The words of Ammianus Marcellinus (325/330–after 391):
In consequence of this state of things, the few houses that were formerly famed for devotion to serious pursuits now teem with the sports of sluggish indolence, re-echoing to the sound of singing and the tinkling of flutes and lyres. In short, in place of the philosopher the singer is called in, and in place of the orator the teacher of stagecraft, and while the libraries are shut up forever like tombs, water-organs are manufactured and lyres as large as carriages, and flutes and instruments heavy for gesticulating actors.Read more HERE.
At last we have reached such a state of baseness...
I recently encountered the words of Ammianus Marcellinus in the following context — in a letter to the editor of the Washington Post:
When I read about Michelle Obama’s appearance at the Academy Awards, I was struck by the historical parallels. The historian Ammianus Marcellinus, observing the slow death of Roman culture, described the descent as follows: “In place of the philosopher the singer is called in, and in place of the orator the teacher of stagecraft, and while the libraries are shut up forever like tombs, water-organs are manufactured and lyres as large as carriages.”How many Americans are members of the Cult of Obama? At least enough to have elected Barack Hussein Obama to a second term and, apparently, enough to continue to worship the royal couple as they unabashedly assume the role of entertainment celebrities.
The Obamas did not initiate this worship of celebrity and descent into triviality, but they have taken it to the next level, aided and abetted by a fawning media. We are forced to endure the president and first lady emulating celebrity behavior on late-night television. It is quite sad.
An era that began with such promise may very well end with the president accepting a position at ESPN and the first lady hosting “Entertainment Tonight.” This is not the stuff of Lincoln.
Robert F. Reklaitis, Bethesda