Historical

Eminent Byzantinist Dr. Speros Vryonis, Jr., Supporter of Armenian Studies, Dies

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Eminent Byzantinist and historian Dr. Speros Vryonis, Jr. passed away on March 11 peacefully in his sleep at the age of 90. Aram Arkun The Armenian Mirror-Spectator Vryonis wrote extensively on Byzantine, Balkan and Greek history. Secondarily, he contributed to the advancement of Armenology through his research in Byzantine history, his unwavering stand against shoddy scholarship and… Incongruously, or at least unexpectedly, combining a Southern twang and courtesy with ancient Greek aphorisms, Vryonis was witty and gregarious. ... Read More »

Big gods came after the rise of civilisations, not before, finds study using huge historical database

When you think of religion, you probably think of a god who rewards the good and punishes the wicked. Authors: The Conversation But the idea of morally concerned gods is by no means universal. Social scientists have long known that small-scale traditional societies – the kind missionaries used to dismiss as “pagan” – envisaged a spirit world that cared little about the… Their concern was less about whether humans behaved nicely towards one another and more about whether they carried ... Read More »

Recep Tayyip Erdogan: The New Zealand killer and the Islamic State are cut from the same cloth

Fifty innocent people lost their lives in last week’s terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand. By Recep Tayyip Erdogan The Washington Post March 19 Recep Tayyip Erdogan is president of Turkey. Dozens of other Muslims, who had gathered at local mosques to perform the Friday prayer, survived the assault with injuries. There were many historical references on the murder weapons and in a manifesto that the suspected terrorist published online. The number of times he mentioned both Turkey and myself was both curious and worth ... Read More »

Diaspora Politics: Turkey’s New Balkan Ambassadors

More and more Turks are ‘coming home’ to the Balkans. As a new diaspora community takes root, will it transplant the values of Erdogan’s ‘new Turkey’? Hamdi Firat Buyuk, Alexander Clapp and Serbeze Haxhiaj BalkanInsight A few steps from the wooden Ottoman fountain that looms over Bascarsija square in central Sarajevo, shoppers in a Turkish grocery store browse tea, spices and Turkish delight. Murat Ozkaya, the store’s owner, considers himself a trailblazer. The former stockbroker from the eastern Turkish city ... Read More »

Nazarbayev Is Giving Up Presidency, Not Power, in Kazakhstan

The long-time autocrat’s shock resignation kicks off an opaque succession process. By Reid Standish FP ASTANA, Kazakhstan—Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s first and only president, resigned on Tuesday, ending his nearly 30-year reign and setting the stage for an opaque succession process in the oil-rich Central Asian country of 18 million people.   In a lengthy speech that Nazarbayev delivered in a prerecorded televised address to the country that reflected on his lengthy tenure in office, the 78-year-old president said that the ... Read More »

Turkey: Putin’s Ally in NATO?

On September 17, 1950, more than 68 years ago, the first Turkish brigade left the port of Mersin on the Mediterranean coast, arriving, 26 days later, at Busan in Korea. Burak Bekdil Gatestone Institute Turkey was the first country, after the United States, to answer the United Nations’ call for military aid to South Korea after the North attacked that year. Turkey sent four brigades (a total of 21,212 soldiers) to a country that is 7,785 km away. By the ... Read More »

The Brief – Replacing Turkey in NATO

A global geopolitical shift has taken place without the wider audience noticing. Turkey has drifted apart from the US and NATO, it has got much closer to Russia, and… By Georgi Gotev with Sam Morgan | EURACTIV.com Turkey is still a NATO member. But it has repeatedly said it is committed to buying Russian missile defence system, despite warnings from the United States that the S-400s cannot be integrated into the NATO air defence system. Missile defence is not a… ... Read More »

Sue Smith’s Hydra: how love, pain and sacrifice produced an Australian classic

Running through Hydra, the new play by Australian playwright Sue Smith, is the myth of Icarus, the boy who flew so high that his wings melted and he crashed to his death in the sea near the Greek island of Samos. Alastair Blanshard The Conversation It is an easy myth to misunderstand. Moralists think it is a story that reinforces the importance of listening to your parents and sticking to the safe middle path – not flying “too close to ... Read More »

Russia’s Next Land Grab Won’t Be in an Ex-Soviet State. It Will Be in Europe.

First he came for Georgia, then for Ukraine. Vladimir Putin’s next target is likely to be a non-NATO nation in the EU. By Mikheil Saakashvili FP Not many observers would consider the world’s coldest shipping lane a geopolitical hotspot. But that may be about to change. Last week, reports emerged that a new Kremlin policy will require all international naval ships to give Russia 45 days’ notice before entering the Northern Sea Route, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans ... Read More »

Picking Up the Pieces After Hanoi

The collapse of last month’s summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was perhaps the inevitable result of a process in which the two leaders dominated, optimistic about their personal relationship and confident in their abilities. Richard N. Haass Project Syndicate The question is what to do now. NEW YORK – When last month’s summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended without a deal, the result was not surprising. ... Read More »

Music was ubiquitous in Ancient Greece

Now we can hear how it actually sounded Much of what we think of as Ancient Greek poetry, including Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, was composed to be sung, frequently with the accompaniment of musical instruments. aeon And while the Greeks left modern classicists many indications that music was omnipresent in society – from vases decorated with lyres, to melodic notation preserved on stone – the precise character and contours of the music has long been considered irreproducible. However, the UK ... Read More »

Hidden women of history: Australia’s first known female voter, the famous Mrs Fanny Finch

In this series, we look at under-acknowledged women through the ages. On 22 January 1856, an extraordinary event in Australia’s history occurred. Kacey Sinclair The Conversation It is not part of our collective national identity, nor has it been mythologised over the decades through song, dance, or poetry. It doesn’t even have a hashtag. But on this day in the thriving gold rush town of Castlemaine, two women took to the polls and cast their votes in a democratic election. ... Read More »

One Nation wants Aboriginal people to ‘prove’ ancestry with DNA tests

One Nation’s NSW leader wants First Nations people to prove their heritage by undergoing DNA ancestry testing. By Greg Dunlop, Jack Latimore Source: NITV News SBS The far-right political party, One Nation, says welfare ‘rorters and opportunists’ are falsely claiming Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestry and now wants commercial testing… In a media release this morning, the fringe party and its NSW leader, Mark Latham, said blue eyed and blond haired people claiming to be Aboriginal  “weakens the integrity of ... Read More »

Why these Australian women’s rights activists are continuing to fight for equality

A lot has changed since International Women’s Day began more than a century ago – but there’s more to be done. Here, a human rights advocate, an abuse survivor, and a sex worker share their stories. Maani Truu SBS The first International Women’s Day was held in 1911, with more than a million people across Europe demanding women be given the right to vote and hold public office. Now, 108 years later, the world is a very different place. We ... Read More »

Nobody wants a return to war in Northern Ireland but events can create their own momentum

The 310-mile-long border that divides the north from the Irish Republic is a trip wire which has the capacity to trigger a political explosion, writes Patrick Cockburn from Belfast. Independent At the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s I used to visit Crossmaglen, a village in South Armagh close to the border with the Irish Republic and notorious as an Irish Republican stronghold. I would go there with my friend Ben Caraher, a teacher in Belfast who came from the village ... Read More »

Socrates in love: how the ideas of this woman are at the root of Western philosophy

Where did Socrates, the foundational figure of Western philosophy, get the inspiration for his original ideas about truth, love, justice, courage and knowledge? Armand D’Angour The Conversation New research I’ve conducted reveals that as a young man in 5th-century BC Athens, he came into contact with a fiercely intelligent woman, Aspasia of Miletus. I argue that her ideas about love and transcendence inspired him to formulate key aspects of his thought (as transmitted by Plato). If the evidence for this ... Read More »