E. A. Mackay


Sometimes there is a certain rightness in the timing of things. When it was agreed two
years ago that "Change and Continuity in the Ancient World" would be the theme for
this conference, it was perceived as appropriate to the millennium; we did not then
foresee that it would, with a slight rewording, become something of a rallying cry:
"Change, and Continuity of the Ancient World." Then, two years ago also, we
accepted the offer of the University of the Western Cape as a hosting venue. It
seemed wryly appropriate at the time, as a campus that had long been vigorously
associated with the desire for change rather than continuity of the older order. I
wonder how many of you have now observed the University's motto: respice -
prospice: Look back, look forward. This is highly appropriate to our chosen theme,
and appropriate too to the situation in which we find ourselves. It is perhaps most
appropriate of all to the timing of this conference and of our crisis, at the end of a
millennium when indeed everyone feels a need to look back in assessment of what
has passed, to look forward and to try to plan for the future.

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