Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Fibonacci: Sacred Geometry in Nature

The above video is part of a short movie from Spain inspired by Fibonacci, numbers, geometry, and nature. As remarkable as it it today to witness science decoding of the codes of nature, Leonardo Fibonacci accomplished a significant part of this in the early 1200's. So significant is the "Fibonacci sequence" that it is just as relevant today. Using the scientific method of the Fibonacci number sequence, American Dr. Stephen Marquardt was able to tie these mathmatics to the beauty ratio of the human face. Sometimes the image of the core of the shell of a snail or of marine life is used as a symbol of the "Fibonacci number." This number code exists deep in nature.


Fibonacci (Wikipedia)

Leonardo Pisano Bigollo (c. 1170 – c. 1250) – known as Fibonacci, and also Leonardo of Pisa, Leonardo Pisano, Leonardo Bonacci, Leonardo Fibonacci – was an Italian mathematician, considered by some "the most talented western mathematician of the Middle Ages."

Fibonacci is best known to the modern world for the spreading of the Hindu–Arabic numeral system in Europe, primarily through his composition in 1202 of Liber Abaci (Book of Calculation), and for a number sequence named the Fibonacci numbers after him, which he did not discover but used as an example in the Liber Abaci.


"All life is biology. All biology is physiology. All physiology is chemistry. All chemistry is physics. All physics is math."
--Dr. Stephen Marquardt


Saturday, November 30, 2013

'Gladiator' movie review

'Gladiator' (2000 film) [Wikipedia]

Gladiator is a 2000 British–American epic historical drama film directed by Ridley Scott, starring Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Ralf Möller, Oliver Reed (in his final film role), Djimon Hounsou, Derek Jacobi, John Shrapnel, and Richard Harris. Crowe portrays the fictional character, loyal Roman general Maximus Decimus Meridius, who is betrayed when the emperor's ambitious son, Commodus, murders his father and seizes the throne. Reduced to slavery, Maximus rises through the ranks of the gladiatorial arena to avenge the murder of his family and his emperor.

Released in the United States on May 5, 2000, Gladiator was a box office success, receiving positive reviews, and was credited with rekindling interest in the historical epic. The film was nominated for and won multiple awards, notably five Academy Awards in the 73rd Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actor for Crowe.

This is a movie that has been reviewed so many times that I think that I will go a little further along the lines of looking at it from a Cisalpine perspective. Just from the get-go, this was a great movie. Great plot, great flow, great scenes, great performances, and great cinematography. Along with 'Braveheart', this was probably the greatest movie of it's type in the last three decades or more. Of particular interest was the computer-generated imagery.. in this, the digital era of film making.

Unlike 'Braveheart', which presented itself from the opposite perspective of the larger domineering military superpower, 'Gladiator' firmly took the stance that "glorious Rome" had a right to forcefully promote it's benevolent "idea" upon other cultures. Maximus described Rome as "the light" in a cruel dark world; while Senator Falco said in reference to the resisting Germanic tribes: "A people should know when they're conquered." The film seems to have been loosely based upon Julius Caesar and the Roman conquest of Gaul, as well as the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. Only--in this case--with the Romans winning in Germania.

Set in 180 AD, the protagonist--Maximus--is referred to throughout the film as "the Spaniard." This would mean that he was a Romanized Celtiberian from the Roman province of Hispaniola (Spain), who rose through the military ranks to become a general. In the first scene, the Roman-German battle, the fearsome Roman weapons of war were put on display. Large fireballs were launched from huge catapults, hitting the battlefield like a modern air bombing. Large arrows were cranked up and fired from steel-plated cannons with devastating results. This army would frighten most modern armies in the world.

Leading up to the battle, General Maximus gave one of the great quotes from the movie. This movie was full of them.

[addressing his troops] Maximus: Fratres!
[cavalry addresses Maximus]

Maximus: Three weeks from now, I will be harvesting my crops. Imagine where you will be, and it will be so. Hold the line! Stay with me! If you find yourself alone, riding in the green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled. For you are in Elysium, and you're already dead!
[cavalry laughs]

Maximus: Brothers, what we do in life echoes in eternity.

