"What Rome was capable of, the achievement of her empire shows. The Roman character had great qualities, great potential strength. If the people had held together, realizing their interdependence and working for a common good, their problems, completely strange and enormously difficult though they were, would not, it may well be believed, have proved too much for them. But they were split into sharpest oppositions, extremes that ever grew more extreme and so more irresponsible. A narrow selfishness kept men blind when their own self-preservation demanded a world-wide outlook.
History repeats itself. The fact is a testimony to human stupidity. The saying has become a truism; nevertheless, the study of the past is relegated to the scholar and the school-boy. And yet it is really a chart for our guidance - no less than that. Where we now are going astray and losing ourselves, other men once did the same, and they left a record of the blind alleys they went down. We are like youth that can never learn from age - but youth is young, and wisdom is for the mature. We that are grown should not find it impossible to learn from the ages-old recorded experience of the past."
- Edith Hamilton, The Roman Way