Monday, June 29, 2015

Saving Classical Treasures: A Life's Work

As a Hellenist, there are many things I do in life to honor my religion and religious heritage. Of course, I worship the Gods on a daily basis, build them places of worship, hold festivals, and write books and blog posts. But a side of my Hellenic life that is not as visible is one that I have carried with me for years, and that is my life's work to protect and preserve classical Greek literature and art that is antique. This mostly takes place in the form of books. Now, obviously, I can't buy up every copy of Greek literature I see at Barnes and Noble, but those are not in danger either. As I said, I gather antiques. I focus on finding copies that are old and often out-of-print as far as I can tell, and take them into the care of my Hellenic library in my home, which is dedicated to Apollon and the Muses, where the books are housed, protected and cared for in the best possible way. Being that these pieces are antique and out-of-print, they could stand a reasonable chance of being thrown out and discarded at some point if no one buys them, and I won't let that happen if I can help it. So when I come across one of these works, I obtain it however I legally can, and work to keep it preserved in its present form. 

To date, I have collected numerous books of such a nature, and yesterday morning, I was blessed with another opportunity to have such a privilege. I was walking around looking at the boxes of books that the Unitarian Universalist Church of Stockton, IL had for their upcoming book sale, and my eyes almost immediately fell upon a beautiful copy of The Iliad. Bound in Greek blue hardcover with wonderful flowing paper of around letter size, and containing beautiful, detailed illustrations, this book was published in 1944 and was in extremely good condition for its age and material. Before I even knew the price, I was determined to get it. I did not want to put it down. So I was pleased to hear it was a mere $2. For an incredibly small amount of money, I preserved another piece of old Greek literature and history. Now, instead of sitting out in a box of other books, it rests where it belongs, among Hellenic literature in a Hellenic library (mine). This probably makes around the 5th copy of The Iliad that I have found and preserved, but it's worth every bit of effort and space to me.

I think it's important for Hellenists to look for every opportunity possible to preserve our ancient history, whether it be religious, mythological, or Greek history in general. We have lost so, so much over the centuries due to persecutions and destruction in one form or another, and it's essential that we work to rescue, maintain and restore what we can in our lifetime. If you are interested in preserving classical literature like I do, I would suggest going to used or discount book stores or community book sales, because they usually have these kinds of antique works lying around for little to nothing in cost. While their monetary value may not be much, money cannot replace our valuable history and heritage. So collect them for that reason, and create your own personal library to house and protect them for your lifetime.

In the Goodness of the Gods,

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