How Will California Survive the End of America’s Empire?

A Trip to Rome Offers Old Lessons, Young City Officials, and Inspiration for How to Rebuild Democracy on Imperial Ruins

How will California survive the end of the American empire?

The question might seem hypothetical, but I found it inescapable last week in Rome, where I was running a global forum on the future of direct democracy. Our forum’s mission, on its face, was hopeful: Hundreds of participants, from 80 countries, discussed how to make the world’s democracies more participatory through initiatives, referenda, and other tools.

But each morning, as I left my budget hotel, I found myself picking through the less-hopeful remains of the fallen empires that lay directly in …

Why I’m Staying in Rome, Even While It Crumbles 

A British Novelist Will Remain in the Eternal City Because of What Its Past Can Teach About Surviving the Present

When I tell Romans I have been a resident of their city for the last 16 years and have no desire to live anywhere else, they’re often a little baffled. …

Why Are There so Many Statues of Men on Horseback?

Since the Time of Marcus Aurelius, It's Been Viewed as the Perfect Combination of Power and Virtue

Statues are created to project meaning. Contemporary public artworks, for example, use purposely veiled messages aimed to generate thoughtful exchange with the viewer and to prompt reflection. By contrast, historic …

In Rome, a New Kind of Sanctuary Is Growing

Rooted in the Humane Treatment of Migrants, the Baobab Experience Provides Shelter Despite Significant Hurdles

The Baobab Experience, inspired by the strong African tree whose long roots can stretch far away and, for us, even across continents and cultures, is the name chosen for a …

Almost Any Politician in a Democracy Is a Bit of a Demagogue

A Classicist, a Historian, and a Rhetorician Talk Trump, Clinton, and Cleon

There’s plenty of nastiness in our democracy. But is there anything new?

For all the fear and consternation about the lies, insults, conspiracy theories, and rhetorical excesses of the 2016 presidential …

An Engine of Serendipity in the Eternal City

Who Needs Gelato When You Can Visit the British School at Rome?

Some scholars make straight for the Capitol, to sit on the steps where Edward Gibbon first conceived the idea of writing The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Others …