Time, like a drug seems mutable. As if it was only yesterday. Where were you when Kennedy was shot? Where were you when Princess Diana died? Where were you on 9/11? What were you doing? What were you feeling? What about your friends and family?
To things trapped in time, it is linear, except that hunger, fear, memory, health and myriad sensations are timeless. When Tollund Man was hanged, 300, perhaps 400 years BC, his last conscious thoughts were unlikely much different to you or I would be if we were about to be executed. It may not have been fear. It may have been outrage at his treatment, like Saddam Hussein, or it may have been a quiet acknowledgment of his fate; an offering to appease the gods. He was almost certainly hungry, something we can all understand. But for sure, his feelings and emotions and thoughts were hardly any different to ours. Indeed, there are plenty of written accounts of people - mainly important people - contemporary with Tollund Man, which evince the A to Z of human emotion.
One of my favourite places in the British Isles is Hadrian's Wall. Its remains, sturdy in places, and redolent with the minutiae of Roman Life, down to the latrines and the stuff that we all have, is like looking at the stars, it evokes for me the knowledge of the eternal. There is enough information about The Wall to give us vivid images of life at the time including little, what you might call, text messages from one young girl to another, written almost 2000 years ago:
Claudia Severa to her Lepidina greetings. On 11 September, sister, for the day of the celebration of my birthday, I give you a warm invitation to make sure that you come to us, to make the day more enjoyable for me by your arrival, if you are present (?). Give my greetings to your Cerialis. My Aelius and my little son send him (?) their greetings. I shall expect you, sister. Farewell, sister, my dearest soul, as I hope to prosper, and hail. To Sulpicia Lepidina, wife of Cerialis, from Severa.
It may have been a 9/11 she did not forget.
Music: Alex Harvey again - Roman Wall Blues. Words by W.H.Auden
And did you notice, children, that the little dancing people are enjoying it too!