Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Roman Way

Nick Szabo recently blogged about an article on the Lex Gabina, published in the New York Times by Robert Harris.

I recently devoured two novels by Robert Harris: "Imperium" and "Pompeii". "Imperium" is by far the better novel, but "Pompeii" has magnificent passages describing the eruption of Pompeii, and wonderful descriptions of the achievements of Roman engineering.
The book begins with this quote:

How can we withhold our respect from a water system that, in the first century AD, supplied the city of Rome with substantially more water than was supplied in 1985 to New York City?

A Trevor Hodges,
(Author of Roman Aqueducts & Water Supply)

And this passage does resonate with me

Men mistook measurement for understanding. And they always had to put themselves at the centre of everything. That was their greatest conceit. The earth is becoming warmer- it must be our fault! The mountain is destroying us- we have not propitiatied the gods! It rains too much, it rains too little- a comfort to think that these thjings are somehow connected to our behaviour, that if we lived only a little better, a little more frugally, our virtue would be rewarded.

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