altmarius

cultură şi spiritualitate

Those immersed in history are never alone, even when the company they keep is invisible.

A road runs past the remains of the Roman wall at Silchester. Alamy.A road runs past the remains of the Roman wall at Silchester. Alamy.

During the spring lockdown I discovered a Roman road. Well, not exactly: its antiquity has been known for many years and it never really needed to be discovered, since it was never lost. It has been in continuous use for many centuries, but I’m new to the area, so it was a discovery to me.

It is an unobtrusive part of a much longer road, that ran between the Roman towns of Silchester and Dorchester-on-Thames, from the northern border of Hampshire into Berkshire and south Oxfordshire. You can’t walk ‘my’ section of it very far, though it is easy to follow on a map. It begins where you join the line of the road as it leaves private land and from there you can follow it as a straight path through a quiet village. Then it goes up a hill, between fields with a far view of the Berkshire Downs, and down the hill, where it meets the Thames. There, the walker can follow it no further, though once it would have gone straight across the river to Dorchester. It is much more direct than the modern road, which takes a winding course around the hills.

This path was already known to be ancient by the tenth century, when an Anglo-Saxon charter, marking the boundaries of the village through which it runs, called it ‘the old street’. ‘Street’ was a word which the Anglo-Saxons particularly associated with Roman roads and so it appears in many Old English place names (this one gave its name to Streatley, further down the Thames), just as the common element in the names ‘Silchester’ and ‘Dorchester’ shows a recognition that these had been Roman towns.

This is a landscape much older than the Romans, though. It is crossed by prehistoric earthworks, tracks and ditches; close to the road, as it runs up the hill, you can see a Bronze Age barrow and an Iron Age fort. The numinous antiquity of monuments like these is also encoded in their Anglo-Saxon place names, which often link them with otherworldly beings who were thought to have built or inhabited them: monsters, elves, dragons, the smith Weland, or the god Grim (probably a name for Woden).

In Old English poetry, ancient places are sometimes called eald enta geweorc, ‘the old work of giants’, a phrase usually interpreted as describing Roman ruins which the Anglo-Saxons could see in the English landscape at sites such as Silchester. Historians in early medieval England knew a fair bit about Roman history, but poets like to revel instead in unknowing and a hazier view of the distant past. They imagine such remains as the work of giants in order to meditate upon history, in its broadest sense: what we can know about those who have gone before us and what we can never know. To them, these ruins were evidence of peoples past and gone, great in their day and yet vanished from the face of the earth – and so a reminder of our own mortality and the truth that one day we, too, will be gone.

Such poems evoke the eerie feeling of seeing a landscape that has once been inhabited and is now empty: a bit like those strange images we saw during lockdown, of deserted streets in the heart of London and cities usually full of workers and tourists. But places like this road are never empty: not really. When you know them to be ancient, they become powerfully imbued with a sense of their past inhabitants and those unknown people feel so close as to be almost within reach.

Today we may not think of such places as inhabited by elves and dragons, but it is still hard to feel alone there. Reading history populates your imagination with metaphorical ghosts, if not literal ones; I have never seen a real Roman walk that road, but in my mind their shadows inhabit it as much as if I had seen them. In the solitary lockdown months this invisible company was very comforting.

The more you learn of the history of the world around you, the more company you can find. Ancient paths like this have survived through centuries for the simplest of reasons: because people keep walking them. Sometimes studying history is about finding new directions, striking off on new paths; but sometimes it is about walking ways that other people have walked before you and seeing what is still on the road, waiting to be discovered.

 

Eleanor Parker is Lecturer in Medieval English Literature at Brasenose College, Oxford and writes a blog at aclerkofoxford.blogspot.co.uk


Vizualizări: 1

Adaugă un comentariu

Pentru a putea adăuga comentarii trebuie să fii membru al altmarius !

