Glories of the West: Vivaldi – “Summer,” from The Four Seasons (excerpt)

Excerpt from Vivaldi’s “Summer,” from his incredible The Four Seasons. Berliner Philharmoniker: Herbert von Karajan, Conductor, and Anne-Sophie Mutter, violin soloist.

 

Glories of the West: Traditional Irish step-dancing

Source: Step Dancing from 1963 | Forgotten Ireland

Traditional Irish step-dancing as it used to be practiced, before it became “cross-fertilized” with influences from Highland dancing, to ballet, to American clogging and tap – and probably a few more, to boot. Not that “Riverdance“-style Irish step-dancing isn’t absolutely amazing! It is. But I very much like to see old-style, from time to time.

 

Glories of the West / Blighty Boys: London before the fall

Source: London before the fall | Traditional Britain Group – Under Attack

Ah, how sadly the mighty have fallen! Scenes from London in “the good old days,” when it was still an English city (it will not surprise my readers that I wholeheartedly agree with John Cleese on this matter, based not only on news reports, but anecdotes from people I know who either live there, or have visited there over the last few years)…

 

Glories of the West: Ancient Minoan Crete – “Ancient tablets may reveal what destroyed Minoan civilization”

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The mystery of what happened to the Minoan civilization has tormented archaeologists for over a century, and the tale has now taken a new twist.

Source: Ancient tablets may reveal what destroyed Minoan civilization – Archaeology – Haaretz.com

Fascinating! I have long been interested in the Minoan civilization – and my folks got to visit Knossos during their tour of the Holy Land and Greek isles – but it has been a long time since I’ve taken a course in ancient Mediterranean archaeology, and much of this is new to me. As I say, most interesting!

“According to historians, Knossos was Europe’s oldest proper city, established between 2000 to 1900 B.C.E. Its palace had features considered very advanced for the time, for instance monumental architecture, stone-built storm drains and sewers, and lavatories” – nearly two millennia before the birth of Christ. There are places in the world that don’t have these yet, if they haven’t been brought in from other, more advanced areas!

Ancient Minoan Crete was, in fact, one of the Glories of the West in its time: “In the golden age of the Minoan civilization,” the linked article notes, “they traded with Egypt, the Levant, the Aegean, Asia Minor and less so beyond Italy and Sicily, and possibly as far as Spain and up the Atlantic coast. But,” it continues, “all things come to an end.” Nonetheless: “More than a thousand years later, the Greeks remained impressed by the Cretan achievement.” That is an accomplishment, by any standards!

Sad news, though, for those who think the Minoans came from lost Atlantis, or perhaps even the stars: “archaeologists had once thought the Minoans must have ‘come from somewhere else’ because of their advancement compared with the surroundings. But genetic analyses in 2017 concluded that both the Minoans and Mycenaeans descended from the stone-age farmers of western Anatolia and the Aegean, plus smidgens of heritage from the Caucasus and Iran.” Pesky darned genetics!

Glories of the West: Dresden, Germany

Image may contain: sky and outdoor

Source: deutschlandLiebe (Facebook group)

Almost entirely destroyed by Allied firebombing in World War Two that killed tens of thousands (estimates range from a low of 25,000 to a high of 135,000), Dresden has risen, Phoenix-like, literally from the ashes!

Encyclopedia Britannica article on the City of Dresden

Short drone video of Dresden, focusing on the restored historic heart of the city:

Click the link for a longer video!

 

H.V. Morton on the Decline of Civilization

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Ruins of the Temple of Artemis at Sardis, in Asia Minor (Turkey).
color view of reconstructed model of Temple of Artemis, at Miniatürk Park, Istanbul, Turkey
A modern re-creation of what the Temple might have looked like, in its glory.

“Politicians of Western nations ought not to be eligible for election until they have travelled the ancient world. All the cities of the Graeco-Roman world have become slums. That pride which made Asia-Minor, in the words of Theodore Mommsen, “the promised land of municipal vanity” vanished with the Muslim conquest. Politicians should be made to see how easy it is for the constant sea of savagery, which flows forever around the small island of civilisation, to break in and destroy.

“Asia Minor was once as highly organised as Europe is today: a land of large cities whose libraries and public monuments were so splendid that when we today retrieve fragments of this lost world we think it worth while to build museums to house them. Yet a few centuries of occupation by a static race have seen the highest pillars fall to earth, have witnessed the destruction of aqueducts that carried life-giving water from afar, and have seen the silting up of harbours that once sheltered the proudest navies of the ancient world. I cannot understand how any traveller can stand unmoved at the graveside of the civilisation from which our own world springs, or can see Corinthian capitals lying in the mud, without feeling that such things hold a lesson and a warning and, perhaps, a prophesy.

— H.V. Morton: In the Steps of St. Paul (1936), p.56-7.

Let us say the situation has not improved dramatically since 1936. Sadly, rather the reverse…