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Tuesday, April 6, 1999

Walked - 1 miles

I read today a mystery and a historical novel about ancient Rome. And we think we have problems? It was held together with slaves who did all the work, gladiators who entertained the masses with their deaths, and a level of intrigue and murder that we could never imagine.

I wonder if people who say we are worse off now than ever have ever read any history. Even in third world countries, most people are better off than people were hundreds of years ago. A very high number of people were slaves and had no rights and really no life. They lived in terror of their lives in most cases as their owner could dispose of them at will. Even the ones that were not slaves lived at the whim of the nobility, who were basically the ones that were the most ruthless and brutal.

Most men had few rights and women had none. In some cultures women were treated with more respect than others but usually only they kept in their place. If there was no work, you starved to death. If you couldn't pay a debt, you rotted in filthy prisons. If your Lord said you got to march into battle where you would probably die, you marched. The peasants always went in front of the dashing knights and died first.

I enjoy reading historical novels, but you have to understand that they've been prettied up. Even so, they give a more personal flavor to history than you get from the formal history books.

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Rachel Aschmann 1999.
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