Friday, July 23, 2010

Behold the sacred chickens

In 249 BC the Roman consul Publius Claudius Pulcher—a man variously described as being mentally unstable, an arrogant snob and a drunk—decided to launch an attack on the Carthaginian-held port of Drepana [on Sicily]. The mission got off to a rocky start when the sacred chickens used to gauge divine favour went off their feed, prompting the impetuous Claudius to throw them overboard with the pithy remark that perhaps they were thirsty.

- From Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization by Richard Miles, page 191.

The next title on my business card will be pullarius, keeper of the sacred chickens. That comes about as close as anything else to describe what I do.

1 comment:

mel u said...

a very interesting post-open to multiple meanings!