Sunday, June 19, 2011

Spectacular, Unspoiled Ruins

The Roman Empire lasted about 500 years and ended in 476 A.D. when the emperor abdicated to a Germanic warlord. At its height during the reign of Emperor Trajan (98-117) the empire encompassed 6.5 million square kilometers.

"Because of the Empire's vast extent and long endurance, the institutions and culture of Rome had a profound and lasting influence on the development of language, religion, architecture, philosophy, law, and forms of government in the territory it governed, particularly Europe, and by means of European expansionism throughout the modern world."

Time magazine has a wonderful series of 7 images taken at Leptis Magna, a Libyan port city on the southern Mediterranean coastline. The ruins contain some of the best vestiges of this once mighty civilization.

How vulnerable are these ruins to the current confrontation between NATO forces and the dictatorial rule of Muammar Gaddafi?
(Pictured above is Medusa's Head, at a site considered "one of the most spectacular and unspoiled Roman ruins in the Mediterranean.")

One hopes the pristine condition of many of the ruins, which have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites, will be left untouched for posterity.