Saturday, October 31, 2009

Classics: A Love Affair.

This post is a bit soft, so I apologise in advance.

I love a bit of classics. The classics bug, so to speak, bit quite some time ago, but took absolute hold when I first read Tony Perrottet's Route 66.A.D - which is a bit of a travelogue through the ancient sites of the Mediterranean - West to East. There's such a lust for history and fable in Perrottet's book, that I was absolutely enthralled and mesmerised by everything the ancient world had to offer.

Since then, I've been studying classics academically and privately with great intensity.

In many respects this blog is an opportunity for me to express the many classics-related thoughts I have each day. There is always something from antiquity rumbling about in my head, and this blog has allowed me to get it out there, even if very few people actually read it.

I like almost everything aspect of ancient history - but I suppose Roman history is where my real passion lies, although I'm also pretty interested in Greece and everything related to it. The characters and these impossibly complex societies and cultures which existed have caught me in their snare.

To me, the Greeks and the Romans kick-started the modern (Western, at least) world, and I can't imagine any single aspect of that modern world which cannot be enlightened by a study of the ancient world which gave genesis to it. That's what keeps me coming back for more.

Many textbooks or scholarly works now begin with a justification of classics as a discipline, and in many respects that's quite a shame, because I think it needs no justification. That said, I realise not everyone has been bitten in the same way that I have been.

It's been said that only a human being can study the classics and love it, and with not a hint of pretension (OK, maybe a little!) I think that's quite true. I believe there is a reason the study of the ancient world was so important for so long for everyone, regardless of career. I'm not necessarily putting myself in that group, but I do feel hugely indebted to the classical world for the development of my character and ultimately how I define myself, both through it's achievements but also the things it got wrong.

Like I said a bit of a soft post, but one I felt like making. If anyone does read this, I'd very much like to hear why you love the classics so much.

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