Okay, America to Roman Empire analogies are way overdone, but something crossed my mind this morning that amused me a bit: What if President Joe Biden was America’s answer to Emperor Nerva?
Our next president?
Not that I’m saying Trump is a batshit insane murderer, unlike Domitian, but, after a term that roiled politics and society, not unlike Domitian’s, at least some of the people who wanted someone different in office were looking for a return of calm.
Enter the old man, a grandfatherly figure who promises everyone can relax, now.
Joe Biden, meet Nerva. Nerva, meet Joe Biden.
But bear in mind also that Nerva, as an old man, was a transitional figure. He died of a stroke and secondary illness after fifteen months on the throne. At the time of his death, he was 67, pretty old for the First Century.
Joe Biden will be 78 when he is inaugurated, and he is clearly slipping into dementia. He may not make it fifteen months.
The key to Nerva’s significance is who he picked to succeed him: Marcus Ulpius Trajanus, an experienced and accomplished general whom we know as the Emperor Trajan. Taking power in a peaceful transition after Nerva’s death, Trajan went on to become one of Rome’s greatest emperors.
Joe Biden, on the other hand, picked Kamala Harris.