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1001 deeds, sayings, curiosities and anecdotes of the ancient world

NIHIL NOVUM SUB SOLE (There is nothing new under the sun)

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Why are we so interested in the "old world"? Probably because it is not as old as some people could think ...

Man is a being, perhaps the only one with a vital consciousness of time: past, present and future. Actually, everything is present, although present is a fleeting moment. At that present moment, past and future are updated. Without going any further into these philosophical questions, the truth is that in very general terms, mankind is very interested and attracted by the past, by history. In our western culture, we feel particularly attracted to the Greek and Roman past, to the so called "Classical Antiquity". That period was an essential part of our past.

We certainly study  the past with great interest because it helps us to explain ourselves. Specifically  it gives us insight about  who or how we are. It  gives also us self-confidence with regard to our present way of life, where everything runs very quickly and is very ephemeral or short-lived.

Understanding the past reveals that deep down we are very similar to our ancestors. We find that the tools we use today have changed and improved greatly, but our feelings, our relationships, our ideas and our hopes and desires are essentially the same. We empathize with an ancient love poem, we are moved with by Greek tragedy, we are excited about watching a Doric temple of exact proportions, we are fascinated with a perfect classical sculpture and we are stunned by a slender Roman aqueduct.

Who knows the ancient world, he has the temptation to assume, again and again, the phrase from Ecclesiastes I, 10 (one of the books of the biblical canon) "nihil novum sub sole", "there is nothing new under the sun"; he has de temptation to think that everything is already said or done before.

Generally, the search for  knowledge from the past  is a matter for historians. They analyze the facts and draw general conclusions that can be used in our lives today. As Cicero, the  philosopher and thinker said, “History is the  the teacher of life” (magistra vitae). He lived in the first century BC, from year 106 to 43 BC. Past experience is undoubtedly useful to us. Even those people that minimize the value of history  would be foolish to dismiss our own past experience or to dismiss the experience of beings who once famously were so similar to us and lived centuries or millenniums ago.

That history, no matter how unclear or imperfect it may be, is always a partial interpretation based on some generally important facts. But the lives  of our ancestors are also made up of countless less interesting or unimportant little facts, details and anecdotes.Most historical scholars usually do not deal with these details, although many of them are truly interesting, appealing, insightful  and often even important.

Therefore, this is the goal that I propose (trying not to fall into a "gossip" banal and useless of history), I intend to collect tens, hundreds or even thousands of anecdotes and curiosities of the ancient Greco-Roman world that have some meaning for us today; and I wil guides potentially serve as guides to our present and future. Regardless of the actual historical value of these anecdotes and  curiosities, they will undoubtedly increase our taste for the past.

In this blog,  I intend to spell out the fruits of my research in a serious and profesional manner . I will deliver my findings in small daily pills, so they can be easily swallowed and can efficiently satisfy the interest, and sometimes  obsession, of many people about history. I also intend “to instruct and  delight", as every teacher desires.


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