In January 897, the corpse of Pope Formosus was disinterred from the tomb it had occupied for nine months, re-clad in its papal vestments, and brought to the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome to stand trial.
It wasn’t until I transferred the photos from my phone to my laptop that I realised I’d misread one of the words. I thought the sign affixed to the front of the old Midland Bank building on Glastonbury High Street said, ’Covid-19 Cull of Magic’.
Good and bad, light and dark, mind and matter, yin and yang, male and female, them and us, Celtic and Rangers — who doesn’t like a telling binary opposition? But given the supposed value placed on diversity in our current culture, it’s noteworthy that talk about race also hinges on binary opposition now.
Somewhere along the byways of my adolescent reading I picked up the notion that the Library of Alexandria, the greatest library of antiquity™, was burnt to the ground one day in far-off times, thereby wiping out a vast trove of ancient learning and literature.