Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Monumental

There comes a time in everyone's life that they look back in whatever the temper of the age (or of their own age) and attempt to assess their legacy. In some cases, they build a monument. The Egyptian hierarchs and pharaohs were good at these exercises in legacy establishment; the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx remain as markers of an ancient and otherwise forgotten regime.

It's interesting that these ancients also engraved steles and massive walls of hieroglyphs in which they laid out their claims and denounced their foes and rivals. But what do we remember? Only their fair claims, viewed through the lenses of history and archaeology. That's how we remember their rivals too.

We forget the rest as a waste of space and time. We shake our heads, looking at the bricks, the labour, the lost talent. We sometimes remember the outrageous claims, as just that: the excesses of mighty people who lived long enough to do such things.

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