Greeks and Romans

While reading about ancient history, I had this sudden thought that the Europeans and Americans of today's world are much like the Greeks and Romans in the mediterranean world of 2000 years ago. I had some fun taking the thought as far as I could, and was amazed with the number of similarities and identifications I could come up with. Bear with me:

  • The Europeans of now and the Greeks of 2000 years ago are total have-beens in terms of power, but their culture is still held in high esteem. The Americans of now and the Romans of 2000 years ago achieved military supremacy not too long ago, but their cultures are mostly inherited from Europe and Greece and looked down on by these and other older cultures.
  • The Europeans/Greeks were never united. The European countries/Greek city states fought war after war against each other, but one could never rule the others for a long time. Despite all these fruitless internal wars, the Europeans/Greeks dominated international trade and built empires through colonisation. The Greeks colonised the south of Italy before the Roman empire was born, the Europeans colonised the east of America before the USA was born.
  • Inside Europe/Greece, France is Athens. Athens fought off the Persian invaders who would have conquered all of Greece before it could flourish, while France fought off the Mores who might have taken all of Europe. Athens/France were the strongest states inside Greece/Europe for the longest time, but were also humiliated several times.
  • Prussia was of course Sparta: the militaristic society that could beat the crap out of everyone. Spain is Thebe: dominant for a short while, but soon overwhelmed by the traditional powers. Italy is Corinthe: famed for its art and architecture, but its fate always decided by Athens and Sparta. The Portuguese are the Phoenicians: traders and explorers who sailed the waters of the known world before anyone else did, establishing outposts everywhere.
  • Who is Macedonia? That's a tricky one. In some ways it's the united Germany, which conquered the rest of Europe before going off to the east for more conquest, like the Macedonians did after conquering Greece. But Adolf was no Alexander. In some ways it's Russia, which did conquer everything to its East. But Russia didn't first dominate Europe. On the other hand, the Russians crossed the Bering Sea to conquer Indian territory (Alaska), whereas Alexander never made it across the Indus into India. Perhaps Britain is Macedonia; it conquered much of the known world, and though it couldn't keep control of it, it created new nations that upheld its culture for centuries to come. Canada and Australia are the Seleucid and Ptolemaic kingdoms then, and the Commonwealth is the Hellenistic world of our time.
  • The USA and the Roman Empire were always one nation. They may have had bloody civil wars, but unity was always restored. By the time they became dominant powers, the world was too established to be colonised, but they got control of it through superior military power. When the Germans/Macedonians warred against the rest of Europe/Greece in an attempt to restore their old empire, the Americans/Romans intervened and established their military superiority in their cultural motherlands.
  • The USA/the Roman empire only have two political factions. The Republicans are the Patricians, the Democrats are the Plebeyans. Both have had their turns holding power.
  • The Mexicans are the Etruscans: they were there before the Americans/Romans, who learned much from them before taking their territory and dominating them. The Hispanic immigrants are the Germanic tribesmen: many of them are already working inside the USA/the Roman Empire, but many more are pressing at the borders trying to get in, requiring constant border patrols.
  • Throughout all this time, one thing hasn't changed though: China is still China, the distant trading partner of Greeks, Romans, Americans and Europeans alike.

Godsmurf Wed 02 May 2007 @ 23:02
Indeed! Replacing Greek/French as the main language. Will have to put that in there some time :)

BosjeR Wed 02 May 2007 @ 21:37
Nice read. And Latin/English was the main language during the supremacy of the superpowers.


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