Posts Tagged ‘Sigmund Freud’

How should we evaluate the Roman Empire? It’s an important question, given the role that the image of Rome has played in modern imperialism, both as a model for imperial powers and as a source of legitimisation for the whole enterprise (echoes of this recently in reports of Mark Zuckerberg’s reputed obsession with Augustus, which bears a striking resemblance to the sorts of claims made by IR theorists like Michael Doyle about the ‘Augustan moment’ when hegemonic power becomes accepted and welcomed by its subjects). It’s difficult to buy into the “and don’t forget the wine” discourse of What The Romans Did For Us without getting entangled in similar claims about the bringing of Civilisation (i.e. European Culture) to the benighted primitives of South America, Africa and Asia.

Fortunately the great scholar-politician of our time has the answer: it’s complicated. (more…)

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It was scarcely a revelation that Boris Johnson should have written two articles about the EU Referendum, trying out the arguments and testing the different propositions before choosing the side that seemed to suit his personal ambitions best. A little more surprising was the lapse in his knowledge of classical myth, confusing two different classical accounts of journeys into hell: “He [Cameron] was going to probe the belly of the beast and bring back British sovereignty, like Hercules bringing Eurydice back from the underworld.” Johnson’s gratuitous classical references are, we may reasonably suspect, all part of his carefully constructed image, and I wouldn’t be wholly surprised if one of the reasons for the crisis of A-level Classical Civilisation turned out to be widespread aversion to classical literature and history as a result of his appropriation of them, making it ever harder to argue against the association of the subject with arrogance and privilege. But this supposed display of superior intelligence and education does depend on him getting the references right… (more…)

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