“...He who dresses like a Barbarian IS a barbarian..”
“..Quite simply one of the most vulgar men ever to become emperor...If he came to my club dressed like that, I would have resigned...”
“ Wicked Man...Wicked...! Ok. Can I talk normally now ? I only know a few words of 'Chav' and my mater and pater would not approve ...”
If you look at any statue, coin or painting of Roman Emperor Caracalla, you will be gazing on a man who thought sneering, swearing and a general anti-social attitude was a cool thing to do back in the third century. He seems to be saying "You Looking At Me ? Am I Cool ?? You want a bunch of fives in your face ???!!". In other words you are staring at the first 'Chav' to gain the imperial throne and the man to give hope to all subsequent shell suited morons to emulate this pseudo hard man's career !
Born to be a Chav
Caracalla was born in around 189 AD near the Roman frontier town of Castratium Romanfordia near the River Rhine. His father Septimius Severus was there with the IV Legion (nicknamed The Extra Hard Bastards). These battle-scarred veterans had already seen off a number of Germanic tribes trying to sneak across the border. These included the Yobi, the Lagerlouti , Oikies - and the most visible - the 'Chavi'. Also known as the Cherusci or the Chatti , the garishly dressed Chavi had been a nuisance to civilized society for two hundred years. However Severus decided that if he couldn't beat them - why not let the Chavs come over and become 'Romans' instead? This idea gained approval back in Rome and the message came back to let these Chavs - and Chavettes - in and see if they fancied becoming settlers. In thanks to Severus, the King of the Chavi - Gazzicus - gave Septimius a 'Barbarian Burberry' tracksuit to his new born son Bassianus . In the Chav tongue Bassianus was called 'Chavifella' which somehow got corrupted into 'Caracalla' by tin eared Romans . Though he was later to get a new official name of Marcus Aurelius Severus Antoninus - everyone else called him Caracalla.
A Couple of Bruvs
Life for the young Caracalla and his brother Geta (born a year later in 190 AD) changed when their father became emperor in 193 AD. The two boys were more or less left fatherless as Septimius Severus was often away from the capital on long, bloody military campaigns to promote Roman Civilization. This suited the boys' mother Julia Dominatrix who preferred to go out with her sister sister Julia Miasma on 24 hour spending sprees at the fashionable Trajan's Shopping Mall.
For Caracalla this meant he grew up largely alone with Chav playmates. At first this meant the Chav princelings but soon the definition of 'Chav' had spread to anyone else who liked to dress like them and to imitate Chav speak. Together with Geta - this saw them develop their 'bling-bling ' lifestyle - hanging around the forums to drink and insult other Romans with shouts of 'Yo' and a general 'Chavs With Attitude' approach to everyone else. This caught on and soon many more young Romans were adopting the shell suit look , garish jewellery and atrocious dress sense. The rich senatorial and equestrian class of Romans looked down on the 'Purple Chavs' as they called Caracalla and Geta and referred to them as 'Frontier Scum' . They also mocked the imperial princes's accents by talking loudly in 'Vulgar Latin' and writing doggerel poems in ironic praise of the new 'Chav Aesthetic'.
A Right Chav of a Wedding
Anxious that Caracalla was in danger of becoming another wild 'Commodus' - his father Septimius decided that his son needed a wife. He persuaded his friend Plautianus that the latter's daughter Plautilla - or Plauty the Naughty as she was also called - was just the right age for Caracalla. However the latter apparently took the news badly - insisting that if was going to be a wedding - let it be a 'Chav Special'. Septimius agreed and decided to also make his son a co-emperor. To ensure it was going to be the wedding of the century (Third Century at least) - he hired the Colosseum for a weekend to hold the event.
Selling the publishing rights to the posh , hand written Roman title 'Salve !' - Caracalla and Plautilla appeared to have the perfect wedding. A nice 'Fight to the Death ' galley battle in the specially flooded Colosseum went well and everyone clapped when the 'dancing Roman Candles' appeared . They were actually a few of the eccentric atheists who declined to sacrifice to the imperial family and were otherwise known as 'Christians. Curiously they didn't mind being covered in pitch and then set alight - convinced it is said that they were on a fast track to God.
