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Return of the Roman

Knowledge of Latin may be in decline, but novels, films and documentaries about the Romans have never been more popular. We are still dimly, unconsciously, aware that our culture grew out of classical civilisation

By Allan Massie   November 2006

In his short book “The Future of the Classical,” Salvatore Settis, director of the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, writes that “the marginalisation of classical studies in our education systems and our culture at large is a profound cultural shift that would be hard to ignore.” At the same time, he asks: “What place is there for the ancients in a world… characterised by the blending of peoples and cultures, the condemnation of imperialism, the end of ideologies, and the bold assertion of local traditions, and ethnic and national identities in the face of all forms of cultural hegemony? Why…

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