|I was talking with a young friend, a recent
high school graduate, about the movie Gladiator.
She said that while she was watching the movie,
she wondered if she could have been related to
anyone who would have been there at that time and
place in history.
Although this question is
probably typical of the one many viewers had, I
was struck with how different this question was
to the question I had. When I saw the scenes at
the Coliseum, I wondered how few of the people
there were not my ancestors.
I have come to believe from growing the
A&E Family Forest, and seeing the patterns of
human pathways over the course of many centuries,
that most of the people in the Coliseum at that
time were our ancestors (not just relatives, but
people we are actually descended from).
Anyone there who eventually had grandchildren
who had children most likely set in motion an
ever-growing group of descendants that is now so
large that it can now only be stopped by the
extinction of the human race. It seems to me that
a couple living at that time could easily be the
ancestors of more than a billion people living
Looking at it from the reverse angle, if it
were possible to know all of one's ancestry back
to the time setting of Gladiator, one would have
to fill in more than one million times one
trillion boxes (1,000,000,000,000,000,000) on a
pedigree chart. The entire population of Rome at
that time would only be a small blip on a chart