Why is Rome called the Eternal City?

by Mike on March 19, 2010

Rome was known as the Eternal City even among the ancient Romans themselves. It was so called because the Roman people thought that no matter what happened to the world, no matter how many other empires might rise and fall, Rome would go on forever. Tibullus (54-18 B.C.), Roman elegiac poet, and Ovid (43 B.c.-iy AJX), one of the greatest of the Latin poets, as well as other Roman writers, refer to the city as eternal, and the thought is expressed in many official documents of the Empire in later days. In Vergil’s Aeneid Jupiter tells Venus that he will give the Romans imperium sine fine, “an empire without end.” The phrase was popularized by The Eternal City (1901), a novel by Hall Caine that deals with a Utopian state in Rome. “Rome was not built in a day” in one form or other is a very old saying. It is found in Latin as early as the twelfth century, and Pier Angelo Manzolli, Latin poet, quoted it in Zodiacus vitae about 1543, while John’ Heywood included -it in his collection of English proverbs in 1546. The saying, of course, refers to the fact that Rome was of slow but steady growth, that many centuries were required to make it the chief city of the world, and that great things are not achieved without much patience and effort. Rome was. the accumulation of the products of knowledge, art and war for innumerable generations. Augustus Caesar is reputed to have said on his deathbed: “I found Rome brick and I leave it marble.” Claudius Clau[406] “”"”Roman power slowly built, an unarmed traitor instantly overthrew.” In 1646 Sir, Thomas Browne wrote as follows in his Vulgar Errors: “It crosseth the proverb, and Rome might well be built in a day, if that were true which is traditionally related by Strabo; that the great cities, Anchiale and Trasus, were built by Sardanapalus, both in one day, according to the inscription of his monument.”

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