Sunday, November 13, 2022

The Past Is Very Old

The Iliad looks to ancient battles, the Beowulf poet finds the roots of Grendel back in Cain. Even the distant past had a past, and it shapes the thinking of the poets.

1 comment:

Grim said...

You my recall from our reading of Plato’s _Laws_ that book three begins with an inquiry into how old civilization is. We speak and think of Ancient Greece as the cradle of civilization, certainly democracy, but that was not their opinion at all:

Ath. Why, do you think that you can reckon the time which has elapsed since cities first existed and men were citizens of them?

Cle. Hardly.

Ath. But are sure that it must be vast and incalculable?

Cle. Certainly.

Ath. And have not thousands and thousands of cities come into being during this period and as many perished? And has not each of them had every form of government many times over, now growing larger, now smaller, and again improving or declining?

Cle. To be sure.