Open Access

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Destruction of Culture and Vandalism

Niccolo Caldararo

While we can all condemn the destruction and defacing of antiquities and ancient sites that have been made by ISIS and earlier by the Taliban, one should put these acts in historical and religious context. Anyone reading the history of the Judeo-Christian tradition realizes that this behavior is well established in the tradition. From the earliest Jewish communities destruction of idols was a part of expressing the nature of the relationship the people had with their one god. The same is true of the earlier Christians and pagan art and this continued into the Middle Ages with the burning of books of Greek and Roman writers, paintings of gods and battering to fragments of sculpture. After the discovery of the New World Christians eliminated entire cultural inventories of Native American civilizations, burning the Aztec and Mayan libraries and their art and demolishing their architecture as well as the Inca and all other Native peoples’ objects of religion and culture