There are those who will mock me for caring more about dusty old books
and statues than about real people. Fine. But generations come and go.
People live, die and are largely forgotten. History is forever. All of
humanity is the same species, and our species has survived literally
countless wars, ethnic cleansings, incursions and imperial aggressions.
But once an irreplaceable artifact of history is gone, it’s gone
forever. Thanks largely to a similarly barbaric cleansing on history on
the part of early Christians, the world has lost 107 of Livy’s 142 books
of Roman history, as well as Aristotle’s On Comedy–both losses of
enormous consequence. These are crucial pieces of the human experience
we will never recover.