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Manius Papirius Lentulus (soldier of Rome) & Massimo: totally rewritten

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The gorgeous Sutton Hoo helmet reconstructed

The gorgeous Sutton Hoo helmet reconstructed

The story of Manius Papirius Lentulus & Massimo has been totally rewritten (as a draft, of course.) You can read it here.

α

The Samnite: “What are you talking about?”

Giorgio: “Well, you know that novel we were discussing here in our living room a couple of months ago.”

The Samnite: “You mean the story on both Ancient Britannia & today’s Rome?”

Giorgio: “Exactly. It foresees at least two universes, but I would say infinite ones, as Giordano Bruno had imagined – the one burned by the Catholic Church in the late Counter Reformation Renaissance – & as modern physicists imagine today too.”

ω

Ok, readers, words are enough.

All the best,

MoR

[*enjoying Brazil- Germany on TV, and feeling sorry for the humiliation of a great soccer team. They have to react, damn! Massimo, soccer ex promising star: "Their defence is too weak, although it has always been like that ..."  Giorgio: Brazil 1-7 Germany. Astonishing. Not that I am not glad for Germany, although I am thinking of those favelas where soccer is the salt of life ...*]

At a Londinium cafe. Exchange between Maximus (soldier of Rome) and Richardus (an Ancient Briton)

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An outdoors cafe in Rome

Outdoor cafe in Rome. Courtesy of Lonely Planet

[stolen from here onwards]

MoR: “I think I’ve commented here twice. Well, ok. Good night Richardus.”

Richard: “Twice? That’s because you’re so much faster than me, relatively speaking.”

MoR: “I am slower, Richardus.”

MoR (*using too many smartphones in outdoor cafes, people screaming toasting): ” I am confused. Got moderated, probably. 1:20 am Rome’s time. Time to get back home. G’night.”

Richard: ” Keep a watch for predatory animals and itinerant males.”

Manius Papirius Lentulus Maxumus (soldier of Rome):

“I always do.”

An old Anglo-Saxon weapon, called an axe-hammer. Click for credits

An ancient Anglo-Saxon weapon, called an axe-hammer. Source

M. P.L.M: “An inspiring man, Richardus, stemming from the Ancient Britons, id est the Romano-British prior to the adventus Saxonum [the good ol' days, *sighing*]. Hope R. won’t get upset about my reposting his article on The Magic Mountain. “

Richardus: ” I hereby give retrospective consent, relatively speaking. Not so sure about the inspiring, unless you refer to my snoring.
I was just guessing about my Ancient Briton heritage. It must be there somewhere.”

MoR (*tapping on his phone, sun having risen tho his studio getting none*):

“Wull, snuuring can be inspuuring”
Said the Saxon with distraction
Rising his axe that is never lax
Tho THIS Brittonic is faster: he *thwacks*

Now the time, sodalis, has arrived,
An ancient heritage we ought to dive,
For u to reveal in full detail
Tonite, u sprite, [yes!] over ale.

Maxumus

Capitoline She-Wolf. Rome, Musei Capitolini. Public domainYou might like other dialogues of the same sort.

The gentle nature of friendship

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Man of Roma:

Alma Tadema 001_Small

Invocation, before a mind journey

To my belovéd Anglo Saxon friends,
And to Chaerie dearest Faerie,
Queene of the Greatest Isle, Américà.

O Goddess, Thou, so heauenly and so bright!

Shed pls thy faire beams into our feeble eyne,
And raise, our thoughts being humble and too vile,
The argument of our afflicted style.

M. P. L. M.

Originally posted on Notes from Around the Block:

Chip at the Wheel

by cheri

I remember visiting my grandparent’s home in Oakland in the late 50’s. On the wall of their kitchen nook was a framed cross-stitched message in blue which read, ” To Have a Friend, Be One.”

What an order! As the years passed, I glanced at that little frame, usually in a hurry.

This week friends named Sharon, Doug, Mary, Donna, Pam, and Linda have been on my mind. Zuby, Gary, Sara, and Ben. Christy, Joyce, and Anna. Richard, Don, Bill, and Susie. Kayti, Jennifer, and Vicki.

The souls I am privileged to call friends are  loyal, diverse, intellectually curious, and most importantly (for me), authentic. Some of my friends I don’t see often. They have been patient with me throughout the years and were you to call for their evaluation of my attention to the edict in the cross-stitch, they would say that I have always been too busy. Too…

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“Caesar was like the wind. Can we condemn the wind? And yet what scourge can it bring forth!” (3)

The death of Julius Caesar (Vincenzo Camuccini 1771-1844)

The death of Julius Caesar (by Vincenzo Camuccini 1771-1844). Detail. Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Roma. Click for a complete view

From positive evaluations on Caesar’s actions we now turn to perplexed criticism expressed by some ancient Romans. In the upcoming and last chapter we will deal with some harsher criticism on Caesar.

Livy cited by Seneca

Livy, in a lost book (106?) of his History of Rome, calls into question the entire action of Caesar.

We know since Livy’s judgment is cited by the philosopher Seneca years later (2 generations from Livy’s time and 4 from Cesar’s, roughly.)

So-called Seneca. Ancient Roman bronze now at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples, Italy. Photo by Massimo Finizio. Click for source

So-called Seneca. Ancient Roman bronze now at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples, Italy. Photo by Massimo Finizio. Click for source

Seneca – we like to imagine – is narrating to his pupil Lucilius (Naturales quaestiones, V, 18, 4) the science of his time, Nero‘s time.

After having explained the nature of meteors, rainbows, earthquakes and so forth, Seneca addresses ‘wind’.

Wind is useful – he argues – since it allows “communication among all the different nations … A great service is this that nature here renders, did not man’s madness turn it to his own injury!”

[Seneca here refers to winds that push ships, stir things etc.]

Blessing or curse?

Here comes the quote:

“The remark which was commonly made regarding Gaius Julius Caesar as recorded by Livy – that it was doubtful whether his birth was a blessing or a curse to the state – may be applied to the winds.”

Busto di Cesare. Museo nazionale di Napoli

Caesar’s Bust. Naples National Museum

So, through a poetic metaphor, Seneca lets us know both Livy’s perplexity and his own regarding Caesar’s deeds. We will try to better understand.

First of all, is it a hostile judgement? A very perplexed one, rather (Luciano Canfora’s comment). “Since – Canfora observes – nobody would ‘condemn’ winds without appeal and yet everybody knows what scourge they can produce”.

[Luciano Canfora, Giulio Cesare, Mondadori 2010, XLII, p. 380]

A windstorm. Brittonic pearls

Seneca’s further explanation of the winds sheds some light on his own view on Caesar [italic text is mine; Canfora will then help us to read between the lines]:

“[Winds] do not cease to be inherently good, even though, through fault of those who degrade their use, they are turned to instruments of harm. Surely Providence and God, the great Disposer of the world, had a beneficent aim in establishing the winds … that the atmosphere might be kept in motion by them, that no part of the world should become unsightly through inactivity. His object was not that we might man our fleet with armed soldiers to seize every quarter of the main, and that we might go in search of foes either in or beyond the sea.”

“In its profundity – Luciano Canfora observes – the comparison is sort of paralyzing: Seneca stops on the brink of a judgement he can not make. Through the metaphor of the wind he alludes to Julius Caesar, represented as a windstorm.”

Jean-Léon Gérôme, Cleopatra and Caesar

Was Cleopatra wearing Brittonic pearls? According to Pliny the Elder (Natural History : IX.116) Caesar dedicated a thorax decorated with British pearls to Venus Genetrix. Jean-Léon Gérome (1824-1904) painted how Cleopatra and Caesar first met according to Plutarch (Caes. 49). Click for source

Canfora then adds [paraphrased]:

The metaphor well fits Caesar’s warlike hyperactivity, when Seneca mentions a degraded use of winds pushing ships over the sea, not for exploration or communication, but for wars in the sea or beyond the sea. ‘Beyond’ the sea – Canfora argues – cannot but allude to the erratic expedition in Britannia, judged unreasonable by many: a useless carnage carried out – to some – for greed of Brittonic pearls (Suetonius, Caesar 47; Pliny, Natural History, IX.116, 169; Gibbon believed it, Ch I; read a great article by Bill Thayers.)

Roots of perplexity

So this whole post is about the perplexity a few ancient Romans felt before Caesar’s warlike restlessness.

[Only a few? Seneca had talked of a 'commonly made' remark: quod vulgo dictatum est]

This perplexity, it should be noted, hit even those who – like Livy, Seneca and others – had benefited from the new course introduced by Caesar (new conquests, the Empire with its better organization etc.)

Why then such perplexity, Canfora asks himself?
[Giulio Cesare, XLII p . 383]

For humanitarian reasons, basically: the horrible human cost of eight years of war in Gaul and 5 years of civil war.

Capitoline She-Wolf. Rome, Musei Capitolini. Public domain

Other installments:

Julius Caesar’s Conquest Of Gaul. When North-West Europe & The Mediterranean ‘Embraced’ (1)
Conquest Of Gaul. Debate On Julius Caesar’s Conduct, Motives, Achievements (2)
The ‘Black Book’ Of Julius Caesar’s Gallic Campaign. Harsher Criticism on Caesar(ism) (4)

See also:

France, Italy and the Legacy of Rome

Stress and Joy. Conquest and Sorrow
Caesar, Great Man and Don Juan

Blog Break. And a Conversation on Love over at Richardus’ Londinium Pub

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Pastry shop Bernasconi

Enjoy a Roman everyday's scene. "The family-run kosher pastry shop Bernasconi, on Via dei Giubbonari, has only one table outside. Actually one table, period." Picture (and text) by Eleonora Baldwin, from her "Roma every day". Click to enlarge.

This blog is taking a vacation. A one month vacation.

Above you can see a Roman scene as taken by Eleonora Baldwin’s camera. Eleonora is a Roman, but her father is Irish American.

ψ

Here is a conversation occurred over at Richardus.

It is about Love.

I paste, as usual, what I deem relevant to my blog themes.

Wow, Love! [Readers will think]

Wrong. No easy stuff … but fun, none the less.

Richardus:

“Aristophanes may search for his other half, but I search for my whole self.

Thrust into a hostile world, I trudge towards my inevitable grave in utter isolation, seeking an impossible solace, never knowing who I am.

Suddenly, I peer into the eyes of another and see myself. Here is my peace, my consolation, my defence.

I claim those eyes to be always with me as I am always with myself. Perhaps I procreate, but only incidentally.

Selfless caring for another is true love. With practice it may become as universal as its source.

Lev Tolstoy in Yasnaya Polyana", 1908, the first color photo portrait in Russia

Geraldine: I hear Tolstoy in this post and I’m not surprised.

Richardus: How would you unravel Christianity from Anna Karenin, Geraldine? I haven’t read War and Peace.

Geraldine: Your post reminded me more of how Tolstoy thought. For example you said:

“Suddenly, I peer into the eyes of another and see myself. Here is my peace, my consolation, my defence.”

Tostoy was conscious that the soul is godlike and unites all of us [italic by MoR]. The same soul lives in all of us. Emerson also refers to this in “The Over Soul.” The Hindu religion refers to this with the hands in prayer and the bow to each other: The God in me recognizes the God in you. Is this not what you mean?

To answer your question, I unravel Christianity in the novel in a simple way. Even though Toystoy had a profound insight into human suffering and behaviour his writing is morally severe. There is punishment and it is binary. I believe Levin is modeled after Tolstoy.

Anna defies or flaunts the rules of her society and receives a tragic end. Levin achieves fulfillment as a committed landowner and is involved in society. One protagonist lives outside of himself (if this sounds right) the other follows her own needs. Values, sacrifice, self-possession or self-control are scrutinized to the core.

In this work love is not light. It all suggest judgment.

Note I didn’t say that the love is not right. I do not know.

Kaytis:

True love is so hard to find and to keep. You paint a lovely picture Richard, of an ideal. Beautifully expressed.

Man of Roma:

What is true love? Everybody is in search for Love, in his /her own way.

Plato, Magister

While I am studying for my Manius soap I now think of this:

1) on one hand we have sapientiae voluptas (or wisdom’s, knowledge hedonism, since real knowledge implies passion, joy, love, it implies trying to probe – with poetry? sacred books? philosophy? science? – the big mysteries of the universe: death, God etc.

But on the other hand we also have 2) corporis volutpas, ie bodily pleasure, not necessarily vile: at its best it is love for a human being; at its worst banal lust.

A man (don’t know about women, they are more mysterious to me the more I age) is imo torn between 1 and 2.

Plato's chariot in Phaedrus: the Charioteer is our Reason, 1 horse is soul's positive passionate nature; the other horse our soul's concupiscent nature.

1) is the white horse in Plato’s Phedrus chariot (Plato influenced the Jews and the Christians), and 2) is the black horse, especially as for non-spiritual love. Who is riding the two-horsed chariot? It is our Reason.

Now men, I don’t know about women, are badly torn between 1 and 2. If they are not, throw stones at me because I am.

Torn between being a monk (of wisdom, at least tentative) and a libertine? Between ‘the Being’ & Love for a person in flesh? Hard to say.

At times the Woman, for a Man, may take us to God, to the Spirit, to the Being, like Beatrice did with Dante, or Polia with Polyphilo (ie, lover of Polia, in Francesco Colonna’a palatial neoplatonical Renaissance Comedy (Poliphilo’s Strife of Love in a Dream) – the anti-Dante – since the 2 lovers finally get united in their love – thanks to Polia – before the Cosmic Venus; yes, no Madonna there, but Venus at her highest level of purity).

Dante meets Beatrice at Ponte Santa Trinità

Dante meets Beatrice at Ponte Santa Trinità, by Henry Holiday, 1883. Click to enlarge

Now our flight in such chariot towards Platonic Good, the Ideas (or the Christian God, or the neoplatonic cosmic Venus etc.) goes up when reason and the white horse prevail. It tends to flap flap flap down to bodily vile stuff when corporis voluptas, bodily desire, is stronger.

As for myself, num 2 is very powerful. My flight is often low, non-spiritual, my quest vile, although my desire for num 1 – for Good, God and so forth – is never ending, and is bugging me all the time, and each time I flap flap flap a bit higher, I do feel better.

Ok. I am very confused (plus verbose). Asta la vista babies

Richardus:

Well, now Roma, since you seek to distinguish hormonal and spiritual love, I must re-read the Symposium to see what is said there on the subject.

You raise also the matter of Christianity, for which love is the beginning the middle and the end.

Then we have love by love by internet, whose progenitor is love by letter-writing, yet less considered, or maybe less the product of reason.

There is a common thread which I must seek. I may be a little while. :D

Richardus:

You remind me, MoR, of a blond Adonis I knew at school into whose arms a succession of beauties fell, unregretting.

We mortals listened to him in awe. It was a boys’ school, so our knowledge of female anatomy was rudimentary and, shall we say, of a more academic nature. We envied the time he spent on his special study and the joy and adoration he left in his wake.

He went on to become a doctor, the better to develop his talents.

:mrgreen:

Man of Roma:

I’ll be verbose as usual.

Dear Richardus, sweet Celtic Geraldine:

I was in a boys’ school too, for the reason that, in my Liceo Classico, the headmaster, an absolute moron, decided to create, right on that darn year, one class of just girls and another of just boys (us, alas). So, our knowledge of women was also very academical. And, among us, we also had a brown-haired green-eyed Adonis. So beautiful he was, Tommaso, that he made our ‘female vacuum’ (if one can say that) even more painful: since, each time a girl approached our buddies’ group he quickly seduced her – she was powerless before Him, so she knelt down, and was lost in love – and nothing was left to us.

This occurred again and again.

Oh boy, what absolute starvation for a couple of (very formative btw) years, ie btw 15 and 17. It made us ALL very shallow for a long while as for the other gender: id est, when we met ANYTHING that faintly reminded us of the human female (in an age range btw 13 to 98), she, to us, was just flesh, flesh, flesh. Well, at that age, hormones were active. I, for example, couldn’t easily conceive a girl-friend in the sense of a real ‘friend’. Then I evolved I guess (and hope lol).

Bust of Pythagoras

Pythagoras. Roman copy of a Greek original. Musei Capitolini, Roma. Via Wikipedia. Click for attribution

Yes, Richard, Plato is the Great Teacher of us Christians. Christ I guess did his part, but Plato is the supreme Magister of us all in the West. Forget Aristotle imo. But let us not neglect Pythagoras, Plato’s real mentor (even if dead long before Plato’s time) according to Plato himself and to many scholars, together with Socrates of course, of which little we know, and in any case Socrates was Pythagoras’ pupil also.

