How We Got Gay | Discovery Channel HD Documentary 2015 – YouTube


via How We Got Gay | Discovery Channel HD Documentary 2015 – YouTube.

This is a useful survey of an all too easily forgotten and shameful era in our history…

History Channel

Published on 21 Apr 2015

How We Got Gay | Discovery Channel HD Documentary 2015
Subscribe:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxbs…

Facebook: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_l59…
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HdDocs

 

CONFEDERATE FLAG VS. AMERICA! @JohnFugelsang / Caffeinated #20 – YouTube


via CONFEDERATE FLAG VS. AMERICA! @JohnFugelsang / Caffeinated #20 – YouTube.

POLIPOP! News & Politics

Published on 11 Dec 2012

The Confederate flag remains a source of controversy in American politics. Is it still appropriate to fly it? John Fugelsang explains it all. Subscribe for new episodes every Tuesday: http://bit.ly/AyDtFF

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Written by John Fugelsang

Executive Producer Will Keenan

Produced by Matt Cross

Directed and Edited by Logan Burdick

Director of Photography Eric Thompson

Royalty Free Music by http://audiomicro.com/royalty-free-music
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WATCH JOHN’S OTHER “CAFFEINATED!” EPISODES:
#1 ROMNEY VS. MUHAMMAD ALI!

http://youtu.be/GFXJD2I9s6A

#2 CHICK-FIL-A VS. THE GAYS!
http://youtu.be/2vmuFpY428g

#3 EPIC KARDASHIAN RANT!
http://youtu.be/tcKvUbmOB8g

#4 AFGHAN GIRLS GONE WILD!
http://youtu.be/xZcBudYh118

#5 ROMNEY VS. THE GOP!
http://youtu.be/57ib5Y99OtY

#6 PAUL RYAN VS. AYN RAND VS. JESUS!

http://youtu.be/ykHYXOC0ETo

#7 ELECTION! PAUL RYAN VS. PRESIDENT JESUS!

http://youtu.be/r-t2-QjN3Xc

#8 DRUGS VS. AMERICA!

http://youtu.be/ypA3uOdbD_E

#9 OBAMACARE VS. CHRISTIANITY!

http://youtu.be/GQNqNvJ_JwQ

#10 RADIATION VS. GROPING!
http://youtu.be/tow4md6Zdao

#11 SPORTS VS. RACISM!

http://youtu.be/GpfkC84Meqo

#12 MITT ROMNEY’S SEX POSITIONS!

http://youtu.be/Q-2K-oAivU8

#13 SODOM V HISTORY

http://youtu.be/aDIPgF4pGFc

#14 OBAMA BAD SOCIALIST

http://youtu.be/WqKYRETD_2E

#15 BULLYING V FREE SPEECH

http://youtu.be/xjK2w3m1Uw4

#16 POTHEADS VS. COKEHEADS

http://youtu.be/uhmr7ZNTpVE

#17 MEN VS. WOMEN’S FASHION

http://youtu.be/xx3hROXPfVI

#18 BIRTH CONTROL VS FAKE CHRISTIANS

http://youtu.be/lsse14ulb4Y

#19 WHITE PEOPLE VS. THE N-WORD

http://youtu.be/g4GDcd4dOYU

(LIVE) JOHN DEBATES LEE DOREN!
http://youtu.be/Xk7AT11fqHI

 

It’s Time To Look Away, Dixieland


via It’s Time To Look Away, Dixieland.

SUN JUN 28, 2015

bycountrycat

As a born and bred Southerner (7th generation Alabama native), I’m told I come with a ready-made set of assumptions when I mention that fact to someone from another part of the country. Well, when you “assume” anything, you make an “ass” out of yourself surely, but leave me out of that equation. I waited over a week to write anything about the Charleston shootings because it was just too horrible to talk about – walking into a church, gaining peoples’ trust, praying with them… And then gunning them down seemingly without remorse.

But here goes…..  I was born in North Alabama in 1963, a few hours before a bomb planted by domestic terrorists blew up the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. There were no TVs in hospitals rooms then, but when my mother woke from anesthesia, the first thing she heard was about the bombing. As she held her newborn daughter, five families a hundred miles to the south were mourning the loss of their daughters.

