The bigger the world, the more the need for rapprochement grows, the more inventively the mind thinks about ways that lead people to people. Today traffic with its spider legs has embraced the whole round globe like a caught fly. The earth shrank beneath him. Every day – in times of peace – in Berlin you have the quotations from the New York Stock Exchange: The cable is doing. The English steel products want to get quickly from Liverpool to Japan; the Panama Canal must let them through. It is the coal industry that brought about all this; she has made the world smaller with her gifts: express steamers, express trains, automobiles, wireless telegraphs, telephones — what a wealth of movement, of the possibilities of communication; plus the cyclists, the planes. Whoever trolls down the country road as an old-fashioned pedestrian hardly ever encounters a farm wagon with trotting horses and nodding whips; the doctor’s wagon with two horses is also missing. The doctor flies out into the villages on his bicycle, even the pastor flies to his branch with his coat flapping in the air. The same road takes me along the railway line; Suddenly signals sound, the honk sounds at the same time. An automobile rattles up behind me, racing the thundering express train on the right; surprised I look up; for there is noise above me too. It’s an airship; it shoots in the same direction in competition. All three have already disappeared. Which of them will get there first? Man sits still, machine runs out of breath. Whole masses of people are thus lifted over rivers and mountains, from ocean to ocean. The wanderer pauses in thought, leaning on his stick; he too suddenly begins to fly, but it is only his thought that flies; the present sinks, the thought carries him into the distant past in no time. So me, and the reader with me. Because nothing is more appealing than comparing. One day the culture[p. 49] Greeks and Romans reached their much-admired heights without any coal industry, and the Roman Empire had combined all of the then educated mankind and a wealth of nations into one great traffic unit. The ancient military road appears before us, Falernian wine and its shipping, the messengers of the Senate, the pleasure traveler who cannot stand it in Rome, the Apostle Paul, whose work would be unthinkable without appropriate means of transport. When Paul wrote letters, they also had to be promoted; if he wanted to go from Jerusalem to Corinth and Rome, a passenger ship had to take him along. Was the ancient transport system sufficient for its tasks? and can it be roughly compared to today  ?
Transport of wine, mural from Pompeii.
(Naples, National Museum.)
Modern traffic life. calm of the south.
We enter the sunny lands of the Mediterranean Sea. There is no haste; everything breathes the calm of the south, of antiquity. People’s affects are lively and hot, while the urge to work is leisurely and loves rest. The road is enlivened by the mule, the team of oxen, and the wheels on the cart squeak, which are heavy wheel discs such as are still to be found in Turkey. This is our first impression. That we today call the locomotive Latin is a foolish circumstance; likewise, velocipede is Latin. But modern Latin; the Roman did not know these words. But the “ cito’ which we used to put on our express letters, Roman heritage; Latin also the “course” of our course books and the “stations”. But as soon as physical science intervenes and brings its inventions, the Greek appears. By “auto” we mean whatever moves automatically. Also “electric” is Greek, Greek “telephone” and “telegraph”; the double syllable “Tele” means to us all long-distance effects in the finite and infinity, and it is therefore surprising that we call our artillery mortar and cannon rather than “Telemach”. For Telemachus, the inventive son of Odysseus, is the one who fights from afar.
Of course, ancient Greece was far too tiny to take any practical action. For in two days a runner ran from capital to capital, from Athens to Sparta  . What more could you ask for? Why cut roads through the wild Arcadian mountains? On the rocky island of Rhodes, no car ever drove at all . The fast runner (the hemerodrome) was Greece’s glory, and it sufficed. However, Greece has provided us with the ideals: it devised the messenger god Mercury, who leaps through the air with his staff and on his winged shoe. That’s why Mercury’s figure still adorns thousands of train stations here today. He is the intelligent messenger, and he delivers all reports only verbally. The goddess Iris, who represents the letter post, is different. Iris darts through the ether like the rainbow, but the god father Zeus does not trust her memory and often gives her his order in writing: letters from heaven that bring every mortal his fate, happy and sad  . It’s the same with letters today.
Greeks, Persians, Carthaginians. Late development of Rome.
Not Hellas, but the great Persian empire of Darius once developed the roads and communications in an exemplary manner. In the book of Esther we read of the evil king Ahasuerus, who reigns there from India to the land of the Moors. The king rises up in anger and on one day sends messengers to all his “one hundred and twenty-seven countries” with the written decree of the persecution of the Jews; each decree in another national language. There we see before our eyes, as short as the words are, the great state organization of the registration system, which at that time extended to Persia and the whole of Turkey. Hence the Persian “Parasangen”, the mile measurement of the roads, and the “Angaren” (horse couriers) of which the old Herodotus speaks to us. The Carthaginians were the disciples of the Persians and then imitated all this early on in their North African lands. The rapid marches and rides of Hannibal and other Punic leaders imperatively presupposed highly developed road construction. The roadless[p. 51]On the other hand, the Greeks, these most genuine seafarers, in competition with the Phoenicians, opened up the sea, which for the swimmer itself is a road. Splendidly beautiful and richly developed was the slender Triere, the Greek warship, darting like a centipede on its oars; more useful the cargo ship, which in the size of our brigs and schooners with high sails and strong masts lay in the waves and moved in long caravans through the water wastes of Poseidon, in exchange for vessels and metal goods, grain and wine, building materials and thousands of raw materials and industrial goods from the mother cities to distant colonies.
How different the Roman people! They were originally water-shy peasants, lazy and immobile to the point of stupor, and learned all those things from active foreign countries only late, when the need became urgent. The time for local guerrilla wars was over; circumstances suddenly forced great achievements, and the Greek intelligentsia immediately helped the Romans. The Greek technicians then did everything. The imperious Roman let others work for him, but he knew how to set goals with political farsightedness and perspicacity. It is characteristic that the proper name “cursor”, the “runner”, only stuck to one Roman family, the Papirians. The historian Livius speaks to us of the Papirius cursor. The self-possessed Roman did not usually like to run; old Papirius was conspicuous by his swiftness of foot .
town gossip. Crier. wall stops. letterboard.
The hilltop city of Rome itself had only a few mobile roads in its interior, such as the “ via lata ”, on which the transports came into the city by axle (the “ sacra via ” was a processional road). One otherwise only walked and climbed through narrow alleys ( clivi and vici ), which were therefore collectively called “aisles”, itinera (from ire ). The city consisted of passageways and a few market places. The idle crowd rallied, as is still the case in the South today[p. 52]is, in certain locations, and she was now also her own messenger and reporter; if something new happened, it roared from mouth to mouth in the city. When the senators deliberate, the crowd backs up in front of the session hall and makes a lot of noise until someone is forced to step out and satisfy their curiosity for the time being. Howling protests rise when an unpopular edict is issued  . There should be a law against women’s luxury; the strict Cato is at work: the women who hear about it gang up at all crossroads, surround the forum so that no male image escapes them, and work on all those able to vote so that the evil proposal falls . Agitation and gossip: this is Roman street life. It is said that a certain Rutilus gave a splendid dinner yesterday, and yet Rutilus is so poor! All those who are idle know this immediately, and reasoning begins in the temple porches, in the thermal baths and hairdressers’ stalls  .