Now, what fascinates me [all readers here now taking a nap, I know] is the link Orpheus-Pythagoras. What a great theme!!

Which leads us into 2 sparkling directions: pre-Celtic North Europe, and India!

But that is a story I’ll try to unfold in the Manius plot.

Manius btw seems that it will be published – I was toasting yesterday with wifey – both in Italian (paper book) and in English (e-book: this version needs bigger editing, it is clear). I just have to finish it in 8 months time in a plausible and entertaining – and hopefully deep enough – way. Hard work, and contrary to my nature, whimsical & undisciplined. But in any case.

Blogger Love, you’ve mentioned.

The Love I developed for you Anglo-Saxons & similar, I guess I owe all to that,. To sweet Richard, Philippe, Mr C, Geraldine, and to ALL the American people, ALL of them etc. You people brought me -I forgot how – into discovering Ancient Britannia, fascinating to me to the extent that I now dream of it, like Giorgio in the plot (who in fact is me, obsessed by the theme).

This Love, dear dear Richard, gave me so much inspiration and happiness.

I read the elegance of you people’s words, I look at the pics you people publish (your houses, your windows so different from ours: they must allow more light, ours less) with so much Love (I now sound corny, I know). And well, yes, it is again the white and the black horse (hyperborea, the American & the British-isles type of Woman), and Reason, the Charioteer, sometimes (or often) faltering in its guide.

But this is the way we are, humans who are not only human, since perhaps there’s some extra sparkle (from somewhere where we came from and are bound to return).

As marvellous Geraldine so gently has told us – in her Irish Celtic, untouched-by-the-Romans, pure, Nordic Female’s words …

A new Manius chapter has been posted (update: Latin Poets, Ulysses and other stuff)

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Helmet found in Sutton Hoo, Suffolk, England (6th cent. AD) One of the images that enrich our soap on Ancient Britannia: maniuslentulus.blogspot.com

Hi, a new Manius chapter has been written and posted. The English version links to the Italian original.

I hope all is well with you all.

Too late to say anything else. See you tomorrow.

MoR

ψ

Update. What I had to say I have posted over at the Manius Papirius Lentulus blog dialogue section. Here it is.

Latin Poets of the Golden Age

'A favourite poet' by the Victorian painter Alma Tadema (1888). Detail. Click to enlarge

Regarding this painting by Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836–1912) Jenny had asked :

“I need to know which (favorite) poet the Roman women are reading in that painting. I just ordered Slavitt’s translation of Ovid’s Love Poems, Letters and Remedies. Looks great.”

MoR: “According to Rosemary J. Barrow (*L. Alma-Tadema*, Phaidon 2001) the poet is divine *Horace* – I add links for the sake of new readers, and basically am a pedantic teacher to the marrow -, who was from *Venusia*, South Italy, today’s Venosa in Mezzogiorno’s Lucania also called Basilicata.

Rosaria, a first-generation Italian American blogger, is from Venosa: here she describes her home town; the Ford Coppola family is from Bernalda, Lucania, a town not far from Venosa.

[Incidentally, Rosaria's personal account on his town, with Orazio's statue in the main piazza, and the bay-leaves crown the best school students received, similar to the one Orazio's statue wears, is so compelling]

The bronze wall panel behind the 2 Roman women in Tadema’s gorgeous painting has inscribed a few words by Horace. The title of my Manius soap (Misce stultitiam consiliis: Add Folly to Wisdom) is taken from Horace (4 Odes, xii. 28), and the ‘act’ the buddies in the plot perform in the taberna (read Chanting in an Ænglisc taberna) is one of Horace most perfect choral songs from the *Carmen Saeculare* (Song of the Ages!), probably his most perfect (and classical in the real-deal sense of the term) poem.

Horace (together with Vergil) is Rome’s bard and his poems were sacred to the Romans – no easy stuff, Horace; Lord Byron confessed he couldn’t understand Horatius Flaccus; but I believe every minute spent on Horace’s lines is worthwhile  – although sacred, I don’t mean it in the sense of the Judeo-Christian ‘Revealed Writ’ of course. For that – revealed-by-god(s) words – you have to turn, outside the Jewish tradition, to the amazing Orphic Greek literature, for example, which I’m sipping here and there and find terribly inspiring.

