About two years ago I got an email with the subject, “Ants you to entreat the Blesse.” With an opener like that I just had to open it. Viruses, be damned. I’m too lazy to type the whole thing, but here’s an excerpt.
“F Bimbisara, King of Magadha? Indeed I speak of the great Bimbisara, and he is born to sway the world… Thy name is known throughout the Indian lands. (It goes on a preachy rant for a bit about personal responsibilty and being mericiful. Obviously, this guy doesn’t know who he’s talking to here. I mean, come on, responsibility? psh.) Thy doctrine is so plain, and so convincing that I grant thou speakest truth. The people ought to know thee and accept thy creed. Who art thou? Born of the Sakya race, they call me Sakyamuni. Blessed by this day on which I meet the greatest man of our age. I heard of thee from the Nirgranthas, thine own enemies, the rival sect of thy new order, and they say thou deniest the soul, thou teachest extinction, thou leadest man to non-existence, and that Nirvana is with thee an empy naught–annihilation.– Is that true? I teach extinction, noble general, of hatred, greed, and lust, but I insist on doing what is right and j (it just kind of ends. I can only assume he was stabbed by the Nirgranthas.)
So I got a real kick out of this email for a while there. I demanded worship and tributes to be deposited outside of my office, (I didn’t really demand worship. I was just joking, Jesus. Please don’t smite me. It’ll hurt).
And then I kind of just forgot about it until today when I found it in a folder while unpacking in my new office. And here’s the funny thing. I got another one. I forgot all about it, but it was tucked in with the other. The subject on this one is, “Work of intrigues in which Pope Julius II,, the” I had to read it. This is Papa Terrible we’re talking about here!
GreaTing to you. The reason was that every day I have been hoping the painter would bring me the portrait of Ercole, which my husband and I now send you by this post… I, both of us, commend ourselves to your Highness, and I kiss your hand, my dearest mother.
It goes on about how awesome I am and alternatively calls me Robeza Oshea, Beatrice Sfortia Da Este and, here’s the kicker, Opal. I can only assume that’s what made her decide to send it to me. It continues:
“From your obedient servant and child. To the most illustrious Lady my dearest Mother, Signora Duchessa di Ferrara.” … the portrait is a good one, I need only tell you who has sent it and who is the master who has done this drawing, and then I am sure you will be satisfied.” The drawing of Ercole has vanished, and the painter’s name remains unknown, Another name which recurs frequently in your letters is that of Opal. (I’m not sure if she’s accusing me of being Beatrice or the painter of this piece here. She’s confusing.)
At first, I thought these were just really poorly written emails. you know the kind where a Nigerian prince offers you money if you’ll only enlarge your penis and mortgage your house or whatever, but after work today I did a bit of digging.
To the right is King Bimbisara, offering his kingdom to the Buddha. According to the most reliable source of all, Wikipedia, he was king of the Maghada Empire (not emperor, strangely) from 558 bc to 491bc. Try as I might, I am unable to tell you where I was during those years.
And to the left is Beatrice Sforzia d este. Not the same spelling, but, if I remember those dreadful early literature classes, that was a common spelling change in the Medieval period. Beatrice was duchess of Milan in the late 1400’s. The email connects her to Leonardo da Vinci, well, Leonardo, a famous painter. I think she’s got the same bump on her nose as me. I got mine from basketball, wonder where her’s came from.
Given the evidence, I can only assume that I am, indeed, a time traveler and have introduced many civilizations to the glory of email. I will probably forget my smart phone in the 1400’s someday. I can picture the woman who wrote it bickering with her husband over what to say. “Woman, stop telling her about the grandkids. She doesn’t care. She’s a duchess.” Only maybe in Italian instead of English.
Furthermore, I must be a good time traveler because both times I was royalty, although I’m confused about how I was a man.
Then again, perhaps this is a prank by my history friends. Shame on you.
Or perhaps the moral is just if you want to infect my computer with a virus, send me a poorly written email about history.