How often do I think of ancient Rome?

That question was first a Twitter meme, it is now a Washington Post story.  The question is supposed to pick up something about the manliness of the manly mind?  Who even knows these days?

In short, I think about ancient Rom pretty often!  But not as much as I think about ancient Greece, and typically in reactive settings.  Some of my CWT guests have some connection to ancient Rome, and I must prep for them.  (This can be more guests than you might think — consider topics of Shakespeare, Montesquieu, Christianity, or even a China scholar.)  I travel in the former Roman empire fairly often, usually at least once a year.  I see pseudo-Roman architecture almost every time I go to Washington, D.C., which is maybe once every two weeks.  There is a copy of the new Ovid translation sitting in the kitchen, and it has been there for a few months because I do not currently have time to read it.  I see periodic Twitter updates about a Nat Friedman-Daniel Gross AI project to read ancient Roman scrolls.  Christian references to ancient Rome cross my path all the time.  Does it count to see Roman numerals?  To write the words “per se”?  To notice it is the month of August?

But I don’t just sit around “thinking of ancient Rome.”  There are no works from ancient Rome that I long to reread, and there is no ancient Roman music to listen to.  I’m not going to rewatch Ben Hur.  I was in Rome itself about two years ago, which was recent enough.  At this point, my reactions to signals, snippets, and trailers of ancient Rome are more than enough for me.



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