Everyone appeared to be pleased except there was one small problem. Caracalla and Plautilla just hated each other's wardrobe. She said he was a 'Chav monster' and he apparently told his friends that 'Plauty the Naughty' needed a 'marble boob job' to enhance her otherwise 'flat profile'. Within weeks the marriage was over. Plauty got banished whilst her father was blamed and executed for suggesting her in the first place. However in the more snobbish Roman circles - the rumour was spread that Caracalla was 'hung like a hamster'.
Mummy's Favourite Imperial Laddie
Whilst Caracalla was becoming something of an Imperial embarrassment - his younger brother Geta received a far more positive assessment . Supported by his mother - Geta wanted to be a blinger with brains. He started his own expensive Chav fashion label 'Geta' and even designed some 'cool' sandals to wear in the fashion forum that was Rome in those days. This growing popularity for Geta made Caracalla even more of an angry and jealous borderline psychopath . So when their father promoted Geta to be an emperor too, the brothers now became sworn (and swearing ) enemies.
Quicksands of Destiny
Though other Romans wondered if this was wise making to brothers potential co-emperors - Septimius Severus dismissed their concerns and headed off to Britannia for a golf tour. When he died trapped in a quicksand bunker on the 16th Hole (there was a suggestion Caracalla had bribed someone to do this) - Caracalla and Geta were proclaimed joint rulers and left Britannia on the next available over night sleeper fast galley to Rome. However they both surrounded themselves with bodyguards on a 24 hour watch - convinced the other was about to do the other in.
Chav Romulus V Chav Remus
Once the supposed Imperial colleagues were back in Rome, it didn't take Caracalla or Geta long to start quarreling over who was 'A Real Cool Chav' and who was the 'A Saddo Retardo Boy'. For those Romans who liked their literary allusions - it was a re-run of the myth of Romulus and Remus and how they fought each other to the death over building a drainage ditch in very Ancient Rome.
Their mother Julia Dominatrix attempted to 'stop the mutual dissin' and told her boys to come round for tea in her wing of the Palatine Palace. However they had to come without their respective chav posses. Both reluctantly agreed and came to see their mother - apparently unarmed.
But Caracalla was the more crafty. In his chrome studded tunic , he clevery hid a dagger and started to wave it around taunting Geta before 'cutting him good' in Caracalla's words - slaying his brother as his mother vainly tried to protect her favourite boy. This murder was obviously a sign because it led to all of Caracalla's chavs turning on Geta's bunch and bashing them to death in running battles all over the city. Soon the gutters of Rome ran red with the blood of the 'retardo chavs' and their shredded Geta logo gear. Caracalla was now Chav Uniquo and ordered the systematic destruction and erasing of any reference to his late brother.
The Roman Senate hailed Caracalla as a hero - and awarded him titles like 'Supreme Burberrian of the Roman Empire' and 'Chavicles' . However Caracalla still scowled and gave the impression to everyone that he had plenty of unfinished business to get on with - mostly involving using knives it seemed. He made sure everyone would get the point by delivering a speech in the Senate.
Yo Bruv Romaies ! We Dissed The Git as he cried for his minging muvva ! Atza an oaf on my grave so elp me Jup'ter....And now in Latin..Geta was planning to overthrow Rome and selling us out to the Parthians. So I had to do what I had to do. Hail Rome....Keep on Chavin' Romanoids !!
We're All Chavs Innit ?
Now that he was supreme, Caracalla surprised everyone by announcing that he was now a 'Reformed Ruler'. What he wanted was to break down the barriers between the Chavs and the Chav Nots - so in 212 he said that from now on - every free citizen in the Roman Empire was a chav - even if they denied it and went blue in the face. He tried to mollify some of them by building a huge and expensively fitted bathroom that could be used by everyone. It was designed to the best in 'Chav Classic Style'.
