Not Enough from Antiquity – Too Much from Modernity

Gilbert Murray, Religio Grammatici:

“It is impossible to say exactly how much of life ought to be put down in grammata, but it is fairly clear that in very ancient times there was too little and in modem times there is too much. Most of the books in any great library, even a library much frequented by students, lie undisturbed for generations. And if you begin what seems like the audacious and impossible task of measuring up the accumulated treasures of the race in the field of letters, it is curious how quickly in its main lines the enterprise becomes possible and even practicable. The period of recorded history is not very long. Eighty generations might well take us back before the beginnings of history-writing in Europe; and though the beginnings of Accad and of Egypt, to say nothing of the cave drawings of Altamira, might take one almost incalculably farther in time, the actual amount of grammata which they provide is not large.”

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