bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (pour (pretty_pixels))
Probably the movie or TV miniseries that I would most like to see, that does a ton of things that Hollywood otherwise likes to do and that American media likes, is something that will probably never happen, and that is a movie or a Band of Brothers-style miniseries about the 442nd Infantry Regiment, a.k.a. the Japanese-American regiment that was deployed to Europe in WWII because they were not permitted to deploy the Pacific, and that is the most highly-decorated unit, and if I remember correctly, one of the units with the highest number of casualties, because they had something to prove. They did all this while back in the States their families were being held in the Japanese internment camps that the U.S. government set up for Americans -- Americans -- of Japanese descent. Their motto was "go for broke."

Tell me that wouldn't make a fucking amazing ten hour or twelve hour miniseries. Start it with the attack on Pearl Harbor. Show the internment camps. Show the effects of them. Show what it takes to, when your country, your country, looks at you and says, "No. You look different. You talk funny. You can't be trusted. We're going to put you in a cage so we don't have to look at you," reply, "Give me the chance and I will lay down my life for you." Parallel the lives of the Japanese-American men who went off to fight and the men and women who stayed behind in the camps. Show what happens when war heroes come back, when the camps are closed, and families come home to find that their houses, their possessions, and their lives are gone, and all anyone who sees when they look at them is someone from Japan. Tell me that wouldn't make a good miniseries.

Of course, Hollywood will probably never do it, and even if they did, they'd probably either have the story be all about a white officer who realizes that gee, maybe the Japs aren't all that bad or cast non-Japanese-American actors as the mains. (Probably John Cho or Daniel Dae Kim, who are both good actors and fine-looking men, but are not Japanese.) Or both! Probably Hollywood (and the United States government) would like to forget about this ugly chapter of American history.

Do people even get taught about the Japanese-American internment camps anymore? I was -- but I was also a glaring Japanese-American figure in a classroom full of majority white kids, and whenever this came up in class the teacher would look at me and ask if my relatives had been in the camps, and if I was nisei or sansei or what. Well, no and nope. My family was still in Japan then. I don't technically count as nisei because my father isn't Japanese. Would I have been in those camps? Yeah, I would have, because my mother is Japanese. Not to mention I'm from the West Coast, which is where people were being interned, and we usually got the talk about how the -- hmm, the state fairgrounds at -- god, I can't remember what city it was right now -- was where Japanese-Americans from Washington were kept while the camps were being built. Yeah. In the fairgrounds.

I told English Flatmate N about the camps today because I was having my annual rant about how we'll never get a movie about the 442nd and she was horrified.

When I was home over break, I was flipping through Columns, the University of Washington alumni magazine (my dad is a UW alum), and saw this 1954 picture of the Valeda, the Japanese-American women's group that was formed because sororities and fraternities didn't allow Japanese-descent students to join. The men's group was called SYNKOA, after the UW students who died in WWII.

If I'd realized that sixty years ago -- 1954 was the year my mother was born -- I wouldn't have been allowed to join a sorority, I think I might have rushed at Tulane just because I could.

While I was googling for that picture, I found this article and this one from the UW and started crying. No, this wasn't my family seventy years ago. But it could have been.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (stories that can't be told (isapiens))
I'd be a lot more excited about learning in which months Romans (both in the city and in Italy outside of the city -- interestingly, it's different) had the most and most effective procreative sex if I was actually getting anything useful for my diss out of this book, which I'm not so far, but I think I might in the next chapter.

The thing about my diss topic is that I do find it really interesting, I just find other things that are more interesting most of the time, so I only spend about an hour to two on it per day (I'm aiming for four but haven't hit it yet -- probably this week, though, since I need to have something written). But, and I'm hoping that this is the thing that separates my master's diss from my failed senior honors thesis, I do spend some time on it every day. I didn't do that last year and I still beat myself up over that damned thesis. So that's something, at least.

This is also the book where the author spent a footnote approximately the size of an entire page explaining the theory that the Roman Empire fell because women discovered effective contraception.

And in case anyone's wondering: In urban Rome, the, er, most successful procreative activity, in Brent Shaw's own words, was performed in the period between March and May, but also in the months of (roughly) August and November. In Italy outside of Rome, it was the period between December and June. Do with this information what you will. I'm here for all your useless classical trivia inspired needs.

