May 25, 2024

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Try out to Study From the Past, Never Rewrite It

Statue of Marcus Aurelius in Brown University



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Pertaining to Alessandra Bocchi’s “Ancient Heritage Isn’t Colonialism” (op-ed, Dec. 1): To the Brown College pupils who really feel “harmed” by “white, Western civilization” commonly, and by the statues of the two Roman emperors Augustus and Aurelius especially, I’d like to make a recommendation: In the next time period paper prevent any term that is derived from Latin, stay clear of any legal thought that originated in the Roman Republic and avoid spelling out in name any thirty day period of the yr.

If these kinds of an attempt isn’t ample to foster your understanding of human historical past as a continuum, I posit that the thoughts of education and learning (Latin educere: to raise up) and college (Latin universitas: the total) may be unsuitable for you.

Don’t abuse the inheritance of your freedom to bully other folks but in its place use your independence to reflect on yourselves. Take into consideration that without the need of Western civilization, without liberty—which this wonderful republic has guarded and treasured for approximately a quarter of a millennium—there would not be a Brown College.

Rainer Schildknecht

Winnetka, Unwell.

To attribute modern day racial sensibilities to the Roman Empire is to ignore a pattern that spanned from antiquity through the early present day period—empires had been a world phenomenon. If Marcus Aurelius signifies colonialism, then Genghis Khan, the Arab caliphates, Cyrus the Excellent, the Mughals and the Aztecs do the similar. All subjugated neighboring peoples, and from time to time ruined overall civilizations. If pupils locate Augustus’s picture offensive, they will be tough pressed to discover any world chief up until finally the contemporary era who is really worth commemorating.

As a substitute of dismissing full segments of historical past, these Brown College students may well discover they are in point borrowing from the playbook of the empire they are seeking to condemn. Damnatio memoriae—the purging of an individual’s legacy—was a resource victorious emperors used in opposition to political rivals. Statues of condemned persons had been reworked into the likeness of the new emperor. Relatively than tearing down and repeating record, these college students need to take some classics courses and master from them.

Yoni Katz

New York

I concur that the statues of Caesar Augustus and Marcus Aurelius should be taken down at Brown College. They ought to be changed with statues of the admissions committee members who accepted these youthful decolonizers. These new statues will stand as a regular reminder of the idiocy that occurs when totally free and open discussion is stifled by a mob of historical illiterates.

Leo Gordon

Los Angeles

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Appeared in the December 10, 2020, print edition.