But calling out also replaced the message. Calendaring was difficult; the public had to know what certain dates were in each month; on every first day a priest ( pontifex ) appeared on the Capitol and proclaimed the entry of the “nones” . Then there were the professional criers who were paid by the city, those old-fashioned figures that we saw regularly working on the street corners in our small German towns about 50 years ago, as a substitute for the daily newspaper and local newspaper. In Rome they lacked the bell; they only had their booming organ and not only loudly announced the offers at the auctions, but also more important things: “Tomorrow, you citizens, the solemn burial of the great Aemilius Paulus, who defeated the king of Macedonia; a fable by Terence is played as a funeral play” or: “The gladiators from Capua are here; tomorrow the forum will be strewn with sand for them.” Of course, the senators meet every day in the same forum in Rome, the center of world history;[p. 53]Cicero stands there chatting with Pompejus and Lucullus, cracks his jokes and is happy when Lucullus invites him to dinner: the crier interrupts and shouts: “The session is on!” to discuss the conquest of Gaul or the debts of the young king of Egypt.
But the written procedure also existed. The new official decrees were announced by means of an address on the walls. Just as today the district administrator in the “Bläselet” asks his circle to determine the number of animals available for slaughter or reports that blood lice damage fruit growing and that the authorities must be notified immediately of their occurrence, so the public read that in the notice on the wall new Corn Law or the military contribution that the citizen had to pay from then on. At the close of the year there was in like form an inventory of all the important annual events, from the battles won once more by the Roman to the five-legged calf that was born somewhere in the country, and everyone could take a copy of what as far as he was concerned. Such public notices on walls were called proscriptions. When Sulla opened his manhunt, he announced the names of his victims beforehand in the same way in all the streets of Rome, on the first day 80 names; the following ones were in the hundreds. Thus the innocent proscriptions have become a word of terror; they were “assaults” made by the tyrant on the lives of his fellow citizens.
Archives. The first streets. Telegraphy. reporting service.
So there was a lot to read in urban traffic. But of course you read and wrote a lot more. Personal greetings and wishes were chalked on the friends’ door or on the doorpost, or the slave came into the house with a written message and asked to be allowed to take the answer back with him. The wax tablet was a very important thing and one always had it with one[p. 54]Hand; the servant, without whom no one went out, kept them ready. Everything that was written was perishable quickly, but the places of worship, I mean the outer walls of the temples, were infinitely more important. All the most important documents, the state laws, Rome’s treaties of alliance with foreign peoples, were affixed and hung there in monumental bronze plaques, as if for eternity. There were thousands of such plaques. In the temple fire on the Capitol in 69 AD alone 3000 perished  .
As far as the narrow capital itself. But as soon as the driving interests in life reach beyond the city walls, then the country road becomes necessary and the overland messenger or courier. In the farming country of Italy there were at first only unkempt municipal roads and country lanes or vicinal lanes that led through the farmland from village to village and which the local residents kept in order ., and victorious Rome was content with that for 400 years. Only after conquering the countryside around Naples, the beautiful Campania, did Rome lead the way in 312 BC. BC the first permanently insulated highway that was under government supervision, the famous Via Appia, southwards to Capua. Only in the years 241 and 220 are the Via Aurelia and Flaminia added, both of which only reach north to Pisa and Rimini. Hannibal, who marched into Italy in 218, could already use these roads. Otherwise the Romans remained completely dependent on the old-style village roads, even during the Hannibal Wars with their innumerable marching demands.
But just as untrained, to the point of dullness, was the communications system, the military intelligence service. Reports with beacons, with beacons, are completely or almost completely unknown; The Romans never trained the pigeon mail either, although the pigeons flew around the roofs like swarms of locusts, as they do in Venice today. In the 2nd century B.C. BC invented the brilliant Greek historian Polybius in the service of the first general of the[p. 55]Time, the younger Scipio Africanus, the actual telegraphy in today’s sense of the word. We are well acquainted with the telegraphic system of the Polyb; it was a real anticipation of our Morse code; but it remained on paper and was never used, and 2000 years had to pass before it rose again in a new form. The said great commander simply waved it off. Such a thing was too subtle and complicated for the coarse-minded Roman mind; one would have become too dependent on the serving Greek personnel, where the reports were often secret; because the Greeks would have had to operate the technical apparatus in any case.
Livy’s history shows us how drop by drop and how late the political news reached the capital at that time .. We see the city of Rome from above, as if from an airship. Hannibal has just conquered Lake Trasimeno. A lone messenger appears in Rome with the vague message, and the shock that ensues is boundless. The people are piling up in the market place; the matrons roam the streets in droves. An endless questioning all day. Nobody knows anything. They call for the magistrates who are hiding. It is always the case that governments want to suppress bad news. Finally, when evening falls, the praetor Pomponius really comes out and confesses taciturnly: “We have been defeated in a great battle.” Even he does not yet know anything specific; but the rumor goes: “a consul is dead; Countless the fallen.” Everyone fears for his sons. Meanwhile several days pass; the women station themselves in groups at the city gates to intercept the first fugitive, the first messenger. So, despite the proximity of the battlefield, there was a lack of couriers for days to bring the official report to the state authorities: until finally the expected ones actually come and the endless questioning begins. Of course, fainting and strokes are not missing. In the arms of hers[p. 56]son dies a Roman woman; another is struck by a false report.
legations. forced marches. road safety training.
No better was the mobility of diplomacy abroad at the time. Hannibal besieges Sagunto in Spain; a Roman embassy visits him there to protest. Hannibal doesn’t let her in at all. Then the Roman lords go to Carthage themselves to dig up against him there, because Hannibal has numerous enemies in his hometown. But Hannibal himself immediately sends his couriers, who are much quicker, there, and when the Romans safely arrive in Carthage, the council and the citizenry are already completely processed in Hannibal’s sense .. Shortly thereafter, Hannibal crossed the Ebro and wanted to attack Rome through southern France, through the Gallic country. Roman ambassadors came to the Gauls to prevent this and demanded that the Gauls should not let the Punic army through. She is greeted by roaring laughter. “You are too late,” it says, “Hannibal’s ambassadors were already here; the contract has long been concluded with him, the passage is granted  .” Showy and lazy, that was the ancient Roman character. The barbarians rightly laughed.
