Happy Bacchanalia!

The Baccanal by Peter Paul Rubens, who appears to have been living out some rather strange fantasies on canvas.

Today is the first day of the Baccanalia, an annual festival consisting of two days of drunken orgies in ancient Rome. Or such was the popular conception. The cult of Dionysus (or Bacchus) was in reality as much of an underground political movement as anything else. The membership consisted primarily of slaves and the poor who were planning to overthrow the power of the Roman Senate. The Senate, of course, didn’t like this. They also didn’t like the fact that many (or most) of the leadership positions were held by women, and that man-on-man activities were included (even encouraged) in the revels, so they clamped down rather hard, with sometimes fatal result (but not, of course, for the Senators). Since the winners always write the histories, the word has come down to us as the very definition of drunken debauchery.

Gee, a coalition of the poor, gays and women, that the conservative governing body is afraid of, lies and propagandizes against while themselves committing the sins they find so repulsive in the underprivileged.  What does that remind me of? Hmmm.

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