Monday, May 23, 2011

2. Suggestive units(About mercifullness)-Κεφάλαια Παραινετικά(περι ελεημοσύνης)

As a continuation of

I post below a traslation of the 5th unit where Basil talks about mercifullness

Emperor Leo the wise to whom Basil is adressing in the units kneels in front Christ Pantocrator.

 About Mercifullness- Περι ελεημοσύνης(5th unit)

Sometimes mercifullness annuls even the concept of death.According to the holy scripts Because that alms do deliver from death, and suffereth not to come into darkness .Thus as it seems life is bought when god receives gifts for our salvation.

Giving to the poor your material wealth on earth will make you wealthy on heaven. In heaven you will also receive the commodities of this life. Truthfully the act of mercifullness is inexpensive, luxurious and endless, When somebody falls he can rise up again, the same happens with somebody who donnates, he will be rewarded eventually.Those who are mercifull will  not only be wealthy in this life but they will also be blessed in afterlife.

source:Παραινετικά Βασίλειου Μακεδόνος,(Parenetika by Basil the Macedonian)

translation is made by me directly from the medieval text. Therefore forgive me for any mistakes.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A terrorist who wasn't a terrorist.

I was sitting in a chair, hooded, with my hands cuffed behind my back. He came up to me. His voice was deep and rough. He spoke to me in Egyptian and English. He said, “Listen, you don’t know who I am, but I am the one who has your life in his hands. Every single person in this building has his life in my hands. I just make the decision.”
I said, “I hope your decision is that you make me die straight away.”
“No, I don’t want you to die now, I want you to die slowly.” He went on, “I can’t stay with you; my time is too valuable to stay here. You only have me to save you. I’m your savior. You have to tell me everything if you want to be saved. What do you say?”
“I have nothing to tell you.”
“You think I can’t destroy you just like that?” He clapped his hands together.
“I don’t know.” I was feeling confused. Everything was unreal.
“If God came down and tried to take you by the hand, I would not let him. You are under my control. Let me show you something that will convince you.”
The guard then guided me out of the room and through an area where I could see, from below the blindfold, the trunks of palm trees. We then went through another door back inside, and descended some steps. We entered a room. They sat me down.
“Now you are going to tell me that you planned a terrorist attack,” he continued.
“I haven’t planned any attacks.”
“I give you my word that you will be a rich man if you tell me you have been planning attacks. Don’t you trust me?” he asked.
“I don’t trust anyone,” I replied.
Immediately he slapped me hard across the face and knocked off the blindfold: I clearly saw his face. It was Suleiman.
“That’s it. That’s it. I don’t want to see this man again until he cooperates and tells me he’s been planning a terrorist attack!” he yelled at the others in the room, then stormed out.
The guard came to me, upset that I hadn’t cooperated.
I said to him, “You have to let me go soon; it’s nearly 48 hours.”
He looked at me, surprised, and asked, “How long do you think you’ve been here?”
“A day,” I replied.
“Man, you’ve been here for more than a week.”
They then took me to another room, where they tortured me relentlessly, stripping me naked and applying electric shocks everywhere on my body. The next thing I remember was seeing the general again. He came into a room with a man from Turkistan; he was a big man but was stooped over, because his hands were chained to the shackles of his feet, preventing him from standing upright.
“This guy is no use to us anymore. This is what is going to happen to you. We’ve had him for one hour, and this is what happens.”
Suddenly, a guy they called Hanish, which means snake, came at the poor man from behind and gave him a terrible karate kick that sent him crashing across the room. A guard went over to shake him, but he didn’t respond. Turning to the general, the guard said, “Basha, I think he’s dead.”
“Throw him away then. Let the dogs have him.”
They dragged the dead man out.
“What do you think of that?” asked the general, staring into my face.
“At least he can now rest,” I replied.
Then they brought another man in. This man, I think, was from Europe – his exclamations of pain didn’t sound like those of someone from the Middle East. He was in a terrible state. The guard came in with a machine and started to wire the guy up to it. They told the poor man that they were going to give him a full electric shock, measuring ten on the scale. Before they even turned the machine on, the man started to gasp and then slumped in the chair. I think he died of a heart attack.
The general said that there was one more person I had to see. “This person will make you see that we can keep you here for as long as we want, all your life, if we choose.”
There was a window in the room, covered by a curtain. The general drew back the curtain, and I saw the top half of a very sick, thin man. He was sitting on a chair on the other side of the glass, facing me.
“You know this guy?” the general asked.
“No,” I replied.
“That’s strange – he’s your friend from Australia.”
I looked again and was horrified to see that it was Mohammed Abbas, a man I had known in Australia who worked for Telstra. He had traveled to Egypt in 1999 and had never been seen again.
“He is going to be your neighbor for the rest of your life.”
It was then that I knew I was in Egypt, without a doubt. They then took Abbas away and closed the curtain.
Shortly after 9/11, Mamdouh Habib, an Australian citizen, was pulled off a bus in Pakistan and handed over to the United States. Treated as a suspected terrorist, Habib was transferred to Egypt where he was tortured for five months. In the above excerpt, My Story: The Tale of a Terrorist Who Wasn’t, Habib sees the face of his torturer and discovers that it is Omar Suleiman, then chief of Egypt’s spy agency. Suleiman has since become the Western-backed, de facto ruler of Egypt. Continuing to protest his innocence, Habib was eventually transferred to Guantanamo Bay for three years of interrogation. He was released without charge on January 11, 2005.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Socrates was found innocent by the federal judge of New York.

