The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation
1, The Pox Party
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The Latin for “slave” – servus – as rendered in English literally is “the spared one”; slaves being those taken prisoner in battle, who should, therefore, by all rules of engagement, have been slain. In antiquity, slaves possessed no rights as citizens because, though spared, they were accounted dead, and as the dead, could not be admitted as living men; and so, for generations, the dead toiled and bred in Rome; the dead taught Rome’s children the secrets of philosophy; the dead built Rome’s great monuments and tombs; until the Romans themselves joined the dead, and all that remained were tombs, and monuments, and half-remembered tombs.
And then they imprisoned me in darkness; and though there was no color there, I still was black, and they still were white; and for that, they bound and gagged me.
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