The Spectator's Notes

Charles Moore

The Spectator’s Notes | 5 November 2005

After a week in Florence, astonished all over again by the unsurpassed beauty of its painting and architecture from 1350–1550, I wonder about the odd mixture of features which characterises a high civilisation. This includes: 1. A respect for what appears to be ‘useless’. Greek was barely known in the city until a teacher called

Any other business

Science can be just as corrupt as any other activity

My old tutor, A.J.P. Taylor, used to say, ‘The only lesson of history is that there are no lessons of history.’ Not true. History does not exactly repeat itself, but there are recurrent patterns. And the historian learns to look for certain signs. He asks, What is the prevailing orthodoxy, in any field, at a