Walls that Bridge; or, What We Can Learn from the Roman Walls
University of Rome “La Sapienza”
Walls that Bridge;
or, What We Can Learn from the Roman Walls
Abstract: When, during the latest US electoral campaign, Pope Francis criticized Trump’s idea of building a wall between Mexico and the US, reiterating his favorite point that “we do not need to build walls, but bridges,” the Trump camp retorted that the Pope lives in a city state surrounded by walls, in a city itself surrounded by other walls dating back to ancient Roman times. Why wasn't he concerned with those walls? As one can see, even though Roman walls have completely lost their original function and survive mainly as tourist sites, they also remain powerful political and cultural symbols. The scope of this essay is to offer, from the perspective of an Americanist who was born and raised in Rome, some comparative reflections on what we can learn today from the history of Roman walls, as well as from their symbolic afterlives.
Keywords: Roman walls, walls as rhetoric, US literature, walls as bridges, walls as dividers
Roman walls; walls as rhetoric; US literature; walls as bridges; walls as dividers
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