For some time I have been in a state of suspense about next year’s presidential election, and it recently became unbearable. So I consulted a fortune teller.
The fortune teller was the Roman poet Virgil. As late as the 17th century the leading men of England and Europe consulted Virgil about the future before making important decisions.
Here’s how it worked. You closed your eyes, you asked Virgil a question about the future and then, with your eyes still closed, you pointed at a page in Virgil’s works. The verse on which your finger came to rest contained the answer to your question.
I closed my eyes, asked Virgil who will be elected President in 2020, and pointed at a page of the Aeneid. My finger came to rest on the following phrase:
ac velut ille canum morsu de montibus altis / actus aper … (Aeneid 10, 708-709)
This means, more or less:
And like the wild boar, driven down from the mountain heights by the bite of hounds …
But who is this wild boar who will be driven down from his place of eminence? For clarification, I looked up « wild boars » in Wikipedia and learned that they are unpredictable and dangerous animals that go on the attack when challenged — and that immature wild boars have orange bristles.
Well that settles it. Who needs Nate Silver?