Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mediterranean Cruise - Civitavecchia (Rome) Italy

Touring these famous ancient ruins was something I didn't think I'd ever do... and soon I'll be seeing them up close.  I've seen small pieces at the R.O.M. and was a fan of the Rome HBO series.  But I suspect those morsels aren't quite the same as standing in the middle of the buildings and getting a sense of the grand scale.
I remember years ago in history classes, the mystery and debate around  'The Fall of Rome'.  Did the lead pipes slowly drive people insane?  Was it the corrupt and indolent ruling class? Was it the barbarian invasions?  Declining tax revenues = decaying infrastructure?

Maybe it was more likely a case of a lengthy, almost imperceptible shift of influence over several generations.
One of the great questions of Western history, if not the great question, is "Why did Rome fall?" Reasonable answers to this most perplexing of history's puzzles—and there have been hundreds of answers advanced—begin with understanding the complex nature of late Rome and the barbarian invasions in which the Roman Empire ultimately drowned. Still, the failure of great minds like Edward Gibbon to win over a majority of historians to the view he espoused in his monumental work, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, suggests we should seek perhaps another path and examine the terms we're using to express the problem, especially what we mean when we speak about "Rome falling." Indeed, close study calls the very question into question. "Why did Rome fall?" may be a line of inquiry that has no clear resolution because the question itself is fundamentally flawed. It might be better to ask, "Did Rome fall?" Wikipedia


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