Didius Julianus

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“ That's Your Lotto P.Diddy !”
~ on a quote made by a soldier who killed Emperor Didius Julianus - or Little Diddy for short.

Didius Julianus (Full name : Pusillanimous Didius 'Diddy' Julianus) was the first (and last) Roman banker to become Emperor in what was later called 'The Biggest Lotto Fraud in Classical History.'

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Didius Julianus: Known as 'knob nose' to his enemies.

edit Financial Background

The future emperor was born to a wealthy family of slave wheeler and dealers in Rome in around 137 a.d. His father Lucre 'Big Diddy' Julianus had become rich on Roman Wall Street investing in the Egyptian corn trade and import of rare Chinese Silk into the empire. So stinky and perfumed rich had the Juliani had become that they opened a bank in the Forum of Trajan and called it - with no false modesty - 'The Bank of Rome'. Senators, bookies, snake oil salesmen and slave owners flocked to open accounts there and the bank (and the Juliani ) became rich enough to bathe in elephant's milk twice weekly.

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The family bank of the Juliani in all its horrid glory !

edit Up and Thrusting Banker !

Combining money with politics - the young Didius got to know all the right people for the right stuff and all the wrong people for after hours fun. He did the noble thing and married Fortunata - the daughter of another banking family in Rome who owned the Bank of Ambrosia and liked giving arsenic laced rice to the poor debtors on Mondays . Didius later became a friend of Emperor Marcus Aurelius and once went on holiday with a fellow financier Pertinax (a future Emperor too) on a skiing holiday in Helvetica 'Neue'. When his old man 'Big Diddy' died on his 90th birthday party (he got over excited with the wine and slave girls) - 'Little Diddy' inherited the family business and a weird phallus shaped nose.

edit You Are Morally Overdrawn

Didius happened to be out of Rome when the Emperor Commodus was killed and therefore missed the bizarre quiz show that got his old friend Pertinax the job. So he wrote to him seeing if he needed a 'loan' to help pay off the old ruler's debts and finance the demolition of various monuments to Commodus ' who was now known as 'the detritus of humanity' . However Pertinax didn't respond and this upset Didius so much he decided to personally bankrupt the new emperor.

edit The Golden Lotto Ticket

It was whilst pondering in his expensive villa 'Golden Sacks' that Didius got to hear about the Praetorian Roma Lotto wheeze. One of his office slaves had picked up a ticket - so Didius dispossessed ( and disposed of) the trusting slave of the ticket as he literally owned the guy's 'ass'. Didius then made his way to the Praetorian Guards's gaudy camp where he was just in time as the soldiers were about to announce the imperial Lotto winner after they had 'disqualified' (i.e. killed) the previous occupant Pertinax.

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Didius arrives with the 'winning ticket' in the Great Roma Lotto Swindle.

edit Roll Up ! Roll Up!! Roman Empire is For Sale

To Didius's horror , the camp was full of Romans who owed him a lot of money . They were all holding their lotto tickets and clamouring to be the next Emperor. For Didius they just wouldn't do - so he made his audacious move:-

“Look here you Praetorian chaps. Why you wasting your time offering the imperial throne to any tramp and vagabond who comes in here when I will gladly loan you the money to let me be the next Emperor ?”
~ Didius Julianus

The Praetorians - who had once been the elite bodyguard of Emperor Augustus - had long ago declined into a rabble of thickies and so they thought that was a very good offer from Didius. So - without much more ado - they killed all the other Lotto ticket holders and declared Didius had the winning number and was therefore now the new 'legit' emperor.

edit Cheque Book Imperialism

When the Romans woke up to find that their empire was now being run by the biggest banker anyone could know - they were afraid. Didius then walked into the Senate and announced 'You All Owe Me because I Own All ' (which translates as 'Sub Primus Inter Paris Hilton Signus Scribus Matey ! in Latin).