But it didn’t stay that way. Just then the Roman learned from the enemy in the greatest need. Hamilcar was called “Lightning”, he was called Hamilcar “Barcas”; Hannibal, his son, was as quick as lightning. But in Scipio Africanus, the elder, a great imitator arose from Hannibal, and through him everything changed. This Scipio was also called “the lightning”  . From then on, the often amazing Roman rapid marches in the field began. For a normal day’s march, Vegetius estimates 30 km in his essay on military affairs  . But Scipio then moved from the Ebro to Cartagena in Spain in 7 days, i.e. 60 km a day . Even if one should not take such statements too precisely, in any case the astonishing speed of movement was henceforth an advantage of many Roman generals; I name Lucull, Caesar, Trajan, the purpose being the unfinished one[p. 57]Surprise opponents like Hannibal did. Certainly Caesar learned this from Lucullus. The horse material was also important. Only since Spain was conquered did people have good horses, and fast riding began, the mounted couriers or relays ( equites citati )  .
Since that time everything has been different. Soon the whole of Italy was provided with model military roads with chaussed roads, and bridge-building and tunnel-building developed in their service. Under the emperors, however, they purposefully cut through the entire world of that time, multiplied a hundredfold, and there were direct, continuous connections for the traveler from Rome to Marseilles, Lyons, Paris; from Marseilles to Toledo; from Rome to Vienna; The road that ran from Lyon via Strasbourg, Ulm, Regensburg, Vienna, always along the Danube, directly to the mouth of the Danube, to the Dobrudscha, was particularly magnificent. It connected the evening with the morning, Spain with the Black Sea, and that connected it to the Euphrates. It is reminiscent of our Baghdad railway. Even in Napoleon’s era, modern Europe had nothing remotely comparable to this road system; I mean those harmless days of trolleys and carriages when our forefathers, Chodowiecki’s contemporaries, provided themselves with pretzels and chops and other food for a full eight days to get from Berlin to Vienna, and suffocated in the flying dust on the deep sandy paths or sink into the mud that splashed up to the coach box.
Gallic carriage. The army a. i.e. March. trains merchantman.
But, strangely enough, the Romans did not train the carting themselves. He took shipping from the Greeks, road building technology from the Punians and Greeks, and carriage from the Gallic barbarians. The Romans only have a few words to describe the chariot. The Gauls were based in the northern Italian plains around Milan, and the most varied and useful forms of carriages were adopted from them, especially this one[p. 58] Traveling chariot ( raeda ) and the convertible ( cisium ). It was even used in Smyrna, in Asia Minor  . The Gallic mules ( mulae Gallicae ) also had the advantage as a covering . In 222 BC BC northern Italy finally became Roman possession; but the Gallic carriage and forwarding business remained settled there even in Caesar’s time. At that time Virgil taunted the freight forwarder Sabinus in Cremona. Above all, however, that Ventidius Bassus is famous, who had the entire transport system for Caesar’s great wars in his hands: an upstart of peasant origin from the area between Venice and Ancona, who even as a young boy had been busy buying mules and wagons in the villages. His forwarding business soon became well known; the Roman lords hired his chariots, and this is how he finally came into contact with Caesar. Then the business went straight into the colossal; Ventidius became the greatest coachman in world history; he even became a senator, consul, even if he still smelled like the stable. One understands the horror of the educated world.
Come here, ye bird and entrail spectators of Rome:
here’s a new miracle like you’ve never seen before.
The professional mule groom is now a consul!
These verses were then read on the street walls of Rome  .
The famous Roman roads were called ” viae “, and ” viae ” comes from ” vehere “, “to drive”. Because of driving the solid insulation. No car could sink in there. Nevertheless, they were military roads and were created in the service of war; but the troops were of course never transported by axis  . They only marched, and it was certainly not easy to march on the hard basalt pavement of the military roads. Even the officers, even the highest commanders, often kept up. They didn’t drive, but they didn’t ride either. Thus, on foot, Marius set out from Rome against the Teutons, Caesar e.g. T. Measure France. It was a general’s glory when he did the same[p. 59]performed like the meanest man. Not otherwise Trajan in Dacia  . It is true that Marcus Aurelius was too weak when he advanced through Transylvania to Bohemia; hence his equestrian statue. He had to ride. Those military roads were not laid out for the troops themselves, but rather for the wagon train that followed the army. If the soldiers left the train behind, they were called expediti , “they go along without feet”; in this way they could move much faster and also on bad roads; And that’s where the “expedition” got its name from, which originally meant short-term undertakings without an inhibiting baggage train  . Nevertheless, a campaign without a train ( commeatus), without the addition of masses of provisions, of equipment and artillery, like a flight without wings, like a locomotive that has no water. We know that today too.
But now the merchant! He also strives beyond national borders. But who will believe that the merchant world felt bound to those model streets? that she wasn’t already wide and active before she existed? War does not open up the world; Commerce creates its own paths, even among cannibals and cannibals, and whether it has to climb the dizzying mule track, push its way through endless forests and bottomless swamps, whether it chases the Fata Morgana with the desert caravan and lets itself be carried by storms across foreign seas . East India, West India, the gold country on the Niger, the amber coast of the Baltic Sea, it was the merchant who discovered them. In order to discover new sales areas and new products to import and to get hold of them, he throws himself into all sorts of dangers. Italy’s main export was its wonderful wine, which thrived in the most varied varieties and in abundance. Many brands were heavily intoxicating, and the barbarian bought them with greed, like the Chinese bought opium. So the wine of Italy came to the Gauls, Spaniards and Germans early on. The river boats, heavily loaded, carried the filled barrels down the Rhone[p. 60]and up the Saône and down the Rhine, and where there were no rivers, the carts came with screeching wheels. The Roman traders established themselves at all the coastal towns, Cartagena, Toulouse, and even in the interior of the conquered regions, formed companies and as such sold the products of the country , processed them, loaded them and took them to Rome, the great consumer and stomach that devoured everything. Of course, the Roman lords did not usually do this in person, but through their freedmen, who had their capital and credit at their disposal and who later became rich citizens themselves.
world trade traffic. Roman roads of the imperial era. The travel.
But not only in the northern countries: in thick masses, like blowflies on the wound, the Roman traders and usurers sat in subjugated Asia Minor. One is amazed to hear that the last great avenger of Greece, Mithridates, had up to a hundred thousand Romans seized and killed there in one day by inciting the anger of the Greeks against them. Carthage, Corinth had to fall, Rhodes, Athens, and Marseilles had to be completely weakened so that the mercatorRome got everything in his hands, and he now threw grain from all fertile regions to Rome, delivered Indian spices and precious stones, timber from the Black Sea, fine wood for cabinet makers from Morocco, masses of slaves from Syria and whatever else the world gave, from Gallic ham to the sublime Greek gods that decorated the promenade and park. Silver mines and lead mines were acquired by the consortia in the provinces, they themselves produced fish stock in Spain for mass shipment, which was done in huge jars labeled “Fish stock of the company” ( garum sociorum ), harvested the weed grass ( spartum), which grew wild in Spain and from which mats and ropes were made, even brought the ancient Egyptian papyrus factories into their hands, etc. Imports in Italy exceeded exports by a hundredfold; but Rome had money and could pay for everything. Big business was based in Rome[p. 61]and nourished and swelled by tremendous usury. The time was to come, of course, when Roman culture in the provinces overtook the motherland of Italy. Then Italy and Rome finally sank into increasing impoverishment. It was like revenge and retribution.
