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N.S. Gill

Silk; Salty Bread; Sayonara Crassus and Nero

By June 9, 2013

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On this day in ancient history - June 9:

In Rome, the Vestal Virgins made special salted cakes for the Vestalia, and so the day became a bakers' and millers' holiday.

The Parthians under Surena defeated Crassus at Carrhae, as Ovid relates:

Lest festivals delight the crowd's hearts completely:
Crassus, near the Euphrates, lost the eagles, his army,
And his son, and at the end himself as well.
The goddess said: 'Parthians, why exult? You'll send
The standards back, a Caesar will avenge Crassus' death.'

A. S. Kline translation of Ovid's Fasti
Dio Cassius says this is when Romans first saw silk in the form of Parthian banners ["Silk Roads or Steppe Roads? The Silk Roads in World History," by David Christian; Journal of World History, Vol. 11, No. 1 (Spring, 2000), pp. 1-26 ].

It was also the day the last of the Julio-Claudian emperors, Nero, committed suicide, leading to a year of political chaos until the Flavians came to power as the second imperial dynasty.

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