Looking around a bit more on the "Rome" historian's blog...
“The dead were and are not. Their place knows them no more and is ours today. Yet they were once as real as we, and we shall tomorrow be shadows like them...The poetry of history lies in the quasi-miraculous fact that once, on this earth, once on this familiar spot of ground, walked other men and women, as actual as we are today, thinking their own thoughts, swayed by their own passions, but now all gone, one generation vanishing into another, gone as utterly as we ourselves shall shortly be gone, like ghosts at cock-crow.” ~ GM Trevelyan, a British historian
This is so spot-on, it so succinctly sums up one of the biggest reasons history and the study of it is such a deep and serious experience for me that it's almost scary. Almost, but not quite scary because the emotions studying history conjures in me are so much more complicated than that.
I also want to share this inscription that the RomeHistorian shared on his blog (in a discussion of Latin acronyms):
CIL 13.1983. Found in Roman France and dedicated by a labourer to his wife on her tomb. “To the eternal memory of Blandinia Martiola, a most faultless girl, who lived eighteen years, nine months, five days, Pompeius Catussa, a plasterer, dedicates to his wife, who was incomparable and very kind to him, this memorial which he had erected during his lifetime for himself and his wife... You who read this, go bathe at the public baths of Apollo for us, as I used to do with my wife. I wish I still could.”
Verbum, I love history.