Saturday, 30 April 2016
"There was no mistaking the enemy chief, a tall, golden-haired man, like some pagan God of war." (Roma Mater, pp. 282-283)
Gratillonius means to eliminate the enemy chief first but the chaos of battle and something more keep them apart. The Morrigu intervenes. On the human level, this means that the Scoti kill many and escape. Gratillonius reflects:
"If Rome had civilized Hivernia, long ago when that was possible, what soldiers for her its sons would be!" (p. 284)
Here is another parallel between the Roman and British Empires. In 1914-1918, many Irishmen fought for Britain. In 1916, some Irishmen rose against Britain.
"'Twas better to die 'neath an Irish sky
"Than at Sulva or Sud El Bar..." (See here and here)
The point of these lines is that it would be better to die at home fighting against the Empire than abroad fighting for it. Gratillonius' regret that the Hivernians are not fighting for Rome reminded me of the ballad-singer's regret that many Irishmen did fight for Britain. History resonates.