It is easy to understand how this exchange of goods was promoted by the construction of the Roman military roads, which stretched to the farthest reaches. Inexorably searching for people, the road penetrates from settlement to settlement and offers its gifts, satisfies a thousand old needs everywhere and awakens a thousand new ones, like the railway today, and thus binds peoples together to form humanity. Of course, water transport was more convenient and cheaper then than it is today, and the Mediterranean was open to all and willingly carried all loads, provided only a favorable wind swelled the sails. The Mediterranean Sea was the main thoroughfare of the ancient world.
But we’re going to stay in the country for now. The trucks crowded together. But not only the merchant filled the country roads, but also the traveler. Alone the high gentlemen administrative officials who rushed to the provinces with large staff and often changed annually. But health and pleasure travel also flourished; curiosity, too, drove far away; the streets made that possible. There were hardly any muggers or pirates anymore, and you spread your money by strolling through the countries and told wonderful things when you got home. Miraculous healings took place in some temples, and whole pilgrimages went there. Incidentally, the consumptive, like today, liked to go to Egypt or the Riviera. The ancient Romans also used the healing springs of Teplitz, Baden near Zurich and Bath in England. But even these health trips often served the purpose of a fast, luxurious life and the insatiable desire for distraction. One had[p. 62]time, and it was time to kill it. The street was open to traders, it was also open to the idler.
Destinations. Types of wagon. pomp.
The provincials constantly flocked to Rome; that understands; one had to have been to Rome once in one’s life, or one wanted to have seen the Emperor or other famous men like Virgil or Livius. The Roman himself, on the other hand, grazed on all the sights of the Greek cities when he traveled; for he was a Greek enthusiast by education. The Parthenon and Olympia, the Diana of Ephesus, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Venus of Cnidus, the oak tree under which Alexander the Great had camped during the Battle of Charonea, all were carefully visited with the help of guidebooks; of course also the pyramids and sphinxes and sacred ibis birds on the Nile. Hence the Horace poem: Let others praise Rhodes and Mitylene; I love my Tivoli on the rushing Anio river. Why go to Smyrna? the same Horace asks: Whether you are sitting here in Rome or in the most enchanted nest: he who has sound mind is happy everywhere; wherever you are, live in grace!
Along the roads there are stations for changing horses at certain intervals, and there all the heavy trucks and furniture wagons ( plaustra ) groan over land and the carts with timber ( carri ). you stop; because a covered carriage with four horses comes at a trot ( raeda ), a whole family in it, the luggage on the back. Elegant people rush in gilded or silver-shod chariots ( essedum ) with Bedouins leading the way; for ladies is again a special type of carriage (the carpentum) determined, also this beautiful and precious: in it the women go to the service; so Cynthia, the lover of Propertius, driving her own horse to feed the sacred serpent in Lanuvium; she has harnessed two ponies with trimmed manes. But all these vehicles were overtaken by the two-wheeled gig or cabriolet ( cisium ) , which is still so popular in Italy today[p. 63]Fast trotter, often just a simple, open box on two wheels, which was mainly used by business travelers. The nags and muzzles wear horseshoes, but in the form of a complete shoe; They are also not clamped to ropes or into the drawbar fork as they are today, but there is a yoke at the front of the drawbar that they pull.
Once we meet the philosopher Seneca on the country road. The rich man is the champion of stoic sentiments. He is driving there with a friend and a couple of servants, for some reason, without luggage, in a common peasant wagon. But he is ashamed when the elegant travelers from Rome who, e.g. T. certainly knew him personally, meet him on the street, and he is annoyed at his shame. Here they come, driven by fat parade stallions or Spanish racers and tents; they have golden utensils with them to dine in the carriage, and enormous dust whirls up, for fast runners or African pioneers rush ahead of them to make room by force, because the road is jammed with carriages. Young beautiful pages are also driven behind as waitresses, whose face is covered with make-up so that their delicate complexion does not suffer from the sun. “Where to,” exclaims Seneca, “is the time of a Cato, who once contented himself with a single nag?” Cato rode through the country and did not even need the animal completely; because part of it was taken up by the traveling bag that hung down on the right and left of the saddle .
commercial port; merchant ships. Recreational trips of the great gentlemen.
There we see, briefly hinted at, the bustle of the Via Appia, the overcrowding of the Italian country roads. But the Mediterranean Sea was even more crowded, and we finally have a view of the sea. The country road leads the Seneca to Puzzuoli (Puteoli), the great Italian world port of those times, the tourist hostel of the whole world  . About twenty moles stretched out into the sea, solidly walled, between which the ships dropped anchor. Seneca experienced how[p. 64] the ships from Alexandria coming into view there; they are courier ships that report that the great fleet carrying goods from Egypt will soon arrive. On all the piers there are thick crowds of people, crowding around and peering out: the Alexandrian ship type is identified by them; it is recognizable by the type of sails; because no other ships set the topsail ( supparum ) on the route between Kapri and Puzzuoli. Seneca, however, keeps aloof; he is expecting important mail from Egypt, but he restrains his impatience  .
The satirist Juvenal strikes a different note. In his own grim tone, he brings the sea to life for us, comparing the merchantman to the tightrope walker risking his life for money. From Crete comes the brig with bottles full of raisin wine and sacks that smell of spices from afar. The merchant wants to become a millionaire. They all want that. Yes, just look at the sea, how it is full of beams! Most people today live on the water. That’s why the Mediterranean has become too narrow for us; now, past Gibraltar, one drives boldly into the open Atlantic Ocean, where the waves hiss as the hot sun sets in it. The lunatic should be put under guardianship who overloads his two-master with goods to the brim, so that the wave nearly smashes overboard. The man bought grain and pepper together. A thunderstorm is coming. “Loose the anchor line,” he calls anyway; “that little bit of cloud means nothing.” Tomorrow, however, he may have already fallen shipwrecked into the sea and would like to save himself; but he only swims with his left hand because he is holding the money cat with his right hand and his teeth . Indeed, the number of shipwrecked people in the Mediterranean in ancient times was infinitely greater than it is today—as if German submarines were at work there.
