Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Roots of American Order Book Club

Chapter IV - Virtue and Power: The Roman Tension

This week's book club topic coincides with the Ides of March and I am entertained by that fact.  In celebration, I shall re-watch a recent film so named.*  As a former congressional staffer/campaigner, I can not only relate to the drama but also testify to its plausibility.

But first my acrostic of the assignment.

Origins = Etruscan kings whose subjects modeled high virtue, thereby conquering nations on 3 continents and establishing Pax Romana.

Republic = Cicero's famous writings that informed American Founders on juridical doctrine as they sought to write our American Constitution.  It was their required reading.

Divine mission was idealized by several Roman writers, especially Virgil whose key concepts of labor, pietas, and fatum sought to make Roman culture an ideal.  I struggled to read the Aeneid in high school Latin class, but my *sieve got wet.*

Exemplar = emperors, rulers and politicians who were examples, archetypes, of heroic leadership, especially Stoic Marcus Aurelius, a reforming conservative very familiar to our Founders.  The lists of suggested readings by chapter plus the footnotes and end notes alone make The Roots of American Order an invaluable resource.  Who knew Anthony Trollope wrote about Cicero?

Ruins =  reminders, beautiful and stately as they are, that failings in the order of the commonwealth coupled with certain deficiences in the inner order of the soul spell disintegration.  Kirk gives specifics in this final section that eerily correlate to current times.  May we not be doomed to repeat history.

Bonus photo is of my nephew and his beautiful wife who are stationed in Italy and had the chance to visit Rome.  

I'll bet those ruins are speaking loudly to this US Army soldier.


I wonder if he's read any of Marcus Aurelius's Meditations?

Perhaps watching Charlton Heston in Julius Caesar would be more fitting (instructive). 

Added Later:  I ended up watching the 1953 version with Marlon Brando.

And here's the link to our moderator's synopsis of The Roman Tension.

*warning-bad language


  1. Dana I love how the form you have chosen for your entries allows you to so neatly summarize the best points! I meant to tell you that last week, but I was having Internet problems...

  2. Thanks, Brandy!

    There is just so much information flowing forth that I dont want to get tangled up in too many details. A mnemonic in the only way I can remember.

  3. Each chapter I kind of panic about how to tie it all together without just repeating what was said. I love how you are doing this. It is easy to read and yet gives your perspective also. And no need for us to postpone chapter 5. I have caught up. Whew, what a week!! I am exhausted. I may have another glitch in the form of a little baby girl named Savannah Alexis!!

  4. Georgia Rae and Savannah ~ I love your granddaughters' names!!

  5. glad you're caught up, Cindy. It's amazing what you accomplish!

  6. I finally caught up with this chapter. Your synopsis is helpful! The last section with the shell of a city was eerily reminiscent of today.

    1. Do continue, Dawn. Plod through even if you dont absorb (remember) everything. Kirk's survey will undergird just about everything you will be doing/teaching with your children.