Socrates the first and  perhaps the greatest philosopher of the western civilization.

With a result of 2 votes against one Socrates the great philosopher of antiquity was found innocent after almost 2500 years from the original trial. The representation of the trial took place on the 12th of May in a process of a review of the original trial.  It was organised by the Aristotelis Onassis foundation at the federal court of the state of New York  and was supervised scientifically by the internationally recognised academic Alexander Nehamas who is a professor at the university of Princeton. 

The 3 judges were Dennis Jacobs(Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals)
Carol Bagley Amon(Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York) and Loretta A.Preska(Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York). The city of Athens was represented by Antonis Papadimitriou who is the chairman of the Onassis foundation and the Greek American Matthew Bogdanos who almost succeeded to win the trial in favour of Athens with his impressive rhetoric and argumentation. Socrates was represented by Benjamin Brafman and Edward Walter Hayes two renowed and succesful lawyers in the state of New York.

source:greekamerican newsagency

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

1. Suggestive units(education)-Κεφάλαια Παραινετικά(περι παιδείας)

Basil I the Macedonian

I will be posting some traslations from a text written in form of political advice by Basil I the Byzantine emperor adressing towards his son and future successor Emperor Leo the wise.This text encompasses in general the political though of the medieval Byzantines which contributed to the longvenity of the empire the political vision of various nations that interacted with Byzantium. The genre of the text is called royal andriantas(full body statue) and it reveals the political thought and the ideas of emperor Basil in 66(units-subjects)

 About Education- Περι παιδείας (1rst unit)

Education and learning is something very important not only for the civilians but also for the royalty. It is favourable for humans as it helps keeping a physical and mental health.The study of the religious scripts helps the mental part while gymnastics and other knowledges help help the physical part.

This Education(personification), my son Leo me your father and co-imperator advise you to keep her near you like a woman or queen of your kingdom.Cause through her the kings have a notorious name and makes them immortal. Because like when the sunrays don't reach earth everything is dark the same happens with our soul and education.Keep this advice if you want a succesful and pious life. Because  virtue is the only immortal thing from the anything else that a man can acquire in his life.

source:Παραινετικά Βασίλειου Μακεδόνος,(Parenetika by Basil the Macedonian)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Olive tree of Vouves

The olive tree of Vouves. Perhaps the oldest tree in the world.

