During a literature exam today, one of my students exclaimed (in some frustration) that the Greeks never got over the Trojan War. That’s exactly right. Homer wrote about it, some time after the event. Centuries later, tragedians like Aeschylus (Oresteian trilogy), Sophocles ( Electra ), and Euripides ( Andromache , Hecuba ) couldn’t stop writing about the aftermath of the war. Move on to Virgil, and we’re just beginning to move on, from Aeneas’s old burned-out Troy to the “new Troy” of Rome.

They couldn’t get over the tragedy of the lost city. But then think of the Jews and Jerusalem. They mourned the city, for sure, but they believed (Virgil-like) that a new a greater city would rise from the ashes. They believed in resurrection, worshiped the God who raises the dead, and therefore they could move on.

More on: Classics

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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