Friday, April 3, 2009

Parallel Universe

While in real life I am going around attending to everyday business in Iceland, for almost two weeks now I have been enjoying the parallel universe of ancient Rome. My immersion started with HBO series “Rome”, progressed into reading Colleen McCullough’s books and extended into “Meditations” of Marcus Aurelius.

My head is filled with weighted words – pontificate, ameliorate, copious, pedagogue (not often we use this solemn word instead of everyday teacher) – strong images and acrimonious intrigues. Roman history is an intellectual soap opera – there is passion, love, incest, deceits, suicides, murders right and left and never ending quest for power.

Their intricate moral codes, understanding of integrity or compassion are so differ from modern, it is awe inspiring. The level of self control needed for survival in that society seemed to be humanly impossible; there is no doubt in my mind that I would not survive there.

Ancient Greece holds more appeal to me than Rome. When I think of Rome an image of a tight lipped centurion comes to mind, while Greece brings an image of the Winged Nike, the Goddess of Victory. It is ironic, since it was the army of Roman centurions who marched victoriously through Greece in 146 BC and took it under control. But then of course some centuries later Rome itself fell.

Well, as Marcus Aurelius mused, “All things are in a process of change. You yourself are subject to constant alteration and gradual decay. So too is the whole universe.”

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