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Antiquities are history defaced, or some remnants of history which have casually escaped the shipwreck of time. Options
Daemon
Posted: Friday, October 19, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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Antiquities are history defaced, or some remnants of history which have casually escaped the shipwreck of time.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
MTC
Posted: Friday, October 19, 2012 6:31:47 AM
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The quotation is from Chapter II of The Advancvement of Learning by Bacon:

"(1) For civil history, it is of three kinds; not unfitly to be compared with the three kinds of pictures or images. For of pictures or images we see some are unfinished, some are perfect, and some are defaced. So of histories we may find three kinds: memorials, perfect histories, and antiquities; for memorials are history unfinished, or the first or rough drafts of history; and antiquities are history defaced, or some remnants of history which have casually escaped the shipwreck of time."

...

"(3) Antiquities, or remnants of history, are, as was said, tanquam tabula naufragii: when industrious persons, by an exact and scrupulous diligence and observation, out of monuments, names, words, proverbs, traditions, private records and evidences, fragments of stories, passages of books that concern not story, and the like, do save and recover somewhat from the deluge of time."

(http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/bacon/francis/b12a/chapter10.html)

Ironically the effort to "save" antiquities through well-intended but ham-handed methods has sometimes led to their destruction or defacement, other times to outright theft of one nation's archeological treasure by another. For instance, consider the Elgin Marbles lifted from Greece by the British, or Roman antiquities plundered by "tombaroli" (the "industrious persons" Bacon spoke of) who are (or were)encouraged indirectly by American museums intent on "preserving" artifacts and building their collections. Widespread looting of archeological sites in Italy has produced high-profile scandals in the art world, e.g. the Truce case, and a new museum protocol for purchase of antiquities. History demonstrates good intentions not infrequently pave the road to hell.


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