Diane McWhorter, author of “Carry Me Home”, a history of the MLK and the Civil Rights struggle in Birmingham, recounts how that bombing changed her family. Her father, up until that point had been a segregationist, although not a KKK-type. But the bombing “broke him,” she says.  (I’d include the exact quote, but I loaned my copy to a friend who hasn’t returned it). He sat at the table and wept, horrified by what had happened and his dawning realization that his city had gotten to the point that people thought it was ok to kill little girls in church on a Sunday morning.

Sure: that should have been obvious to anyone watching the events unfold before that point, but at least he finally opened his eyes and acknowledged the rot underlying the whole Southern narrative history.

Honor, Heritage, History…. In the South, we’re full of it.  Literally (in all senses of the phrase).  Author Rita Mae Brown writes novels set in the South, and said of one character “…because she was raised in the South, she understood honor. And Fannie died with honor.”

But do we really understand “honor” when we honor the Old Confederacy? NO.

Spare me the crap about “States’ Rights.” The Civil War was about states’ rights alright, but if you’re going to say that, you have to use the entire sentence.  Repeat after me:

THE CIVIL WAR WAS ABOUT STATES’ RIGHTS TO OWN SLAVES.

Truly, when you say “the war wasn’t about slavery,” what the rest of us hear is “I’ve joined the military history branch of the Flat Earth Society.”

In “Gone With The Wind,” Rhett Butler tells Scarlett that all wars are “money squabbles,” even though the rhetoric around each one is different. Sometimes it’s “Down with Popery” or “Save Christ’s tomb from the heathens!” or “Cotton, Slavery, and State’s Rights!” but the reality is… They’re all about money.

“All wars are sacred to those who have to fight them. If the people who started wars didn’t make them sacred, who would be foolish enough to fight? But, no matter what rallying cries the orators give to the idiots who fight, no matter what noble purposes they assign to wars, there is never but one reason for a war. And that is money. All wars are in reality money squabbles. But so few people ever realize it.”

The poor whites didn’t own slaves, but they either joined up or got conscripted to serve as foot soldiers for their corporate masters – the planter class that had a lot of money riding on a slavery-based economy. But not everybody was snowed. Many poor Southerners called the conflict “a rich man’s war and poor man’s fight.”  You have to wonder how many ardent defenders of the noble history of the Confederacy had ancestors who were more clear-eyed than their descendants.

This whole narrative of “most Southerners didn’t even own slaves; they were defending their homeland from invasion, and I honor their sacrifice with the flag etc.” is BS. What’s noble or honorable about having ancestors who got played? Why aren’t you pissed instead?

Here’s the unsanitized, unsentimentalized story of the war: a small group of wealthy farmers – a self-described aristocracy – sweet-talked the rest of the South into starting a war, leading to an absolute disaster that killed over 600,000 Americans, decimated the South’s economy, and led to an entrenched Jim Crow system that terrorized Black Americans for generations.

And yet, the clarion call of “racial superiority” trumped everything then – and now.

Republican Dark Lord, master strategist, and South Carolina native Lee Atwater (whorecanted his sins way too late to do anything about them) knew that the path to political power in the South hadn’t changed much in a hundred years.

You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”

Without even realizing it (or maybe he did; he was from South Carolina, after all), Atwater was parroting Rhett Butler: all wars, even the economic war in this country (the one we don’t like to talk about), are money squabbles.

In 1865, the South lost to the United States. In 2015, the American Middle Class is losing to the oligarchy that’s buying and selling our political system. And the people pulling the strings 150 years ago had the same motivations as the Koch Brothers, hedge fund managers, wealthy casino owners, etc. do now: MONEY.

If they can keep us fighting each other for the crumbs, suspicious of anyone who looks different, angry that our job sucks, that we can’t afford to send our kids to college, and the system seems rigged against us – and convince us that it’s the fault of the Blacks, the gays, the immigrants… Then we won’t look past the bright shiny objects and realize the truth.

The last thing these guys want is for working class white voters to join up with communities of color. No, it’s much more productive to convince young men like Dylann Roof that all his problems are due to minorities and Jews (who, he said he considered to be “White” but they “act like minorities”).  Writer Milton Himmelfarb had much the same observation, that Jews “earn like Episcopalians, but vote like Puerto Ricans.”

