Quintus Saturnus The Time of Five Emperors

      Justin Cahill
Quintus Saturnus The Time of Five Emperors

Amidst the chaos of Rome's civil wars, Quintus Saturnus the mason works hard to produce busts for the Imperial Cult. But constant regime change makes getting paid difficult. Inspired by Robert Grave’s I Claudius and Gore Vidal’s Julian, this is an account of how one man negotiated the anarchy of 68-69AD - the Time of Five Emperors.These two short stories examine the hidden lives of outsiders from society - people who are put on the outside because of mental illness. Their remarkable stoicism and the valuable contributions they can make are put on display here, for the reader to consider.We all know by now that the mentally ill suffer from cruel and crude stereotypes and stigmas of being "defective," "crazy," and "weak", as well as a still-pervasive belief that they are generally prone to committing crimes. Here are two portraits of mentally ill people that show how they often do stand aside from mainstream society, yet inject that mainstream with important insights and inspiration.In the first story, "The Exalted Mortals," Lester, a young man with schizophrenia, finds through the darkness his niche in the world of art - he makes as his subjects the mentally ill and other people with disabilities, conveying to his audiences what contributions the disabled make, and how they strive to love be loved just as others do. He finds in the efforts of the disabled remarkable examples of what the human spirit is capable of, and there is the implication that even more could be accomplished if the seen and unseen barriers to the disabled were lowered.The second story, "Strange Jill," shines a light on the unique perspective of a mentally ill school girl, who knows what "cool" really is, and tries to teach a curious schoolmate what knowing is all about in this world.Neither story contains adult or otherwise explicit content, though the themes might best be discussed with the younger reader.
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