A N Wilson writes: It is strange to be reminded, by a recent geological history of Rome, that the volcanic catastrophes which created the seven eternal hills occurred between two million and 500,000 years ago. It reminds us of how recent were the arrival of Aeneas or the foundation of the city in 753 BC.
That there was an old world that has now passed away, a heroic world, snatches of which we hear only in half-comprehended song, is an ever-present awareness in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. He is the only modern writer of what might be termed fantasy-literature who conveys this sense which we find in Virgil and is also present in the Beowulf poet of a heroic past that is slipping out of memory. [More]