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Thursday, 22 February 2018

Online Etymology Dictionary

A very useful resource - Online Etymology Dictionary

"This is a map of the wheel-ruts of modern English. Etymologies are not definitions; they're explanations of what our words meant and how they sounded 600 or 2,000 years ago. The dates beside a word indicate the earliest year for which there is a surviving written record of that word (in English, unless otherwise indicated). This should be taken as approximate, especially before about 1700, since a word may have been used in conversation for hundreds of years before it turns up in a manuscript that has had the good fortune to survive the centuries".

Brexit: BBC 4 "Guide for the Perplexed "- Gibraltar and the Overseas Territories

A rather satirical, tongue-in-cheek BBC 4 Radio programme about a serious topic (15 minutes)

"Far away from the main Brexit negotiations in London and Brussels are the British Overseas Territories. Dots on the global map whose people may be strongly affected - and who are struggling to make their voicesheard. Chris Morris travels to Gibraltar to see what's at stake, and discovers too a hidden but vital Brexit story in the Caribbean".

Dorchester, Dorset: Recreation sites and play areas to make way for new homes?

From Wessex FM: Dorchester Town Council and Magna Housing consultation event. 

"The council are concerned that young workers are finding it impossible to find good quality accommodation in Dorchester, to both rent and buy. The idea is to look at land they own, to see if it could be suitable for housing".

Five sites have been identified:

Elizabeth Gardens
Poundbury Crescent
Fortress Green
Mellstock Avenue
Sandringham Annex

Bournemouth the UK’s best beach? Travellers' Choice

From The Guardian - TripAdvisor crowns Bournemouth the UK’s best beach - The south coast town’s golden sands have been ranked as the best in the country in TripAdvisor’s Traveller’s Choice awards – and the fifth-best in Europe

Weymouth No. 5 this year

Bournemouth 5th Best Beach in Europe

Bournemouth 14th Best Beach in the world

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

On Copyright and Related Rights; The National Archive

From The National Archive (pdf)

Using materials from The National Archives (pdf)

Citing documents in The National Archives

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Blue Nile River

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Project, Benishangul-Gumuz, Water Technology

Oil and Gas Extraction in Epirus, Greece: WWF and Greenpeace Initiative and Legal Challenges to Exploration, to Protect the Environment

Πρωτοβουλία κατά της έρευνας και εξόρυξης υδρογονανθράκων στην Ήπειρο, WWF and Greenpeace
Αίτημα για περιβαλλοντικούς ελέγχους στα Ιωάννινα

Παρασκευή, 16 Φεβρουάριος 2018

"Με κοινή τους επιστολή προς το Σώμα Επιθεωρητών και Ελεγκτών ΥΠΕΝ και την Περιφέρεια Ηπείρου, το WWF Ελλάς, η Greenpeace, και η Πρωτοβουλία κατά της έρευνας και εξόρυξης υδρογονανθράκων στην Ήπειρο ζητούν τη διενέργεια ελέγχου νομιμότητας για τις εργασίες που έχουν ξεκινήσει στα Ιωάννινα στο πλαίσιο του προγράμματος έρευνας και εξόρυξης υδρογονανθράκων".

Διαβάστε το πλήρες κείμενο της κοινής επιστολής εδώ.

Pesticides on Fruit and Vegetables

Which French fruits and vegetables are most likely to be contaminated with pesticides? Emma Beswick, Euronews

"Which fruits were most contaminated?

Topping the ranking for fruits were grapes with 89% of samples containing pesticide residues.

Which vegetables were most contaminated?

As for vegetables, celery stalks showed the highest levels of pesticide contamination at 85%."

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Augustus John and Henry Lamb: two exhibitions (Poole and Salisbury Museums)

Major exhibition of work of leading 20th century British artist to go on show in Poole, Bournemouth Echo

Jade Grassby writes:

"A MAJOR exhibition of the work of one of the towering figures of twentieth century British art will be shown at Poole Museum this year. Co-curated by the writer and art historian David Boyd Haycock, and organised in partnership with The Salisbury Museum, ‘Augustus John: Drawn from Life’ will open on May 26 and run until September 30. The Salisbury Museum will be host to a similar Augustus John exhibition in 2019 and is curating an exhibition about Henry Lamb in 2018 which will, in turn, come to Poole next year".

