How To Change the Past

The Museum of London details its past, which of course included Roman origins. As the past influences us, what if we could influence the past? Suppose you could gift the ancient Romans one book; what would have the greatest impact? I expected our group to answer that question the same as I would: a precise book of science – of physics or germ theory. Instead, everyone gave answers that surprised me by how far outside this line of thinking they were. Give them the work of Aristotle, which wasn’t rediscovered by Europe until the 12th Century. Give them Ancient Cities, a book to learn historicity and the separation of myth. Give them works on political theory and the role of state and society. Imagine what would happen if you gave them a modern version of the Bible or another religious text. The greatest impact is of course a loaded question. But the variety of answers, all of which would have incredible influence, all motivated by our different disciplines, enforced the value of a variety of perspectives.

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