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My brother and I were chatting on the phone recently. I can’t remember exactly what we were talking about, but at one point in the conversation, he said, “Bread and circuses.” And I was like, “What?” He said, “Haven’t you ever heard of bread and circuses?” Me: “Nope. What’s that about?” Brother: “It’s a Roman saying, which essentially means that if you give the populace bread and circuses, they will be pliable.” In other words, they’ll be so numb to what’s really going on that those in power can take full advantage of them. Not a situation you want if you’re striving for a democratic society.

I did an internet search to find the source of the quote and found that Juvenal, a Roman poet and satirist wrote it. He lived between 55 AD and 127 AD. The full quote is as follows:

“The people that once bestowed commands, consulships, legions, and all else, now concerns itself no more, and longs eagerly for just two things – bread and circuses!”

Juvenal had some other interesting quotes, ones that have become moral standards, such as:

“Peace visits not the guilty mind.

“A healthy mind in a healthy body.

“Refrain from doing ill; for one all powerful reason, lest our children should copy our misdeeds; we are all too prone to imitate whatever is base and depraved.

Here’s a goody:  “It is not easy for men to rise whose qualities are thwarted by poverty.

Ever since my brother mentioned bread and circuses, that’s what’s been going through my mind – bread and circuses, bread and circuses. It has a nice ring, doesn’t it?  Seems to fit the times, as well.

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