Demetrius and the Gladiators                                Observation 423 words

Howard R Music

Jan 2023

 

Over the holidays the Geezer Channel broadcast the 1954 movie Demetrius and the Gladiators, starring Victor Mature and Susan Hayward.  It was a sequel to the Robe, a Biblical epic about Christ’s robe and the Roman Centurion in charge of the crucifixion.

Both films were hits and featured a lot of action, love, and betrayal woven into the complicated politics of the era.

Demetrius, a Christian, was sentenced to combat as a gladiator in the arena after assaulting a Roman.  A former warrior, he was reluctant to kill because of his faith but, once in the arena, the bad-ass in him surfaced, and his swordsmanship won him freedom and the respect of his fellow gladiators as well as the Roman soldiers. 

His fame grated the emperor Caligula who claimed to be divine and that the goddess Diana visited his chambers at night.  He even asked one of his advisors why he couldn’t see her.  Instead of saying, “oh really?” the advisor wisely answered, “only the gods can see the gods.” 

Besides believing that an invisible seductress rocked his bed at night, the emperor was paranoid, and obsessed with finding Christ’s robe which he believed possessed magical qualities.  When his soldiers were unable to find the garment, he began threatening them, a move his advisors tried to dissuade.  Ignoring them, he ordered his guards to slay Demetrius.  They, however, figured the demented emperor was a better target, and used him for spear practice.

The script followed the historical narrative of Christ’s crucifixion and the mad emperor Caligula.  From what little I’ve read Caligula was noted for his perversity.  I never felt the urge to dwell deeper into his history as there are enough insane politicians in the modern era to suffice.

What I did find intriguing was a report that came out during the holidays claiming the Biden administration was delaying the pay of National Guard troops.  It was doubtless a political maneuver concerning the budget deal and the border fiasco, but I can’t help but see the similarities between a toga-wearing emperor demeaning his personal sword bearing guards, and a president short-changing American troops. 

I don’t know if Caligula liked to sniff little girls, but there are other analogies: after mumbling his way through speeches, Biden has been videotaped on the podium shaking hands with someone only he could see.  Perhaps these are clever photoshops done by his enemies,

 but still …

Was stiffing the National Guard President Biden’s Caligula moment?

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