“From now onwards you tell the truth, and that’s it”, Robert Fisk, one of the few British journalists who do, explained recently for a television documentary that this was the credo he learned from his job.
He’s still being published in a London newspaper controlled by the Lebedev family; their capacity for printing lies has not been dissuaded or diminished by Fisk’s example.
Still, it’s the time of the year when you and I wish each other the hope that the future will turn out better than it’s proved to be recently; and when we take time for reflection on the likelihood of this; also the time to gather the energy to cope with the greater unlikelihood.
During President Vladimir Putin’s four-and-a-half hour press conference on Thursday – the second longest on record in Russia; the longest in the rest of the world — he was congratulated several times by the audience for the answers he gave about the running of Russia. This is a regular feature. Putin’s arranger Dmitry Peskov – his “boss” Putin called him at one point — didn’t have to try hard to produce it.
After the conference concluded, the president’s critics attacked him for saying nothing new, repeating himself, evading the point of the question, making promises he doesn’t intend to keep, etc. The critics always say this. It’s their regular feature. This is cyclical, according to one of the Twitter comments. “If there is anyone who wants to watch Putin’s news conference but cannot do it today, don’t worry. Next year you will watch a re-run.”
What was new this time was that in Putin’s performance, he cited 36 sets of state statistics in answer to 55 questions. Subtracting the time taken by the questioners and Peskov’s audience management, Putin produced the numbers, new sets of them, every five minutes.
They covered, in his sequence: climate change; garbage recycling; production capacity; airports; highways; farm exports; mines; doctors’ pay; new medical facilities, vehicles and equipment; heart disease, tuberculosis and child mortality rates; Ukrainian Army tanks; Ukrainian gas prices; Fareast mortgages; housing replacement; political party registrations; inflation; reserve fund outlays; new rolling stock; bilateral foreign trade turnover; China’s GDP; loans to Belarus; sanction losses to the European Union; defence spending; robot vehicle kilometre testing; source of migration figures; historical birth rates; numbers of women of child-bearing age; pharmaceutical exports; life expectancy; environmental technologies; pension growth; and the share capital of Innopraktika, his daughter Yekaterina’s company.
All the data sets were delivered impromptu, unscripted, direct from Putin’s memory.
Simon & Schuster is a New York publisher which is now the property of ViacomCBS, National Amusements Inc., and the part-demented Sumner Redstone (Rothstein). It has long made a business of selling lies about Russia. That’s the non-fiction department.
It’s a harder sell for the fiction department to do the same. Martin Cruz Smith’s newest in his series of Russian detective novels comes up with the idea that President Vladimir Putin has ordered the murder of an oligarch challenging him for the presidency, and nearly gets away with liquidating a well-known investigative journalist at the same time. The dirty deeds done, but the girl safe holding hands with the hero under the Kremlin wall, the book’s last line ends with “the latest coronation. With a fourth term secured, Putin how reigned longer than any ruler since Stalin.”
According to Cruz Smith’s acknowledgement on the next to last page, it was his editor at Simon & Schuster who “came up with excellent ideas for the book and patiently encouraged me to take the time I needed.”
After seven weeks in print, this fabrication hasn’t made it on the New York Times best-seller list yet. It is having to compete with Simon & Schuster’s better selling fiction, seven weeks on the list and going strong at Number 8 — “The Book of Gutsy Women” by Hillary and Chelsea Clinton.
Sergei Skripal (lead image), the central figure in the British Government’s 21-month old story of an attempted assassination by GRU, the Russian military intelligence agency, is alive; not very well; and living in England.
Skripal has revealed himself in three brief telephone calls to his niece Viktoria, living with his mother Yelena in Yaroslavl. The first call took place on April 4 of this year, a year and a month after Skripal and his daughter Yulia were hospitalised in Salisbury, following an alleged poison attack in the centre of the city on March 4, 2018. The second of Sergei’s telephone calls home was on May 9, 2019, when he left a brief recorded message on Viktoria’s telephone; May 9 is celebrated in Russia as Victory Day for the defeat of the enemy in Europe. Skripal’s third call reportedly took place on June 26, following his own and Yulia’s birthdays.
The authenticity of Skripal’s calls, each of them from a different telephone number, has been confirmed by Viktoria. They are the first evidence that he is alive; moreover, that he is well enough to testify about the alleged attack by a nerve agent the British Government has called Novichok.