Granted, I may not be here much longer given the horror movie set-up that ULAS just found at the Richard III cemetery site. "We've never seen anything like this before!" says one of the archaeologists. A lead coffin inside another coffin! BECAUSE THAT'S NOT A HORROR MOVIE SET UP AT ALL. I'm kind of afraid to go into the School of Archaeology and Ancient History just in case they're keeping it in the general vicinity.

Bizarrely, this is the second time that I've been at a university with an archaeology horror movie set-up discovery. What's going to be at my next institution of higher learning, one of those crystal skulls from Indiana Jones? The Ark of the Covenant? A stargate? I'm really starting to worry here, y'all!
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (what still remains (isapiens))
Today I managed to get stuff done by sheer virtue of making up a reasonably detailed to-do list that started with "get up before 11 am" and included meals. (If "before 11 am" sounds late, factor in that my sleep schedule somehow managed to get even more fucked up and I went to bed at 4 am. Although "before 11 am" was what I was aiming for even when I was only going to bed at 2 or 3. I'm not even going to bed that late because of schoolwork -- I am not doing as much schoolwork as I'd like to be, but at least I'm doing some every day -- I just...am.)

I keep buying (and taking, thankfully) vitamins and supplements in the vague hope that they'll actually have some effect. My mother and (American) grandmother are both big proponents of vitamins, but I got out of the habit of taking them when I was in undergrad and again, this year, because I -- um, this is awkward -- I don't usually eat enough at breakfast to balance it out, so I generally get slightly nauseous afterwards. And I don't usually remember to take them with dinner every day. But I've been better at it since my wrists flared up last month, so there's that. And I've never had a problem with pills, thankfully.

My wrists are still fucked up, if anyone's wondering. It's mostly the left wrist that's in actual pain, though the right wrist has its moments too. My left wrist flared up big time today while I was in city centre with English Flatmate N., obviously when I didn't have any painkillers on me. Usually it's so low-level that I won't go for the ibuprofen -- we've established I have issues with painkillers, yeah? Which means that the doctor's advice that I cut down on the hobbies and take painkillers was somewhat less than helpful. Also I never actually think that painkillers will work. (I...I have issues.)

*

I finally finished reading Tom Holland's book Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic today. (I need to return it to the library because I need to take out more books and I can't figure out how to make the library photocopiers make photocopies properly, so I can't return the two issues of the Journal of Roman Archaeology I have out yet. Ugh, stupid 25 book limit.) I just have so many Roman Republic feels, y'all. I mean, the empire has its moments, but it will always be the Republic for me -- and the Late Republic is frankly hilarious, but it's also so sad, because it's just this slow unstoppable slide into the empire. It's the Middle Republic that I like the best; I always default to the Punic Wars, of course, because the Republic and the Hannibalic War frankly amaze me. It's just...I have so many feelings about the Roman Republic.

In retrospect, it really shouldn't be a surprise that I'm attracted to the period of history that hits the same emotional notes for me that my favorite fandoms, pairings, and tropes do. I am very predictable. (And my favorite historical figure fits pretty neatly into the same space as a lot of my favorite fictional characters, too. Obviously he is from that period. Weirdly he is not a Roman.)

*

Today's -- well, yesterday's, since it's 1:30 am over here (see above for my stupid sleeping schedule) -- Hobbit art rec theme is Thorin Oakenshield. Hopefully I won't repeat myself.

Got Lost Twice by [deviantart.com profile] kimberly80
Thorin by [tumblr.com profile] goobo
Thorin and His Mountain by [deviantart.com profile] ancalinar
scarred Thorin by [tumblr.com profile] fetalnightmare
Thorin Oakenshield by [tumblr.com profile] nautilusl2

Look, I can comfortably say that I am not going to run out of Thorin fanart to rec any time soon. *g*
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (off we go (girlyb_icons))
From Peter Connolly's Greece and Rome at War, regarding Polybius's account of Hannibal getting his elephants across the Rhone:
The elephants were lured onto the jetty by two females which were led on first. As soon as they reached the last rafts they were cut loose and towed across by rowing boats. At first the elephants were terrified and jostled around, but when they saw the water on all sides they froze with fear and huddled together in the middle of the raft. In this way most of the animals were ferried across. Some, however, fell trumpeting into the river halfway across, drowning their mahouts (the dudes who kept them under control. Good job, guys}. Polybius insists, however, that the elephants managed to breathe by holding their trunks above the water and walking along the bed of the river, almost certainly impossible when one considers the depth of the river and the force of the current. Nobody seems to be willing to put Polybius to the test by throwing an elephant into the Rhone.