So many Jews traveled to the South in the early days of the civil rights movement not because they themselves were being lynched or restricted from lunch counters, but because Jews knew about restriction, prejudice and the calumny of the poisoned well, the blood libels of Easter massacres. When the second or third generation of Jews learned that America had accepted them but rejected others they understood in their deepest selves the insult and the pain it brings. It was an old insult echoing the pogroms, yellow stars, dunce hats of another place, and as old as the Vienna ghetto and as recent as the “No Jews Need Apply” sign on the factory door, or the “No Jews ” sign on the hotel lawn.

Had Roof gotten way with his first murders, a synagogue could have been next.

Too many racists, young and old, believe that their problems stem from some sort of institutionalized bias against white guys. We’re all used to the whining of the “angry white men” who feel that they’re victims of discrimination and can’t get ahead because of minorities. They’re blaming fellow victims instead of the powerful corporate and monied interests who are pulling the strings. Ironically, the vast majority of those are rich white men who are playing their brothers like cheap ukeleles.

Can’t get a decent job? Well, it can’t possibly be because of globalization and a minimum wage that is way to low for full time workers to make a decent living. It must be because “quotas” are giving all the jobs to minorities. Terrified about retirement because you can’t save any money? Oh, forget how unions have been decimated, pension funds looted by corporate raiders, and retirement fund management handed over to Wall Street. No, young man… It’s because of Welfare Queens.

If they can keep us fighting each other, they know we won’t band together to demand economic reforms.

The latest bright shiny object is, IMO, the Confederate flag on state property. Yes, it’s offensive. Yes, it’s stupid. Yes, it’s divisive. And yes, it needs to go. But it’s a symptom, not the actual disease and if we focus on that alone in the wake of the Charleston shootings, we’re losing a tremendous opportunity for change.

For the past week, I’ve been sympathetic and pleased, but also vaguely dissatisfied with the momentum building to remove Confederate symbols from state property and state-issued license plates. I mean, yeah, it’s long past time to do so, but we can’t let that be our only response. Too many people are looking at the symbols and not demanding real systemic change.

It’s easy to sign an Internet petition, but did you get out and vote in the mid-terms?  Did you give your legislators hell for not expanding Medicaid or raising the minimum wage?  Those matter a heck of a lot more in everyday life than the flag. If we’re only concerned about the flag, we’re letting our elected officials off way too easy.

It wasn’t until I heard Reverend William Barber (North Carolina’s Moral Monday leader) on NPR that all this crystallized for me. The Charleston shootings were a tragedy, but also an opportunity. Other killings that shocked the nation led to landmark legislation like the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, and the Fair Housing Act. Aren’t we selling those nine lives short if the only thing we ask in return now is taking a flag down?

Reverend Barber, not surprisingly, said it much better than I can

Reverend Pinckney, as a colleague in ministry, was not just opposed to the flag, he was opposed to the denial of Medicaid expansion, where now the majority of the state is opposing Medicaid expansion where six out of 10 black people live. He was opposed to voter suppression, voter ID in South Carolina. He was opposed to those who have celebrated the ending of the Voting Rights Act, or the gutting of Section 4, which means South Carolina is no longer a preclearance state, and the very district that he served in is vulnerable right now. He was opposed to the lack of funding for public education. He wanted to see living wages raised.

So I would say to my colleagues, let’s take down the flag—to the governor—but also, let’s put together an omnibus bill in the name of the nine martyrs. And all of the things Reverend Pinckney was standing for, if we say we love him and his colleagues, let’s put all of those things in a one big omnibus bill and pass that and bring it to the funeral on Friday or Saturday, saying we will expand Medicaid to help not only black people, but poor white Southerners in South Carolina, because it’s not just the flag.

 

Lee Atwater talked about the Southern strategy, where policy was used as a way to divide us. And if we want harmony, we have to talk about racism, not just in terms of symbol, but in the substance of policies. The flag went up to fight policies. If we’re going to bring it down, we’re also going to have to change policies, and particularly policies that create disparate impact on black, brown and poor white people.

Let’s get back to “honor,” both the noun and verb form of the word. If we really care about memorializing and honoring the sacrifice of these people, we’ll act with honor.  We’ll honor the principles and promise of our nation’s (the United States!) founding documents when we protect voting rights, ballot access, and fight for equality in the workplace and in our society.

