236: For Better or Worse.

All of Western life and institutions today are traceable to the Romans and their world. We are all Roman children for better or worse.

The best part of this experience came after the fact — my wife gave me a beautiful edition in three volumes of the magnificent original unabridged Decline and Fall, and since then the pleasure and profit have been all mine as I enjoy the wonderful language, organization and scope of this masterwork. Here are just some of the ways I benefit:

1. I feel a great comfort and relief knowing that there were others who lived and died and thought and fought so long ago; I feel less tyrannized by the present day.

2. I learn much about the way our society really works, because the system-origins — military, religious, political, colonial, agricultural, financial – are all there to be scrutinized in their infancy. I have gained perspective.

3. The language in which the book is written is rich and complete, as the language of today is not.

4. I find out how little I know.

5. I am inspired by the will and erudition which enabled Gibbon to complete a work of twenty-odd years. The guy stuck with things.

I urge anyone who wants life on earth to really come alive for them to enjoy the beautiful ancestral ancient world.

(Iggy Pop, “Caesar Lives,” Classics Ireland, Vol. II, 1995).

236: For Better or Worse.