D.S. Carne-Ross (1921-2010), "The Beastly House of Atreus,"
n.s. 3.2 (Spring, 1981) 20-60 (at 26):
It is not a matter of abandoning our cultural horizon as we read
the Oresteia and pretending, quite vainly, to be fifth-century Athenians,
but rather a kind of tactical ceding of home ground in order, later, to be
able to reach more deeply into the poet's. To bring the old text close, we
must first push it away. The first step is to remove the patina of
familiarity that lies dullingly on the masterpieces of our tradition and
uncover, even at the cost of some violence of interpretation, whatever is
strange and alien there. Classical scholars do of course insist on the
foreignness of Greek civilization and tell us that we must try to see
antiquity as it really was, not as we would like it to have been. And yet
one sometimes feels that their frame of reference is not so unfamiliar
after all and that antiquity as it really was bears a curious resemblance to
Oxford and Cambridge and other such haunts of the learned.
Georg Luck (1926-2013), Arcana Mundi
, 2nd ed. (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), p. xiii:
We are dealing with people living in a distant age,
people whose day-to-day lives are quite foreign and sometimes almost
incomprehensible to us. Even though we think we know so much about
the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans through literary texts, they
are strangers in so many ways.