It doesn’t take too much imagination to see analogies between our current situation and ancient Rome. In a recent NPR interview, Anthony Everitt, who has written biographies of Cicero, Augustus, and Hadrian, explains his fascination with that time period: “I love stories and I love characters. And the thing about the ancient world, it is crammed, it is packed with [the] most interesting and eccentric and brave and villainous characters of all kinds.”
Everitt was on NPR to discuss his new history of Rome, The Rise of Rome: The Making of the World’s Greatest Empire. http://www.npr.org/2012/08/05/157668413/a-story-of-ancient-power-in-the-rise-of-rome
In the interview, Everitt brings a 21st century sensibility to bear a past that has shaped us even more than we may know. Our founding fathers, for instance, poured over the constitution of the The Roman Republic. And here is what Everitt says about why the Republic failed, to be replaced with a military autocracy:
“The people who governed the world suddenly lost the ability to govern themselves. There was bloodshed. … This collapse of the constitution and an unwillingness of political opponents to talk with each other, to do deals, to come up with agreements, however messy and provisional, that loss was a catastrophe for Rome. And the Republic, in fact, went up in flames.”
‘Nuff said about the relevance of this book, I think…
The parallels are far too great. ‘Nuff said, indeed.