Though Greek in language, the civilization of Mycenaean Greece was in most other, basic respects a provincial outpost of a Middle Eastern culture whose epicentres lay in Egypt, Syria, and Iraq. The imposing Lion Gate entrance to the citadel recalls Hattusas of the Hittites or even Babylon; and the beehive, corbelled, drystone tombs known as the Treasury of Atreus (Agamemnon’s father) and the Tomb of Aegisthus (lover of Agamemnon’s wife Clytemnestra) betray an almost Egyptian lust for imposing posthumous longevity.
Palace-frescoes suggest that the buildings rang to the chants of court-musicians, and so, conceivably, there may have been Mycenaean court-poets or at any rate court-lyricists. But the Linear B texts deciphered thus far at least (from Thebes, Tiryns, Ayios Vasilios, and Pylus as well as Mycenae on the mainland, and from Cnossos and Khania, ancient Cydonia, on Crete) contain not a shred of poetry nor any other kind of literature, and, given their documentary, bureaucratic function as temporary records of economic data mainly for tax-purposes, are hardly likely to yield such in the future.
(It is, not incidentally, by accident not design that the Linear B tablets were preserved: the fires that consumed the palaces at Mycenae and elsewhere in c. 1200 BCE baked them to an imperishable hardness).
In short, Mycenaean culture and society represented, in Hellenic retrospect, a false start.
[I]f anything, rock criticism’s become less populist over the last decade, as the spiraling decline of album sales makes it tougher to frame successful records as public events and easier to make niche sensations seem like they matter. And as we’ll see, there were definite limits to the types of pop that could win over wider audiences.
On a personal level, of course, the idea of a pro-pop revolution feels right because it validates the many hours I spent arguing about it on the net. Making niche events feel somehow important is something the Internet is horribly good at: it turns arguments fractal, lets your bunch of digital friends and foes feel like the world when it no way is.
Cities may be engines of innovation, but not everyone thinks they are beautiful, particularly the megalopolises of today, with their sprawling rapacious appetites. They seem like machines eating the wilderness, and many wonder if they are eating us as well. Is the recent large-scale relocation to cities a choice or a necessity? Are people pulled by the lure of opportunities, or are they pushed against their will by desperation? Why would anyone willingly choose to leave the balm of a village and squat in a smelly, leaky hut in a city slum unless they were forced to?
Image via Wikipedia
Well, every city begins as a slum. First it’s a seasonal camp, with the usual free-wheeling make-shift expediency. Creature comforts are scarce, squalor the norm. Hunters, scouts, traders, pioneers find a good place to stay for the night, or two, and then if their camp is a desirable spot it grows into an untidy village, or uncomfortable fort, or dismal official outpost, with permanent buildings surrounded by temporary huts. If the location of the village favors growth, concentric rings of squatters aggregate around the core until the village swells to a town. When a town prospers it acquires a center
A plume of smoke, ash and steam soars five miles into the sky from an erupting volcano.
The extraordinary image was captured by the crew of the International Space Station 220 miles above a remote Russian island in the North Pacific.
The round hole in the clouds is thought to have been caused by the shockwave of the initial explosion. At the centre lies the billowing mushroom tower of grey and brown ash.
For volcano experts, the most exciting part of the image is the layer of smooth white cloud that caps the plume — a little like a layer of snow on a mushroom.
This cap of condensed air is created from the rapid rising and then cooling of the air directly above the ash column. When moist, warm air rises quickly it creates a cloud.
Wyatt Mason on outdoor springtime reading Leaves of Grass (the 1855 edition): “Not least of the pleasures of reading outside is one of the most prosaic: the light’s really good.”
“We noticed that American products and the American way of eating are trendy at the moment,” Judith Witting, sales manager for Sprehe, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. “Americans are more relaxed. Not like us stiff Germans, like (Chancellor Angela) Merkel.”
The idea, she claimed, was to get in on the Obama-mania which is continuing to grip Germany. The word “fingers” in the name refers to the fact that it is a finger food. “It’s like hotdogs,” Witting said. “No one would ever think they are actually from dogs.”
For Americans in Germany, though, there is a risk that the product might be seen as racially insensitive. Fried chicken has long been associated with African-Americans in the US — naming strips of fried chicken after the first black president could cause some furrowing of brows.
Witting told SPIEGEL ONLINE the connection never even occurred to her. “It was supposed to be an homage to the American lifestyle and the new US president,” she said.