Historical

Turkey’s other Hagia Sophia – in Trabzon

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Once a church – and a hospital and a museum – it is now a mosque and also one of Turkey’s best-preserved buildings of the late Byzantine era. Admission is free and there is much here for visitors of all faiths Caroline Eden The Guardian It may be far smaller and much less famous than its namesake in Istanbul, but what Trabzon’s Hagia Sophia lacks in architectural splendour it makes up for in tranquillity and beauty. Right by the sea, ... Read More »

Narcissists aren’t very conservative but believe in inequality

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Are narcissists more likely to be right-wing conservatives or rebellious liberals? Alice Klein A study of narcissistic personalities reveals they typically combine elements of both, helping to explain some of President Trump’s actions. New Scientist Social scientists have long tried to understand how personality influences political beliefs. Studies have found that people who are open-minded, creative and curious are more likely to be liberal voters, whereas people who like convention and orderliness tend to vote more conservatively. But few studies ... Read More »

Prehistoric teeth fossils dating back 9.7 million years ‘could rewrite human history’

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‘This is a tremendous stroke of luck, but also a great mystery’ Paleontologists in Germany have discovered 9.7 million-year-old fossilised teeth that a German politician has hailed as potentially “rewriting” human history. Tom Embury-Dennis  The Independent  The dental remains were found by scientists sifting through gravel and sand in a former bed of the Rhine river near the town of Eppelsheim. They resemble those belonging to “Lucy”, a 3.2 million-year-old skeleton of an extinct primate related to humans and found ... Read More »

Trump Likely to Block Release of Some JFK Files

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If the decision holds, it could contribute to the belief that the government has something to hide. Conspiracy theorists of the world, get ready for some bad news. Philip Shenon Politico Trump administration and other government officials say privately that President Donald Trump is almost certain to block the release of information from some of the thousands of classified files related to the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy that are scheduled to be made public in less ... Read More »

How Money Became the Measure of Everything

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Two centuries ago, America pioneered a way of thinking that puts human well-being in economic terms. Eli Cook The Atlantic Money and markets have been around for thousands of years. Yet as central as currency has been to so many civilizations, people in societies as different as ancient Greece, imperial China, medieval Europe, and colonial America did not measure residents’ well-being in terms of monetary earnings or economic output. In the mid-19th century, the United States—and to a lesser extent ... Read More »

As a Briton, I hang my head in shame. We must return the Parthenon marbles

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Now Amal Clooney has reignited the debate over the Parthenon’s crowning glory, it’s time we rectified a historic wrong. Reunite these ancient sculptures with their home Helena Smith The Guardian As a Briton, I hang my head in shame. <link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”https://assets.guim.co.uk/stylesheets/3655c9d83f27ad523e8bc2649f6bf2d4/content.css”/> Almost every day I take a walk around the Acropolis. “Around” is the operative word, because the Greeks have gone to great lengths to unite their Athenian antiquities with a pedestrian path. At the centre of this ... Read More »

Ancient Greek wisdom for today’s leadership crisis

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What makes a good leader? This question confronts us at every election and with every domestic and international policy decision. Emily Anhalt As a professor of classical languages and literature for more than 30 years, I marvel at our insistence on addressing this question as if it were brand new. The Conversation Centuries ago, myths helped the Greeks learn to reject tyrannical authority and identify the qualities of good leadership. As I write in my book “Enraged,” the same myths ... Read More »

Push to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day gathers momentum

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A movement to abolish Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous Peoples Day has gained momentum in some parts of the United States, with Los Angeles recently becoming the biggest city yet to stop honouring the Italian explorer and instead recognise victims of… ABC Austin, Texas, followed suit last week. It joined cities including San Francisco, Seattle and Denver, which had previously booted Columbus in favour of Indigenous Peoples… But the gesture to recognise indigenous people rather than the man ... Read More »

