“…in our own homes we find a beauty and a good taste which delight us every day and which drive away our cares.” Pericles to the Athenians, as reported by Thucydides
Where do we find beauty? The natural world and works of great art are obvious instances. Yet most of us only see great art occasionally. And while the great majesty of the outdoors is more readily accessible, it too, despite the consolation and inspiration it provides, does not consistently drive our cares away.
If, as St. Augustine says, beauty is the splendor of order, where is a splendorous order that can speak to us with both profound and daily voice, delighting us and driving our cares away? A home can be such a place of beauty. And while a stately mansion could fit the bill, a more likely candidate is perhaps the simple home—with its front porch swing, boiling pasta, thrice-patched drywall and framed portrait of Grandma; its reading chair, do-it-yourself books, meat grinder, and oil painted landscape; its toy crate, school books, family Bible, mess in the family room, and carefully arranged vase of flowers. The furnishings, tools, and ornaments reveal an order—and a beauty—that is only found in the life of a household.
Pericles (495-429 B.C.), a great general, statesman, and orator, ruled Athens during its Golden Age. Several of his speeches are recorded by Thucydides (460-395 B.C.) in his History of the Peloponnesian War.