On the Roman Origins of NASCAR



From the Lone Star State to trendy Tribeca,
Mercury's minions seek Harmony's home
Pilgrims pour in this motorized Mecca
For, alas, all roads do not lead to Rome

  • "Mercury's minions" means "people who like watching things go fast."
  • "Harmony's home" refers to Concord, NC. Concord means "harmony."
  • Mecca is a place of pilgrimage for Muslims
With nekkid necks red as their rebel flags
Beer bellies bare before Sol, thus to sear,
These daughters of Denis, drinking their dregs,
Brothers of Bacchus, imbibing their beer.

  • There are more Confederate flags per capita at a Nascar race than ... anywhere.
  • "Sol" is the Latin name for the Sun.
  • "Denis" is a shortened version of Dionysius, Greek god of wine.
  • "Bacchus" is the Latin name of Dionysius.
Amid mounds of muck and dank drifts of drek
This Colosseum, Concordia's crown,
Makes ready to receive every red-neck,
Disciples of driving men of renown.

  • Lowes Motor Speedway is built right next to a landfill which grows ever higher.
  • This is also meant to evoke Rome being a "city on seven hills."
  • Concordia = Concord.
  • Colosseum = Speedway
  • Sisyphus was a Greek king condemned to roll a rock up a hill, but never make it to the top.
  • The "vile vultures" refers to the banner-bearing planes which circle the racetrack
These pale pilgrims were once Children of Corn
Devoted disciples of Diana's arts
Luna's light they captured in liquid form
To carry it 'cross the country in carts.

  • Nascar was born from bootleggers running corn liquor.
  • "Diana's art" is hunting.
  • "Luna's light" = Moonshine
  • "Sweet sun-sister" is Artemis/Diana, goddess of the moon.
  • "White lightning" is another name for Moonshine.
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And drinking that divine draught, distilled dew
Of the sweet sun-sister's silver-gilt gaze
They fell, as if struck by white-lightining through
Like so many moon-kissed shepherds, sleep-dazed.

  • "Moon-kissed shepherds" refers to Endymion who, loved by the moon-goddess, was put to sleep so he would be eternally young
Federal furies; those feral, foul fiends,
Tyrants called "Kindly Ones," sorely tempted
Tried to take it, but the gods intervened
And gave gifts, 'ere the theft was attempted.

  • The "Federal furies" are the tax-collectors and agents who tried to shut down the Moonshine stills.
  • They are compared with the "furies" of Greek mythology.
Neptune gave horses to power their carts;
Mercury, winged wheels like wind, a wonder;
Minerva gave instinct, Mars gave brave hearts,
And, by Jove, there came the days of thunder!

  • Neptune/Poseidon is god of horses and once gave them to Athens in a bid to become their patron.
  • Mercury/Hermes, the messenger god, is supposed to be very fast.
  • Minverva/Athena is goddess of wisdom.
  • Mars/Ares is god of war.
  • Jove/Zeus is the thunder god.
  • Tom Cruise starred in a movie about Nascar called "Days of Thunder."
They, ever grateful for great gifts given,
Once they the evil despots evaded,
Raced in glee with the chariots driven
And ever honored gods who had aided

  • NASCAR was born of the races that bootleggers had with each other. They made improvements on their cars to outrun the feds, and then raced with each other.
A powerful leader pulled from the pack
A king among men, brave as a lion
With a ten-gallon crown, eyes shielded black,
Skilled as the hallowed hunter, Orion.

  • Richard means "powerful leader."
  • Richard Petty was known as "the King."
  • Richard of England was known as "the lionhearted."
  • He wore a cowboy hat and sunglasses all the time.
Then, from the city of cannons arose
The earnest-hearted, sun-dropped champion
Born of Apollo, the King to oppose,
As fast as three men, triumverate one.

  • Dale Earnhardt is from Kannapolis. (Polis means city.)
  • His sponsor was Sun Drop.
This mustached marauder mauled many men
Always striving to make himself greater
Second place? First loser! He had to win.
Thus they dubbed him "The Intimidator."

  • He is compared with Julius Caesar
  • Caesar defeated the other two members of the Triumverate.
  • Earnhardt was known for being ruthless when racing.
  • Caesar almost became would have gained the title "Imperator" (Emperor) had he lived longer.
Alas, such a life is doomed to die young
Achilles lead heel dealt death, made him great.
His final words whispered, "Et tu, Bruton,"
Running headlong to the wide wall of fate.

  • Achilles heel is compared with a lead foot
  • His speed both made him great and caused his death
  • Bruton Smith is one of the bigwigs in NASCAR, especially at Lowe's Motor Speedway
  • When Caesar died, he said, "Et tu, Brute?" regarding his friend, Brutus, who had betrayed him.
Still, they recall the triumverate one,
Three fingers flung to the land of the dead
Now Octavion, his apt-numbered son,
Intimidates all in his father's stead.

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. is (or was) #8 and Julius Caesar's son (adopted nephew) was Octavion, which means "eight."
Many more men bid Mercury's bidding;
Jeff the Gorgon, apostle of Iris,
There's old Dick Trickle (no, I'm not kidding),
And don't forget Kyle, son of the Cyrus.

  • A Gorgon is a creature from Greek mythology.
  • Iris was goddess of rainbows and Jeff Gordon is sponsored by DuPont.
  • "Cyrus" means "king," referring to Richard Petty.
Worth Kyle and Kurt Busch is Sterling, the "bird,"
Then there's that other Jeff, "Et tu" Burton,
One day, there'll be Earnest-heart the III,
Of Jeff the Gorgon I'm less than certain.

  • Sterling's last name is "Marlin."
  • "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." Hahahaha.
  • Caesar said, "Et tu Brute?" in Shakespeare's play.
You've come many long miles to make it here
From rural beginnings on roads rimmed with dirt
I'll grant you your circuses, bread and your beer
But, I beg you, PLEASE, just put on a shirt!

  • The "bread and circuses" phrase originates in a poem by the 1st c. Roman Juvenal. He was referring to the way in which the Roman people were willing to give up their political freedom as long as they were fed (bread) and entertained (circuses). Here a portion of his Satire X in English:
  • Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man,
    the People have abdicated our duties;
    for the People who once upon a time handed out military command,
    high civil office, legions - everything,
    now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things:
    bread and circuses