Rome and European Civilization

Melvyn Bragg assesses the role Rome has played in European civilization. The myths that surround the foundation of Rome are a potent brew. Romulus and Remus, the sons of Mars, raised by a she-wolf in the woods of Latium, the Sabine women raped by the Latins, Aeneas the Trojan General, wrecked off Carthage, loved by Dido and finally founding a new civilisation on the Tiber’s banks. According to William Shakespeare, after Brutus slayed his friend Caesar he claimed, “Not that I loved Caesar less but that I loved Rome more”. But what was the idea of Rome that demanded such devotion? And how was an identity forged that exported its values to the greatest Empire the world had ever seen? Rome has meant Republicanism, as well as Imperialism; it has stood for Pax Romana and also for the machinery of war, it is an eternally pagan city that still beats as the Catholic Heart of the Christian Church.

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  • Mary Beard 11 episodes
    Reader in Classics at Cambridge University
  • Catherine Edwards No other episodes
    Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at Birkbeck College, London University
  • Greg Woolf 8 episodes
    Professor of Ancient History at St Andrews University

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Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. The myths that surround the foundation of Rome are a potent brew.