Border situation between Turkey and Greece remains highly tense

The very tense situation at the border between Greece and Turkey continues; but Austria and the Visegrad group are among those helping to reinforce the Greeks.

See also: Turkey weaponizes refugees against Europe | The Hill

Turkey, as many will known, is attempting to send large numbers – maybe tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands – of migrants (“refugees” is a euphemism for a group most of whom are young, strong, military-aged men, in good health) from the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa into Europe via Greece. Greece, needless to say, has no desire to allow this to occur. Nor, for that matter, does Europe, which has apparently (if somewhat belatedly) learned a lesson from the “refugee” crisis of 2015.

Indeed, the President of the European Commission (of the EU, of all things!), Ursula von der Leyen, has called Greece the ασπίδα (aspida, meaning “shield”) of Europe. And several countries, including Poland and Austria, have sent police and border guards to reinforce the border between Greece – indeed, Europe – and Turkey: formerly Anatolia, sometimes also known as Asia Minor, and through much of ancient and medieval history reckoned as part of Europe, but since the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, firmly in the Eastern (and Islamic) camp.

The players in this are interesting: on the one hand, we have Turkey, home of the Ottoman Turks who not only captured Constantinople, last – save Rome! – of the Five Patriarchates of ancient Christianity, four of which were in the East, and all of which fell to Islam, but also invaded Europe on multiple occasions, the last significant attempt of which was defeated before the Gates of Vienna in 1683 by the combined armies of the Holy Roman Empire (the Habsburgs, with their seat in Imperial Vienna) and the Holy League, lead by King Jan III Sobieski of Poland, whose Winged Hussars led the massive cavalry charge that finally and definitively broke the siege.

On the other, we have Poland, whose leadership of the armies of the Holy League I just mentioned; Austria, spiritual and ancestral heirs to the former Holy Roman Empire; and of course Greek herself, who was not only forced back across the Bosporus when Constantinople (capital of the Eastern, or Greek, half of the former Roman Empire) fell to the Muslim Ottoman Turks, but who (with the later Rome) was one of the fountainheads of Western / European civilization in the first place, and her defender against another menace from the East, the Achaemenid Persian Empire.

Watching what is going on at present, one thinks both of the Gates of Vienna, but also of the Pass of Thermopylae, in which the Spartans, with allies from other Greek city-states, held back the massed armies of the Persian Emperor, Xerxes the Great. It is not hard to believe that we are watching history in the making, and which was the battle will turn is still in some doubt. However, the fact that Europe as a whole seems (with some vocal exceptions) to be taking Greece’s side in this is encouraging.

Indeed, we seem to be seeing the beginnings of a swing away from globalism, open borders, free passage of any and all for whatever reason, etc., and back toward a more robust defense of national sovereignty and both territorial and cultural integrity. This is all to the good, in my opinion, and I hope it continues and increases!

Marcus Follin, the Swedish YouTuber known (with what I think is intentionally ironic hubris!) as “The Golden One,” points to this, commenting that the globalist lifestyle is losing its lustre; that people are beginning to decide that “maybe it’s better to create a local community, with people you trust and you like, create a family, etc.,” as “a natural response to a tougher societal climate” – both due to issues like the Turkey-vs-Greece situation mentioned above, and also the cononavirus pandemic (as it has now been officially dubbed by the World Health Organization).

Perhaps it can be said of Europeans as the quote frequently, but perhaps apocryphally, attributed to Winston Churchill said of Americans: that “they can be counted upon to do the right thing – once they have exhausted all other possibilities.”

Random facts of the day: some traditional measurements!

https://sites.google.com/a/wrps.net/lhschemistry/_/rsrc/1461015140094/unit-3-labs/units-of-measurement/Us%20Survey%20units.jpg?height=251&width=400

Random piece of general knowledge (many thanks to The Old Farmers Almanac):

1 league = 3 miles = 24 furlongs

In other words, there are eight furlongs to a mile. So how long is a furlong? 660 feet, or 40 rods (one rod being 5 ½ yards). Seen another way, a furlong is equal to one eighth of a mile: equivalent to 660 feet, 220 yards, 40 rods (1 rod = 5 1/2 feet), or 10 chains (one chain, therefore, being equal to 66 feet).

