Tag Archives: empire

Writ large

Meanwhile, big-shot Roman emperors needed to have inscriptions put up on walls and columns—letters were to be carved into stone. The letters had to be big and easy-to-read—legible. The guys carving the inscriptions must’ve sketched out the letters first. They mimicked the lettering you get from a broad nib by drawing their letters with two pieces of crayon in a holder.

Maybe it looked like this?

Aside—’Writ large’ is a pointy-headed way of saying something is bigger and easier to read than another thing. I think Plato used it first: “The State is the individual writ large.”

Back to the beginning of The Western Civ User’s Guide to Reading & Writing.

Come cheer up, my boys, ’tis to glory we steer

British ship of the line

We watched nations compete for the best ocean trade routes. Trade with the Far East, India and the New World was how nations made money, how they kept themselves alive. And so they protected their trade routes and created monopolies—exclusive ownership of a market. Venice, Spain, Portugal and then England built ships mounted with cannon to enforce their ownership of trade routes. Ship design grew from the charming little caravel to the mighty ship of the line. These military ships, together, are called a navy. By the end of the 1600s naval power was the big instrument for building empires.

Heart of Oak

Back to the beginning of The Western Civ User’s Guide to Time & Space