Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ancient Roman Statue Bears Biden's Likeness

First museum-goers saw Michael Jackson's face on an ancient Egyptian sculpture, and now this? Both media and gallery denizens find themselves chortling at a bizarre and mystifying piece on display at J. Paul Getty's Villa in Malibu, California—the so-called "Biden di Milo."

Though bearing an uncanny resemblance to our current Vice President, the Roman statue is actually of Bidus, a lesser-known deity worshiped as—believe it or not—the Goddess of Gaffes. Roman lore pegs her as the daughter of Venus and Tavio, a mortal senator with a heart for the plebeians who was known for his long carriage commutes to the Pantheon every morning. The Goddess' unseemly face was likely thought to be humorous, as the statue's pedestal features a telling inscription, "DECORUS SOMES, TURPIS VISIO"—which roughly translates to today's "butterface," as in "everything 'butter' face."

And more than just being a spooky dead-ringer for the VP, Bidus was also known for her cavalier slips of the tongue, such as the time she blabbed the Imperial Senate's emergency hideaway and her ominous warning that Caesar's first months in power would see him tried by barbarians curious to test his mettle.

Despite countless parallels, Vice President Biden has yet to comment on what seems like an eerily certain spiritual forebear.

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