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Archive for October, 2010

Coin from a Queen of the Sassanid Empire, 630 AD

Coin from a Queen of the Sassanid Empire, 630 AD

Here’s a really fantastic animated map from some folks at Maps of War that takes you through more than 53,000 years of the history of the Middle East and Mediterranean Basin in 90 seconds. It’s a simple, graphic, illuminating depiction of how often that region has changed hands. There were two empires I’d never heard of (Sassanid and Seljuk, being the last pre-Islamic Persian empire and the Medieval Sunni Muslim empire, respectively), and I had not quite grasped the extent of the Macedonian or Mongol empires. Whoa.

In the modern era, it’s pretty horrible to see how Westerners just sort of carved the place up for their own purposes (and still are).

Since this region is so important to the first two sections of the reading list, I thought it was relevant. Found via StumbleUpon.

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Achilles Slays Hector (Spoiler!), Peter Paul Rubens, via Wikipedia

Sorry about the hiatus. I’ve been on vacation– away from home, and away from screens. It was much-needed.

I’d like to point out that my blogging is a lagging indicator of this project’s progress: currently I’m neck-deep in the Upanishads, which is a fair few entries down the list. ┬áLike anyone else with a kid and a full-time job and a spouse I actually like spending time with, it can be difficult to make time to write, especially when I’m enjoying the reading so much.

Well, mostly enjoying it. I wasn’t really wowed by the Iliad. I’m not sure why that is. I’ve been re-reading bits of it while trying to compose my thoughts about it. I’ll assume that the fault lies in the reader rather than in the material. (more…)

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