The evidence of the calls also suggests that Sergei and Yulia Skripal are prevented from communicating freely with their Russian kin, and may be physically under lock and key.
In the great game of who will sell gas to Europe, and in the American game of stopping Russia from doing so, Turkey has now declared its stake in the outcome by erecting a paper barrier across the Mediterranean Sea from the Turkish coast to the Libyan coast, and preparing to move armed forces into position to enforce it. This is both a bluff and a dare.
The paper was signed in Istanbul on November 27 between the Turkish Government and the Government of National Accord (GNA), one of the sides in the Libyan civil war. Read their memorandum of understanding and the new Turkish map of the Mediterranean here.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan followed this week with two extras. On Monday he said: “Greek Cypriots, Egypt, Greece, and Israel cannot establish a natural gas transmission line without Turkey’s consent.” Then on Tuesday: “If Libya were to make a request, we would send a sufficient number of troops. After the signing of the security agreement, there is no hurdle.”
Never mind that at the moment the GNA is losing the Libyan war. The Turkish bluff will not work against Russia, which is backing the GNA’s more powerful rival, the Libyan National Army (LNA). Nor is Turkey aiming at Russia; both have a common interest in preserving their new export pipeline for gas, TurkStream, to southern Europe through Turkey, and in beating the competition.
The Turkish dare is aimed at the US, Greece, Cyprus and Egypt, challenging them to try their own navies and air forces at pushing the Turks back inside their land border; drill for gas on the seabed Turkey is claiming; and run pipelines through the barrier with which the Turks aim to stop them. For the time being, Erdogan is calculating the Americans, Greeks, Cypriots and Egyptians won’t dare to land a punch. So far he’s right.
“We told you so”. In another case of the Russian General Staff telling the Kremlin that arming the Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan puts strategic Russian interests at risk, Turkey has signed a plan to extend its control of the seabed southward across the Mediterranean to the Libyan coastline.
The Turkish counterparty, the Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez al-Sarraj, is also being supplied with Turkish arms, vehicles, drones, and ordnance. Notwithstanding, the GNA doesn’t control much of the shore and even less of the hinterland of Libya. Against the GNA, the Russian military, the Foreign Ministry and the Kremlin are backing the rival Libyan faction, the Libyan National Army led by Khalifa Haftar. This isn’t new. Right now, Haftar controls much more of Libya, including coastline, than al-Sarraj.
The new Russian problem is that Turkish deployment of the S-400 missile system may be used to enforce the new Turkish territorial claim. This directly threatens Cyprus, Greece and Egypt. The first two have sought and signed agreements to become US protectorates; the third is seeking protection from both the US and Russia, a game which Cairene regimes have been playing unsuccessfully since Gamal Abdel Nasser’s time. The reason for Egypt’s strategic failure is that it is up against Israel, an enemy unlike the Turks. Israel shoots first; the Turks bluff.
Ever since the death of Yevgeny Primakov, the last civilian in Moscow to distinguish publicly in Russian strategy between adversaries who fight and adversaries who bluff, no one dares to call the Turkish bluff. The closest the Russian Foreign Ministry has come was the declaration on November 28 by Maria Zakharova, the Foreign Ministry spokesman. She said the Turks change their positions “by the hour. What could raise questions in Russia regarding the implementation of agreements signed by Turkey or what could raise questions in Turkey with regard to Russia can change within several hours.”
English plane spotters and bird watchers have discovered the location of the Skripals in Gloucestershire. An hour and a half’s drive north of their well-known home in Salisbury, Sergei and Yulia Skripal have been hidden inside an airbase operated by the United States Air Force (USAF) for long-range B-52 and B-2 bombers armed with nuclear weapons targeted on Russia.
A British Ministry of Defence document, issued on March 12 but unnoticed since then, reports the ministry has searched its files and records of the blood sampling and testing for Novichok in the blood of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, but “failed to locate any information that provides the exact time that the samples were collected.” The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is the parent organization for the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), the UK’s chemical warfare centre at Porton Down. Porton Down, as the laboratory is usually known, is the source of British evidence that Novichok was detected in the bloodstreams of the two Skripals.
