XVIII
THE ROMAN PAST AND
THE ROMAN FUTURE

I shall not perish utterly, for a great part of me will escape Death. I will
grow, swollen with the praise of future generations, for as long as the priest
leads the silent virgin up to the Capitol.

(Horace, Odes 3.30.6–9)

The words are those of the poet Horace, composed in the reign of Augustus. As you read them, you surpass his wildest expectations. No pontiffs or vestal virgins are attested after the end of the fourth century AD. The Capitol has been ruined and rebuilt several times since Horace wrote. And yet we do still read Horace’s Odes. Like the rest of Roman civilization, he has not perished utterly.

My final chapter is about survival and about how we know so much about the Roman Empire. Accident and chance both play a part in this story, and more recently our own research on which most of this book is based. But there is design as well, and not just Horace’s. For the Romans have sent us many messages in bottles, consigned by generation after generation to remote posterity. We cannot take all the credit for the discovery of ancient Rome: the ancient Romans wanted to be found.

-288-

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Rome: An Empire's Story
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • List of Illustrations xii
  • List of Maps xiv
  • Notes on Further Reading xv
  • I - The Whole Story xvi
  • II - Empires of the Mind 13
  • III - Rulers of Italy 30
  • IV - Imperial Ecology 48
  • V - Mediterranean Hegemony 62
  • VI - Slavery and Empire 82
  • VII - Crisis 96
  • VIII - At Heaven’s Command? 113
  • IX - The Generals 128
  • X - The Enjoyment of Empire 146
  • XI - Emperors 162
  • XII - Resourcing Empire 185
  • XIII - War 200
  • XIV - Imperial Identities 218
  • XV - Recovery and Collapse 232
  • XVI - A Christian Empire 254
  • XVII - Things Fall Apart 272
  • XVIII - The Roman Past and the Roman Future 288
  • Notes 301
  • Bibliography 327
  • Glossary of Technical Terms 357
  • Photographic Acknowledgements 361
  • Index 362
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