I think that's the best line I've ever read in a real actual academic book. (This book is hilarious, by the way. The illustrations! THE HILARIOUS ILLUSTRATIONS.)
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (istanbul (girlyb_icons))
OMG. This class, or at least the reading for this class, is so relevant to my interests and I didn't even see it coming. IT IS SO RELEVANT TO TELMARINE NARNIA. IT HAS ALL THE RELEVANCE. FROM CASPIAN I TO TIRIAN.

Listen to this: kaleidoscopic change )

I JUST HAVE ALL THESE FEELINGS. I want to write about NAAAAAARNIAAAA. (Man, I think I posted something similar to this back in 2008, only that time, I was going through my other big Narnia theme moment -- the making of legends and identity, I think it probably had something to do with Thermopylae. Now I'm just, "I want to talk about the CONSTRUCTION OF CULTURE OUT OF HETEROGENEITY." Or...something, anyway.)

Okay, now I actually have to read the rest of the book.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (buy books (girlyb_icons))
Yesterday I saw cathedrals! Today I bought things! I almost reversed the verbs in those two sentences, which would have been...very strange.

Anyway, yesterday we went to Flag Fen, Peterborough Cathedral, and Ely Cathedral. Cathedrals! They're very large! I am glad to see that I am no longer as nervous about cathedrals as I used to be (I freaked the fuck out the last time I was in one in Europe in 1999. On the other hand, I was nine), but that might just be because I've studied medieval religious culture since. Both Peterborough and Ely have these marvelous painted ceilings, and Ely has a particularly gorgeous Lady Chapel that was renovated in 2000. Did you know that the insides of medieval chapels were painted? I didn't! You've still got traces of paint on the insides of English ones, they were all whitewashed over in the English Reformation, but they're not painted anymore. Flag Fen is also very cool, if you like that sort of thing.

Today I found a paperback copy of Pigeon Post at a used book stall in the Cambridge Market and pounced on it. I grew up with Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons and Secret Water, but those were the only two we have in the house, and Ransome isn't that easy to find in the States. There's a really nice first edition of The Big Six at a bookshop in Cambridge that I've been eyeing thoughtfully, but it's twenty pounds and I'm hesitating over it, even though I'm sure my dad would love it. And, hell, I want it. We'll see. I also picked up a copy of Philip Pullman's The Tiger in the Well, after staring at the books available for a while and determining that it was the thickest. (Value for money, obviously). I, um, I never realized that Philip Pullman wrote anything besides His Dark Materials. I don't know if The Tiger in the Well is the place to start or not, but The Shadow in the North was two pounds and they didn't have The Ruby in the Smoke, although they did have The Tin Princess. (I don't know which of these are actually related, though.)

I also bought a skirt, which, uh, may be the first piece of clothing I have seen in the UK in my size, so it may not have been the most well-advised purchase. But it fits! And then I took it back and hung it up and realized it was the third blue skirt in my closet -- the other two skirts I brought with me are both blue too. Oh, well, it's cute.

I also finally started my [livejournal.com profile] narniaexchange fic. I thought maybe I should get on that.

Not that I need to buy more books, but I have belatedly realized that I actually have the opportunity to buy all those books that people grow up reading in the UK but that aren't really available in the U.S. (Enid Blyton and all that. Or...whatever.) Unfortunately...I don't know what they are.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (istanbul (girlyb_icons))
Am finally caught up on The Borgias 1.05, "The Borgias In Love." The least spoilery thing I can say is that if there were any doubt the Borgia children were Borgias, IT AIN'T HERE ANYMORE.

Also, the Renaissance. Who doesn't love the Renaissance? (You know, so far, compared to the Sforzas and the d'Aragonas (Naples), the Borgias look positively functional and healthy.)

