Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Rise And Fall

I've been watching the 1st and 2nd seasons of the HBO series Rome for the past week. I've always been interested in the history of the Roman Republic. It's fascinating, and has so many lessons that are directly applicable to the times in which we live.

(Side note: if history teachers would use historical fiction - books, miniseries - as a way to get people to engage in learning history, I think students would be much more interested, and learn more. Sure, they might have trouble at times sorting out fact from fiction. But which is worse - learning a few unverifiable fictions in addition to the documented facts, or knowing no history at all?)

The time of the fall of the Roman Republic is filled with drama enough to engage any vidiot. Sex, War, Political Intrigue - Caesar, Cicero, Cleopatra. How a civilization can go from a vibrant, creative global economy to feudal peasants rooting for food in the mud of the dark ages. How a representational democratic republic can rapidly turn into a authoritarian military empire - this is the stuff on which civilizations are made and broken. Literally.

So many lessons. So many lives swinging on the honor (or is it vanity?) of men. How the guys with the guns will always rule at the end of the day.

So many ideas to blog about. So few people who would care to read them :-)

So I guess I won't. But if any of you are interested in seeing that there's nothing new under the sun, and how fragile our peace and democracy can be...rent or buy HBO's "Rome." (Or better yet, read some accessible historical fiction, like Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series).

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