The birthrate in Spain is about 1.1 children per woman. Just about half the replacement rate of 2.1 which is just adequate to maintain a population. One would think that the Spanish would at least wait until the Muslims had re—conquered the Iberian peninsula and leave to them the obliteration of the last vestiges of the Western history of the place. But no. They thought they'd give them a head start.
From the UK Sunday Times we learn that Spain had destroyed the remainder of a lost Roman city:
The archeologists could barely hide their excitement. Beneath the main square of Ecija, a small town in southern Spain, they had unearthed an astounding treasure trove of Roman history.
They discovered a well—preserved Roman forum, bath house, gymnasium and temple as well as dozens of private homes and hundreds of mosaics and statues — one of them considered to be among the finest found.
But now the bulldozers have moved in. The last vestiges of the lost city known as Colonia Augusta Firma Astigi — one of the great cities of the Roman world — have been destroyed...
Certainly this must have been a major construction project to warrant such a blatant disregard for these archeological treasures:
...to build an underground municipal car park.
Much of the site has been hurriedly concreted over: the only minor concession to archeologists and historians, is to leave a tiny section on show for tourists. The rest will be space for 299 cars.
A garage for two hundred ninety—nine automobiles? Parking space must be at a real premium in Spain. But no matter. What was lost was but little about which to fret:
The Roman city has proved to be one of the biggest in the ancient world. Its estimated 30,000 citizens dominated the olive oil industry. Terracotta urns from Ecija have been discovered as far away as Britain and Rome.
The region produced three Roman emperors — Trajan, Theodosius and Hadrian — and the research has shown that Ecija was almost as important in the Roman world as Cordoba and Seville.
The most exquisite discovery was a statue, known as the Wounded Amazon, modelled on an ancient Greek goddess of war. Only three other such statues are known to exist. The one in Ecija is in by far the best condition with some of its original decorative paint intact.
But who could have such little regard for these rare antiquities?
The socialist council says that had it not dug up the main square, Plaza de Espana, to build the car park in 1998, the remains would never have been found. But it insists the town must press ahead with the new car park.
Juan Wic, the mayor, who is responsible for the car park project, said he was happy to have kept one of his main election pledges. He said it was 'essential for the commercial future of the square and city'.
Oh, the wages of socialism.
Dennis Sevakis 4 30 06