This ancient olive tree is located on the Greek island of Crete and is one of seven olive trees in the Mediterranean believed to be at least 2,000 to 3,000 years old. Although its exact age cannot be verified, the Olive Tree of Vouves might be the oldest among them, estimated at over 3,000 years old. It still produces olives, and they are highly prized. Olive trees are hardy and drought-, disease- and fire-resistant — part of the reason for their longevity and their widespread use in the region.

The Olive Tree Museum of Vouves is ideally located next to the Monumental Olive Tree of Vouves, the oldest olive tree in the world, which is visited by approximately 20.000 people every year from all over the world. The number of visitors is expected to increase rapidly in the years to come. The Monumental Olive Tree of Vouves has been declared as “natural heritage monument” by decision no 603/17-2-1997of the Secretary General of the Region of Crete, due to its special ecological and historical importance.
There are at least ten more monumental olive trees in this area, namely the same number of trees as in the whole of Crete. This fact testifies to the long-standing relationship between the residents of this area with the olive tree that dates back to antiquity.

You can find more info and take a virtual tour at the vouves museum 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Was the myth of the quest for the golden fleece based on reality?

The Golden necklace from a tomb in Volos

A golden necklace found in an ancient tomb in the greek city of Volos is assumed to be originated from Colchis.That explains the myth of the argonauts and the golden fleece.

Recently in the museum of Louvre four golden samples found in Georgia(ancient Colchis) were examined along with a golden necklace found in Volos(ancient Iolkos) and the result was that they had common origin. All the objects according to the scientists were made from alluvian gold from a river of Georgia.

For the confirmation of the results examinations of the objects will be repeated with the inclusion of more objects this time.If the new examinations show the same result then we can say that Greeks in the supposed time of the mythical quest of Jason knew about the existence of Gold in Colchis. Therefore the theories of the archaeologists who alleged that the quest of jason was a metaphor for the explorations of greek navigators in the black sea and the golden fleece was the gold of the rivers of Colchis and its stealing by the argonauts implied the way the Greeks took the technology of collecting gold from rivers by the Colchians.

In ancient times the gold was collected from rivers with the method of the goat's fleece .This method was known since prehistorical times.

However there are some doubts on this research cause the river's identity was not yet recognised by laboratory examination. In both the two locations(Colchis and Iolkos) there are rivers that produce gold.
Therefore the gold from the necklace could be also Greek .

The research should have been completed long ago but the war between Russia and Georgia made the Georgian archaeologists delay the dispatching of the extra golden objects requested for the comparative analysis. The Greek findings(among them the golden necklace) are dated from15th century BC to the late 14th century BC . Archaeologists allege that at the area where the golden objects were found there were large structures built which make us assume how much advanced were the people of Iolkos in the 15th century.

14 ancient shipwrecks make the myth of the Argonauts reality
The sea archaeology has brought essential information to archaeologists and historians over the last years.The research of the coast where the historic city of Iolkos was located has unveiled  14 ancient shipwrecks and two land facilities

Among the most significant settlements that were found undersea was one that dates back to 1700 BC and contains remains of pottery,  graves and remains of buildings.

The most fascinating findings lie in the Greek islands of Skopelos and Allonesos(near Iolkos) which used to be a passage for ships heading towards the Black sea.The findings(sealed pots with products) prove the existence of early trade connection of ancient Greece with the coastal people of the Black sea and Colchis.

source: (translations of both articles are made by me)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Julia Mingenes

Julia Mingenes

Julia Migenes was born as Julia Mouzianakis  on the Lower East Side of New York into a family made up of a passionate mixture of Greek and Irish-Puerto-Rican descent. Despite a difficult and violent childhood, she discovered her calling upon engagement of the child role in Madame Butterfly where she first experienced the power and the emotion of music linked to a stage setting.

  A few years later, while studying at the New York School for Performing Arts, she was chosen by Leonard Bernstein to be a soloist in his "Young People's Concerts". She began her Broadway career as a teenager, replacing Anna Maria Alberghetti in Carnival!, soon thereafter played Maria in a City Center revival of West Side Story, and followed that with a portrayal of Hodel in the original cast of Fiddler on the Roof (1964) – the longest-running musical on Broadway at the time – with Zero Mostel.

