- May 25, 2020
The Romans were brutish administrators. They weren't innovators at all. They took their metalwork and horsemanship from the Celts, their military tactics and art from the Greeks and their mathematics and science came mostly from Egypt. The were the forerunners of today's bland technocratic society.
Pitirim Sorokin classified both modern and Roman civilisation as 'sensate' materialistic civilisations (in contrast to non-practical and mystical 'ideational' civilisations such as India and medieval Europe and balanced 'idealistic' societies like Renaissance Europe and classical Greece).
What strikes me about Roman civilisation is how unexotic it is compared to medieval civilisation. The Romans think in such neat lines, such bright primary colours. There is a lot to admire about the Roman genius, even if it was a somewhat phillistine genius. Modernity was for many an attempt to do away with the Christian inheritance and become Roman again, but it is impossible for a Christian to become a pagan. Ancient Rome is in some ways technocratic paganism done right. We are vulgar amateurs at it because Christian civilisations can never leave Christ without going over the Devil. We invite outer darkness wherever we stray from the light.
In France they take pride in being Gauls by blood and Romans by civilisation (they've always been somewhat uncertain as to what to make of the Franks). Their heart is with Vercingetorix but their head acknowledges its debt to Caesar.