Have you heard of Albert Einstein quote, “…remember Capitol of Rome was once saved by cackling of geese“?
The full line is:
…remember that the Capitol of mighty Rome was once saved by the cackling of its faithful geese.
This Einstein’s mischievous remark, was a scathing response to a conservative women’s group, the Daughters of the American Revolution who was against his visit to the United States.
These women protested about his left-wing belief.
He had been associated with organizations that are more or less associated with Communism or Socialism.
For the uninitiated, this line is a reference to an ancient Roman myth about the night, the loud cackling of geese that alerted or woke up the Romans from their sleep, when the Gauls were about to attacked them.
According to history, it was back in 387 B.C.
The Gauls were attacking Rome. For their safety, the Romans quickly moved up to a strong fortress at the summit of a steep hill.
It was called Capitol, one of the seven hills of Rome.
The Gauls were having a tough time entering this impregnable hilltop hideout.
During the time of war, when food supplies were dwindling fast.
Not only the Romans did not kill and ate these birds, they still fed their much-needed food to their geese instead.
It is because according to their tradition, these geese were the property of the goddess Juno, wife of Jupiter, queen of Heaven, and goddess of war.
It was one dark night, when the Gauls quietly climbed up to the Capitol hill, without the knowledge of the sentinels and not even waking up the dogs.
But it was the geese which noticed the presence of the enemies, and started cackling loudly and flapping their wings frantically.
The commotion and din aroused a distinguished soldier by the name of Marcus Manlius who was on guard nearby.
As soon as he realized what was happening, Manlius sprang into action and at the same time called out the rest to fight back.
Here is a simple animated version of “How The Geese Saved Rome“.
And he himself as a dangerous foreigner approaching their country, just like the Gallic soldier who attacked Rome.
This about “women as cackling geese who wanted to save Rome” and “Minotaur” quotation was first published in German in “Mein Weltbild” (The World As I See It).
The quote in English is:
Never yet have I experienced from the fair sex such energetic rejection of all advances; or if I have, never from so many at once.
But are they not quite right, these watchful citizenesses? Why should one open one’s doors to a person who devours hard-boiled capitalists with as much appetite and gusto as the Cretan Minotaur in days gone by devoured luscious Greek maidens, and on top of that is low-down enough to reject every sort of war, except the unavoidable war with one’s own wife? Therefore give heed to your clever and patriotic womenfolk and remember that the Capitol of mighty Rome was once saved by the cackling of its faithful geese.
(Ideas And Opinions Based on MEIN WELTBILD, Edited By Carl Seelig, And Other Sources, New Translations And Revisions By Sonja Bargmann, New York: Crown Publishers Inc., 1954, PP. 7-8) source
The quote in German is:
Noch nie habe ich von Seiten des schönen Geschlechts so energische Ablehnung gegen jede Annäherung gefunden; sollte es doch einmal der Fall gewesen sein, dann sicher nicht von so vielen auf einmal.
Aber haben sie nicht recht, die wachsamen Bürgerinnen? Was soll man einen Menschen zu sich kommen lassen, der mit demselben Appetit und Behagen hartgesottene Kapitalisten frisst wie einst das Ungeheuer Minotauros in Kreta leckere griechische Jungfrauen und der zudem so gemein ist, jeden Krieg abzulehnen, ausgenommen den unvermeidlichen Krieg mit der eigenen Gattin? Hört also auf Eure klugen patriotischen Weiblein und denkt daran, dass auch das Kapitol des mächtigen Rom einst durch das Geschnatter seiner treuen Gänse gerettet worden ist!
(Albert Einstein: Mein Weltbild, Herausgegeben Von CarlSeelig, I, Antwort An Amerikanische Frauen, P. 45) source