44 Pages

The Call of the Ruins

An Epilogue
ByChristian Elling

The classical ruin is to be confronted with various forces - with the Romans, with the Latin text, with nature and with ethos. The ruins were usable, and that is perhaps the greatest compliment that could be paid to the famous remains. Normal Romans shook their heads at the madmen swarming around their peaceful ruins. The ruin was enticing when seen at a distance, kept in equilibrium by an arched shrubbery and proclaimed by a pine. Tourists who catch a glimpse of the famous ruin - perhaps inadvertently or merely from the window of a railway carriage - will perhaps think that it is nothing to write home about. The people of that time cherished a close, almost loving relationship to the classical ruins. However — beneath its warm lyricism, the cult of the ruins concealed dangerous, indeed destructive characteristics. The inscription is so impudent in the city where the original stands that "the ruin" it repudiates it.