“Tardigrades (commonly known as waterbears or moss piglets) are small, water-dwelling, segmented animals with eight legs. They are notable for being one of the most complex of all known polyextremophiles. (An extremophile is an organism that can thrive in a physically or geochemically extreme condition that would be detrimental to most life on Earth.)
“Tardigrades can withstand temperatures from just above absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water. They can survive pressures greater than any found in the deepest ocean trenches and have lived through the vacuum of outer space. They can survive solar radiation, gamma radiation, ionic radiation – at doses hundreds of times higher than would kill a person. They can go without food or water for nearly 10 years, drying out to the point where they are 3% or less water, only to rehydrate, forage, and reproduce.” Wikipedia
The nemesis of the hero who has performed some creative achievement in the past is to gaze with Narcissus’s spell-bound eyes at a reflexion of his own self which would reveal to any seer in his senses the repellent countenance of a wrinkled Tithonus.
A Study of History, Vol IV, OUP, 1939
“A lily of a day” [footnote: Ben Jonson] may be perfect without being permanent, but “Civilization” was credited by its Western exponents [Gibbon is given as an example] with both these attributes of divinity: it was deemed to have come to stay for ever and to be immune against the destruction that had overtaken so many primitive and semi-civilized cultures in the past.
We have had the Jonson phrase already here.
An Historian’s Approach to Religion, OUP, 1956
São Gabriel, 1497
The Trinidad, 1522
The Revenge, 1591
The Mayflower, 1620
The Meermin, 1766
HMS Endeavour, 1769-71
The Zong, 1781
HMS Bounty, 1789
HMS Indomitable, 1797
HMS Sandwich, 1797
HMS Hermione, 1797
La Méduse, 1816
The Antelope, 1820
HMS Beagle, 1826-43
The Creole, 1841
The Pequod, c 1850
The Mary Celeste, 1872
The Narcissus, c 1897
The Nan-Shan, c 1899
RMS Titanic, 1912
RMS Lusitania, 1915
The Kronstadt mutiny, 1917
The Kiel mutiny, 1918
MS St Louis, 1939
HMS Torrin, 1941
Das Boot, 1941
HMS Artemis, c 1943
USS Caine, 1944
MV Wilhelm Gustloff, 1945
The Royal Indian Navy mutiny, 1946
MS Achille Lauro, 1985
What was the name of Cabral’s ship in 1500? The Spithead Mutiny of 1797 is not, as far as I know, associated with one ship; the Nore Mutiny is associated with HMS Sandwich. There’s no consistency in this list, but it is not a list of mutinies. Nor one of maritime triumphs or disasters.
I’ll add to it if I can think of more.
Géricault, The Raft of the Medusa, Louvre
Jean Françaix’ 1936 piano concerto. Françaix playing, Nadia Boulanger conducting the Orchestre Philharmonique de Paris, which lasted from 1935 to ’38. Recorded February 9 1937, Studio Albert, Paris.
A YouTube commenter, who must have been in Britain, wrote yesterday: “Musical Dom Perignon in this prolonged winter”.
It’s also here and here, possibly from a cleaned-up CD. Cf Poulenc’s concerto for two pianos (1932), his own concertino (1932) and Milhaud’s first concerto (1933). Françaix went on writing elegant music until 1997: here is the long list.
This is from Basil Davidson’s 1984 sweeping Channel 4 television series Africa: A Voyage of Discovery (from the third of its eight one-hour parts).
Davidson put African history on the map for laymen, including Africans. Is he still regarded highly? If not, is that because he has been superseded or because he was self-taught and a journalist and lacked any academic qualifications? Or is it a residue from a time when he must have seemed unsettlingly left-wing and when African history was not considered a real subject?
The Channel 4 series is all on YouTube, but not in one place and not in good recordings. There is no decent bibliography of him online. Many people will know his Lost Cities of Africa (1959), African Slave Trade (1961), Africa: History of a Continent (1966) and Time-Life book African Kingdoms (1966).
Swahili, or Kiswahili, is a Bantu language of the East African coast. It became the tongue of the urban class in the Great Lakes region and went on to serve as a post-colonial lingua franca in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Romans visited the coast in the first century. Arab traders had contact with the black coastal peoples from the sixth century CE or earlier. Islam reached the coast in the ninth century or earlier. There is cultural evidence of early Persian (or Arabo-Persian) settlement on Zanzibar from Shiraz. Swahili contains many Arabic and Persian loan words.
City-states – Muslim, cosmopolitan, and politically independent of each other – began to flourish along the coast and on the islands: Kilwa, Malindi, Gedi, Pate, Comoros, Zanzibar. They depended on trade from the Indian Ocean.
The Swahili acted as middlemen between Africa and the outside world. Slaves, ebony, gold, ivory and sandalwood were brought to the coasts and sold to Arab, Indian and Portuguese traders, who carried them to Arabia, Persia, Madagascar, India, China, Europe. Many slaves sold in Zanzibar ended up in Brazil.
Zanzibar grew spices: cinnamon and cardamom were introduced from Asia (when?), chilli and cacao were brought by the Portuguese from South America. When were cloves introduced? Were spices sent mainly to Europe or also to Asia?
How Arab were the ruling classes? How much of the Indian Ocean sailing was done by black Africans? Is there evidence for the arrival of black traders in China? Wikipedia on Chinese in the Indian Ocean and in Africa.
The sultanates began to decline in the sixteenth century, as Portuguese influence grew. The Portuguese in turn were threatened by Omanis, who controlled Zanzibar from 1698 until the middle of the nineteenth century, when the British started to interfere. They were in turn followed by Germans.
Commerce between Africa and Asia via the Indian Ocean declined, but some of the dhow trade survived when Davidson made his film. Swahili fishermen still sell fish to their inland neighbours in exchange for products of the interior.
The earliest known documents written in Swahili are letters written in Kilwa in 1711 in the Arabic script. They were sent to the Portuguese of Mozambique and their local allies. They are preserved in the Historical Archives of Goa. Another document in Arabic script is Utendi wa Tambuka (The History of Tambuka), an epic poem from 1728, written in Pate, about wars between Byzantium and Muslims from 628 to 1453. The Latin script was used later, under the influence of European colonial powers.
Map at Nairaland Forum and elsewhere. Click for better resolution.
From Somalia to Mozambique. Wikipedia list of settlements:
I believe that at death a human being’s soul is re-absorbed into the supra-personal spiritual presence behind the universe. [This is based on a conversation. He might have written “behind the phenomena”.] I believe that personal human individuality is acquired at the price of being separated from this supra-personal reality. I feel that this price is high, and I am therefore glad that it has to be paid for a limited period only.
Surviving the Future, OUP, 1971
A friend sent me something unsolicited on Hans Werner Henze, the great German composer who died last October. I replied:
“I had some thoughts about your moving HWH email, so jotted them down.
“Your description of the rather anti-religious atmosphere in his house was interesting. On the whole, he seemed to be an atheist to the end, thinking that human beings were better and kinder without religion. But he disconcerted a German journalist a few years ago by referring to the universe ‘and its Maker’.
“And then, his penultimate work, called An den Wind, for chorus and ensemble (2011) had this blurb, translated from German on his publisher’s website. It’s not very theological, but it’s very Henze:
‘A legend: inscrutable, rooted and seasoned in the past; a myth: which in the turning of the ages changed or discarded its old skins, rich in mystery and significance – this comes to us direct from the unconscious and via memory, taking form in the Holy Scriptures, filling us today with awe and with love.
‘Working with the poet Christian Lehnert, I immersed myself in the theme of the ‘Outpouring of the Holy Spirit’, with the miracle, and as it were with the healing, the saving of souls, as depicted in medieval art (for example in painting), where we find the Apostles gazing childlike into the starry heavens, searching for grace, for answers and for blessing.
‘In our art, Christian and I portray and present the world as we experience it today – with its unearthly storms of desert wind, with its loneliness and fears, with its longing for peace, for love, for calm of mind. A choir of many voices declares the agony of the abandoned, the eternal mourning, the loss, but also the moments of joy and delight, for these are certainly not lacking – especially not when proclaimed by the purity of young voices, filling the world with forgiveness, love, hope and radiant light.’
“Henze was always looking for the happy turning. The better world.
“First he looked for it in disgraced Germany after fascism, then in unbombed Italy, where he felt he had found it. Amicizia. Fraternité. Then for a short time in Cuba. In Cuba all men could be artists: uomini sociali. He never flirted with Stalin. Revolution was just a word for moral redemption. That optimism must have made him very attractive as a young man in the ’40s.
“His involving of a whole community in an arts festival in Montepulciano was a mildly politicised version of what Britten had already accomplished at Aldeburgh. It was Aldeburgh plus Cuba.
“Perhaps at the end, he thought that this better world might be somewhere else. John Drummond said: ‘There are some composers for whom it is always autumn. With Henze it is always spring.’
“So I don’t find this wide-open religious tone very strange at the end.
“Your account of the time he spent teaching you illustrates his best side. He’d spend hours with students in wintry classrooms in Manchester doing the same thing. You were lucky to have that and much more.
“But Henze, one feels, was corrupted by self-awareness. It has become a cliché to say of some artists that they were their greatest work. I worry that that is true of him and that his music might die with him.
“From the late ’90s until about 2004, he produced some works (Six Songs from the Arabian and others) which were influenced by visits to the Swahili coast.
“Since I had last heard of you heading towards Kenya, I wondered, when I heard those pieces, whether it was you who had brought him there. From what you say, that was not the case.
“Where did he stay? Lamu! My heart sank when I heard that. I am sure Lamu is wonderful, but it’s where rock stars and a few millionaires go, isn’t it? Henze called himself an outsider, but he was as bourgeois as anyone. The spectacle of Germans in quest of the exotic always embarrasses Brits. His self-portrait in Cuba in his autobiography is revealing and honest here.
“My heart also sank when I walked into that mews house near Harrods, by your arrangement, in summer ’81. It seemed so conventional. I have the same feeling when I look at some of La Leprara in films. It is almost like a posh hotel.
“But my reaction on engaging with him was, like yours, to be riveted by his charm. A really wonderful sense of humour regularly punctured the nearly-oracular seriousness. He laughed that evening until tears ran down his face. He was warm, funny, vain and cultured. Talented in every way, it seemed.
‘Henze’s is the saddest story in post-war music. He is a martyr equally to the need since the deaths of Strauss and Schoenberg in the years on each side of 1950 to find a great German master, and the cultured materialism that has prevailed in that country ever since. The fairies at his cradle gave him every gift, but impishly withheld the indispensable jewel of artistic personality. Sad also are the culture-vultures, who, literary sensibilities a-twitching and cloth ears a-flap, hear only what they’re told [told not least by Henze himself] and not what is actually there.’
“I’m not sure he is right. The next 2 links are to the last 2 known portraits of Henze:
John Eliot Gardiner’s Bach documentary, BBC2 yesterday, was worth watching. iPlayer until April 6 and should appear elsewhere after that. Gardiner will be 70 this month.
Back March 31.
“If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest scene and show,
’Twould not be you, Niagara – nor you, ye limitless prairies – nor your huge rifts of cañons, Colorado,
Nor you, Yosemite – nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic geyser-loops ascending to the skies, appearing and disappearing,
Nor Oregon’s white cones – nor Huron’s belt of mighty lakes – nor Mississippi’s stream: –
This seething hemisphere’s humanity, as now, I’d name – the still small voice vibrating – America’s choosing day,
(The heart of it not in the chosen – the act itself the main, the quadriennial choosing,)
The stretch of North and South arous’d – sea-board and inland – Texas to Maine – the Prairie States – Vermont, Virginia, California,
The final ballot-shower from East to West – the paradox and conflict,
The countless snow-flakes falling – (a swordless conflict,
Yet more than all Rome’s wars of old, or modern Napoleon’s:) the peaceful choice of all,
Or good or ill humanity – welcoming the darker odds, the dross: –
Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to purify – while the heart pants, life glows:
These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,
Swell’d Washington’s, Jefferson’s, Lincoln’s sails.”
Walt Whitman, Election Day, November, 1884, in Leaves of Grass. Taken from reprint of a 1902 edition produced by executors. Different lifetime editions: 1855 to the deathbed edition in 1892.
The election brought in Grover Cleveland, the first Democratic president since James Buchanan.
He’s a champion of Medtner.
After the government moved to Washington, DC in 1800, it occupied spaces in the Capitol building until 1935, when it moved into a purpose-built four-storey building designed by Cass Gilbert in a classical style sympathetic to the surrounding buildings of the Capitol and Library of Congress.
George Washington, President April 30 1789-March 4 1797, lived at:
Samuel Osgood’s house, 3 Cherry Street, New York City, April 30 1789-February 1790
Alexander Macomb’s house, 39-41 Broadway, New York City, February-August 1790
Robert Morris’s house, 190 High Street (now 524-530 Market Street), Philadelphia, November 1790-March 4 1797; never occupied White House (and died in 1799)
John Adams, March 4 1797-March 4 1801, lived at:
Robert Morris’s house, 190 High Street (now 524-530 Market Street), Philadelphia, March 4 1797-May 1800
White House, Pennsylvania Avenue (presumably the number 1600 came later), Washington, DC, November 1 1800-March 4 1801
Thomas Jefferson, March 4 1801-March 4 1809, lived at:
White House for whole of his two terms, March 4 1801-March 4 1809
James Madison, March 4 1809-March 4 1817, lived at:
White House, March 4 1809-August 24 1814, when the British burned it down
John Tayloe III’s Octagon House, (at or now at) 1799 New York Avenue, Washington, DC, 1814-October 1815
James Monroe, March 4 1817-March 4 1825, lived at:
White House for whole of his two terms (though rebuilding continued), March 4 1817-March 4 1825; it has been the residence of all subsequent presidents; had United Airlines Flight 93 reached a possible intended target on September 11 2001, would have been destroyed again
Those were the five US presidents who were Founding Fathers.
This post was about the change in the inauguration date of presidents from March 4 to January 20, where it is now.
This post (yesterday) tracked Congress’s changes of location from 1774 to 1800. After the Constitution came into effect, President and Congress were in New York 1789-90, Philadelphia 1790-1800 and Washington from 1800. They remained there, but had to move into temporary quarters when the British burned the city in 1814. So the Republic has had three capitals.
July 1790 Residence Act approved creation of capital district on Potomac River and named Philadelphia temporary national capital for ten years. Commissioners overseeing construction named it in honour of Washington September 9 1791. Federal government was relocated 1800. Plans for the Federal City were by Pierre (Peter) Charles L’Enfant.
Jefferson proposed competition to solicit designs for Capitol and President’s House spring 1792 and set four-month deadline. He submitted own design for the White House anonymously. Result: original architect of the White House was James Hoban, of the Capitol William Thornton. Many others became involved.
Presidential residences were referred to as President’s Palace, Presidential Mansion, President’s House, Executive Mansion. Earliest use of name White House seems to be from 1811. Executive Mansion was used in official contexts until Theodore Roosevelt established formal name by having “White House – Washington” engraved on stationery in 1901. Name may have derived from Martha Washington’s home, White House Plantation in Virginia.
Construction began with laying of cornerstone October 13 1792. Adams first occupier. Jefferson made changes, with help of Benjamin Henry Latrobe. Both Hoban and Latrobe were involved in post-1814 rebuilding. Further changes under Presidents Arthur, Teddy Roosevelt, Taft, Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt, Truman (who moved across the street to Blair House, state guest house, from 1949 to ’51), Kennedy. Kennedy did restoration. Out of respect for the historic character of the building, no substantive architectural changes have been made since Truman.
Enlarge. Executive Residence, where the First Family lives, is the original core. Has square portico (1829) on the front, facing North Lawn and round one (1824) at the back, facing South Lawn. Colonnades were designed by Jefferson, with Latrobe. They didn’t lead to wings. West and East Wings are twentieth-century. West Wing contains Oval Office, Cabinet Room and Roosevelt Room (named 1969 after both Roosevelts) on the ground floor. East Wing contains offices of First Lady and White House Social Secretary. More White House administration is in Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Pennsylvania Avenue.
William Howard Taft created first Oval Office in 1909, though the house had had earlier oval rooms. It was rebuilt in same ground-floor West Wing location under Herbert Hoover after a fire in 1929 and relocated by FDR in 1933-34 to another part of the West Wing, where it remains.
Present Cabinet Room was completed 1934 under FDR.
Present design of grounds was by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr of Olmsted Brothers, commissioned by Roosevelt in 1935. Olmsted’s father, Frederick Law Olmsted, with Calvert Vaux, had designed Central Park.
Rose Garden borders Oval Office and West Wing. Established 1913 by Ellen Loise Axson Wilson, wife of Woodrow, on site of garden made by Edith Roosevelt in 1902. Before that, stables. Redesigned 1961, under Kennedy, by Rachel Lambert Mellon.
Jacqueline Kennedy Garden on east side established 1913 by Ellen Loise Axson Wilson, replanted under Kennedy and named after Jacqueline Kennedy by “Lady Bird” Johnson.
North Lawn, 1860s, “under Lincoln” according to Wikipedia, but Library of Congress record only says 1860s; one can just see west colonnade; east colonnade had been dismantled 1859, but was rebuilt when first version of East Wing was added under Theodore Roosevelt
First photograph of White House: South Lawn, c 1846, under Polk, apparently winter; daguerreotype by John Plumbe
The last post, on US Congresses, was published yesterday by mistake when still in draft. It has been reposted today. I hope it’s useful (for reference, not reading).
Nine capitals de facto if not de jure:
Mixture of Congress dates and session dates below. There may be more than one way of defining the starting and/or closing dates of a session. Corrections welcome. Modern Congresses have two sessions, each lasting a year.
First Continental Congress (unicameral):
Carpenters’ Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 5-October 24 1774; members appointed by legislatures of twelve of the Thirteen Colonies (Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia), exception being Province of Georgia, which was hoping for British assistance with Indian problems on its frontier
Disbanded c May 10 1775
Second Continental Congress (unicameral):
Henry Fite House, Baltimore, Maryland, December 20 1776-February 27 1777
Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 4-September 18 1777
Court House, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, September 27 1777 (one day)
Court House, York, Pennsylvania, September 30 1777-June 2 1778; before the Constitution was drafted, the newly-independent states were governed under Articles of Confederation created by Congress November 15 1777 and ratified by all thirteen states by March 1 1781
Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 27 1778-March 1 1781
Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 1 1781-June 21 1783
Nassau Hall, Princeton, New Jersey, June 30-November 4 1783
Maryland State House, Annapolis, Maryland, November 26 1783-August 19 1784
French Arms Tavern, Trenton, New Jersey, November 1-December 24 1784
City Hall (Federal Hall), New York City, New York, January 11 1785-November 2 1788; Constitution adopted by the Constitutional Convention September 17 1787; went into effect March 4 1789 ratified by conventions in eleven of thirteen states; requirement of ratification by nine states, set by Article Seven of the Constitution, had been met when New Hampshire voted to ratify on June 21 1788; North Carolina ratified November 21, Rhode Island May 29 1790
Disbanded March 4 1789; the first three Congresses, 1774-89, are known together as the Continental Congress
Federal Hall, New York City, New York, March 4 1789-December 5 1790; first ten amendments to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, adopted by House of Representatives August 21 1789 and formally proposed by joint resolution of Congress September 25; came into effect as Constitutional Amendments December 15 1791 through process of ratification by three-fourths of the States (was the rule changed from nine to three-fourths?); French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen) adopted by National Constituent Assembly, Paris, August 23 1789
Second to Fifth United States Congresses (two years each):
Congress Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 4 1791-March 4 1799; first state to join the Union (United States) after the thirteen was Vermont, March 14 1791; three commissioners overseeing construction named capital in honour of President Washington September 9 1791; Jefferson proposed competition to solicit designs for Capitol and President’s House spring 1792 and set four-month deadline; federal government was relocated 1800
Sixth United States Congress:
Congress Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 4 1799-May 14 1800
United States Capitol, Washington, DC, November 17 1800-March 4 1801
Seventh to Thirteenth United States Congresses (two years each):
United States Capitol, Washington, DC, March 4 1801-March 4 1815; where did third and final session of Thirteenth Congress take place, since the Capitol was burned by the British August 24 1814?
