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Monday, December 18, 2006

The difference between us and "Rome" is The Enlightenment

I just watched the first two episodes of the HBO series Rome. Good stuff - as historical dramas go, probably the best production design of any of the movies or TV shows about the Roman old republic/empire that I've seen. Also HBO's take on Rome is more socially nuanced - with humor & greater attention to social & religious customs. In Episode 2 the Senate or whatever the political assembly in Rome is called takes a vote on declaring Julius Caesar an enemy of the republic BUT the whole procedure is treated as a religious event, with an old priest presiding over the whole affair & having the final word on what happened. So one of the main differences between old Rome and modern US & other European offshoot countries - governmentally speaking - is that the government is no longer intertwined with religion. I guess we have The Enlightenment to thank for that. Also, according to this Wikipedia entry, Enlightenment also led to liberalism & capitalism - not bad results for one movement, actually - pretty awesome results, since the separation of religion and government, liberalism, and capitalism are three major factors that have created our world (at least in the "first world" countries), a world that is far different than the world of the ancients such as Romans of the old republic/empire periods . It would be cool to see HBO do a series on the Age of Enlightenment - maybe starting the show a couple of hundred years before the event - in the dark ages/middle ages - & then finishing the show a couple of hundred years later, when ideas cooked up during the Age of Enlightenment have drastically changed very significant parts of the world.

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