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Rome: The Eternal City Essay example

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Rome: The Eternal City
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?The history of Rome is shrouded in myth and legend.? Tales of glorious victories, conquering heroes, and vanquished foes color our perception of this legendary city.? Myth and reality are so closely intertwined that we would be remiss to examine the one without the other.? From a cluster of humble villages, arose a mighty people who would capture the admiration of the world for centuries thereafter.? To look at the history of Rome is to look at the history of civilization itself, for with Rome, modern civilization began.

The Beginnings: Myth and Reality

?The circumstances surrounding the founding of this ancient city remain a mystery.? With the Gaul?s destruction of Rome in 330 B.C., much of the early writings and archaeological remains recording the city?s past were destroyed.[i]? This lack of information did not hinder the early Roman historians, though: they simply created their own version of history.? Anxious to connect their city to a noble origin comparable to the heroic Greeks?, early Romans pointed to the Trojan hero Aeneas as the founder of their homeland.? In Plutarch?s Life of Romulus, Aeneas is said to have sailed to southern Italy where he met a soothsayer who allowed him to commune with his deceased father.[ii]? His father predicted that Aeneas would sire a great race and that his descendents, namely Romulus and Remus, would eventually establish a city that would rule the entire world and whose spirit will match that of the gods.[iii]? According to the myth, Romulus and Remus were born into the lineage of Aeneas, but were abandoned while they were infants under the orders of their evil uncle who had usurped the throne.? The twins were saved by a she-wo...


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...s Voisin, Yann Le Bohec, and David Cherry, A History of Rome (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2001), p.23.

[vi] Nardo, p.22.

[vii] ibid, p.22.

[viii] ibid, p.26.

[ix] Le Glay, p.25.

[x] ibid, p.25.

[xi] ibid, p.40.

[xii] Nardo, p.29.

[xiii] ibid, p.29.

[xiv] Matthews, p.50.

[xv] Le Glay, p.42.

[xvi] ibid, p.179.

[xvii] Matthews, p.158-168.

[xviii] Le Glay, p.32.

[xix] ibid, p.36.

[xx] F.R. Cowell, Everyday Life in Ancient Rome (New York: B.T. Batsford Ltd., 1962), p.18.

[xxi] ibid, p.14.

[xxii] Encyclopedia Americana, vol.23 (Danbury, CT: Grolier, Inc: 1997), p.686.

[xxiii] ibid, p.686.

[xxiv] ibid, p.686.

[xxv] Stuart E. Jones, ?When in Rome. . .?, National Geographic, June 1970, p.746.

[xxvi] ibid, p.747.

[xxvii] T.R. Reid, ?The World According to Rome,? National Geographic, August 1997, p.82.


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