The remains of the past have long fascinated the thinking men and women of the present, for a very good reason. The period of cultural history known as the Renaissance, which began in Italy in roughly the 14th century and catalyzed fresh thoughts throughout the rest of Europe through the 17th century, largely took its inspiration from the records and visible remains of the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome, whose hegemony is conventionally dated from the 8th century BC until roughly 7th century AD.
The cultural and intellectual framework through which we now operate – the way we think and act – was formed in classical antiquity and refashioned during the Renaissance. We tend to prize our so-called “modern” approach to life and its problems, but scratch beneath the the shiny new packaging that enfolds our thoughts (complements of the industrial and information age) and you’ll find people whose deepest concerns, core motivations and strongest compulsions are no different than those who lived 500 or 2,000 years ago. People, no matter how far back we can peer through recorded history, are people.
We haven’t changed much.