Originally, it was the length of the furrow in one acre of a ploughed field – thus, the name: one “furrow long” – in the old open-field system of medieval England, in which acres were usually long and narrow, and was the distance a team of oxen could plough without resting. From there, it passed into the British Imperial and U.S. customary system of measurements. An acre was reckoned as one furlong in length (naturally), and one chain in width, and was considered to be the amount of land one man, behind one ox, could plough in one day.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/39/Anthropic_Farm_Units.png/400px-Anthropic_Farm_Units.png

Other oxen-derived measurements include an oxgang (from the same root as our contemporary word “going,” with the implication of walking *), the amount of land tillable by one ox in a ploughing season (an area which could vary from village to village, but was typically around 15 acres), a virgate, the amount of land tillable by two oxen in one ploughing season (thus, two oxgangs), and a carucate, the amount of land that could be tilled by eight oxen in a ploughing season: equal, naturally, to 8 oxgangs or 4 virgates. Thus, these measurements were not random or arbitrary, they described what could be done on them, in a way that was very useful and informative for an agricultural society!

*  That derivation still exists, though somewhat concealed by changes in the language, and our understanding: a “gang” is a group of people who go (walk) around together. And the archaic English word “gangly” refers to a person or (usually young) animal who appears to be “all legs,” and therefore seems made for walking! Also, a “chain-gang” is not just a group of people joined by a chain; they are chain-gang: that is to say, they are walking chained, rather than free.

On a related note, the furlong was historically considered to be equivalent to the Roman stade (from which we get “stadium”), itself derived from the Greek stadion ~ and it was, although approximately: the old Roman measurement was actually 625 feet. The Romans reckoned eight stadia to the mile, and (as remains the case in our English measurement, albeit using furlongs) three miles to the league. Thus, the Roman mile was a little shorter than ours is. A league was considered to be the distance a man could walk in one hour, and the mile (from mille, meaning “thousand”) consisted of 1,000 passi (paces: five feet, or two single steps of two-and-a-half feet each).

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/proxy/kt0RpmdwysRDICsYv2fk1p1CQ2HmONAHkV_mdCZtmx-gTr9ieNl6lJieYNEsxs5-UuTF-0sVGBTtfhkIffR0iHE27Q

Now you know probably more than you ever wanted to about ancient land-measurements!

(Additional information gleaned from Wikipedia, and from my own knowledge of things medieval!)

Glories of the West: The Beauty of French Architecture | Architectural Revival

“The Beauty of The Kingdom of France: The Creation of the French People. Vive la France! Vive le Roi!”

“Good things are easily destroyed, but not easily created. When we build, let it not be for our time, but all time. Real architecture stands the test of time, aesthetically & physically.”

Architectural Revival

Another example of what we are struggling for.

 

Sword of St. Michael | Aleteia

7 sanctuaries united by a straight line: the legendary Sword of St. Michael

Source: Sword of St. Michael | Aleteia

“A mysterious imaginary line links seven monasteries, from Ireland to Israel. Is it just a coincidence? These seven sanctuaries are very far from each other, and yet they are perfectly aligned… The Sacred Line of Saint Michael the Archangel represents, according to legend, the blow the [holy Archangel] inflicted on the Devil, sending him to hell.”

Most interesting!

Revisiting Charlemagne as Europe Disintegrates | The American Conservative

“A healthy dose of skepticism should underlie any empirical endeavor, but there can be no doubt from Nelson’s deft exploration of the extant record that Charlemagne proved himself ‘great’ in every sense.”

Source: Revisiting Charlemagne as Europe Disintegrates | The American Conservative

A little historical perspective, on one of the primary founders of pre-modern Europe. A great man indeed – not perfect, not wholly admirable, but those qualities are not essential for greatness – as even the author of the book being reviewed was forced to admit, despite her Left-leaning biases:

“Sometimes Nelson’s feminist bias comes through gratuitously.

“Is it really worth commenting that Charlemagne’s marital relations were chronicled only by male observers? Would a woman’s marital relations chronicled only by women be equally problematic?

“Similarly, was disapprobation of the Byzantine Empress Eirene’s murder of her own son the result of ‘patriarchy and good old-fashioned misogyny’? Would filicide be more acceptable in some kind of gender-neutral utopia?

“These foibles notwithstanding, it is noteworthy that Nelson voluntarily chose to cap an already distinguished career with a biography of the kind of man Charlemagne truly was: a great one.”

But speaking of Left-leaning biases, the virtue-signalling (I was tempted to a more pithy term) is great in some of the comments. Good Lord have mercy, these people are commenting on an article in The American CONSERVATIVE…??? The alleged “conservatism” of some of these folks is in noticeably short supply. Indeed, some of them are either trolls or idiots, maybe both!

