“What have the Romans ever done for us?”*
* quote from “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” (1979)
by Terry Gilliam
The European Union is the only one in history that comprises democratic and liberal values. After centuries of war, it was possible to create a solution in order to establish peace between the countries of the European continent. However, 2000 years ago, the Roman Empire already possessed a similar model. The Ancient Rome created a political and cultural union that became the longest Empire in History. Analysing how Romans unified Europe, the parallelism with the European Union is evident. In this audiovisual, the similarities between both are represented: the creation of a single currency; the open boundaries (e. g. “Pax Romana”) – that allowed free movement of trades and citizens from various cultures – and the creation of a political system – laws and parliament.
«The decline of Rome was the natural and inevitable, effect of immoderate greatness. Prosperity ripened the principle of decay; the causes of destruction multiplied with the extent of conquest.»
— Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, “General Observations on the Fall of the Roman Empire
Yet, just as Gibbon says, prosperity may lead to decadence. “Luxury” or comfort that the Roman people lived with is comparable to our equally comfortable and “sedentary” culture of nowadays, preferring virtuality to action. With Brexit, many other countries consider the possibility of leaving the EU. Hence, we question if, like the Roman Empire, we are on the brink of the fall of a Union.