Rome Travel Guide

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Gimme an R, gimme an O, an M, an A, an N, an S...what's it spell?

We're taking a break from the Roman heat, vacationing in Southern California, where the mercury hit 107 a few days ago. While cruising white hot Olympic Boulevard, we noticed that Los Angeles High School's athletic teams had adopted the name "Romans." That made some intuitive sense--Romans are competitors (Charleston Heston on a chariot in Ben-Hur [1959]) and are often identified with gladiators (Russell Crowe in Gladiator [2000]--and see our August 23 post). The symbol on the school's facade resembles a centurion--a commander of Roman soldiers.

It's unlikely that the committee that selected the name chose it from a list of potential mascots linked to Italian cities, for an odd list it would be: Palermos, Napolitanos, Milanos, and so on; if named after a city, Rome was the only possibility. More likely the choice had something to do with the large, powerful and aggressive Roman Empire (see map). The competition with other empires was weak; we've never heard of a football team named after any other empire--not the Assyrian, or the Persian, or the Ottoman, or the Han, or the Gupta, or the Holy Roman, or the Mongol (although Go Mongols! has a nice ring to it). Bill

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