That's exactly it. It's all too easy to look at the past through modern eyes in a manner that removes our connection with its reality in a human here and now that would be so familiar to us, just in a different cultural context. Romanticism, cultural difference etc all act as filters that separate us from this maner of perception. If we would but approach all the then cultural norms as we do our own, with the power of imagination and non-judgemental acceptance, then we would be able to begin to truly see at least an aspect of the human reality of the past. That past becomes alive, as it's always so much closer to the real us than we are ever usually able to perceive.