Author Archives: 100swallows

A Bishop Chickens Out. Would You?

“The incense is in that bowl, Basílides,” said the Roman official. “When you are finished making your offering to the emperor, I will give you this certificate with my signature. Keep it with you and show it to any Roman … Continue reading

Posted in books, Christianity, history, literature, Mérida, religion, Romans, Spain | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Meeting Hemingway’s Hero

I knew a bar called Las Panderetas where bullfighters went and I had seen Nicanor Villalta sitting at a table in the corner one afternoon.  I could have approached him right then but I wasn´t ready, and by the time … Continue reading

Posted in 1, bullfight, fighting bull, Madrid, Spain | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Charles V Quits and Goes to Yuste

How would you like to rule the world? Charles V ruled it—the best part of it, which included Western Europe and America. Charles V at the Battle of Mühlberg by Titian He worked and worried day and night for forty … Continue reading

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The Cicero You Never Knew

Name me a great Roman. Julius Caesar. Good.  Name me another one. Um.  Some gladiator—no, I know: Pontius Pilate. And Cicero?  Do you know what one scholar says about him? “The influence of Cicero upon the history of European literature … Continue reading

Posted in 1, books, Caesar, history, Romans, toga | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Cervantes Leaves His Pretty Wife and Looks for a Job

A few days after his wedding Cervantes must already have suspected that he had made a mistake. His wife was cheerful and  pretty and passably wealthy but he couldn’t stand her little town. How was he going to spend the … Continue reading

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The Emperor Meets His Natural Son

The Emperor Charles V (Charles I of Spain) “Gómez!” “Sire?” “Put my leg up.” The servant stooped down to see that the board holding up the Emperor’s left leg was solid, then cranked it higher. The orthopedic chair was an … Continue reading

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How Xenophon Saved His Army

“So—is this the end?” Xenophon asked himself. “You asked for it and now you got it.” He was lying in a tent in the middle of the Persian Empire. He was with a batallion of Greek mercenaries, though he was … Continue reading

Posted in books, history, literature, The Greeks, war, warfare | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments