I gotta write this down before I forget it again.
While vacationing in Ol' Blighty, I kept thinking of things or be reminded of truly horrible tasks in antiquity. I believe it began with contemplating the gleaners that used to muck through the castle garderobe outfalls.
Then we went to Shropshire Castle (AKA the Shropshire Regimental Museum) and saw the reichsjagermeister (translation: the Reich's master of the hunt) baton of Hermann Goering. This reminded me that there was once a valet who's primary task was to wrangle Goering's hemmoroids.
Side story regarding the baton: Goering had been given the baton and title by Hitler to feed the only thing larger than the flying fat man of the Luftwaffe himself, his ego. It is a beautiful piece and I wish I had a picture of it, but cameras are forbidden in the museum. Surprisingly, the internets have no pictures of it (that I can find) either. It seems that an enterprising member of the Shropshire Yeomanry managed to loot the baton from Goering's effects. Lawsuits have since raged where Germany, the US, and England (in the form of the Imperial War Museum) have tried to lay claim to the baton. They've all failed as the legal argument of spoils of war, with a side note of "you should know that better than anyone, Imperial War Museum *lingering glance over their collection*" has won every time. If you want the hunt baton, you've got to invade England and do some looting of your own. Fair's fair, after all.
Also, as a personal win, I got an member of the Yeomanry in his mid-50s to agree that Eddie Izzard's "Do You Have A Flag?" bit regarding British colonialism to be pretty much dead on. As he did point out to us, they do indeed have a lot of flags.
When we to Ludlow Castle, I ascended to the tippiest of the tippy top towers, the one that is on the moat facing of the Norman keep with the flag on it. It was a warm June day but standing by the flag it was diamond cutter nipples time. I realized then that a sentry posted to the top of that tower to keep watch had very obviously pissed someone off to end up there. There isn't even room for a brazier up there to keep you warm.
Lastly, while wandering around the Roman ruins of Exeter (or Isca Dumnoniorum if you prefer the traditional name) with British Nick and sharing the idea of horrible jobs of antiquity, we thought up the horror of the Roman orgy lubricator. Imagine if you will two highly trained lube slaves standing at the ready and some fine snippets of conversation that might drift between them:
- "Quick! Get some oil on the pile of Julii over there before they sieze up."
- "Boy, I've been doing this for 20 years. It takes a dab hand to keep a senator from chafing."
- "By the gods...Germans. *shudder of horror*"