“Eternal Rome” is an ideology positing Russia as a geopolitical bulwark of conservatism against a weak-kneed West (part of Alexander Dugin’s reformulation of Eurasianism theory).
It explains part of the seemingly sudden appeal of Russia to a political party once responsible for McCarthyism — whose acolyte Roy Cohn would later groom Donald Trump for the presidency. Now that the former Soviet Union has out-capitalisted us via kleptocracy and Vladimir Putin has revanched himself all over the globe, our bitter former rivals are embraced by a younger generation that has no memory of the Cold War but sees the former KGB agent as a white strongman in league with theirs to take down the liberals once and for all.
Why is Rome called the eternal city?
The poet Tibullus was the first known to explicitly reference to the idea of a city that would live forever, in his 1st century BC work Elegies. Two of the greatest Latin poets of all time, Virgil and Ovid, riffed on the phrase during the time of Emperor Caesar Augustus. In Virgil’s Aeneid, composed between 29 and 19 BC, he wrote the line imperium sine fine — an “empire without end.”
The vastness of the Roman empire surely gave the nickname its heft. At the time of the Aeneid, Rome held most of modern-day France, Spain, and Portugal, parts of North Africa, the Middle East, and generally a wide swath of territory around the Mediterranean. Nobody thought it possible the empire could even diminish, much less fall. But you know what they say about those whose pride goeth before them…
Eternal city Rome
The theme was continued by Roman historian Livy, author of a massive 142-volume history of Rome. It became so widely known it even appeared in numerous official documents of the Roman Empire itself.
- Roma eterna
- urbs aeterna
- imperium sine fine
- Tibullus — Roman poet
- Caesar Augustus — Roman emperor
- Virgil — Roman poet and author of the classic epic poem The Aeneid
- Ovid — Roman poet
- Livy — Roman historian