In the meantime, let the anger of Juvenal, which is directed against the merchant’s greed for money, fade away. His anger is itself[p. 65]like storm. A real respite was the occasional travel for the great statesmen and generals. After the great victory at Philippi, Mark Antony had at last made it through to become the lord of the Orient; tired of battles, he spent a few months recovering in Hellas and Asia Minor (why shouldn’t he have it as good as others?), watched the famous competitions affably, listened to Greek antiquities, and was cheerful and overjoyed. When the corner city of Megara asked him to visit him and ambitiously showed him its ancient town hall, he said nothing but: “Small, but neglected.” It was difficult to impress the great gentleman. Tacitus tells us more about Antony’s grandson, the lovable imperial prince Germanicus. It is the Germanic fighter of the years 14 to 16 AD. For three years Germanicus had stood in the harsh north, driven his legions to battle through the deep forests and swamps of wild Germania, personally suffered the worst shipwreck on the roaring North Sea when Tiberius sent him to Syria; he was now to administer the East at once. But he took his time; he clearly needed rest and relaxation, and so he first sought out Actium, the memorable coastal site where the naval battle near Actium was fought 50 years ago. He really did find the remains of Antonius’s army camp there, reason enough to dwell on all sorts of gloomy and happy memories. So he also went to Lesbos, because his daughter Julia was born there, went to ancient Troy, which every Roman revered as his original homeland, satisfied his sense of beauty, going on to visit all the wonderful coastal towns of the Greek Sea, and so also to Constantinople (Byzantium), naturally received everywhere like a prince. At Colophon there was a famous place of oracles; in a holy grotto the seer drank from a mysterious miraculous spring before he uttered his prophecies; so also this time, and there the early tragic end of Germanicus is said to have been prophesied[p. 66]be. Yet it was his destiny in the following year (AD 19) to go to the wonderland of Egypt, to hear the fabulously famous colossus of the Column of Memnon ring out at sunrise, and then he went further upstream to Aswan, where the rapids of the Nile, whose vortices did not allow the depth of the water to be measured with a plumb bob  . On the leg of the Column of Memnon, that smashed effigy, there are still many scratched inscriptions, words of Roman travelers who testify gladly that they heard the colossus ring. For centuries people traveled there wonder-seeking to hear that.
hiking and pilgrimage. the mile
How much the high lords covered on foot on such journeys cannot be determined more precisely. But it is important to know that in antiquity, despite everything I have said so far, travel on foot prevailed, and that for the average person traveling on land was a hike, a pilgrimage. Very few could hire a car, and as a result, with the trains of pedestrians and pilgrims, the picture of the country road is now even more enlivened and completed. The journey is called ” iter “; But ” iter ” is “der Gang” in German and initially requires walking; likewise the word “pilgrim”, peregrinari; Unless a vehicle is specifically mentioned, pilgrims never think of driving. And so Horace also tells us that whoever hurries from Capua to Rome on the Appian road in rainy weather arrives covered in feces  ; it is the carriages by which the pedestrian is so spattered. Ausonius describes his trip on the Moselle in his famous travel poem “Mosella”. However, he does not simply board the ship near Trier or Neumagen, but from Bingen a. Rh. he goes out and first wanders alone on foot, and thus not on the Poststraße  , through the forests of the Hunsrück  . So the young poet Persius wrote a collection of poems “Wandering Poems” (ὁδοιπορικά)  , as one can believe., and such[p. 67]We still have a wandering poem; Catullus gives it to us, Carmen 46: it is spring; from the interior of Asia Minor, from Bithynia, where the poet was officially employed with young contemporaries, he strives for the coast, in order to go on from there to Rome, and sings:
Lenz is already bringing the gentle breezes back,
Already in grace Zephyr swings his feathers.
The equinox heavenly storms rest.
It’s time, Catullus, from the voluptuous but hot
Bithynerland to tear you free at last.
To Asia’s coastal places fly now.
My heart is already beating, in a hurry to venture out;
The foot is strong and happily reaching out.
Bye! The union with you colleagues was nice,
who traveled with me. In other ways
You, as I, head towards the homeland.
There we have the foot reaching out! Let us not forget that, as we have seen, the highest commanders of the army often preceded their legions on foot. Catullus says of those who are in a hurry: they choke on their way with greed  . And what did the mile mean to the Romans? It was nothing but a step measure and meant 1000 double steps of the marcher, which are not measured as the crow flies, but only along the course of the road (one calculated according to milia passuum ); the mileage pillars indicated to the pedestrian from place to place how many steps he had behind him and how many he had in front of him. The street was hiking street.
Wandering professions. Apostle Paul. god protection. inns.
So the country road comes alive for us more and more with the most diverse shapes. Because we are now also remembering the ambulatory or itinerant professions. The messengers of Christianity appear before us and their foot carries them from country to country, to all peoples. But not only her. Because there were theaters or amphitheaters in innumerable country towns, the gangs of actors, mimes, and jugglers now move from place to place; as well as the[p. 68] Gladiators, who are hired out by the hundred or more, and give their fencing games here and there to order. But there are also the doctors, who, in order to expand their clientele, willingly and frequently change their location, bringing with them a healer and a pharmacy; there are also the art speakers of antiquity, half preachers, half professors: pulpit and lectern in one. Our Sunday services with sermons didn’t exist yet; they replaced these itinerant orators with their swinging morals, elaborately elaborated. But at the same time they resembled our celebrated professional historians, who travel around today to present their Bismarck lecture everywhere; and the influx, the thirst for learning, the drive for devotion was limitless. Certain popular philosophers People-blessers and truth-tellers never left the streets at all: the most famous example of this is the miracle-man Apollonius of Tyana around the time of the destruction of Jerusalem; his long life, which was early turned into a novel, is presented as an uninterrupted pilgrimage that led him from Syria to Persia, Egypt, Athens and Italy. And this makes the restless travel life of Emperor Hadrian understandable to us ; but also the apostle Paul.
The Acts of the Apostles, told by Paul, is like a travel book. Like Apollonius of Tyana, Paul, when not sailing, always travels on foot  . He had already visited many cities in this way, founded communities in Salonica, Philippi, and Corinth, when he was put on trial, and in order to face the imperial verdict in Rome he set out on his last and longest voyage from Caesarea as a prisoner of state Novel. The rule was that anyone who was summoned to Rome for a court hearing should travel 20 Roman miles or 30 km a day .. But that could not be stopped for Paul; because it was already late autumn; the pitching ship ran at high seas, the storm took him as far as Malta, and there he stopped[p. 69]Winter stuck him for three whole months. Then, in the first spring, an Alexandrian ship brought him and his companions happily to Puzzuoli, that great world emporium on whose moles Seneca’s eyes rested, and from there the proclaimer of Christ walked along the same Appian road on which we also saw Seneca sailing, to Rome. Did the eyes of both men and heralds of philanthropy ever rest in one another? We do not know it.