Now that he was emperor - Didius wanted to show his late father that he was no longer 'Little Diddy'. He soon surrounded himself with favourites like Herculus 'Hard Cash' and Cretinus Crunch and spent the Imperial funds on installing a Golden Pole to watch dancers writhe on a floor of marble. All pretty decadent stuff but you have to remember Didius now wanted to flush his few remaining scruples down the drain and enjoy himself.

edit Rumblings in the Provinces

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You ready to rumble Septimius ?

News of Didius Julianus as the new Emperor went down badly with some Roman commanders - especially when Didius cancelled their overdrafts. Amongst those putting on their 'revolting' teeshirts were Clodhopperus Albino in Britannia and Precious Nitrate in Syria but the nearest with the best chance of become the new emperor was the Septimius Scepticus (also 'Septicus') Severus in Gaul. His slogan 'Death To Bankers ' struck a chord with sympathetic soldiers .

edit Money for Nothing

Frantically Didius tried to get people to fight for him. He changed the bank lending rate and cut interest rates - but to no avail. No one wanted to die for a banker - and that was the honest truth. Even the Praetorians deserted him and went back to their camp to play games and drink themselves stupid. So when Severus's army arrived in the city - they found Didius in the Palatine Palace trying to pack his own bags to make a fast escape. But he was too late and died of shame when brutal soldiers broke Didius's golf clubs and cut his Roman Express Gold Card in two. Then the legionairies went on to sack Didius's bank for good measure.

edit Confessions of a Bent Banker

Before he died - Didius Julianus is reported to have said that he 'was a just an honest banker' and couldn't understand why anyone would want to kill him. However the lesson was learnt - no future Roman financial whizz kid decided to stand for the post of Roman Emperor unless he paid in gold bars. 'Let the Eunuchs and Equestrians do that instead' was their motto - they realised it was better to make money on the quiet and let someone else take the fall !

edit The XIV Factor

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The Praetorian Guard make a late effort to cover their arses from the incoming imperial administration.

The Praetorian guard now realised that it could get a bit sticky with the arrival of the new emperor so they sent a letter to Septimius Severus and asked if he wanted to try a new game . Their suggestion was 'The XIV Factor' - where the contestants had to sing a little, dance a bit and cry if they were booted out and massacred . However Septimus wasn't buying any new quiz show formats. He wanted to play that game where the losing side all get killed. So the XIV factor remained an undeveloped game idea for the next 2,000 years.

edit Legacy

None -except you let a banker run your country/empire at your peril !

edit Footnotes

  • According to 'Anonymous Anon' - a canny Roman hack who hid his (or her) name.
  • The Juliani came from a long line of bankers stretching back to the days of Romulus,Remus and Brer Trojan.
  • Roman author Dio Casio ('The Watchful One') says Big Diddy even had his slaves painted gold to emphasise his wealth.
  • Details of the skiing trip in Helvetica were discovered in 1980 when archeologists unearthed a signed fondue set enscribed 'Had a Lovely Time Diddy. Hugs Perty'.
  • The Praetorians were famed for their greed and stupidity. They were also known as the 'Hillbillies of the Seven Hills' - a very funny Roman joke now lost in translation.
  • Didius's wife Fortunata being wiser than he preferred to stay at the villa in Ostia.
  • The Roman Senate just liked saying yes to any tyrant who walked through the door and offered them money.
  • Not to be confused with On Golden Pond which has no lap dancers in it unless you count Jane Fonda in Barbarella.
  • Known to his enemies as 'Septicus'. His real middle name was Scepticus.
  • Septimius Severus's teeshirt was later worn by all members of his dynasty.
  • It was later changed to 'Death To Taxi Drivers' - which was prescient as Severus' great nephew was killed by one in 235 AD (See Severus Alexander for the details on that particular story. )

edit See Also

Preceded by:
Pertinax
Roman Emperor
193
Succeeded by:
Septimius Severus



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