Still, the article (book review) itself is worth a read – and so, I have no doubt, is the book, but my “to-read” list is too long as it is – even if some of the commenters are nattering nabobs of nutcase-ism. And Charlemagne is, as every generation up to the ’60s has known him, without doubt, to be: a great man.

 

The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise | Intercollegiate Studies Institute

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“The existence of a Muslim kingdom in Medieval Spain where different races and religions lived harmoniously in multicultural tolerance is one of today’s most widespread myths… The problem with this belief is that it is historically unfounded.” – Dr. Darío Fernández-Morera, Ph.D.

Source: The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise – Intercollegiate Studies Institute: Think. Live Free.

“The existence of a Muslim kingdom in Medieval Spain where different races and religions lived harmoniously in multicultural tolerance is one of today’s most widespread myths. University professors teach it. Journalists repeat it. Tourists visiting the Alhambra accept it. It has reached the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal, which sings the virtues of the ‘pan-confessional humanism’ of Andalusian Spain (July 18, 2003).

“The Economist echoes the belief: ‘Muslim rulers of the past were far more tolerant of people of other faiths than were Catholic ones. For example, al-Andalus’s multi-cultural, multi-religious states ruled by Muslims gave way to a Christian regime that was grossly intolerant even of dissident Christians, and that offered Jews and Muslims a choice only between being forcibly converted and being expelled (or worse).’

“The problem with this belief is that it is historically unfounded, a myth. The fascinating cultural achievements of Islamic Spain cannot obscure the fact that it was never an example of peaceful convivencia.”

I have thought for years – since my undergraduate medieval studies days, in fact – that there was something that did not ring true about the standard narrative of “peaceful, multicultural” Cordoba / Andalusia, where Muslims, Christians, and Jews allegedly lived together in harmony, and the arts and sciences flourished. There were hints of a shadow – such as the admission that non-Muslims had to pay jizya – but it was hard to pin down anything more. There had to be more to the story!

Now, Dr. Darío Fernández-Morera, Ph.D., has written an exhaustively researched and documented book on the subject, of which the linked (and rather lengthy) article is but an abstract, and which makes it abundantly clear that the much-lauded “peaceful coexistence” was enforced by brutal oppression, in which Christians – in their own land! – and Jews were emphatically second-class citizens, subject to the whims of their overlords, and in which the undeniable artistic achievements were financed by heavy taxes and the spoils of conquest.

I would add, also, that the much-vaunted Muslim medical and other arts were based heavily on Classical and late Hellenistic – Greco-Roman – antecedents, texts to which medieval Christians would have had access, had the great libraries of the Mediterranean world not fallen to Islamic conquerors in the 7th and 8th centuries.

And the “intolerance” shown by the Christian successor state in what had been al-Andalus is perhaps somewhat more comprehensible – perhaps even forgivable – in light of the more than seven centuries (722 – 1492 AD) Spanish Christians had spent re-taking the Iberian peninsula from its Muslim overlords. A cautionary tale for today’s West! But I digress:

In dealing with the question of why this myth (in the popular sense of the term, which is to say, fallacy) has been so persistent in both popular and academic culture, Fernández-Morera suggests – accurately, in my opinion – that it “may be that extolling al-Andalus offers the double advantage of surreptitiously favoring multiculturalism and deprecating Christianity, which is one of the foundations of Western civilization,” and continues,

“This mechanism is not unlike that in the mind of those who dislike Western culture intensely, but who with the fall of Communism find themselves without any clear alternative and so grab Islam as a castaway grabs anything that floats. So anyone who dislikes Western culture or Christianity—for any reason, be it religious, political, or cultural—goes on happily pointing out, regardless of the facts, how bad Catholic Spain was when compared to the Muslim paradise.”

A paradise which exists only in the cultural Marxist imagination.

As I say, this is a lengthy essay. It is, nonetheless, worth a read, for the light it casts on a much-misunderstood, and greatly mis-characterized, time and place in history. Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest!

Medieval peasants vs people today – on the lighter side!

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As an academically-trained – and lifelong avocational – medievalist, I can say there is a lot of truth to this! True, there were plenty of issues in that era that could be lethal, from plague to war. But now it’s cancer, degenerative heart disease, and (in many parts of the world) still war… 🙄

In fact, most of the things that killed people – and that account for the “lower life expectancy” (which is an average) of medieval people during that age – were most threatening to children. If you once attained adulthood, you had a pretty fair chance of living just about as long as we do now!


