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Eternal Rome: Subjective Consciousness and Immortality

Ross R. Maxwell
The Psychohistory Review, 1985, 14: 35-43.


Historian Ross R. Maxwell examines the consequences of consciousness and the quest for immortality in Rome from the perspective of Jaynes's bicameral mind theory.


Mythologists have used the story of the founding of Rome as a rich source from which to make comparisons between Indo-European cultures. They typically categorize the narrative as a series of folk tales and myths that have accreted around a legendary hero. A proposed model of the origin of subjective consciousness provides a method to extract more historical data from these tales and in the process illuminates the psychic or spiritual core of what it meant to be a Roman.

The model of the origin of consciousness addresses three issues: first, what subjective consciousness is and how it developed; second, what humans were like prior to its emergence; and third, what were the psychosocial consequences of subjective consciousness.