Friday, July 13, 2007

The enduring relevance of Roman history

Cullen Murphy on the arrogance of empire, then and now:
Across the board it fosters the conviction that assertions of will can trump assessments of reality: the world is the way we say it is. This, in the most recent federal budget, $20 million has been set aside for an eventual "day of celebration" marking American victory in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A Roman moment captures the spirit: in 476 A.D., not long after the last emperor was deposed and the empire in the West had come to an end, the Roman Senate ordered new coins to be struck. The coins bore the legend "Roma Invicta" -- Rome Unconquered."

-- Cullen Murphy, Are We Rome?, p. 58

1 comment:

Flinger said...

A nation's interest in declaring victory varies inversely with the extent to which it has actually conquered or achieved anything.