Historical preservation of time is captured through the arts. Architectural strategy, and improvement through the ancient civilizations of Rome and Greece, to the modern age show a time lapse of the way in which humanity lived. The “destruction of Pompeii” (90) in 79 AD, casted an entire city into an archeological time capsule. The excavation unearthed “a glimpse” (90) of “household[s] and it’s artistic decoration” (90) in the Roman Empire, as well as the citizens who were discovered completely encased by volcanic ash. Despite Roman’s interest in “pleasant domestic surroundings” (93) to be more preferable than “high standards of artistic beauty,” (93) the discovery of the city alone allowed for so many forgotten questions to be answered. Although masterpieces in monumental buildings such as the Parthenon still exist, Pompeii captured it’s daily life, and material importance in a three dimensional picture that has more connections and associations to routine and extravagance in societal format.
The section entitled, “The Blood of the Maya Kings” (146) is based on gruesome “religious spectacles” (146) that really irradiates the intensity of religion on social living. While the ideas of alternate religions were growing in the East, the Western civilization of the Maya (now located in modern-day Mexico) shows a society that despite decline during 900 CE, showed immense “respect” for the Gods that “sacrificed their own blood to create the Universe.” (146) Limestone wall carvings found in Yaxichilan, Mexico visualizes an artist’s view of the moment of a Queen who pulls a rope “strung with thorns” (146) through a hole in her tongue; later using that blood to be burned in order to “sustain” (146) the Gods. I am not a strictly religious person, and I have my own beliefs, so learning about such a gory tradition for religious purpose is almost frightening. I believe that Gods wouldn’t want us to undergo so much pain for them, but it goes to show that no one in the world is truly the same when it comes to religion, and religious tolerance. We grow up to believe a certain way, that anything remotely foreign is un-comprehendible, so for Americans born in the 21st. Century, blood sacrifice would be seen as inhumane.
The rise in the popularity of Monasticism in the Early Middle Ages, allowed for monasteries to preserve written texts, especially in the Middle East when the burning of the Library of Alexandria took many works with it. Although copies could be found there, monasteries that still remained in Ireland, and Britain were important in the fact that they became centers for “book production.” (136) The significance of producing books, even if by hand, allowed for distribution that was previously unavailable to people. This era was when monks began “illuminating” (136)