Fourteenth and Fifteenth United States Congresses (two years each):
Old Brick Capitol, Washington, DC, March 4 1815-March 4 1819
Sixteenth and subsequent United States Congresses (two years each):
United States Capitol again, Washington, DC, March 4 1819-present; Capitol gained first dome in post-1814 rebuilding, present one in rebuilding of 1855-66; further rebuilding began in 1904 and 1958; had United Airlines Flight 93 reached a possible intended target on September 11 2001, would have been destroyed again; we are now in 113th Congress, January 3 2013-January 3 2015
Capitals of the Confederate States of America were:
Montgomery, Alabama, February 4-May 29 1861
Richmond, Virginia, May 29 1861-April 3 1865
The British flag [contrived] to supplant the French flag in Canada [1763 Treaty of Paris] before it was supplanted, in its turn [1783 Treaty of Paris], by the Stars and Stripes in the United States. An English traveller en route by rail from New York to Montreal in A.D. 1952 would have the historically pregnant experience, at the moment when his train crossed the border, of re-entering the dominions of the sovereign whose subject he was and at the same instant passing out of the domain of his own English mother tongue into eastern counties of the Province of Quebec in which the place-names might be English but the prevailing language was unquestionably French.
Wolfe defeated the French at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham outside Quebec City on September 13 1759. General James Wolfe commanded the British Army, and Admiral Charles Saunders the British Navy on the St Lawrence. Louis-Joseph, the Marquis de Montcalm, commanded the French Army.
The last major land battle of the American Revolutionary War was the Siege or Battle of Yorktown (Virginia), ending October 19 1781. American Continental Army troops led by General George Washington and French Army troops led by the Comte de Rochambeau defeated a British Army commanded by Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis.
For two decades (theoretically), 1763 to 1783, the whole of North America was British. There was a Pax Britannica in the northern part of the continent from 1763 to 1775.
A Study of History, Vol IX, OUP, 1954 (footnote)
… and other impious unions.
There was [...] a fitful co-operation between France and the Ottoman Empire against the Hapsburg Power from the generation of Francis I and Suleymān the Magnificent onwards, while in the eighteenth century Sweden and Poland were drawn towards the Ottoman Empire by their common concern over the rising power of Russia.
There had been an earlier, sixteenth-century Polish-Ottoman alliance. The Crimean War saw Britain, France and Sardinia nominally on the side of the Ottoman Empire. The First World War saw Germany allied with Turkey.
A Study of History, Vol I, OUP, 1934
An apologist for the English Protestant colonists in North America might perhaps be inclined to suggest that the difference between their way and the Spanish Catholics’ way of treating the “Native” peoples of the New World was due not so much to a difference between the respective moral standards of these two sets of European intruders as to a difference between the respective social conditions of the two sets of American “Natives” upon whom they happened respectively to stumble. The “Red Indians” whom the English Protestants exterminated were a handful of incorrigibly militant savages, whereas the subjects of the Aztecs and the Incas, whom the Spanish Catholics spared, were numerous and peaceful peasantry whose native level of culture was relatively high. This apologia would be plausible if the English Protestants’ colonization of North America and the Spanish Catholics’ colonization of Central and South America had been the only two European colonising enterprises in the New World. When, however, we see the French Catholics colonizing North America side by side with the English Protestants and there fraternizing with those “incorrigibly militant savages” whom the English Protestants were exterminating, we are confirmed in our view that the difference in the respective outcomes of these Protestant and Catholic colonizing activities in the New World is accounted for by some moral difference between the two sets of colonizers rather than by any social differences between the several sets of “Natives” whom they respectively encountered. On the other hand, in the matter of the Negro slave-trade, it should [be] mentioned that the Genoese and Portuguese Catholics (as well as the Dutch Protestants) had had a share in it before the monopoly of it was acquired by the English Protestants in A.D. 1713.
A crudely favourable account of the Spanish, no doubt. The UK obtained the monopoly of the right (asiento de negros) to transport Africans to Spanish America as a result of the War of the Spanish Succession. Presumably the Portuguese brought most of theirs from their own African colonies. The British Atlantic slave trade was abolished by Parliament in 1807.
A Study of History, Vol I, OUP, 1934
P.T.: You rather like bleak Middle-Eastern scenery, don’t you?
A.T.: Yes. The Mediterranean and the Middle East. I like that stark, bare, rather severe scenery: the hard lines and simple colours, like the Umbrian School of Painting – or the Pre-Raphaelites.
P.T.: And yet, where you live, in Westmorland, it could hardly be more unlike that.
A.T.: Yes, very watery, and beautiful, too, in its own way, but my feeling is really for the other kind of scenery.
Pietro Perugino, Pietà con San Girolamo e Santa Maria Maddalena, Perugia, National Gallery of Umbria; the hard lines may come from landscape, but aren’t limited to it in paintings, nor is Umbria especially stark
With Philip Toynbee, Comparing Notes, A Dialogue across a Generation, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1963
The social effect of any great war is to speed up the pace of social change; and, when, within the span of a single lifetime, one great war is followed by a second, the cumulative effect is much more than double that of a single great war. In our world in our time we are conscious of this overwhelming cumulative effect in our own experience of the wars of 1914-18 and 1939-45. In our own case, however, we have not yet had time to see beyond the beginning of the sequel; so perhaps we may find ourselves interested in looking at past instances in which we do know the whole story.
“Double great wars” are rare; but there were three of them in the history of the Graeco-Roman Civilization; and each of these pairs of wars had a decisive effect on the destinies of the society in which it was perpetrated. The first pair was the Archidamian War of 431-421 B.C. followed by the Decelean War of 413-404 B.C.; and this double great war – the Great Atheno-Peloponnesian War – was the occasion of the Greek Civilization’s breakdown. The second pair was the First Romano-Punic War of 264-241 B.C. followed by the Hannibalic [or Second Punic] War of 218-201 B.C.; and this double great war was the occasion of the Greek Civilization’s relapse into a débâcle after a brief third-century rally.
The Roman Empire gave the civilisation a reprieve by providing it with a universal state.
The third pair of great wars was the Romano-Persian War of A.D. 572-90 followed by its successor of A.D. 603-28; and this double great war was the occasion of the Graeco-Roman Society’s final dissolution.
