Sandstone and Marble Pillars

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

An Allegory of History and the importance of her most painful and dark moments

 

Aristomendes was with his master, Cyrrosteas, in the Temple of Apollo. This temple was large and beautiful, and it showed the mastery, hard work, and heritage of the people of Greece. One thing that was peculiar about this certain temple to Apollos however, was its ten front pillars- in which five were of sandstone and the other five were of marble. Aristomendes, who was but a youth, sought to ask Cyrrosteas about the nature of the variety of these materials used for the pillars- knowing that Cyrrosteas, in his advanced age, would have seen a time in his youth before the rise of the temple’s pillars. 

 

Cyrrosteas promptly answered the young Aristomendes that it was only the marble pillars, the stone of white complexion and dark veins, that were native to the earth in which they stood. The hard yellowish-brown pith which made up the sandstone pillars were not at all native to the earth in which their homes stood, but were instead imported from countries that they had invaded. Aristomendes was horrified, and asked his master how we could build our most sacred and holy temple from the stone of our enemies. To those who hate our enemies, these foreign pillars would be an insult to Apollos to be part of his temple. To those who hate war, these sandstone pillars are held by mortar made from the crushed bones and glued by the coagulated blood of the innocents under the rule of the enemy, themselves neutral and non-aggressive to Greece and her people.

 

Cyrrosteas looked at Aristomendes and saw in him a  younger version of himself who asked his own master the same question many years ago, when the sandstone and marble pillars were first hauled in to create the temple. Cyrrosteas answered, with the same prompt as last time, his ailing Aristomendes. In which he responded that these sandstone and marble pillars are pillars built in his own time then- a time in which there was no other reality but war. Everything that was made and sent out, was for nothing but war. And everything that was taken and brought back, was from nothing but war. That was reality then. And the reality that produced swords, warhorses, and spears, brought back sandstone pillars, blood, and conquest. Aristomendes, upon hearing his answer, suggested to Cyrrosteas that in the reality in which they both stood in now, war is no more and wealth is ever abundant, and so we can take down these accursed sandstone pillars and replace them with marble, a symbol of the new and wonderful age long beyond the age of war. 

 

Cyrrosteas once again looked at  his Aristomendes, seeing in him a picture of himself from long ago, and answered promptly once again: my thoughts were exactly like yours when I was once a youth like you are today, and the age of war did cease then, but it came back. The first age of war saw a temple just like this. The temple you see now was in part built from the spoils of the second age of war. Before the first age of war, I was with my own master, and saw a temple just like this one: ten pillars, five of which were marble, five of which were sandstone. Every cubit of that sandstone, from which the ten of the twenty total pillars of the temples from the first and second ages of war were built, was worth its weight in the spilled blood of innocent Phoenecians, Thracians, and  Macedonians- this both my master and I knew. And so, I suggested to my master, a very wise and learned and respected member of the city then, the very same thing you suggest to me today. The age of war is over and the sandstone pillars stood out as a reminder of our barbarism- contrary to the ideals of the Senate and contrary to the ideals of the Republic. My master was successful in convincing the Senate into tearing down the temple’s pillars, but in doing so, tore down the temple along with it- and the whole temple came crumbling down. Memories of the marble of Greece and the sandstone of her enemies and victims were buried under the massive lime roof. In due time, the old guard died and a new guard took their place. The elders who knew what the sandstone pillars meant died and a generation of youth who had never even seen the old temple took their place. In due time, the second age of war took place, in which the new temple- the temple you and I sit on the stairs of today, was built. And just as with the first temple, it was built with ten pillars- five of which were sandstone and the other five of which were marble. In this, I reminisced on the horror and carnage in which these sandstone pillars were carved out of. I protested, but the new guard ignored me. I orated this to the youth, but they knew not and refused to believe where these pillars came from and what price Greece had to pay for them.

 

And now I say to you, my dear Aristomendes, let the pillars of sandstone and marble stand. They are here for as long as Apollo is here. They are here when elders like me die and when youth like you become elders, so you may point at both the marble and sandstone pillars to your own youth, and tell the story of Greece and her enemies, Greece and her victims. Let the pillars of marble and sandstone stand, so that the youth may never forget and that they themselves, who will live on beyond us, will strive to one day build a temple of pure marble- at the cost of no one else but Greece, for the glory of none other but the Greeks. 

 


Submitted: June 11, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Hugo de Santa Catarina. All rights reserved.

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Derina Peng

A very well told story. It minds me of the movie The Giver, who he passes on the history, good or bad, of mankind as a guard.

Mon, June 22nd, 2020 4:26am

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to have my little story compared to that cinematic masterpiece is too much. thank you either way.

Tue, June 23rd, 2020 11:11pm

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