Saturday, October 15, 2016

Ernst Junger's "Storm of Steel", "Roupel" - Christos Zalokostas

To my shame i had not read Ernst Junger's "Storm of Steel", today i started it finally and at the same time a friend mentions the "Roupel" by Christos Zalokostas, its Greek counterpart to add to numerous coincidences that keep happening to me since May...
At some point Zalokostas describes a scene that i have never forgotten since the first time i read it years ago and reminds me of the worthlessness of my life: after the end of a WWII battle the German Colonel requests the Greek commander to stand in front of him. He leads him to the field, shows him the devastation upon the German army and says: "this is what you have done. I congratulate you." The German shakes the Greek's hand who stands shocked in awe, salutes, and asks all the Greek soldiers to keep their arms and be fed and treated with utmost respect.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

“The Advisor and the Dream”

* This is a short story from the beginning of 2015. Supposed to be published in Chinese initially. It was edited in this version October 2016. 

“The Advisor and the Dream”

My advice is always followed by King Ptolemy IX, named as Lathyrus, King of Egypt. Of course my advice involves important things, as also trivial ones. Important matters of the state require the king’s approval but his people’s daily struggles and agony demand his attention and sometimes his judgement. As for a person of my position, of my standing, giving advice for both of these two distinctive categories of state affairs is necessary. I am also honoured with the utmost respect and trust of our King. Many years ago I significantly contributed to the construction and perfection of a series of clockwork mechanisms that substantially helped the navigation of our ships between Alexandria, Rome and Rhodes. This was thanks to my knowledge of mathematics and astronomy.
For the story I will now tell you now regards a trivial matter, something that happens to both kings and peasants without any distinction. But who knows what the intentions our Gods have. Me, from time to time, I am seeking their advice. My intentions were to make everybody feel that my intentions were to loyally serve our king and our city. On the next day of the events of this story I visited the holy temple again. I pray often but this day I could only think about these events, even if they seem unworthy of further attention and without importance.
Often, they can see me visiting the Serapion. The Alexandrian Serapion, a temple that is not full of Egyptian sphinxes like the one in Memphis, but of Greek statues. But for me, as an Egyptian I cannot feel so close to the Hellenized form of a temple, with the idealized faces and bodies depicted in the statues. Here in Alexandria, people are still divided between the tradition of the Greeks that conquered us and our Egyptian past, this is something that brings great sorrow to me.
I, myself visited Greece. I visited Rhodes, where I discussed with renowned scholars and philosophers on politics, mathematics and astrology. But still, Egypt is where I grew up in, and this is the only palace I always served. And rose through the ranks. And I do strive to make Egypt become stronger and stronger. Will this happen? Many ambitious plans are to take place under Ptolemy the Divine. His name will be remembered even when these plans are just a memory of the past. My name will be forgotten, no one will mention, Ermotelis the king’s advisor, our fate is to move in the shadows of history. But still, the people that know more things, and know thing in depth, will spend time and time searching for minor details for us. I wished they will find this one for me, but alas they will not. I am now writing down my memories hoping that they will not be lost and erased from the hands of history like morning mist.
It was a hot summer night, as all summer nights are in Alexandria. Even this, seems trivial and normal. It was a quite month without a serious disruption in the matters of the kingdom, our kingdom graced by the glory of our ancestors and Gods. Ships full of grains were leaving every day for Athens, for Rhodes, but most of them were going for Rome, may Poseidon be on their side. We had many fertile years in the Nile for long time and the people were peaceful, happily following their daily routines.
Our king had ambitious things in his mind and he was planning to establish one of his candidates in Damascus and other parts of Syria. This was an affair of utmost importance since the Seleucids, even if they did not stand to the legacy of our glorious common ancestor, they were still wealthy and powerful in our Mediterranean Sea.
I find particularly fruitful to make a late nights walk to the royal gardens that grace our palace, this helps me carefully analyse and consider my plans for the administration of our kingdom and the fate of our people. This night, a clear sky, something so usual here in Egypt, with a half moon and a pleasant heat. Moving around the gardens, I was so surprised to see a purple dressed figure moving towards me. Purple is a royal colour and it was not difficult even for a man of my age to recognize our king. My dearest reader, it is very easy to imagine my surprise on this view and I stopped to give my respects. Our king returned my greetings. I asked him the purpose of his night walk since this was something that he was never doing- or at least nothing that I was aware of. What he said to me was simply the description of a dream. But he wasn’t convinced that this was a dream or a vision that he should take seriously into consideration. So he would be very interested to hear the opinion and advice of his trustworthy counsellor and he asked me to listen to his description.