(To be fair, one exception to this was childbirth, which remained very dangerous to women right up until fairly recent times. Young women are more likely to be resilient and avoid or survive potential issues with childbirth, which is one reason why women married and bore children much earlier, on average, than they do today.)

The largest ever Bronze Age hoard in London has been discovered | HeritageDaily – Archaeology News

The largest ever Bronze Age hoard to be discovered in London, the third largest of its kind in the UK, has been unearthed in Havering.

Source: The largest ever Bronze Age hoard in London has been discovered – HeritageDaily – Archaeology News

“A total of 453 bronze objects dating between c.900 and c.800 BC have been uncovered during a planned archaeological investigation, with weapons and tools including axe heads, spearheads, fragments of swords, daggers and knives found alongside some other unusual objects, which are rarely found in the UK.”

Fascinating! Unfortunately, not much (if anything) is said about the “unusual objects, which are rarely found in the UK.” Hope more information is revealed, as the project continues!

Piers Morgan: Populism Is Rising Because Liberals Have Become Unbearable | Video | RealClearPolitics

 

“Populism is rising because liberals have become unbearable. In my core, I’m probably more liberal than not although fundamentally I see myself as a journalist and I like to see both sides and I can argue both sides of all these things, but liberals have become utterly, pathetically illiberal and it is a massive problem.”

Source: Piers Morgan: Populism Is Rising Because Liberals Have Become Unbearable | Video | RealClearPolitics

Couple of thoughts on this: first, I’m not a big fan of Piers Morgan, but he’s an intelligent man, and he’s gotten less objectionable since getting back to the UK. Maybe he’s seeing some things that he couldn’t see as clearly, here in the US? Or maybe it’s just like my father used to say: “Even a stopped clock is right twice a day”…? I dunno. But he’s right about this!

Not all populists are alt-right or far-right or whatever you want to call it, by any means. Most are just ordinary folks who are tired of seeing their own people being crapped on by privileged, entitled elites who claim that the ordinary people are the “privileged” ones. But I’ve said since the 2016 Presidential campaign that maybe the alt-right are antibodies for Antifa, cultural Marxists, and their ilk.

As a historian, I would say that you don’t get something like what happened in Germany in the 1930s because of people like Trump. You get it because of people like Antifa, and their apologists in the media, academia, and so on, until finally ordinary folks get sick and tired of it, and either hit back, or throw their support behind people who are willing to hit back. Continue reading “Piers Morgan: Populism Is Rising Because Liberals Have Become Unbearable | Video | RealClearPolitics”

Three books added to my reading list

 

 

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It is only occasionally that The Anglophilic Anglican writes book reviews, and to post on books I have not yet read is unprecedented. But these are three that not only pique my interest, but which I feel may turn out to be important reads. If I am right, I shall review them after I’ve read them! But for now, I’m simply sharing my interest, with the thought that they may prove of interest to my readers, too. As usual, the italicized, indented sections of text are quotes, in this case from the relevant Amazon listings:

Andrew Willard Jones: Before Church and State: A Study of Social Order in the Sacramental Kingdom of St. Louis IX (2017).

Before Church and State: A Study of Social Order in the Sacramental Kingdom of St. Louis IX by Andrew Willard Jones explores in great detail the “problem of Church and State” in thirteenth-century France. It argues that while the spiritual and temporal powers existed, they were not parallel structures attempting to govern the same social space in a contest over sovereignty. Rather, the spiritual and the temporal powers were wrapped up together in a differentiated and sacramental world, and both included the other as aspects of their very identity. The realm was governed not by proto-absolutist institutions, but rather by networks of friends that cut across lay/clerical lines. Ultimately, the king’s “fullness of power” and the papacy’s “fullness of power” came together to govern a single social order.

Before Church and State reconstructs this social order through a detailed examination of the documentary evidence, arguing that the order was fundamentally sacramental and that it was ultimately congruent with contemporary incarnational and trinitarian theologies and the notions of proper order that they supported. Because of this, modern categories of secular politics cannot be made to capture its essence but rather paint always a distorted portrait in modernity’s image.

In both my B.A. studies – in which I pursued a self-designed major in medieval studies, including history, literature, and philosophy – and my Masters work in early and medieval Christianity, one thing that was a given was the perennial tension, sometimes struggle, and sometimes conflict, between Church and State. It wasn’t something that was defended; it didn’t need to be. It was simply a foundational, underlying assumption.

But even then, I caught glimpses hinting that there might be more to the story; Continue reading “Three books added to my reading list”