Vespasian - Emperor transformed into useful object?
February 11, 2001 at 2:31:59 PM
In time came the rueful day when the Belgies, outraged at the cheek of countries that actually had a national identity, set loose their grey-suited hordes with the war cry "We love to make you smile!" to conquer the capitals of Europe in the name of their late ideological leader, Sam Walton. The rest is history, and the European Union will soon have all the distinctiveness of a North Jersey shopping mall. But as always, I digress...
When Paris was still French, warts and all, they used to have these publicly-maintained cast-iron enclosures along some boulevards where Pierre DuBois could stop off for a leisurely leak before heading down into the Metro.
Such a convenient edifice was called a "vespasienne", presumably after the Emperor Vespasian. BUT WHY? Can anyone explain this transition from personal name to personal hygiene?