Sunday, 29 March 2015

A wretched ruin

For a modern reader the perusal of Homer results incontestably in immense boredom; but who would venture to say so? The Parthenon, in its present state, is a wretched ruin, utterly destitute of interest, but it is endowed with such prestige that it does not appear to us as it really is, but with all its accompaniment of historic memories.

Gustave Le Bon - The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind (1895)

I don't entirely agree with Le Bon but I know what he means. Inevitably I see the Parthenon through the filter of ancient Greek history and its place in our history. No doubt the activities of the tourist industry are in the mix too.

I can't quite see it as a wretched ruin, but it is certainly a ruin. There is also a kind of melancholy about ruins, particularly when the power that raised them is no more.


Edward Spalton said...

I think it was Churchill who said of Gladstone that he he read Homer in the original for fun which " served him right"

A K Haart said...

Edward - ha ha, I don't think I've heard that one. So Churchillian.