I’m reading a book about the Dead Sea Scrolls. It’s pretty interesting, if a bit textbook-y. But the pictures of the scrolls got me thinking about one of my favorite things about historical objects.
These scrolls were written by real people. People with thoughts and opinions and favorite foods and sad events in their past and friends and families. Maybe when they reread a certain section they remembered that while writing that part they had an itch on their right knee that would not go away. Maybe they didn’t like their handwriting, expect for thinking they make a really nice mem.
I encounter this same feeling when I come across ruins. Or in museums looking at objects that were once part of someone’s everyday life. They didn’t know that hundreds or thousands of years later those items would be interesting to complete strangers.
People are fascinating. This is something I’ve written about previously (here and here), so I’m not going to get into it now, but they are. For me, they are what make history interesting and enjoyable. (This is why historical fiction is valuable; when done well, it adds the interest of having actual people that history books usually lack.)
This does also lead to the thought: Are there things in my daily life that will be interesting to complete strangers hundreds or thousands of years in the future?