Book Review – Mediterranean World in Ancient Times

The Mediterranean World in Ancient Times by Eva Matthews Sanford

This was a stiff read but well worth it. There is more than a small amount of wisdom imbedded in the history that reflects on our times. While the comparison is limited due to the differences in condition and environment, the consequences of too much dependence on the government and the loss of “public courage” will eventually lead to disaster.

A view from the early monarchies: “The underlying assumption was that the men were primarily members of the state, and only secondarily individuals with personal rights.”

“We are like dwarfs perched on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more and farther than they, not by the keenness of our own vision or our bodily eminence, but because we are lifted up by their gigantic size.”

“Nippur…was a pilgrimage center for over 2,000 years.”

“In democracies the poor claimed doles and free entertainment as their right.”

Greek unrest – “For the people, having become accustomed to eat at other men’s expense and to depend on the property of others for their livelihood….”

“The proletariat of the third century, accustomed to daily rations of bread, pork, salt and olive oil, would have scorned the cheap grain with which politicians bribed the simple voters of the late republic.”

“As Lactantius said, there began to be more government employees than there were taxpayers.”