Tibullus visiting his beloved Clelia. Click to watch it in full resolution

True Romans & Celts.
A different temperament?

Horace was the most loved ancient poet in 19th century England. His tone befitted the Victorians who kinda felt like the spirituals heirs of the Romans. He was also fun like most Roman writers (he for ex. preferred the liberty of loving slaves or unintelligent women, since Roman matrons were a headache to him, a tad too matriarchal perhaps, but basically I think he didn’t find a long-for-life love (Vergil did, probably, but I guess it was a man) and most of all Horace is the real classical thing more than Vergil in some way, while Tibullus and Catullus (and Vergil) were a bit more … romantic since – so darn interesting for the Manius’ blog – they were Italian Celts from North Italy, id est continental Celts, id est cousins to insular, British-Isles, Celts.

I absolutely adore Tibullus and his elegies, so beautiful & melancholic, and Clelia (Tibullus’ true love – see a painting below- : differently from Horace he was more or less monogamous: Clelia not by chance is Manius’s lost love too.

[Tadema painted Tibullus at Clelia's, and Catullus at Lesbia's - see above and below. How could he not ;-) ]

But Manius is not monogamous. Massimo, the positive hero, is.

Ovid is a sparkling choice Jenny. His verses are peculiar, naturally flowing, and possibly much more fun than all the poets I’ve mentioned.

Catullus at Lesbia's by Sir Laurence Alma Tadema (1836-1912). Click to enlarge

All the best Rome could give

ALL these poets are the best Rome could give and were much deeper than the coeval Greek literature, that was extremely refined but void and spineless. Catullus was another first class Italian Celtic poet, very romantic as well. He was in love with the sluttish Clodia he calls Lesbia.

True Romans from Rome were – and still are – not much romantic (in both the arts and common sense of the term); Manius, Massimo, Giorgio (and myself) are partly true Romans, partly North Italian Celtic, so they are a tad romantic too (I guess it takes also bad weather to be ‘romantic’ lol).

I mean, it all fits together perhaps – or so it seems to the Man of Roma (now Manius) ;)

Then Paul Costopoulos had said:

“Now, Manius, I have a throwing dagger but what tells you how I will use it the only time I will be able to throw it because retrieving it once thrown is rather problematic.

Not being a Roman and being a merchant why would I hurt potential costumers?

Of course you are my friend and that could cause me some scruples and those guys do seem to be cutthroats so they could also be out to cut mine, they seem to be somewhat xenophobic.

All considered, I will side with you after all.”

MoR:Being a merchant why would I hurt potential costumers?

Right Paul, you got into the Pavlos character as I see it at least, probably because it’s part of you despite what you may think who knows.

Ulysses and the Sirens by John William Waterhouse (1849–1917). Detail. Via Wikimedia. Click for a bigger image and a higher resolution view of it

Ulysses, ie the Mediterranean Man

To me Pavols is a symbol par excellence of the Mediterranean Man ready to survive in every circumstance and to exchange knowledge goods symbols experiences with a wonderful good nature – given to him by Helios ok – but with an admirable life balance reached tho thru horrible toil it must be said:

the Med, one often forgets, is a ruthless stepmother and no fertile area as the Nordic European lands.

One reason why the Germans are so big compared to the Greco-Romans and successive Mediterranean people: their climate may be horrible but they got BEEFY in the course of the centuries from the beefy cattle that got (and still gets) BIG – as them – from the fat-and-so-green-from-rain darn grass)

« La rareté en Mediterranée – Fernand Braudel écrit – des vrais pâturage. Elle entraîne le petit nombre des bovin … pour l’homme du Nord le bétail de la Méditerranée semble déficient. La Méditerranée, II, pp. 290-291, Livre de Poche »

You add, Paul:

Now, Manius, I have a throwing dagger but what tells you how I will use it the only time I will be able to throw it because retrieving it once thrown is rather problematic.

