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Raven Shaw

Salvo, classmates.

This isn’t an answer to the question, but I want to point out the significance of one of the images. The image of Aeneas carrying his father away from Troy to found Rome may be representative of Aeneas bringing the traditions, wisdom, and way of life of the old State to the new State he will found. The old state was crumbling, losing its sight and hearing in the way that a centralized government does when it grows too large or too secure in its power. The State is vulnerable to death, and must be taken — like a cutting from a tree — to grow and regain its health in new soil.

Roman art is found in our older architecture, such as capital buildings and learning institutions. It’s also found on our money, not only in the borders, but in the style of portrait busts that commemorate our founding leaders. In Roman art, Rome itself was represented by the figure of a beautiful woman, and Americans often associate their country with the statue of liberty.

America is one of the greatest powers in the world today, as Rome was in its own day. As a monetary power, our culture is exported and emulated all around the world. Our government consists of a council of elders, as in the Roman Republic. Yet we also have a president with veto power, as with Emperor Augustus in the Early Empire. America is generally welcoming to anyone who legally immigrates, no matter what your genes are or your god looks like, “welcome to America, pay your taxes.’ We both see our national character as fantastic — despite having some problems. For both of us those problems include running out of viable candidates for the military. A couple other problems that faced Rome when it was declining – and America now – are the loss of value of family and the loss of religious belief and behavior.

We have a class system, as the Romans did, but unlike them we have a middle class between the Plebs and the aristocracy. In Western culture we know that it is possible (yet statistically improbable) for a person of lower economic class to move upward to a higher tax bracket, just as you could in Roman culture. It just takes a strong will, hard work (or a catch phrase), and luck.

Rome built a great system of roads, we do the same. Their roads were for common use by traders, and for easier access to conquered lands. Our roads are more for common use by traders. We also share a knack for building multi-level shopping spaces such as malls for trade.

Like the Early Roman Empire, our government provides food and encourages engaging in entertainment so that the Plebs don’t become restless and revolt. By providing a set amount of food stamps to people of low economic status, the use of activism to change the government is disincentivized and the desire to move up in economic status is slowly killed. We each have a miniature version of the Colosseum in our living rooms to keep us complacent with entertainment: a television — or another type of screen. Entertainment is something that triggers our brains to produce reward chemicals, which is what happens if we watch our favorite team win the Superbowl, or our favorite gladiator kill some Christians. If we become dependent on a source of dopamine and seritonin, we will work to earn money to keep purchasing the reward — a Hulu subscription for instance. Subsequently, we remain complacent and pay our taxes.