The Greeks really do have near-mythical origins, ancient DNA reveals | Science | AAAS

Ever since the days of Homer, Greeks have long idealized their Mycenaean “ancestors” in epic poems and classic tragedies that glorify the exploits of Odysseus, King Agamemnon, and other heroes who went in and out of favor with the Greek gods.

Although these Mycenaeans were fictitious, scholars have debated whether today’s Greeks descend from the actual Mycenaeans, who created a famous civilization that dominated mainland Greece and the Aegean Sea from about 1600 B.C.E. to 1200 B.C.E., or whether the ancient Mycenaeans simply vanished from the region.

Now, ancient DNA suggests that living Greeks are indeed the descendants of Mycenaeans, with only a small proportion of DNA from later migrations to Greece…

Source: The Greeks really do have near-mythical origins, ancient DNA reveals | Science | AAAS

The title of this piece is a touch misleading, in that it may seem to imply that the ancient Greeks really were descended from the gods, or at least their heroes were. But although the truth is somewhat more prosaic, it is no less interesting!

In addition to the usefulness to historians, archaeologists, mythologists, and students of literature of confirming that there was and is a Mycenaean – and indeed, Minoan – connection with modern Greeks, and a very significant one, this also is further evidence that ancient myths and legends, originally carried down through the oral traditions of a people and only later put to writing, may nonetheless have striking validity.

This is not news to many of us, of course; but it may be to others, who have bought into the popular misrepresentation of “myth” as a synonym for “fallacy.” Leaving aside the 19th centuries discoveries of such men as the highly controversial Heinrich Schliemann (Troy) and the brilliant but political Arthur Evans (Minoan Crete), it is remarkable how many biblical accounts have been either confirmed or at least rendered markedly more probable by archaeological discoveries.

Nowadays, it seems that genetics is following in those hallowed footsteps!

Man Snaps Photo Of NYC In 1956

A picture has surfaced of the New York City skyline back in 1956, which shows three buildings decorated with window crosses for Easter. Featured in a newspaper article, [the photograph] shows the buildings lit up with huge crosses.

Source: Man Snaps Photo Of NYC In 1956

The article accompanying the picture (warning: extremely add-heavy and slow-loading page) comments,

“Things were a lot different 60 years ago. For one, public displays of Christianity were something that, regardless of your political affiliation, could be appreciated and admired by all. This is not the case anymore…

“Whoever took this photo probably would never have guessed that over 60 years later, this country would have morphed into a society that would erase any display of Christian faith from the public square under the guise of tolerance, multiculturalism, and secularism.

“Even our holidays, which have been a tradition in this country for generations, are under threat. No longer is it appropriate to say ‘Merry Christmas.’ We are supposed to say ‘Happy Holidays’ to be respectful of other spiritual faiths. Of course, this is less about being multicultural and more about being anti-Christian and anti-tradition.

“This picture shows a world that makes progressive-secularists furious. It was a world where free speech actually included freedom for Christians to express their faith, without fear of censorship, mockery, or even lawsuits being leveled against them.”

As Archie Bunker would have said, “those were the days!”

 

Percentage of Europeans Who Are Willing To Fight A War For Their Country – Brilliant Maps

The map above shows the percentage of residents in various European countries who are willing to fight and go to war for their country.

Source: Percentage of Europeans Who Are Willing To Fight A War For Their Country – Brilliant Maps

I am generally a very peaceful person. It takes a good bit to move me to anger, and more yet to move me to violence. In particular, I am willing to shrug off, for the sake of peace and tranquility, many offenses against me, personally – as my dear late mother used to say, “consider the source.” Most offenders are not worth my time and effort!

That is not to say that I am merely passive, however, or that I cannot be provoked:

But if I am relatively forgiving of offenses directed toward me, I am less sanguine with respect to assaults directed toward people I love, care for, or who are under my protection. I am also much quicker to take offense to attacks on ideals I believe in, and places I value.

Sadly, that is not a viewpoint which seems to be shared by many Europeans. If this study, based on a 2015 WIN/Gallup International global survey, is accurate, it seems that most citizens of most European countries do not care enough about their own nations, people, and the history, heritage, and traditions they share to be willing to fight to preserve them.

Is it any wonder that outside invaders, from Islamic jihadists to economic opportunists, are leaping to take advantage of this weakness? Here is the breakdown, by percentage and country, from the largest number of willing defenders to the least. I find it not only sobering, but depressing, disillusioning, and downright scary for the future of Europe, and of Western civilization.

  • 74% – Finland (“Hakkaa Päälle!“)
  • 73% – Turkey
  • 62% – Ukraine
  • 59% – Russia
  • 58% – Kosovo
  • 55% – Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • 55% – Sweden
  • 54% – Greece
  • 47% – Poland
  • 46% – Serbia
  • 41% – Latvia
  • 39% – Switzerland
  • 38% – Ireland
  • 38% – Macedonia
  • 38% – Romania
  • 37% – Denmark
  • 29% – France
  • 28% – Portugal
  • 27% – United Kingdom
  • 26% – Iceland
  • 25% – Bulgaria
  • 23% – Czech Republic
  • 21% – Austria
  • 21% – Spain
  • 20% – Italy
  • 19% – Belgium
  • 18% – Germany
  • 15% – The Netherlands

This bodes not well for the future, to put it mildly!

If there is any consolation, it is in the knowledge that, by some estimates, as little as 10% of the population of the American colonies was passionate about independence, prior to the Revolutionary War. More came on board later, but probably never more than 30% of the population was passionate about liberty and independence. Large numbers are not always what is needed; commitment is what is needed. But the figures are still, as I say, extremely sobering…

Note: “Hakkaa Päälle!” – my comment, it was not in the original list – translates roughly to “Hack them down!” or “Cut them down!” God bless the Finns.

