Map of the day

Source – Atlas of Prejudice

The World According to Ancient Rome

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The teller of stories says….

The good old times when Britain was the misty backyard of Europe, most Greeks were fiscal conservatives, and Egypt was ruled by Nicki Minaj

Among other things, the Roman Empire is known as the only state in human history that managed to conquer the entire shore of the Mediterranean Sea, whose Latin name was Mare Nostrum. Try to imagine a functioning modern equivalent spanning the same territory! Did you get a brain haemorrhage already?

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As far as we know from historical evidence, the Mediterranean region wasn’t less diverse than it is today. The glue that held the various parts of the empire consisted primarily of nonchalant religious tolerance and a very hands-off approach to local government. Throw a pinch of ethnic inclusiveness (Roman citizenship gradually became open to almost every inhabitant of the empire who wasn’t a slave) and you have a very good argument against the stiff provincialism of modern Eurosceptics like Marine Le Pen and Theresa May.

All this doesn’t mean that the Roman Empire was an example of an immaculate multicultural paradise devoid of prejudice. Trashing your neighbors is (to paraphrase Nietzsche) human, all too human and stereotypes about ethnicities and religions were as widespread as they are today. However, no Roman politician ever thought that segregating a particular group was a good idea. At least not until the appearance of a certain monotheistic religion which was itself rampantly intolerant and extremely dismissive of all others, so it practically begged to be segregated. It was called Christianity. But that’s another story for another map. :)


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