Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Rome Journal: SPQR

 Roman street art (photo by Francis Levy)
It’s not difficult to say goodbye to Rome to the extent that Roman civilization, the idea of Rome is so pervasive. Senates and stadia all derive from Rome. Romans may have conquered Greek statuary, but when it comes to monuments they trump all comers. What would Augustus have said about the current monuments debate. Sure Rome was pillaged, with the heads of many of its sculptures being rediscovered centuries later in the ruins, but Romans may  may have set a kind of standard in terms of what it is to be remembered. It's one of the reasons so many artifacts of Imperial Rome are now at the fingertips of archeologists and all those who seek to investigate the past, an increasingly fragile sport in the culture of technocracy were erasure is so facilely accomplished and an institution, which may not exist in any particular location that anyone could ever pass by, disappears before it has had the chance to become a signpost. "Arrivederci Roma" may be the title of a famous song, but it's essentially incorrect. You never say "arrivederci" to Rome since it’s ubiquitous and a part of the skeleton of the species. What form of social media could ever compete with the SPQR engraved on every manhole cover of the city?

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