Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Art Museums

The best to the worst that I have visited. Now let me see. Best one has to be the Louvre (I am a sucker for the classics). Worst the National Art Gallery in Ottawa (drab beyond words).

Top Ten Art Museums visited

1. Louvre - Paris. Visited in 1984.
2. Tate Art Gallery - London. Visited in 1993.
3. Uffizi - Florence. Visited in 1984.
4. Musee D’Orsay - Paris. Visited in 2002.
5. Metropolitan Museum of Art - New York. Visited in 1991.
6. Museum of Modern Art - New York. Visited in 1998
7. Sistine Chapel - Rome. Visited in 1984.
8. The National Art Gallery - London. Visited in 1993.
9. Whitney Art Museum - New York. Visited in 1991.
10. Rijks Museum - Amsterdam. Visited in 2002.

Still on my agenda to one day visit:

1. Hermitage - St Petersburg.
2. Prado - Madrid.
3. Barcelona - The whole city is an art gallery.
4. Van Gogh Museum - Amsterdam.
5. Andy Warhol Collection in Pittsburgh.
6. The city of Sienna in Italy.
7. Milan to see the Last Supper.
8. Ravenna - for some reason I am attracted to Byzantine Art.

Milestones in the History of Ancient Greece

1. The Rise and Fall of the Minoans (3000-1500BC) – Minoans were the forerunners of the Greeks.
2. The Mycenean Hiatus – This is the Period when the Trojan War took place. The stuff that legends are made up of.
3. Invasion by the Doric Greeks – Although they would set up the foundations for Classical Greeks the Dorians were originally viewed as barbarians. Talk about improving your image.
4. Colonization of Asia Minor – The Greeks colonized modern Turkey. The Turks would make up for this by colonizing the Greek Peninsula almost two millennia later.
5. The Birth of Western Philosophy – nobody can accuse the Greeks of apathy toward knowledge even if some of their theories were way off the mark.
6. The Emergence of the City States – Dawning of the Classical Period – This is the Greece most of us are aware of. Romanticized but palatable.
7. The Persian Wars – The Greeks had to slug it out with the powerful Persian Empire before they could be deemed masters of the Mediterranean.
8. The Age of the Playwright – Some say that Shakespeare, Shaw and O’Neill would be nothing with out Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristpphanes. The Greeks turned the play into an art form.
9. The Golden Age of Pericles – The Golden Age of Greece when the Philosopher king Pericles ran Athens.
10. The Peloponnesian Wars – Athens v Sparta or the Geeks vs the Jocks. No happy ending here as the Jocks win.
11. Macedonian Emergence – A new type of barbarian takes control. No surprise in that it too comes from the North.
12. The Conquests of Alexander the Great – The most Brilliant military commander of the time. Alexander makes short work of his opponents especially the Persians.
13. The Hellenic Period – Greek culture spreads in the post-Alexander era. After the Empire is divided amongst the Macedonian ruler’s generals.
14. Fall to Rome – Greeks are toppled by an old enemy: Rome. Legendary descendants of the Trojans
15. Christianization of the Greeks – Its goodbye to the Olympian pantheon as the Greeks embrace Christianity.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Key Events in Spanish History

These are in my opinion the key events in Spanish history (not in chronological order)

1. Moorish rule and the mixing of the cultures.
2. Rise of the Christian Kingdoms in the 11th, 12 and 13th centuries.
3. The Marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492. Unification of Castille and Aragon.
4. The Spanish Inquisition and the expulsion of the Jews in 1492.
5. Charles V becomes Joint Habsburg and Spanish Empire.
6. The Final Defeat of the Moors in 1492. Last Moor stronghold in Granada collapses.
7. Invasion by the Visigoths during Roman times.
8. Age of Discovery and the conquest of South and Central America in the 16th century.
9. The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).
10. Loss of Colonies in South and Central America in the 1820's and 1830's.
11. Loss of the Spanish Armada (1588).
12. The Carlist War of the 19th century.
13. Financial Collapse in the 17th century.
14. Defeating Napoleon in the Peninsula War (with English assistance).
15. Death of Franco and the coming of Democracy in 1976.
16. The rise and fall of Roman power in Spain.
17. War of the Spanish Succession and the Rise of the Bourbons.
18. Charles V abdicates and hands over power to his son Philip II.
19. 80 Year War with the Dutch in the 16th And 17th century. Leads to Dutch independence from Spain.
20. Loss of the Rock of Gibraltar to the British.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Useful websites on Ancient Rome
Has a neat name - tons of info
A worthwhile intro site for the novice
Heavy on the information - but certainly worth a visit.
More insight for the junior mind
Another locale for the history junkie

Ancient Hebrew Quiz 1

Ancient Hebrews I

1. Who was Adam and Eve’s third son?
2. Who was Methusalah’s father?
3. Name eight of Joseph’s eleven brothers?
4. What nationality was Laban?
5. Who are the four mothers of the Jewish people?
6. What was the name of the wealthy businessman who bought Joseph as a slave?
7. Who were Moses’ father and mother?
8. Who were Joseph’s two sons?
9. From which nation was Moses’s wife from?
10. What fell from heaven when the Hebrews complained to god about the manna?
11. Who was the mother of Ishmael?
12. How old was Abraham when he was circumsised?
13. What was the name of the cave that Abraham purchased for his family burials?
14. Who was the only matriarchial figure not buried in this cave?
15. In which town is this cave located?

Answers to Ancient Hebrews I

1. Seth
2. Enoch
3. Asher, Benjamin, Dan, Gad, Issacher, Judah, Levi, Naphtali, Reuben, Simon, and Zebulen.
4. Syrian
5. Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah.
6. Potiphar
7. Avram and Jochebed.
8. Ephraim and Manasseh.
9. Midianites
10. Quail - Maybe they should not have complained so quickly.
11. Hagger
12. 99
13. Cave of Machpelah.
14. Rachel
15. Hebron

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Democrat Party - Support for Slavery

Reprinted Courtesy of: Intellectual Conservative
Author: Robert Oliver

Before the Civil War, the Democrat Party was united in its support for slavery. After the war, Democrats founded the Ku Klux Klan, established Jim Crow Laws, and repeatedly defeated anti-lynching and other federal legislation that became necessary in order to dismantle Democrat-created segregation in South.

There is a saying – “God cannot change the truth.”

I’m an African-American political independent. The purpose of this article is not to debate the merits of belonging to a certain political party nor to pursue political converts. The purpose is to clarify history and to ask, does the Democratic Party owe African-Americans an apology for past support of slavery and racism?

February is Black History Month. Sometimes Black History needs clarification. For example, a friend told me that an African-American employee in his New York City office thought that President Abraham Lincoln was a Democrat. Another African-American friend, a former liaison between the Democrats in the California State Legislature and the Clinton White House, as well as a campaigner for Bill Clinton’s presidency, thought that the slave owners in the Old South were all Republicans. He thought that the worst Democrat was better than the best Republican. I was even told that an African-American woman in Illinois actually thought that it was illegal for a Black person to vote Republican! Based on that sampling, is it possible that a vast number of African-Americans are laboring under similar false beliefs about Democrats and Republicans?

For the full article go to: