The Mysterious Roman Who Shaped Modern Cities

By |2019-03-05T13:29:31-05:00August 16th, 2018|

A voice from a distant past, the Roman Vitruvius offers many of the same assets to urban planners and cultural historians that he does to architects. His book offers a glimpse into the urban world of a decisive moment in classical antiquity—and into the mind of a man who quite literally helped to shape it… [...]

A Long & Living Tradition: Architecture, Ancient and Modern

By |2018-06-19T23:48:25-05:00June 22nd, 2018|

Leon Battista Alberti’s work remains a guidebook for those who value the traditions of both classical and post-Renaissance European architecture. To read Alberti today is to discover an essential link in that long and living tradition… Like a signal from the past, Leon Battista Alberti’s De re aedificatoria—On the Art of Building, completed in [...]

Looking for Camillus: Why We Need Great Men

By |2018-12-26T15:20:51-05:00December 21st, 2017|

What happens to the Romans in the absence of their greatest man, Camillus? Crushing losses, near-obliteration. Not to honor what is best and highest—in fact, to insult it, to belittle it, to attribute base motives to it: What can follow except an arrogant forgetfulness that preludes disaster?… Titus Livius (or Livy), the Roman historian [...]

The Sons of Remus and the Question of Western Identity

By |2018-06-21T23:33:03-05:00November 15th, 2017|

The Sons of Remus provides a window into not only how European identities were formed, but how all societies engage in a constant process of negotiation and renegotiation in determining who they are, where they came from, and where they are going… The Sons of Remus by Andrew C. Johnston (432 pages, Harvard University Press, 2017) Our [...]

The Mysterious Origins of the Roman Republic

By |2019-03-21T12:02:47-05:00November 14th, 2017|

To believe a republic is immortal is to destroy one’s own republicanism… Exactly how the Roman republic came into existence remains shrouded in mystery. Critically so. As with our tradition of English common law and the necessity of knowing that its origins are “beyond the memory of man,” from “time immemorial,” “ancient beyond memory [...]

Clash of Civilizations: Greece or Rome?

By |2019-03-05T14:31:13-05:00July 14th, 2017|

Join Boris Johnson, Britain's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and Mary Beard, professor of classics at the University of Cambridge, as they debate the significance of the world's most timeless civilizations: Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. Mr. Johnson defends the culture, art, and philosophy of Ancient Greece, while Dr. Beard argues for the supremacy [...]

Historical Consciousness & the Roman Road

By |2017-07-08T07:46:09-05:00May 21st, 2017|

The Roman Road is nothing less than the royal road of all adult historical consciousness. That road is the way of the imaginative conservative, who does not throw away the all-connecting vision of childhood, and then replace it with another, “more sophisticated” way of thinking… Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers [...]

The Crossing of the Rubicon

By |2017-02-01T12:07:15-05:00February 1st, 2017|

Caesar has crossed the Alps, his mighty soul Great tumults pondering and the coming shock. Now on the marge of Rubicon, he saw, In face most sorrowful and ghostly guise, His trembling country's image; huge it seemed Through mists of night obscure; and hoary hair Streamed from the lofty front with turrets crowned: Torn were [...]

The Roman Pilgrimage: A Vivid Sense of God

By |2019-01-24T12:51:54-05:00March 30th, 2016|

Roman Pilgrimage: The Station Churches by George Weigel, with Elizabeth Lev and Stephen Weigel The distinguished team of papal biographer George Weigel, his photographer-son Stephen (who handles the illustrations), and well-known art and architecture historian, professor, author, and tour-guide-resident-in-Rome, Elizabeth Lev, have collaborated to produce The Station Churches of Rome. At first glance, this [...]

Rebuilding the City Upon a Hill

By |2016-02-03T11:32:22-05:00December 21st, 2015|

Aboard the Arbella in 1630, John Winthrop penned “A Model of Christian Charity,” perhaps the most famous sermon in American history, charging his fellow Puritans to live out their high ideals as they settled in New England. His loftiest sentiments, now etched into the American memory, are these: For we must consider that we [...]

An Unexpected Bestseller: Plutarch’s “Lives”

By |2016-03-26T13:04:22-05:00December 3rd, 2015|

Now that school is back in session, I will shortly be resuming a study group that began last year on Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans. I thought I might say just two things here about the particular excellence of this great book—that it fuses history and philosophy, and that it promotes [...]

Fear Looming Over the West

By |2015-11-14T23:51:57-05:00November 15th, 2015|

Civilizations come and civilizations go. While some prove capable of inner renewal, there’s no guarantee that any given culture will maintain itself over long periods of time. Today, we continue to admire the achievements of Greece and Rome; however, as distinct living cultures, they’ve been dead for centuries. Many of us think of civilizational [...]

Why the Roman Empire Was an Empire Like No Other

By |2019-02-28T11:18:41-05:00November 9th, 2015|

What made the Roman Empire an empire like no other was that it alone was the city that became an empire. Its distinctively republican civic form became propagated by the Roman Empire as it spread across Europe. It then became transmuted by its contact with Christianity, which gave birth to a mediating political form [...]