“That can’t be your real name.”
I smile, embarrassed.
“Augustus Julius Caesar Salad? Who names their child Salad.”
“Who names their child Augustus, Julius or Caesar?”
“Well, I’m Mark.”
“Like Anthony, or like Brutus?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Friend or foe?”
“You’re weird,” he says, shaking his head in disbelief as he walks away from me.
“Foe,” I whisper to myself, and try to commit his face to memory. I’ll need to watch out for him. You never know from which side an assassination attempt could come. I close my locker and spin the padlock dial. I wouldn’t want conspirators to get their hands on what’s in there, even if it is just my Maths textbook and a couple of gum sticks.
I’m used to people asking questions about my name. I guess my parents knew before even I did that I was going to be a History buff, but even I have no idea where the Salad came from. I guess it was Mom’s idea of a sense of humour. Dad is in denial about all of it. To him, I’m just Oggie. He’s the only one who can get away with calling me that.
Mom clearly wanted me to be more Augustus than Julius. Or maybe it was just that she didn’t want to think about me being assassinated like Julius Caesar was. After all, he was the more likeable of the two from what I’ve read, so why wouldn’t she want me to be like him. Or maybe it was that she didn’t like the idea of me being a warrior – Augustus was the bigger peace keeper of the two, even if he wasn’t quite as popular. Then again, clearly Julius did something right or he wouldn’t have been included in my name at all.
Mom says that I shouldn’t read so much into it whenever I ask, but then she’ll wink at me in the sneaky way that tells me I’m on the right track, so I think she just does that for Dad’s sake. He hates it when I go on and on about my names. He thinks I should’ve been named something “normal – like Dave or Bill or pretty much anything else.” But I like my names being different from everyone else’s.
I like to think I’m equal parts Augustus and Julius. The Augustus side of me likes to keep the peace – likes to sit on the outskirts and watch rather than getting involved in fights. It makes me more prone to bullying, which the Julius side of me detests, but the Augustus side always stops me from fighting back. He knows that I’d lose even if I tried, so what’s the point, really. The Julius side has drawn my friends to me. They may not have the numbers that his countrymen did, but I do have their ears for whatever that’s worth.
Maybe that’s where the Salad bit comes in – a bit of everything mixed together.
Augustus Caesar (63BC – 14AD) was the architect of the Roman Principate (constitution) and the first emperor of the Roman Empire. He succeeded his uncle (Julius Caesar), and during his rule, dramatically increased the size and stability of the Empire – starting a 200-year period known as the Pax Romana (The Roman Peace).
Write at least 500 words, either from the perspective of this historical figure, or someone observing them from the outside. You could focus on their character, their work, their achievements, or the perceptions that others had about them.
I struggled a little bit with this one, so ended up writing about someone named after the two Caesars and their differences rather than someone viewing them from the outside.