From about 105 BC to 14 AD the Roman state experienced wars, revolts and invasions perilously close to the city of Rome. Invasions of German tribes, riots in the city, rebellion by Latin allies, the bloody dictatorship of Sulla, revolt of the gladiators, the conspiracy of Catiline, the takeover of political power by a triumvirate … More Lazarus
I’m a great admirer of Somerset Maugham, though I’ve only read his short stories and Of Human Bondage. I’m reading the stories now for the second time and find them even better than I remembered. I picked up another title by Maugham, called Books and You. Maugham here sets out to define one of the … More Reading matters
In 2009 I wrote an essay here on Alphonse Douzans, a great great grandfather of mine (https://phillipkay.wordpress.com/2009/07/21/ancestors-alexandre-alphonse-douzans/). Although I now know little more about him than I did then, I understand much better the information I have. A modern view of Banyuls sur mer His ancestors Alphonse’s family came from the town of Banyuls in … More The Douzans story
The famous science fiction writer, scientist and polymath Isaac Asimov wrote a little book in 1961 called Words from the Myths. When you read it you see how pervasive the influence of classical Greek and Roman literature has been on our culture. Today we think of ourselves as living in a scientific age, but the … More Phrases from stories
Rudyard Kipling has been long a favourite author of mine, though disliked all over the world now, by Indians and English speakers alike, as a racist champion of imperialism (though his character is much more complex than that). And to think that at the turn of the twentieth century Kipling was the most popular author … More The stories of Rudyard Kipling
‘Politically correct’ is one of those phrases used in different ways for different purposes, and so potentially meaningless. I find it sinister. I file it with ‘euphemism’, ‘censorship’ and ‘hypocrisy’ in my lexicon. Ignore its use in school or academic circles, where it has no effect on students but makes teachers feel happy and useful. … More Politically correct?
Have you ever noticed how all religions have a bias towards monarchism (and its excess, despotism)? Democracy is not an option in religion. God is the Lord, the King, and we his subjects, under the rule of his ministers. It’s a system that evolved in Europe under feudalism, and preserves feudal forms. That doesn’t seem … More Inspiration