However, the ship on which Paul landed was adorned with the figurehead of the pagan gods Castor and Pollux. It is striking that Acts expressly mentions this  . Protected by these gods of good navigation, the apostle of Christ reached his destination safely. Many ships showed some kind of image of God, like that of Isis. For the ancient traveler was endangered and in need of the care of his gods; especially at sea. Prayers and vows before departure happened constantly. Hence the beautiful accompaniment poems ( Propemptica ) for the departing, which we still have. And it was no different with the land trip; The altars of the street lares ( Lares viales and semitales ) often stood on the way.) to whom sacrifices were given. In the case of land transports that were successful, Hercules was also given the tithe of the profit  . It was the only form of insurance available to antiquity.
And now finally the inns. Those who were in a hurry and drove through the night could, of course, do without them; but that rarely happened  . Otherwise, however, one had to stop somewhere at night on long journeys. Happy is he to whom a guest-friend then opens his private house. On his hike to Rome, the apostle Paul stopped at the station Tres Tabernae , which we also know from Cicero’s letters. With the enormous increase in traffic, permanent stations were formed on all roads and the inn system developed everywhere: such hostels were called “ mansiones ”, from “staying around” ( manere ), and that is where the French comes from[p. 70]” maison “. But for the most part they were just taverns, shack-like buildings, and the stay was certainly not very enticing. Who would want to live permanently in the inns for business travellers, in the Hotel Terminus or Rebecchino or whatever they are called? Horace already asked the same question  . One night is enough. And a Hotel Terminus is certainly still golden compared to those tabernacles of antiquity, which were often overcrowded with sleeping guests . Once we have received the conversation of a traveler with the landlady of a village inn. “Landlady, let’s settle up.” warm food: makes 2 As.” “That’s right.” “And a girl: makes 8 As.” “That’s also true.” “Hay for the mule: 2 As  .” That’s the whole bill  . The diet of the animal came out almost as expensive (or cheap) as that of man. It probably wasn’t like that everywhere.
Reich administration and Reich post office. your operation.
But now the state! the imperial administration! Shouldn’t the state itself take advantage of the marvelous development of the road system? From the one town on the Tiber he was to administer Turkey, Egypt, Tunis, France, Spain, southern England, Switzerland, Tyrol: for the innumerable annual entries, reports, filing of accounts, decrees, edicts, this sets a rapidly and regularly functioning and infinitely ramified Communications, a boundless telegram operation ahead. The senate commissioned the senatorial provincial lands under its control; otherwise the empire was imperial and the imperial palace on the Palatine Hill was the central hub of affairs, where the offices of the house ministries, the imperial secretariats (a Greek,ab epistulis ), for petitions and their settlement ( a libellis ). Anyone who summarizes the daily, hasty operations in all Prussian ministries, finance, trade, education, justice, etc., may get an idea of it[p. 71]Make a picture. In the capitals of the provinces, Lyon, Lambese, Antioch, Salonae, Tarragona, Corduba, Tangier, where the imperial legates and procurators sat, the arms of the imperial administration had to reach out, unhindered by time and space, to exercise control, thousands of decisions to transmit. The files, the papers flew back and forth. That is why Augustus, the first great world folder before Emperor Hadrian, introduced the imperial post, which was called the “state course” ( cursus publicus ) and which ran through all countries. The light courier ships of the state were used for this purpose at sea , fast-sailing ships, mostly Liburnians, whose type of ship was modeled on the Dalmatians, the best sailors on the Illyrian coast of the Adriatic, where even today the boldest sailors are to be found (that is why Italy today would like to incorporate this Dalmatia, if it could)  . But the coach mail overland had a relay system; i.e. H. at all stations the yoke was changed again and again  , and the horses and muzzles were always ready for this in the stables ( mutationes ). The post horse is called ” veredus “, the extra horse ” paraveredus “.’, a halfway Gallic word, from which our German word ‘Pferd’ ultimately derives. However, the mail did not run on certain days and hours, and there were no fixed timetables or Reich course books. The mail was always only available at the exit stations, and where passengers reported, they drove.
However, these were exclusively only official persons of the imperial administration and their representatives; the Reichspost was not used for private traffic. Even without him, the demand was enormous. If, exceptionally, a private individual wanted to use it, he had to obtain a certificate, Permeß (diploma), from the government and from the highest authority. In urgent cases there was express mail in extra carriages ( cursus velox )  . The postal service itself, however, now again required a strong official staff of postal directors, stable masters,[p. 72] Road supervisors, etc., a staff who, like our postmen and railway conductors today, had a military character and came together in guilds or collegia in all larger places  . However, the provincial states, which had the advantage of the matter, had to bear the costs of the whole thing by supplying the means of transport: a burden which the Emperor Hadrian, the great reorganizer of the empire, considerably relieved. Hadrian was the famous traveling emperor, who personally constantly hurried through all countries, and he therefore also centralized the world mail, much as if one wanted to place the railway system of the whole of Europe with all operating material under the uniform management of Berlin or Vienna today.
postman. travel tickets. Speed. Hadrian.
It goes without saying that the official registration system also belonged to the imperial mail, a courier service over land with a changeover in such a way that e.g. B. between Lyon and Rome 40 messengers take turns and pass on the written matters, so that the message reaches its destination in 8 days  . They were fast runners who, where possible, used guideways.
However, a travel document issued by the emperor for private individuals was only valid as long as the emperor was alive. One had to be careful when there was a change of government. A certain Coenus felt bad about it. This was a Greek, one of the cunning and extremely rich men of the freedman class, at the time of the throne troubles of the year AD 69. Emperor Otho had just been defeated in battle and had killed himself; his opponent and successor Vitellius did not yet function as emperor. Coenus would like to use the express mail to Rome; he also has a permit from Emperor Otho in his hands, which has just lost its validity. Now he lies to the senators, who are still undecided as to who they should now recognize as Emperor of Rome, that Otho is still alive, has just won another victory, so his travel document is still valid; and so Coenus really came to Rome with it. But he paid for the ruse with his death. vitelius[p. 73]afterwards did not miss the pleasure of executing him  .
