I read the letter headed "History Lesson" by TG Brown (June 16 ) with amazement. As a history graduate from Massey University, I feel that it is Mr Brown who is in urgent need of a lesson in Roman history, not the person whom he challenges. Homosexuality was certainly openly practised in the Roman Empire. Indeed it was a requirement for admission to the Praetorian Guards, from which some early emperors emerged. Despite having read several of the Roman historians, I am completely baffled as to the origin of his child-sacrifice stories, but perhaps his Latin is better than mine or he draws on a Greek source.
No modern scholar believes it was immorality that caused the collapse of the Roman Empire, nor subsequent empires. It was primarily economic and administrative difficulties. Mr Brown is peddling a story now only believed by religious fundamentalists, who have an ulterior reason for subscribing to the idea.
JAMES J READ
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