Historical Impressions II

History as Religion In a secular age that is bereft of the overwhelming, sweeping influence of religion, a gap is left behind that needs filling. Whilst the overthrow of religion is a necessary evil for the sake of a liberal, scientific, democratic society, it nonetheless deprives us of a many numinous needs. And I’m not…

Historical Impressions

The Persian Wars “He asked, ‘Croesus, who told you to attack my land and meet me as an enemy instead of a friend?’ The King replied, ‘It was caused by your good fate and my bad fate. It was the fault of the Greek gods, who with their arrogance, encouraged me to march onto your…

You Want a Role Model, Here’s Mary Beard

I am the least woke person you’re ever likely to meet. I find the era of ‘rights’ we live in tiring, jaded and leaning towards the dictatorial. And it’s such a shame because rights are, of course, the fundamentals of 21st century Western civilisation. They are ideas we inherited, in very raw form, from our…

The Fayum Portraits

The Fayum Portraits How do civilisations die out? Are they wiped out by conquerors, decimated by natural disasters, emaciated by ongoing famine? Is it really that straightforward a question to answer?             Art has always been a marker for civilisations, a culture’s own self-made DNA. Archeologists and historians can date artifacts by their artistic styles,…

Travel Essay on Wanderlust     I could live here. Ever get that feeling, when you’re travelling down an avenue full of life, or having a drink in a small town somewhere, and you just get that optimistic, world-beating whiff of air that hints (loudly) to you: you never want to leave here. And you…

Poems of a Rome Unseen

Ode to Chestnut Sellers   It’s dangerous to want What you’ve never wanted before.   I walked out into the Roman twilight And heard love songs sung By the sellers of roasted chestnuts And I loved whatever they loved.   I wanted the same apartment With the same shrouded lover That they wanted in a…

Mamma Roma

Mamma Roma   I return to you as an émigré returns to his own country and rediscovers it… Pier Paolo Pasolini   My first time in Rome was a return to the city I had always known. Not because I live off its heels, or because I even really know Italian but because I am…

The Heir of Holocaust

The past is a foreign country – when we travel to it we remember what shouldn’t be forgotten. This is a short-story set around the time of the Carthaginian holocaust at the hands of the Romans. A potential Part I to a full-fledged novel. What do you think – does it have potential to blossom…