Looking for something to entertain myself with while I packed, I came across Mike Duncan’s The History of Rome. With short episodes (most about 15 min) and a depth of knowledge I quickly became hooked.
His 2nd episode, Youthful Indiscretions, covers the “life” of one of the mythical founding brothers of Rome, Romulus. Towards the end he highlights how Romulus likely wasn’t an actual person and yet so much of Rome’s beginnings are told as if this individual the key contributor
Mike relates this to George Washington, in how Washington’s fame has replaced our awareness of other important figures in US history. Such as Horatio Gates, who according to Mike, helped secure French support and thus a critical contribution to the fledgling nations success in the revolution.
Would we one day only remember Washington? In place of even other famous founding fathers like Hamilton, Madison and Jefferson?
Could, one day, US history look like Roman history? Where we no longer know The “whos”, “what’s” and “whys” of history and only know of the legendary hero Washington, who in a single crossing of the Delaware River, wrote the complete Constitution and upon landing grew the first great US cities from a handful of seeds of a fallen cherry tree?
Maybe we’re already on our way considering how little we seem to know about our own history. There’s much we could take away from this, but in the least, I’d hope we’d recognize that we don’t know as much as we think we do. We should be slow to assume we know the answer, and be willing to research before we react. It might be better to first assume No One Knows, and be more comprehensive in our understanding of past and present events.