Author Archives: 100swallows

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

Hércules en Cádiz

El santuario más famoso de todo el Mediterráneo occidental estuvo en Cádiz, en el actual islote de Sancti Petri. Mapa de Cádiz ( DP imagen de HansenBCN)   Estaba consagrado al Hércules Gaditano, y el mismísimo dios, decían algunos, yacía … Continue reading

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Caesar’s Greatest Battle

The most exciting thing in Caesar’s Commentaries? Commentarii de Bello Gallico, an account written by Julius Caesar about his nine years of war in Gaul (public domain photo) The battle of Alesia. What is so exciting about it? Caesar was … Continue reading

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Don Quijote’s Evil Giants

When you first see the windmills on the great hill of Consuegra you will remember Don Quijote. He thought they weren’t windmills but evil giants standing haughtily in front of him; and he bravely tilted his lance and charged. They … Continue reading

Posted in architecture, Cervantes, engineering, great writers, Spain, travel, windmill | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Giddy-up, Aristotle

This looks like a medieval version of Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly singing “True Love.” But it isn’t anything like that. Those aren’t earphones or the man’s microphone but a…bridle. The woman is riding him. She is Phyllis the Courtesan … Continue reading

Posted in 1, Alexander the Great, Aristotle, art, Basel, France, history, Humanism, Lai d' Aristot, middle ages, philosophy, Phyllis, Renaissance, Toledo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Great Roman Engineering

One of the most impressive Roman constructions you will ever see is the aqueduct of Segovia, Spain. Aqueduct of Segovia (file photo) It still brings good water down from the mountains fifteen kilometers away. For most of that distance the … Continue reading

Posted in archaeology, engineering, history, Romans, Spain | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments