tsuki-no-yume:

berhanes:

berhanes:

things my impossibly young looking Roman history lecturer has said

‘listen to your seminar tutors over the booklet, but only for seminars – in lectures i am king. unless you have me as a seminar tutor as well, in which case i am your king and god.’

‘has anybody played Rome: Total War? no?’

‘Cataline tried to burn the city and everyone he hated but he failed because, in short, nobody liked him.’

‘the mediterranean diet didn’t include tomatoes in the ancient world. i know. oh my god. i know.’

‘so of course when Hannibal turns up, the senate goes ‘sod it, lets kick his arse’.’

‘one man’s optimates is another man’s silver-spoon bearing prick.’

‘we don’t have much information about the 70s BC, largely because Plutarch doesn’t care.’

‘i’m not saying Rome: Total War is entirely accurate, but its battle campaigns are surprisingly historically informed.’

[hand drawing a map in chalk because the projector is broken] ‘i’ll give it a go, this is why i hate technology, and oh. well. that’s not italy.’

‘every army needs bakers and prostitutes, this is just a fact of life.’

‘Sulla. He’s a bit of a badass, but also a bit of a prick.’ 

‘yes, that is a slide from Spartacus. The film, not the series, which is more accurate and less like soft porn.’

‘the Romans liked Campania because its very fertile. they didn’t know this was because of its proximity to a volcano – poor buggers found THAT out later.’

‘Crassus gets given command of Syria and high fives everyone in the senate.’

‘Catullus was very pithy, very hellenistic in style. unlike the Iliad, which is 24 books of tedium.’

‘An Afternoon at Carrhae: the Romans being shot at repeatedly by Parthian cavalry because if there’s one thing the Romans aren’t good at, it’s having a cavalry.’

‘It’s good to have fast legs in war. Caesar moves very fast, not unlike Napoleon. The Usain Bolt of ancient warfare. I’m not sure why I said that, it’s an atrocious analogy.’

‘Athens is the Edinburgh of the ancient world; it has nothing to offer but education and pretty buildings.’

‘Shout out to those of you who spent your teenage years playing Rome: Total War.Which is what I did.’ 

‘The senate go into a panic and they decide to flee Rome at dawn, but some idiot forgets the treasury. I know. Ridiculous.’

‘Again: don’t use elephants during warfare. They’re not as cool as they look. And given they’re now endangered, it’d just be mean.’ 

‘I had to use this meme, I’m sorry. You’re all aware of the one does not simply walk into mordor meme right? I’m sorry, we’ll move on.’

‘I put this photo in for dramatic effect but I realise that it’s just a field. I don’t know why people bother going to see battle sites, they’re all really boring. I saw bones once, they were quite interesting. But most battle sites: boring.’

‘Caesar doesn’t tell Rome anything while he’s away in Egypt for a year, so they have no idea Pompey’s dead. All they know is that Antony is being a pain in the ass, which is, in all honesty, not unusual for Antony.’

‘Caesar is very good at one liners. You always draft a pithy one liner before a battle so you have something to say when you win. You don’t want to win and then just be like ‘whoo, thank god for that.’’

This, incidentally, is the methodology I used when I tutored people in history. And D students would end up getting A’s on the subject materials I helped them with. I suspect this is why Shakespeare was considered a fantastic writer too. People pay attention when you’re willing to put something on their level instead of being so caught up in sounding fancy and academia. (Yes, Shakespeare, for his day, was considered quite accessible to the regular people to come to the theater as opposed to only being a high-class affair.) People identify with something when you identify with them. And everyone should identify with history because it’s all human beings who screwed up, some who did some really heroic awesome stuff, and some who got handed a bad hand and turned it around. Sure, it happened in different places and people had ‘strange’ names and fancy titles, but in the end, we see those same people doing the same sort of things today. We spread posts about them, get discouraged at our society’s apparent lack of caring, and wonder how we’ll ever make a difference. Whether we’ll leave our mark. The answer is, we will.

It’s just not history yet.

It will be.

So don’t give up on history. You’re a part of it. 

marmolita:

houndsheart:

snubbingapollo:

So, your queer history lesson for the day:

Everyone’s heard that pirate’s call each other “matey”. What you probably haven’t heard is that the word matey comes from “matelote”.

In the Caribbean this word was used between buccaneers to signify a life partner. Matelotes could inherit from each other, shared space, fought together, could speak for each other when one was incapacitated or absent, and more often than not the relationship was romantic and sexual.

That’s right folks. Pirates had a term for their gay life partners.

In light of this, I present to you a new alternative for significant other and partner. Bring back matelote.

(You can learn more about the practice of matelotage in: The Origins and Role of Same-Sex Relations in Human Societies by James Niell)

Arrr! Matelotage was such a great idea!

In an age when the English Navy ran on “rum, sodomy and the lash,” (as noted in many writings of the time), homosexual relationships were punishable by death.

The result here was that in the English Navy, relationships went underground. Very often, they became forced, often between a superior and a subordinate. When English crews went on the account, becoming pirates, they looked for a way to legitimize relationships of honest affection.
Matelotage [French; meaning ‘seamanship’] , now used as an English word, became a term for a legal marriage between two men.

[…]

In pirate society (and only pirate society) two men could “marry.” They would exchange gold rings, and pledge eternal union. After this, they were expected to share everything.  Plunder and living spaces were obvious, but couples in matelotage were also known to share other property, and even women. If one of the partners was killed in action, pirate captains were careful to make sure that the surviving member received both shares of plunder, as well as any appropriate death benefits.

Simply put, homosexual relationships had been kept under wraps by people in fear for their lives because of draconian laws. Among sailors who had practiced this form of release themselves, it lost its sense of being alien, and so became accepted and legitimized as soon as they (by turning pirate) gained the right to make their own laws. {X}

There’s actually a series of gay pirate romance novels where I first heard about this.

The World’s Oldest Library Has Reopened

papinianista:

ishtargates:

Bit of a correction, not the world’s oldest library but the world’s oldest university’s library.  

The University of Al-Quaraouiyine was founded in 859 by a Muslim woman named Fatima al-Fihri and since it’s founding it has hosted scholars of different subjects from all parts of the world.  However, in the 21st century the library had greatly decayed so an architect named Aziza Chaouni was commissioned to help restore it.  Chaouni agreed immediately because she did not want a historical site to fall into ruin.  And now she has completed her task 🙂

~Hasmonean

“Chaouni made sure to use as authentic as possible materials in fixing the site, and what she couldn’t repair, she simply recreated. In addition, she took special care to make sure that the library is actually usable to researchers and scholars as well, adding new furniture and solar panels for sustainable power.”

i tend to keep my screaming in the tags and indeed i have ADDITIONAL screaming in the tags but ahh hh h h h hyou guys this is one of my favorite, favorite historical institutions– first university, also: Maimonides studied here. Ibn Khaldun studied here. Leo Africanus studied here. It is unspeakably distinguished.

(The library isn’t as old as the university– it’s from the 14th century, actually! But it is still very ancient and contains an incredible collection.)

It’s in Fez. I am so incredibly jealous of Fez.

The World’s Oldest Library Has Reopened

libhobn:

westsemiteblues:

jewishwarriorprincess:

I’m too lazy right now to search for a source but is this true?

Yep. The Nokmim. This was Abba Kovner’s group. He’s the skinny hatless guy in the back row of the photograph who looks like he’s a concert violinist or something.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/jul/26/second.world.war

there’s a book about them.

destielissoqueerlike:

destielissoqueerlike:

destielissoqueerlike:

Okay so I found my dead grandfather’s journal from 56 years ago. This is some old stuff, okay, and I was like yeah I’m gonna read a page or two. 

Basically he wrote down this road trip he did with a friend of his (name is Giulio) but at some point it gets so weird.

I’ll try my best to translate it from italian to english (english is not my first language) and well, I’m also having a hard time trying to read my gandpa’s writing cause he wrote like a drunk snail.

Now, beware, my grandfather was an italian man dedicated to work, church, work and work, who believed in the traditional family and all that Jazz. But at some point I reach this part where he writes: “yesterday me and Giulio slept in the same tent as mine was stolen at the gas station. As it was really cold, we slept close. In the middle of the night I realized that the warmth next to me did not belong to my Nadia (his fiancé at the time, my grandmother). It was the most intense feeling I’ve ever felt”.

And I was like allright that’s some weird no homo bullshit but who cares.

BUT THEN IT JUST GETS WORSE.

“I was having a cigarette whilst Giulio was asleep in the car, having a nap before we hit the road again. In the midst of the smoke of my tobacco, I saw his face and thought that the woman who is going to marry him will be lucky”.

Grandpa, what the hell? 

BUT OH NO IT JUST GETS BETTER.

“We shared a bed. Old motel did not have spare rooms, it was awkward at first. Then I started thinking that the warmth of Giulio’s body is somehow becoming more familiar to me then Nadia’s.”

Now, I have like seventy more pages of this goddamn journal but I am pretty fucking sure my gandfather had the worst crush over his best friend.

Due to popular demand I have translated some highlights cause damn it gets gayer and gayer.

So at one point my grandpa kind of stopped talking about Giulio and I was like (there we go, denial. Been there done that).

Then out of fucking nowhere, date 23 of may 1960, my grandpa writes:

“We finally reached Palermo. It is a beautiful city, full of art and good food, tomorrow we will visit some of the churches. I am now writing in our hotel room, a cheap place that still looks lovely in it’s way. Giulio is taking a shower. The noise of the water is keeping me awake, although I suspect that’s not the only reason I can’t shut my brain down”.

First of all, my grandpa wrote like a fucking professional writer. Second of all… grandpa, you can’t sleep cause your best friend is naked in the shower?

Anyway, they visit Palermo, everything is nice, they hit the road again and tHEN THIS HAPPENS.

“We stopped in a little bar. We ate something, chatted with the bartender and asked him directions for our next stop. We then had a few beers to celebrate our good times. A young girl then sat on the stool next to mine: she told me her name, Enrica, and she was pretty and lovely in her dress. Yet I did not make conversation with her and dismissed her after she made her intentions somewhat obvious. The main reason is, of course,  my devotion and love for my Nadia. The second reason is that Giulio was watching me.”

AND HE JUST SWITHES TOPICS TALKING ABOUT THIS MOTEL THEY FOUND AND FOR FUCK’S SAKE GRANDPA YOU CAN’T JUST STOP THERE CAUSE THIS IS SOUNDING LIKE A GREAT FUCKING FANFICTION. 

My granfather was totally pining after Giulio.

Now, there are like fifteen pages where he doesn’t really say anything about Giulio, he talks about cities they want to visit and that their car broke down in the middle of the street and got some help from, and I quote, “a handsome young man, probably not older than 16″. Like, really grandpa? 

This is the last thing I read.

“I believe Giulio will have my back no matter what happens. He made that much clear.

-What happens after this trip? -he asked me at the reastaurant where we had dinner.

-We go back to our lives, I have my workshop to look after.

-And Nadia. You are going to marry her, I hope.

-Of course. -I answered, as my love for Nadia is strong -Will you be at the wedding?

-If you want me to.

-Of course I do.

-Then I’ll be there. By your side, as usual. That much wont ever change

I am now realising that I’ve never felt such intense feelings for anyone before, because my love for Nadia is strong but yet this is a different emotion. He is my brother, my friend and a half of my heart. That will never end. It almost seems like I am enamoured.”

And he then starts talking about the food of the reastaurant.

MY GRANDPA TOTALLY WENT INTO BRO MODE. I AM DYING INSIDE CAUSE WTF AM I DISCOVERING?!  THIS IS SOME PARABATAI BULLSHIT

I am so going to translate the whole thing and publish it changing the names. 

And the journal it’s not even over.

I am going to be serious for like ten seconds: I have finished reading the journal and I am now going to write the last bits I chose to share. Let me be clear, I DO NOT ALLOW ANYONE TO USE THIS AS A FANFICTION IDEA. I saw many many tags saying: fanfiction AU, ideas for fanfiction, remember for fanfiction and so on. Don’t. Do not think this is a good prompt cause this is memories. My grandfather wrote that stuff and the only reason I am sharing it is cause first, it’s absolutely lovely, two: it may help someone who has feeling for a friend and such and is confused about it, especially if their friend is of the same sex. But this stuff actually happened and I do not want anyone to think about it as a good idea for a fic.  I’m happy people are liking this and I am happy people are invested in my grandpa’s adventures, but have respect.

Now, in the journal there are also many thoughts he had about society, and work and culture that were really interesting, and so many poems for my Grandmother who were the most beautiful things I ever read. It was obvious he was in love with her deeply. I have decided to keep them private.

On the fourth of june they are in Venice and my grandfather writes:

“I have spent many beautiful days traveling Italy with Giulio, going back and forth the country, savoring every single thing this expereince gave us. We are now in Venezia, it is as beautiful as my Nadia told me. So much art, and incredibile food. The Canal Grande is wonderful at night. I walked with Giulio alongside the Canal for hours, not really speaking, as he told me about his favorite moments of the trip. I simply listened, enjoying the sound of his voice”

The page ends like that, he then starts writing two days later, talking about the presents he picked for Nadia and his family. My grampa then talks about Giulio one more time.

“It has occured to me of how lucky I am. I did not only travelled for this beautiful country, but I did so with my dearest friend. I am grateful to God for this opportunity, as Giulio is the kindest soul. We are kindred spirits, I know we will never be separated. Such feelings make me feel horribly guilty. In a way, it almost feels as if I am somehow betraying Nadia. But I would never do such a thing, I am sure of that. I love her. And yet, I feel dirty”.

He then completely stops talking about Giulio. The pages go on and on, talking about his trip, the last cities he visited, the places he saw. Then I reached the last page and I am still shaking.

“We are going back to Rome, the travelling is reaching it’s end.  Giulio is driving. I do not know what to do with myself and my heavy heart. The feelings I have haunted my dreams. And yet I can’t bring myself to feel sorry for them. They are intense and they are shaping my soul in a new form I never experienced before. There are moments when I catch myself staring at his profile, with the low sun behind him. Those are the moments I shall treasure the most. This journey will be in my heart forever, in my memories and on this pages. I feel like I am a different man, I hope a better one perhaps. I am going to see my Nadia again, then marry her, and I know we will be happy. Because I love her with every fiber of my being. And in the same way I will always think of him. 

June, 31, 1960″

My grandfather was a kind, tender man. He loved deeply my beautiful grandmother, they lived together happily for almost 50 years. My grandfather was a man who loved with all his heart and the fact that I had the chance to find out about this side of him makes me feel like the luckiest girl in the world. 

I don’t know what happened to Giulio, I never met him nor heard his name, so the whole thing remains misterious. 

But I will say this much:

My grandfather’s name was Sergio Milani, he died three years ago because of the Parkinson illness. He was a loving, kind man, who loved his family and loved his wife.When he died, he was cremated, as he requested. I have decided to burn this journal and to throw the ashes in the sea where we once threw my grandfather’s.  This journal belongs to him, and I will give it back.

Thank you all for the kind words (I received many lovely messages). 

When a vampire washes itself, rain will fall from heaven. Thus, when a drought occurs, nobles send all their men to wash, because any of them may be a vampire.

From Agnes Murgoci’s 1927 paper The Vampire In Roumania, as found in The Vampire Casebook compiled by Alan Dundes

This is so amazing to picture. Like ok men, we know PROBABLY some of you are vampires. IT HAPPENS. This is old timey Romania. That’s how it works. So hey don’t worry, no questions asked, personal business is personal business, but if EVERYONE would just go take a shower we would really appreciate it. Thanks. 

(via varlandgear)

Paging @ceruleancynic and @needsmoreresearch; relevant to your interests?

(via sisterbootknife)

Damn right this is relevant to my interests.

(via needsmoreresearch)

Les Miserables and its Critics

pilferingapples:

This is an unusually good examination of Les Mis, the way it’s been received and reinterpreted, and the politics of the story and Hugo himself over his life. And also the intro alone is SO MUCH of what I want to yell at an enormous number of reviews. 

What is usually elided in conversations about this show is that one of its defining characteristics is the foregrounding and embrace of an attempt at violent revolution by a group of students with guns. Their rebellion ends in bloody failure but the attempt is honored, not mocked. Forgotten in the tedious critiques of technical nit-picking and whining over the melodramatic plot and its Christian quest for forgiveness, there is a central political problem at the heart of the work which places one man’s quest for redemption against the crucial backdrop of a society under revolution.

Fans describe the story as a universal one of “eternal truths” and societal “archetypes”, but Jean Valjean’s problem is his relationship with a government that not only misuses and perverts its power, but facilitates and reproduces a society that is perversely stratified. Granting that Jean Valjean’s saint-like quest for personal salvation forms the redemptive core of the story, what if the global popularity of this work also echoes the perennial frustration with government’s interminable persecution of innocents and its obsessive zeal for crushing liberatory movements?

The perennial hostility of critics would then remind us more of the nervous murmurs and outright hostility of elites whenever the masses begin to congregate, build barricades, camp out and demand a better world. The tears of the audiences would not remind us that the “people” are easily conned into weeping over a melodramatic spectacle that apes the gospels, but perhaps allows a vicarious vision of rebelling against unjust rule while remaining true to desire and love.

Also, it talks about Louise Michel!

Go read the thing!

Les Miserables and its Critics