Sunday, March 30, 2008

War memorial obelisks tell an old Roman story

Times Online (Philip Howard)

Rome conquered Alexandria in 30BC. It was the only time that a single power dominated the entire Mediterranean basin. In one sense this was just another Roman conquest. But Alexandria is a special place: the cosmopolis for all races, countries, colours and creeds. Cultivated Romans saw their conquest as a seismic shift from Republic to Empire.

For Alexandria influenced (and still influences) our poetry and urban architecture. Because of “wicked” Cleopatra, Romans perceived Alexandria as fascinating, but also dangerous. The city defied safe old Roman categories such as “Barbarian” and “Greek”. It was too modern for the Archaio-Con Romans — an artificial colonial capital that was also the gateway to a much older and more alien culture.

See the above page for more.

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