Old sites, new visions: art and archaeology collide in Cyprus

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Over the past two decades Australian archaeologists have been slowly uncovering the World Heritage-listed ancient theatre site at Paphos in Cyprus. Craig Barker  Diana Wood Conroy The Conversation The Hellenistic-Roman period theatre was used for performance for over six centuries from around 300 BC to the late fourth century AD. There is also considerable evidence of activity on the site after the theatre was destroyed, particularly during the Crusader era. The excavation of the site, and of the architectural remains ... Read More »

Guerrillas perform Sophocles’ ‘Antigone’ amid Turkish air strikes

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An adaptation of Sophocles’ “Antigone” was performed by a guerrilla theatre group in the mountains amid Turkish air strikes ΑΝF Sanoya Ciya is a theatre group in mountainous region of Southern Kurdistan under PKK control. All of its members are guerrillas and they perform in front of fellow guerrillas who fight against Turkey’s dictatorship and ISIS terror. The group took Sophocles’ “Antigone” and adapted it to 19th century Kurdistan. The play was translated into Kurdish by Kurde Tavya, a member ... Read More »

The Polygon Wood grave that reveals the toll World War I took on Australia

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It’s a single grave, in a single row, in a cemetery where 2,108 men are buried. It marks the death of a man that’s just as sad as any of the other lives lost at Polygon Wood, or indeed the First World War. Michael Best 9news But Private Patrick Scullin’s story says so much about the shocking toll this war took on Australia. His grave is marked. His brother Daniel’s isn’t. They both died on the same day, in the ... Read More »

Courageous quests: Keats, art and refugees

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The great sensualist Romantic poet John Keats arrived in Rome in late 1820 with his friend, painter Joseph Severn This was not to be a grand tour of Italy in the typical sense. Amanda Frances Johnson  The Conversation Fortune did not smile on Keats’s lungs or his bank balance; one year later he was dead. Passionate letters from sweetheart Fanny Brawne lay unopened and were buried with him, as he requested, in the tranquil oasis of the English Cemetery in ... Read More »

Turkey’s Genocide Denial: Four Narratives

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Turkey still denies the Armenian Genocide, during which 1.5 million Armenians perished. The Turkish state does not have just one policy or rhetoric concerning it. One could argue that there are four main narratives in Turkey concerning the genocide. Uzay Bulut  The Armenian Weekly Narrative One: We Did Not Slaughter Armenians; Armenians Slaughtered Us Accusing Armenians of being mass murderers and the actual perpetrators of genocide is a popular myth in Turkey. Last year, a public stage play that depicted ... Read More »

Lost Languages Discovered in One of the World’s Oldest Continuously Run Libraries

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The centuries-old texts were erased, and then written over, by monks at Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt Brigit Katz Smithsonian Saint Catherine’s Monastery, a sacred Christian site nestled in the shadow of Mount Sinai, is home to one of the world’s oldest continuously used libraries. Thousands of manuscripts and books are kept there – some of which contain hidden treasures. Now, as Jeff Farrell reports for the Independent, a team of researchers is using new technology to uncover texts that ... Read More »

The Hajj and the Struggle for Islamic Hegemony

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The ethnic Sunni-Shiite rift parallels the Saudi-Iranian political rift, the Wahhabi-Muslim Brotherhood ideological rift, and the historic rift between Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar BESA Tensions over Islamic hegemony arising from these rifts are likely to come to a boil at the 2017 Hajj. Wednesday, August 23, 2017, is the first day of Zhu–l-Hijjat, the Muslim month in which two important events take place: the pilgrimage to Mecca, one of the most central ... Read More »

Ben Quilty: it’s time to acknowledge our colonial terrorism

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For the past few days I have listened to people I admire and people I don’t, talk about the challenge of facing up to our colonial past. Ben Quilty The Age One comment that struck me the hardest on radio was that “none of Australia’s first Europeans were as bad as their Confederate counterparts in the United States”. John Batman is widely known as the founder of Melbourne. He makes the American Confederates look friendly. As a bounty hunter in ... Read More »