12.25.2015

Today in 6 BC a Baby Was Born ...

And because a Roman emperor named Augustus ordered a census, that's why most Christians know who he was. For those that might want to know a little more, I can't recommend Adrian Goldsworthy's book enough.


Augustus: From Revolutionary to Emperor - hardcover at Amazon UK
Augustus: From Revolutionary to Emperor - Kindle at Amazon UK
Yale hardcover at Amazon US - Augustus: First Emperor of Rome

12.24.2015

Merry Christmas Everybody

Every archaeologist has at some point been mildly irritated at having to once again explain that archaeologists don't "do" dinosaurs, that's paleontologists ... but in the spirit of reconciliation, I present:



Merry Christmas to those that celebrate, and Happy Holidays to the rest of us.

12.23.2015

RIP Harry Hyams

Harry Hyams was buried this morning at Willesden. He'd been looking forward to his obituaries. Sadly, most are riddled with mistakes - although he would be amused to be sharing a page with Madame Claude in today's Telegraph.

Harry was born a Jew, and continued to be a Jew; he wasn't seemingly accidentally born "to a Jewish family" but rather he was proud that his mother's family had roots in this country going back to Cornwall in the 1700s. His father was an importer not a bookie, and he went to a technical college . He wasn't an only child; he had family who were there today. His first job was in advertising.

Most obituaries concentrate on Centre Point, and it amused him that there was a nightclub at the top of it these days. He loved collecting, and could be slightly obsessive: despite his treasures he liked to 'borrow' minor drawings of purely historical interest. He read voraciously. He liked Gilbert and Sullivan. He was looking forward to his 90th birthday party. The plan was to hold it at Spencer House, with a buffet not seated, as he didn't want to get trapped next to someone that bored him. He wasn't a recluse; he just disliked many people. He was a romantic, who wooed his late wife by driving his car onto the train station platform until she agreed to go out with him, and nursed her lovingly through her illness. People were very loyal to him, because he wasn't some pantomime villain.

He loved London, and he died in his own bed on Saturday morning. He was going to have roast pork for lunch. He liked crackling. He loved and he was loved.

11.17.2015

Hollande Offers «un droit d'asile» For Art

The video of that section of the speech is here:
VIDEO - Hollande instaure un droit d'asile pour l'art

And the AFP coverage here:
Hollande va instaurer "un droit d'asile" pour les oeuvres d'art menacees par le groupe EI

Am pretty sure France 2 has lots of footage of me way back drawing parallels between destruction of Nineveh Museum and that attacks on Charlie Hebdo, where I pointed out that they were both attack on culture the West held in esteem.

This would be a huge step forward, as at the moment UNESCO refuses in any way to assist with "removing cultural property from its country of origin" so we've been having to use Free Ports - a real country, with real museums is far better.

10.11.2015

Avoid: Fellah Hotel, Marrakech

I've recommended the hotel in the past, because despite there having always been a few "issues" there, overall the hotel and the cause it supported were worth it.

Since my last visit in February, they've decided to go in a new direction and it is best avoided. 

It used to be a lovely hotel outside Marrakech, now it is on a good day a Club Med wannabe with prices that are a joke (Amanjena charges less for massages; the food at Fellah is Amanjena prices but airplane quality).

Whilst I can understand cost-cutting from a business point of view, when it leads to some pretty serious health and safety issues, it becomes a disaster. Another long term guest also checked out early, and I declined to stay even when they offered five complimentary nights - that's how bad it has become.

There are many, many other hotels around Marrakech that are both better and better value. The web site sadly in no way reflects the reality of Fellah Hotel any more.




8.25.2015

Today In 383: Gratian Died




If you enjoyed this video by Adrian Murdoch, check out his book on The Emperors of Rome; Kindle UK, Kindle US, etc

8.09.2015

Today In 378: Valens Died




If you enjoyed this video by Adrian Murdoch, check out his book on The Emperors of Rome; Kindle UK, Kindle US, etc

7.04.2015

Benedict Arnold Plaque, London

It's become a family tradition to take visiting relatives to the Benedict Arnold plaque, and snap a photo of them in front of it ...

62 Gloucester Place, London W1U 8HW  - map


Happy 4th of July!


5.31.2015

Today In 455: Petronius Maximus Died




If you enjoyed this video by Adrian Murdoch, check out his book on The Emperors of Rome; Kindle UK, Kindle US, etc

5.01.2015

Today In 305: Maximian Abdicated

... as augustus in favour of Constantius Chlorus, and retired to southern Italy. He later made a come-back with his son Maxentius, although their civil war ultimately failed.

They are both linked to the villa at Piazza Armerina - see here - and it seems likely to have dated to the period during which he retired.




If you enjoyed this video by Adrian Murdoch, check out his book on The Emperors of Rome; Kindle UK, Kindle US, etc

Today In 305: Galerius Became Emperor





If you enjoyed this video by Adrian Murdoch, check out his book on The Emperors of Rome; Kindle UK, Kindle US, etc

4.16.2015

Today In AD 69: Otho Died




If you enjoyed this video by Adrian Murdoch, check out his book on The Emperors of Rome; Kindle UK, Kindle US, etc