Friday, 12 August 2011

Imperial Travesty

After being known as the Globe since at least 1869, this pub gained a new name when it joined the same stable as the Empress in late 2010. Nothing wrong with pubs changing their name, of course – well, so long as the new name is appropriate and not silly. (Slug and Lettuce, anyone? No, thought not.) And I can see why the new ‘brother’ pub of the Empress should be renamed to mark its adoption, even if it’s not as venerable a pub name as the Globe.
So, which emperor to choose? Well, as the Empress takes its name from Queen Victoria, Empress of India, her successors might be good candidates. But aside from George V, who actually went to India to be crowned Emperor, none have particularly ‘imperial’ associations to the modern mind. There is the Emperor Napoleon, of course, but that probably wouldn’t go down too well. Probably someone Roman, then, they had emperors, didn’t they? How about this one?
This is a fancifully flattering statue of Julius Caesar by Nicola Coustou (9 January 1658 – 1 May 1733), now in the Louvre. Everyone knows about Julius Caesar, don’t they? Veni, vedi vici, invaded Britain, Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres, knobbliest Roman of them all, et tu, Brute, ‘Infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it in for me’ and all that. He’ll be ideal, won’t he?
One teeny-weeny problem, though: Julius Caesar was never emperor. (He may have been granted the title ‘imperator’, but that is not the same as our understanding of the word ‘emperor’.)
Oh, and I always thought that the imperial colour was purple, not this horrendous green.

Oops Acropolis!

The Bath House (formerly The Bath Hotel) sits in a Grade II listed 17th-century building, with reworked 18th-century frontage. So when Greene King decided to replace the former generic signboard, it must have seemed so obvious to go for something classical – this is Cambridge, after all. Perhaps a Roman bath, then?
Not a bit of it. What we actually have is this:
It’s a detail from the south-east corner of the temple of Athena Nike on the Athenian Acropolis. Not a bath-house, not Roman, and nothing to do with the building or Cambridge whatsoever.
If (polite) words failed me about the Hippodrome, March, I am left completely speechless by this idiocy.