Economic and Social Consequences of the Hannibalic War, lecture about the effects of the second of these double great wars, John Rylands Library, Manchester, March 10 1954; Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, Vol 37, No 1, September 1954
Cf similar passage in Vol IX of the Study, published that year, partly quoted here, and see Hannibal’s Legacy, The Hannibalic War’s Effects on Roman Life, Vol I: Rome and Her Neighbours before Hannibal’s Entry, Vol II: Rome and Her Neighbours after Hannibal’s Exit, OUP, 1965
Professor William McNeill comments [circa 1952]: “I feel that the Rome-Carthage relationship is a far more convincing parallel to contemporary conditions than the Rome-Parthia relationship. In the relations between Rome and Parthia mortal fear and the density of contact were, I believe, absent.” The present writer’s comment on this comment is that it was not too much to expect of American and Russian statesmanship in the sixth decade of the twentieth century of the Christian Era that it should stabilize the relation between the United States and the Soviet Union on a Romano-Parthian basis and save it from degenerating into a Romano-Carthaginian “irrepressible conflict”. [...]
Or a Romano-Sassanid, I suppose.
The phrase “irrepressible conflict” was used by William H Seward at Rochester, NY on October 25 1858.
Seward was a US senator who had served as Governor of New York and would serve as Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. He argued that the political and economic systems of North and South were incompatible, and that, due to this “irrepressible conflict,” the “inevitable collision” of the two systems would eventually result in the nation becoming “either entirely a slave-holding nation or entirely a free-labor nation”. He hoped that this would be by the operation of natural forces over time, not by war.
Carthage was probably founded in the second half of the ninth century BC and was destroyed in the Third Punic War, 149-146 BC. Rome was founded in the middle of the eighth.
The Arsacid Parthian Empire lasted from 247 BC to AD 224. It replaced the Seleucid and was replaced, in the reign of Alexander Severus, by the Sassanid.
A Study of History, Vol IX, OUP, 1954 (footnote)
“The summer’s night at end, the sun stands up as a crown of hostile flames from that huge covert of inhospitable sandstone bergs; the desert day dawns not little and little, but it is noontide in an hour. The sun, entering as a tyrant upon the waste landscape, darts upon us a torment of fiery beams, not to be remitted till the far-off evening. – No matins here of birds; not a rock partridge-cock, calling with blithesome chuckle over the extreme waterless desolation. Grave is that giddy heat upon the crown of the head; the ears tingle with a flickering shrillness, a subtle crepitation it seems, in the glassiness of this sun-stricken nature: the hot sand-blink is in the eyes, and there is little refreshment to find in the tents’ shelter; the worsted booths leak to this fiery rain of sunny light. Mountains looming like dry bones through the thin air, stand far around about us: the savage flank of Ybba Moghrair, the high spire and ruinous stacks of el-Jebâl, Chebàd, the coast of Helwàn! Herds of the weak nomad camels waver dispersedly, seeking pasture in the midst of this hollow fainting country, where but lately the swarming locusts have fretted every green thing. This silent air burning about us, we endure breathless till the assr: when the dazing Arabs in the tents revive after their heavy hours. The lingering day draws down to the sun-setting; the herdsmen, weary of the sun, come again with the cattle, to taste in their menzils the first sweetness of mirth and repose. – The day is done, and there rises the nightly freshness of this purest mountain air: and then to the cheerful song and the cup at the common fire.”
Charles M Doughty, Travels in Arabia Deserta, third edition, with a Preface by Charles M Doughty, September 1921, two volumes, Philip Lee Warner, Publisher to The Medici Society, Ltd, and Jonathan Cape, London: and at Boston, USA, 1921; originally 1888.
According to Max Fisher, The Washington Post, as corrected in their comments, with their places of birth:
1) Saint Peter: Bethsaida, modern-day Israel or Syria (33-64)
2) Pope Saint Evaristus: Bethlehem, modern-day West Bank (97-105)
3) Pope Saint Anicetus: Emesa (today known as Homs), Syria (155-66)
4) Pope Saint Victor I: Leptis Magna, modern-day Libya (189-99)
5) Pope Saint Miltiades: somewhere in North Africa (311-14)
6) Pope Saint Gelasius I: perhaps North Africa, in any case Berber (492-96)
7) Pope Theodore I: Jerusalem, modern-day Israel and West Bank (642-49)
8) Pope John V: Antioch, then Syria but today part of Turkey (685-86)
9) Pope Sisinnius: Syria (708)
10) Pope Constantine: Syria (708-15)
11) Pope Gregory III: Syria (731-41)
Now number 12, born Argentina, but ethnically Italian. Link.
Some of the Levantine popes must have been at least partly Greek. Sergius I was a Syrian (687-701) from Byzantine Palermo. Were there other Syrians born in Europe?
There have been French, German, Greek, Portuguese and Spanish popes. And one Dutch, one English and one Polish pope. Most of the Greeks were not born in Greece.
The last non-Italian before John Paul II (1978-2005) was Adrian VI: Prince-Bishopric of Utrecht (1522-23).
The most recent Italian has been John Paul I (1978).
Elisabeth Furtwängler’s death at 102 illustrates an emerging law (was it always there?) that widows of classical musicians live a very long time.
Elsa Respighi died in 1996 at 101.
Sidonie Goossens died in 2004 at 104; she was a Goossens sibling, not spouse, but her first husband was a musician.
Ursula Vaughan Williams died in 2007 at a mere 96.
Madeleine Milhaud died in 2008 aged 105.
Lady Barbirolli died the same year at 97.
Lady Bliss died the same year aged 104.
Lady Walton is an exception: she was only 83 when she died in 2010 (on the same day as Wagner’s grandson, who was 90).
Frank Martin’s widow is still alive at nearly 100.
Ken Russell made a 52-minute film called Classic Widows for the South Bank Show (ITV, 1995) about the widows of William Walton, Bernard Stevens, Benjamin Frankel and Humphrey Searle.
First clip of four.
Hildebrand, who became Pope Gregory VII, in fighting the brigand-nobles of the former Ducatus Romanus, embarked on a worldly and political course which ended, in his war with the Holy Roman Empire, with a betrayal of the Church’s spiritual purposes.
The inward moral character of his acts [was at first] difficult indeed to divine. At his last hour, forty years after, the answer to the riddle was already less obscure; for in A.D. 1085, when he was dying as a Pope in exile at Salerno, the more venerable city that was his see lay prostrate under the weight of an overwhelming calamity which her bishop’s policy had brought upon her only the year before. In 1085 Rome had just been looted and burnt by the Normans – more ferocious brigands than any native Roman breed – whom the Pope had called in to assist him in a military struggle which had gradually spread from the steps of Saint Peter’s altar, where it had started forty years before, until it had engulfed the whole of Western Christendom.
The climax of the physical conflict between Hildebrand and Henry IV gave a foretaste of the deadlier and more devastating struggle which was to be fought out à outrance between Innocent IV and Frederick II; and by the time when we come to the pontificate of Innocent IV our doubts will be at an end. Sinibaldo Fieschi bears witness against Ildebrando Aldobrandeschi that, in choosing the alternative of meeting force by force, Hildebrand was setting the Hildebrandine Church upon a course which was to end in the victory of his adversaries the World, the Flesh, and the Devil over the City of God which he was seeking to bring down to Earth.
