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Christopher Cross
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The most captivating of the stories describing Rome’s founding, for me, would be the history of the Etruscans. Perhaps it’s just so viscerally resonant due to their being so mysterious, all the while having been so innovative and prominent. I also thought it very interesting that the English word ‘person’ is ultimately derived from Etruscan mythology. The Rape of the Sabine Women was a fascinating story as well. However, I can’t help but feeling that it perhaps is nothing more than a story. While this is a plausible account, I’m skeptical that this is really what happened. Most likely, it is loosely based in some sort of reality. For example, the reading describes how in the end when push came to shove, the women acted as peacemakers between the Romans and Sabines. Upon first reading this I couldn’t believe that these women would actually resolve to accept their abductors as their husbands, but when I took the time and location into context, and the fact that the Sabines could be sacrificed in the conflict, I suppose it’s possible. No matter, there’s still a fantastic aura about the story; it is a legend after all. As for The Aeneid, I admittedly didn’t read in great depth, but I think I understand the overall idea: wandering Trojan seafarers eventually came to settle in Rome. Like The Rape of the Sabine Women, this is another vaguely interesting story that perhaps is mythologized or embellished slightly, but nevertheless is completely possible, and based in some sort of reality. Such is history, I guess. With that being said, since both of the former stories could have some credibility to them, perhaps different parts of both could be right. I enjoyed all three of them, but will take it all with a grain of salt. I maintain that the Etruscan civilization was the most convincing.
I don’t know that I necessarily have any stereotypes about Italian Americans (not something that was ever really on my radar), but I do have some vague unflattering ideas about Italian-Americans from days of yore. For example, I’ve heard it rumored that Frank Sinatra was involved in or had some ties with the mafia. Whether these accusations are credible – I don’t know – but it’s this idea that Italian Americans were forever involved with some shady, disreputable business that seems to be the prevailing stereotype. Other than Frank Sinatra, the most notable Italian American I can think of is Al Capone. On the other hand, I suppose a stereotype I may more or less harbor towards regular Italians would be that they’re overtly sensual people. For instance, when I think about Italian culture the first thing that comes to mind is food. However, this isn’t a snide remark on behalf of Italian culture, but the musings of one ignorant to Italian culture. This notion was supported when I once read about ancient Greek history. I was reading about how Plato was asked to visit Sicily by an acquaintance. It’s said that there he was repulsed by the Sicilians predominantly sensual lifestyle. In my house we used to rent out a spare room to international students taking ESL classes; one of which was a student from Italy named Enrico. He was a really nice, polite, socially-engaging, and talented person. But I digress, he didn’t demonstrate any sensual excess. The aforementioned ideas are all I could really think of.
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Sep 26, 2015