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“Te oportet futuere tete”
“Tu tibi futuendus es”
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“Se te futueris gaudebo”
“Te fututo gaudeo”
Gordianus Ramases Scotti-Aeygptus , also known as Gordian or Gordian III , became Roman Emperor in 238 A.D. in a case of 'Last Emperor' standing following the death of Maximinus Thrax. Contemporary reports of the time say Gordian was only 'a boy' when he got the job of emperor but now it has been shown by recent archeology on the site of his Roman restaurant Veni Vidi Vomitori that Gordian was actually a blond haired Scotsman with a filthy temper and filthier tongue. His direct descendant is believed to be Gordon Ramsay.
The Tourette of Rome
The Gordians were a family of Scottish-Egyptian quality cooks who moved from Luxor to Carthage in an attempt to break into the big time cuisine for Roman diners. In the Petronius Arbiter Food Guide, the Gordians are given three fingers down the throat recommendation which suggests that their offerings were good enough for a triple regurgitation .
Gordian Ramases I and his son Gordian Ramases II (or Gordian Brown Toga as he was also known) wanted to expand the business. The elder Gordian's daughter Gordiana 'Ginny' had earlier moved to Rome where started to mix with the fast Roman set and had married senator Drusus 'Fizzy' Tonicus. Their son Gordian Merda Osculari Ramases Scotti-Aegyptus had shown no signs of following anyone in the food trade and built up a reputation for repulsive language , an instinct he apparently learnt very young. This appalled his father Tonicus who decided to run away from his home with a slave girl called 'Bubbles' ...in a vain attempt to keep this feeble gag going but died flat and very broke. Gordiana appealed to her father to help and he sent over a bag of golden eggs to pay for young Gordian's school fees and fines for his very bad Latin.
Gordian had tried a number of careers without success. He first trained as children's matinee gladiator in the Colosseum before trying his luck as a horse scrubber in the Circus Maximus . Then Gordian posed as male model for a beginners classical drawing class on the Capitoline Hill and even tried dancing the Flagrante Delicto for money but without success . Dejected (though still abusive) Gordian applied for the post of Official Food Taster at the imperial court of Severus Alexander. It could be a reasonable job if everyone liked the emperor, a lot less secure and normally fatal if your boss's popularity graph headed towards the floor. Gordian took it anyway but eventually was demoted when other guests at the emperor's dinner parties complained about the taster's 'rudeness' and got him demoted to turning the spit in the kitchen
Following the death of Severus Alexander , Gordian left the imperial service and decided that as he knew Catamitus Totalis about restaurants , he would one under the Arch of Titus. Gordian called the new eatery Vidi Vici Vomitori which for Romans was a very good name. Eating, throwing up and then eating again was a sign of good manners and superior breeding for the rich Roman class. It also suggested that unlike the dirty plebians and slaves , they could afford to make themselves purposefully ill.
Food and Sex
Despite looking like a scrunched up garden gnome , Gordian Ramases's battered looks made him something of a hit with more liberal Roman ladies . They would come into his kitchen to measure the size of his rolling pin. The women then encouraged their husbands to come along to taste Gordian's Diabolic Scottish-Egyptian broth whilst they slipped out to tuck into something more personally attached to the chef. Perhaps a bit surprisingly , no aggrieved husband threatened to go into the kitchen and tie a permanent Gordian Knot with the libidinous gournmet's treasured Membrum Superbus . They were probably scared of Gordian which suited the tousled chef so that he could finesse his Gallic fricasee .
It didn't take long for Vidi Vic Vomitori to gain the attention of the Petronius food writers who would try to review the restaurant without paying. This really for Gordian's goat and he would happily ban/throw them out or fight them in the street if he saw them inside. Gordian hated the Patrician press as he likened the critics and said he would rather serve galley slaves then poison scribblers anyday..Coleus ! Coleus !! Coleus !!!
