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Welcome to my story blog. I will post one new story here every day. You are welcome to comment on any or all of them. Enjoy!
                   --Lee Pound

Day 157 - Building Lasting Monuments

How much will people of the future remember our era 2000 years from now?

I suspect, if history is any guide, not too much. Yes, our monuments will survive in some form but insubstantial buildings tend to not last that long. Gravestones might last four or five centuries before weathering into illegibility.

If we look at the great cities of Europe and Asia that have long histories, we will find very few buildings dating earlier than again 400 to 500 years. Parts of monumental buildings have survived but many if not most are long lost.

Even worse has been the survival of the written word. Most of the records we have of early civilizations were carved in stone or copied and recopied by generations of monks. An extremely tiny percentage of the books and documents of 2000 years ago survive at all and many are fragments.

Today, we are digitizing virtually all of our documents. Much of what was written in the last few centuries is printed on perishable paper that is self destructing day by day. Many items that were digitized a few decades ago are vanishing. Movies made early in the 20th century have rotted away in storage and can no longer be viewed. How much of this will last for the next 2000 years?

This comes to mind because I was thinking about ancient Greece today. About fifteen years ago I visited that wonderful country and visited many of the ancient sites that are still preserved. When the Greeks defeated the Persians in 486 BC at Marathon, they built a funeral tomb for their deceased soldiers that still exists today. The Parthenon, partly shattered in a Turkish explosion 400 years ago, still graces the Acropolis in Athens. The temples at Delphi still exist as do many temples scatted around the country.

What have disappeared are the houses, the cities, the roads and villages. Most of what existed then is buried under new construction. In most cases, only a few stone foundations remain. And what of Greek literature? We have Plato and Aristotle, some plays by a few prominent playwrights, a few histories and some quotes from minor authors. We have lost perhaps 95% or more of what the Greeks wrote through neglect or purposeful destruction.

This could happen again, leaving our descendants to piece together a few fragments of our civilization in an attempt to construct a picture of what it might have been like to live in our era.

We have only a fragmentary picture of life 2000 years ago. Let’s leave our descendants a better picture of our life today.

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