And just when you thought Arrivederci Roma had no more notes left, those crazy Roman archaeologists come across this…!
The ‘secret’ if you will is in the ruins of a previously unknown construction complex just outside the Eternal City. It again shows how Rome was building on a monumental scale even generations before the glory days of the Colosseum. What interests the historians — and what should interest us as a 21st C version of ancient Rome — is the remarkable ways this empire survived almost 500 years. Longer than the Chinese, Persian, Egyptian, Greek and British.
As for today’s American Empire, it’s been around about 50 years, and is still wondering what lessons Rome may have for us.
Counter-intuitively, one reason for Rome’s survival was the way it grew almost too large to manage. Spread out from the highlands of Scotland in the north all the way to valleys of Mesopotamia in the south, eventually it became impossible to maintain rapid communication from one end to the other. And while its network of roads and couriers was the best the world had ever seen, the government in Rome was always days, often weeks, away from their front lines. The instant 24/7 torrent of information available today was unthinkable. For instance, when Caesar conquered Gaul or Cleopatra’s navy was defeated, the Senate could only guess the facts for days.
Matters remained very much the same for centuries as the epic victories and defeats of Charlemagne to Joan of Arc and of Napoleon to Ludendorff had to find their way through the limits of the time it took riders, telegraph lines and short wave radio.
Today however there are satellites and screens everywhere so that, as in the First Gulf War, the people often witness the event on their own screens in their own homes just as fast as does the Oval Office. The migraine here is: can the human brain, presidential or otherwise, actually process news this fast in order to make decisions this crucial?
Sorry, time’s up….! You needed an operational answer at least 4 minutes ago….! Either get with the program or get off the train…!
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