Two officials of the DSTL laboratory testified on oath in the London Court of Protection in March of 2018, one identifying himself to the court as a “Porton Down Chemical and Biological Analyst” and the other, a “Porton Down Scientific Adviser”. According to the court record published on March 22, 2018, “blood samples from Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal were analysed and the findings indicated exposure to a nerve agent or related compound. The samples tested positive for the presence of a Novichok class nerve agent or closely related agent.” The presiding judge, Justice David Williams, ruled that “tests carried out by Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down concluded that they had been exposed to a nerve agent.”
National Health Service (NHS) hospital manuals, English nursing sources and biochemists all say it is impossible for patient blood samples to lack precise date and time data. The Skripal samples with these data are therefore missing, while the samples analyzed by Porton Down aren’t provably from the Skripals at all.
If the Defence Ministry is telling the truth, its admission that it “failed to locate” the required blood specimen logs means there is no legal chain of custody for the evidence the British Government has publicly alleged, identifying a Russian nerve agent called Novichok, and Russian military personnel and the Kremlin as responsible for attacking the Skripals in Salisbury on March 4, 2018. Without this chain of custody, no British court can lawfully admit the prosecution’s evidence to support the government charges in the Skripal case. The Wiltshire coroner’s inquest into the death of Dawn Sturgess, also alleged to have resulted from a Russian Novichok attack, will be unable, lawfully, to admit the alleged evidence.
If the ministry is lying in its March 12, 2019, document, this demonstrates the collapse of the British government’s Novichok narrative into evidence of a political frame-up.
The MOD official, who signed the document as Mrs S. Gardiner, head of the ministry’s Information Rights Team, was asked to clarify her report. She has refused to reply.
It was Richard Nixon (lead image, left) who famously connected his election defeat with the notion he had been victimized by other people’s boots, particularly the press. “You don’t have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference.” Nixon had lost the vote for California governor in November 1962. He was lying then; watch him do it. He went on lying — sore loser was what Nixon remained after winning the presidency twice and then losing it in mid-1974.
Boris Yeltsin (centre) has kicked the bucket, so he can’t improve on his last official speech when he managed, his incapacitation obvious, to make his resignation in favour of Vladimir Putin appear to be unforced. That lie was issued on December 31, 1999. Twenty years later, his son-in-law, Valentin Yumashev (right), is attempting to step into the old man’s shoes in a public interview with Vladimir Pozner, a journalist who has tried to show he is in the winning shoes himself by wearing brightly coloured socks. The interview was staged by the Yeltsin Centre, a state and oligarch-financed entity which Yumashev, with the remainder of the Yeltsin family, also runs.
By a second 20th anniversary coincidence, Pyotr Aven, a Yeltsin-era minister of trade and Alfa Group banker who has left Russia for the UK, has given an equally long interview in which he publicly admits to mistakes during Yeltsin’s rule – the policy mistakes of others, not the personal ones of himself. His interviewer wore sneakers without socks. Between them, fewer lies were re-issued than Yumashev and Pozner attempted. The intentions differ.
Yumashev’s message for Russians – also for the regime-changers in Washington to whom his father-in-law was deeply indebted – is that the Yeltsin family and its old factotum, Anatoly Chubais, aim to run a candidate in the Putin succession race and recover the power they think they deserve. Aven’s message is that he and the Alfa Group won’t pay for it.
But Aven is also implying something more subtle than Yumashev and Pozner disclose. It is that he and Mikhail Fridman of the Alfa Group expect the Putin succession will not be friendly towards either the oligarchs close to the Kremlin, or to the dominant privately owned businesses of the country. To them – whether they wear military, security or other uniforms Aven doesn’t hint — Aven is saying the Alfa Group asks either to be bought out, or if the new Kremlin won’t do that, to be allowed to live and let live.
If the price of crude oil is stable or rising, the money spent on Russian art works at the semi-annual sales of the London art auction houses usually follows suit.
In June, when the last Russian Art Week was held, the price of oil was experiencing a seesaw between $71 and $63 per barrel. Last week the oil price was moving up from $59 to $65. Allowing a lag in the time art buyers need to count the cash flowing into their bank accounts, the latest round of bidding should have come close to the June result. The actual outcome is that last week’s grand total came to £35.36 million; this compares to £35.93 million in June, and to £35.02 million in November of 2018.