Conference in Thessaloniki - 10 to 13 May, 2018; Aristotle University of Thessaloniki - THE MACEDONIAN FRONT 1915 - 1918 POLITICS, SOCIETY & CULTURE IN TIME OF WAR


Information here (pdf file)

"From Thursday 10 to Sunday 13 May 2018 the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki will hold an international conference marking the 100 years since the end of the First World War. This will take place in Thessaloniki at The Teloglion Fine Arts Foundation, next to the campus of the Aristotle University. The Aristotle University, King’s College London, the Imperial War Museum and the British School at Athens are all represented on the Organising Committee. The event will be under the auspices of the British Embassy Athens. Our aim is to offer the public of Thessaloniki, especially university students, a conference of a high scholarly level, which will promote the knowledge and sustain the memory of the First World War, a momentous event for the history of Thessaloniki, Macedonia, Greece and indeed all the European countries involved. The emphasis will be on the ‘other’ aspects of the Great War, i.e. political, economic, social and cultural, without neglecting military operations or diplomacy. Parallel events will include an exhibition of documents and photographs organised at the Hellenic Literary and Historical Archive of the Cultural Foundation of the National Bank of Greece".

Provisional List of Speakers (pdf file)


Salonika Remembers

Neanderthals and Art

Drawings of Representational Images by Upper Paleolithic Humans and their Absence in Neanderthals Might Reflect Historical Differences in Hunting Wary Game, Abstract, Richard G. Coss, Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture

Did Neanderthals' poor art ability contribute to their extinction? The Telegraph, Henry Bodkin

Saturday, 17 February 2018

A Dorset Shepherd and his Flock; Bridport, Dorset

From Mail Online, Tom Payne - The Dorset flock roaming the downs since Thomas Hardy’s time

Christie's Guide to Contemporary African art

From Christie's

See also my posting: South Africa, The Art of a Nation; British Museum

Earthquake Felt in Poundbury, Dorset

The house shook this afternoon. I was sure I felt a tremor from a small earthquake. It was an earthquake,

4.4 on the Richter Scale, at a depth of 7kms, in the region of Cwmllynfell, South Wales

Confirmed: Earthquakes around the British Isles in the last 50 days
Last updated: Sat, 17 Feb 2018 , 14:31:07.6

Latitude 51.776

Longitude -3.837

See also, Dorset Echo: Did you feel it? Earth tremor felt across Dorset

"It is thought to have had a magnitude of 4.4 with its epicentre in Wales".

Update: BBC, Earthquake felt across parts of UK

Mail Online report

Ionian Islands, New Shipping Links, May 1 - October 31, Ilida Paxos

Direct coastal shipping link between Ionian islands, eKathimerini

"Hydrofoil company Ilida Paxos announced this week that it will be starting direct coastal shipping links between the Ionian islands on May 1...The new service will link Corfu with Paxos, the southern port of Vassiliki on Lefkada, Sami on northwestern Cephalonia, and Zakynthos every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, while sailing the opposite way on Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays".

Friday, 16 February 2018

Stone-Carving, Chilfrome, Dorset (Holy Trinity Font)

Also in the church:

Flints found on yesterday's walk:

The sculptor Henry Moore found inspiration in the shapes and forms of flints.

Chilfrome and Frampton, Dorset; Floods, The River Frome, Snowdrops and a Sacred Tree

From two Dorset walks, yesterday and today:

"The Frome, wi' ever-water'd brink,
Do run where shelvèn hills do zink..."

William Barnes

Chilfrome, Holy Trinity Church:

Thanks to Bill, for leading the walk on Thursday, and to fellow-walker
 Sheila, for recommending the snowdrops at Chilfrome!

Chilfrome (Holy Trinity) from Dorset Churches

Chilfrome (Wikipedia)

Chilfrome (British History Online)

Chilfrome: "Estate on the River Frome, belonging to the noble-born sons"
(Dorset Place-Names, Their Origins and Meanings, A.D. Mill (1991 edition).

EU: Brexit transition talks tied to divorce agreement (EU Observer)

"The EU is planning to negotiate the Brexit transition period with the UK as part of talks on the text of the withdrawal agreement. Substantive talks on the transition deal will only start once the European Commission has put the terms of the divorce agreed last December into a legal text, which was fine tuned by member states" - EU Observer, Eszter Zalan.

