically act as like secret police. Right back to him, making sure no one in the middle, some of them take up jobs in the in the military and stuff in order to, like, be able to report back on what's going on. And then the words of historian guided Barriere quote, minimize the impression that he depended on them. Instead, the guard depended on Augustus. No emperor meant no jobs and no special status, because these guys get a **** load of extra money for doing what they're doing, right. They're paid very, very well in order to keep the Emperor in power. So guard officers also occupied roles in the urban cohorts. An undercover pretorians could pop up anywhere, so they're like a mix between the FBI and the Secret Service, right? It could also be used to assassinate political rivals, but as Guy points out quote, this state of affairs was reliant upon the emperor having enough prestige and power to contain the guard. Augustus had created potentially the most dangerous institution the Roman world had ever seen in his monumental the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. Edward Gibbon described this brilliantly. By thus introducing the Praetorian Guards, as it were, into the palace and the Senate the emperors taught them to perceive. Their own strength and the weakness of the civil government, to view the vices of their masters with familiar contempt, and to lay aside that reverential awe which distance only and mystery can preserve towards an imaginary power, and this luxurious idleness of an opulent city. Their pride was nourished by the sense of their irresistible weight. Nor was it possible to conceal from them that the person of the sovereign, the authority of the Senate, the public Treasurer, and the seat of empire were all in their hands. So eventually these guys start to start. You come out as like I serve at the like. I'm here to protect the emperor. I only have my position because of him. They realize eventually, like, well, a lot of these emperors are incompetent. The sentence bunch of corrupt, rich, lazy ********. We have the only weapons, right? We have the capital and the only weapons. Why don't we just run things right? Yeah, so as time goes on, all the different law enforcement arms of Roman society kind of realized that their powers have made them unstoppable bandits and that's what they become. As Doctor Ellis writes quote, the Roman police and military forces often abuse their power and status such as property seizure without compensation and physical violence to civilians. The axe is used by the vigils and other troops were used to break down doors and abuse people both in the street and in their own houses. The Roman offer. Given all provided a dark picture of police soldier civilian relations in Rome. If a civilian was beaten up by the soldiers slash police, he was better off forgetting about it, because if he complained, there would be a trial under a Centurion and in front of a jury of soldiers. No witnesses would dare come forward, otherwise they would have other soldiers exact retribution. Epictetus, a Greek philosopher at the time, advised that if a soldier wanted a mule, it was best to give it to him, because if not given, the person would have lost it anyway and would have been beaten up in the process. Now we could talk about. Double asset forfeiture, Andrew. We could talk about how often cops particularly take cars from people. We're back. We're back to America. Yeah, they did it first, baby. So it is like truly shocking how many things that are horrible that we are absolutely no better than whole. It's all the same **** right? And it's all the same ****. Because when you say we are building a separate class of people who will be able to live very comfortably in order to as long as they stop the poor from ******* with the rich, and also they're the only people who have the right to to use force in our society. They always turn out to be ********. Right, because only ******** want that job, you know? Yeah, OK, Speaking of things only ******** want the products and services that support our podcast fact. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the build to find all these nuts fees. There's no luring you in with free subscriptions or streaming services that you'll forget to cancel and then be charged full price for. None of that. For anyone who hates their phone Bill, Mint Mobile offers premium wireless for just $15.00 a month. Mint Mobile will give you the best rate whether you're buying one or for a family. And it meant. Family start at 2 lines. All plans come with unlimited talk and text, plus high speed data delivered on the nation's largest 5G network. You can use your own phone with any mint mobile plan and keep your same phone number along with all your existing contacts. Just switch to Mint mobile and get premium wireless service starting at 15 bucks a month. Get premium wireless service from just $15.00 a month and no one expected plot twists at That's Seriously, you'll make your wallet very happy at Mint Mobile. Com slash behind now a word from our sponsor better help. If you're having trouble stuck in your own head, focusing on problems dealing with depression, or just you know can't seem to get yourself out of a rut, you may want to try therapy, and better help makes it very easy to get therapy that works with your lifestyle and your schedule. A therapist can help you become a better problem solver, which can make it easier to accomplish your goals, no matter how big or small they happen to be. So if you're thinking of giving therapy a try, better