Life is full of twists and turns, which is not a surprise to anyone with any age. Mostly, its an adventure with many little and big experiences and surprises. This lockdown, which is a form of imprisonment to some of us, is a time of reflection and contemplation. Thankfully, I have a mainly supportive family to help me from makings bad decisions as well as stupid or hurtful comments. I have just completed my seventh international book and I am currently working on my next project. One might ask: What is the point on keeping on? The point is that life brings pleasure and meaning to life and life can be wonderful, that is, if you keep an open mind and live in the future and not the past. Life in other words, life is a learning adventure in regard to the "life of the mind". Believe or not, I hope to be around to finish this project and to start another project. In the mean time, may I wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving and may God Bless you and yours!
SOCIAL STUDIES DIARY
Civism consists of those publicly stated or declared values and virtues, (the accepted norm of human behavior) that have become recognizable cultural forms expressed within a particular society by its citizens. The forms of society include the stated values and virtues-related to government, religion, law, and social relationships (marriage, family life, manners, and civic conduct). These ideal norms of civism vary according to specific societies, as well as specific historical or cultural settings and times. In addition, civism tends to be elastic, in that the norms of civism associated with a particular society will change as social values associated with a particular society change. These changes can be detected by the rhetoric of political leaders and shifts in public attitudes or the citizens' generally shared outlook.
For the individual, civism is acquired as an important aspect of childrearing in which an internal reality known as the "life of the mind" is created. The "life of the mind" consists of values and virtues that often are triggered by external stimuli. Once this internal world is formed, the individual comes to interpret social, political, and economic experiences, events, and actions from his mind's-eye perspective. This "life of the mind" influences the individual's actions and reactions to various events, crises, problems, and situations. In other words, the influences of the individual's civism are, to some extent, existential, and also generational, and while there are degrees of common or shared understandings, there also are differences.
Thomas L. Dynneson
This new volume is a work in progress, but is a continuation of the newly published work that began this series of three possible volumes related to civism and Roman history. This second volume spans Roman history in general, but then focuses on the Middle Republic. This work contains background related to Indo-European formations and migrations and then address a chapter related to the issues of mythology transfigured into ancient history—a major problem associated with early Roman history. Part Two of this work contains a series of chapters related to the formation of the Roman “constitution”. At this time. The author is working on Chapter Six related the the emergent, development, and institutionalization of Roman law and the role that the law played in the formation of the Roman Empire.
Not understanding the forces of nature, nor possessing the scientific means needed to study the forces of nature, ancient people turned to those “experts” who claimed that they possessed special knowledge regarding natural events. In general these “experts” claimed that they could communicate with Read More
The book authored by Sybille Hanes contains an extensive collection of photographs (almost a complete inventory) of the items of the material culture of the Etruscan civilization. In general, it should be noted that items related to the material culture Read More
Ceserani has authored a very complex book that explores two complex issues: Read More
This book by Mary Beard is a very ambitious work in that its content covers the entire span of Roman history from the founding of Rome, the founding of the Roman Republic, the advent of the Imperial Empire, to the “end-game”. The Roman Senate, Read More
The “best five” books listed and described in this article present a subjective response to the request for this article. The author’s “best five list” is based on reading and research associated with his research related to his work on an up-coming publication. In other words, there are, without doubt, Read More
• Content – Content is related to the substance and the quality of information contained in each book. The determination of quality is, in part, the author’ subjective judgment. This judgment, to a degree, is based upon years of reading, contemplating, and writing, as well as the author’s experience with a large number of sources, both ancient and modern. Authors who were judged to be experts in their respective specialties related to Roman history wrote the five books listed in this article. This expertise was demonstrated by their mastery of content and sources. An important factor related to content is the ability to write coherently so that the content presented is accessible to the reader.
• Interpretation – Interpretation is related to the application of logic and judgment to provide the reader with a reasonable explanation of how the various events have influenced historical trends. Most authors generally strive to understand the social, economic, and political forces that often produce attitudes and beliefs in almost any culture, and it is generally accepted that attitudes and beliefs motivate social behavior. Mainly, authors strive to explain relationships as they pertain to those leaders who help to shape historical consequences. In addition, authors provided their readers with data and important elements of information that provide the reader with insights into historical outcomes.
• Structure – Historical forms of writing require authors to participate in researching accumulating reliable sources of information in order to shape their data. Data and various forms of information are structured by the author to provide the reader with a logical presentation in narrative form. The major task of the author is related to organizing and ordering events in a logical manner to guide the reader in a topical or chronological exploration of the narrative. For this writer, history is a form of literary craftsmanship in which the written text of the author(s)’ case study is found in making sense of past events. It is a form of a continuing dialogue that always is open to reinterpretation. These future reinterpretations of Roman history, undoubtedly, will be based upon the discovery of new content, a reinterpretation of old and new source materials, and/or the restructuring of the content according to new and varied patterns. Read More
As any student of ancient history soon discovers, there are virtually thousands of books related to the study of Roman history. The earliest sources to survive the ravages of time (well over two thousand years) are almost non-existent and what has survived is incomplete. The surviving sources are the one hundred and forty two patriotic books (ancient books were in the form of scrolls and not bound books) and the books of Dionysius of Halicarnassus (early Greek historian), Dionysius’ surviving chapters and fragments of chapters also suggest a Livy influence. These two ancient authors also are supplemented by what remains of the writings (yearly lists) of the annalists. Many of the other early written works of Greek and Latin historians are lost, except some parts surviving in fragment form, or they survive only in later secondary references.
Over the twenty-one centuries since the collapse of the Roman Republic, thousands of works have attempted to reconstruct the early history of Rome, which is a troublesome task. Roman history, beginning with Livy (and to some extent) Dionysius, is clouded in myth, reckless invention, and some total fabrications. Dionysius is somewhat better than Livy, but he, too, is submissive to Greek mythology related to the trials of Hercules.
In addition to the above problems, it appears that every epoch from the Middle Ages on the evolution of western civilization is marked by some attempt to recreate their own interpretation of Roman history (from the perspective of their own times, and contemporary historical concerns). These attempts at the recreation of Roman history have continued into the scientific age of western scholarship. In recent years, much of the efforts of modern historians and related scholars have fortified their reinterpretations of Roman history from the perspective of new discoveries, many of which have been derived from modern archeological fieldwork associated with ancient Roman sites.
Archeology, while helping to clarify many issues and questions, also has produced many disagreements. This reality might cause some to be tempted to declare the futility of attempting to discover “truths” related to Roman history. In reality, the re-examination of Roman history by contemporary authors has provided a clearer picture of the evolution of Roman society, especially in recent years. Some scholars have been able to shed new light on the emergence of Latin and Roman culture, as it was derived from Greek and Etruscan influences.
Other scholars have been able to provide missing links of culture coming by way of sea-trade into Latium. Studies related to Roman expansion have been by fortified by a better understanding of Roman engineering and road construction. Intellectual and philosophical works have shed new light on the structures of Roman government and new interpretations in clarifying the actual social relationships between the “so-called” orders (patricians versus plebeians), including the role of religion in empowering the aristocracy. The end-result of intellectual endeavor, grounded in scientific fieldwork, has opened a new day of contemplation and understanding related to the formation of western civilization. Read More