Does history repeat itself? Many people have asked this question over the years, but it seems more relevant as interested parties look to the past for answers to solve our seemingly increasing mess of problems in the modern world. If the goal of studying history is to learn from the past and avoid making the same mistakes, there is perhaps no better topic to learn about than the ancient Roman Republic. The downfall of the once durable and effective democratic institution is worth studying and is an important tale that can teach lessons relevant to virtually every element of modern life, from politics to economics to everyday social life.
This is Part I in a series on the downfall of the ancient Roman Republic. It goes over the basic structure of the Roman democracy, some of the features that were built into the system, and takes a look at how and why the system was effective.
What can a guy who spent much of his day naked in public as he heckled bystanders from his perch in a bath tub teach us about philosophy and history? Quite a bit it turns out. Known as "the dog" for his shameless and strange behavior, Diogenes the Cynic is one of the most widely revered of the Ancient Greek thinkers and one of the first philosophers of cynicism. Analyzing his life can lead to important lessons on moral virtue, happiness, freedom of speech, self-sufficiency, mental and physical toughness, endurance, humor, and materialism.