When in Rome...

Between work, spending time with my partner and planning a wedding, I haven't taken too much time to devote to the reading, but I've finally made it through the first chapter, a whopping 64 pages, of Mr. Mommsen's The Provinces of the Roman Empire. I have to say it's just as exciting as I had imagined it to be. Though the language isn't really difficult, I find my mind wandering away from the text, and this forces me to reread sentences and paragraphs. With my limited 8th grade understanding of world geography and a complete unfamiliarity with the history and important figures of the Roman Empire, I just cannot seem to concentrate on or relate to the subject matter. That's not to say, though, that whatever I do glean from the text I don't find interesting.

The first chapter from Volume 5, Book 8 focuses on the conquests of the Roman Empire past the northern frontier of Italy under the rule of Augustus. Never having been good at memorizing dates and names, I'm overjoyed that I won't have to take a quiz over the information--as I'm sure I'd probably fail it. What I found most interesting, though, was the idea that the Romans, as a nation, felt it their right or destiny to charge into foreign territories and claim them as their own, taxing the inhabitants and setting laws for them to follow. Though I know the Romans aren't the only people to have done so in history, it's difficult to imagine today one country just waltzing into another, occupying it by means of battle, and claiming rule over it. Then again, I guess it isn't too much of a stretch from the United States and its presence in the Middle East.

Anyway, the Romans didn't always have it so easy, especially when it came to the occupation of the province of Germany. Clearly unhappy with foreign rule, the Germans rightfully revolted--sometimes being successful in their attempts and sometimes not. Though I often times found the subject matter hard to stick with while I read, Mr. Mommsen's descriptions of the events and battles, translated to English by William P. Dickson, are detailed and seem to flow at times as if they were a part of a novelized form of history. His word choice too, at times, is particularly admirable, as I sometimes needed to direct my browser to Dictionary.com. I can only hope my next reading won't be quite as laborious...

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