No announcement yet.

SOME FACTS OF HISTORY Mary Beard Meets the Romans

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • SOME FACTS OF HISTORY Mary Beard Meets the Romans

    Sometimes in my posts I state some of my views very strongly. This is such a post and apologies if, in my enthusiasm for my views, I offend anyone.-Ron
    I last taught Roman history, the late Republic, in 1994. Nearly 20 years later, after being retired from teaching, and dipping into Roman history only occasionally as I head for the age of 70 in 2014----I take an interest in the odd-bit of television that explores Rome, the Republic or the Empire. I took a sea-change at the age of 55 to Tasmania Australia and now live in a little town at the mouth of the Tamar River which opens on the Bass Strait, an extension of the Great Southern Ocean. I don’t have satellite, that is, paid-for TV, just free-to-air, as it is called. Anything to do with classical history or literature is a rare commodity on the small handful of TV stations which I enjoy in this last stop on the way to Antarctica if one takes the western-Pacific rim-route.

    Rome,1 the British-American-Italian historical drama set in the first century BC was shown here last year and in early 2012. Last night Meet the Romans with Mary Beard2 took me back with some nostalgia back to the years I taught matriculation students in Perth Western Australia in the last decade of my life as a teacher and lecturer.-Ron Price with thanks to 1 7TWO TV, 12:30-1:30 a.m., 26/2/’12; during 2005 to 2007, the first two years of my full retirement from FT, PT and casual-volunteer work, this television series Rome premiered. It was available on DVD in 2009, but I do not buy DVDs, retired and on a pension as I have been since 2009 at the age of 65; and 2SBSHD TV, 7:30-8:30 p.m. 26/8/’12.

    You would have been very useful,
    Mary Beard1 when I taught about
    the Romans back when I was just
    50 & heading into late middle-age.

    That history I taught, that syllabus,
    was mainly political & military with
    a nod to culture & the arts. Still you
    would have helped bring the ancient
    world closer to those students who
    wanted to get into university, get a
    B.A., then a job, maybe a family, &
    head into a world not unlike the city
    you described tonight, that first big
    metropolis, its new smells, & tastes.

    Everyone was a cog in a machine of
    Empire with its anonymity, its sense
    of “I am what I do” identity, division
    of labour, specialization as the order
    of the day; autobiography writ-large
    in those tomb-stones, & conspicuous
    consumption providing visible marks
    of status, with a new religion surviving
    inconspicuously as a faith, a movement,
    not yet a church or institution, no central
    authority or canonical literature---became
    soul of an Empire, triumph of an obscure
    sect & despised, religious enthusiasts in a
    mature, intellectually sophisticated, a rich
    society: one of the most dramatic facts of
    history in the society you described tonight
    Dr Mary Beard, distinguished professor of
    classics. Thank you, Mary, for your work.2

    1 Mary Beard is sometimes called Britain’s best-known classicist and this series of 3 programs about the Romans in the world’s first metropolis of 1 million people aired in Tasmania on: 26/8/’12, 2/9/’12 and 9/9/’12.
    2 Nosratollah Rassekh, “Christianity, AD 138,” World Order, 1980, pp. 7-21.

    Ron Price
    27 August 2012


    Between 220 and 168 BC the whole world fell under the undisputed ascendancy of Rome the historian Polybius informs us, as does Toynbee in his A Study of History. By what process did this occur? It was a phenomena unprecedented in the annals of the European theatre of civilization. However infatuated with other spectacles a historian of the time might be, this particular spectacle could not help but find a home in Polybius’s history. In our time, Arnold Toynbee’s spectacular A Study of History took up this same theme among its many other themes.

    This type of unprecedented phenomena began to occur in the annals of mankind 2000 years later, but over a wider-field and over a longer period of time, insensibly insinuating itself over several centuries. It was called western civilization The mind could not find a field more profitable to study and, a fortiori, to work within, than the majestic but slow and difficult evolution of the Baha’i World Order within the chrysalis that was western civilization.-Ron Price with thanks to Polybius in A Study of History: Vol.3, Arnold Toynbee, Oxford UP, 1954, p.313.

    Through the alteration of periods of
    strenuous exertion in public affairs
    and necessary leisure….I continued
    to gain experience, & achieve some
    distinction, quietly & unbeknownst
    to the generality of men; this wider
    world experienced a dark night of the
    soul, so often subtle and obscure in its
    manifestation. I gradually created what
    was my “everlasting possession,”1 some
    spontaneous movement from within, by
    strange necessity energies transmuted by
    will-power into a heightened intensity of
    perception, imagination, thought, feeling:
    this was my field of action in the evening
    of my life as the years crept on their petty
    pace from day to day and year to year…..
    1 idem
    Ron Price
    Updated on: 27/8/’12


    There can be nobody so petty or so apathetic in his outlook that he has no desire to discover by what means and under what system of government the Romans succeeded in....bringing under their rule the whole of the inhabited world. -Polybius, Histories, 1.1.5.

    Between 220 BC and 168 BC the whole world fell under the undisputed ascendancy of Rome....It was a phenomena unprecedented in the annals of the European theatre of civilization. -Polybius in Study of History: Vol.3, Arnold Toynbee, Oxford UP, 1954, p.313.

    Roman history is still too much like a great endless jigsaw puzzle with most of the pieces missing. -Keith Richardson, Daggers in the Forum: The Revolutionary Lives and Violent Times of the Gracchi Brothers, Cassell, London, 1976, p. xi.

    The world empire of Rome was a negative phenomenon: the result....of an absence of resistance....It would be quite untrue to say that the Romans conquered the world. They merely took possession of something that was lying about for anyone to pick up. -Oswald Spengler, Der Untergang des Abendlandes, Vol.1, 1920, p.51.

    The Baha'i World Order also grew like a great endless jigsaw puzzle. Although most of the pieces were still missing after the passing of a little more than a century and a half, the pieces were coming together over time. Its undisputed sovereignty would be established, an unprecedented phenomena in the history of civilization on the planet, in the coming centuries. The process would be, for the most part, a positive one. There would be an immense resistance, in some places cruel and insidious, from foes now impossible to predict. But the unity, built up over several centuries, would be impossible to resist. The divisions of the 'tribes of the defeated'1 would lead, in the end, only to confusion. -Ron Price with thanks to 1Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, 1974(1938), p.17.

    Well, you could say the pieces were,
    for the most part, all there…..It only
    required the masses to enter. The Arc
    had been built and now these animals
    could come in: by 1s, by 2s, by 3s, by
    more and more, and more and more.

    Unity was, in fact, the major achievement
    of the first century-and-a-half of the history
    of this the latest, newest of the Abrahamic
    religions. The most perfect Being ever to
    walk on the earth had come and gone, and
    His charismatic Force was institutionalized.

    The vineyard of the Lord was ready and
    we waited all around the planet for the
    people to come in to the garden. And we
    waited to take possession of something
    that had been lying in wait, to be picked
    up, for decades, for civilization had long
    lost its soul and without faith civilization
    cannot long endure. This tiny peripheral
    fluctuation would soon be amplified in a
    global, complex, dynamical and unstable
    system, loading the dice of change toward
    an undisputed and mysterious sovereignty.

    Ron Price
    15 October 2001
    Updated on: 31/8/’12
    end of document

    married for 47 years, a teacher for 32, a student for 18, writer and editor for 15, and a Baha'i for 55 (in 2014)