Poundbury, Dorset: Zero C's Discount to Open Market Scheme

From Celebrating Poundbury Magazine, Sarah Collins:


John Henry Barbee

An outstanding blues artist:

From YouTube:

"I ain't gonna pick no more cotton"

"I heard my baby"

"John Henry"

"Early Morning Blues"

"That's All Right"

"Dust My Broom"

"Hey Baby"

"Worried Life Blues"

Six Weeks Old Blues (1938)

God Knows I Can't Help It (1938)

A tragic biography.

Blues Talk

Discography -

Thursday, 15 February 2018

The Cornish Language

Will the Cornish language be a casualty of Brexit? Deutsche Welle

Regina Derieva, A Poem: Vocabulary


To get on with one another
does nor require so extensive a vocabulary
Two formulations will do,
if appropriately voiced:
Leave me alone;
Stay with me.
Though maybe there’s a third as well:
No more to say.

Translated by Daniel Weissbort

NIKI MARANGOU: CYPRUS, FEMALE VOICE AND MEMORY; King's College, London, 26 February, 2018


King's College, London, part of the Modern Greek Studies seminar series.

Location Council Room (K2.29), King’s Building Strand, 26/02/2018 (17:30-19:00)

This event is open to all and free to attend. No booking is required.

A seminar with Polina Tambakaki (King’s College London)

"This talk will present the results of the workshop ‘Niki Marangou: Cyprus, female voice and memory’ organised in collaboration with the British School at Athens in September 2017, as part of the project The Life and Work of Niki Marangou (1948-2013). After making an overview of the work and life of Marangou, the talk will focus on her last novel Gezoul, which deals with the life of Teresa Makri, Lord Byron’s famous ‘Maid of Athens’. Marangou treated history and fiction in a distinct way, which was informed by modern discussions about female writing, trauma and narrative, but also by the world and form of the folktale. A highly intertextual writer who used a seemingly naïve expression and simple form, she viewed, as she said, the Hellenic horizon ‘from its most extreme eastern edge’, and through it the whole world: boundless and at the same time circumscribed, like the ‘unimaginable garden’ of loss and sensuality of her poem ‘Roses’."

Wednesday, 14 February 2018


From Radio Praha - "Fearing prison in Communist Czechoslovakia, in March 1950 Oldřich Doležal and other ex-RAF aviators simultaneously kidnapped three planes on internal flights and escaped to West Germany".

Also on Radio Praha:


Streng geheim

NB: this could well be a smear.

The tabloid (and other) stories haven't stopped:

This is all getting over the top. I'd be inclined to take the word of Světlana Ptáčníková, director of the Czech security forces archive. It's a very impressive archive, which I have explored myself in the past.

"Podle ředitelky českého Archivu bezpečnostních složek, který má materiály ke Corbynovi k dispozici, se politik s rozvědčíkem vedeným pod jménem Jan Dymič sice sešel, považoval ho ale za diplomata. Z dokumentů nijak „nevyplývá, že by věděl, že se stýká s rozvědčíkem”. „Pan Corbyn nebyl vedený jako spolupracovník a ani to z materiálů nijak nevyplývá,” dodala Světlana Ptáčníková.

("Mr. Corbyn was not a collaborator, and it does not even come out of the materials," added Svetlana Ptáčníková").

On another subject:

An excerpt:

"It was not necessary to study
the language
of a strange country;
anyway, it would be of no help.
It was not necessary to know
where Italy or England
is located;
travel was obviously
out of the question".

Guardians of the Aegean: A Film on Overfishing and the Need for a Marine Protected Area

Guardians of the Aegean, a film

"The five-year odyssey of filmmaker Omiros Evangelinos while sailing on board a former fishing caique, through the islands of the Cyclades, investigates the matter of overfishing and the struggle of artisan fishermen throughout the Aegean Sea. In his voyage he documents a chaotic state of anarchy, where pirate fishing methods, like the use of dynamite and intense industrial fishing, have depleted this once rich sea. Along the way, the news of a conservation project initiated by Pierre-Yves Cousteau brings Omiros and his crew to Santorini island. There they witness Pierre’s efforts in uniting the local fishermen together with scientists and local politicians for the making of a Marine Protected Area, one of the few bottom up conservation initiatives in the world…"

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe, Kapka Kassabova; Border zone of Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey

Guardian Book of the Day Review, 5 February 2017

Border by Kapka Kassabova review – magic in the corner of Europe, Guardian, 8 February 2017

"This is a marvellous, personal account of the border zone between Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece, from the Ottomans to cold war menace and beyond", Mark Mazower.