No Politick admitteth nor did ever admit
the teacher [Christ] into confidence: nay ev’n the Church,
with hierarchy in conclave compassing to install
Saint Peter in Caesar’s chair, and thereby win for men
the promises for which they had loved and worship’d Christ,
relax’d his heavenly code to stretch her temporal rule.
[Footnote: Bridges, Robert: The Testament of Beauty (Oxford 1929, Clarendon Press), Book IV, ll. 259-64.]
A Study of History, Vol IV, OUP, 1939
The Authorized Version of the Bible, made in the reign of King James I, gives me, whenever I read it or hear it being read, an intimation of the divine presence informing our fragment of a mysterious Universe. The effect of a diction that is archaic yet at the same time familiar is more like that of music than like that of ordinary speech. It pierces through the Intellect and plays directly upon the Heart.
A Study of History, Vol X, OUP, 1954
1,700 years ago: February 313. The edict, if there was a formal one, followed the conversion of Constantine (Battle of the Milvian Bridge) in 312. It would be followed at the end of the century, after the interlude of Julian, by the proscription of paganism: Edict of Thessalonica, February 380, under Theodosius I.
So perhaps the Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Scola, will be pope in 2013. The other Italian “front-runner”, Cardinal Ravasi, is less likely. Cardinal Ouellet, a Canadian, is possible and knows Latin America. But, as a friend of mind points out, Canadians are too normal. Cardinal Schoenborn, Archbishop of Vienna, who looks like Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, would be a natural successor to Benedict XVI. An American pope, in the shape of Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, or anyone else, is somehow unthinkable. One hears so much secular piety from Americans, and religion from lay Americans, that it would be too much.
Aren’t the other non-Europeans – Cardinal Scherer, Archbishop of São Paulo; Cardinal Sandri, an Argentinian; Cardinal Turkson, a Ghanaian; Cardinal Tagle, Archbishop of Manila; Cardinal Braz de Aviz, the other Brazilian – less likely than the Europeans and Canadian? But if anyone from this group, perhaps the Ghanaian is the most likely.
The words “Extra omnes” remind one of the days of I’m All Right, Jack.
The other symmetry with 313 would be to have an African pope, Cardinal Turkson, since the pope when the Edict of Milan was proclaimed was “African”: Pope Miltiades. The other two Africans have been Victor I (late second century) and Gelasius I (late fifth).
Britten, Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, 1943. Peter Pears, tenor. Dennis Brain, horn. Live recording, John Hollingsworth, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Prom, Albert Hall, July 30 1953. The Tennyson Nocturne begins at 5:10.
The movements are:
Prologue, horn solo
Pastoral, setting of The Evening Quatrains by Charles Cotton (1630-87)
Nocturne, Blow, bugle, blow by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-92)
Elegy, The Sick Rose by William Blake (1757-1827)
Dirge, the anonymous Lyke-Wake Dirge (fifteenth century)
Hymn, Hymn to Diana by Ben Jonson (1572–1637)
Sonnet, To Sleep by John Keats (1795–1821)
Epilogue, horn solo; reprise of Prologue, played offstage
Texts (or approximations thereto) here; will open in separate window.
“The splendour falls on castle walls
And snowy summits old in story:
The long light shakes across the lakes,
And the wild cataract leaps in glory.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.
O hark, O hear! how thin and clear,
And thinner, clearer, farther going!
O sweet and far from cliff and scar
The horns of Elfland faintly blowing!
Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying:
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.
O love, they die in yon rich sky,
They faint on hill or field or river:
Our echoes roll from soul to soul,
And grow for ever and for ever.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
And answer, echoes, answer, dying, dying, dying.”
Tennyson, Blow, bugle, blow. Part of the long narrative poem The Princess.
Creative artists [...] are proof against Shirley’s taunt:
The garlands wither on your brow;
Then boast no more your mighty deeds.
They can answer in the language of Wren’s epitaph Si monumentum requiris circumspice [If you need a monument, look around you] [footnote: Inscribed in St Paul’s Cathedral on a tablet over the architect’s tombstone.] or in the language of Horace’s ode Non omnis moriar [I shall not wholly die]. [Footnote: Horace: Carmina, iii. 30.] For, in withdrawing on one plane to return on another, they have found life in losing it; [footnote: Matt. x. 39.] and their action sweeps on, immortal and infinite.
O love, they die in yon rich sky,
They faint on hill or field or river:
Our echoes roll from soul to soul
And grow for ever and for ever.
A Study of History, Vol III, OUP, 1934
According to the Athonite tradition, Mary was sailing, accompanied by St John the Evangelist, from Jaffa to Cyprus to visit Lazarus, when her ship was blown off-course, forcing her to stop there. From that moment the mountain was consecrated as the garden of the Mother of God and was out of bounds to all other women.
Monks have been in the Athos peninsula since the fourth century, possibly since the third. After the Islamic conquest of Egypt, many monks fled there from the Egyptian desert.
Athos has had self-governing privileges since the reign of Basil I, the founder of the Macedonian dynasty, at the end of the ninth century. Its links with Russia are almost as old as Russian Christianity (Christianisation of Kiev late 980s). It remained under Turkish control until the First Balkan War (1912), when the Turks were forced out by the Greek Navy. It was assigned to Greece at the Treaty of London, May 30 1913.
The twenty monasteries in their order in the Athonite hierarchy:
- Great Lavra (Μεγίστη Λαύρα, Megísti Lávra)
- Vatopedi (Βατοπέδι, Βατοπαίδι)
- Iviron (Ιβήρων, ივერთა მონასტერი, Iverta Monasteri), built by Georgians
- Helandariou (Χιλανδαρίου, Chilandariou, Хиландар), Serbian Orthodox
- Dionysiou (Διονυσίου)
- Koutloumousiou (Κουτλουμούσι)
- Pantokratoros (Παντοκράτορος, Pantokratoros)
- Xiropotamou (Ξηροποτάμου)
- Zografou (Ζωγράφου, Зограф), Bulgarian Orthodox
- Dochiariou (Δοχειαρίου)
- Karakalou (Καρακάλλου)
- Filotheou (Φιλοθέου)
- Simonos Petras (Σίμωνος Πέτρα, Σιμωνόπετρα)
- Agiou Pavlou (Αγίου Παύλου, Agiou Pavlou, Saint Paul’s)
- Stavronikita (Σταυρονικήτα)
- Xenophontos (Ξενοφώντος)
- Osiou Grigoriou (Οσίου Γρηγορίου, Venerable Gregory)
- Esphigmenou (Εσφιγμένου)
- Agiou Panteleimonos (Αγίου Παντελεήμονος, Saint Pantelemon, Пантелеймонов, Ρωσικόν, Rossikon), Russian Orthodox
- Konstamonitou (Κωνσταμονίτου)
Do most or all of these monasteries follow the Order of St Basil?
There are also twelve sketes, communities of Christian hermits following a monastic rule, allowing a blend of hermetic and communal life.
I don’t think one should sneer at the casket containing the Marian belt in the last post even when it is carried by a corrupt abbot. The important thing is the notion of the holy, not the doubtful belt.
The three fingers of the Chalcidicean peninsula in the modern Greek region of Central Macedonia; the autonomous area of Mount Athos is part of the peninsula, but not of the region; click to enlarge
The kind of story, then considered gently funny, that used to appear in Douglas Woodruff’s Talking at Random column in The Tablet; it ran from 1936 to ’69 and ’71 to ’78; Toynbee would have read it occasionally:
The monks of a monastery on Mount Athos in which the writer had been spending the night as a guest in June 1912 courteously expressed to him, the morning after, their hope that his sleep had not been disturbed by their frequent nocturnal celebrations of the Liturgy. Wishing to return his hosts’ courtesy in kind, the writer on his side expressed the hope that the monks did not find these never intermitted night-long vigils too painfully exhausting. “Not at all”, replied the monks, “considering that we are able to sleep in the day-time.” – “And how do you manage to do that?” their English guest inquired. “O, well, because we have fine estates in Rumili, with peasants on them to work them for us. You will remember our showing you yesterday our arsenal at the water’s edge, stored with provisions of gram, oil, and wine. All that comes from our estates, and the peasants have to deliver it to us at the arsenal by water.” – “And how do the peasants live?” I asked. “O, the peasants live like dogs”, said the monks, “but you can see for yourself what an admirable arrangement ours is. As the peasants work for us and fetch and carry for us, instead of our having to do any of this for ourselves, we can afford to sleep in the day-time and so keep ourselves fresh for praying at night, and this is really most advantageous, as you can imagine. After all, most people in the World – including, perhaps, Your Honour (τὸν λόγον σας) – are in this respect in the less favourable position of our peasants. Having, as they do have, to work all day, they are forced to spend the night in sleep instead of in prayer, in order to be fit for work again next morning; so at night-time the volume of prayers reaching God is at a minimum, and this means that God can give to a prayer offered up to Him during the night an amount of individual attention that would be out of the question in the day-time, when the great majority of Mankind are awake and in the running to gain a hearing for their prayers at odd moments of their working day. Yes, thanks to the endowments bequeathed to us by pious benefactors, we monks do find ourselves in a decidedly advantageous position.”
Entirely believable. In September 2008, on the eve of the recession in Greece, the Vatopedi monastery, one of twenty monasteries on Mount Athos, was accused of enhancing its real estate portfolio through corrupt deals made by Abbot Ephraim and the monk Arsenios with the government of Kostas Karamanlis. Michael Lewis told the story in Vanity Fair, October 2010 and in Boomerang, Travels in the New Third World, New York, WW Norton, 2011, and compared Ephraim and Arsenios to Skilling and Lay of Enron. They are still being investigated.
Abbot Ephraim carrying the Belt of the Mother of God on a roadshow through Russia in late 2011; who are the others?; picture credit: Valeriy Melnikov at RIA Novosti, cropped, use deemed fair for non-commercial scholarly purposes
Ephraim was jailed in December on his return to Greece, but released the following March.
“The Belt of the Virgin Mary, otherwise referred to as the Precious Sash, or Cincture, of Our Most Holy Lady Theotokos – the holy treasure of the Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos in Greece – is travelling abroad for the first time. The Belt is travelling in style. It flies in a private jet, chartered by the tour’s organizer, the influential St. Andrew Foundation, and is accompanied by six Vatopedi monks. In St. Petersburg, it was welcomed by none other than Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. In Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth largest city, Governor Alexander Misharin and the region’s bishop, Metropolitan Kirill, met the relic with the guard of honor before a procession of some 15,000 people took it to the cathedral.”
The report quotes George Fedotov’s The Russian Religious Mind (1946): “Russia knew neither Reformation nor Counter-Reformation with their explanations, symbolic interpretations and the uprooting of medieval idol-worshipping.” Didn’t he mean veneration? What kind of symbolic interpretation could have undermined icon-veneration in the Orthodox world? “People were more superstitious” might have been a better way of putting it.
Mary is supposed to have worn the belt on earth and given it to St Thomas during her transition to heaven. The Monastery also holds a silver and jewel-encrusted reliquary allegedly containing the skull of St John Chrysostom, a chalice made of a single piece of jasper, many icons and a large library.
A Study of History, Vol IX, OUP, 1954 (footnote)
Sawallisch (Telegraph) was a great Strauss conductor, but the finest was Böhm. I discovered the second horn concerto (1943), the beginning of late Strauss if it wasn’t Daphne (which he dedicated to Böhm) or Danae or Capriccio, in 1979 in the recording with Dennis Brain and Sawallisch, and I associate it with that year. It sounds harsh on YouTube.
I heard and saw Böhm (face and demeanour of a Viennese tram-driver) with Rysanek in Elektra more than once in Vienna in the ’70s. The clip here is from ’81. Böhm died in August that year. Mozart and Strauss sound right with him and that’s all there is to it, and the better Elektra is conducted or played, the less it sounds like the brink of tonal disintegration and the more like infinitely spun-out tunes. “Play it like fairy music.”
I had forgotten that appalling plunging motif which is the first thing you hear in the orchestra here, a variant of the Agamemnon motif (it will now re-enter the benign tinnitus in my mind), but not the rolling one that follows it, which I occasionally sing in the shower and is one of those ideas to which Thomas Mann refers in Doktor Faustus, apropos Salome, in fact, where “after great expense of affronts and dissonances everything turns into good nature, beer good nature (sic), gets all buttered up, so to speak, appeasing the philistine and telling him no harm was meant”. Lowe-Porter translation via Kindle.
Have decided I prefer religious music before 1750 (going back as far as you like) and after 1900 to what comes in the middle, which is the age of religioso.
We can sum up this statistical enquiry by saying that, as far as our defective information carries us, about an equal number of Armenians in Turkey seem to have escaped, to have perished, and to have survived deportation in 1915; and we shall not be far wrong if, in round numbers, we estimate each of these categories at 600,000.
The exact quantitative scale of the crime thus remains uncertain, but there is no uncertainty as to the responsibility for its perpetration. This immense infliction of suffering and destruction of life was not the work of religious fanaticism. Fanaticism played no more part here than it has played in the fighting at Gallipoli or Kut, and the “Holy War” which the Young Turks caused to be proclaimed in October, 1914, was merely a political move to embarrass the Moslem subjects of the Entente Powers. There was no fanaticism, for instance, in the conduct of the Kurds and chettis [bandits], who committed some of the most horrible acts of all, nor can the responsibility be fixed upon them. They were simply marauders and criminals who did after their kind, and the Government, which not only condoned, but instigated, their actions, must bear the guilt. The peasantry, again (own brothers though they were to the Ottoman soldiery whose apparent humanity at Gallipoli and Kut has won their opponents’ respect), behaved with astonishing brutality to the Armenians who were delivered into their hands; yet the responsibility does not he with the Turkish peasantry. They are sluggish, docile people, unready to take violent action on their own initiative, but capable of perpetrating any enormity on the suggestion of those they are accustomed to obey. The peasantry would never have attacked the Armenians if their superiors had not given them the word. Nor are the Moslem townspeople primarily to blame; their record is not invariably black, and the evidence in this volume throws here and there a favourable light upon their character. Where Moslem and Christian lived together in the same town or village, led the same life, pursued the same vocation, there seems often to have been a strong human bond between them. The respectable Moslem townspeople seldom desired the extermination of their Armenian neighbours, sometimes openly deplored it, and in several instances even set themselves to hinder it from taking effect. We have evidence of this from various places – Adana [footnote: Doc. 128.], for instance, and AF. [footnote: Doc. 126.] in Cilicia, the villages of AJ. and AK. [footnote: Doc. 126.] in the AF. district, and the city of Angora. The authorities had indeed to decree severe penalties against any Moslem as well as any alien or Greek who might be convicted of sheltering their Armenian victims. The rabble naturally looted Armenian property when the police connived, as the rabble in European towns might do; the respectable majority of the Moslem townspeople can be accused of apathy at worst; the responsibility cannot rest with these.
The guilt must, therefore, fall upon the officials of the Ottoman Government, but it will not weigh equally upon all members of the official hierarchy. The behaviour of the gendarmerie, for example, was utterly atrocious; the subordinates were demoralised by the power for evil that was placed in their hands; they were egged on by their chiefs, who gave vent to a malevolence against the Armenians which they must have been harbouring for years; a very large proportion of the total misery inflicted was the gendarmerie’s work; and yet the gendarmerie were not, or ought not to have been, independent agents. The responsibility for their misconduct must be referred to the local civil administrators, or to the Central Government, or to both.
The local administrators of provinces and sub-districts – Valis, Mutessarifs and Kaimakams – are certainly very deeply to blame. The latitude allowed them by the Central Government was wide, as is shown by the variations they practised, in different places, upon the common scheme. In this place the Armenian men were massacred; in that they were deported unscathed; in that other they were taken out to sea and drowned. Here the women were bullied into conversion; here conversion was disallowed; here they were massacred like the men. And in many other matters, such as the disposal of Armenian property or the use of torture, remarkable differences of practice can be observed, which are all ascribable to the good or bad will of the local officials. A serious part of the responsibility falls upon them – upon fire-eaters like Djevdet Bey or cruel natures like the Governor of Ourfa [footnote: Doc. 119.]; and yet their freedom of action was comparatively restricted. Where they were evilly-intentioned towards the Armenians they were able to go beyond the Central Government’s instructions (though even in matters like the exemption of Catholics and Protestants, where their action was apparently most free, they and the Central Government were often merely in collusion) [footnote: See Doc. 87 relating to the town of X.]; but they might never mitigate their instructions by one degree. Humane and honourable governors (and there were a certain number of these) were powerless to protect the Armenians in their province. The Central Government had its agents on the spot – the chairman of the local branch of the Committee of Union and Progress [footnote: Docs. 72 and 128.], the local Chief of Gendarmerie, or even some subordinate official [footnote: Doc. 70.] on the Governor’s own administrative staff. If these merciful governors were merely remiss in executing the instructions, they were flouted and overruled; if they refused to obey them, they were dismissed and replaced by more pliant successors. In one way or another, the Central Government enforced and controlled the execution of the scheme, as it alone had originated the conception of it; and the Young Turkish Ministers and their associates at Constantinople are directly and personally responsible, from beginning to end, for the gigantic crime that devastated the Near East in 1915.
Editor, The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, 1915-16: Documents Presented to Viscount Grey of Fallodon, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, by Viscount Bryce, with a Preface by Viscount Bryce, Hodder & Stoughton and His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1916, online here (nearly 600 pages)
The research just published in The Lancet on the health of people in the UK compared to other places isn’t a surprise. Has a proper study ever been done on the connection between health and architecture? Health and urban planning? Many people hesitate to own a bike because they have nowhere to put it. I suspect the connections are many and complex. New buildings are worse than old. I am talking about architecture, not carcinogenic materials. This will take a long time to turn around.
“Irish writers, how they saved our language, when it was worn thin and colourless by the use of centuries, and kept thin and colourless by the habits of journalism; kept thus for ever, it must have seemed, like Byzantine Greek; for the English didn’t care; it was easier to knit in one colour than in many, especially now that only one shade of wool was to be had in the market. But there came others in those days, foreigners who looked on our language and literature from without, Yeats and Synge, George Moore and James Joyce, for whom those simple Saxon words had a freshness and a mystery forgotten by their native users, and unrolling the worn and faded tapestry of the past, they uncovered fresh, gay patches, and making themselves material thereof, and going about the country to gather the dying art of speech, they wove according to their own native designs coloured stuffs that put all the former workmen to shame. And therefore though strangers, let them have a niche in the Temple of the English Tongue; like those Africans, Apuleius and Augustine, who recreated their Latin language in its long sterility.”
Richard Davenport-Hines, editor, Hugh Trevor-Roper, The Wartime Journals, IB Tauris, 2012.
February 9 1956.
The first song is an aria, usually for soprano, from the semi-opera The Indian Queen, libretto by by John Dryden and Sir Robert Howard.
“I attempt from love’s sickness to fly in vain,
Since I am myself my own fever and pain.
No more now, fond heart, with pride no more swell;
Thou canst not raise forces enough to rebel.
I attempt from love’s sickness to fly in vain,
Since I am myself my own fever and pain.
For love has more power and less mercy than fate,
To make us seek ruin and love those that hate.
I attempt from love’s sickness to fly in vain,
Since I am myself my own fever and pain.”
The second is a setting of Peter Anthony Motteux.
“Man is for the woman made,
And the woman for the man;
As the spur is for the jade,
As the scabbard for the blade,
As for digging is the spade,
As for liquor is the can,
So man is for the woman made,
And the woman for the man.
As the scepter’s to be sway’d,
As for night’s the serenade,
As for pudding is the pan,
And to cool us is the fan,
So man is for the woman made,
And the woman for the man.
Be she widow, be she maid,
Be she well or ill array’d,
Be she wanton, be she stayed,
Princess or harridan,
So man is for the woman made,
And the woman for the man.”
Those are the sung words. The original texts are slightly different. The keyboard arrangements are Britten’s.