History Lesson

January 9th, 2019 § 0 comments

Is there anything to be learned from history? Much, believes HG. The history of the ancient Roman republic has relevance for the American republic of today, a republic in jeopardy. Rome was once one of the world’s longest lasting republics. A new book by Edward Watts (Basic Books),: “Mortal Republic: How Rome Fell Into Tyranny” analyzes the death of that republic. The book was prompted, says Mr. Watts, about how antiquity can illuminate “the occasional alarming political realities of our world.” The book notes that by the 2nd Century BC Rome had shocking inequality and leaders who wouldn’t deal with it. There was a minority of super rich (like the oligarchs of today) and a majority who did back breaking work and looked forward to a bleak future for themselves and their children. One of the most powerful of the wealthy was Crassus, an unscrupulous real estate wheeler-dealer. He used his money to gain political power and influence. (Sound like anyone?). Watts concludes that such a situation couldn’t last. It didn’t.The republic came to an end at the end of the First Century. Centuries of autocracy followed.

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