LA Review of Books

New Statesman review

Central Zagori, Epirus Weather Forecast: Monodendri

Just discovered (from a weather forecast in English for the Monodendri (Central Zagori) area

See also: Ioannina Airport

Dean Kalimniou on Momus and Momogeroi; Melbourne Lonsdale Street Greek Festival

From Diatribe

"Momus’ caustic wit proved to be too much for the Olympians. They decided to expel him from their company and Greeks have lacked irony ever since".

First published in NKEE on Saturday 10 February 2018; posted by Panepirotic Federation of Australia, 13 February, 2018.

Melbourne's Lonsdale Street Greek Festival; Greek Reporter

The longest Zorba dance in the world, Pappas Post, with Greek Centre video

Monday, 12 February 2018

Weymouth, a Film from 1958

BFI, Britain on Film, Weymouth, 1958

Portland, Dorset: a 1974 Documentary Film

From BFI, Britain on Film, The Isle of Portland

Portland Stone-Quarrying, 1963

Bristol, British City, A Film from 1951

BFI, Britain on Film

A film from the time when I still lived in Bristol

Bristol: A Party Political Broadcast from 1959; Tony Benn and Barbara Castle

A Labour Party Political Broadcast from 1959:

Tony Benn and Barbara Castle MP accuse an earlier Conservative TV broadcast of "quite deliberately distorting the facts"...

Dorset: "Come With Me to Bridport", 1951 Film; Bridport and West bay

A film from 1951

"Richard Dimbleby props up a bar in Bridport and conducts some leisurely interviews with locals over a pint and a cigarette. He also visits tradesmen and craftspeople in surrounding villages, from sand merchant Mr Good, who uses shire horses to collect shingle from Chesil Bank, to Mrs Legge, a netmaker, known as a 'braider'. As well as the appealing rural charm, there are plenty of unusual industrial processes on show".

Rope and Net-Making in Bridport, 1962

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Momma Don't Allow, BFI Film; Walter Lassally; Chris Barber Band

Fishmonger's Arms, 287 High Road, Wood Green, London, N22

Walter Lassally on camera, Fishmonger's Arms, Wood Green ( Karl Reisz/Tony Richardson, 1956) filmed over nine Saturdays in 1955, at Wood Green Jazz Club, featuring the Chris Barber Band at the time of Monty Sunshine, Lonnie Donegan and Ottilie Patterson.

Walter Lassally, in Sydney, Australia

BFI, Britain on Film:

"The swirling neon frenzy of Piccadilly Circus has never been better captured than in this innovative short, which presents the London landmark as a bewildering collage of image and sound. Swiss film enthusiasts and BFI employees Claude Goretta and Alain Tanner (later to become established art-house filmmakers back home) were inspired by their colleagues’ success with the Free Cinema programme to try their own attempt at low-budget documentary filmmaking. After shooting 6,000 feet of footage of 25 nights, they turned the limitation of an absence of synced sound to their advantage by crafting a sophisticated soundtrack. Utilising snatches ambient street noise, pop music and scraps of dialogue from the kinds of Hollywood films shown in West End cinemas, their collage of sound was used to both imaginative and ironic effect (such as the National Anthem played over a shot of a large Coca-Cola sign)".

Listen to Green Back Dollar at 7.20 (until 9.20 mark).

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Djibouti, China's Gateway To Africa

From Spiegel Online: How Djibouti Became China's Gateway To Africa

"Djibouti, one of Africa's smallest countries, has become China's "strategic partner." The Chinese have built a military base and a port, and is currently constructing a free trade zone, fast establishing it as Beijing's gateway to the continent". Dietmar Pieper


From BBC 4, with historian Michael Scott

Sicily: The Wonder of the Mediterranean, Episode 1 - available on BBC iPlayer for 23 days

Sicily: The Wonder of the Mediterranean, Episode 2 - available on BBC iPlayer for 29 days

Oil rig, a threat to Studland Bay wildlife? Dorset.