This revolutionary act is usually called the 'Charter for Chavs' and was deeply unpopular with the rich Roman class. They started a lot of whispering against the 'bloody brooder' and Caracalla's ex-wife Plautilla - now happily modelling in Marbella in Hispania - added to the discontent by revealing details of her brief marriage to the emperor in the guttersnipe 'Saliva !' magazine. This was an unfortunate scoop. The editor and his staff at 'Saliva !' received a visit from Caracalla's New Praetorian Guard (made up of the old family legion - the IV Bastards). The next day bodies of the magazine's staff were found the next day impaled by the Tiber. This bloody retribution was later called 'Receiving a Kiss from Hades' by nervous Romans.
As for Plauty she died at the hands of her slave hair stylist/lover 'Roller Boy' Revlonius . He was 'persuaded' (i.e. threatened with hideous torture) to trim Plauty's hair by coming up behind her and cutting off the unlucky woman's head. Ashamed at what he did - Revlonius hung up his curling tongs and jumped into Plauty's funeral pyre.
Caracalla Loses Chav Appeal
Now that he had 'got Rome well sort'd' - Caracalla and his Chav posse moved out to the rest of the empire to go on a massive 'bling binge'. Caracalla entered every temple he could find and helped himself to the gold chains inside. It was anti-social of course but who was going to stop him now ?
Yet if anyone was watching closely - it was obvious Caracalla was 'doin' 'is nut in ' and growing weary of his chav ways. He wanted to 'go serious' and get on with the imperial tradition of Parthian Empire bashing like previous Roman rulers. He now even stopped wearing his full Chav regalia - in other words Caracalla was goin' legit.. and this was bound to upset his former mates. Caracalla the Chav was living on borrowed time - and also on a 'borrowed' (i.e. stolen) imperial credit card. How much more of rampant Chavidom would Rome take ?
Stabbed Up the Jaxxy
The end of Caracalla's reign is a bit of mystery. He was out in Syria to 'give the 'Parfians' a good bottlin' when he decided to go on a 'reccy' round a temple near Edessa . The emperor had heard that there was a lot of 'good bling' inside so brought only a small troop of loyal guards with him. However Caracalla's bowels were giving him a problem that day so he hid behind a a bush for a crap. As Caracalla hadn't brought along a slave to wipe the Imperial Bum - a soldier called Martialis was volunteered to be 'Groom of the Stool' for the day.
Standing around and flicking stones at each other, the soldiers yawned as they waited for Caracalla to expedite his excrement .They then heard a cry of pain and then a loud groan. Rushing to where Caracalla had been squatting - they found him dying with a dagger up his arse. He was repeating the words 'This Is It Innit ?...This Is It Innit??..ribbit..ribbit..rib....ERRRRRRR'.
Martialis was blamed and killed on the spot - even though he said he was trying to help the emperor by cleaning the imperial stink hole with a knife as there was no loo paper to use . According to this story Caracalla had lost his balance and had fallen back, impaling himself onto Martialis's blade. The other soldiers couldn't be arsed to hear the rest of the unlikely tale so they left Caracalla and his supposed assassin to the crows. It was time for them to switch attention and allegiances to the newly minted emperor - Macrinus. The Old Bling Was Dead. Long Live the New Bling !
Chavs...bleedin' lots of them. Thanks Caracalla. Two thousand years of Chavidom - and it is still with us.
- Now called simply Romfud St.Tesco. Avoid.
- As the Chavs disappear from the records at this time - it seems those who didn't make the trip across disappeared as a separate tribal grouping.Funny innit ?
- Vulgar Latin' gave rise to the separate languages of Spanish, French, Italian etc. So next time you chat to someone who speaks those languages - get them upset and say Yo Speaking' Chav Latin !!.
- Plauty's interview with 'Salve !' was later reused in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for 558 AD as a 'page filler' .
- In plain language Caracalla was on a looting expedition - dressed up as 'Refinancing Policy to Improve 'Reclaiming Monies for the Imperial Purse'.
- Locus Verbosius - another tiresome Roman historian you may want to skip past - says Caracalla was killed for by the Roman Secret Service in a bizarre plot arranged to avenge an insult against the Goddess Isis. The emperor had done something so obscene in Alexandria that the writers of that period were too shocked to record it - or perhaps even to spell it.