It’s time for working class and middle class white people to step up and put down their prejudices. The political system and economic system deck is stacked against us just as much as it is our neighbors who are black, brown, yellow, or any mixture you can think of. Remember Benjamin Franklin: “If we don’t hang together, we’ll most assuredly all hang separately.”

In the 8th grade, Mrs. Lane, my English teacher, made us all learn poems to recite by heart.  I’ve never forgotten one of them: “America For Me.” In many ways, it’s a jingoistic paean to American Exceptionalism, but there are worse goals than this:

The glory of the present is to make our future free.
We love our land for what it is and what it is to be.
Oh, it’s home again, and home again, America for me!

I want a ship that’s westward bound to plough the rolling sea,
To the bléssed Land of Room Enough beyond the ocean bars,
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars

We don’t have any control over what this country was… But we are responsible for “what it is to be.” What future will we choose?

Let’s “look away” from the mythical land of Dixe and start building a more humane and prosperous future for everyone in the United States of America.

 

this isn’t the first time this observation has been made, here or elsewhere…


LiberalEffects.com.

on the history and future of the confederate flag…state of the current debate


THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW 6/23/15 FULL EPISODE

When ‘Religious Liberty’ Was Used To Justify Racism Instead Of Homophobia | ThinkProgress


via When ‘Religious Liberty’ Was Used To Justify Racism Instead Of Homophobia | ThinkProgress.

Klansmen file into an Atlanta church in 1949 to attend Sunday evening services

BY IAN MILLHISER POSTED ON FEBRUARY 26, 2014

“Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

— Judge Leon M. Bazile, January 6, 1959

The most remarkable thing about Arizona’s “License To Discriminate” bill is how quickly it became anathema, even among Republicans. Both 2008 GOP presidential candidate John McCain and 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney called upon Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to veto this effort to protect businesses that want to discriminate against gay people. So did Arizona’s other senator, Jeff Flake. And former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Indeed, three state senators who voted for this very bill urged Brewer to veto it before she finally did so on Wednesday, confessing that they “made a mistake” when they voted for it to become law.

The premise of the bill is that discrimination becomes acceptable so long as it is packaged inside a religious wrapper. As Arizona state Rep. Eddie Farnsworth (R) explained, lawmakers introduced it in response to instances where anti-gay business owners in other states were “punished for their religious beliefs” after they denied service to gay customers in violation of a state anti-discrimination law.

Yet, while LGBT Americans are the current target of this effort to repackage prejudice as “religious liberty,” they are hardly the first. To the contrary, as Wake Forest law Professor Michael Kent Curtis explained in a 2012 law review article, many segregationists justified racial bigotry on the very same grounds that religious conservatives now hope to justify anti-gay animus. In the words of one professor at a prominent Mississippi Baptist institution, “our Southern segregation way is the Christian way . . . . [God] was the original segregationist.”

God Of The Segregationists

Theodore Bilbo was one of Mississippi’s great demagogues. After two non-consecutive terms as governor, Bilbo won a U.S. Senate seat campaigning against “farmer murderers, corrupters of Southern womanhood, [skunks] who steal Gideon Bibles from hotel rooms” and a host of other, equally colorful foes. In a year where just 47 Mississippi voters cast a ballot for a communist candidate, Bilbo railed against a looming communist takeover of the state — and offered himself up as the solution to this red onslaught.

 

Bilbo was also a virulent racist. “I call on every red-blooded white man to use any means to keep the n[*]ggers away from the polls,” Bilbo proclaimed during his successful reelection campaign in 1946. He was a proud member of the Ku Klux Klan, telling Meet the Press that same year that “[n]o man can leave the Klan. He takes an oath not to do that. Once a Ku Klux, always a Ku Klux.” During a filibuster of an anti-lynching bill, Bilbo claimed that the bill

will open the floodgates of hell in the South. Raping, mobbing, lynching, race riots, and crime will be increased a thousandfold; and upon your garments and the garments of those who are responsible for the passage of the measure will be the blood of the raped and outraged daughters of Dixie, as well as the blood of the perpetrators of these crimes that the red-blooded Anglo-Saxon White Southern men will not tolerate.

For Senator Bilbo, however, racism was more that just an ideology, it was a sincerely held religious belief. In a book entitled Take Your Choice: Separation or Mongrelization, Bilbo wrote that “[p]urity of race is a gift of God . . . . And God, in his infinite wisdom, has so ordained it that when man destroys his racial purity, it can never be redeemed.” Allowing “the blood of the races [to] mix,” according to Bilbo, was a direct attack on the “Divine plan of God.” There “is every reason to believe that miscengenation and amalgamation are sins of man in direct defiance to the will of God.”

