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The Romans   

The Romans made significant contributions to our Western Civilisation.

They gave us the institutions of government – the senate, republicanism, empires – virtues such as dignity, humanity, honesty.  Their imperialism demonstrates our most enduring urges of dominance – power, greed ambition, desire and love.  We are linked to them through a great chain of human experience.  They give us a continuity of cultural constants in the experiences of life. 

Much of what we know of ancient civilisations is very recent.  Most records were wantonly vandalised and destroyed by misguided religious vandals.  Byzantine and the Moorish cultures managed to preserve and transmit some to future generations.  More and more we rely on archaeological excavations for reliable artefacts to base our assumptions.

Half of Washington’s monumental architecture is inspired by Rome.  The British Museum itself is Greek in style and Roman in scale.

The Roman Empire lasted some 500+ years giving us some salutary lessons on enduring cohesion and good governance.  It gave us the model of integrating diverse people through tolerance and co-opting talent from across the empire.  Even people at the periphery of the empire felt they were at the heart of the empire.  Most young men from conquered territories were conscripted into the army to serve 25 years after which they became full Roman citizens with lifelong pensions.

The Emperor Caracella in 212 made all free men citizens, simply so he could broaden the tax base. 

The Emperor Claudius maintained the senate should “transfer to this city all conspicuous merit, wherever found”.

The Roman Empire eventually became composed of an enormously diverse base of people from different racial and ethnic groups.  They developed a system of naturalisation that allowed citizens to maintain

Dual allegiance to their original tribe or ancestral place – Spain or Britain.   

(excerpted from Luke Slattery)

In-breeding was always the privilege of royalty - and look what happened to them.

The Roman Empire succeeded because it was ethnically heterogeneous – not homogeneous. Greece had a different approach.
Some of the most interesting people I meet are miscegenous. 

Roman thinkers and historian's wisdom still applies today.

It was the Roman codger Juvenal who wrote of the people’s appetite for bread and circuses; the court prefers the cheap nourishment of legal theatrics to real hard research for hard reliable evidence.

…the arrogance of officialdom need to be tempered and controlled,….” - Cicero, 55 BC

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Translated, “who will guard the guards (themselves)?”

As Tacitus put it,”misdeeds, once exposed, have no refuge but in audacity”.

As the famous Lucius Cassius, whom the Roman people used to regard as a very honest and wise judge, was in the habit of asking, time and again, “Cui bono”,  'To whose benefit?'


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