I Can See Three Gordians So I Must Be Drunk
When in 238 A.D. the Roman Senate decided they had enough of the brutish Maximinus Thrax and his son Max Junior , Gordian sent a message to his grandfather Gordian the Elder and uncle Gordian Brown Toga II and told them they had a good chance to get the job of Emperor in Rome. The two Gordians rebelled and were proclaimed the new Caesars in Carthage. But they had prematurely jumped the ballista as Maximinus was still emperor. He instructed one of his cronies to attack the Gordians as they were preparing lunch at their restaurant for their supporters . Despite a last stand in the wine cellar, the two Gordians were killed and their heads dispatched to Rome in a delivery of Carthaginian chutney.
However Maximinus brutal dispatch of the opposition made many in Rome look at young Gordian as their new protector. He was reluctant to leave the kitchen but a mob dragged Gordian out and proclaimed him their broad Roman Bronx accents Gordian The Turd . This upset the Roman Senate who had just done some bribing and grafting to proclaim their own imperial nominees Pupienus and Balbinus as emperors . They had just left the city to take on Maximinus with an army so lacking any other soldiers to help them , the Senate reluctantly to let Gordian become the 'third' emperor in the set up . His first task would be to prepare a victory feast once Maximinus Thrax had been defeated.
Death on the Menu
The new emperors travelled up Italy to take on Maximinus Thrax and Max Junior . With the help of some judicious bribery, Maximinus and his son were killed by their own troops and their mangled corpses dragged around to provide cheap entertainment for the mob and the Roman cable tv channel 3rd Century-Fox Gladitorial Entertainment Network. Flushed with success , Pupienus and Balbinus returned to Rome to celebrate their glorious victory with a Gigantium Vomitorius Magnus' (a Blow Out and Belch Out) at the imperial palace . They then ordered their supposed colleague Gordian to 'get cracking' and bring the food over.
As he watched Pupienus and Balbinus with their acolytes greedily stuffing their faces and openly talking about 'I think three Emperors is One too Many' , Gordian left them and headed over to the Praetorian Guard barracks. There he persuaded his 'old muckers' (Gordian claimed to have once trained with the Praetorians) that a lovely banquet he had made for them had been commandeered by Pupienus and Balbinus. As Gordian described the Elephant Sausages , Tiger Feet Soup and other choice Roman cuisine dishes he had made , the angry (and hungry) Praetorians marched over to the palace and killed Pupienus and Balbinus as they were about to tuck into their Imperial Dessert Surprise. They then hoisted Gordian on a spare platter dish and proclaimed him 'The Only One Emperor' and finished off the rest of the feast.
A Buffet of Barbed Wire
With the murder of his colleagues, Emperor Gordian was now the 'head chef' of the Roman Empire and wanted to improve the diet of his new subjects. He organised a giant cook out in the main Roman Forum and challenged anyone else if they would go up against him . A few brave souls tried to go pan-to-pan with the Great Gordian but their efforts were said to be 'A Swine's Banquet' and they were promptly enlisted in the salt mines for their 'impudence'.
Gordian's next target were the respected Apicius School of Contemporary Roman cooking . He despised their over use of honey sauces and thick fig syrup and blamed the 'bad diet' for Rome's recent run of atrocious emperors. Gordian instead wanted everyone to use Honest , In Your Face Food which in his case, meant quite literally if someone got the recipe wrong.
In a fragment of a speech of Gordian at this time , the Roman historian at the time Canalis Quad records that :
..Our Emperor was of one mind that Rome needed a strong stomach for what he had planned for its future. So out went all the foods that Romans thought was their birthright like 'Sparrow Livers in the Blood of New Born Goats ' and 'Wild Bear Burgers' and instead we were served strange dishes like 'Nova Caesar's Caco Salada', 'Lasagne Al Forum Mentula' and 'Concumbo Toasted Sandwiches'...
When the Romans objected to their new foods offered to them, Gordian would lose his temper and only calm down when a few heads were removed by his sword happy imperial guards.
I Spit on Fancy-Nancy Greek Food
If Gordian was harsh with Roman food , he would turn red at the very mention of 'Graeco Cusine' - the food of the Greek speaking East. He was convinced their choice of 'soft' food had made them all effeminate , time wasters and argumentative , one handed 'tosseri' . So he decided to move the imperial court to Athens and came prepared with a list of recipes , cooking utensils and three legions in case the local Greeks objected. Gordian immediately banished all the kebab shops around the Parthenon and Temple of Zeus in Athens and set to work.
