Sunday, September 16, 2007

Latin and Medieval Stuff, Take II

So it's back to the stacks for me. Up top is a pic of Georgetown's stunning Rigg's library, the original library at the university before the construction of the architecturally hideous Lauinger library. Just looking inside Riggs makes one feel awesome. I bloody love it.

(The only problem is, no one is allowed in, except for special dinners.)

Recently, I stole the opportunity to investigate Christendom's new St. John the Evangelist Library, which I had never checked out properly after it was completed. And wow! It is grand and surpasses most other modern libraries to be sure. I hope students for ages to come will venerate that place. Finally, there is a structure on campus, other than the chapel, worthy of the name Christendom.

So, now that I am done with the HP series, I have begun reading, once again, Wheelock's Latin and Dawson's Medieval Essays.

The more I read on the fall of Rome, the more I see the parallels to our own day, which I think is one of the most important reasons to study the medieval world. It's not that they are on a pedestal, necessarily, when compared to other civilizations. No, it's that the medieval Church and the culture it raised was able to cope with a crumbling, hedonist society that stood at odds with the teachings of Christ.

It is easy to fall verily into pure anachronism and judge the faults of Rome by the failings of our post-modern world. Even though we confront the challenge to distinguish one reality from the other, the similarities are striking, and if pondered upon, unnerving.

That said, I wonder about today's movements to embrace facets or the whole of medieval past. I am speaking about everything from distributists to the outbreak of fantasy as a genre of fiction and (quasi-) Renaissance Faires. Do we, as a societal whole, intuitively acknowledge the spiritual and cultural bankrupcy of our own day, and, in turn, seek answers from the western medieval world to remedy the problem in our own lives?

Maybe this is purely a romantic musing of an individual fascinated by the medieval imagination and much of the stuff associated with it. Well, I will not disappoint you--I will not deny my bias. Still, I think it's a good idea to see how our forefathers in the west handled barbarians and barbarism. (Heck, some of them probably were barbians.)

Until then, over and out.


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