Our king imagined that he was his great ancestor, Ptolemy I the Sotyr, a general in the army of Alexander the Great. Αn afternoon he was returning from his hunting and he and his company stopped to have some rest. He could not recognize the place, it was a forest, unlike the empty desert that Egypt is. Most men from his companion left and went to bring some water, leaving him just with his personal guards that were patrolling the area. Then two people suddenly appeared to be slowly walking towards him. It was a woman and a much older man. The woman was simply dressed and she was beautiful, but not young. The man on the other hand attracted his attention. His characteristics were unusual. He had broad shoulders, big arms and his hair were combed in the fashion of Greeks. His face though had Jewish characteristics. Sun was burning behind him. The king kept looking around but no sight of the other men, of his companion.
He let both of them approach him and asked them what they want. The woman spoke first, saying that she wants nothing anymore since the best years of her life has passed. The man then asked where they are going to and why they stopped here. The king answered that they went for hunting and they are returning back to the palace, now they are just having some rest. He then asked their names.
But no answer came and both of them stayed there staring at the king. Finally, the woman stepped forward and said with a slow and clear voice.
“Your mother’s lover made her a woman but age came fast on her. Be respectful for his remains”. The king left there standing, and then looked around the vast, empty, desert. Where once where trees now were only sand. And his soldiers were nowhere to be seen, disappeared. And the man and the woman kept staring at him with the blazing sun behind them without answering his questions. The tone of his voice was becoming stronger and louder but they stood there motionless and speechless. The king stood up panicked.
And then he woke up, got dressed in his purple, royal clothes and left the room. This was when I met him and he was still pale as the moon. I remember we spent some time talking about it in the garden and I carefully and sincerely told to our king my opinion on it, which he carefully considered.
It is said that our age is an age of wisdom, where philosophy and astrology thrive in our world and especially in Alexandria. But still we are people that respect what lies above us, our whole existence is based on the metaphysical questions. I tried then to give an explanation to the dream, even if I deep inside me realize that most of them have no meaning and are simple reflection of our day life. I then told to Ptolemy that the woman is his mother with whom our king’s relationship was never good and I advised him that this is now a chance to reconcile. And that the man is Alexander Jannaeus, the Greek king of Judea, hence the dual characteristics, a man against whom our king a year later went to war.
Now in the end of my life, with my king long dead I am thinking that what I said was not correct. I enraged my king and forced him to such aggressiveness. Maybe the woman was not his mother, Cleopatra, but Macedonia, in Greece, the country from where all of them descended. Maybe the man was not just a man, not Alexander Jannaeus, but was a whole city and a whole political system, he was Rome, which will eventually conquer all of us. I can now see that this is inevitable, their legions cannot be stopped. Maybe the remains where the sarcophagus of Alexander the Great that our king disrespected and this brought his end, a disgraceful end, no doubt. Our city bears the name of Alexander and a disrespect on his legacy and his body is not tolerated from neither the people nor the senate.
Or maybe they were nothing at all, just a dream without any meaning, without any connection to reality. Who knows what really this was, was it a dream, was it a vision, was it a miracle. What I say is that it does not matter anymore, since what happened now cannot be changed. The past is past, no reason from me to regret or think about one of the countless paths that every moment is there for us, but we choose only one. And the one we choose, then leads us to countless other branches and goes on and on and on. At this moment, there is not a long time left for me in this world. I wish to continue advising our king Ptolemy XII, Auletes is how people call him, as wise as possible, or as wise as I believe, and rule in secret for the time that remains to me.

Panagiotis Dallas, Oxford, 6th October 2016.

-          I never had much interest in the Hellenistic years, in my mind it was a rather decadent period. For better readings on Greek and Byzantine history with a sense of irony and critic, look the poems by C.P.Cavafy (The Collected Poems. Oxford World’s Classics). For better short stories, read everything by Jorge Luis Borges, from whom this short story draws inspiration.

-          History says that Ptolemy IX (ruler from 116-107, 87-81 B.C) replaced Alexander the Great’s sarcophagus with a glass one. He then melted the original in order to make emergency gold coins, as has been said by Strabo.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Fields of remembrance- Royal British Legion

The Royal British Legion provides support to all the veterans of the Armed Forces (British Army, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force) and their families. 