Oil rig will threaten Studland Bay’s wildlife, experts say, from The Breaker

Jazz-Age Britain: Art and Design

The art and design of jazz-age Britain, Ella Hill, The Economist 1843 Magazine

"An exhibition in London shows the impact of jazz on British culture between the two world wars":

“Rhythm and Reaction: the Age of Jazz in Britain”, 'a small but ambitious exhibition at Two Temple Place in London'.

William Patrick Roberts, “The Dance Club” or “The Jazz Party” (1923)

"This painting of an underground dance party shows us one reason why jazz was so divisive. For some, this scene would have been one of excitement. The room vibrates with energy and sound as the horn of the gramophone juts out into the midst of the dancers. For others, the jazz scene represented immorality, with jazz clubs painted in the media as dens of drugs and vice. By giving in to the wild music, these dancers were exposing themselves to other temptations – in the corner, a couple engage in a frenzied embrace, while on the dance floor a dress strap slips suggestively".


Greece: External Fund Flows and an alternative crisis-hypothesis


The crisis in Greece: The semi-rentier state hypothesis, by Asteris Huliaras & Dimitris Sotiropoulos (pdf)

"The easiness to find external rent (loans) made the government indifferent to the size of taxation revenues".

Friday, 9 February 2018

Opening ceremony of the XXIII Winter Olympics. Pyeongchang, South Korea: Imagine! Korean Culture

Fabulous ceremony - flawless design and choreography; no mistakes.

When I went to South Korea in the 1990's, I was fascinated by the ancient Korean printing tradition, and by the colourful pojagi (bojagi) patchwork wrapping cloths. See also:

Rapt in Colour: Korean Textiles and Costumes of the Choson Dynasty

An article by Christina Sumner, from page 17 (pdf)

On Korean Printing:

Code of Practice 

In Korea's oldest books

Few misprints are ever found:

No errors were permitted.

Punishment was most severe,

According to the Code -

Thirty strokes of the cane

For a single mistake -

For everyone concerned,

From senior supervisor to the lowest apprentice.

Thirty strokes. Imprinted pain.

For five mistakes, dismissal.

I was taken to see the Civilian Control line of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). There is speculation that the Winter Olympics could mark the beginning of the thaw.

Olympics Open With Koreas Marching Together, Offering Hope for Peace, New York Times

John Lennon does it again...

Graffiti - Nautical Graffiti - Isaac Gulliver; A CD of Nautical and Dorset Songs

Song of A Dorset smuggler

"This collection of songs begins with the sad tale of the sinking of Henry VIII’s Mary Rose and includes tales of Pirates, Smugglers, Mermaids, Press Gangs, and concludes with the death of Admiral Lord Nelson and the British victory at Trafalgar".

Read more

Graffiti - Nautical Graffiti - The Victory

Weymouth musician Will Adams on Nautical Graffiti- an album oozing with Dorset history and catchy songs, Dorset Echo

"A Dorset band has commemorated the 250th anniversary of the launch of a famous ship, through song. Weymouth band Graffiti has released the album Nautical Graffiti, which is dedicated to HMS Victory and her crew. The album has a distinct Dorset flavour to it and was recorded at the Blue Room in Bournemouth".

Hellenofrenia - Θέλω κοντά σου να μείνω! A Song for EU Remainers

Listening to Real FM, broadcasting from Greece, the presenter of Hellenofrenia, the satirical radio programme, always manages to find an appropriate song to match or make fun of current political posturing or developments.

