The Caudine Forks

I’d been reading a History of Rome, and I’d got to the bit about the infamous Caudine Forks. A Roman army marching through Italy in 321 BC decided to take a short-cut through a narrow pass. When they got to the far end, they found it blocked with earth and stones. So they turned back, and retraced their steps, only to find that the narrow entrance was now also blocked. They were trapped. And after a few days had to surrender to the Samnite enemy who had trapped them.

I’d heard the story before, and I wondered what the Caudine Forks actually looked like. So I decided to go and find it. And after many adventures and quite a lot of detective work, I finally found it. Here’s a snapshot I took of it.

Well, of course I didn’t really go there. I just started hunting for it using Google Maps, and this is a ‘street view’ of it. Or at least I think it is. It was here, just north of the Via Appia outside Arpaia.

But even if I didn’t really go there, it felt like I did, because I ‘walked’ up this steep road, looking right and left, trying to get a good snapshot of it. I almost felt like I stopped at one point, and sat by the road eating salami and drinking Peroni, gazing down and trying to imagine a Roman army struggling up the ravine below.

It’s quite a powerful illusion, that comes of being able to move around and explore a place, and look at things from different angles. You really do feel that you’ve been there. You have the memories.

I had a similar experience ‘visiting’ George Orwell’s grave in Sutton Courtenay last year. It took me a while to find it, ‘driving’ around the little village, which is also where Prime Minister H. H. Asquith lived in 1914, and where he signed the declaration of war which took Britain into the First World War. He’s also buried in the same graveyard as Orwell. As also is Orwell’s friend, newspaper proprietor David Astor. I could point out all three graves. Asquith’s great-granddaughter, actress Helena Bonham-Carter, still lives in the village. I spent so long meandering around the village that I feel I’ve been there, and even stopped off at the pub for a drink. I even think I remember driving there and back one sunny day.

Maybe one day I actually will. Just to see whether it actually looks like what I ‘remember’ it looked like.


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19 Responses to The Caudine Forks

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    Frank your right about the Olympics
    Ticket touts disgrace: Row upon row of empty seats… as tickets sent to foreign VIPs go on the black market
    Large areas of empty seats seen in stadia for the second day running
    London 2012 chairman Lord Coe reveals students and teachers are also being called in at the last minute
    Every tout arrested had tickets sent to foreign VIPS
    Organisers Locog have begun an investigation into the ticketing fiasco

    EMBARRASSING: Military recruited to fill mass empty seats at Olympics…

    Read more:–tickets-sent-foreign-VIPs-black-market.html#ixzz224NKc0Mf

  2. smokervoter says:

    Gotta’ admit I’ll be watching all the track and field events and the boxing, too at your Olympics.

    I happen to be a white guy who can jump – high jump that is. And box, too. Both as a result of the 1964 Tokyo Olympic games.

    There was a Russian guy (the enemy back then, of course) named Valeriy Brumel who jumped 7 freakin’ feet. This was an incredible feat to my young brain at the time. And smoking Joe Frazier beat the heck out of a big huge commie pinko boxer. Cassius Clay beat Sonny Liston in the same year. Brumel eventually went on to jump 7′ -6″, un-freakin’- believable.

    There was a high jump pit right up the street at my elementary (K-6) school where they would leave the standards up for, but took the cross pole in at night. I fashioned my own pole out of a piece of bamboo from our hedge and was in like Flynn.

    Can you imagine any school leaving equipment like that out in this day and age of Elfin Safety first, last and foremost?

    Practice, practice, practice and pretty soon we had a bona fide white high jumper on our hands. I could soon actually jump over my own height, which might not seem like much, but I suggest anyone reading this try it and see if they can do so.

    I took first place in most of the track meets I competed in until I came up against the kids from the Black school. I was brought back down to earth but quick by Alvin and Ed and Sugarfoot. But I made three great friends for life – I still see Alvin round town all the time, he’s a great buddy. There wasn’t a lot of racial tension to start with in my town, but the fact that I was a white guy that could jump and readily admitted to their superiority made me one of the white dudes they not only tolerated but actually trusted 100%.

    About this time, in order to keep my brother and I from killing one another, my folks bought us a full set of Rawlings boxing gear; gloves, weight bag and speed bag. With Cassius Clay and Joe Frazier as models I went nuts with the boxing. I even considered trying out for Golden Gloves at one point ( I can dream, can’t I?).

