“No matter how tempting it is to judge a community by its failures, the true measure comes from finding and appreciating its successes.”
Probably the most amazing artefact of the ancient world I have seen, the Pantheon in Rome, started life as a Roman temple to all the gods around 27 BC. When it became a Christian church in 609 AD it was already as mature a building as a medieval church would be to us today. It is still splendid, 2000 years old and going strong. I first saw it when I was in my mid-teens and it’s one of those places in the world (like Mono Lake and Yosemite Valley) always guaranteed to awe me no matter how many times I visit.
It is an amazing leveller for me. It’s easy to imagine those ancient people were primitive, that our technology and culture is superior. No amount of words and explanation can dispel that intuition. Wandering modern Rome and seeing those piles…
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