Mark Zuckerberg is visiting Italy right now in part to attend his friends wedding, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek who was married on Saturday at
Lake Como. A
nd in part to meet with officials, like Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and the Pope.
While in town, Zuckerberg held one of his famous Town Halls, where he invites people from the community to join him at a venue and ask him any questions they want, with the whole thing live-streamed on Facebook.
He began the town hall with two heartfelt thoughts. First he expressed his sympathy for the country, which was rocked by horrific earthquakes that killed nearly 250 people last week.
And then he told the story about how his love for Rome and all things Roman almost took him in such a radically different direction with his life, that Facebook probably never would have been born.
“I love Rome. I studied Latin and Roman history and culture. I loved it so much that when I was going to college, I actually thought I was going to major in Classics.
I didn’t. I ended up majoring in computer science and psychology. But I didn’t make it that long in college anyway.”
A degree in Classics is a degree in the literature, language and cultural history of ancient civilizations. It’s a degree most closely associated with becoming a high school Latin teacher or a college professor.
So instead of being a T-shirt-and-hoodie-clad young billionaire whose college dorm project “The Facebook” changed the world, he could be wearing a tweed jacket with elbow patches helping kids learn to conjugate verbs.
Of course, he didn’t study Classics and the rest is, shall we say, history.
However, his love of Rome still popped up in his life, particularly his love life.
He also told this story:
“I love Rome so much, that when my wife and I got married, We came to Rome on our honeymoon. I made us go to all of these different historical and classical places. So much so, that when we got back and we were looking through the photos, my wife was making fun of me, saying she thought there were three people on the honeymoon: me, her and Augustus. All the photos were different sculptures of Augustus.”
To refresh your Roman history a bit: Augustus was the founder of the Roman Empire and its first Emperor, ruling from 27 BC until his death in AD 14.