Tuscany: The Heartlands of Antiquity

27 Jan

Tuscany is one of the most recognizable regions of Italy, perhaps due to its frequent appearance as a subject of landscape paintings. Tuscany has become one of the most celebrated and iconic regions of Italy, its yellow or pastel colored villas with red terracotta roofs becoming emblematic features of the Italian countryside. The cypress trees and warm Mediterranean climate lending a timeless arboreal feeling to the place. The region is largely hill country, fertile and dotted with vineyards and olive groves. Gentle rolling hills rise to the mountainous heights of the Apennine Mountains, the backbone of the boot-shaped Apennine peninsula (Italian Peninsula). The fertile Vale de Arno, valley of the river Arno, guards the largest settlements in this region. The great cities of Pisa, Florence, and Siena are all nestled within the Vale de Arno, growing yields of crops to feed lands further afield.  Tuscany earns its name from the ancient land of Etruria, home to the Etruscans. The highlands still hide hill fortresses and defensive bastions built by the Etruscans. Indeed, many of these settlements remained safe on their rocky plateaus, evolving into Tuscan hill towns. Siena is one such city, a medieval town hewn from the cliffs on which it stands. Together with Latium and Rome, Etruria lay in the heartlands of Roman antiquity. The importance of this region would reach a zenith during the Renaissance, born from the city of Florence, which would shape the history of Europe. The modern Italian language, with Latin at its root, would originate during that period from the accents of Tuscany, and the dialect of Florence. With its heyday long behind it, Tuscany has eased into a tranquil slumber, its glories and triumphs enshrined in the halls of its museums. Tuscany remains an idyllic land, its stories like faded memories, yearning to be remembered.


Based on the painting “Tuscan Villa 24 x 30 Oil” by Armand Cabrera at the Berkley Gallery (http://www.armandcabrera.com/BerkleyGallery.html)
((*A google search of “Tuscany landscape paintings” will show just how much awesome renditions of Tuscany are out there… not to mention Photography!))IMG_2634.JPG


2016: still the dawn of a new millennium 

18 Dec

There’s no reason to consider the New Years of 2000 to be the only time to celebrate the beggining of the new mellenium (the 2000’s of the common era)… And I would argue that each New Years at the beggining of this new mellenium be given exceptional gravity and importance rather than “another year, 2016!”… 

We’re living only 15 years after a second mellenium started! The calendar that is based around the life of Christ, one with Roman antiquity straddling the year zero, with the Egyptians, and earlier Mesopotamian empires before them. So humans, despite existing 200,000 years, still consider 1000 year periods very important. They certainly out last our own steadily lengthening lifetimes, which now stand at perhaps up to 120 years for the elves amongst us.

Despite our lengthy history, the most recent 3000 or more years have been super exciting, with the last 200 being uncharacteristically grave in importance. Our technological gilt into high civilization (and ecologically precarious civilization) with the industrial revolution, has made the years go slower, as they are each one seemingly brimming with importance. So much transpires in a year in our modern world, that our historical vision shrinks. We see ourselves living year to year or work week by work week, instead of seeing ourselves as part of this rich 200,000 year old history of human experience which forms our collective memory. 

It’s not just one lucky generation: the mellenials, who enjoy the 2000’s… It should extend through the whole 21st century. 

And so, in the name of the longetevity of human kind, and for the sake of assigning meaning to our lives. We should celebrate every new year as passionately as we did in 2000. 