US sanctions don’t have a direct impact because the biggest Russian art buyers in the London market aren’t the individuals targeted by the US Treasury. Instead, some are grand larcenists who launder the money they have stolen from their Russian banks and businesses, and who have been given safe haven to decorate their walls, girlfriends, and gardens by the British Government. Click to follow their story.
The domestic Russian art market is also showing resistance to Russia hating abroad. The latest measurement, based on reporting from Russian art dealers, shows the indexes for paintings and graphics bottomed out last year, and have been slowly improving this year.
Diversification of genres for sale is also drawing fresh demand because of the low base effect — the prices are starting in the bargain basement. William MacDougall, co-director of the third-ranked London house, observes: “Our contemporary Russian Art Auction (over $1.3 million) on Monday was the first specialist auction for that sector in a decade (June 2008 was also ours). Its success has raised hopes that that area of the market is finally reviving. In this auction round the middle was stronger than the top. We have also been seeing stronger demand for Contemporary in the last two auctions, albeit from a low base, hence our specialist auction.”
The Ukraine war is splitting the communist parties of Europe between those taking the US side, and those on the Russian side.
In an unusual public criticism of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) and of smaller communist parties in Europe which have endorsed the Greek criticism of Russia for waging an “imperialist” war against the Ukraine, the Russian Communist Party (KPRF) has responded this week with a 3,300-word declaration: “The military conflict in Ukraine,” the party said, “cannot be described as an imperialist war, as our comrades would argue. It is essentially a national liberation war of the people of Donbass. From Russia’s point of view it is a struggle against an external threat to national security and against Fascism.”
By contrast, the Russian communists have not bothered to send advice, or air public criticism of the Cypriot communists and their party, the Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL). On March 2, AKEL issued a communiqué “condemn[ing] Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and calls for an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of the Russian troops from Ukrainian territories….[and] stresses that the Russian Federation’s action in recognising the Donetsk and Luhansk regions constitutes a violation of the principle of the territorial integrity of states.”
To the KPRF in Moscow the Cypriots are below contempt; the Greeks are a fraction above it.
A Greek-Cypriot veteran of Cypriot politics and unaffiliated academic explains: “The Cypriot communists do not allow themselves to suffer for what they profess to believe. Actually, they are a misnomer. They are the American party of the left in Cyprus, just as [President Nikos] Anastasiades is the American party of the right.” As for the Greek left, Alexis Tsipras of Syriza – with 85 seats of the Greek parliament’s 300, the leading party of the opposition – the KKE (with 15 seats), and Yanis Varoufakis of MeRA25 (9 seats), the source adds: “The communists are irrelevant in Europe and in the US, except in the very narrow context of Greek party politics.”
The war plan of the US and the European allies is destroying the Russian market for traditional French perfumes, the profits of the French and American conglomerates which own the best-known brands, the bonuses of their managers, and the dividends of their shareholders. The odour of these losses is too strong for artificial fresheners.
Givaudan, the Swiss-based world leader in production and supply of fragrances, oils and other beauty product ingredients, has long regarded the Russian market as potentially its largest in Europe; it is one of the fastest growing contributors to Givaudan’s profit worldwide. In the recovery from the pandemic of Givaudan’s Fragrance and Beauty division – it accounts for almost half the company’s total sales — the group reported “excellent double-digit growth in 2021, demonstrating strong consumer demand for these product categories.” Until this year, Givaudan reveals in its latest financial report, the growth rate for Russian demand was double-digit – much faster than the 6.3% sales growth in Europe overall; faster growth than in Germany, Belgium and Spain.
Between February 2014, when the coup in Kiev started the US war against Russia, and last December, when the Russian non-aggression treaties with the US and NATO were rejected, Givaudan’s share price jumped three and a half times – from 1,380 Swiss francs to 4,792 francs; from a company with a market capitalisation of 12.7 billion francs ($12.7 billion) to a value of 44.2 billion francs ($44.2 billion). Since the fighting began in eastern Ukraine this year until now, Givaudan has lost 24% of that value – that’s $10 billion.
The largest of Givaudan’s shareholders is Bill Gates. With his 14%, plus the 10% controlled by Black Rock of New York and MFS of Boston, the US has effective control over the company.
