Preface to the 2nd Edition
It is with a certain gravity that I take upon myself the task of writing this preface, for the work I intend to describe is one of the critical written histories still available in its original form.
It is striking -- precise at times and inscrutible at others, but in all weaving a common thread that never ceases to delight the senses.
New readers may be served to read the section entitled ‘A Background
’ to refresh their knowledge and a build a level of scientific understanding of the pages that follow. It covers, in rigor, the discovery of the work, the study of it (within the modern era), and the current theories surrounding the times and places which it describes. Certainly, no better summary could be provided and I have avoided such detail in my writing here.
However, many students prefer to build intuition before fact, and an undirected 'leafing-through' may sate them better. I hold myself to neither, set yourself adrift as you will. We as modern readers approach a text such as this with a baggage, a collection of memories and idle thoughts striving to draw meaning from the voids of space and time. But, as any prospective historian learns, to truly understand
a work of the past we must leaves our bags at home. We must set off on our own voyage with nothing more a dollar in our pocket and a shawl around our back.
Many have come to the pages of these texts: scholars seeking knowledge, philosophers seeking meaning, or romantics hoping to find something new within themselves. Whatsoever your intent, may you read with your own eyes. Your voyages stay with you for life.
J. E. Gresolet