June 5, 2018
Founded in the mid-3rd century B.C.E., Berenike was a thriving Roman port on the Egyptian Red Sea. Artifacts prove that the Romans traded with lands we now call Yemen, Pakistan, India and peppercorns were worth more in their weight than was gold. Emeralds and gold, spices… the list of treasures is lengthy.
To me, though, it is a rolled up piece of papyrus that is the real treasure. Berenike was a place where more than eleven different languages were spoken, where different cultures meshed in harmony. And on the rolled up papyrus is a clue as to the key to such harmony. People are people – no matter the dress, the ethnic physical characteristics. We really are the same.
On that rolled up piece of papyrus was written a letter…. from a mother to her trading sailor son. “You never visit. It has been too long since we have seen you. You owe your mother a loving visit so I can see you are well.”
The word that unites us is respect. This mother wanted some respect from her son. Our neighbors want respect from us. We want respect from the world. No matter the country or century, we really are one.