Now, according to the US war sanctions, trade with Russia and the required payment systems have been closed down, alongside the bans on the importation of the leading European perfumes. So in place of the French perfumers, instead of Givaudan, the Russian industry is reorganizing for its future growth with its own perfume brands manufactured from raw materials produced in Crimea and other regions, or supplied by India and China. Givaudan, L’Oréal (Lancome, Yves Saint Laurent), Kering (Balenciaga, Gucci), LVMH (Dior, Guerlain, Givenchy), Chanel, Estée Lauder, Clarins – they have all cut off their noses to spite the Russian face.
By Nikolai Storozhenko, introduced and translated by John Helmer, Moscow @bears_with
This week President Joseph Biden stopped at an Illinois farm to say he’s going to help the Ukraine ship 20 million tonnes of wheat and corn out of storage into export, thereby relieving grain shortages in the international markets and lowering bread prices around the world. Biden was trying to play a hand in which his cards have already been clipped. By Biden.
The first Washington-Kiev war plan for eastern Ukraine has already lost about 40% of the Ukrainian wheat fields, 50% of the barley, and all of the grain export ports. Their second war plan to hold the western region defence lines with mobile armour, tanks, and artillery now risks the loss of the corn and rapeseed crop as well as the export route for trucks to Romania and Moldova. What will be saved in western Ukraine will be unable to grow enough to feed its own people. They will be forced to import US wheat, as well as US guns and the money to pay for both.
Biden told his audience that on the Delaware farms he used to represent in the US Senate “there are more chickens than there are Americans.” Blaming the Russians is the other card Biden has left.
The problem with living in exile is the meaning of the word. If you’re in exile, you mean you are forever looking backwards, in geography as well as in time. You’re not only out of place; you’re out of time — yesterday’s man.
Ovid, the Roman poet who was sent into exile from Rome by Caesar Augustus, for offences neither Augustus nor Ovid revealed, never stopped looking back to Rome. His exile, as Ovid described it, was “a barbarous coast, inured to rapine/stalked ever by bloodshed, murder, war.” In such a place or state, he said, “writing a poem you can read to no one is like dancing in the dark.”
The word itself, exsilium in Roman law, was the sentence of loss of citizenship as an alternative to loss of life, capital punishment. It meant being compelled to live outside Rome at a location decided by the emperor. The penalty took several degrees of isolation and severity. In Ovid’s case, he was ordered by Augustus to be shipped to the northeastern limit of the Roman empire, the Black Sea town called Tomis; it is now Constanta, Romania. Ovid’s last books, Tristia (“Sorrows”) and Epistulae ex Ponto (“Black Sea Letters”), were written from this exile, which began when he was 50 years old, in 8 AD, and ended when he died in Tomis nine years year later, in 17 AD.
In my case I’ve been driven into exile more than once. The current one is lasting the longest. This is the one from Moscow, which began with my expulsion by the Foreign Ministry on September 28, 2010. The official sentence is Article 27(1) of the law No. 114-FZ — “necessary for the purposes of defence capability or security of the state, or public order, or protection of health of the population.” The reason, a foreign ministry official told an immigration service official when they didn’t know they were being overheard, was: “Helmer writes bad things about Russia.”
Antonio Guterres is the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), who attempted last month to arrange the escape from Russian capture of Ukrainian soldiers and NATO commanders, knowing they had committed war crimes. He was asked to explain; he refuses.
Trevor Cadieu is a Canadian lieutenant-general who was appointed the chief of staff and head of the Canadian Armed Forces last August; was stopped in September; retired from the Army this past April, and went to the Ukraine, where he is in hiding. From whom he is hiding – Canadians or Russians – where he is hiding, and what he will say to explain are questions Cadieu isn’t answering, yet.
Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, is refusing this week to answer questions on the role he played in the recent attempt by US, British, Canadian and other foreign combatants to escape the bunkers under the Azovstal plant, using the human shield of civilians trying to evacuate.
In Guterres’s meeting with President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on April 26 (lead image), Putin warned Guterres he had been “misled” in his efforts. “The simplest thing”, Putin told Guterres in the recorded part of their meeting, “for military personnel or members of the nationalist battalions is to release the civilians. It is a crime to keep civilians, if there are any there, as human shields.”
This war crime has been recognized since 1977 by the UN in Protocol 1 of the Geneva Convention. In US law for US soldiers and state officials, planning to employ or actually using human shields is a war crime to be prosecuted under 10 US Code Section 950t.
