You share the air with all other living creatures both present and historical

We breathe the air from Julius Caesar's last breath!
We breathe the air from Julius Caesar’s last breath! Image: Wikipedia.

At the moment, there is a philosophical debate on the Internet around Sam Kean’s book, Caesar’s Last Breath. The title continues with the following words: “Decoding the Secrets of the Air around Us”. He has a fascinating concept.

Julius Caesar was murdered on March 15, 44 BC. He was stabbed to death and lay in a pool of blood where he exhaled his last breath containing about 23 sextillion gas molecules. I believe that the word “molecules” means atoms.

One sextillion is a thousand raised to the seven power (1e+21). Or to put it another way 1000 million million, million. I believe that can be rewritten as follows:


This is so many atoms that when they dispersed throughout history since Julius Caesar’s death it is claimed that it is likely that all of us have breathed in at least one of the atoms in his breath.

And for this reason, Sam Kean, in his book, says that, “We can’t escape the air of those around us. The story of Earth is the story of its gases”.

So, what he is saying is that we all share each other’s gases that we emit when we breathe. And that process goes back aeons in the history of the world.

It must also mean that we share the atoms in the air breathed in and exhaled by animals and vice versa.

On the presumption that this concept is true, I think it is a nice thought because it joins animals and humans. It brings us closer together and emphasises that we share the same planet.

And because humans manage the planet and therefore control the environment and the kind of gases that go into the environment, we have a responsibility to both the planet and the animals to behave reasonably and responsibly and look after nature which supports the wild animals.

On a less heavy and philosophical note, this theory was taken to heart by Adrian Bliss who has 8 million followers on TikTok. He likes to do highly amusing sketches. He’s obviously a talented guy and he cites Monty Python as his main inspiration.

And he also picked up some inspiration from what I have written about above.

I read about how it’s likely that inside your body you have an atom that was in any historical character. It’s almost a mathematical certainty that you have an atom that was in Julius Caesar’s last breath. It seemed like a really nice way to tie together all those historical sketches.

Adrian Bliss

At the Edinburgh Festival he comes onto stage dressed as a lonely atom and has his audience in stitches.

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Post Category: Air pollution