Friday, April 14, 2006

Rhyming With History

"The past does not repeat itself, but it rhymes."
-- Mark Twain
The Turks, believing perhaps that the Venetians would spare the Parthenon, used it to store each day's supply of powder for their artillery. Morosini, learning of this, ordered his guns trained on the Parthenon and a German lieutenant of artillery serving among the mercenaries employed by the Venetians put a bomb through the roof. The whole centre of the Parthenon was blown out and for days the fire raged. The Turks surrendered.

-- Langford and Warren, The Foundations of Classic Architecture
(New York: MacMillan 1919)
p. 310.

Babylon's Hanging Gardens were among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Col Coleman told the BBC that if the Iraqis wanted an apology for the destruction caused by his men he was willing to give one.

The 2,000 troops who were deployed there did immense damage as they set up camp amidst the ruins of old temples.

A helicopter pad was constructed at the site. The vibration from landings led the roof of one building to collapse.

The soldiers also filled their sandbags with archaeological artefacts, just because they were lying around and easy to pick up.

George, who was field director for Babylon in 1986, said he remembered once scraping a few inches beneath the topsoil and unearthing a "wonderful, little plate."

* * *
By summer 2003, cuneiform tablets, among the oldest examples of writing, were being sold on E-bay.

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