Gay life in small towns 😝

13 Nov

I assume my gaydar 🚨🌈was switched off or something, but today I Asked a boyish blondie in a pink sweater with a bolo tie if he was gay. He wasn’t. And Yes, a bolo tie. My conclusion is that small, liberal, college towns are sparse in gays but high in ‘false-flags’, or should I say, ‘false…’…anyways, it reminds me of when I was a raver when I was 17, 🎉💥📢and would bounce off the walls asking the shirtless raver bros: “are you gay? How about you? 😁”… “Nah, sorry man, but if I was I’d totally pin you up against the wall!😘” again, one of the things only possible in liberal small towns 🇺🇸🌈🎉🍃hehe 

#areyouhipsterorgay? #BoloTie #SmallTownGayLife

Our culture is a lie:

18 Oct
Basically, the Earth is dying, and the system is killing it. Oh, and that’s the same system that is going to take countless hours of your time and energy until you retire and then die. It tells you that “You have to work to have food, shelter, water, electricity, and money for leisure”.
The hours of work, the bills, the uncertainty, the neverending endeavour to prove your “worth” by being “Successful”….
We all carve the best life we can out of the margins & scraps of time we have left… OR better yet, we navigate the system until we find a job that fulfills us (these are the lucky ones). Basically our entire society is premised on the lie that “There’s not enough stuff, you have to EARN it!”…. When really, its all sitting in hoards at the top.
wealth-si yacht-landscape-billion-oxfam

The Ancient Romans We’re All “Tops”.

9 Oct
Did you know that Romans had a vastly different conception of sexuality?
It was socially acceptable if you were a man, to be the active, penetrative member in sex with both men and women, but If you we’re the receptive partner, you were likened to a woman, and would suffer an accompanying loss of status. Although, the non-penetrative forms of sex may not have abided the same rules.
In their virile Roman bravado, our ancients loved to brag about their sexploits with graffiti carved into the walls: “I butt-fucked Nisus 10 times”
Scipio Aemelianus (a censor & consul) issued this attack on P. Sulpicius Galus for his effeminate, bottom-y behavior:
“For the kind of man who adorns himself daily in front of a mirror, wearing perfume; whose eyebrows are shaved off; who walks around with plucked beard and thighs; who when he was a young man reclined at banquets next to his lover, wearing a long-sleeved tunic; who is as fond of men as he is of wine: can anyone doubt that he has done what cinaedi (*bottoms) are in the habit of doing?”
If you were hairless, beardless and boyish (age 12 to 20) you were a boy, and could be penetrated freely by the master of the house. If you were a slave, or male prostitute, you had lower status in citizenship, and it wouldn’t be an affront to be “plowed”, because your masculinity doesn’t matter. (the “plowing a field” metaphor being employed by our ancients, as eagerly as we do today, from the play Truculentus by Plautus: “If you yearn to plow, it’s better to go to the ones who are ussually plowed: boys”)
Roman Homosexuality : Ideologies of Masculinity in Classical Antiquity By Craig A. Williams (Assistant Professor of Classics Brooklyn College)

The Surprising History Of Homosexuality And Homophobia.

9 Oct

“Most men, at some time in their lives, experience homoerotic feelings towards other men – whether they choose to admit it or not. According to Masters and Johnson, the percentage of men who have had a homoerotic experience to orgasm in amazingly high even in America. By the age of 49, fully 60% of American men have had such an experience.”

Reflections Asia.

Source from: http://www.bidstrup.com/phobiahistory.htm

What Catholicism and most other modern Christian churches vigorously deny is just how much homosexuality was not only tolerated, but practiced by many of its founding fathers, and the degree of toleration, if not veneration, it received. Afrocentrics often deny that homosexuality was a feature of African cultures in ancient times. And more than a few anglicized Native Americans would be shocked to learn that homosexuals were not only common among their tribal ancestors, but were even venerated as being spiritually gifted.

Homosexualty and bisexuality, we now know from modern research, are ubiquitous throughout the world. They exist in all cultures, and at all times in history. Relics of our evolutionary history, homosexuality and bisexuality are very commonly practiced in nearly every culture, whether tolerated or not. The differences among cultures are the openness with which it is practiced.

Another thing we know from modern research is…

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When Living in the Past Distorts the Past; Or, Why I Study the Victorian Era

26 Sep

What you are about to read is somewhat off topic for the Renaissance Mathematicus, but as I’ve said on a number of occasions I reserve the right to post here what I will, after all it’s my blog. I received an unsolicited email from Jacob Steere-Williams, who is Assistant Professor of History at the College […]