The Palace of Rumor


In Book XII of Metamorphoses, Ovid recounts the events of the Trojan War.  Early on, he explains how rumors of the Greek expedition preceded its arrival at Troy:

There is a place at the center of the World, between the zones of earth, sea, and sky, at the boundary of the three worlds.  From here, whatever exists is seen, however far away and every voice reaches listening ears. Rumor lives there, choosing a house for herself on a high mountain summit, adding innumerable entrances, a thousand apertures, and no doors to bar the threshold. It is open night and day: and is all of sounding bronze. All rustles with noise, echoes voices and repeats what is heard. There is no peace within: no silence anywhere...

Crowds fill the hallways: a fickle populace comes and goes, and, mingling truth randomly with fiction, a thousand rumors wander and confused words circulate. Of these, some fill idle ears with chatter, others carry tales, and the author adds something new to what is heard. Here is Credulity, here is rash Error, empty Delight, and alarming Fear, sudden Sedition, and Murmurings of doubtful origin...

Was there ever a better description of our contemporary always-on media landscape? 

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