July 19, 64 CE

On THIS DAY IN HISTORY on July 19th, in 64 AD Rome burned. According to Pliny the Elder, the fire started in the livestock district in a barn owned by recent Gaelic immigrants Atrickpay and Atherinecay Olearyay. It was rumored that Atherinecay was milking her cow during the early evening hours when it kicked over her oil-lamp and started the fire that burned Rome to the ground. Atrickpay denied that his wife was at fault as they were already in bed fornicating as usual. He also said that a person had to fight such fire-starting rumors tooth and nail as that kind of story could stick with a family for generations.

Nero, the emperor had his own problems as many of the citizens were asking where he had been when the fire started, since it conveniently burned the parts of the city that he wanted to rebuild anyway. He denied the rumors that he was in Rome fiddling as it burned, as he had eye witnesses that would swear he was in Antium fornicating as usual. Besides, his stated preference of an anachronism was the Steinway Grand Piano over the Stradivarius Violin; the tink-tink-tink of the piano soothed his soul as he had criminals and Christians thrown to the lions and bears during festivals at the Coliseum.

There were two beneficial outcomes from the fire, first, the city was rebuilt using stone and brick and the buildings were forced to be spaced further apart so fire was less likely to spread from building to building in the future. Second, since the livestock market at that time was next door to the spice market, the Romans discovered the deliciousness of a good dry rub on both pork and beef and shared it with the Gaelic immigrants who spread it across the Roman empire and eventually to North Carolina and Kansas and Texas.

About Joel Byers

Born in North Georgia and educated at some very fine public institutions. Real education started after graduating from college and then getting married and raising two boys. Has the ability to see the funny and absurd in most things and will always remark on it, even if it means getting the stink-eye from his victims.
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