Intruders

Celebration in Sarajevo

Celebration in Sarajevo


It was roughly twenty years ago that Bosnian Serbs, with arms and the direct support of the Serbian military and government, laid siege to Sarajevo for almost three years. It was part of a Serbian nationalistic effort to lay total waste to an entire people through organized rape and murder. I have no vested interest in Balkan politics save for a general concern over the state of humanity and/or flooding disasters, but as an exercise in short-term memory, holding grudges and skewed perception it’s hard to beat. I still can’t help but think about Serbian atrocities whenever I watch Novak Djokovic play tennis.

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“I drank what?”

There are cameras in museums?

There are cameras in museums?


To my untrained non-Peloponnesian eye, save for the superb and cheap souvlaki/gyros sandwiches everywhere, the Greek financial crisis has not made anything in Athens more affordable for tourists, but despite the heavy price tag for a trip to the birthplace of western civilization, I ventured forth in search of answers to the eternal questions put forth by the philosophers of old.
"I drank what?"

“I drank what?”


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The Footsteps of Giants

The Oracle Will See You Now.

The Oracle Will See You Now.


In 331 B.C., Alexander III of Macedonia journeyed from a new city on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt, a city that would soon give rise to one of the seven ancient wonders of the world, and which three-hundred years later would provide the last gasp refuge for Mark Antony and Cleopatra against the onslaught of the first Roman emperor, Augustus.

Modestly dubbed Alexandria by the conqueror of the known world, he walked through roughly 300 miles of barren desert from the city to the Siwa oasis, home of the Oracle of Amun, who promptly (one can only assume it was prompt, what with the conquerer of the known world showing up on your doorstep in the middle of the Sahara desert) informed Alexander he was the son of Zeus, a child of the Gods, helping to solidify his rule in Egypt. And providing a bit of an ego boost, I would imagine.

No simple task given the failure roughly two-hundred years earlier by the King of Persia, Cambyses the Second, son of Cyrus the Great and predecessor to Darius I, who himself gained fame by beginning a campaign of retribution against the Greek armies of Athens and Sparta, among others, and who died before the ultimate defeat his empire suffered not long after led to the rapid Hellenization of the world and much, much later to this:

Anyway, Cambyses II took his own palm reading from the oracle badly (history is unclear on exactly why the temple needed to be razed to the ground, but my money says the oracle made gentle, good-natured fun of Cambyses the Second’s name and lineage, and there was, as the ancients were often wont to do, a bit of an overreaction) and sent an army of 50,000 men to destroy the temple. To a man, they were lost in the swirling sand storms, becoming a legend, a historical question mark that passed through the ages and also led much, much later to this, if a little indirectly:


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