The Roman Character: Confidently Facing the Future, Conserving the Past
ROME NEVER FOUGHT TO IMPOSE a political idea or a religious creed. On the contrary, she left local institutions and manners of thought untouched.
In Rome's imperial expansion, self defence was accounted the first motive; but trade inevitably followed and the first motive was mingled with that of commercial exploitation. True, reasons of safety safety were sometimes alleged in order to hide greed and ambition.
Rome fought to 'impose the ways of peace' and by peace she meant the positive blessings of settled order and security of life and property.
We can't say that a religion such as the old Roman religion promoted greatly the religious development of man; it carried no intellectual appeal and was therefore unable to contribute a theology. But it is certain that with the associations and habits which clustered round its contribution to Roman character was great. Great men were almost canonized for their characters or for their achievements.
To the beliefs and manners of these days we must ascribe that sense of subordination or obedience to exterior power, whether a god, or a standard, or an ideal, which in one form or another - marked the Roman to the end.
To the same source must be traced the feeling for continuity which preserves the constant, assimilates the new and refused to break with the past. For the future could be be faced with greater security if the values of the past were conserved.
The Roman Character: Let this determine what you do and say and think
NO ONE EVER SAID THAT life is fair.
As for you, do you gain strength from Nietzsche's adage ’that what does not kill you makes you stronger’ ? Or do you put your fists in the pocket and boil for the next hour, or days?
If you want to master this day, understand from those that have been and predict those to come.
Do external things distract you? Then make time for yourself to learn something worthwhile; stop letting yourself be pulled in all directions. Remember how long you’ve been putting this off, how many times you have given way to confusion. At some point you have to recognize what world you belong to; what powers rule it and from what source you are made of. There is a limit to the time assigned to you, and if you don’t use it to free yourself, it will be gone and will never return. Everyone gets ONE life. Let that determine what you do and say and think.
Ignoring what goes on in other people’s soul – did anybody ever come to grief that way? No. But if you won’t keep track of what goes on in your mind and what your own soul is doing – how can you not be unhappy.
Concentrate every minute – on doing what’s in front of you with precise and genuine conviction - tenderly, willingly, with justice. Yes you can – if you focus and do everything as if it were the last thing you were doing in your life. Stop being aimless, stop letting your emotions override what your mind tells you – stop being hypocritical, self-centred and irritable.
Then you see how few things you have to do to live a satisfying and reverent life.
The Roman Character: Firm and Righteous Will
The Romans were bound up with the duty laid upon househould and state. Here is to be found the root of that sense of duty which marked the Roman at his best. It might have made him unintersting, but he could become a martyr for an ideal. He did not argue about what was honourable or just; his notions were traditional and instinctive and they were held with an almost religious tenacity. Thus the Roman was hard.
The man of firm and righteous will,
No rabble clamorous for the wrong,
No tyrant's brow, whose frown may kill,
Can shake the strengths that makes him strong
Romans had no sacred writings beyond the formula of prayer; there was no myth-made morality to be undone. The individual's purpose was to establish right relations with the gods, not to speculate about their nature.
The Roman attitude was always the same - Tolerance, provided that no harm was done to public morals and that no attack was made upon the state.