In 509 BC, the Roman Republic was born. The Romans established a republic, a government in which citizens elected representatives to rule on their behalf. A republic is quite different from a democracy, in which every citizen is expected to play an active role in governing the state. This is the governmental model America’s Founding Fathers chose to emulate.

Because of the close similarities between Rome and America some use it as a model to predict what the fate of America may be. Is America fated to fall and repeat the same mistakes as those of the Roman Republic? Here today on Educate For Life, Kevin has as his guest Professor Edward Watts.

Professor Watts received his PhD in History from Yale University in 2002. His research interests center on the intellectual and religious history of the Roman Empire and the early Byzantine Empire. His first book, City and School in Late Antique Athens and Alexandria (University of California Press, 2006), explains how the increasingly Christian upper class of the late antique world used a combination of economic and political pressures to neutralize pagan elements of the traditional educational system.

His second book, Riot in Alexandria: Historical Debate in Pagan and Christian Communities (University of California Press, 2010), uses Greek, Latin, Coptic, and Syriac sources to reconstruct an Alexandrian riot that erupted in 486 AD. Riot received a 2010 PROSE Award Honorable Mention in Classics and Ancient History. His third book, The Final Pagan Generation (University of California Press, 2015) offers a generational history of the men born in the 310s that traces the experience of living through the fourth century’s dramatic religious and political changes. It was awarded the 2015 Phi Alpha Theta Best Subsequent Book Prize. His fourth book, Hypatia: The Life and Legend of an Ancient Philosopher (Oxford University Press, 2017) recounts the life of an important female philosopher whose work redefined philosophy and whose death resonated as a symbol of dramatic religious and social change in the early fifth century. He is also the author of Mortal Republic: How Rome Fell into Tyranny (Basic Books, 2018).

This episode first aired on Mar 2, 2019

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