Tag Archives: history

Why Did They Kill Caesar?

If Caesar was such a brilliant general and wise leader, why did they kill him? Because with his army he overthrew the Roman Republic and set himself up as dictator. Shakespeare, taking off on Plutarch’s biography, makes him into a … Continue reading

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How They Killed Cicero

Who killed him? The three leaders [triumviri] Octavian, Lepidus, and Anthony ordered his execution. But it was Anthony who hated him most. This is how the Roman historian Appian tells it: “Cicero…was condemned along with his son, his brother, his … Continue reading

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Caesar’s Lost Weekend with Cleopatra

Huckleberry Finn tries to understand Tom Sawyer. “If somebody offers you a cake and a puzzle,”  he says, “most boys will choose the cake. Tom always chose the puzzle. He was just made that way.” So was Julius Caesar. That … Continue reading

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No Place Like Toledo, Spain

There is no place like it in all the world. Look at El Greco’s unforgettable painting first. Then this photograph: The whole city is a sort of natural castle with a moat, the Tagus River, in a deep gorge around … Continue reading

Posted in 1, art, books, El Cid, Romans, Spain, Toledo, travel, warfare | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

El Cid—Spain’s Champion 3

The first two pages of the epic poem El Cantar de Mío Cid are missing. That often happens to old manuscripts without a cover. But scholars say those missing pages told this story. King Alfonso sent El Cid to Seville … Continue reading

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Your Time to Be a Hero 4

The army of Greek mercenaries was armed now and ready to march.  Xenophon had been thinking about its formation. “We’ve always marched ahead of our baggage train,” he told the officers, “and it holds us back.   Sometimes the vanguard goes … Continue reading

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The Emperor Meets His Natural Son II

The boy, dressed in black, walked in quietly, with an even pace, and went straight toward the Emperor without raising his eyes, as he had been taught. He knelt at the Emperor’s chair and kissed his hand. “Sire.” “Stand up, … Continue reading

Posted in 1, books, history, literature, Spain, travel | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments