The philosophic historian will never stop meditating on the nose of Cleopatra. If that nose had pleased the gods as it pleased Caesar and Antony, a loose Alexandrian gnosticism might have prevailed instead of the Christian discipline imposed by the two Romes, the old one on the Tiber, and the new one on the Bosporus. The Celts would have been allowed to go on collecting mistletoe in their forests. We would have fewer books on Queen Cleopatra and on King Arthur, but even more books on Tutankhamen and on Alexander the Great. But a Latin-speaking Etruscologist, not a Greek-speaking Egyptologist, brought to Britain the fruits of the victory of Roman imperialism over the Hellenistic system. We must face the facts.

Arnaldo Momigliano