From the same period we have the news of the fastest journey which, to our knowledge, the Roman postal system made possible. In our eyes, of course, it is not all that surprising. The story takes place a year earlier than the previous one, in the year 68, and again one of the Greeks is the main character; his name is Ikelus. The old warrior Galba, over 70 years old, is in Spain and has been proclaimed emperor by the regiments there. Nero hears this in Rome and kills himself in horror. The Senate is ready to recognize Galba as emperor. Ikelus rejoices; he is Galba’s creature; Galba made this Greek who was once a slave a Roman knight. In reality, however, Emperor Galba was rather the creature of Ikelus; in order to rule in his turn, this man seeks by all means to enforce the empire of Galba. So in Ostia he threw himself on a speedboat, boldly sailed in a straight line across the open sea to Tarragona, there he threw himself into the express mail, and in seven days he was in the town of Clunia to convey the approval of the Senate to Galba. There was no need to hurry. Plutarch found this achievement unbelievable . The old gentleman made his entry into Rome all the more sluggishly and clumsily. But he had become emperor after all, settled in Nero’s palace, and Ikelus could now enrich himself, confiscate and rob in Galba’s name.
Emperor Hadrian is even more memorable, and we would like to know more about him. Hadrian’s express journeys were also admired, and that he used the mail coach overland seems self-evident, especially since he usually took the Empress Sabina with him. The whole government apparatus, the ministers, the offices, went with him, from the Tagus to the Euphrates. It may be coincidental that the car is hardly ever expressly mentioned to us in the reports. In any case, the great man – himself a fast runner – has too[p. 74]covered long distances on foot  . He always traveled without a hat, even in the worst storms, in the rain and cold, and from this circumstance his serious illness, which brought his death, is expressly derived  . But if you sit in the carriage and take off your hat, as we do on the train today, the storm cannot harm you.
As far as the postal system of antiquity; certainly a great organization created by the government. After this, there is one more minor thing to mention, which is also owed to her. I mean the newspaper , and the question arises whether ancient Rome didn’t already know the newspaper writer, the journalist. But when we turn to this subject, we also have to deal with the letter at the same time . Because the newspaper of antiquity emerged from the letter.
The letter and its conveyance; sealing etc.
So first the private letter. We think of the letters of the apostle Paul, of Cicero – a daily huge correspondence from millions of people’s homes, of citizens who love one another, hate one another, who demand money, send greetings, scold, comfort and advise, a daily jumble of speech from all corners of the world : Business letters, love letters, chat letters, condolence letters, invitation tickets, teaching letters. How varied the content! The traveling letter was even more numerous than the traveling man. It was quickly written down; he also wanted to get there quickly; for it had to replace the telegraph and telephone for the Romans. But the state mail would not transport him. The letter had to see for itself how it got to its destination.
For this purpose every citizen had his servants. One of the servants was always quite available as a postman; otherwise freedmen, who often acted as business travelers at all, were very happy to do the service. Because they got to see the wide world, got good food and were received everywhere like angels;[p. 75]because the word “angel” means the messenger in German. By the way, the circles of acquaintances also helped each other out. If today friend Markus sends letters to Patras, to Brindisi, then so-and-so can give his messenger his own mail for a reasonable fee. There were always endless opportunities like this. For us today, the postman is a machine that runs as regularly as the hand on a clock, and although we are well disposed towards him in principle, we often hardly pay any attention to him as a person. In antiquity there was excitement even when he showed himself from afar; He was kept in the house, fed, given presents, put in a good mood, because they wanted to give him new mail, and at the same time his character and his reliability were tested. In the thick bundles he carried there were often letters frommany hands that had been put together in packages, yes, also letters to many that now had to be distributed. So stood e.g. B. Cicero in mass correspondence with Caesar’s army camp in Gaul and Britain and his officers. The operation was downright organized  . When Cicero sat in his Pompeian villa, he received Atticus’ letters from Rome within three days . All letters were always accurately dated. This wasn’t just pedantry; from the date you could tell how fast the messenger had run, whether he hadn’t been late. That Atticus, Cicero’s councilor of conscience, one of the richest gentlemen with countless servants, also the publisher of the main books in Rome and therefore also richly provided with clerical staff, always had a runner ready for postal purposes, and Cicero is therefore also able to write letters with him often every day switch. Often he just writes a quick greeting in order to have written something after all, just as we send picture postcards without any content these days. A greeting is enough. It’s always a sign of life  !
Each letter was carefully sealed; the tied bundle of letters was also secured with a seal. Then[p. 76]the reliability of the runners was not always assured. Sheer curiosity tempted me to read, but it was often done on commission. For in politically agitated times spying was common practice; people were bribed, the privacy of letters was endangered. At the time of the Roman civil wars, the mailbags were plundered as England did in the last war, even robbing the ships of the neutral powers  . In important cases one secured oneself by means of secret writing, even sympathetic ink that can be made invisible . The worst of it was in the years of terror under Nero; in AD 67 all private correspondence had entirely ceased in Rome. The fear of censorship from above was too great. At that time, the postmen (grammatophores) only brought the reports of the last executions into the houses. It was the time of horror, and the public defenseless, for the guard secured the tyrant  . Luckily, Seneca was no longer alive at that time, and nobody could touch his letters anymore.
One could certainly read the same horror reports about the judicial murders in Rome in the newspapers at the time. At that time there was also a newspaper, a Roman daily newspaper, which was sent to all the provinces. The old Romans only lacked coffee and cigars, otherwise they would have just sat there with their newspapers like we do.
Published Letters. Daily newspaper. Senate Minutes.
It was created in Cicero’s time. It was natural that in those times of the busiest political life, when world decisions were being made daily in the capital, the Romans who were abroad wanted and had to find out with a certain regularity what was going on, what was going on. At first, called men only wrote private reports in letter form to their friends about the latest news. We have samples of such reports from Cicero’s hand  . As they were repeated and accumulated, series emerged in chronological order, and the private character was not preserved either. Recipient[p. 77]read the letters to his friends at the club; yes, they were distributed in copies: but a copy is always publication. In the same way, the apostle Paul’s teaching letters were published; Paul sent his epistles to the Corinthian and Roman congregations, but the congregation made copies for proper distribution, and so the text survived and grew in importance as Christianity grew.
The narrative letter, in which the important and the unimportant stood haphazardly mixed up in the feature pages, was called the newspaper letter; The daily newspaper emerged from the publication of these newspaper letters. For comparison, think of the field post letters from the last great war; even from them, which were in fact printed so widely at that time, one could easily have put together a complete war newspaper, and attempts of the kind were also made. It was Julius Caesar who died in Rome in 59 BC. the official publication of daily reports, the acta diurna , as they were called , which oversaw the court chancellery under the later emperors, a state newspaper whose fame consists only in the fact that it has existed uninterruptedly for 400 years. What modern leaf can look back on such antiquity? Talented journalists, however, who would do as Cicero did, did not practice it. In any case, the newspaper was completely anonymous. No authors are named to us; no significant writer seems to have taken part. Those who could write preferred to write history books or memoirs in a larger context, and the content of the “ acta’ may have been leather enough. Incidentally, the parliamentary reports were also published at times as an important supplement. They concerned the Senate. The speeches of the senators were transcribed in shorthand during the session and were distributed to the public in book form under the designation “Senate Acts” ( acta senatus ). Without this, the historian Tacitus is unthinkable  . The brightest and best men that the[p. 78]owned by the Roman state, had their say in it; the most important decisions could be followed as they were made. Anyone who reads Tacitus’ wonderful descriptions of the Senate negotiations under Emperors Tiberius and Claudius will remember the official source from which they come. The daily paper of the acta diurna is quite different ; at that time it was never duly exploited by historians as a historical source; yes, even the great librarianship of Rome seems to have found the newspaper, which we so gladly take a look at, hardly worth careful storage  . In any case, they took care of the inquisitive people and the public’s thirst for news; whoever wanted the latest news could have it.
