He had really been brighter, and had got through his lessons better, since she had been there; and she had asked Mr. Stelling so many questions about the Roman Empire, and whether there really ever was a man who said, in Latin, "I would not buy it for a farthing or a rotten nut," or whether that had only been turned into Latin, that Tom had actually come to a dim understanding of the fact that there had once been people upon the earth who were so fortunate as to know Latin withoutů
"I can read the back of this,—’History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.’
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A Roman Republic existed for 500 years before the start of the Roman Empire.
I know more about the fall of the Roman Empire than the Romans did.
Laurie Halse Anderson -- The Impossible Knife of Memory