Posts Tagged ‘Roman’

No I didn’t forget spell check, that’s the inscription on a monument at Shugborough Hall, Staffordshire. It’s never really been explained and so gathers curiosity even now.

The Shugborough Inscription is carved on the 18th Century monument, below a mirror image of a painting ‘Shepherds of Arcadia’ by painter Nicolas Poussín. The inscription became known more widely having been mentioned in a 1982 book, ‘The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail’.

The monument dates between 1748/63 and contained between the letters D and M sits an inscription OUOSVAVV. The letters DM are seen on Roman tombs, Diis Manibus which means “dedicated to the Shades”.

A google search will give you many offers for resolutions, perhaps it’s just a version of Grafitti or a secret message between one lover to another. This writer is happy to leave the code busting to others.

Shugborough_inscription_D_OUOSVAVV_M

Ghosts of the ancient Roman’s are quite often referred to as Shades, and were honoured by festivals throughout the year; a little like our Halloween or Day of the Dead in modern culture.

Umbrella (Umbrae) was the ghosts species, and there were several types listed in the texts.

Manes – benevolent, they harassed the souls of the dead in the Underworld. These may (according to Pliny) have been the souls of those who died prematurely, violently or both.

The days for propitiating the dead were done with beans. One celebration for the shades was said to come from Remina, a festival brought about by Romulus to appease the shade of his murdered brother Remus.

(Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus, ca. 203 – 11 March 222) The reason I have picked him as a subject for a post is because in all honesty I do rather love the whacky people! He was also known as Heliogabalus and in his youth before becoming Emperor he served as a priest of the god Elagabal (Elagabalus) a name he was to be given after his death, but before he was emperor he was most likely known as Sextus Varius Avitus as a citizen.

Thanks to the complicated and crazy politics he was made emperor by the age of 14 and the reign of sexual scandal and religious controversy began. The hostile records of his enemies paint the picture of a very rebellious man, he replaced the head of the Roman Pantheon, Jupiter, with the diety of which he had been priest. (This is hardly shocking when you consider Henry VIII gave us the Church of England).

He was married as many as five times, he also gave favours to male courtiers who were thought to have been his lovers and had a penchant for employing whoopee cushions at dinner parties. It was also reported he had prostituted himself in the Imperial Palace!

Four years later the eccentric was assassinated and replaced by his cousin, Alexander Severus on 11th March 222. Of course most of the claims about his decadent life are likely very exaggerated but this only leads to more interest about a young man who seemingly enjoyed four years of opulence and orgies.

The political ramifications of the crazy emperor stretched out far more importantly than just who he was sleeping with in general. He managed to devalue the Roman currency and tried to have his own presumed lover, charioteer Hierocles, declared Caesar and another alledged lover to be appointed to the non-administrative but still influential role of Master of the Chamber. At first his mother and grandmother were a strong part of the relationship, they were both on the senate, but this didn’t stop Elagabalus from going on his own independent course.

Another big controversy for the time was that he married a Vestal Virgin, Aquilla Severa, claiming this marriage would produce “god-like children”. It was a breach of tradition and Roman Law, as it stated that any vestal virgin found engaging in sexual activity was to be buried alive but had already remarried a year later.

Perhaps the part that stood out for me is that he was most likely trapped as a female in a man’s body, this seems to be the root cause of the issues he faces. In a time and place where such things were a controversy, even with the acceptance of homosexuality, the young man was out of the society norms. He had even offered vast sums of money to physicians who could equip him with female genitalia; he simply wanted to be a woman not a man.

Images of Elagabalus (2008; republished as The Crimes of Elagabalus in 2012) re-evaluates his life, the previous historical accounts are most likely gravely over exaggerated or just down right erroneous, after his death moves were made to remove him from the annals of history. However in this book it is suggested that the religious affronts were far more the reason for his grandmother arranging his death, it had little to do with him sleeping around with men.

As a spin off for this lovely character there is a Japanese Manga called Vassalord, Johnny Rayflo is a vampire who is described as the “confined Elagabalus” and judging by the eccentricities it certainly seems to fit his personality. Here goes with a random sketch of mine for Rayflo.

M6

The motorway is the longest in the UK and so I would guess if it was going to harbour ghosts it had plenty of places under which it could produce a creepy experience. A reported sighting that came in was a ghostly hitchhiking lady, this seems to relay well into many of the classic hitching ghostly folk around the area of Urban legends but again there’s nothing to say it couldn’t happen.

If that isn’t enough to worry you pay attention on the long travel down the M6 as there has been a phantom lorry that was travelling along the wrong side of the carriageway.

Even the toll section’s had a rather intriguing claim where ghostly sightings of Roman Troops have been seen. A lady, Sue Cowley, from Warwickshire filled in a survey about the sightings saying that she had witnessed upright shadows of man walking through the tarmac like it was water. Not surprisingly with a road that goes through so much of the country that a few spooks would find their way on to it.

High Street and Suffield Road, Great Yarmouth.
I’d say some sightings could be put down to sun exposure on the beach but this is England and I am realistic. Ghosts are more likely than heat mirages here!
On both of these roads a phantom dog-like thing with long legs has been spotted running along at a fair speed only to end up with it disappearing into thin air. (sounds like my old greyhound).

B4293
This twisted and windy road in Wales seems to have a Guardian Angel. A lady was driving home late one night and heard a voice to advise her to pull over. She pulled over in shock to the grass verge and then only a short space after a car came the wrong side of the road with no lights. Had she not have stopped she would have been in a serious accident.

Highlands A9

A more serene spotting on the ghostly roads of England appears to be one drivers report often too. Lock Bhuie has been reported to sport a Victorian Coach with very ornate detail driven by white horses. Apparently the coach is accompanied by bewigged footmen in the full period attire.

Of course the whole carriage seems a little too flamboyant for one of the Victorian ghosts, shoe has been spotted riding a white horse along the road, then suddenly he’s appeared further down it far too quickly to have been natural.