Roman, romantic, Romanesque. Words have a history. Meanings twist and turn, perform backflips even. A romance was a story written in Latin rather than Frankish. It reflects the tension between Mediterranean Europe and the Germanic lands, across the Alps to the North-East.
But we have forgotten these old meanings and in art, romanticism is thought to be the opposite rationalism: swirling curves v pure geometric shapes (circle, square & triangle). Roman law, architecture & engineering have greatly influenced the modern world. They are thought of as being on the rational, pragmatic side of that imaginary divide, as opposed to the emotional, romantic impulse.
But what of Roman religion? Surely paganism is full of superstition, shady archetypes of the Jungian subconscious? Maybe so, maybe not. In some ways it may be more rational to think of the gods as emotional creatures, falling in love, becoming jealous. Humanity writ large, the good and the bad.
In the last post I…