However the Greeks were reluctant to give up their favourite foods and openly rebelled under the leadership of Tuco the Chef. Gordian who still prided on himself being 'A Tyrant With a Heart' , only crucified a select 1,000 of the rebels and sent the rest off to the middle of Asia Minor to pick ingredients for a new food diner he was going to open there. He soon came up with a name - Hades's Coquina .
Food for the Damned
Gordian's new restaurant was certainly unusual in that it was built around a huge roaring fire where food - and those diners who voiced objections to what they were getting - were cast into the flames. However, despite its 'hot reputation, ' the restaurant didn't lack customers. Those who wanted to become friends of Gordian would willingly go to Hades's Coquina to flatter the emperor for a new job running a province and receive a military commission to march on the local barbarian tribes on the other side of the Rhine-Danube frontier.
Whilst Gordian enjoyed torturing his subjects with his weird foods , word reached him Athens that the Sassanid Empire on Rome's border were suggesting that the Roman Empire was just a 'vat of vile offal' and suggested Persian cuisine was the best. This insult went deep for Gordian who decided to move the imperial court once again - this time to the city of Edessa in Syria where he would 'happily take them all on'.
Dished By the Persians
A hand picked team of the best (Gordian trained of course) Roman chefs were assembled and marched to the frontier to meet a delegation of Persians sent by their ruler Shapor. A tent was set up on an island in the middle of the Euphrates river where Gordian happily got himself ready. However the rules of the contest meant he couldn't personally cook anything , so he was forced to rely on who ever he had with him to complete the team of cooks. One of these was a trainee Romanised Syrian known as 'Phil the Arab' , a soldier who had decided to take up cooking to eek out his miserable employment prospects.
The 'cook-off' was a disaster. Gordian saw his best dishes ruined by his chefs who soon ran out of ideas and produced the usual offal that they liked. Incandescent with rage, Gordian used every swear word he could find in his Latin Lexicon but to no avail. Once the impartial judges from Armenia stopped gagging on the Roman food , they declared the Persians victors. The Sassanid King Shapur demanded Gordian surrender his kitchen knives and even his favourite apron . It was a mighty Roman humiliation and left Gordian snorting like a bull as they retreated towards Syria.
You Have a Revolting Kitchen
Gordian's mood following his defeat become positively murderous by the time they arrived in Antioch. He decided that everyone who had been involved in the 'fiasco' (except him) was going to suffer a very hideous death. He would start with the kitchen staff and then work up to the head waiter. However the Imperial catering corps were not going to lie down and be skewered on a cross , so they decided to set upon Gordian as he was in the kitchens checking on the stock. His own guards deserted him and Gordian was seized , trussed up and strapped to a turning spit. He was then roasted over a roaring fire until his health insurance expired.
The army wanted one of their own as the next emperor but in the end compromised and decided that a trainee cook from Syria Philip (also called Philip of Arabia as he liked crossing long distances on the back of camels) was perhaps the best candidate as emperor. So Philip was duly proclaimed and enthroned. The soldiers only request that they would no longer have to eat Gordian's Legion Ready Quick and Healthy Meals and that they could back to their old ways of Foraging and Pillaging for junk food as before. Their request was implemented and a free entry for a fun week out in the Colosseum.
Following Gordian's death , his restaurant Vidi,Vici,Vomitori was demolished and replaced by a chariot valet service centre. Gordian' surviving family members were banished to Pictland where they survived on Scotch Eggs for the next 2,000 years. Gordian's attempt at food reforms were not attempted again and the Romans continued eating rubbish food until the Roman Empire fell over in 476 A.D.
- 1.Gordian's Scottish-Egyptian origins were recently confirmed by some recently deciphered graffiti found in Luxor.
- 2.There is a suggestion that Gordian got someone else to pose up for imperial statues and coin portraits.
- 3. Also known as Tarquinus Superbus , Proud Tarquin.
Philip the Arab