The Roman Emperor Valerian was taken captive by the Persian king, who is reputed to have used him as a footstool for mounting his horse, notes Adam Goodheart in his essay on the similarities of Rome and America. This happened in Mesopotamia, now known as Iraq. Could that part of the world also be America's undoing, wonders Goodheart.
Goodheart reviews the history of America measuring itself against Rome. He notes that Washington, Franklin and Jefferson all made the connection—usually with the republic, but also with the empire. He even finds a sculpture of Washington looking like a Roman god. Whether or not the comparison is valid, Goodheart observes that it is at least fashionable. (Read more Ancient Rome stories.)