2015 | oil on canvas, 100x100cm
Rome has had no rival in the art of government. The Roman state committed a thousand political crimes; it built its edifice upon a selfish oligarchy and an obscurantist priesthood; it achieved a democracy of freemen, and then destroyed it with corruption and violence; it exploited its conquests to support a parasitic Italy, which, when it could no longer exploit, collapsed. Here and there, in East and West, it created a desert and called it peace. But amid all this evil it formed a majestic system of law which through nearly all Europe gave security to life and property, incentive and continuity to industry, from the Decemvirs to Napoleon.
Will Durant, The Story of Civilization. Volume 3: Caesar and Christ (1944).
Photo c Josef Schauer-Schmidinger / die Angewandte