Study of Beelzebub's Tales




29 The Fruits of Former Civilizations and the Blossoms of the Contemporary


“Concerning the ancient shepherds who later formed the great powerful community called ‘Rome,’ their ancestors also were often forced, on account of bad weather, to put their flocks into sheltered places, and to pass the time together somehow or other.


“Being together, they had ‘various talks.’ But when everything had been talked out and they felt bored, then one of them suggested that as a relief they should take up the pastime which they called for the first time ‘cinque-contra-uno’ (five-against-one), an occupation which has been preserved down to the present time, under the same name, among their descendants who continue to arise and exist there.


“So long as only the beings of the male sex then engaged in that occupation, everything went ‘quietly and peacefully,’ but when a little later their ‘passive halves,’ that is to say their women, also joined in, who, immediately appreciating it, soon became addicted to it, they then gradually attained in these ‘occupations’ such ‘finesses,’ that even if our All-universal Arch-cunning Lucifer should rack his honorable brains, he could not even invent a tithe of the ‘turns’ these erstwhile shepherds then invented and ‘prepared’ for the beings of the succeeding generations of that ill-fated planet.


“And so, my boy, when both these independent groupings of terrestrial three-brained beings multiplied and began acquiring every variety of those effective ‘means,’ namely, the means of reciprocal destruction, whose acquisition is the usual aim of all communities there during all periods of their existence, they then began carrying out these ‘processes’ with other independent communities there—for the most part, of course, with the less powerful communities, and occasionally among themselves.


“Here it is extremely interesting to notice that when periods of peace occurred between these two communities there—communities of almost equal strength in respect of the possession of efficient means for the processes of reciprocal-destruction—the beings of both groups whose places of existence were adjacent often came into contact and had friendly relations with each other, with the result that little by little they picked up from each other those specialties which had first been invented by their ancestors and which had become proper to them. In other words, the result of the frequent contact of the beings of those two communities was that the Greek beings, borrowing from the Roman beings all the finesses of sexual ‘turns,’ began arranging their what are called ‘Athenian nights,’ while the Roman beings, having learned from the Greek beings how to cook up ‘sciences,’ composed their later very famous what is called ‘Roman law.’