January 23, 2012

Roman Glories: Scipio Tombs Reopen in Rome

Not many remember who Consul Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbato was. Yet there is a very good reason why we should remember him, in fact, besides being a member of the distinguished gens Cornelia, he was the founder of one of ancient Rome’s most illustrious clans, the father of Lucius Cornelius Scipio and Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Asina, and, what is most important, the great-grandfather of Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus (236–183 BC), also known as Scipio Africanus and Scipio the Elder, i.e. the man who defeated Hannibal at the final battle of the Second Punic War at Zama—a watershed event in the history of the world—and one of the finest commanders in military history.

History, however, is not the focus of this post. Rather, the focus is on archaeology and …tourism. In fact, a few days ago, for the first time in two decades, the tomb of the Scipios has been reopened to the public (Via di Porta San Sebastiano 9, Rome). It’s a great opportunity—among the Scipios entombed there were both Scipio the Elder and Scipio the Younger, who destroyed Carthage and ended the Third Punic War!—for those who live in Rome or are just visiting. To book a visit, call +39060608.

See here for some more info in English, and here for a thorough description and history of the site in Italian.

Photo courtesy of Sovraintendenza ai Beni Culturali, Rome

~ First written for The Metaphysical Peregrine ~

Against the Myth of American Decline

“Is the United States in decline, as so many seem to believe these days? Or are Americans in danger of committing pre-emptive superpower suicide out of a misplaced fear of their own declining power? A great deal depends on the answer to these questions.”

American historian and foreign policy commentator Robert Kagan, the cofounder of the neocon central organ Weekly Standard and of the Project for the New American Century, tries to answer these and other provocative questions—such as this one: What would the world look like if America were to reduce its role as a global leader in order to focus all its energies on solving its problems at home?—in his new book, The World America Made, available on February 14, 2012.

I am sure it will be a worthy read. I say this for a couple of reasons. First Robert Kagan is one of the most influential strategists of our time,  and the best-selling author of many books, including The Return of History and the End of Dreams (2008), Dangerous Nation (2006), and Of Paradise and Power (2003). Second… I’ve already read “Not Fade Away: Against the Myth of American Decline,” an edited excerpt from the book in the February 2nd issue of The New Republic. That being said, I’ll let you know in a couple months. Have a good read!