The last line could just stand on it's own as a quote. I thought the earlier part was interesting in that "Elysium" would have apparently been the Roman equivalent of the Odinic "Valhalla." Also, the motivational speech was the 'Gladiator' equivalent to the speech in 'Braveheart'. The one difference being that the Romans were powerful and self-confident; while the Scots in 'Braveheart' needed to gather themselves to fight a larger powerful army... therefore, the more emotional speech.

Another quote which I thought was interesting was a line that Marcus Aurelius said to his daughter Lucilla: "If only you had been born a man, what a Caesar you would have made." It was an indirect reference to his son Commodus not being a viable choice as a successor; and really, for me at least, more of a reflection on the strong and noble character of Lucilla. That's the type of woman that you would want to govern!

In case you didn't know, the acronym "SPQR" is the Roman equivalent of "USA." Senātus Populusque Rōmānus ("The Senate and People of Rome").

Watching the movie, you can't help but notice the similarity between the "bloodsport" of the Roman Colosseum and the very rough modern sporting contests (soccer, rugby, American football, hockey, boxing, UFC, etc.). The first fight scene in the Colosseum reminded me of a football game! The deadly collisions were like big football hits. Even when a sword was tossed up to Maximus on a horse, it was like a quarterback pitching the football to a halfback.

In an earlier bloodsport scene, Maximus--after defeating his opponents in a life-and-death struggle--throws his sword into the columned box where the dignitaries sat (sort've like a press box?), and yelled out with outstretched arms "Are you not entertained! ...... Are you not entertained!!" in what seemed to be a mocking gesture.

Late in yesterday's 49ers-Seahawks game, a 49er defensive back named Eric Wright was kneed in the head and had to leave the game. Since it was a big game, he later returned, and ended up intercepting a pass to secure a victory. He returned from injury to "win" and "entertain" for the crowd. The Maximus line would have been very apt.

I should add that the digital imagery of what the Colosseum really looked like was very interesting, as-well-as much of the background scenery. This is one of those movies that a film buff would have a field day researching and collecting. I can't really do it justice. The acting performances were particularly good.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pegasus - The flag of Tuscany

Flag of Tuscany (Flags of the World)

Description of the Flag

The gonfalon was adopted on the 20th May 1975 and readopted with the coat of arms on the 3rd February 1995. The coat of arms is a sannitic shield, gules a Pegasus argent. The gonfalon is white with two narrow vertical red stripes, and the Pegasus in the middle. The words Regione Toscana appear under in silver. The Pegasus was the symbol of the Toscan National Liberation Committee during the Second World War.
--Pascal Vagnat, 22 September 1998

The white on red stripes are possibly derived from the red-white-red triband (the Austrian colours) adopted by Tuscany in the latter half of the 18th Century and dropped in 1848.
--Christopher Southworth, 14 September 2003

The pegasus image on the flag, gonfanon and arms has been taken from a coin made by the Florentine artist Benvenuto Cellini (the one who made the famous Perseo statue) in 1537. This coin can be seen in the National Museum of Bargello in Florence. White and red have been the traditional colors of Toscana since long time, not only during the Grand-Ducal period. Also note that white and red are the traditional colors of most Tuscan towns, including Firenze, Pistoia, Lucca, Pisa and Grosseto.


Pegasus (Wikipedia)

Pegasus (Ancient Greek: Πήγασος, Pégasos, Latin Pegasus) is one of the best known mythological creatures in Greek mythology. He is a winged divine stallion usually depicted as pure white in colour. He was sired by Poseidon, in his role as horse-god, and foaled by the Gorgon Medusa. He was the brother of Chrysaor, born at a single birthing when his mother was decapitated by Perseus. Greco-Roman poets write about his ascent to heaven after his birth and his obeisance to Zeus, king of the gods, who instructed him to bring lightning and thunder from Olympus. Friend of the Muses, Pegasus is the creator of Hippocrene, the fountain on Mt. Helicon. He was captured by the Greek hero Bellerophon near the fountain Peirene with the help of Athena and Poseidon. Pegasus allows the hero to ride him to defeat a monster, the Chimera, before realizing many other exploits. His rider, however, falls off his back trying to reach Mount Olympus. Zeus transformed him into the constellation Pegasus and placed him up in the sky.