An item about EU membership, whether Greece and Grexit, or Britain and Brexit, for instance, will be interspersed with short, cleverly edited and decontextualized sound-bites from a minister or Prime Minister, and followed by a song like this one, "I want to stay close to you forever":


Ελευθερία Αρβανιτάκη - Θέλω κοντά σου να μείνω - Eleftheria Arvanitaki

Epirus: The Collapse of Theogefyro; το Θεογέφυρο - ΘΕΟΓΕΦΥΡΟ BLUES, Moukliomos

ΘΕΟΓΕΦΥΡΟ BLUES - Moukliomos  Μουκλίομος - Κλαρίνο, Γιάννης Χαλδούπης

Ανακοίνωση του Δήμου Ζίτσας,για την κατάρρευση του Θεογέφυρου, epirusgate.blogspot

“Theogefyro” Natural Bridge in Epirus Collapses, Philip Chrysopoulos, Greek Reporter

Γιατί κατέρρευσε το Θεογέφυρο -Δείτε πόσο εντυπωσιακό ήταν [βίντεο],

ΚΑΘΑΡΟΣ ΚΑΛΑΜΑΣ-Ανακοίνωση για το Θεογέφυρο, Epirusgate 

"Στην αμόλυντη Ήπειρο πολλά είναι τα μνημεία των ανθρώπων και της φύσης που παραμένουν απροστάτευτα, χωρίς συντήρηση και καταρρέουν. Πριν δυο χρόνια και παρά τις επίμονες προειδοποιήσεις κατοίκων και φορέων για ανάγκη έργων προστασίας-που κανείς δεν...
έδωσε την παραμικρή προσοχή- το γεφύρι της Πλάκας δεν άντεξε και κατέρρευσε. Ποιος έφταιγε;"

Γιατί κατέρρευσε το Θεογέφυρο- το πιο ξεχωριστό γεφύρι της Ελλάδας, Enimerosi

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Greece: Mikis Theodorakis Speaks in Syntagma Square; Η ομιλία του Μίκη Θεοδωράκη στο Συλλαλητήριο

From YouTube, Mikis Theodorakis' speech at the massive demonstration in Athens today

Mikis Theodorakis at Huge Athens Rally, Greek Reporter

Speech by composer Mikis Theodorakis stirs controversy, eKathimerini

Charmed Lives in Greece, Ghika, Craxton, Leigh Fermor, British Museum, 8 March – 15 July 2018

From The British Museum - from 8 March 2018

"This exhibition focuses on the friendship of the artists Niko Ghika and John Craxton, and the writer Patrick Leigh Fermor. Their shared love of Greece was fundamental to their work, as they embraced its sights, sounds, colours and people...The exhibition focuses on four key places – Hydra, Kardamyli, Crete and Corfu – where they lived and spent time together. Hydra is an island where Ghika’s family home became a gathering place for the three friends, and Leigh Fermor built a house with his wife Joan at Kardamyli. Craxton restored a house at Chania on Crete, and Corfu is where Ghika and his second wife Barbara transformed an old building into an idyllic home and garden.
Together, these places chart the story of this remarkable friendship, and how the people and landscapes of Greece were a great influence on their enduring works".

See also, posting of June 16, 2017

A Visit to Konitsa, Greece

From Visit Greece

We certainly enjoyed our last visit to Konitsa in the summer of 2016.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Lycurgus, Homer and the Spartans; Lycurgus the Lawmaker, a biographical sketch by Plutarch

Lycurgus, The Father of Sparta, by Plutarch, from A History of

"In Ionia, Lycurgus discovered the immortal works of Homer. Lycurgus compiled the scattered fragments of Homer and made sure that the serious lessons of statecraft and morality in Homer's epics became widely known...

 Lycurgus had already decided that some fundamental changes would have to be made in Sparta.  When he returned, he did not merely tinker with the laws, but instead followed the example of a wise doctor treating a patient with many diseases, who changes the patient's diet, compels him to exercise, and puts him in a whole new frame of mind...

Some further refinements of the Spartan constitution came after Lycurgus.  It turned out that sometimes the public speakers would pervert the sense of propositions and thus cause the people to vote foolishly, so the senate reserved the right to dissolve the assembly if they saw this happening...

The laws of Lycurgus purported to be utterances of the Delphic oracle, and were called rhetra.  One law was that the law should never be put in writing.  Spartan law would therefore have to be imprinted in the minds of the citizens through good education, and if the education were good enough, then law would be superfluous.  Wise judges would always keep the law's spirit fresh.

    As for commercial law, Lycurgus was unwilling to prescribe rules for business.  He preferred to let questions be decided by wise judgment rather than by specious reasoning based on interpretations of writings.  In this way, the law adapted naturally to changing circumstances...

