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Mary Beard Meets the Romans

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  • Mary Beard Meets the Romans

    SOME FACTS OF HISTORY: Mary Beard Meets the Romans

    I last taught Roman history, the late Republic, in 1994. Nearly 20 years later, after being retired from teaching, and dipping into Roman history only occasionally as I head for the age of 70 in 2014----I take an interest in the odd-bit of television that explores Rome, the Republic or the Empire. I took a sea-change at the age of 55 to Tasmania Australia and now live in a little town at the mouth of the Tamar River which opens on the Bass Strait, an extension of the Great Southern Ocean on the west and the Tasman Sea on the east.

    I don’t have satellite, that is, paid-for TV, just free-to-air, as it is called. Anything to do with classical history or literature is a rare commodity on the small handful of TV stations which I enjoy in this island state of Australia, the last stop on the way to Antarctica if one takes the western-Pacific rim-route.

    Rome,(1) the British-American-Italian historical drama set in the first century BC was shown here last year and in early 2012. Last night Meet the Romans with Mary Beard(2) took me back with some nostalgia to the years I taught matriculation students in Perth Western Australia in the last decade of my life as a teacher and lecturer.-Ron Price with thanks to (1) 7TWO TV, 12:30-1:30 a.m., 26/2/’12; during 2005 to 2007, the first two years of my full retirement from FT, PT and casual-volunteer work, this television series Rome premiered. It was available on DVD in 2009, but I do not buy DVDs, retired and on a pension as I have been since 2009 at the age of 65; and (2)SBSHD TV, 7:30-8:30 p.m. 26/8/’12.

    You would have been very useful,(1)
    Mary Beard when I taught about
    the Romans back when I was just
    50 & heading into late middle-age.

    That history I taught, that syllabus,
    was mainly political & military with
    a nod to culture & the arts. Still you
    would have helped bring the ancient
    world closer to those students who
    wanted to get into university, get a
    B.A., then a job, maybe a family, &
    head into a world not unlike the city
    you described tonight, that first big
    metropolis, its new smells, & tastes.

    Everyone was a cog in a machine of
    Empire with its anonymity, its sense
    of “I am what I do” identity, division
    of labour, specialization as the order
    of the day; autobiography writ-large
    in those tomb-stones, & conspicuous
    consumption providing visible marks
    of status, with a new religion surviving
    inconspicuously as a faith, a movement.

    It was not yet a church or institution, no
    central authority or canonical literature;
    became soul of an Empire, triumph of an
    obscure despised sect of a few religious
    enthusiasts in a mature, rich, intellectually
    sophisticated society: one of history's most
    dramatic facts in the society you described
    tonight Dr Mary Beard, a very distinguished
    professor of classics. Thank you Mary Beard.(2)

    1 Mary Beard is sometimes called Britain’s best-known classicist and this series of 3 programs about the Romans in the world’s first metropolis of 1 million people aired in Tasmania on: 26/8/’12, 2/9/’12 and 9/9/’12.
    2 Nosratollah Rassekh, “Christianity, AD 138,” World Order, 1980, pp. 7-21.

    Ron Price
    27 August 2012
    Last edited by RonPrice; 27 Aug 12, 05:59. Reason: to italicize the names of the doco and historical drama
    married for 45 years, a teacher for 35, a writer and editor for 13, and a Baha'i for 53(in 2012)

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