Monday, June 14, 2004

Welcome to the Rostra

First, a bit of history with which you may well be familiar. The Rostra is the latin term for the speaker's platform that sat in the ancient forum romanum, the Forum of the ancient city of Rome. The name 'Rostra' is the plural form of 'Rostrum,' which was the name for the heavy, oak beak on the bow of war galleys used to ram other ships. In 338 B.C., the consul Gaius Maenius defeated the Volscian fleet in the harbor at Antium, and mounted the rostra of the captured enemy ships on the wall of the speaker's platform in the forum. From then on, the platform was known as 'the Rostra.' From the rostra, interested members of the various Roman orders, consulars, senators, and businessmen-knights gathered to listen to Rome's best orators and discuss matters of public business. From the Rostra politicians' careers were made or broken, while in the Forum public opinion was influenced and formed. Frequenters to the Forum waited to hear the pronouncements of the Senate read from the Rostra, public debate and discussion to follow. News of military victory or defeat, the results of elections, and news of the health of the grain supply all echoed through the Forum from the Rostra. Greats from Marcus Tullius Cicero to Gaius Julius Caesar spoke from that platform. It was the center of public deliberation, and the center of the Roman Republic.

Holding no such pretentions but in that same spirit do I begin this weblog.

Current events will be highlighted and discussed with a view to exposing error and bringing out truth. Through the dual lenses of history and political philosophy, and with a firm belief in the concepts of Truth and the Good (two things too often lacking in modern political dialogue), I hope to get my readers thinking about what really is, and how it differs from what ought to be. For wherever there is an 'is', there is an 'ought'. I hope you enjoy this space, and please spread the word!

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