August 27, 2009

Political pre-globalization

I am posting now from this very building on the top of San Domenico's hill, between Florence and Fiesole. The history of the area is interesting. Some followers of Saint Peter were executed in the first century where the church now stands: Saint Romulus and his friends. (Mark Twain observes that in Roman times, the government was offering to the people violent amusement while taking rid of their new "enemies", the Christians, in order to protect their own interests). Then Cosimo de' Medici (the Elder) decided to build a bigger church, this one on the pic.

But the family de Medicis had troubles and decayed. Till Charles V helped them and restored the old name of the family. At that very time, Filipinos, people from Tierra del Fuego up to Colorado or even Montana, people from Cádiz and south Germany, people from Florence, all of them were under the same flag and crown and scepter. That accounts to a first and political globalization.

Then Cosimo (the Younger) build also his library next to the church, the building on the left, today it belongs to the European Institute University and a community of two friars. Here is where I am now, in the library, full of Ph.D. students from all different countries, most of them Europeans.

The Habsburg Empire under the rule of Charles V is the most impressive "globalization" considering the technical limitations. Such a huge territory couldn't be governed by a single head. But it is still a strange feeling to consider that once upon a time the people living here and the people living in Mexico belonged to a single "country".

The predict of Saint Peter and the blood of Saint Romulus began long before the Habsburg another kind of (religious and political) pre-globalization: Christianity. The Spanish Empire of the XVIth century was built on it. Somehow here, on this hill, are some of the oldest roots...