Alătură-te reţelei altmarius

STATISTICI

Free counters!
Din 15 iunie 2009

200 state 

(ultimul: Micronesia)

Numar de steaguri: 264

Record vizitatori:    8,782 (3.04.2011)

Record clickuri:

 16,676 (3.04.2011)

Steaguri lipsa: 42

1 stat are peste 660,000 clickuri (Romania)

1 stat are peste 100.000 clickuri (USA)

1 stat are peste 40,000 clickuri (Moldova)

2 state au peste 20,000  clickuri (Italia,  Germania)

1 stat are peste 10.000 clickuri (Franta)

6 state au peste 5.000 clickuri (Olanda, Belgia, Marea Britanie, Canada, UngariaSpania )

10 state au peste 1,000 clickuri (Polonia, Rusia,  Australia, IrlandaIsraelGreciaElvetia ,  Brazilia, Suedia, Austria)

50 state au peste 100 clickuri

24 state au un click

Website seo score
Powered by WebStatsDomain

DE URMĂRIT

1. ANTICARIAT ALBERT

http://anticariatalbert.com/

2. ANTICARIAT ODIN 

http://anticariat-odin.ro/

3. TARGUL CARTII

http://www.targulcartii.ro/

4. PRINTRE CARTI

http://www.printrecarti.ro/

5. MAGAZINUL DE CARTE

http://www.magazinul-de-carte.ro/

6 ANTICARIAT PLUS

http://www.anticariatplus.ro/

7. DEPOZITUL DE CARTI 

http://www.calinblaga.ro/

8. CARTEA DE CITIT

http://www.carteadecitit.ro/

9. ANTICARIAT ON-LINE
http://www.carti-online.com/

10. ANTICARIATUL DE NOAPTE

 http://www.anticariatuldenoapte.ro/

11. ANTICARIATUL NOU

http://www.anticariatulnou.ro

12. ANTICARIAT NOU

https://anticariatnou.wordpress.com/

13. ANTICARIAT ALEPH

https://www.anticariataleph.ro/

14. ANTIKVARIUM.RO

http://antikvarium.ro

15.ANTIKVARIUS.RO

https://www.antikvarius.ro/

16. ANTICARIAT LOGOS

http://www.anticariat-logos.ro/

17. ANTICARIAT.NET

http://www.anticariat.net/informatii-contact.php

18. TIMBREE

www.timbree.ro

19. FILATELIE

 http://www.romaniastamps.com/

20 MAX

http://romanianstampnews.blogspot.com

21. STAMPWORLD

http://www.stampworld.com

22. LIBMAG

https://www.libmag.ro/oferta-carti-polirom/?utm_source=facebook-ads-7-99-polirom&utm_medium=banner-facebook&utm_campaign=7-99-polirom-facebook&utm_content=new-3

23. DAFFI'S BOOKS

https://www.daffisbooks.ro/

24. MAGIA MUNTELUI

http://magiamuntelui.blogspot.com

25. RAZVAN CODRESCU
http://razvan-codrescu.blogspot.ro/

26.RADIO ARHIVE

https://www.facebook.com/RadioArhive/

27.EDITURA UNIVERSITATII CUZA - IASI

http://www.editura.uaic.ro/produse/colectii/documenta/1

28. EDITURA ISTROS

https://www.muzeulbrailei.ro/editura-istros/

29. EDITURA HOFFMAN

https://www.editurahoffman.ro/

30. SA NU UITAM

http://sanuuitam.blogspot.ro/

31. MIRON MANEGA
http://www.certitudinea.o

32. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ROMANIA

https://www.natgeo.ro/revista

Anunturi

Licenţa Creative Commons Această retea este pusă la dispoziţie sub Licenţa Atribuire-Necomercial-FărăModificări 3.0 România Creativ

Note

Hoffman - Jurnalul cărților esențiale

1. Radu Sorescu -  Petre Tutea. Viata si opera

2. Zaharia Stancu  - Jocul cu moartea

3. Mihail Sebastian - Orasul cu salcimi

4. Ioan Slavici - Inchisorile mele

5. Gib Mihaescu -  Donna Alba

6. Liviu Rebreanu - Ion

7. Cella Serghi - Pinza de paianjen

8. Zaharia Stancu -  Descult

9. Henriette Yvonne Stahl - Intre zi si noapte

10.Mihail Sebastian - De doua mii de ani

11. George Calinescu Cartea nuntii

12. Cella Serghi Pe firul de paianjen…

Continuare

Creat de altmariusclassic Dec 23, 2020 at 11:45am. Actualizat ultima dată de altmariusclassic Ian 24.

© 2021   Created by altmarius.   Oferit de

Embleme  |  Raportare eroare  |  Termeni de utilizare a serviciilor