Hypotheses have been proposed regarding its relationship with the Muses, the gods Athena, Poseidon, Zeus, Apollo, and the hero Perseus.

The symbolism of Pegasus varies with time. Symbol of wisdom and especially of fame from the Middle Ages until the Renaissance, he became one symbol of the poetry and the creator of sources in which the poets come to draw inspiration, particularly in the 19th century. Pegasus is the subject of a very rich iconography, especially through the ancient Greek pottery and paintings and sculptures of the Renaissance. Personification of the water, solar myth, or shaman mount, Carl Jung and his followers have seen in Pegasus a profound symbolic esoteric in relation to the spiritual energy that allows to access to the realm of the gods on Mount Olympus.

White horse (mythology) [Wikipedia]

White horses (which are rarer than other colours of horse) have a special significance in the mythologies of cultures around the world. They are often associated with the sun chariot, with warrior-heroes, with fertility (in both mare and stallion manifestations), or with an end-of-time saviour, but other interpretations exist as well. Both truly white horses and the more common grey horses, with completely white hair coats, were identified as "white" by various religious and cultural traditions.

The flag of Tuscany

Mythologies and traditions



In Celtic mythology, Rhiannon, a mythic figure in the Mabinogion collection of legends, rides a "pale-white" horse. Because of this, she has been linked to the Romano-Celtic fertility horse goddess Epona and other instances of the veneration of horses in early Indo-European culture.

White horses are the most common type of hill figure in England. Though many are modern, the Uffington White Horse at least dates back to the Bronze Age.

In Scottish folklore, the kelpie or each uisge, a deadly supernatural water demon in the shape of a horse, is sometimes described as white, though other stories say it is black.

In Greek mythology, the white winged horse Pegasus was the son of Poseidon and the gorgon Medusa. Poseidon was also the creator of horses, creating them out of the breaking waves when challenged to make a beautiful land animal.



In Norse mythology, Odin's eight-legged horse Sleipnir, "the best horse among gods and men", is described as gray. Sleipnir is also the ancestor of another gray horse, Grani, who is owned by the hero Sigurd.


In Slavic mythology, the war and fertility deity Svantovit owned an oracular white horse; the historian Saxo Grammaticus, in descriptions similar to those of Tacitus centuries before, says the priests divined the future by leading the white stallion between a series of fences and watching which leg, right or left, stepped first in each row.


The war god in Hungarian mythology was Hadúr, who wears pure copper and is a metalsmith. The ancient Magyars sacrificed white stallions to him before a battle. Additionally, there is a story (mentioned for example in Gesta Hungarorum) that conquering Magyars paid a white horse to Moravian chieftain Svatopluk I (in other forms of the story, it is instead the Bulgarian chieftain Salan) for a part of the land that later became the Kingdom of Hungary.[citation needed] Actual historical background of the story is dubious because Svatopluk I was already dead when the first Hungarian tribes arrived. On the other hand, even Herodotus mentions in his Histories an Eastern custom, where sending a white horse as payment in exchange for land means casus belli. This custom roots in the ancient Eastern belief that stolen land would lose its fertility.

The Pale Horse - Death
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Wikipedia)

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are described in the last book of the New Testament of the Bible, called the Book of Revelation of Jesus Christ to Saint John the Evangelist at 6:1-8. The chapter tells of a "'book', or 'scroll', in God's right hand that is sealed with seven seals". The Lamb of God, or Lion of Judah (Jesus Christ), opens the first four of the seven seals, which summons four beings that ride out on white, red, black, and pale horses. Although some interpretations differ, in most accounts, the four riders are seen as symbolizing Conquest, War, Famine, and Death, respectively. The Christian apocalyptic vision is that the four horsemen are to set a divine apocalypse upon the world as harbingers of the Last Judgment.

