Open Thread

Remembering Mortality

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People wearing a protective face mask walk along the Circus Maximus (Circo Massimo) ancient Roman chariot-racing stadium, with the Temple of Apollo Palatinus (Tempio di Apollo Palatino, Rear) in Rome on November 11, 2020, during the government's restriction measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 novel coronavirus. - Italy has shut bars, restaurants and shops in the worst-affected areas and introduced a nationwide night curfew, but has so far swerved a second shutdown, with the antigen tests becoming a crucial part of its efforts. (Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty Images)
People wearing a protective face mask walk along the Circus Maximus (Circo Massimo) ancient Roman chariot-racing stadium, with the Temple of Apollo Palatinus (Tempio di Apollo Palatino, Rear) in Rome on November 11, 2020, during the government’s restriction measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 novel coronavirus. - Italy has shut bars, restaurants and shops in the worst-affected areas and introduced a nationwide night curfew, but has so far swerved a second shutdown, with the antigen tests becoming a crucial part of its efforts. (Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty Images) ANDREAS SOLARO/Getty Images

On this day in 509 BC, long before the Caesars and the Empire, tradition has it that the Roman Republic celebrated the first ever Roman triumph, to celebrate the victory of Publius Valerius Poplicola over the Etruscans. It is said, though not confirmed, that a Roman general celebrating a triumph would have a slave present charged with whispering into his ear that he, too, would one day die. Whether that detail is true or not, a pious Roman general was at least expected to conduct himself in a humble fashion and be mindful of that fact.

You may use this page to talk about your triumphs, your mortality, or to pursue other areas of freewheeling, off-topic discourse. Find previous discussions in the Open Thread archive. Excepting the entreaty that you remain on topic, all of Slate’s usual commenting policies apply.

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