Watching the Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un, mourning his father, Kim Jong-il, I get the sense that he killed his father just as Caligula killed his adoptive grandfather Tiberius.
Yes, Kim Jong-un is today’s Caligula. This North Korean leader stands a the latest and maddest of the Kim dynasty. And the 38th parallel is today’s English Channel. Kim Jong-un will ultimately send his legions southward to collect sea-shells and claim victory over South Korea. After a relatively short reign, I expect that his Praetorian guard will assassinate him. We will then have a Claudius figure (perhaps Kim Jong-Un’s uncle Jang Sung-taek?) take over before another mad Emperor like Nero. Then, following a period of internecine war, the Kim dynasty will finally meet its end.
Suetonius’ words ring true:
So much for Caligula as emperor; we must now tell of his career as a monster.
After he had assumed various surnames (for he was called “Pious,” “Child of the Camp,” “Father of the Armies,” and “Greatest and Best of Caesars”), chancing to overhear some kings, who had come to Rome to pay their respects to him, disputing at dinner about the nobility of their descent, he cried “Let there be one Lord, one King.”
And he came near assuming a crown at once and changing the semblance of a principate into the form of a monarchy. But on being reminded that he had risen above the elevation both of princes and kings, he began from that time on to lay claim to divine majesty; for after giving orders that such statues of the gods as were especially famous for their sanctity or their artistic merit, including that of Jupiter of Olympia, should be brought from Greece, in order to remove their heads and put his own in their place, he built out a part of the Palace as far as the Forum, and making the temple of Castor and Pollux its vestibule, he often took his place between the divine brethren, and exhibited himself there to be worshipped by those who presented themselves; and some hailed him as Jupiter Latiaris. He also set up a special temple to his own godhead, with priests and with victims of the choicest kind. In this temple was a life-sized statue of the emperor in gold, which was dressed each day in clothing such as he wore himself. The richest citizens used all their influence to secure the priesthoods of his cult and bid high for the honour. The victims were flamingoes, peacocks, black grouse, guinea-hens and pheasants, offered day by day each after its own kind. At night he used constantly to invite the full and radiant moon to his embraces and his bed, while in the daytime he would talk confidentially with Jupiter Capitolinus, now whispering and then in turn his ear to the mouth of the god, now in louder and even angry language; for he was heard to make the threat: “Lift me up, or I’ll lift thee.” But finally won by entreaties, as he reported, and even invited to live with the god, he built a bridge over the temple to the Deified Augustus, and thus joined his Palace to the Capitol. Presently, to be nearer yet, he laid the foundations of a new house in the court of the Capitol.
Happy 2012 dear readers.