Tuesday, 8 November 2011

little golden book or mihi causas memora

Virgil’s epic the Aeneid, the founding story of the Roman Empire that began with a lieutenant’s escape from burning Troy, carrying his infant son, Ascanius, in his arms and his elderly father, Anchises on his back, as well as a bundle of household gods, wandering journey from Phrygia to Italy, battles with the Latins and eventual status as forbearer of the Roman people, presents a rich allegory, with some powerful, contemporary points of correspondence (for what it’s worth, as the latest tragedies are not, in the grander scheme of adventure and mythological, really all that legendary) with the current Greco-Roman marketplace.

It is remarkable how cultural tenants migrate and are adopted and re-imagined, like gods and heroes both transplanted and devised. The Church and State of the Romans is not just derivative of the culture and learning that the Greeks, nor it is a fair characterization that a Roman exodus realized the more perfect expression of Greek accomplishment. Art, artifice and traditions transmitted certainly do evolve and have become a frenzy of norms and nomos, but are more than just spillage, contagion and viral ideas. Money and trade tend to simplify and compartmentalize matters that have grown beyond all public bounds, yet are smaller and more personable as ever they were. Italy’s burgeoning crisis of confidence is not some impossible Hydra but rather nothing more than a relatively strong (third largest in Europe, compared to Greece, which has the industrial output of the German state of Hessen) economy called stagnant because growth (exports, consumer demand, investment sleight-of-hand) has failed to keep pace with borrowing’s legacy of interest payments. Endless regulation and stimulus (coaxing, invention—if honest) cannot do much for contentedness and thrift. That chimera, a new mythological foe, is something that a lot people the world are coming to face but it is no burden borne over the Aegean.