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The Capitoline Geese

By Edited Oct 27, 2016 0 0

The Capitoline Geese
Credit: http://www.ancientworlds.net

Not even Androcles’ lion or Caesar’s elephants were able to surpass the famous Capitoline Geese, that because of their contribution to the salvation of Rome, are referenced in one of the most famous sayings of all time. 
 
The Capitoline is one of the seven hills of Rome, situated right in the center of it. On the peak of this hill there used to be long ago a temple build for Jupiter (the god of gods, rain, thunder and lightning in Roman mythology, Zeus being the Greek equivalent) and where Rome's aristocratic people settled, after the Gauls took over.  
 
During one night in the year of 390 (or 387) BC, after a long siege, the Gauls thought of taking advantage of the night and the fact that the Romans were sleeping to launch another attack, and climb their way into the fortress. As they were close to the edge of the wall, ready to step foot inside the fortress, the sacred geese, that were there, started cackling, after being startled by the attackers.  
 
Because of the noise that they made, Manlius (Marcus Manlius Capitolinus, d.384, consul to the Roman Republic) and the other soldiers woke up and ultimately protected the Capitoline.  
 
So this is the point after which the geese and their noise started to be referenced in so many occasions.  
 
Kilov, a Russian fable writer, wrote The Boastful Geese, as a reference to those who attribute on themselves great feats, feats that were done long ago, by long deceased ancestors. 
 
And this is something that we must overcome when we are talking about national history. Even if we must remember the great actions of our ancestors, and even if they may serve us as example or the reason that we needed to fight more, to fight harder, we must acknowledge the fact that even though we might have been raised with certain national values, this does not insure us success, this does not mean that we will always get the long straw from the bunch and that no one is allowed to challenge us.  
We must look in the past to learn from the mistakes of others, we must look in the past to keep alive the memory of our heroes, but we will always have our own fights, and our enemies or competition will most likely not be impressed by the bravery of those who can't harm them anymore.

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Bibliography

  1. Various, Paul Bransom An argosy of fables; a representative selection from the fable literature of every age and land. New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1921.
  2. "Marcus Manlius." Wikipedia. 21/01/2013. 25/02/2013 <Web >

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