    It all started with Valeriy Brumel and the 1964 Olympics. So, London 2012, I’ll be watching for damn sure. Besides that, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big-time Anglophile.

    And all the while I’ll be thinking about all of my good online friends from across the pond and keeping my fingers crossed that one day soon Frank will be able to sit in a pub, and drink a pint of beer, and smoke a cigarette.

  3. Tom says:

    “… I almost felt like I stopped at one point, and sat by the road eating salami and drinking Peroni, gazing down and trying to imagine a Roman army struggling up the ravine below. …

    s/b “… I almost felt like I stopped at one point, and sat by the road eating salami and drinking Peroni, [while smoking a cigarette,] gazing down and trying to imagine a Roman army struggling up the ravine below. …”

    You left out one of the most crucial parts.

    I have done that too, visited areas, mainly if I am considering a matter of relocation or for vacation and it truly does feel, after making a few virtual visits, that I’ve actually been there, in person and even start knowing my way around if I go there in the physical later on, going up and down the very same streets that I’d previously gone up and down on computer, but w/o needing a map, simply a “knowing”.

    Gee. Politics one day. Science the next. History the third. No wonder anti-smokers the likes of “Smoking out the nutters” and “Dickie Doubleday” feel the need to rudely interrupt the train of thought around here and other pro-freedom of choice blogsites – since they very much fear that thinking persons capable of varied thoughts in multiple disciplines would be able to figure them out for the liars they are. And I still say, a big fear of the Anti-Smoking Industry isn’t that of SHS Harm Fraud (other then the cat getting out of the bag and disgracing them) – but it is fear of people smoking, over-working their brain cells into highly conducive stages of intense logical thinking and then (shudder), grouping themselves together and speaking of ideas that the anti-smokers of course, would never be able to understand, nor keep up. But that’s just another one of my little side-theories on another reason why smoking-bans exist, to keep thinking people silenced and to keep thinking people from congregating, discussing otherwise heretical, though perfectly truthful, ideas (like the matter of the SHS Fraud, just for example).

  4. magnetic01 says:

    Connecting some of the dots.

    From a recent story:

    Hospital Receptionist Claims She Was Fired for Smelling Like
    Cigarette Smoke

    A Fridley woman named Stephanie Cannon believes she’s the victim of discrimination – fired because she smelled like cigarette smoke.

    Cannon, a smoker for 18 years, says she smokes almost a pack a day of Camel Menthols. But when she landed a job in June as a medical receptionist at Park Nicollet Health Services, in the Frauenshuh Cancer Center, she says she followed the hospital’s clearly-stated “no smoking” policy. (There is no smoking allowed at any time on the premises.)

    “There were never any performance issues at all,” Cannon insists.

    Yet six weeks after she started she says her supervisor told her, “We don’t want you smelling like smoke when you come here.”

    Cannon says she did everything she could to getrid of the stench. “I stopped smoking on my breaks, I wouldn’t smoke in my car, I bought new clothes,” she claims. At home, she would keep her work clothes in a sealed plastic bag and then spray them with air freshener after she put them on before work.

    It wasn’t enough. Cannon claims she was told to “avoid my husband in the morning” because he also smokes. She says she was also encouraged to shower at the hospital–before work– instead of at home. And she says she was given a list of resources for people trying to quit smoking, even though she wasn’t trying–or interested. “Not now,” she says. “The time isn’t right.”

    Last week, Park Nicollet told her, “We have to let you go.”

  5. magnetic01 says:

    Smell of smoke? Needing to shower? Avoid contact with smoking husband? Sound familiar? It should. It’s very much from the deranged antismoker world of Chuck Crawford’s Kimball Physics. There’s the background to Kimball Physics in the comments section here:

    It should be noted that Crawford’s claims are the fevered imaginings of a neurotic bigot. Further, he instituted that “smoke emitting persons” policy way back in 1993, long before the fanatics had even contrived a name – “thirdhand smoke” – for their derangement. Crawford is an antismoker. He has received an award from other antismokers for his antismoking efforts. Kimball Physics is an enclave of neurotic, bigoted antismokers. In addition to providing an avenue to enact their derangement, the Kimball Physics policy serves another sickly purpose. In New Hampshire where Kimball Physics is located, employers are not permitted to discriminate against employing smokers (about half the states in America have such protection for smokers). Crawford and his ilk are bona fide misocapnysts; they hate smoke, smoking, smokers. Requiring smokers to jump through so many baseless hoops – that they “smell”, need showers and fresh clothing immediately before entering the premises, etc. – also serves to dissuade smokers from even applying for jobs at Kimball Physics. Mission accomplished; the workplace remains smoker-free. It’s a way of circumventing anti-discrimination laws. Crawford claims that he is not discriminating against smokers because he is still willing to hire them. Yet his policies concerning “health hazard” from smokers clothing and breath – even if a smoker was willing to endure this bigoted environment – are discriminatory because they are baseless.

