This is where I am at the moment.
In Rome, you ask? The home of Scipio, one of the two heroes in my coming book? The place that Hannibal almost took, almost destroyed, but not quite, and which, as a direct result, took over the world–our modern world–instead?
No, actually. I’m in a sleepy little state capital called Olympia. That’s Olympia, as in the abode of the Greco-Roman gods, the place my four-year-old could tell you all about.
Some of the people that I’ve been talking to in these buildings are very aware indeed of the heritage that their architects intended to remind them of, each and every time they walk in and out of their offices. Sam Reed, Washington’s erudite secretary of state (and apparently a direct descendant of Charles Sumner) could go toe to toe with me on Polybius.
Others here look at me blankly when I opine that it must have been quite a controversy to decide between … Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. (But even then they inform me proudly, as three people have now done, that Olympia’s Capitol has the fourth largest masonry dome in the world.)
In any case, I quite savor these improbable links–visual, symbolic, cultural–to our common Western heritage, and to the world of my imagination, peopled as it is with the likes of Fabius, Scipio, Hannibal, Polybius and all the others who are in my book and in our world.