Hi folks. Me and my big mouth. I voted for the theme of this months challenge, and I thought it would be really cool. Still do, as a matter of fact, but that was without taking into consideration the high price of scrap metal and the efficiency of the ferraileurs or scrap dealers in the department. So after a morning of (literally) riding up and down the Cote d’Or looking for abandoned junk, I finally had to dig deep into the aging grey matter and come up with something else. But I think you’ll agree, its a pretty good substitute. How about an abandoned city? Behind the bike and the fence its leaning on is what’s left of a prosperous merchant’s cellar in what is believed to be the ancient Roman city of Vidubia. Its not certain that this is that city, but it corresponds pretty well to one of that name on the Table of Peutinger, a copy of an ancient Roman road map. The ruins are near the modern city of Nuits St. Georges, and extend over several hectares, with possibly much more yet to be uncovered. There are the remains of shops and dwellings, as well as roads complete with a Roman milestone, which frustratingly for the archaeologists is not inscribed with the name of the place. Work on the site continues as funds and time are available, with a summer “dig” almost every year. To the right of the saddle you can just make out the ruins of the basilica, the main civic building. There are temples, too. Unfortunately, the Vandals came calling in the third century and they , uh, vandalized just about all the Roman villas, towns and cities in the region. Whenever I see ruins like this, and they are not terribly rare, I think of Shelley’s Ozymandias:
I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
Or to be more true to the spirit of the place: sic transit gloria mundi.
After my visit I sped home to get in a shower before heading off to lunch and to avoid a growing thunderstorm looming over the Cote. I am going to continue with this challenge, so stay tuned!