Question # 1

The Romans – for centuries is the masters of war and polities across Europe, Northern Africa and Asia Minor – have often been criticized for producing few original thinker outside the realm of positive. This criticism, while in many ways true, is not without its problems. It was, after all the conquest of Greece that provided Rome with its greatest influx of educated subjects. Two of the great disasters intellectual history – the murder of Archimedes and the burning the Alexandria’s library – both occurred under Rome’s watch. Nevertheless, a city that was able to conquer so much of the known world could not have been devoid of the creativity that characterizes so many other ancient emprises.

Engineering is one endeavor in which the Romans showed themselves capable. Their aqueducts carried water hundreds of miles along the tops of vast arcades. Roman roads built for the rapid deployment of troops, criss-cross Europe and still form the basis of numerous modern highways that provide quick access prominence to Rome’s economic and political influence.

Many of these major cities lie for beyond Rome’s original province, and Latin-derived languages are spoken in most Southern European nations. Again a result of military influence the popularity of Latin and its off spring is difficult to overestimate. During the centuries of ignorance and violence that followed Rome’s decline, the Latin language was the glue that held together the identity of an entire continent. While seldom spoken today, it is still studied widely, if only so that such master or rhetoric as Cicero can be read in the original.

It is Cicero and his like who are perhaps the most overlooked legacy of Rome. While far from being a democracy, Rome did leave behind useful political tool that serve the American republic today. “Republic” itself is Latin for “the people’s business,” a notion cherished in democracies worldwide. Senators owe their name to Rome’s class of elders; Representatives owe theirs to the Tributes who seized popular prerogatives from the Senatorial class. The veto was a Roman notion adopted by the historically aware framers of the Constitution, who often assumed pen names from the lexicon of Latin life. These accomplishments, as monumental as any highway or coliseum, remain prominent features of the Western landscape.

The author describes "two of the great disasters in intellectual history" in order to

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