And now I shall detour into spoiler territory. Also some lovely historical diversions. )

And I'm sure we've all heard that Showtime ordered a second season. Coincidentally, did y'all know that there's another series in the works about the Borgias? It is titled Borgia and is filming in Prague -- my friend New York, who's studying film there this semester, told me.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (buy books (girlyb_icons))
Man, I really like this whole "take a week off before finals start" thing, it's so much more relaxing than having two measly study days after the last day of classes before finals start. Because (at least for me, and I assume for most college students) the last week of classes is MADNESS MADNESS MADNESS AND DEADLINES and then you have two days of STUDY STUDY STUDY WRITE WRITE WRITE STUDY and then you have a week and a half of STUDY STUDY TEST TEST TEST STUDY TERM PAPER STUDY and then when your finals are over you go into AGH I AM LEAVING TOMORROW I HAVE TO PACK UP MY ENTIRE LIFE IN TWELVE HOURS AND GET THEE TO THE FEDEX.

So it's nice. Having that week-long break in between. And I kind of lucked out with my classes and my exam schedule, so it might have been different for people with other classes, but damn, it's been nice. I read a lot of books, not for class. After tomorrow I'll start doing more hardcore studying for the finals I need to put a lot more work into, but right now I've just been watching a lot of movies and TV and baking and trying to finish the books I've taken out from the library for leisure reading and also going through one Shakespeare play a day for my Shakespeare final tomorrow. Very nice. I highly approve. Occasionally I pack up a box and then despair because why do I have so much STUFF OMG? (I have one box of clothes and one box of books packed. I am estimating three to four more boxes of books. *despairs*)

Er, anyway, this was going to be a lead up to a BOOK REC.

*

I picked up Virgins of Venice: Enclosed Lives and Broken Vows in the Renaissance Convent from the library a few months ago when I was browsing for ideas for my medieval religious culture tutorial, and just got around to starting it on Easter Day. The title makes it sound a bit more racy and scandalous than I think it actually is. And it's fascinating; I've never done anything with nuns before so I don't know if Mary Laven is really presenting anything new, but she's an excellent writer and the book is organized very well.

a riot of flying headgear )

Also, I was reading this at the same time as another book on Venice, and now I'm just really pissed at Napoleon and Austria for DESTROYING ALL THE RECORDS. /historian rage

As an interesting end note: two convents, Le Convertite and Santa Maria Maggiore, are now prisons in modern-day Venice. Le Convertite is the women's prison and Santa Maria Maggiore is the city's main jail.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (what still remains (isapiens))
So basically what I really want to write is an alternate history novel where Juan Borgia does not get murdered and Cesare becomes pope when Rodrigo dies (and, um, obviously these events are five years apart, but, you know). *considers* It could be a lot of fun, actually. So much research, but a lot of fun.

(I'm starting to love Juan. I honestly did not think it would happen, but JUAAAAAAN. I mean, not more than I love Cesare or Lucrezia, but the same amount! Although he is less screwed up, because he dies before he gets really messed up.)

The Borgia boys. Hmm. And Lucrezia, of course, I'm not sure what she would be doing but I'm sure it would be awesome, and Alexander VI on a rampage to find out who the hell tried to murder his son, and then there shall be REVENGE MURDERS. Like I said: it would involve a lot of research, but it could potentially be a lot of fun, and an interesting alternate history thought experiment, because it changes everything. (Well, in Renaissance Italy, anyway, I'm not sure what the repercussions would be outside of Italy but it would be really interesting to work out.)

*goes back to Shakespeare paper*
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (what still remains (isapiens))
My Age of Reformation professor described inquisitions as "the two half hours of Law & Order rolled into one." For whatever reason, ever since then I have been jonesing for a TV crime drama about an inquisition. Which, you know, will never happen because of everything the inquisition is associated with (heresy, execution, repression, authority, etc.) and actually did (again with the heresy and the torture and the execution), I'm just...unreasonably fascinated with the idea. Hey, it could be the Roman Inquisition! Which did less executing than the Spanish Inquisition, and also was the starting point for a few popes, who then may or may not have blackmailed their way to the Throne of St. Peter. (When you are the head of an inquisition which operates in secret, you know things. Even about your fellow cardinals. Especially about your fellow cardinals!)

(I'm sorry. Dirty papal politics will never not be funny.)

Law & Order: Medieval Crimes Unit?
bedlamsbard: test: research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing (research (girlyb_icons))
I just had a legit moment of "History! There's too goddamn much of it!" Which is right up there with the time last year when I was sitting in class and honest to goodness thought, "History is just one damned thing after another," after the one more Gallic invasion in a long succession of Gallic invasions.