Bilbo was one of the South’s most colorful racists, but he was hardly alone in his beliefs. As early as 1867, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld segregated railway cars on the grounds that “[t]he natural law which forbids [racial intermarriage] and that social amalgamation which leads to a corruption of races, is as clearly divine as that which imparted to [the races] different natures.” This same rationale was later adopted by state supreme courts in Alabama, Indiana and Virginia to justify bans on interracial marriage, and by justices in Kentucky to support residential segregation and segregated colleges.

In 1901, Georgia Gov. Allen Candler defended unequal public schooling for African Americans on the grounds that “God made them negroes and we cannot by education make them white folks.” After the Supreme Court ordered public schools integrated in Brown v. Board of Education, many segregationists cited their own faith as justification for official racism. Ross Barnett won Mississippi’s governorship in a landslide in 1960 after claiming that “the good Lord was the original segregationist.” Senator Harry Byrd of Virginia relied on passages from Genesis, Leviticus and Matthew when he spoke out against the civil rights law banning employment discrimination and whites-only lunch counters on the Senate floor.

Bob Jones

Although the Supreme Court never considered whether Bilbo, Candler, Barnett or Byrd’s religious beliefs gave them a license to engage in race discrimination, a very similar case did reach the justices in 1983.

Bob Jones University excluded African Americans completely until the early 1970s, when it began permitting black students to attend so long as they were married. In 1975, it amended this policy to permit unmarried African American students, but it continued to prohibit interracial dating, interracial marriage, or even being “affiliated with any group or organization which holds as one of its goals or advocates interracial marriage.” As a result, the Internal Revenue Service revoked Bob Jones’ tax-exempt status.

This decision, that the IRS would no longer give tax subsidies to racist schools even if they claimed that their racism was rooted in religious beliefs, quickly became a rallying point for the Christian Right. Indeed, according to Paul Weyrich, theseminal conservative activist who coined the term “moral majority,” the IRS’ move against schools like Bob Jones was the single most important issue driving the birth of modern day religious conservatism. According to Weyrich, “[i]t was not the school-prayer issue, and it was not the abortion issue,” that caused this “movement to surface.” Rather it was what Weyrich labeled the “federal government’s move against the Christian schools.”

When Bob Jones’ case reached the Supreme Court, the school argued that IRS’ regulations denying tax exemptions to racist institutions “cannot constitutionally be applied to schools that engage in racial discrimination on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs.” But the justices did not bite. In an 8-1 decision by conservative Chief Justice Warren Burger, the Court explained that “[o]n occasion this Court has found certain governmental interests so compelling as to allow even regulations prohibiting religiously based conduct.” Prohibiting race discrimination is one of these interests.

My Liberty Stops At Your Body

Ultimately, the question facing anti-gay business owners, even if the bill Brewer vetoed had become law, is why it is acceptable to exclude gay people simply because of who they are, when we do not permit this sort of behavior by racists such as Bilbo or Byrd? And there is another, equally difficult question facing advocates of the kind of sweeping “religious liberty” protected by the Arizona bill — why should we allow people to impose their religious beliefs upon others?

One year before Bob Jones, the Court decided a case called United States v. Lee, which involved an Amish employer’s objection to paying Social Security taxes on religious grounds. As the Court explained in Lee, allowing people with religious objections to opt out of Social Security could undermine the viability of the entire program. “The design of the system requires support by mandatory contributions from covered employers and employees,” Burger wrote for the Court. “This mandatory participation is indispensable to the fiscal vitality of the social security system. . . . Moreover, a comprehensive national social security system providing for voluntary participation would be almost a contradiction in terms and difficult, if not impossible, to administer.”

Just as importantly, allowing religious employers to exempt themselves from the law would be fundamentally unfair to the employees who are supposed to benefit from those laws. “When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity. Granting an exemption from social security taxes to an employer operates to impose the employer’s religious faith on the employees.”

