Michael Ignatieff, former head of the Liberal Party of Canada, has been musing about why he lost the election of 2011 (see eg. this excerpt from his book in the Toronto Star). One of his consolations is that succesful political thinkers often fail as practical politicians, because theory and practice are different arts and require different virtues. Canadian readers... Continue reading: Who writes the history books?
In the early Roman Empire, it was fashionable for wealthy soldiers to put up a stone with an inscription and their portrait at their tomb. Two such soldiers were Quintus and Lucius Sertorius, who erected their monuments at Cisolino (about 10 miles east of Verona) sometime in the late first century CE. The slab at... Continue reading: The Monuments of the Sertorii
This image illustrates drunkenness (Lat. ebrietas) in a Tacuinum Sanitatis from Italy in the 1390s (Bibliotheque Nationale du France, Paris MS. Nouvelle acquisition latine 1673 folio 88v: for this and other images see their Mandragore website http://mandragore.bnf.fr/jsp/rechercheExperte.jsp). The Tacuinum is a Latin translation of an Arabic book on the medical implications of various foods,... Continue reading: Two Views on Punching in Late Medieval Italy
I recently visited the Royal British Columbia Museum for their exhibit on the British and Norwegian South Pole expeditions of 1911/1912 (no permanent URL: temporary one at http://explore.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/ ). The basic story is well known in Canada: how two expeditions both arrived in Antarctica in hope of being the first to the South Pole, how... Continue reading: The Race to the End of the Earth
Philip Sabin, Lost Battles: Reconstructing the Great Clashes of the Ancient World (London: Continuum Books, 2009) Bookfinder link Big battles are always a popular topic, but even the best-documented ancient battles are difficult to understand. The few ancient accounts which survive never answer every question which modern readers ask, and often disagree with each... Continue reading: Some thoughts on Sabin’s “Lost Battles”