Well well, I don’t think this to be a problem. I had added the following italic text (but had to prune this and other stuff, it was too verbose:

“Pavlos pulled out an inlaid-with-gold throwing dagger that he always carried with him (even in bed?). He had already shown his ability to use it with deadly precision..

If you have even a colossus before you – Ulysses had one-eyed Polyphemus – you can dispatch him in a second by throwing dagger hurled into the left or right eye (your choice).

But, true, both the Romans & their Greek copain then would all be slaughtered by the rest of the Angles. So yes, Pavols waits for the events to unfold.

Nikos Kazantzakis: Odyssey, a Sequel

nikos kazantzakis

Nikos Kazantzakis, a modern Greek genius. Click for attribution & additional infos

MoR: “A side note à propos de Ulysess. In the winter of 1938, at the age of 45, your father’s countryman Nikos Kazantzakis from Crete (1883 – 1957) published his “Odyssey” (a modern Sequel) in Athens. A huge tome of 835 pages in 24 books with 33,333 verses!

[visit Nikos Kazantzakis' virtual museum]

There’s a good English translation by a Greek American, Kimon Friar (Simon & Schuster, NY 1958).

The two worked together for a long time in order to achieve a good translation. I, being a book maniac, have it on my shelves but have sipped only here and there.

It is as BEEFY as the Germans mamma mia!!”

Manius Papirius Lentulus. Progress so far

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Venus Verticordia by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Venus Verticordia by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882). Via Wikipedia. Click for attribution. Venus was also called Verticordia by the Romans since she was capable of 'changing human hearts'. Verticordia had a temple on the Via Salaria

As for the adventures of Manius Papirius Lentulus in Ancient Britannia [Misce Sultitiam Consiliis: Add Folly to Wisdom] I’ve not been idle.

At present:

1) I am translating all that has been written so far into decent enough Italian (harder than I thought)

2) as for the new chapters (like the latest and the one in preparation) I first write in Italian and later only I translate all into English. It is quicker and at this point I need it.

3) I am inserting Andy’s editing into my English text. Andy, this extremely nice English blogger I just met face to face in Milan, is very respectful of my weird English. He just corrects evident mistakes.

4) I got new ideas in Milan about how one can write in two languages at the same time. I in fact there met Christian Floquet face to face, ie a half French half Italian extremely nice person (his Italian half is Calcagni-Negroni, so he, well, is my cousin – I told you blogs are also great for meeting people in real life, wow). Ok. Now Christian (who lives both in Paris and in Milan) happens to teach translation at the Milan University.

He told me of this writer who, while writing novels in two languages at the same time, lost his vein at a certain point (if I recall well). So what he did he began to learn another language in order to get his inspiration back. Amazing. Not that I feel I’m a writer, no, but since, well, I write, such examples are inspiring (and consoling). Merci Christian!

A fifth point will soon appear, ie the categories (or lexicon) I have conceived for the Manius / Massimo etc. soap, which may provide an idea of where I’m aiming at and of the mixture of stultitia (folly) and consilium (wisdom) I am planning.

Clivus Scauri, that connects the Caelium hill with the Palatine hill

Clivus Scauri, and ancient Roman alley not far from Giorgio's home. Click for attribution and to enlarge. M. A. Scaurus (163 – 89 BCE), one of greatest politicians of the Republic at the time of Caius Marius (Caesar's uncle) used it to reach the Palatine & Forum area

Note. Misce stultitiam consiliis is meant to mean ‘mix folly with wisdom’ although sapientia is the right word for wisdom

The thing is the poem by Horace I took it from is too beautiful (read too how the notion is discussed over at the MoR)

Misce stultitiam sapientiae? We will see. Sapientia (wisdom in all its ancient & modern, philosophical & theological, meanings) is in fact – as Cicero put it (I, Off. c. 43) – congnitio rerum omnium (knowledge of all things), tum humanorum, tum divinarum (those that are human, and those that are divine).

Big deal thing, I know.

Us and the Hyperboreans. 3

We said there is a general attraction-repulsion among the people from North and South Europe. Let’s forget the repulsion thing now and let us instead focus on the undoubted attraction we feel for each other – as for our use of the term hyperborean pls read this note.

Beyond
the North Wind

The ancient Greeks dreamed about a mythical people living in a pagan Eden beyond Boreas, the north wind (hyper-Boreas = ‘beyond the north wind’). The Hyperboreans were imagined as perfect and almost god-like.