Instead, Guterres ignored the Kremlin warning and the war crime law, and authorized UN officials, together with Red Cross officials, to conceal what Guterres himself knew of the foreign military group trying to escape. Overnight from New York, Guterres has refused to say what he knew of the military escape operation, and what he had done to distinguish, or conceal the differences between the civilians and combatants in the evacuation plan over the weekend of April 30-May 1.May.
By Vlad Shlepchenko, introduced & translated by John Helmer, Moscow @bears_with
The more western politicians announce pledges of fresh weapons for the Ukraine, the more Russian military analysts explain what options their official sources are considering to destroy the arms before they reach the eastern front, and to neutralize Poland’s role as the NATO hub for resupply and reinforcement of the last-ditch holdout of western Ukraine.
“I would like to note,” Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, repeated yesterday, “that any transport of the North Atlantic Alliance that arrived on the territory of the country with weapons or material means for the needs of the Ukrainian armed forces is considered by us as a legitimate target for destruction”. He means the Ukraine border is the red line.
Here’s a story the New York Times has just missed.
US politicians and media pundits are promoting the targeting of “enablers” of Russian oligarchs who stash their money in offshore accounts. A Times article of March 11 highlighted Michael Matlin, CEO of Concord Management as such an “enabler.” But the newspaper missed serious corruption Matlin was involved in. Maybe that’s because Matlin cheated Russia, and also because the Matlin story exposes the William Browder/Sergei Magnitsky hoax aimed at Russia.
In 1939 a little known writer in Moscow named Sigizmund Khrzhizhanovsky published his idea that the Americans, then the Germans would convert human hatred into a new source of energy powering everything which had been dependent until then on coal, gas, and oil.
Called yellow coal, this invention originated with Professor Leker at Harvard University. It was applied, first to running municipal trams, then to army weapons, and finally to cheap electrification of everything from domestic homes and office buildings to factory production lines. In Russian leker means a quack doctor.
The Harvard professor’s idea was to concentrate the neuro-muscular energy people produce when they hate each other. Generated as bile (yellow), accumulated and concentrated into kinetic spite in machines called myeloabsorberators, Krzhizhanovsky called this globalization process the bilificationof society.
In imperial history there is nothing new in cases of dementia in rulers attracting homicidal psychopaths to replace them. It’s as natural as honey attracts bees.
When US President Woodrow Wilson was incapacitated by a stroke on October 19, 1919, he was partially paralysed and blinded, and was no longer able to feed himself, sign his name, or speak normally; he was not demented.
While his wife and the Navy officer who was his personal physician concealed his condition, there is no evidence that either Edith Wilson or Admiral Cary Grayson were themselves clinical cases of disability, delusion, or derangement. They were simply liars driven by the ambition to hold on to the power of the president’s office and deceive everyone who got in their way.
The White House is always full of people like that. The 25th Amendment to the US Constitution is meant to put a damper on their homicidal tendencies.
What is unusual, probably exceptional in the current case of President Joseph Biden, not to mention the history of the United States, is the extent of the president’s personal incapacitation; combined with the clinical evidence of psychopathology in his Secretary of State Antony Blinken; and the delusional condition of the rivals to replace Biden, including Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Like Rome during the first century AD, Washington is now in the ailing emperor-homicidal legionary phase. But give it another century or two, and the madness, bloodshed, and lies of the characters of the moment won’t matter quite as much as their images on display in the museums of their successors craving legitimacy, or of successor powers celebrating their superiority.
Exactly this has happened to the original Caesars, as a new book by Mary Beard, a Cambridge University professor of classics, explains. The biggest point of her book, she says, is “dynastic succession” – not only of the original Romans but of those modern rulers who acquired the Roman portraits in marble and later copies in paint, and the copies of those copies, with the idea of communicating “the idea of the direct transfer of power from ancient Romans to Franks and on to later German rulers.”
In the case she narrates of the most famous English owner of a series of the “Twelve Caesars”, King Charles I — instigator of the civil war of 1642-51 and the loser of both the war and his head – the display of his Caesars was intended to demonstrate the king’s self-serving “missing link” between his one-man rule and the ancient Romans who murdered their way to rule, and then apotheosized into immortal gods in what they hoped would be a natural death on a comfortable bed.
With the American and Russian successions due to take place in Washington and Moscow in two years’ time, Beard’s “Twelve Caesars, Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern”, is just the ticket from now to then.