Delaying the end of Rome again ?
Updated: Sep 16, 2020
Some early comparisons this week in the US between the end of the Roman Empire and the decline of America reminded me of a book I read first as a teenager and then again more recently after a new visit at the Hadrian’s Villa in the North of Rome: The Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar. It was so influential for me that I went for that reason to Acadia National Park in Maine where she died and is buried. And spent 2 full hours exploring the cemetery to find her modest tomb and meditate properly.
Some of her words have resonated in my mind during all these years. And now with a spectacular echo.
The old emperor wonders how to make Rome last and delay ...”the moment when the barbarians outside, and the slaves inside, rush into a world that they are asked to respect from afar or to serve from below”.
Not much to add.
And the PS on her tomb is another marvel. From “L’œuvre au noir” / “The Abyss”:
“Plaise à Celui qui Est peut-être de dilater le cœur humain à la mesure de toute la vie. “
“May it please the One who perchance is to expand the human heart to life's full measure"