Friday, January 13, 2017

First Paragraph

An American soldier posted in Anbar province during the twilight war over the remains of Saddam's Mesopotamian kingdom might have been surprised to learn he was defending the westernmost frontiers of the ancient Persian empire against raiders, smugglers, and worse coming from the eastern reaches of the ancient Roman empire. This painful recycling of history should make him - and us - want to know what unhealable wound, what recurrent pathology, what cause too deep for journalists and politicians to discern draws men and women to their deaths again and again in such a place. The history of Rome, as has often been true in the past, has much to teach us.

- From The Ruin of the Roman Empire by James J. O'Donnell

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