Migenes then went to Vienna, sang in German in the chorus at the Theater an der Wien, and took the role of Maria in the German version of West Side Story at the Volksoper in 1968. Since then, she has spent much of her time in Europe. She moved to Munich in the 1970s and became a star of operetta, film, and television, winning many awards. She married Jervis Johnson and had a child, and for many years was billed as Julia Migenes-Johnson.
Word of this new star crossed the Atlantic where Maurice Béjart was desperately searching for his Salomé to be staged in Geneva. Julia Migenes embodied the ideal combination for this role: a world-class opera singer and a graceful dancer.

While on stage in Geneva as Salomé, the Italian film director Francesco Rosi was casting for his up and coming film: Carmen. The lead role required not only an opera singer and dancer but also an actress sensual enough to personify the burning passion of Bizet's character. The result was Julia Migenes immortalized in a motion picture that has since become a reference in the filmed opera genre. The soundtrack not only brought her a Grammy Award but even more worldwide notoriety that allowed her to access the greatest theaters in the world.

To this day, Julia Migenes has recorded more than 20 albums of various music genres.

Julia Mingenes performing Carmen in the homonymous movie.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

ANZACS in Greece during WW2

Australian soldiers on the steps of Akropolis
(click for the image source)

In March 1941, Robert Menzies, Prime Minister of Australia, with the concurrence of his Cabinet, agreed to
 the sending of Australian troops to Greece. Both Menzies and the Australian commander in the Middle East, 
Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Blamey, felt that the operation was risky and might end in disaster. But 
Menzies, like the British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, felt that Greece should be supported against
German aggression and that the defence of Greece was a 'great risk in a good cause'.

In Greece, the Australians joined with a New Zealand and British force to defend the country against a threatened German 
invasion. Hitler was concerned that if Greece became a British ally then oilfields in Romania, on which  Germany relied for her fuel, might be open to air attack from Greece. As the Germans were planning an  invasion of Russia for June 1941, they could not allow such a threat to their essential oil supplies.

On 5 April 1941 German troops invaded Greece and Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia was overrun in a matter of days while the Greek campaign lasted just over three weeks. A British guarantee to support Greece if it was attacked had already been invoked when the Italians invaded in October 1940. Assistance on this occasion was minimal, but the Italians were defeated when the Greeks repelled their attempt to invade through Albania.

In 1941 the defence of Greece was placed largely in the hands of troops from Australia and New Zealand. During the course of the campaign this dominion force, although it included a British brigade, became known as the ANZAC Corps. Even before the German invasion, senior British military and political figures doubted the wisdom of attempting to fight the Germans in Greece and some were already discussing evacuation plans. Lacking aircraft and armour, the Allies were poorly prepared to withstand the German onslaught which came in the form of ten infantry, armoured and specialist mountain warfare divisions. Outnumbered on the ground and in the air the British Commonwealth force was unable to deploy sufficient troops in any one area to halt the German advance. Instead they found themselves conducting a series of withdrawals, slowing the Germans down and offering brave and sometimes successful local resistance.

The campaign was dogged by poor liaison between the ANZACs and their Greek allies - problems which were exacerbated by language difficulties and a lack of equipment. While the ANZAC force never lost its cohesion they were never in a position to reverse German successes. By 20 April, when it was clear that they could do no more than disrupt and slow the German advance, the Greek Government agreed that the force should be evacuated.

The final withdrawal to the evacuation beaches on the Peloponnese was skilfully conducted and the evacuation began on 24 April. Over the next five nights more than 50,000 troops left Greece. They left behind 320 dead Australians - a further 2,065 became prisoners of war. More than 290 New Zealanders were killed and over 1,600 captured. Hundreds of others were cut off during the fighting, many of thes
e men made their way back to Allied lines in Crete or North Africa via Turkey or the Greek islands.


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