I need to do another (another!) prospectus for my medieval religious culture tutorial, so I went in to browse through the religion section in Tilton (Library of Congress call numbers roughly BR-BX, at least for Christianity, with unexpected surprises in the middle). THERE ARE A LOT OF BOOKS ON RELIGION which should come as no surprise to anybody. And it's not like there's a section that's just medieval Christianity; I went shelf by shelf for an hour, discounting anything that was ancient, early modern, Renaissance, or modern (we did one week on Late Antiquity, so I think that counts for the class), anything that wasn't European (why couldn't I find more books on Italy, but there were shelves and shelves of books on England?), anything that was theology (I can't handle theology, and really shouldn't try), and anything that immediately looked like doing quite a bit of reading on it would bore me to death or infuriate me (I'm so over saints and persecution, y'all). I'm not sure about how I feel about monks right now, either. We haven't done anything with the Crusades in class, but I think it's something to consider.

I'm also having this weird backlash against doing something with nuns or women, because on the one hand, well, that could be interesting (on the flip side, why can I find a few dozen books on nuns in medieval England, but the only ones I can find on Italian nuns are Renaissance/Early Modern?), but the backlash comes where some part of my brain goes, "Doing women is such a cop-out, it's like you're not even trying to find an interesting topic and you're just defaulting to women's history!" And then another part of my brain goes, "You are perpetuating the hegemony by thinking that!"

I wonder if something with the late medieval papacy would be relevant to the class. We really haven't talked much about the papacy except in passing -- maybe because it's not so much a part of the mainstream culture? I mean, like I said above, we didn't talk about the Crusades at all; we've done quite a lot on persecution, saints and cults of the saints, images, texts and exegeses, but that's really more of the day to day, instead of the extraordinary. Hmm. Or! I could do my usual classical lit thing, since there was quite a bit of Christian interpretation of classical literature back in the day. Or I could go back to Late Antiquity and prod more at the thing that really interested in Peter Brown's book, which was the figuring of Christian beliefs and social order in the terms of Late Roman social culture. I'm just not sure how much research has already been done on that.

Well, it's good to have options.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (off we go (girlyb_icons))
My relationship with The Artist, the Philosopher, and the Warrior is so mixed, y'all. I'm going through it decently quickly because I want it to be over so I can move on to bigger and better things and I still want to check it off on my books read in 2011 list (ten so far). The author does not like Cesare Borgia, and I keep getting the sense that he only dedicated a third of the book to him because he's the connecting link to Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolo Machiavelli, who are the author's OTP.

No, seriously. There's a bit in there where he argues that because Machiavelli never mentions da Vinci in his letters to Florence, it is a clear indication that they met and were pals, and then he dedicates three-quarters of a page to talking about how da Vinci must have taken care of Machiavelli in his sickness. It's very slashy. Then he talks about Cesare Borgia's syphilis some more, and how Cesare was sexually jealous of his sister Lucrezia and went around killing men that looked at her funny. (He had her second husband killed. I will be absolutely shocked if Showtime does not give us that.)

but more about Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolo Machiavelli's GREAT LOVE )

Clearly a da Vinci/Machiavelli shipper, yay/nay? THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THEY EVER MET = DA VINCI NURSED MACHIAVELLI THROUGH HIS ILLNESS. Sir, in another life you were a fangirl.

ETA: JESUS FUCKING CHRIST THIS GODDAMN POPULAR AUTHOR WHAT THE FUCK SCREAMS OF ENDLESS RAGE. Oh, yeah, not a good military commander because he used FUCKING STRATEGY INSTEAD OF BRUTE FORCE JESUS CHRIST HAVE YOU EVER STUDIED MILITARY HISTORY IN YOUR LIFE DID YOU EVER EVEN READ GODDAMN MACHIAVELLI YOU ASS. The point is to kill all the other guys and/or force them into a surrender, not do something dramatic in the field and get all your own men killed, not a good military commander my ass; I can't believe this fucking author wrote that and in the same fucking sentence went on to say "he sought wherever possible to achieve his aims through shrewd strategy, sudden unexpected moves, or ruthless treachery." SIR I DO NOT BELIEVE YOU KNOW WHAT THE FUCK YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. Sure, winning battles is fun and dandy, but you know what's an even better military strategy? NOT HAVING TO FIGHT THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE BECAUSE YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH THE SAME ENDS BY OTHER MEANS. ASS. YOU FUCKING ASS okay I'm done now.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (what still remains (isapiens))
Erk, if my brain is this dead during midterms I hate to think what it's going to be like during finals. I'll probably just go through that entire week in a zombified state, just like everyone else on campus. Right now I keep feeling like I've been crying for a long time, which I actually haven't today! Which I find stunning! But I get the physical aftermath anyway, bah: I shall go the usual route and blame stress. (I've been clenching my jaw more than usual, too, but I think I'm not grinding my teeth when I sleep right now? Maybe? I just keep noticing I'm clenching my jaw because I'll move my mouth and suddenly realize how sore it is.)

Meanwhile I have been watching The Borgias trailer that came out in December over and over again just because I can't process anything else right now, except for all the back episodes of Man V. Food on Netflix Instead. (You know me, keeping it classy.)

Over and over and over again...



All the things I like in my history and my TV: plotting, blood, orgies, incest, pretty clothes, dirty politics, Rome! Although I take offense at Showtime calling the Borgias the original crime family; they are only from the fifteenth century, y'all! THAT IS PRACTICALLY YESTERDAY. And the late fifteenth century, at that. Hmmph. They even cross over into the sixteenth century! Bah, not the original crime family at all. (And what crime, anyway? I mean, if we're calling that a crime, I'm sure we can go back at least to the Julii Caesares, in Rome alone, not counting the rest of the known world.) Although I quite like this trailer too, although the Godfather ref at the end is like the least subtle thing ever:



You know, by the time this show actually comes out in April, I may actually be able to identify who people are. (My facial recognition skills are not that good unless there are other identifying features. I spent the first couple seasonn of Rome very confused about who was who.)

Although. I will admit that every time Jeremy Irons speaks I think of Scar, and then I start giggling and calling him "Pope Scar" in my head.

However, there is also a shocking dearth of books on the Borgias in the library. There's about 3/4 of a shelf for Lucrezia alone -- and someone just stacked them up and didn't file them correctly! Which was not true when I got my book on Lucrezia Borgia out of the library a month ago! I might be forced to reshelve them tomorrow just because thinking about it pisses me off -- and maybe a shelf on the Borgias in general. Maybe two or three books that have come out in the past decade. A SHOCKING DEARTH, Y'ALL. I am resisting the urge to take it as A Sign that I should immediately change my academic field, because clearly there is a gap waiting to be filled! Politics and Rome and incest and backalley murders, man, these are a few of my favorite things.

Er, I think I shall go to bed before I say anything else incoherent, because I went to bed late last night and took a midterm early this morning and have been reading about Saint Guinefort ever since. (Jean-Claude Schmitt, you irritate me, you and your self-righteous book and your self-righteous article, gah. CLASSIST. Oh, well, at least I have something to talk about it in tutorial tomorrow.)
bedlamsbard: miscellaneous: read (bookshelf with text "read") (read (girlyb_icons))
I am rereading Graham Robb's book The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography, which is fascinating, I highly recommend it if you like that sort of thing. It's a book that's a bit hard to describe -- it's not a history book, and it's not a travel memoir, but it's not not either of those two either. In some ways I suppose it's a look at a France that no longer exists, the little pieces of untold history that have been nearly lost in the Age of Modernization. Little bits of medieval and early modern history, the pieces of the country and its people that existed in the years around the Revolution and the Second World War, but that limits it too much.

My favorite part is, of course, the smuggler dogs from the interlude. They're just so awesome.

smuggler dogs )

The smuggler dogs were not actually what I started writing this post to quote. This was, from the chapter "Travelling in France, I: The AVenues of Paris":
This is why so much of the Roman infrastructure was still in use at the dawn of the industrial age. Some Roman roads had been marked on maps since the seventeenth century, not for antiquarian interest, but because they were the best roads available. Locally, they were known as the 'camin ferrat' or 'chemin ferré' (the metalled way), the 'chausée' (the surfaced road), the 'chemin de César' or the 'chemin du Diable', since only Caesar or the Devil could have built a road that lasted so long. As the Marquis de Mirabeau observed in 1756,Roman roads had been 'built for eternity', while a typical French orad could be wrecked with a year by 'a moderate-sized colony of moles'.

You know. Caesar or the Devil. BOTH GREAT ROAD-BUILDERS.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (what still remains (isapiens))
For whatever reason, this is my favorite line in one of my sources, even though I probably won't use it as it's from the late Republic rather than the middle Republic:
M. Caelius Rufus politely assumed in one letter to Cicero during his stint as governor of Cilicia that that not-very-bellicose imperator might find himself in the thick of it were he forced to do battle against the strong Parthian contingent invading Syria.


Nathan Rosenstein, Imperatores Victi: Military Defeat and Aristocratic Competition in the Middle and Late Republic (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990), 117.

I like this author. I wonder if he's still teaching? He reads as rather young in this book, but it was written twenty years ago. *googles* He is! He's at Ohio State. Which...has a Ph.D. program in Ancient History. Which looks pretty good, actually. (Guys, they admit that although ideally applicants would have 3-4 years of Greek and Latin, realistically they expect that applicants only have 1-2! THEY ARE REALISTIC. I LIKE THEM.) Huh. On the other hand, Ohio.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (off we go (girlyb_icons))
I -- I think I'm a Hannibal fangirl now. Oh dear. He's just so smart. (AND DOOMED.)

I guess it's not as embarrassing as being a Napoleon fangirl. (Er. No offense to any Napoleon fangirls.)
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (stories that can't be told (isapiens))
Gah, throwaway lines in Livy make me go, "OMG I want THAT story!" Like this paragraph from Book XXX:
The consul Gaius Servilius achieved no noteworthy successes in Etruria -- or in Gaul, whither he had also gone. He did, however, rescue from slavery his father and Gaius Lutatius Catulus, who fifteen years before had been taken prisoner by the Boii near the village of Tannetum. He thereupon returned to Rome, entering the city between the two of them. Though of no great national importance, this was a personal triumph and brought him distinction accordingly. A bill was brought before the people to clear Servilius from the charge of acting illegally in having held -- contrary to the law as it then stood -- the offices of tribune and aedile of the people while his father, who had occupied a curule chair, was still alive -- a fact of which he was ignorant. The bill was passed into law and Servilius returned to his province.

THOUGHT HIS FATHER WAS DEAD. RESCUED HIM FROM SLAVERY. OMG. *flails*

Gaius Servilius does not really do much, in the grand scheme of things, but how about that for a shocker? Father missing for fifteen years, presumed dead in battle! Son, now consul, finds him enslaved and rescues him and whoever Gaius Lutatius Catulus is, I'm not entirely sure -- there's a consul of that name in 241 BC, and the index in Livy cites them all as the same person, but that seems a bit unlikely given the timing; he and Papa Servilius are rescued in 203, and if he was consul in 241, he'd have to be over seventy at the very least. Given the timing, I think Lutatius and Papa Servilius are probably the Roman officials captured by the Boii in 218; Livy mentions them both by name. Still. DRAMATIC!

ETA: Although to be fair it is entirely possible it could be the same Gaius Lutatius Catulus, as Livy goes on to state that there were still men in the Senate who remembered when the last treaty had been negotiated, and called out the Carthaginian youngsters who were negotiating. So it's possible. Hmm.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (the kraken (girlyb_icons))
STUDENT #1: I just have to interrupt because what D. said CANNOT GO UNHEARD. He said, "So why has no one ever bothered to train whales? They're like the elephants of the sea!"
CLASS: *dies laughing*
PROFESSOR: Well, there are two historical occasions! In [er, year I have forgotten] when [some city-state]'s navy was sailing along, they ran across a pod of whales, and had no IDEA what the hell those things were, so they formed up into battle formation to attack. The whales just went under the ships and came out on the other side and kept swimming along, ignoring them. The other time was when Harald Bluetooth wanted to convert Iceland, so he sent out a Lapp in the form of a whale, only the Icelanders got sorcerors from the Hebrides who held off the whale with birds, walruses, and dragons, so the whale had to go back to Norway; Iceland was too well protected.
CLASS: *still laughing*
PROFESSOR: If anyone could have tamed whales to fight in wars, it would have been the Romans! They would have sacrificed to Neptune and Poseidon, and because the Romans are the favorites of the gods, IT PROBABLY WOULD HAVE WORKED.

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