Thus Pindar in the V century BC:

Never the Muse is absent
from their ways: lyres clash and flutes cry
and everywhere maiden choruses whirling.
Neither disease nor bitter old age is mixed
in their sacred blood; far from labour and battle they live.

Such a bliss was though difficult to reach:

Never on land or by sea will you find
the marvellous road to the feast of the Hyperborea.

(Pindar, Tenth Pythian Ode, translation by Richmond Lattimore; quotes from Wikipedia)

So Hyperborea was like a feast. Hard to tell which real experiences fed the myth but we perceive like attraction vibes coming from the Mediterranean and addressed towards some mythical folk of the north-east.

At least 5 centuries later, the Roman historian Tacitus, in his book Germania about the Germans (full text here) – a group of tribes also coming from the North-East – noted in AD 98: “In every house the children grow up, thinly and meanly clad, to that bulk of body and limb which we behold with wonder.” Less myth here but concrete admiration for the Germans’ powerful bodies (and pristine virtues.)

Caesar himself had appreciation for the Germans, if utilizing them in battle is any indication. Ancient Rome was filled with northern slaves who, even though seen as savages, were admired for their aspect and many Roman ladies wore expensive wigs made from their blonde or red hair.

Not Angles, but Angels

That the Mediterranean people found these northern folks attractive is confirmed by a legendary event with some historical ground. If true, it occurred more than 500 years after Tacitus’ time.

As Beda Venerabilis wrote in his Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, Gregory I, a great Pope from a noble Roman family, saw one day a group of children in a slave market of the Eternal City. They looked so beautiful to him that, getting curious and inquiring about them, he was told they were Angli (Angles).

He then so exclaimed with a pun: “Non Angli, sed Angeli”, “they are not Angles, but Angels” and added: “Well named, for they have angelic faces and ought to be co-heirs with the angels in heaven.” Thus, according to Beda, he thought to convert the pagan Anglo-Saxons to Christianity and sent Augustine of Canterbury to Britain for this purpose.

Ψ

Not much has changed since then. As regards contemporary Britons, Swedes, Danes, Norwegians, Dutch and Germans (among the rest,) today’s Mediterranean people still see them as different in their bodies, skin, eyes, manners, and these differences are often seductive, beyond a doubt. Exactly as to Gregory, their children look such fair-skinned sweet angels to us. The women and the men we see as provided with a diverse beauty we generally find irresistible.

At 17 I was stunned watching the Irish girls dancing in the Dublin discos. The way they moved their bodies to the rhythm of music was so damn different from our girls’: a ‘lesser grace equals more grace’ type of thing, which almost knocked me out.

Churches as Factories for Marriage

A 45 years old American IT expert, italoamericano, confessed that the Italian and the Irish Americans who often gather in Catholic churches all over the States do feel this reciprocal attraction. “Churches are sometimes like factories for marriages. As far as us Italians– he confirmed – we cannot resist those fair and blue-eyed faces”. He had in fact married an Irish woman. Whether he met her in a church I’m not in a position to tell.

An attraction reciprocal. An American woman of German-English descent had lived in a small town close to Chicago. She said she gazed longingly at those Italians in the days when her catholic mother took her to the local church.

Ψ

Ok, basta. Since from serious this post has become gossipy (and voyeuristic) I will redeem myself in the next and last post dedicated to the Hyperboreans.

Hopefully we won’t just talk about the physical qualities we admire in them.

Note. I couldn’t find an appropriate picture with English or German children (for Gregory’s angels.) The image above refers to Swedish girls during Luciadagen (Saint Lucia’s day) on December 13th. It is moving how these “sun starved people” revere Lucia (or Lucy,) the Saint of light born in sunny Sicily (her name coming from the Latin word lux = light.)

During the darkest days of the year they pray Lucia to bring the sun back to them.

(“Lucy is one of the very few saints celebrated by the Lutheran Swedes, Finland-Swedes, Danes and Norwegians in celebrations that retain many indigenous Germanic pagan pre-Christian midwinter light festivals” – Wikipedia)

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Other related posts:
Us and the Hyperboreans. 1
Us and the Hyperboreans. 2

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