Friday, April 18, 2008

What did the Romans ever do for us?

The Edithvale wetlands can be a truly lovely place, particularly on mornings when a light mist hugs the ground and sun spotlights the treetops. I was walking along basking in the wonder of it all when my commune with nature was interrupted by a long column of school children.
There were hundreds of them, stretching out as far as the eye could see. Further, I discovered as I rounded the corner at the golf course and beheld a never ending stream of them crossing the bridge. It would seem the entire student body of a local primary school was heading out for the day.
For some reason they reminded me of a Roman army on the march. I think that is exactly what a Roman legion would have looked like. If Romans had been about four foot tall, worn navy blue uniforms and carried water bottles instead of weapons. And had recently been defeated in battle and so were staggering about a bit out of formation. And were not in the least unhappy about their defeat and were laughing and joking with one another and ignoring their centurion’s commands to stay to the left.
Okay, so maybe they weren’t anything like a Roman army on a forced march. But when I saw them that was the first image that sprang to mind.
How impressive were the Romans? It’s been over two millennia since the Empire was at the height of its powers and they are still alive in the mind of a middle aged woman living on the other side of the world in a country they never even imagined existed.
Just goes to show what a mastery of Latin can do for a culture.