Dan Mumford 3-1-04
Western Civ. 103 A Journey Through Time.
You watch with detached curiosity as the scientist is making his preparations. Amid the transistor coils and laser defragmenters, you make out a form huddled over a keyboard and hear a voice saying, “Ready?” In 5…4…3…2… Zap!
You find yourself standing next to a canal stretching out into the distance. You start to walk on the sandy path next to it, towards some small farms. They give way to houses with gardens in the courtyards. As you step closer to a wall you can hear bits of a conversation floating over in the lazy summer air. A husband and wife are discussing why he wants a second wife when she has already given him a maidservant. She reminds him of Code # 144 and he resigns himself to two women and wonders when he’ll ever find out the will of his city’s god, Enlil. You walk farther into the city among stone walls and temples and have just decided to climb the Ziggurat covered in trees when Zap!
You’re at the bank of another watercourse, but this is a wide river. There are slaves struggling to make bricks on the opposite bank under the watchful eye of their master. They glance up as two barges float past with the current; loaded with massive stones. You look downstream at the huge hulk of the Great Pyramid only half built, surrounded by a giant earthen ramp. At the edge of a field you can hear a farmer arguing with the tax collectors. He said that because the Nile flooded late this year, they will have to wait a few more weeks for the grain. They swear by Anubis that they’ll return as the farmer turns back to his backbreaking toil. The cries of women and men selling their wares drift over the water from the market on the quay. You’re interested in buying the fabric that woman is holding up when Zap!
You’re sitting on a bench surrounded by men. White marble echoes laughter everywhere. You sit back and enjoy the comedy by Aristophanes about the latest political blunder of Pericles. There are some very lifelike statues near the exits of the theater and their shadows stand in stark contrast to the bright, clean light shining all around. Men are talking in the streets about the upcoming election as some metics go about their lives. They seem to ignore the political gossip and keep on making and selling their goods out of little stalls everywhere. There is so much activity going on that you haven’t noticed that the only people you’ve seen in Athens so far have been male. There! A woman’s face draped in black, is peering out of a window, and you’re just about to scream in outrage when Zap!
You look down at your feet and you see that you’re standing on a face! Startled, you realize that it’s a huge mosaic of Zeus surrounded by beautiful geometric patterns. You walk out of the family’s private atrium and on to the bustling street. There’s a monumental fountain in the middle of the square competing with the artisans and shop-keepers for your attention. A group next to you is discussing the gruesome spectacle of Christians being thrown to wild beasts; at the Colosseum earlier that morning. Spots of shade mingle with bright tiles as you wander under the porticoes on your way to the baths. Two stylishly dressed aristocrats exit from their ground floor apartment on their way to a chariot race. It is about the sixth hour when you reach the baths and there are many noble women there talking about everything from their children’s education to the feast later that night. You’re just about to comment on a beautiful necklace when Zap!
You wake up slowly to the sound of CNN in the background. The scientist leans over you and says, “See, I told you it was amazing.”