Magazine article The Spectator

Rome and the World

Magazine article The Spectator

Rome and the World

Article excerpt

The title of Boris's forthcoming book on the people of London claims that it is 'the city that made the world'. Whoa back, steady on, now. Surely Boris means Rome, centre of a vast ancient empire, not to mention the worldwide Catholic Church?

When the poet Martial described the opening of the Colosseum in ad 80, he observed the vast throng gathered in it and wondered if there was any race so remote, so barbarous that it was not represented - Thracians, Sarmatians (from the Danube), Britons, Arabs, Sygambrians (a German people), Ethiopians, 'their voices a babel, yet one, when they call you, emperor, true father of the fatherland'. The emperor indeed had the whole wide world in his hands, and the peoples of the world knew it.

So did the animals from all over the empire on display for their pleasure - bears, rhinos, lions, tigers, elephants.

The city used the world's materials - Aswan granite, Numidian and Phrygian marble - and the poor enjoyed its produce: bread baked with wheat from North Africa, fish from Gibraltar, utensils of copper mined in Spain, wine from France. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.