This Roman Life, Episode 1: Past and Present

SUMMARY: If you haven’t noticed (and there is nothing wrong with that) our country is fixated on continuing the legacy of the Roman empire. Video games, political speeches, and architecture trace their lineage to Rome. But how reliable is our modern understanding of ancient culture? Is it reliable enough to truly say we have been inspired by them? How much do we really need to know about Ancient Rome to make sense of our modern life? Much of our modern understanding has been shaped by our cultural narrative, and not a true in-depth understanding of Ancient Rome. And we don’t know how reliable our depiction is of them. Often we impose our own mores on the past rather than come to terms with theirs. To make sense of some of our questions, Connor, Benny, Maddie, and Dylan (appearing in order) look at how Roman law, families, and politics relate to legal practices and immigration politics in the US., Donald Trump’s presidency, white supremacist organizations, and Hungary’s recent reproduction laws.


Full Transcript

Links to additional sources and Works Cited.

Argote-Freyre, F., & Bellitto, C. 2012. “The Fall of Ancient Rome and Modern U.S. Immigration: Historical Model or Political Football?” The Historian, 74: 789-811. 

Bark, B. 2016. “Their Writing on Our Walls: A Humane Approach to Monuments”  Eidolon.

Beard, M. 2015. SPQR.

Graham, D. 2019. The Council of Conservative Citizens: The White-Supremacist Group That Inspired a Racist Manifesto

Hahn, G. 2007. “As the Romans Did” Review of Cullen Murphy’s Are We RomeThe Atlantic.

Holscher, T. 2003. “Images of War in Greece and Rome: Between Military Practice, Public Memory, and Cultural Symbolism”  Journal of Roman Studies 93: 1-17.

Jenkins, B. (2019). “Hadrian’s Wall was a policy statement; so is Donald Trump’s.” 

Kadrić , M. “Popular Imagination vs. Historical Reality: What does HBO’s Rome reveal about the practice of history?

Pharos. 2019. “Classical Antiquity and the fear of ‘White Extinction’.”

Teets, S. 2018 “Classical Slavery and Jeffersonian Racism: Charlottesville, One Year Later”  Eidolon

Tobolowsky, A. 2018. “Did History Really Happen? Colin Kaepernick, MLK, and Historical Hindsight“. Eidolon.

Donald Trump’s immigration address, January 8, 2019 (full audio and transcript)

Valdere, M. 2019. “Fact-checking Donald Trump’s false and misleading claims about immigration, the border wall” Politifact.