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Same Old, Same Old!

" will come across misbehaving and spoiled children, elitist parents, smug self-centered rulers, obnoxious nobility, disgruntled teachers, and arguments between people that, if uninterrupted, could have continued onward into eternity."

Or maybe,

"two women quarrelling in the street, bringing up home truths and making up lies about each other."

Familiar scenes. 'Women' in the second could be replaced with men, children, teenagers, and one would say, 'yep, happens every day'.

The first quotation presents us with scenarios no less familiar, but we might replace nobility with leaders as slightly more pertinent. This comes from the marvellous Captivating History volume on Mesopotamia.

It will come as no surprise that the first refers to a set of ancient texts that present daily occurrences that are no less recognizable to us now, and the the latter is a simile from the Iliad (20.251-5). Homeric similes often brought common, every day scenes into the somewhat jarring scene of the battlefield that formed the theatre of action in the Iliad in particular.

We have three very different and even distant periods of history:

  • Ancient Sumeria (c.3rd - 2nd millennium BC)

  • Ionia (c. 8th and 7th centuries BC)

  • Our own time.

Across over five thousand years of history, human quarrel and have petty spats, leaders show a sense of entitlement, teachers feel discontent, rulers look to their own interest rather than that of their people, children push boundaries...

From the cuneiform tablet to the iPad, we can say that the tools might have changed but the users have not.

I conclude with the final line of an episode of Chris Carter's fantastic series Millennium. Former FBI agent, Frank Black, reads the following line from a book he peruses:

"What do I think the next millennium will bring? Another thousand years of the same old



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