While hunting around for material on the Septizodium, I came across a genuine curiosity, here. The title is “Walking tours of ancient Rome: a secular guidebook to the Eternal City” by a certain Gary M. Devore. The blurb reads:
This guidebook is designed for tourists and scholars who are interested in exploring first-hand the grandeur and magnificence that was ancient Rome through a Humanist, secular, and freethinking lens. Twelve walking tours are designed around districts of the city. Two appendices also describe day trips that are possible from the city center: the ruins of Rome’s port city of Ostia and the remains of the emperor Hadrian’s splendid villa at Tivoli. (emphasis mine)
I have sometimes thought that atheism is merely a final extreme protestantism. I’m thinking of the kind of protestantism is that used to demonstrate in hatred of the Pope, whose denials are far more central than anything positive that it affirms. Atheism is just this kind of protestantism taken one step further still; and echoes the hatred of ‘papists’ by using the same slogans against all Christians.
The section on the Septizonium was actually quite vivid and well written. I wouldn’t mind doing a walking tour of ancient Rome following this author; except that I might end up laughing. Such extreme solemnity, such eager care not to speak well of the church, can only be absurd.
There is quite an irony in subtitling an atheist guide as a “guidebook to the eternal city”. I wish it were cheaper. I might buy a copy.