We Choose to go to the Moon – YouTube

JFK’s eternal speech at Rice University on September 12th, 1962 setting the goal of the space race during the 1960’s.

Source: We choose to go to the Moon | YouTube

President John F. Kennedy gave this speech almost 55 years ago. It was a stirring example of American resolve, and of the American exploratory spirit. Now, more than a half-century later, we are dependent upon the Russians to get an American astronaut to the International Space Station.

Somehow, I think President Kennedy would be appalled.

Briefly Noted: Sanctions vs Space

Soyuz lanch - ISS-bound

From Darryl B. Petitt, on Facebook:

“Republicans in Congress have no interest in [making America great again, or putting America first].

“The ISS space-station the U.S. astronaut along with a European and Russian astronaut are going to is a Russian space-station. The Soyuz MS-05 is the Russian rocket taking them there

“Our Republican Congress can’t pass a healthcare bill…but they can work with Democrats to sanction the country who shuttles our astronauts at $85 million a pop to and from the Russian space station. There’s no explanation for this.”

I need say no more.

Is the “natural habitat” of Catholic Christians (including Anglicans) urban or rural?

Angelus-Jean-François_Millet
The Angelus (1857–59) by Jean-François Millet

I wrote this piece as a reply to a thread in a Facebook group called “Catholic Village Movement: Rebuilding Christendom.” The idea was floated that, Many of us came from cities just 100 years ago. Maybe cities are the Catholic’s natural environment. Ugh. Gross. But also maybe true.” I am not so sure. In fact, I doubt it!

Here is my response – please read “Catholic” or “Catholics” to include all branches of the Church Catholic, including not only those of the Roman observance, but our Eastern Orthodox brethren, and of course, those of us who are Anglicans – slightly cleaned up and elaborated upon from the original:

I have just been an observer of the conversations on this group heretofore, but for what it’s worth (maybe nothing), here’s another perspective on the urban-vs-rural thing. Yes, “pagani” meant, roughly, “country bumpkins.” Actually it meant, literally, “dwellers in the pagus,” with “pagus” meaning – interestingly enough – “village,” but also district, countryside, rural portions of a civitas (http://latinmeaning.com/pagus-latin-to-english-translation/). It had, by the early Christian era, acquired a slightly pejorative cast to it, like “hicks” or “rednecks.”

So the question to ask ourselves is, why did those who clung to their pre-Christian religions (shades of Obama’s infamous “bitterly clinging to God and guns” remark…) become known as “pagani” (“pagans”)? Because a) new teachings took longer – a lot longer – to percolate out to the countryside, in those pre-hi-tech (and, for many, pre-literate) days, and b) because the cities had become inhospitable to them, having been largely converted to the new religion, Christianity. The situation is similar today, although the roles are reversed.

Ask yourself, where is the greatest survival of Christian (not only, but including, Catholic) belief and practice today? Hint: it’s not in the big, densely-populated coastal urban enclaves! It’s in the “flyover states,” and in more rural sections of the rest of the states. And for many of the same reasons that the “pagus” remained “pagan” long after Christianity had begun to gain traction in the more urban areas: cities are not, and never have been, amenable for those who want to maintain traditions. Continue reading “Is the “natural habitat” of Catholic Christians (including Anglicans) urban or rural?”

Ryan Hunter. Profound examples of holiness: the Royal Martyrs in their own words and through the words of those who knew them / OrthoChristian.Com

Source: Ryan Hunter. Profound examples of holiness: the Royal Martyrs in their own words and through the words of those who knew them / OrthoChristian.Com

Today, July 17th, 2017, marks the 99th anniversary of the murder – martyrdom, for the Russian Orthodox Church, and many others as well – of the last Tsar, Nicolas II Romanov, his Empress, Alexandra, and their children: now revered as Royal Martyrs and Passion-Bearers. Please follow the link for my gifted young friend Ryan Hunter’s essay on the Royal Martyrs. Ryan also writes:

Today we remember and commemorate the murder and martyrdom 99 years ago of the Russian Imperial Family – Emperor Nicholas II (b. 1868), Empress Alexandra Feodorovna (b. 1872), and their four daughters and one son – along with several of their trusted servants and friends on 17 July 1918. The Emperor had abdicated the throne under dubious circumstances – with some believing he did so under duress, and others that his very signature was forged – on the Ides of March 1917.

The glorification (canonization) of the Imperial Family as passion-bearers – those who went to their deaths with tremendous fortitude, faith, and courage – took place by the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) in 2000, with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) having taken the step of declaring them as martyrs in 1981.

Today the Imperial Family are for many Russians a symbol of the dignity, beauty, and nobility of soul of Old (pre-Soviet) Russia, and a growing movement of mostly young Russians has expressed support for restoring the monarchy under the Romanov House. Reports estimate some 70,000 Russians and other Orthodox believers made the journey to Ekaterinberg to the memorial church dedicated to them.

The last Russian Imperial Family, especially the Emperor and Empress themselves, were victims of a systematic defamation campaign by Bolshevik revolutionary and later official Soviet communist propagandists. Too often, American and Western European historians and politicians have uncritically regurgitated these tired slanders. Anyone familiar with the warm, beautiful letters to and from the Emperor, Empress, and their children will find themselves in a world in which the highest, noblest Christian ideals were valued, defended, and embodied.

The Empress’ beloved older sister, the widowed Grand Duchess and abbess Elizabeth (“Ella”) – both beloved granddaughters of Queen Victoria – died the day after her, and was also glorified as a saint of the Orthodox Church.

O Holy Martyrs, pray to God for us!

Amen.