Lee, in other words, stands for the proposition that people of faith do not exist in a vacuum. Their businesses compete with other companies who are entitled to engage in this competition upon a level playing field. Their personnel decisions impact their employees, and their decision to refuse to do business with someone — especially for reasons such as race or sexual orientation — can fundamentally demean that individual and deny them their own right to participate equally in society.

This is why people like Theodore Bilbo should not be allowed to refuse to do business with African Americans, and it is why anti-gay business owners should not be given a special right to discriminate against LGBT consumers. And this is also something that the United States has understood for a very long time. Bob Jones and Lee are not new cases. A whole generation of Americans spent their entire professional careers enjoying the protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Religious liberty is an important value and it rightfully belongs in our Constitution, but it we do not allow it to be used to destroy the rights of others.

The argument Gov. Brewer resolved Wednesday night with her veto stamp is no different than the argument Lyndon Johnson resolved when he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Invidious discrimination is wrong. And it doesn’t matter why someone wants to discriminate.

 

LiberalEffects.com, a conversation…with a 96-year-old woman


via LiberalEffects.com, a conversation i had with a 96-year-old woman.

96 yr old: You know how your parents probably say things like, “you were BORN with the internet, you don’t know what it’s like to live without!”

Me: yeah

96 yr old: Well, my parents said that to me about electricity.

 

Noam Chomsky Brilliant Speech The Youth & The Mass Media False Reality & History – YouTube


via Noam Chomsky Brilliant Speech The Youth & The Mass Media False Reality & History – YouTube.

PETETSIM MatrixDestroyer

Published on 21 May 2015

If You Enjoyed This Video Like & Subscribe To My Channel
Noam Chomsky http://www.chomsky.info/ https://www.youtube.com/user/TheChoms… if You Appreciate These Videos Support Pete Tsim On Patreon https://www.patreon.com/PeteTsim?ty=h

 

Aquae Sulis: The Epitome of Roman Syncretization with the Celts | Ancient Origins


via Aquae Sulis: The Epitome of Roman Syncretization with the Celts | Ancient Origins.

That this otherwise interesting piece fails to point out that most of what today comprises the complex is of Georgian origin very is sad.

12 JANUARY, 2015 – RYAN STONE

The Roman bath system was one of the most intricate and complex of the ancient world.  Composed of various rooms for mental and physical cleansing, the Roman baths were more than a source of hygiene; they were an important source of culture as well.  The Aquae Sulis became one of the largest and most renowned Roman baths in Britain, and is considered today the highlight of the Roman syncretization of the Celtic tribes as well as the highlight of the Roman bath system outside the city of Rome.

Located in the modern town of Bath in Somerset, England, the Aquae Sulis rose as one of the largest and most sought out Roman baths outside the Italian peninsula.  Dedicated to the goddess Sul or Sulis, the Aquae Sulis represents the blending of both the Roman religion and culture with the religion and culture of the Celts.  At this site Sulis, a goddess of water, healing, and fertility, was fused with Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom, battle strategy, and in some accounts health as well.  Prior to Minerva’s arrival however, Sulis was revered by the Celts at the site of Aquae Sulis because its hot springs provided natural rejuvenating properties that convinced many Celts that this was a place of directly linked to the goddess.

Statue of the goddess Minerva in Old Town, Heidelberg, Germany

Statue of the goddess Minerva in Old Town, Heidelberg, Germany. Source: BigStockPhoto

Use of the hot spring appears to have begun about 10,000 years ago according to what few archaeological records have survived following the Romanization of the region.  It seemed the Celts arrived around 700 BCE and believed that the spring was one of the many pathways to the Otherworld—assumed because there was no perceptible source for its heat.  They began erecting shrines to their deity Sulis soon after, viewing this as a place where they could speak and communicate directly with the goddess herself.  It is unknown exactly how this area was used by the Celts, as their lack of written records prevents a full understanding of the specifics of their healing practices, but there is archaeological evidence that it was not uncommon to present curse requests to the goddess here as well.  However, by 43 CE the Celtic purpose of the spring became obsolete as the Romans took an interest in the area and began preparations to take possession of it for the syncretization process.

