The rise and fall of ancient Rome is one of the greatest stories in the history of the world. From a group of settlements huddled along the Tiber in Italy, Rome rose to conquer much of the Mediterranean world and Europe. At the height of the Roman Empire, one in every five people in the world lived within its territory. For Americans, Rome’s unlikely ascent, spectacular ambitions, and gruesome decline have provided endless fuel for our national self-examination. Is the United States an empire? Are empires good or bad? What makes great civilizations decline and fall—and how can America avoid that fate? This talk will explore the great American question—”Are we Rome?”—and show why this ancient empire continues to fascinate our very modern nation.
Caroline Winterer is William Robertson Coe Professor of History and American Studies, as well as the Department Chair, at Stanford University. A Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians, she also is a recipient of an American Ingenuity Award from the Smithsonian Institution for mapping the social network of Benjamin Franklin. She is the author of several books, including American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason and her latest entitled Time in Maps: From the Age of Discovery to our Digital Era.