White Horse

I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, "Come and see!" I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.
--Revelation 6:1-2

Due to the above passage (the most common translation into English), the white rider is referred to as Conquest (not Pestilence, see below). The name could also be construed as "Victory," per the translation found in the Jerusalem Bible (the Greek words are derived from the verb νικάω, to conquer or vanquish). He carries a bow, and wears a victor's crown.

As evil

Artwork which shows the horsemen as a group, such as the famous woodcut by Albrecht Dürer, suggests an interpretation where all four horsemen represent different aspects of the same tribulation.

The first horseman is often associated with military conquest. One interpretation, which was held by evangelist Billy Graham, casts the rider of the white horse as the Antichrist, or a representation of false prophets, citing differences between the white horse in Revelation 6 and Jesus on the white Horse in Revelation 19. In Revelation 19, Jesus has many crowns, but in Revelation 6 the rider has just one.

As righteous

Irenaeus, an influential Christian theologian of the 2nd century, was among the first to interpret this horseman as Christ himself, his white horse representing the successful spread of the gospel. Various scholars have since supported this notion, citing the later appearance, in Revelation 19, of Christ mounted on a white horse, appearing as The Word of God. Furthermore, earlier in the New Testament, the Book of Mark indicates that the advance of the gospel may indeed precede and foretell the apocalypse. The color white also tends to represent righteousness in the Bible, and Christ is in other instances portrayed as a conqueror. However, opposing interpretations argue that the first of the four horsemen is probably not the horseman of Revelation 19. They are described in significantly different ways, and Christ's role as the Lamb who opens the seven seals makes it unlikely that he would also be one of the forces released by the seals.

Besides Christ, the horseman could represent the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was understood to have come upon the Apostles at Pentecost after Jesus' departure from Earth. The appearance of the Lamb in Revelation 5 shows the triumphant arrival of Jesus in Heaven, and the white horseman could represent the sending of the Holy Spirit by Jesus and the advance of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Globalist/UN Ideology

"We are in charge of God's selection process for planet Earth. He selects, we destroy. We are the riders of the Pale Horse, death. We do this for the sake of the world."
--Barbara Marx-Hubbard 

Barbara Marx-Hubbard couldn't fight her way out've a wet paper bag, but the forces behind words should be taken seriously. However, this is an example of the "White Horse" symbology used within a Biblical meaning.


WHITE HORSE - linked to instinct, purity and the drive of the physical body to release powerful and emotional forces, like rage with ensuing chaos and destruction.

--Excerpt from 'The Subconscious Psychosis of Dreams'


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

'Libira Me' - Roman Catholic chant

Deliver me, O Lord, from death eternal on that fearful day,

When the heavens and the earth shall be moved,

When thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.

I am made to tremble, and I fear, till the judgment be upon us, and the coming wrath,

When the heavens and the earth shall be moved.

That day, day of wrath, calamity, and misery, day of great and exceeding bitterness,

When thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.

Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord: and let light perpetual shine upon them.

Libira Me (Wikipedia)

Líbera me ("Deliver me") is a Roman Catholic responsory that is sung in the Office of the Dead and at the absolution of the dead, a service of prayers for the dead said beside the coffin immediately after the Requiem Mass and before burial. The text of Libera Me asks God to have mercy upon the deceased person at the Last Judgment.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

FIAT 500L "Italian invasion" commercial

This is one of the recent FIAT commercials. FIAT has emerged as a major player in the automobile industry worldwide. The northern Cisalpine industrial centers have been at the cutting edge of this industry from the very beginning. I feel a slight urge to write something a little sarcastic, but I don't want to get in the way of everyone's fun!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Frangelico Liqueur

From the label:

According to legend Frangelico lived three centuries ago in a hilly area bounded by the right bank of the river Po, and the ridge of mountains dividing Piedmont from Liguria.

