Torch: WI - Page 10

roman culture today

by shir bloch, wjcl 1st vp

The ever-changing American culture, while different from that of ancient Rome, has plenty to thank its ancestor for. The Romans’ sphere of modern influence extends from government to athletics, technology, language, and religion.

As the United States’ government has three branches of government, so did the Romans’: the legislative branch, a senate consisting of 300 of Rome’s wealthiest nobles; the judicial branch, housing six annually-elected praetors who acted as judges; and the executive branch, made up of two annually-elected consuls who acted as kings. The latter, however, had limited power, despite their regality.

Below: Rome's first consuls Lucius Junius Brutus (L) and L. Tarquinius Collatinus.

Just as the POTUS holds veto power over decisions made by our present-day legislative branch, so too could Roman consuls veto each other’s actions.

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Roman influences do anything but stop at government, extending into the sporting world as well. There were four main chariot racing factions, which then broke into rivals of Russatae (Reds) vs. Albatae (Whites) and Venetae (Blues) vs. Parsinae (Greens). These disputes increased drastically in intensity, escalating into hate, violent destruction, and intense competition between racers and fans. Such rivalries are mirrored in the Packers/Minnesota Vikings dispute (we all know which team is better). Attachments to sporting teams based on location or other arbitrary factors traces its roots back to the Romans, whose appropriation of the Greek practice of chariot racing increased the ferocity with which spectators followed it.

Technological modernization in the centuries surrounding the transition from B.C.E. to C.E. led to much of the knowledge we have today, both in that field and others. However, one in particular stands out because of its incredible exploitation of gravity to accomplish a quite necessary task: carrying water into Rome. Aqueducts can be found in the modern world, tell-tale reminders of former Roman conquests, like the architecturally distinct villa. They allowed a steady flow of needed water from mountain reservoirs into cities in order to keep baths, latrines, kitchens, and so forth supplied. This reliable source of clean