    The same “Crawford” approach has been taken by Park Nicollet Health Services. Minnesota also has anti-discrimination laws protecting smokers. The Health Services may not have been aware that she was a smoker when she was given the job. Yet once aware, the absurd “thirdhand smoke” claims and demands began. Again, the requirements placed on Cannon are the height of neurosis and bigotry. The fact of the matter is that Park Nicollet HS, like Crawford, hates smokers, which I’ll come to shortly.

  6. magnetic01 says:

    There are a number of other points of interest in this story. Firstly, comments to the story are the typical clueless, brainwashed, antismoking drivel proclaiming that Cannon should be fired. Secondly, and more disturbingly, is the ACLU’s response to the case:

    Turns our that under the law, employers can restrict the use of legal products like tobacco if they believe it’s creating an occupation-related hazard.
    According to Chuck Samuelson of the American Civil Liberties Union, “Basically your rights as a a smoker end where other people’s noses begin. In fact you can make the argument that your rights as a smoker end when other people breathe in the air that comes off of you.”

    The ACLU believes private employers, like the hospital, can restrict smokers’ legal activities outside of work. “Private employers can do things that governmental agencies cannot, to their employees,” Samuelson says. “The Constitution simply does not apply in the same way. If she worked for Hennepin County or Ramsey County Hospital she would be better protected than if she worked for a private hospital, which she did.”

    And while the ACLU says it has concerns that smokers’ right to privacy are being infringed upon by some smoking policies, the situation boils down to this: “You’ve got one person’s desire to indulge in a legal activity versus the government’s duty to protect the population as whole from known bad things (like second-hand smoke),” Samuelson says.

    Samuelson is either utterly clueless/useless, confusing secondhand and thirdhand smoke claims – baseless as they all are, or he, too, is a rabid antismoker. The fool states that “your rights as a smoker end when other people breathe in the air that comes off of you”. Why? He seems to be claiming “smoke residue hazard”. It’s not clear whether Park Nicollet even make this “health hazard” claim. Park Nicollet seem to have only made the bigoted antismoking demand that Cannon not “smell” of smoke which then became the unreasonable basis for her termination. How do you satiate a rabid antismoker’s “sniff test” for smoke and why should anyone have to pass such a test, let alone as the basis for employment? The Park Nicollet administrators are antismoking bullies.

  7. magnetic01 says:

    If that wasn’t enough, there’s still more to this story. Park Nicollet is not just any health service. It has a strong antismoking history. From the Godber Blueprint, a representative of Park Nicollet gave a presentation at the 6th World Conference on Smoking & Health, 1987, Tokyo, Japan

    * A. Stuart Hanson, M.D .
    Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Park Nicollet(?) Medical Center, 5000 West 39th
    Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55416 . U.S.A .

    Park Nicollet Medical Center, a multi-specialty group practice with 19 offices, 280 physicians and 2,000 employees in Minneapolis and St . Paul, Minnesota, followed a seven step process to become a totally smoke-free organization and environment. It used management methods to develop staff attitudes and acceptance of a smoke-free buildings and grounds policy for patients, visitors and employees . The methods included the following steps: (1) Governing body commitment; (2) an identified person in charge (called the prime mover); (3) a representative implementation task force, including smokers and nonsmokers; (4) employee surveys; (5) a formal communications plan; (6) a written policy implementation plan; and (7) a follow-up evaluation .

    Over a two year period, a comprehensive smoke-free policy was implemented prohibiting smoking in all buildings and grounds and preferentially hiring nonsmokers.
    Smoking rates in employees fell dramatically and documented support for a total ban grew during the two year process. When the final smoking areas were removed January 1, 1986, there was no significant resistance. This model process of organizational culture change prohibiting smoking has been used successfully by hospitals, schools, businesses and public agencies in Minnesota to create more smoke-free organizations . (p.44)

    So, Park Nicollet has been committed to the Godber Blueprint from the early days of the current antismoking crusade. Its antismoking policies predate SHS “danger”. The policies have nothing to do with protecting nonsmokers from SHS “danger” or “smoke residues”. The policies and rhetoric fulfill the Blueprint ideal that medical facilities be nonsmoking “exemplars”, i.e., ideological/institutional bigotry. The point has been made on other blogs that stacking organizations with anti/nonsmokers is not only sick but is dangerous and none more so than in a medical facility. For example, how does this deranged ideological stance affect the medical treatment of patients who smoke?

    • truckerlyn says:

      ” For example, how does this deranged ideological stance affect the medical treatment of patients who smoke?”

      Very adversely – it hinders recovery and causes a great deal of stress – all of which will be put down to the fact they are smokers and ‘verify’ their arguments that smokers take longer to recover from illness/surgery, eventhough it is the bigotted rules that are ACTUALLY causing the damage!

  8. Mr A says:

    This is nonsense. I once briefly worked for an antismoker. She claimed my jacket “stank” of cigarettes and I had to leave it at the far end of the staff room, then ultimately in another room, as the “smell that came off it” was so bad that it “made her cough.” Typical anti-smoker nutter – she had to plan her journeys so they only involved left turns (as she feared turning right across traffic) and would refuse invitations to social events as she “had to thaw out her cat’s catfood.” Nutter.

    Only six months later, I’m thankfully working in another job that involves 1-to-1 tuition. Obviously this means sitting within a foot of someone for extended periods. I worked there for two years before anyone realised I was a smoker, and that wasn’t because of the “smell”, it was because we could no longer smoke behind the building but instead had to smoke in a shame-pen, sorry, I mean highly conspicuous “designated smoking area” and I was spotted smoking there. Similarly, I’ve bumped into students who I’ve been seeing for months in the smoking area, and neither of us had any idea that the other smoked until our paths crossed there.

    This whole thing of smokers “stinking of smoke” is, frankly, bollocks.

  9. harleyrider1978 says:

    You want to see a cool ashtray check the pic out in this story

  10. Gary K. says:

    Ah yes!
    Google ‘street view’ + a bottle of wine = a great time touring the World!!!!!!!!!

    • smokervoter says:

      And given the cost of obtaining a passport (now for Mexico even), the airport security hassles, overpriced tourist trap pricing and a dearth of smoking permitted accommodations, it’s a damn sight cheaper.

      There’s a special (on offer to our British friends) right now on Franzia wine in the box at the local supermarket. Five liters for $6.99+tax. Again that’s &pounds;4.45 for 5 litres to our British friends.

      • Tom says:

        Did you ever hear about the year SF introduced its first outdoor smoking ban and within six months, the number of tourists coming from Germany and France fell by one-third to one-half, between the two. And, City of SF Department of Tourism immediately noted the drop and put out an official PR release claiming that one weekly flight from Germany to France to SF had been cancelled and this was the only cause why one-third to one-half of those tourists almost immediately stopped coming. It wasn’t news of the outrageous outdoor smoking bans though. No. Couldn’t have been that. I’m certain out of the tens of thousands of tourists who mysteriously and immediately stopped coming, they could have all fit aboard that one single jet airplane that was no longer in service once per week. Surely, that must be it.

  11. smokervoter says:

    Damnit to hell, that’s the first time my nifty pounds trick failed me. I think I used pounds plural instead of pound. Let’s see: £4.45 for 5 litres.

  12. smokervoter says:

    Not that anybody probably cares, but I drove past my old elementary school today and, sure enough, the high jump pit is gone, gone, gone.

    And they complain about kids not getting any exercise nowadays.

    No more self-taught white guys (nor black) that can jump I guess.

    • Tom says:

      In SF, they go so far as to pave entire playgrounds with thick slabs of black rubber, so thick you could drop to the ground and never get even a bruise from it, and in the same playgrounds apply thick rubbery brown coating around all the palm and other trees so that anyone touching or brushing against a tree could ever get even a splinter. Then, to adorn things further, they will put up special outdoor playground smoking ban signs that specifically state that it is “for the sake of the children”. There is one playground like that over in Russian Hill that is extremely that way, to the max.

  13. Pingback: No Smoking in Antiquity | Frank Davis

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