Friday, May 6, 2016

First impressions


Side chapel in a Roman basilica

Rome is a strange place. For all its wealth, pomp, power and fabulous history, my first impression is that it's a mono culture living off its past. Of course, we've only been here a week and I'm speaking from the impressions I've gathered as we explore the street level of things so I'm probably totally off. In any case, it's an amazing place, an overwhelming place and I'm delighted and grateful to see it.

Facing the past
Museo Nazionale Romano


Roy said...

What seems alien to my 20-21st century sensibilities is that you can even have a civilization and buildings and roads that remain more or less unchanged for 700 or more years. You might even have a populace that doesn't even think about history. The world just is. I know Rome had its historians, but I do wonder if the general population even thought about that much. Look at the way even now historical sites are treated in such cavalier fashion by at least some Italians. Here, we marvel that the little grocery store on the corner has been in business since "before the war" and our grandparents shopped there.

Then again I guess you could make an argument for our current American culture being more or less an offshoot of a more-or-less continuation of the Roman culture. In general ways, at least. We do seem to be able to understand the Romans, anyway--we are not so different from them.

asha said...

The fact that things could sit there for 700, 1000, 2000 years blows my mind too. Of course, people did carry most things off and reuse them but not everything. The part I can't get my head around is that, in the passage of time, things would simply get buried. There was an Egyptian obelisk across the street from a sandwich shop where we often went for lunch so, while we were eating, Lee googled its history. Seems, oh a thousand years or so ago, the obelisk fell over. People must have taken some of the column because it is now shorter than it used to be but, for the most part it, lay where it fell for, oh, another thousand or so years and, during that time, became completely buried and lost. Eventually it was rediscovered and re-erected and there it is now some two thousand plus years after it was first removed from Egypt and we're looking at while eating lunch, reading about it on a cell phone. Strange.