Culture and History

Ressentiment, The Teacher, and Marriage in Western Civilization

St. Augustine as the prototype for Nietzsche, Rimbaud, and other alienated geniuses. Authoritarian schooling and deferred marriage forced on sons by ambitious middling parents are the origin of the Oedipus complex. Really.

Could Nietzsche have married Jane Austen?

No. While Nietzsche resembled Austen’s dreamboat Darcy, he did not have A Thousand A Year.

Zarathustra and Kahlil Gibran

Also Sprache Zarathustra as the first New Age self-help book, with Kahlil Gibran the link.

Why did Henry James Kill Daisy Miller?

The American Girl was different and she taught the staid, horny Frenchmen how to flirt. Henry James’s most popular book, and he swore never to make that mistake again. Miasma theory.

History of the Caucasian Albanians

No, not those Albanians. Before Charlemagne, when Albania was in the Caucasus, Greeks were Romans, Arabs were Tajiks, and the Catholikos was not Catholic.

Medieval Pulp Fiction: Aucassin et Nicolette

Not your typical medieval romance.

Murder Most Foul

Young Genghis Khan’s murder of his half-brother Bekter was not an anomaly or an abomination, but part of the normal career path of conquerors and founders of states.

Drakon and Solon

Drakon, a shadowy figure, was credited as the founder of the Athenian democracy / republic and as a consequence, the first democrat / republican in history –but he is also remembered as a brutal tyrant. The methods by which orderly, peaceful states are founded are normally brutal and lawless, and often a martial leader and a civil leader are coupled at the legendary beginning. In the case of Athens the civil leader was Solon, famed every where for his wisdom.

Werewolves and the State

However, Solon did not see himself as peaceful, but compared himself to a lone wolf with a pack of dogs snapping at him from every side. In Derrida and his commentators this wolf or werewolf metaphorically defines the ruler, the lonely man who decides the state of exception.

Kenneth Burke Faked It Too: Trained incapacity and Institutional psychosis

It turns out that I’m not the only one who makes things up.

Janus Vitalis: Rome Buried in its Ruins

Over the centuries Qui Roman in media quaeris novus advena Roma. Janus Vitalis’s Renaissance Latin meditation on the ruins of Rome, has been translated at least 11 times into at least 5 languages and has gained its own permanence.

Baldassar Castiglione on the Ruins of Rome

An Italian meditation on the ruins of Rome by an older contemporary of Janus Vitalis.

Transience and Water

General reflections on transience in Chinese, English, and Latin.

Waiting for the Barbarians

Verlaine and Cavafy were rather noncommittal about the arrival of the barbarians.

Starting from Greenland: “Kayak” Circumnavigates the Globe

Narwhal ivory from Greenland reached China well before Columbus on well-worn trade routes following rivers from the Baltic sea to the Black Sea or Caspian Sea, and then from Samarqand to China. The kayak reached China only after Columbus, but the word “kayak” for some type of boat was found in most Turkish languages and all the way to the Adriatic. The Inuit lived on both sides of the Bering strait and originated in Asia, and when the Inuit “kayak” reached the Mediterranean, the possibly-related Turkish “caique” was already there.

History of the Caucasian Albanians

No, not those Albanians. Before Charlemagne, when Albania was in the Caucasus, Greeks were Romans, Arabs were Tajiks, and the Catholikos was not Catholic.