27 January 2010

The Past? ... It's Probably...

Uncalled For... I returned from Rome bursting with information, much of it unconnected and bathed in an early Winter glow. The light there was translucent. Here, in Dublin, it has the vagueness of pearl. In Rome, colours danced, especially when caught in reflections after rain. I set to thinking about the past... A strange thing happened while I was in Rome. I began to think fondly of the Latin language. Five years following Caesar round the ever expanding Empire while in school had done little to encourage a love of what seemed a particularly brutal culture. I struggled with the gerund, loathed Livy, whose Eleventh Book was on the Leaving Cert course and whose ability to leave no historical stone unturned seemed a clear case of a person who simply could not leave well enough alone. I think my dislike of history was consolidated by those five years. History, to me, is what happened to be written down on any given occasion by anybody who managed to be still standing after some wretched battle and who happened to have writing materials to hand. I learned, not so long ago, that an Irish university had limited the number of historians it would train in any one year to fifteen. This seemed short sighted. Hundreds of historians writing for centuries have not managed to produce a record of human endeavour that I find plausible. How does one REALLY know what happened at Thermopolye? In Rome I did begin to wonder again. What if the stones of the great city really could speak? I hope that this is not the thin edge of a wedge that will find me bumbling round ancient sites like some latter-day Hercule Poirot trying to get a feel for times long past. The Villa d'Este brought on such activity. I meandered for hours through the alleys there, sat for what seemed like eternities by the invigorating fountains, retraced the constitutional walk taken so often by the Cardinal that I now cannot wait to return to Italy for more. It just goes to show that everybody can change...


Blogger DaviMack said...

It just goes to show that any subject can be interesting, given the right stimulus. Except Geometry. Geometry will always be boring.

1/27/2010 8:05 pm  
Blogger Tales from the Birch Wood. said...

I used love geometry in school.

Not much time for solving theorems these days, however.

There's a nice site called

2/05/2010 12:57 am  

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