I like to write about being a man’s man, maybe because I think it’s a lost art today, and it shouldn’t be. Charlemagne had it. So did Bonaparte, despite his complex. Robert E. Lee makes the list. Winston Churchill for sure. But examples of this behavior are so singular today they deserve calling out, even if they only lived on a screen and 17 years ago at that. I remember seeing the movie in Ohio with a friend, and it was so impactful. Which is why today I write about Maximus…
“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife… (you know the rest)
In that epic sentence, he actually reveals his true loves.
He loved his family. He dreamed of his home. My house is in the hills above Trujillo. A very simple place. Pinkstones that warm in the sun. A kitchen garden that smells of herbs in the day, jasmine in the evening. Through the gate is a giant poplar. Figs, apples, pears. The soil, Marcus- black. Black like my wife’s hair. Grapes on the south slopes, olives on the north. Wild ponies play near my house. They tease my son. He wants to be one of them.
He counted the days until he would return, and how long he had been away; two years, 264 days, and this morning. He believed he would be re-united, and fought (literally!) each day toward that goal. When it was snatched from him (violently), he kept going with the belief they would still re-unite in the afterlife. (Romans were very into that, at the time). His path became even more violent, but he got there. There was no doubt, this man loved.
He loved his men (team)
Here’s what’s interesting. In order to serve his goal of re-uniting, he had to do battle. And instead of whining about not being home, he embraced his team. In the battle of the North, when asked about artillery range, his answer was… some casualties were better than many. He led his army from the front, and they were honored to follow. He rode a white horse, he was deft with a sword, and he had his brother’s back when battle was hand-to-hand. When the battle was over, he saw to their needs above his own. Food and shelter. Entertainment. Inspiration. And it didn’t end when he was captured either; his team became the Gladiators, and he worked with them like he did his great army. Be prepared. Watch your brother’s back. Mourn the losses, and share the spoils.
He loved his country
But most of all, for a simple man, he loved his country: the Empire that was Rome. His relationship with Marcus Aurelius exemplified that, and through his tutelage he saw a vision of Rome that was noble. When his hand was forced by the evil Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix!) he was made to sacrifice #1&2 above. Ouch. In his quest to restore the republic, he honored loyalty, and he did not turn away from betrayal.
He was rewarded, in death, with what he wanted most; Reunification with #1.
Would that we could do the same.
~~Wow, you made it all the way down here! ~~~
Like this story?… Inspired, even just a little?… here’s how you might pay it forward;
Please tell me about a great entrepreneur who may need help solving a big puzzle. or…
Please tell me about an A Player who would be a great addition to a founding team.