Remembrance tributes (you can write your message at the cross, see details below) are planted in the Fields of Remembrance, with a message to the soldiers who lost their lives serving in the Army.

If someone wishes to donate follow the link below, tributes must reach the Legion by Thursday 27 October:

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Dancer Nikolska in Acropolis, 1929 A.D

The dancer Lila Nikolska (Yelizaveta Nikolska, 1904-1955, born in Vladivostok according to a source, but i knew she was Hungarian) in Acropolis in 1929 A.D, photographed by Elli Seraidari (Nelly's; 1899-1998). It was the second session after Mona Paeva (Prima Ballerina of the Opera Comique) in 1927, these photographs were firstly published in the French magazine, "Illustration de Paris". Currently, the photographic archive of the Benaki Museum holds the work by Nelly, you can also buy prints from there. Τhere are some very good information websites for Nelly's and the wikipedia is not one of them... She photographed the Delphic Festival organized by Aggelos and Eve Sikelianos and she indeed worked with Leni Riefenstahl in Berlin and Olympia.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Septivium. 3+4=7 and 3*4=12

3+4=7 and 3*4=12
This blog will be constantly updated. Seven and twelve keep repeating themselves in various religions, mythology and traditions. I keep gathering them. Recently, i started being more aware to coincidences and from repeating things. I keep meeting people while i am thinking of them or i am receiving a message from them.
The 7 Sages of the ancient worl (Cleobulos of Lindos, Solon, Chilon, Bias of Priene, Thales of Miletus, Pittacus, Periander). 
The 7 Cities of the Apocalypse (Pergamos, Smyrna, Efessos, Sardeis, Laodikeia, Thyateira, Filadelphia).
The 7 Sages of the bamboo grove
The 7 virtues of Samurai (or eight)
7 against Thebes and the Seven defenders of Thebes
The Trivium (3) and the Quadrivium (4) which are grammar, rhetoric, logic & arithmetics, geometry,  music, astronomy.
The 7 Christian Virtues (prudence, justice, temperance, courage & faith, hope, love).
The 7 Deadly Sins.
7 days of the week.
7 seals of the apocalypse. 7 angelic trumpeteers. 7 judgements. 
The 7 classical planets, Sun, Moon, and Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiters, Saturn.
7 cities claim to be the place of Homer: Cyme, Smyrna, Chios, Colophon, Pylos, Argos, Athens

12 Olympian Gods and Goddesses
12 months.
12 Apostles.
12 days of Christmas.
12 seats of the Round Table in the Arthurian legend.
12 Titans according to Hesiod.
Apocalypsis 21.10.
12 sons of Jacob and 12 Nations of Israel.
12 Aesir
12 wheels of Sonnenrad, the Sun Wheel.

Bodleian Library, Oxford

John Rouse, the chief librarian of Bodleian, in 1645 A.D. refused to lend to King Charles I, a book, the 'Histoire Universelle du Sieur d'Aubigné' since it was forbidden the book to leave the library. As Oxford is the first University in the English speaking world, it is an integral part of the Western science and education. In my article for the work of Alexander Boot, i added as a reference the book by David C.Lindberg. “The beginning of western science, 600 π.Χ-1450 A.D”.  I recommend it for a first introduction in the history of science in the Classic and the Western world. 
To elaborate on the writings in the doors of the Bodleian library i will add the following information. There are three divisions in the theoretical sciences as extensively discussed by Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 A.D.) greatly influenced by Aristotle (384-322 B.C.): 
1. Natural sciences 2. Mathematics 3. Theology
Then is the quadrivium, the four subjects of arts: 
1. Arithmetics 2. Geometry 3. Music 4. Astronomy
Before them should be tought the trivium: 
1. Grammar 2. Logic 3. Rhetoric

Friday, July 29, 2016

The fall of the West and the crisis behind our crisis: the work of Alexander Boot

Μια παρουσίαση της δουλειάς του Alexander Boot για το Δίκτυο Ελλήνων Συντηρητικών.

* Η Ελληνική μετάφραση του άρθρου έχει δημοσιευθεί στο Δίκτυο Ελλήνων Συντηρητικών (link).

