Friday, August 22, 2008

Ancient Faces

When we read and here of places far away in time and distance it is easy to forget that the people who were there are every much as human as we are. A beautiful reminder.

From the accompanying comments.

Very little portrait art survives from the ancient world. This video displays a few examples of these portraits, as recovered by archaeologists from sites such as Al Fayyum in Egypt, and Pompeii and Ravenna in Italy.

The vast majority of the portraits displayed here come from the famous 'Al Fayyum' mummies which were discovered in Egypt about a century ago. Most of these portraits date from the height of Roman power in the first century to the Empire's decline in the fifth century AD.

Other examples come from wall paintings from villas in Pompeii, or from late Roman sites at Ravenna in northern Italy

HT: Mike Aquilina at The Fathers of the Church


El Jefe Maximo said...

The trouble with the teaching of history (one of the problems, anyway), is that the teaching profession seems to find it difficult to convey that historical figures and the people who shared the world with them were real and had feelings, ambitions, education, politics and every other aspect of being human --- and from points of view quite as sophisticated as our own purports to be. Bring Gaius Julius Caesar Dictator or Admiral Lord Richard Howe forward to today, give them some education to catch them up and a few visits with the dentist, the dietitian and the wardrobe consultant, and, presto! If they wanted, I bet you'd have good enough 21st century investment bankers, history professors, security analysts, or even dictators, generals or admirals. The cultural adjustment would be more difficult, but it could be done.

The difference is that by education and experience, we are the sum totals of all who went before us and accumulated knowledge and cultural experiences. I know perfectly well what a PC, a wristwatch and a car are, and how to use them, but there's no way I could invent one or even fix one. Nobody could, from whole cloth, they're the products of accumulated knowledge.

Cultural and religious knowledge, and behavior, which is a framework for our thinking and decision making is similar, but possibly harder. Still, how much of how we behave, worship and think is, consciously or unconsciously, supplied by the world around us ? When in Rome, I think we do tend to do as the Romans do.

Still, it's good to be reminded, by other faces, such as in this video, that life was real then too, and is not just a figment of books.

hank_F_M said...

El Jefe

That the people were real is always one of the things that make history fun.

The technology then while not as powerful as a PC, was often more complicated and tempermental than a PC. And a larger percentage of the population had to have the knowledge. You need relitivly little knowledge to run the PC, because a small group in Dell or HP have the knowledge to make it simple.

Jeff said...


This is a great video. I may use it myself sometime in the future. Thank you for linked it.

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