Ancient vs. Modern Violence: Julia: A Romance:
Two Cheops Books LLC editors, Gary Bennet and Kay Bognar will debate the issue of the modern versus ancient violence on Monday at 2PM on the Cheops Books Facebook Page. Gary will present the modern point of view. Kay will argue for the ancient point of view found in the novel Julia: A Romance which is being published on Amazon Kindle on April 9. You are all invited to join the group with prizes available for winners.
Here are the five questions under discussion. The novel concerns the time period of Sulla in the first century B.C., but the discussion will be a little more far ranging than that to prove a point:
1)Compare/Contrast the Battle of the Somme in WW1 with the Battle of Cannae in the Second Punic War. Which was more violent? Which had more lasting implications?
2)Compare/Contrast Sulla’s victory over Athens to Hitler’s move into the Sudetenland.
3)Compare/Contrast Sulla’s victory over Athens to Hitler’s move into Poland in 1939 that precipitated Britain’s declaration of war. Which was more lasting and permanent?
4)Compare/Contrast Titus’s expulsion of the Jews from ancient Israel to the solutions in the current problems in the Middle East. Who acted more serious?
5)What do you think causes this big difference in violence and philosophy of warfare in ancient Rome versus nowadays?
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Roman Army More Destructive Than Atomic Bomb:
We read about Scipio Aemilianus, head of the Roman army, weeping at the end of the Third Punic War as he stood by the historian, Polybius, and supervised the systemic burning and destruction of Carthage. The last 50,000 citizens presented an olive branch to the Roman army and marched out of the doomed city to a life of slavery. Aemilianus quoted Homer about Troy. But Oppenheimer on July 16, 1945 when he watched the first nuclear explosion quoted Bhagavad Gita: “Now I am become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds”. The atomic bomb is supposed to be the ultimate weapon destroying more than anything else. But really the Roman army at Carthage after the Third Punic War destroyed more —- and they didn’t even have guns or explosives at all!
Rome and the Roman army took apart a whole civilization and obliterated all traces of it. Nothing survived for very long, not even the art or culture after the last ruler of Carthage committed suicide and his wife threw her children into the flames and then leaped into the flames herself. But after World War 1 and World War 2 the defeated parties not only survived but prospered and in very short order, too. The United States and Britain didn’t burn all the German cities to the ground and enslave whole populations. Germany and Japan came right back after the war and became economic engines again. Rome and the Roman army would never have permitted this with Carthage.
We are commemorating the 100th anniversary of World War 1. Europe cannot get over the Battle of the Somme and other similar battles losing thousands of men. But Rome and the Roman army suffered more during the Second Punic War, especially during the Battle of Cannae, and got over it very quickly. Nor did it make Rome hate war and want to avoid it at all costs.
This attitude that somehow the past was more peaceful and the present more violent needs to be re-examined. It doesn’t fit the facts. The Punic Wars seem more horrible than either World War 1 or World War 2.
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