So back in second year when I was just starting out with my ancient history degree, we had to write an essay for an exam about how to leave an undying memory using examples from the course. In a moment of what I hope wasn’t A Very Bad Idea, I decided to write a step-by-step guide on How To Be Remembered Forever. I now share it with you, to help you on your quest for eternal glory and whatnot.
1. Reference other famous writers in your own works as an expression of aemulatio (a way of favourably imitating to show respect) and then go TO THE NEXT LEVEL to make sure everybody knows how important you are. Ways of doing this are writing epic poetry involving legendary heroes, and including celebrated historical figures so that they will praise it and make sure it’s preserved.
2. Win a LOT of wars. Bring elephants.
3. Write a comprehensive history of your empire. Make it shrewd and sarcastic. Call everybody sycophants. Make sure you praise the right people and condemn the assassinated ones so that you yourself are not assassinated.
4. Challenge the Etruscans in their own camp, or on a bridge. If you go busting in there with the intent to kill the king, and you kill the wrong person by mistake, improvise. Say you’ve got 300 other guys just as badass as you are, and then set your arm on fire for good measure.
5. Kill a public figure via BLACK MAGIC.
6. If sadism is your thing, be unnaturally bloodthirsty, shamelessly flirt with your own mother before having her killed, burn down your own city and blame it on the Christians, fall off your chariot but win Olympic gold anyways, and be assassinated violently.
7. Become the ancient world equivalent of the Dread Pirate Roberts by making yourself immune to every poison ever.
8. Become so good at exacting vengeance on your enemies that your name becomes synonymous with the amount of ass-kicking you bestowed upon them.
9. But if you wanna do things Julii-style: Put an end to all civil wars by winning them. Don’t just build things, have people build things in your honour. Create a new calendar, name a month after yourself. And when you die, have yourself deified.
10. If all these things fail, you can always become a gladiator, hope that someone scrawls some graffiti praising your rugged manliness on a city wall which in turn becomes preserved under a mountain of ash via volcanic eruption akin to mighty Vesuvius. But that’s kind of a long shot.