For its very great beauty and the warnings of its political culture; Greece, 2nd century BCE

Fragmentary colossal head of a youth, possibly a portrait of Alexander the Great. Hellenistic period.  2nd century BCE.  Marble.

Found in 1879 at Pergamon and loaned to the Metropolitan Museum, New York by the Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museum zu Berlin in 2016.

 

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Nothing more salutary in these perplexing and noxious times than to remember that this also is our cultural and aesthetic heritage:  this extraordinary beauty, clarity, presence and skill. 

 

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 And that is not to forget that this perception – a warning to the elites who forget it and perhaps a danger to those of us who do not belong to majority groups with ‘populist’ impulses  – from 14th century England originated distantly in this Greek civilization:

“There are 3 things of such a sort that they produce a merciless destruction when they get out of hand.  One is a flood of water.  Another is a raging fire.

 And the third is the lesser people or the common multitude:  for they will not be stopped by either reason or discipline.” 

John Gower, 1378, English.

Election night, 2016, Philadelphia,  USA

 

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