In the later afternoon hours, Tony and I head for Zeus' Temple, a piece of land distinguished by ancient ruins, a marble foundation at the center, and enormous marble pillars. From the original temple, of which there must have been two dozen pillars, only a few are standing, and one is toppled over. I wish I had witnessed the fall thereof because it must have been thunderously grand.
The Fall thereof.
While sitting in the shade looking over this ancient place, my mind races through the great empires that came and went. The Greeks, the Macedonians, the Phoenicians, Babylonians, the Chinese dynasties, the Romans, the Ottomans. Is there even one great civilization that has endured? The United States with all her success has only been around since 1776. We are young indeed.
The night takes an interesting turn. As we walk back, we come upon an event in the square of a Greek Orthodox church. There are epic-sized wreaths with white roses. The square is filled with military and cameras poised throughout. The event becomes somber when a casket, draped in the Greek flag is carried out. It has to be a funeral, but I'm confused when the people start clapping.I wait until the casket has passed before I ask a well dressed gentleman, if I may bother him with a question.
He is kind and says that I may.
I learn the man who died was the Prime Minister from 1990-1993, Konstantinos Mitsotakis.
"Was he a good leader?"
"Yes. He was a leader before his time." The man is somber and respectful.
His mourning for a great prime minister is especially poignant in Greece's economy today and the general disdain for government leaders.
When I've studied scholar's explanations for the fall of the Roman Empire, there is never one reason, but often a long list that certainly includes greed, war, and excessive debt.
Stephen Cope, in a retelling of the Bhagavad Gita writes, ...Arjuna sees his own family deeply stained by the forces of disorder--by avarice, and the lust for power, land, and fortune. The forces of greed, hatred, and delusion are the destroyers of the world order and purveyors of suffering.
It's a scenario played out for thousands of years, in thousands of cultures, in thousands of places--repeat, repeat, repeat. Why?