Although we are not sure of his real name, we do know that the local farming population used to call him Frangelico because, he lived as a hermit and he greatly loved nature.

Through his love of nature and deep knowledge of its secrets he was able to create many original recipes for liqueurs and drinks.

The most precious of them was a liqueur made from the wild hazel-nuts growing in the woods, exquisitely blended with infusions of other berries and flowers to enrich the flavour.

We carry on the tradition of preparing the ancient liqueur and in doing so we want to keep alive the name of the man who created it for the first time.


Monday, August 26, 2013

California Wine 2013

Yesterday, the San Francisco Chronicle published its annual 'California Wine' section. It was subtitled 'Sunny days - Now's the best time in years to enjoy the state's bounty.' In it were numerous articles about regional wines, corresponding foods, fall events, wine tasting, and different grapes. Unfortunately, this group of articles isn't available as a separate section online; but here is the link to their "wine" homepage.

No aspect of regional northern California culture brings out more the long standing local Cisalpine heritage than the wine industry. Not just the older wineries, but newer ones; as well as Cisalpines who came here in later times like Robert Mondavi. One of the wineries featured is the Fanucchi Vineyards in Fresno County.

In one of the articles entitled 'A toast to California wines', it states "California wine is booming as never before. You can see it clearly in the numbers. As we'll relate in the following pages, the state's wine industry remains on a nearly two-decde surge of popularity, accounting for more than $34 billion in sales last year."

In another article from the section entitled 'California wine enjoys a long boom', a sub-section shows the following facts:
*California's wine economy
-$61.5 billion in overall economic impact in the state
-330,000 jobs generated
-$12.3 billion in wages
-$14.7 billion generated in state and federal taxes

I often like to try foreign wines, and it's easy for for locals to forget that we live in very likely the best wine producing region in the world. One interesting development in recent years has been the growth of wine in Sonoma County; although I don't really know if it actually comes close to challenging the famous Napa County wine region in sales. Another interesting aspect of this industry is that there are big growers who don't even have a label of their own, and find it profitable enough in the farming end of the business.

The wine community of Lodi in the Central Valley--a city named after Lodi, Lombardy--had a full page ad to promote their wines, with their website LodiWine.com. If you're near a Chronicle distributor, you could just walk in and purchase the Sunday paper of August 26; especially if you wanted to attend some of the late Summer and Fall events. I find sfgate.com to be hard to search and navigate. Lastly, St. Helena is the heart of the wine industry in North America. It truly is a great place to visit. Our people were predominant in making this industry from it's inception.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Caffe D'Melanio: Restaurent Review

Being keenly interested in Argentina, I took notice recently while driving down Ocean Avenue in San Francisco when I saw the sign "Caffe D'Melanio - Argentinean Italian Cuisine." I dined there this past week, and wanted to review it. A quick glance at yelp.com showed inconsistent reviews, but mostly very positive. The establishment is both a coffee shop and deli during the day, and a restaurant and bar in the evening. It was named after the Argentine-expatriate owner Melanio Duarte, who passed away a couple of years ago, and seemed to live a very interesting life. I don't know if there is any Italian heritage connection or not; a person doesn't have to be Italian to serve Italian food, and certainly it is a very prominent culture in Argentina.

I noticed while quickly scanning the reviews, and from my own experience there, that's it's a difficult place to "review." It comes down to personal preference. I went on a weeknight at 5:30 PM, and we were the only ones there except for a person to two at the bar. It's a spacious place with a high ceiling, and well maintained, with a mixture of modern equipment and rustic art on the walls that reminded me of what I at least perceived to be South American. There was a type of monitor near one side playing oldies with the volume low at this time, with trivia, etc. I got the impression that they had been busy with coffee all day, and were making the transition to the restaurant part of the business. There was a bar near the entrance with big coffee blenders. They seem to cater to college students during the day, and there is a Wifi available.

