Tag Archives: history

Two quotes, one old, one new, about something that existed then and continues to exist now

12 Jul

Caradoc in Rome


The first speaker is Caratacus, the British tribal leader who resisted the Roman invasion in 43 AD. He eventually became a prisoner of the Romans. After a convincing speech prior to his scheduled execution, his life was spared. Caratacus was so impressed by the city of Rome that, in amazement, he said this to his captors, who conquered and occupied Britain:


“And can you, then, who have got such possessions and so many of them, covet our poor tents?”


Goldman-Sachs-CEOThis second quote was said by Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, a man whose job it is to make abnormal amounts of money in any and all ways possible and some that are not possible:


“Too much of the GDP over the last generation has gone to too few of the people… . It’s a very big issue and something that has to be dealt with.”


In both cases, the powerful have taken and then tried to exercise at least modest restraint to make things a little better. And so it continues.

By Lanny Morgnanesi

The very first iPad was made of wax

21 Jul

Antiquity is full of surprises and incredible technological wonders. It’s a shame to think how many have been forgotten or lost.

My surprise of the day came from learning that the ancient Greeks and Romans carried a portable, reusable tablet that was their equivalent of the iPad. It had two wood-framed pages that could be folded like a book. The pages were coated in wax, and writing was done with a wooden stylus.

To reuse, the wax pages were heated slightly and then smoothed over.

This was literally a “tabula rasa,” the cute Latin term used today to describe a blank slate or a person without preconceived ideas. There are references to such tablets in Homer and the device may date to the 14th century B.C. It is believed they were used by the Greeks and Romans and in Mesopotamia, Syria and Palestine. Evidence of them can be found up until the Middle Ages.

They ancients never lacked for technology and engineering.  They just did it differently; sometimes better. Our 20-year old highways may be crumbling, but the Roman aqueducts still stand.

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