    The most important job of any lawgiver, in Lycurgus' opinion, was the proper education of the young.  He began at the very beginning, with the marriages that produced the children that were to be educated".

John Milton, from Areopagitica (1644):

"That other leading city of Greece, Lacedæmon, considering that Lycurgus their lawgiver was so addicted to elegant learning, as to have been the first that brought out of Ionia the scattered works of Homer, and sent the poet Thales from Crete to prepare and mollify the Spartan surliness with his smooth songs and odes, the better to plant among them law and civility, it is to be wondered how museless and unbookish they were, minding nought but the feats of war".

Photos from Wikipedia: This photo by  Matt Popovich
Taken with a Canon IXUS 132 at the Law Courts of Brussels on December 30, 2013

Protagoras, Agnosticism and the Burning of Books; Sophism

On Protagoras and the gods ("sophistic thinkers... pointed out the absurdity and immorality of the conventional epic accounts of the gods") - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Attributed to Protagoras (ca. 480-410 BC):

'Concerning the gods, I have no means of knowing whether they exist or not or of what sort they may be. Many things prevent knowledge including the obscurity of the subject and the brevity of human life.' 


«Σχετικά με τους Θεούς δε γνωρίζουμε ούτε για το αν υπάρχουν ούτε για το αν δεν υπάρχουν. Είναι πολλά εκείνα που εμποδίζουν τη γνώση, τόσο η αβεβαιότητα όσο και η συντομία της ανθρώπινης ζωής»

Για τους θεούς δεν μπορώ να ξέρω ούτε αν υπάρχουν ούτε αν δεν υπάρχουν ούτε ποια είναι η μορφή τους. Γιατί πολλά πράγματα εμποδίζουν τη γνώση: το γεγονός ότι είναι αόρατοι και η συντομία της ζωής   

Cicero, On the Nature of the Gods, Book I

John Milton:

"In Athens, where books and wits were ever busier than in any other part of Greece, I find but only two sorts of writings which the magistrate cared to take notice of; those either blasphemous and atheistical, or libellous. Thus the books of Protagoras were by the judges of Areopagus commanded to be burnt, and himself banished the territory for a discourse begun with his confessing not to know 'whether there were gods, or whether not.'"

"This course was quick  enough, as Cicero writes, to quell...the desperate wits of other atheists...Of other sects and opinions, though tending to voluptuousness, and the denying of Divine Providence, they took no heed".

Full text: Areopagitica, John Milton (1644)

From Wikipedia (Greek)

Θεωρείται επίσης ο πρώτος αγνωστικιστής, όπως προκύπτει από τις θέσεις που εκφράζει στο έργο του Περί Θεών. Αντιμετώπισε με κριτικό πνεύμα την ύπαρξη του Θεού θεωρώντας ότι εμπόδιο για τη γνώση του είναι «η αδηλότητα των θεών και η βραχύτητα του ανθρωπίνου βίου». Οι απόψεις του, όπως και αυτές του Σωκράτη, σκανδάλισαν τους Αθηναίους και κατηγορήθηκε από τον Πυθόδωρο για αθεΐα. Μαρτυρείται πως τα βιβλία του κάηκαν δημόσια στην αγορά και ο ίδιος καταδικάστηκε για αθεΐα.

Protagoras (on the right): Salvator Rosa (1615-1673)

See also: 

Protagoras, on the left!

After Salvator Rosa (British Museum Collection)

"Democritus standing before Protagoras, looking down at him with outstretched arms, hailing him as a philosopher on seeing him bind a bundle of twigs, thereby making them stronger than a single stick would have been, while Protagoras looks up, holding the bundle on a rock and leaning on it with his left knee to keep them together; with a tree in the background to left, landscape visible over the brow of the hill where they are grouped and two other men turning to watch to right; after Salvator Rosa; etched state. 1773".

Friday, 2 February 2018

At the Aquatic Sports, Thomas Hardy

Morris Dancers, West Bay

Fiddler, "with his back to the sea"

At the Aquatic Sports

With their backs to the sea two fiddlers stand
Facing the concourse on the strand,
And a third man who sings.
The sports proceed; there are crab-catchings;
The people laugh as levity spreads;
Yet these three do not turn their heads
                     To see whence the merriment springs.

