I am a man of Rome, Italy. Some of my ancestors, many centuries ago, were already citizens of Rome. So I guess I am a real Roman, or sort of, since some barbaric blood must unquestionably flow in my veins, probably Germanic and Gallic from the Alpine region.
My mother tongue is Italian, not very different from the Latin spoken by the common people at the times of the late Roman Empire. The reason I am attempting to communicate in this nordic language – which I do not totally master and which, though a bit chilly to my heart, I find not entirely deprived of charm – is that variety excites me like a drug and I am tired of talking to my fellow people mainly, this lingua franca, English, allowing me hopefully a wider exchange of ideas.
Why this blog
One reason for this blog, I have said, is wider communication. But what can a Roman of today say to the world? Such a big statement if there weren’t the Web to make it not entirely such.
I have always thought that it is a great privilege to be born and be raised here, such a special place, to the extent that something must have penetrated, something peculiar and worthy of being transmitted, in order to be able, in our turn, to receive.
I hope for comments from Western and non-Western people, since Rome and the Romans have a mediation nature that comes from the Mediterranean.
Rome in some way is more Mediterranean than European. However, as she was already universal during the ancient Roman days, she continues to be universal as a religious centre, like Mecca or Jerusalem, which makes her something far beyond Europe (*).
Religion will not though be a central topic here, since I greatly respect all faiths but I do not personally have any, being an agnostic. I like to think I am similar to those Romans of the past who counted mostly on human knowledge and reason (for example the followers of Greek Epicure.)
Three Reasons for Uniqueness
Ages have passed since this great city was the capital of the known world, this role now being played by New York, or London perhaps.
Rome is though unique in the first place because “among all the greatest cities of the ancient world – Nineveh, Babylon, Alexandria, Tyre, Athens, Carthage, Antiochia – she is the only one that has continued to exist without any interruption, never reduced to a semi-abandoned village but rather finding herself often in the middle of world events and, equally often, paying for that a price (**).”
Secondly, and even more importantly, Rome is the city of the soul (as Byron and Victor Hugo put it,) of our authentic Western soul, since Europe and the West were shaped here and these roots are sacred – to me surely, and I think and hope to most of us.
These roots we have to rediscover in order to better open up to others in a new spirit of humanitas and conciliation (two chief components of the everlasting Roman mind). We all here in the West must encourage a totally new attitude which can enable us to better face both our present crisis of values and the radical changes ahead which might cause our swift decline.
Lastly Rome, the eternal city, is unique because she is also one of the most beautiful cities in the world, if not the most beautiful. Beyond its imperial testimonies, even small piazzas and alleys radiate a sacred aura which comes from the millennia and to which the multitudes of the world, in an ever increasing number, come to pay their tribute.
The capital of our beloved and civilised French cousins, Lutetia Parisiorum (it’s how the Romans called Paris, after the Parisii, a tribe of the Gallic Senones,) was not but a village until the year 1000 AD. “1700 years younger than Rome: it shows, one can feel it (***).”
Fragments Sent in a Bottle
Scattered fragments of this special identity inserted in a bottle and sent across the WWW: this shall be the activity of our blog.
The conveyor of the message is not so important in relation to the greatness of the source and to one ingredient this conveyor might, willingly or unwillingly, possess: he perhaps being like a living fossil from a distant past which is dead though – astoundingly enough – alive yet in so many Italians.
Let us admit it. In some central and especially southern areas of this country, minds and habits survive that puzzle lots of foreigners, historical remnants whose disadvantages towards modernity seem evident. Are they only disadvantages?
All Things Considered
This and other things will be discussed here by an almost 60 years old Roman whose knowledge can be located at a medium level, with interfaces towards the upper and the lower layers.
He will try his best to transmit something useful to others having been an ancient-history & literature educator for 16 years, then converted to computer networking engineering and training for the last 14 years. He hopes this blog will allow him to brush up humanities back, which is daunting at his age, not to mention the crazy idea of blogging in a foreign language.
If not profundity of knowledge, he might though have an advantage (still to be proved) over many foreign commentators even if born in one of the many ex-provinces of the ancient Roman Empire.
The plus of being a witness from right here. The advantage of being a Man of Roma.