December 20, 2007 Leave a comment
From Slate via LRC:
There are good reasons for Americans to be interested in the ancient world. Over the last few years, there has been a deluge of American movies, television series, and novels based on antiquity: 300, Alexander, Troy, and Rome on HBO. It’s easy to see why these simplified versions of ancient history and classical mythology strike a chord in contemporary America. For obvious reasons, we are interested in stories about the growth and collapse of a great and greedy empire, or about a clash between Western and Eastern civilizations. We are fascinated by tales of war, especially those that present it as glorious, tragic, and a long time ago. Ancient history is always popular when people feel close to an apocalypse: It allows us to face, obliquely, the knowledge that our own culture too will end.
– “The Renaissance of Latin: Why a dead language is becoming popular,” by Emily Wilson