Comparison of modern times. lack of compass. winter calm.
Looking back, the impression seems unmistakable that in the most important of the things I have discussed, road building and the imperial postal service, Europe in the time of Emperor Hadrian far surpassed Europe in the time of Frederick the Great and Napoleon. Just think how long it took a traveler in the 18th century to get from Madrid to Vienna, how long it took for goods to get from Cologne to Constantinople! and how could one at that time have contrived to throw an army from Paris to the Euphrates? These questions are fully valid. And yet I haven’t even touched on the main disadvantage of ancient traffic, and that changes the picture immediately. This is the suspension of ancient shipping in a storm; I mean antiquity in winter. The Mediterranean Sea was the great thoroughfare of antiquity. It was completely unusable in winter. All life was blocked by the winter.
The eighteenth and second centuries shared the shortage of the coal industry; but modern times had the compass, antiquity did not. It was this apparently so minor defect that paralyzed the whole of antiquity, which was otherwise so active and eager to discover. How not to lose track and direction on the open sea? Man[p. 79]always had to keep anxiously in sight of the country, a deplorable bondage, and only the foolhardy deviated from this in the greatest need, like that Ikelus when he brought Galba the important imperial message. It was a matter of life and death for him. That is why one avoided sailing on the open sea at night and went to the first available port in the evening. Rarely that a ship actually puts on lights for a night trip . The bold explorers among the navigators who pushed through the Strait of Gibraltar, a Hanno, a Pytheas, they certainly sailed as far as England and Jutland, defying the north storms, even on the Strait of Vasco de Gamas Africa near the equator started to circumnavigate, because that was also possible with a compassless coast trip; the advance to America, on the other hand, was only predicted in antiquity, but could not be carried out.
But now the winter. During the whole winter not a ship was to be seen on the vast Mediterranean Sea; everything blown away; like an empty threshing floor; like the dance floor when the landlord closes and all the lights go out. The god Poseidon remained alone for four full months in his foaming desert of water with his dolphins and sharks: all ships and boats were pulled ashore and moored on the shore. The captain and boatman stretch out their limbs and rest. We have already heard that from the apostle Paul: for months he stayed on the island of Malta in winter when he wanted to take a ship to Rome. When the storm clouds passed, one could not see the coasts in the thick air and in the lack of light: this was the reason according to Vegetius , which we fully understand. Just like Paul, a certain Kephalion, who is to deliver letters to Atticus, is held back “many months”  . A letter from Rome to Spain needed at least 40 days in winter because it had to go overland  . Cynthia, Propertius’ lover, wants to travel to Epirus with a high official, but thank God[p. 80]is it still winter; she can’t go to sea yet. “When spring comes,” the poet threatens, “I’ll stand on the beach to watch you leave and wish you a bad trip.” Spring comes, Cynthia stays in Rome, she doesn’t travel, and the lover is happy.
In the winter the intelligence service & feeds are handicapped.
All the more admirable was Caesar’s brilliant boldness  , who risked everything in the civil war against Pompey and threw his army across the Adriatic Sea and then again from Sicily to Tunis at such a time of the year . Only those who pay attention to the things that I am presenting here can fully appreciate such achievements. There were very isolated, heroic exceptions. And now we can understand striking phenomena in the political life of antiquity. Mark Antony, the triumvir, spends the winter of the year 41 to 40 BC. with Cleopatra idle in Alexandria; meanwhile his ambitious wife Fulvia, who herself went about in arms, is making war in Italy against the ruler Octavian; Antony’s brother Lucius is also there and leads the army; the Winter War for Perusia breaks out. Perusia, the city, falls; Lucius perishes; Fulvia herself has to flee Italy. All of this is unknown to Mark Antony in Egypt until the vernal equinox is over and the first courier ship sails from Puteoli to Alexandria. . It was as if the cable had snapped and it involuntarily reminds us of what we experienced during the world war at the end of April 1916. In Dublin, Ireland suddenly rose up in revolt against the English; the post office, the railway stations there are occupied by the Irish; in London, however, nothing is known about it, and there is no official news at all, until a few travelers happened to report the matter in London; “a complete surprise”. The Irish had effected this isolation by cutting the cable to England and, moreover, in their own country all the telegraph wires  .[p. 81]The surprise, the dormancy of Mark Antony, had a similar reason.
Now think of ancient Rome or Naples in winter. Italy could not feed itself. Every year, until autumn and the end of the voyage, it had to take provisions from outside; the merchant fleets must have brought sufficient winter supplies of corn and other foodstuffs, including writing paper, from the provinces. The stocks were piled up in huge warehouses. Then came the deep winter stillness over town and country, the long siesta. The merchants had nothing to do, export and import did not move. All the thousands of workers were idle. There was hardly any industry in the country, if we do not count the large brick and pot factories. The uncovered theaters and amphitheaters were also difficult to use in the winter rains. What else should one do than celebrate at home, feast and sleep? So you sat in your cold four walls, whiled away the days in small life as best you could, and drank away the whole month of December, recalculated his debit and credit; there was also full leisure for Senate debates, for speech tournaments and poet declamations. But there was one more thing: you got up late and went to bed early, with the winter sun. At that time people still had natural time, which depends on daylight; the winter day was shorter than the summer day. One could sleep in until finally the beginning of spring came: the happy March 5th, the opening of shipping! The winter supplies were gone. To celebrate the day, an empty ship was pushed out to sea from all ports on March 5th. Let it sink in the waves; it was a sacrifice offered to the gods, namely to the goddess Isis. For almost all sea trade, including transit, always went to Egypt, the land of Isis.[p. 82]stuffed. So it drifted out, meanwhile the people in the festive decorations stood on the bank and watched it. The winter blockade was lifted.
A blockage! Shall I end with the word? The word must make us Germans think today. In the fateful present in which we live, shouldn’t it involuntarily remind us of our Germany? We too are blocked to this day, and it has become a word of torment for us. When will the day come when we, finally a free trading people like those ancients, can festively decorate a ship in order to drive it out to sea? We no longer believe in Isis. But we believe in the good spirit within us and above us, which will finally give us success at the right hour.