I have been given one piece of advice from my father I’ll never forget. He said “Owen travel the world, but don’t see it alone”, and so when I have travelled I have been lucky enough to share the experiences with someone; for the past 4 years that has been the same someone. We have had some great times and been to some brilliant places, but one trip always stands out as it brought my extravagant look on history to a shattering halt . . . sort of.
A few years ago I was taken to Rome by my better half, we saw the Colloseum, the Vatican, the Roman forums, Palatine Hill and every place one should go on an historical voyage around Rome; when it came to the last day there was but one final place left to go, and with luggage in hand we went to the Circus Maximus, the great arena that held the chariot races. This was a place that epitomised everything that was the Roman Empire – it was grand, ornate, fast, hard, dangerous, loud, blood curdling, exciting and just down right sexy. So as we turned the corner to see it in all its full splendour and the images of Ben Hur come hurtling through my mind as I look over the historical shrine to all things Roman, my other half turns to me, looks me straight in the eye and says . . . “you’ve brought me to a field?”
No matter how much explaining and imagining I could do, we could not get passed the fact that ultimately it is now just a field; not even the artists impression would change her mind on how exciting it was to be there – a field is a field!
An amusing wake up call indeed, and when we next go to Rome, she will not be coming with me to the “field”. So my advice to history enthusiasts, don’t see these things alone, but also don’t forget that what you’re now looking at is quite often just a field when there is no historical knowledge to call upon.
Although how you can see the Circus Maximus and say it’s just a field is still beyond me!!