The barbarian conquest continues.
The Telegraph reports that the city of Rome will be abandoning the use of Roman numerals on “street signs, official documents, bills and identity cards,” because they are “too complicated” for today’s people.
I know, I know. Some will say that we shouldn’t fuss about this one action, that it doesn’t indicate the sky is falling, and that modernization is an organic part of the historical process.
But others disagree. According to Mario Ajello, a commentator for one of the Italian papers, “Taking away the Latin figures is simplifying things in the worst sense of the word… Is it easier and simpler to have no link to the past? Maybe, yes; but it is cultural suicide.”
I disagree, too. Yes, removing Roman numerals (from Rome!) is just one action, but it is a representative one. It continues a theme I have become all-too-familiar with in the Western world, namely, that of toppling traditions rather than raising people up through education to understand and value them.
The proper response to this news is a V-fingered face palm. By the way, “V” is the Roman numeral for “5.”