A Roman curse tablet found in Bath, England

A Roman curse tablet found in Bath, England. Credit: Roman Baths

When the Romans came to modern day Bath, they saw the hot spring as a way to appropriate the Celtic people into the culture of the Empire.  As it was already a popular place that was religiously beloved by the Celts, there was ample opportunity to transform it into a place that suited Roman culture.  Adapting such native traditions for the advancement of the Empire was a clever tactic the Romans employed everywhere they attempted to conquer.  Transforming the hot spring into a proper Roman bath complex provided the Romans with a way to take over an extremely important Celtic location without completely destroying it and causing an uprising from the locals.  The most important aspect that first had to be rectified, however, was the site’s dedication to the Celtic Sulis.  Their method of getting around this, which would also serve to introduce the Celts to their own religious pantheon, the Romans chose one of their goddesses to merge with Sulis. And so, the goddess Sulis Minerva was born.

What is interesting is that Sulis is one of the few Celtic female goddesses to have been fully syncretized with a Roman goddess.  Generally the syncretization process happens with Celtic male gods, as was the case of Lenus Mars, with the females crossing over most often as merely the wife of a Roman god. Lenus was a god of healing in the Celtic pantheon.  He was merged with Mars despite the fact that the Roman god was considered a war god.  In the Gallo-Roman faith, Lenus Mars became a healer of infected wounds, fighting the disease rather than a war.

Sulis is the exception to this rule, most clearly evidenced by the solid bronze head of a statue of Sulis Minerva remaining from a temple erected to her at the bathing complex.  As the Celts did not depict their gods or goddesses in human form, the Romans gave Sulis the same face as Minerva, blending their attributes so one became identified with the other at Aquae Sulis.  Sulis also became a goddess of wisdom for the Celts, adopting one of Minerva’s primary affiliations, just as the spring itself came to adopt Roman ideals by its expansive healing nature.

Gilt bronze head from the cult statue of Sulis Minerva. Found in Stall Street, Bath, in 1727

Gilt bronze head from the cult statue of Sulis Minerva. Found in Stall Street, Bath, in 1727. (Wikimedia Commons)

Taking what was already provided, the Romans expanded the hot spring into a full-functioning bath facility. Within it, there was a system of pools that succeeded the atrium, a changing and exercise room, that were each called the frigidarium, tepidarium, and caldarium.  As their names suggest, the frigdarium was a cold water pool, the tepidarium warm, and the caldarium hot.  By passing through each bathing area in this particular order, the bather received a full and thorough cleansing, soothing for both the body and the mind.  Following the last room, it was customary to have a swimming pool for recreational purposes or a palaestra for further exercise, and in such a large location as the Aquae Sulis, this was able to be implemented.  Thus, not only did the Romans appropriate the spring but they were able to expand its purpose, stretching its healing space much further than the Celts had previously done and thereby further integrating the Celts into Roman culture.

Aquae Sulis in Bath, England

Aquae Sulis in Bath, England. Source: BigStockPhoto

Just one of many ways the Romans assimilated the Celts into their society, the Aquae Sulis stands as the most poignant monument of this unification.  Combining both the Celtic site of healing with the Roman standard of physical and mental cleansing, the Romans were able to achieve a relatively smooth integration of ideals and gods.  Instead of a complete loss of culture, the Celtic goddess Sulis continued to thrive in this community, preserving the religion of the natives and preventing the Celts from being completely overrun by the Romans.

Featured image: Aquae Sulis in Bath, England. Source: BigStockPhoto

Bibliography

Blagg, T.F.C., “The Date of the Temple of Sulis Minerva at Bath,” Britannia, 10.1, (1979), pp. 101-107.

Cunliffe, Barry, “The Temple of Sulis Minerva at Bath,” Archaeology, 36.6., (Nov./Dec., 1983), pp. 16-23.

Dark K.R., “Town or ‘Temenos’? A Reinterpretation of the Walled Area of ‘Aquae Sulis,'” Britannia, 24.1, (1993), pp. 254-255.

Geoffrey of Monmouth, History of the Kings of Britain Book II:10-11. trans. Michael A. Faletra  (Broadview Press: Canada, 2007.)

“Immigration and Emigration: Roman Bath’s Celtic Aquisition.” BBC Legacies. Accessed January 3, 2014. http://www.bbc.co.uk/legacies/immig_emig/england/somerset/article_1.shtml.

“Minerva,” BMJ: British Medical Journal, 315.7115, (Oct., 1997), pp. 1104.

Revell, Louise, “Religion and Ritual in the Western Provinces,” Greece and Rome, 54.2 (Oct., 2007), pp. 210-228.

By Ryan Stone