Love and Falco; in Shadows in Bronze, it seems a doomed subject as Falco begins on his task with regrets that he may never see Helena Justina again. Falco is filled with regrets at lost opportunities. (You may wish to read Shadows in Bronze, a Falco novel by Lindsey Davis.)
Novel: Shadows in Bronze
What’s Love got to do with it?
But what is love? Is it being with the object of your desires? Is it being needed by another? Is it being struck by Cupid’s bow? Is it infatuation with another? Or is it just the idea of true love, which we hear about in so many songs, see in so many movies, and on the television? Is it buying and giving chocolates on Valentines Day? Just what is this phenomenon called love?
We suggest that Love is a guiding value within, a state that persons live in, the object of pursuit by persons, and the attainment of being in peace. Actions betray choices, and choices are made on wants and desires, which are evaluated by the person as “good for me” or “not good for me”. So we can conclude that there is some guiding agency within, some state of being that persons pursue to realise within and without. That pursuit is the pursuit of love in all its forms.
We will look at love like so:
Perhaps the first love we will look at is filial love. Shadows in Bronze opens with Falco disposing of the decomposing body of a traitor, who happens to be the brother of the senator Camillus Verus, and uncle of Helena Justina. Later that day Falco encounters Camillus Verus and Helena Justina in the Palatine Complex; they were returning from an unsuccessful mission to acquire the body of the deceased from the Emperor, Vespasian.
Filial love is born in family where the children have love for their parents and each other. Home is where each member of the family is respected, nurtured and nourished. Mother is revered and respected; Father is reverenced and guides the children, and the blossoming of the human person takes place in a loving, secure environment. It is in the family that children learn a sense of responsibility, coping skills, and relationship and communication skills and how to replenish themselves with love from within and without.
Filial love has driven Camillus Verus to seek responsibility for his brother’s soul. Filial love is that bond of family stronger than other attachments, wherein despite the actions of others in the family, love and truth remain. Filial love is grounded in respect, honour, dignity and the good name of a family. These principles were borne out in the narrative when Anacrites attempts to smear Helena Justina with the treason of Gn. Atius Pertinax, her divorced husband. Vespasian retorts “Leave the Camillus girl out of it”.
Taking filial love and applying it to our map of love above, we have suggested that it is love born in the family, that it provides nurturance, nourishment and security in the family environment, and that overall, it is the fuller sense of belonging to the foundational unit in society and culture. The challenges of filial love are to overlook the failings and faults of others, as Camillus Verus does, seeking the body of his brother notwithstanding his participation in the plot to overthrow the Emperor Vespasian.
The benefit of filial love is learning love in the bosom of the family, and internalising love and seeking that well of replenishment within. We can love other people, and give love to family, lovers, and perhaps, render love in the form of charity and service to the poor and downtrodden, only because love first exists within us, and we have known and experienced this in our families.
Related to filial love, we we could say there is kindness, tolerance, forgiveness, generosity, compassion, and friendship. These are all aspects of filial love. We take this up in the next page on Human Values and Love.
Truth is what we speak,
Right Conduct is what we practise,
Love is what we live,
Peace is what we give,
Non-violence is the fruit.
Roman scrolls …
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