They cease their music, but even then
They stand as before, do those three men,
Though pausing, nought to do:
They never face to the seaward view
To enjoy the contests, add their cheer,
So wholly is their being here
A business they pursue.

Thomas Hardy

The Yetties at West Bay

West Bay, Boxing Day Swim

Michael Hobbs (9.02.1934 - 1.02.2018); RIP

I was sad to hear the news about the death of another good friend, Michael Hobbs, in Sydney, Australia. There is an obituary in the Sydney Morning Herald:

Michael Hobbs, 9.02.1934 - 1.02.2018

"Much loved father of Katharine, Christopher, Neil and Andrew; grandfather of Lorren, Stephanie, Ben, Harry, Georgia, Donald, Matthew, Philip, Joshua and Phoebe; great grandfather of Michael, David, Zoe, Alexander, Tobias and Lincoln. Stepfather of Julia, Pickens and Elise; step grandfather of Ravi and Zachary.

Died suddenly while preparing oysters for friends on the early evening of February 1 at home in Woolloomooloo.

A great loss to the Sydney Art scene and people everywhere. An even greater loss to his family and friends.

All who knew him please come to St James Church, King St, at 10.30 am, FRIDAY (February 9th, 2018) for a Memorial Service, and after at The Union, University and Schools Club on Bent St at 12.30 pm.

Deo Dante Dedi
With God giving, I gave.

Published in The Sydney Morning Herald on Feb. 3, 2018

An Art Collector interview from March 2013

EU: post-Brexit plan for Britain's 73 European Parliament seats

From DW, Deutsche Welle- "An EU committee has proposed a post-Brexit change to seat distribution in the bloc's parliament. Some of the UK's 73 European Parliament seats would go to Spain and France while others could cross national borders".

A German view:

Brexit-related: Frankfurt's Uncertain Future; Brexit Winner, Brexit Loser, Spiegel Online

Brexiteers Are Driving Britain into a Wall, Spiegel Online

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Plastic Particles and the Food Chain

Tiny plastic particles are strewn all the way along the food chain,Tom Bawden,

“If polystyrene nanobeads can pass so easily up through the food chain and cause tissue damage and behavioural changes in fish, where do the implications end? Are we also eating nanoplastics?” said Dr David Santillo.

How much of the plastic in our oceans ends up on our plate? Tom Bawdem, inews

The plastic nightmare, the Prince's ‘deep frustration’ at the world ‘ignoring’ the crisis, Mail Online

"Many of you, I know, shared my deep frustration that the world was seemingly just turning a blind eye to this mounting evidence".

Dorset Wildlife Trust's plea for plastic-free county, Dorset Echo

Manta Ray filmed swimming through plastic bags and other rubbish off Bali, Euronews, Video

This is something I wrote on the Greek island of Skiathos, 35 years ago:

Skiathos, The Medusae- and Plastic-Crowded Sea

The sea was thick as pasta soup
With jellyfish both big and small;
Every year they multiply,
Purple, brown, transparent.
Beside them, washed up on the beaches,
Bags and bottles, flip-flops, potties,
Limbs of dolls and flotsam toys:
A plague upon this plastic waste!

Invading army, invincible warriors,
Imperishable, never to decompose,
It litters the coastline, like cuttlebone clutter.
Indestructible, non-degradable,
The pile of petroleum product grows.
Ajax! Most of the bottles are aptly labelled.
Ajax! Warrior bottle, I name the foe,
These, the real Men o’ War.

The contents may have cleaned a house,
But the containers foul the ocean.

Brexit Negotiations (The Diplomatic Rap)

Considering that, etc.,
Noting that, etc.,
Underlining that, etc.,
Recognizing that, etc.,
Bearing in mind that, etc.,
Stressing that, judging that, u.s.w, a.t.d., κ.τ.λ.,
Having decided that
Nothing will come of nothing, etc.,
The EU Member States,
Not desiring to accept it,
Adopt it, endorse it, approve it,
Or to append signatures to a concluding document,
Recommend that…
Those who are not disposed to dispose of it,
Should shut their traps
And cut the crap.

Brexit, Business and European Unity

From EU Observer, Juncker: Business could threaten EU's Brexit unity