help is a great. Option it's convenient, accessible, affordable, and it is entirely online. You can get matched with a therapist after filling out a brief survey, and if the therapist that you get matched with doesn't wind up working out, you can switch therapists at any time. When you want to be a better problem solver, therapy can get you there. Visit behind today to get 10% off your first month. That's better My name is Erica Kelly and I am the host and creator of Southern Freight true crime. There are so many people that just have no idea about some injustices in the world and if you can give a voice to them, you can create change. To be able to do it within podcasting is just such a gift. I believe it was 18 months after I got on with speaker that I was making enough that I could quit my day job. It was incredible. I always felt like an ambassador for speaker, but that's because I'm passionate about podcasting. It's really easy to use. I always tell people I am so not tech. Took me 5 minutes to get comfortable with speaker, and when I find a new friend that has an incredible show, I want them to make money. I want them to be able to do what I did. Follow your podcasting dreams. Let's break your handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's Get paid to talk about the things you love with spreaker from iheart. Ah, we're back. Yep, you bunch of ******. Sorry. What's up? What's up, Frank? So mean to our listeners. Yeah, what's up? ******. That's right. They deserve it. Yeah. All right. So we're talking about, like, the Roman police state here, which I don't think most people realize. Everyone knows, like, yeah, Rome, that it became an empire. Like, you assume that, like, it's a a brutal, autocratic dictatorship, but like, it is a modern police state. And I want to talk about how pervasive it truly was. Doctor Ellis gives a really good job of, like, laying out the, how heavily policed the city of Rome. So she points out that Chicago today, and her her date is 2018, is the third most populous city in the United States with 2.7 million people and 13,500 cops. Ish, right, that's Chicago more or less. Today Rome at the height of the empire is 1,000,000 people. They have a police force of 7000 vigils, 3000 urban cohorts, 1200 cavalry attached to the urban cohorts, and roughly 6000 Praetorian guards in the city. So that's about three times as many police per capita. Is a heavily policed city in the United States today. Yeah, yeah. I mean, I guess it's a little bit mitigated by, you know, they don't have nearly the kind of technological power, right? They're not a centralized, you know, their purview isn't as wide, you know. Yeah, it is. It is worth noting how heavily the city is. They've gone from at the start of this as city where nobody gets to have a weapon, a military type weapon in town to a city that is like garrisoned by a heavy military guard at all Times Now the first member of the Praetorian Guard to attempt to take. Moodle Power for himself was Sejanus, head of the guard under Tiberius who ruled from 8014 to 37. Now Sejanus was caught before he could carry out his plans and execute it, along with his family, and Tiberius actually lets the people of Rome riot and murder his family and supporters. Just like, give him some fun and the pretorian guard some, yeah. This time the guard stay out of it like they don't defend their old leader, because they're like, this isn't going to go well for us. The Emperor is still too powerful. Still, that's going to change in 8041. And Caligula gets murdered by officers of the Praetorian Guard for being a ****** ** little weirdo. Now, when Caligula gets murdered by the Praetorian Guard, there's this, it's not very old, like the Empire. And so there's still strong memories of the Republic and a lot of people are like, maybe we should go back to having a Republic. Emperors seem like a bad idea, but the pretorian guard is like, well, you don't need a pretorian guard if you've got no emperor. So how about we just force you to accept an emperor of that we've picked and they pick a guy named Claudius. Who is it? A pretty interesting character himself. I would like to talk more about him, but we just don't have the time. So instead I'm going to quote from Guy de la Barriere who writes Claudius was declared emperor by the Praetorians and no one, including the Senate, was in any position to argue that pretorians jobs were secure. Claudius was reluctant emperor and turned out to be a good deal more competent than his family thought him capable of. It's even possible that Claudius had been in on the plans all along. Gold and silver coins were issued welcoming the new Emperor and he them or showing the guard welcoming the new emperor. And he them. And he, like, pays them a bunch of money. It's it's unclear exactly what has happened. He's a relatively good emperor, but over time they stopped backing because, again, you don't want the Emperor to be any good. You want him to be a figurehead for you. And this all kind of comes to a head in 193 AD, after the murder of Marcus Aurelius's son Commodus, who is the bad guy in the movie gladiator, right? Yes. So after after Russell Crowe kills him, he's actually killed by the praetorian. Alright, so in in in previous interregnum's like the death of Nero, the guard had generally kind of like gone with whoever has the most power and money to be the next emperor after Commodus dies. They like go to all the rich people in Rome and they're like, hey, how much money you willing to pay to be emperor? Like they literally auction off the throne of the Roman Empire to the highest bidder, who winds up being some rich ******* who gets murdered. Two months later, he gets replaced by another guy. September severus. Who this guy? This ******* guy fires the Republican guy or the Praetorian Guard, finally, and he he makes a new pretorian guard that he hopes will be less corrupt and they immediately grow corrupt and do the same thing. Over the course of the Empire, 13 emperors were assassinated by the Praetorian Guards. It's really like you like that you let that tiger into your house. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And you know the the stuff that was in your house prior to letting the tiger and wasn't pleasant either. It's up to you. Whether or not you think this was progress, I did. I I'm glad you brought up a gladiator, because I did. I did want to pitch the idea of a double feature of the Ridley Scott Italian screaming at each other. Double feature of Gladiator at House of Gucci yeah, feels like just Italians yelling. Italians never change and neither do cops. That is. That is the message of the show. Italians and police the same 2000 years ago as they are today. Anyway, that's the story of how the Romans became a police state. And God, that is ******* genuinely very depressing. It's it's pretty ****** **. You know, we're condensing a lot of history here, but that's the broad sweep of it there. Yeah, an angle I had never really considered, but yeah, that makes tons of sense. Jesus Christ. Yeah. Yeah. You know, you've got this, this situation of, like, political violence that makes everybody be like, we'll do anything. To stop it. And then the thing that stops it is the establishment of a militarized police force who then take power and spend centuries doing violence to people. But it also works for a long time. Yeah, I mean, that's it works for a long time, yeah. It's never, like, clear enough like how bad this **** is until it's too late for this. Because it would be easy to either be like, well, This is why no one should ever have cops, because they inherently **** everything up. Or This is why people shouldn't be allowed to have weapons, because you know that what happens in the Mormon Republic happens white, right? But if you're trying to find, though, either of those easy answers, either, This is why everyone should be armed. This is why everyone should be disarmed. This is why we should have cops. This is why we shouldn't have cops. Well, both of these systems lasted like 500 years and conquered the entire world. So yeah, it's like we just there's not enough data and the window is always it's it's just like it's, you know, there's stuff to take out of this for the future, but don't try not to take too much because again, both of these as as silly and ****** ** as everything is, both of these systems on a historic level, work really ******* well, right? Like that is kind of the instant conquered the world. Yeah, well, I mean, probably the main thing is that just sort of tells you. It's just that part of it is irrelevant. Yeah, there's other stuff going on, military things and what? Yeah. I mean, maybe not entirely because, like, I guess partly, like, the fact that Roman politics is in the Republican period is so, like, cutthroat means that a lot of the people who wind up in charge after a certain point are, like, pretty canny **** ** *******. Yeah, but also some really dumb **** ** ******* wind up in power and they **** everything up and, like, destroy the Roman middle class. So, yeah, I don't know. There's actually not. As many clear lessons from history as you want there to be when you look at the history. Yeah, well, so each one's only been done once. That's the whole point of history. Yeah. So yeah, exactly anyway. That's that's the story of how Rome became a police state. So Andrew revenue plugable for us at the end here. Yeah. Let's see. I guess mostly yeah doing two shows with my podcast yoasis racist. I'm going to be in a place called Austin on August 20th and then Brooklyn on September 10th. So yeah I would love to see folks if you if you've enjoyed. Listening to me be horrified as Robert tells me stuff, then I will be a little more proactive on stage. But I'm going to tell you not that much more proactive. Excellent. All right, well, go find Andrew and Austin and go find Jesus in your hearts. And by Jesus, I mean the Jesus Christ of podcasting. You, me? Yeah, yeah. Here it is. Your ears. That's right. Sophie hates it when I compare myself to you got to be to be crucified. It by the frumentarii, yeah, not my favorite thing anyways. See you next week. Bye bye. Behind the ******** is a production of cool zone media. For more from cool Zone Media, visit our website, or check us out on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams. Let's break our handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her impactful behavioural discoveries on chimpanzees. It wasn't until one of the chimpanzees began to lose his fear of me, but I began to really make discoveries that actually shook the scientific world. Life on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts, sisters of the Underground is a podcast about fearless Dominican women who stood up against the brutal dictator Kapal Trujillo. He needs to be stopped. We've been silent and complacent for far too long. I am Daniel Ramirez, and I said Dominicana myself. I am proud to be narrating this true story that is often left out of the history books through your has blood on his hands. Listen to sisters of the underground wherever you get your podcasts.