Thursday 15 October 2009

shiver of kinship

Tom Holland, the author of Millennium: the End of the World and the Forging of Christendom", visits the Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler exhibition at the British Museum and sees a story for today in what happened to the great city of Tenochhuacan.

He writes:

Whatever the proximate causes of the city's fall in the 7th century AD, few archaeologists today doubt the ultimate reason: the exhaustion of the ecosystem on which it had depended. Teotihuac√°n died because it had lived fatally beyond its means.

To visit the British Museum's magnificent exhibition, and survey the wondrous yet terrifying fragments of an obliterated civilisation, is to shiver with a sense of unexpected kinship.

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