I'm not familiar with "Italian-Argentinian cuisine," so I wasn't certain what items may have been Argentinian; but to me it looked like Italian and eclectic items (ex. Greek salad). Wine was available and they brought bread. I ordered the Chicken Pesto Ravioli and the other person ordered the salmon. My order was $11, but they have a nightly special which was about $6. I thought the homemade pomodoro sauce was very good, and the ravioli's were large and tasty. If you have a big appetite, then you probably should get an appetizer as well. It was pretty adequate food, although not a big menu.

Being a "politicophobe," I didn't care for the political statement(s) on the wall though. Then I had remembered when I scanned the article above, that the founder was a political activist who had fled to Brazil, then fled there apparently. Personally, I can't see a dime's worth of difference between far-right dictatorships and far-left dictatorships in Latin America. Anyway, what's the rule-of-thumb with strangers? "No religion and no politics." If this establishment was closer to places that I frequent more often, I would be more interested. I would like to go back to try their coffee. Basically, I liked it and its casual atmosphere. It looks like what you would think a cafe would appear like in Buenos Aires. It is like a little touch of the cone of South America.


Monday, August 19, 2013

'Le Nozze Di Figaro' ("Opera Song" from the 'Shawshank Redemption')

'Le Nozze Di Figaro', or 'The Marriage of Figaro', was the "Opera Song" featured in the movie 'The Shawshank Redemption'.

From Wikipedia: Le nozze di Figaro, ossia la folle giornata (The Marriage of Figaro, or The Day of Madness), K. 492, is an opera buffa (comic opera) in four acts composed in 1786 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with an Italian libretto written by Lorenzo Da Ponte based on a stage comedy by Pierre Beaumarchais, La folle journée, ou le Mariage de Figaro (1784).

Quote from the movie: I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singin about. Truth is I dont wanna know. Id like to think they were singin about something so beautiful it can't be expressed in words and makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a gray place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made those walls dissolve away and for the briefest of moments every last man in Shawshank felt free.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Ben-Hur (movie review)

Last evening on TCM, I watched 'Ben-Hur' for the first time in a very long time, and I wanted to review it. It is considered one of the epic movies of all time. One aspect of the film which I overlooked when I had watched it as a boy, was the Christian element to it; as it was subtitled 'A Tale of the Christ'. "Ben-Hur" was apparently not based on a real historical figure, but the film was based on an very popular 1880 fictional novel by Govenor/General Lew Wallace of the same title and subtitle.

There had been a 1907 film and a 1925 film based on the novel, and with the same title and subtitle as well. With the upcoming remake, there will be four different film adaptations of the novel, as well as television and many stage adaptations going back over a century. This is one of those movies where a film buff could have a field day researching, including documentaries about it and of how it was made.

The movie opens just as Christ is born. It doesn't actually show it, but it implies it with powerful symbolism, including the Star of Bethlehem moving in the sky and illuminating the spot where he is born. Ben-Hur seems to be the same age as Jesus, and his life runs parallel to his in many ways. Then the film shoots forward twenty-six years as "XXVI" is then shown on the screen with Jerusalem in the background. At this point, the nation of Judea has been conquered by the Roman Empire.

Judah Ben-Hur, played by Charlton Heston, is a wealthy prince and merchant in Jerusalem. At this point his childhood friend Messala, who had joined up with the Romans, has just returned to Judea to rule it as Roman colonial governor. Initially, they are overjoyed to see each other again, and speak of old times... as they are from the same cultural background. However, this soon changes when they begin to speak of Roman colonization. Messala wants to use Ben-Hur to help him crush the rebellions. The heated conversations they have, in my opinion, are the same arguments that people have had from the dawn of mankind to the present day: "Is it okay to betray your people?" Obviously most people have answered "yes" to this question... sometimes even while wrapped up in a flag.