Alexander Boot was born in Russia (then Soviet Union). He studied in the famous Moscow State University, where he subsequently lectured on English literature. From Russia he left in 1973 pursued by KGB and he initially immigrated to USA (1973) and subsequently to the United Kingdom (1988) realising that the West he admired no longer exists.  Alexander dedicated more than 20 years studying the reasons behind the decline of the Western culture and traditon, and this lead to the writing of a series of important books (and an active blog) with the most important being the “How the West was lost” (I.B.Tauris, 2006), an essential reading for every conservative.
Alexander's work reminds me of Theodore Dalrymple (real name of the sceptical doctor: Dr Anthony Daniels), as a polemic against political correctness, and Sir Roger Scruton on aesthetics and the admiration for Western civilisation, and in general people that regularly contribute articles to the “The Salisbury Review”, a journal where Alexander has published articles in the past. [1]
His writing is sublime and he has a deep understanding of history and of the meaning of words and ideas. His positive influence are Thomas Aquinas and Augustine, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Ortega y Gasset and Edmund Burke while he stands against Plato (however, he considers him one of the greatest and most influential thinkers to have ever lived, see “A footnote on Plato” at “The crisis behind our crisis”), RousseauVoltaire, Ηume, ΚantHobbesLockeHegel and of Marx-Darwin-Freud.
Alexander sees the transition from the Classical period, the Greek-Roman world (called “Hellenic man”), [2-3] to Christendom as the beginning of the Western world, (the Western man, is called“Westman”) and the birth of the Modern Man (“Modman”) as the death of the West, of its identity and civilization. While Hellenic Man, was partially transferred to the Westman, the Modman has nothing in common with both of them. 
The transition from Christendom, from an aristocratic society, to an atheist, technocractic, eqalitarian and totalitarian state is initiated before the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, a turning point in European history. [4] Αfter that, Europe was dominated by an extreme modernism (and post-modernism), the totalitarian scientist and the barbarity of modern art and the culture of spectacle. Since all these are symptoms of the same problem his chapter in the anthology The Nation that forgot God” edited by Alex Haydon Sir Edward Leigh (Gracewing Publishing, 2006) is named “PC (“political correctness”) also stands for Post-Christian. So, political correctness and glossocracy, both diverting the real meaning of words are a byproduct of the totalitarian, atheistic, modernism.
There two other, more political works by Alexander, that i would like to mention: “The crisis behind our crisis” (St.Matthew Publishing, 2010) and“Democracy as a neocon trick” (RPP, 2014). In these works, Alexander discusses not only how the “neocons”, led by George Bush, are using democracy as a manichaistic ideology and a way that enables them to start a series of wars (Iraq), and how the modern, materialistic, man caused a dead end economic crisis, two total, world wars and a cultural devastation as also a huge underclass in the western countries without the will for anything. The economic crisis is a result of the metaphysical crisis. 
From the whole work of Alexander, i will close this review with his message in the end of the narration on how "How the West was lost". Admitting that the western man is dead, and the civilisation he created as well, he does believe that they can resurrect. This resurrection is in our hands, by giving an example of dignity, decency, beauty and honour.

Further reading
1.      “The (Salisbury) Review was first published in 1982: Wrong-headed, politically incorrect, reactionary and conservative, we print what most sensible people believe but are frightened to speak of in our bullying, socialist society. Roger Scruton was the Editor for the first eighteen years.” It takes its name from Marquess of Salisbury, Prime Minister of Great Britain for 13 years.
    2. Kurt Weitzmann (ed). Age of Spirituality: Late Antique and Early Christian Art, Third to Seventh Century, The Metropolitan Museum of Art & Princeton University Press, 1979
     3. David C.Lindberg. “The beginning of western science, 600 π.Χ-1450 μ.Χ”. 
4. Roger Scruton “The soul of the world” Princeton University Press, 2014

Friday, June 10, 2016

"Temple Church", London, published in Paradox Ethereal magazine #12

Many thanks to Mary Vareli for publishing the following article for Temple Church (headquarters of the Knights Templar, London) in Paradox Ethereal Magazine Issue #12 2016. 
You can download the magazine and the article following these links:

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Seven Virtues of Samurai

The photo was taken in the Ashmolean museum, Oxford, in 2013. 

The Virtues of Samurai are:

- Charity
- Rectitude
- Honesty
- Respect
- Loyalty
- Honour
- Courage