Both have become important young men now. Messala insists that "it's a Roman world now!," while Ben-Hur believes that the Judean nation should go back to being free and sovereign. Messala wants to crush the resistance, while Ben-Hur calls them "patriots." Although it would be much more practical and easy to join up with Messala, Ben-Hur will not give in as he stated that he believes in both the past and future of HIS people.

Eventually Messala finds a reason to lock up Ben-Hur, and he becomes a galley slave, rowing oars on Roman ships. I won't give the movie away, but just as there are parallels with Jesus and Ben-Hur, there is a long battle between Ben-Hur and Messala that takes many dramatic twists and turns. At one point, while being marched across the desert as a slave, the Roman guards will not allow him to drink. While face down on the sand, Jesus gives him water... and he connects with Jesus in a very dramatic way at the end, but I don't want to give it away.

The one scene which the film is best known for is "the chariot race scene," a dramatic sporting competition in Judea, of chariot riders from different Roman colonies; and of which Messala rides for Rome, while Ben-Hur competes for Judea. I wish I could give thoughts about the entire movie, but I won't... but I highly recommend it for anyone who has not seen it yet. Through much suffering, the ending is... to say the least.. special. The movie, espeically the ending, says a lot about love, character, faith, family, culture, and nation.

I thought some of the scenes from Rome, and even some from Jerusalem--especially at night with backgrounds--reminded me of how I perceive what ancient Etruria was like. Even some of the architecture seemed more Etruscan than Greek or Roman. Some of the grand movies of that time, which were based upon the ancient world, were starting to effectively use background imagery.. which I saw some of in 'Ben-Hur.' Also, for the naval battles, believable-looking miniature models were used. A lot of these and other artifacts are available for public viewing.

Ben-Hur is known for its cinematography, which included tremendous Roman pageantry... of which they retained for applicable scenes... without overdoing it. This was a movie with many dramatic ups and downs. There are a lot of dark scenes. The ending scene from Ben-Hur could be metaphorically tied to the scene in the 'Shawshank Redemption' where Andy Dufresne finally emerges from the sanitation pipe... except even better. There was a great cast, as well as many other remarkable aspects to the film, which you can see some of in the below link:

Ben-Hur (1959 film) [Wikipedia]

Ben-Hur is a 1959 American epic historical drama film set in ancient Rome, directed by William Wyler, produced by Sam Zimbalist and starring Charlton Heston, Stephen Boyd, Jack Hawkins, Hugh Griffith and Haya Harareet. It won a record 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, an accomplishment that was not equaled until Titanic in 1997 and then again by The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in 2003.

A remake of the 1925 silent film with the same name, Ben-Hur was adapted from Lew Wallace's 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. The screenplay is credited to Karl Tunberg but includes contributions from Maxwell Anderson, S. N. Behrman, Gore Vidal, and Christopher Fry. Ben-Hur had the largest budget and the largest sets built for any film produced. The nine-minute chariot race has become one of cinema's most famous sequences. The score composed by Miklós Rózsa was highly influential on cinema for more than 15 years, and is the longest ever composed for a film.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Paul the Deacon

Monte Cassino

Paul the Deacon was born in Friûl, in the Langbard state of Austria (Lombardy/Trento/Tri-Veneto), in the Early Middle Ages. Although of Langobard ancestry, he later became a Catholic monk at Monte Cassino. He is famous for authoring a history of the Langobards, entitled 'Historia Langobardorum'. This history covers about four centuries of Langobard history, from their origin in southern Sweden to their duchy at Benevento. He passed away before he could complete it. We are indebted to his work.

Being a dedicated Benedictine, his subtle dismissal of the Heathen spiritual tradition of the earlier Langobards was evident in his works. The book was translated into English in 1907 by William Dudley Foulke, and of course, is available. Remember, the headquarters of the Langbard Kingdom was Lombardy; but more specifically, their capitol was Pavia... very close to Liguria and Genoa.

A 1907 quote from a letter from President Theodore Roosevelt to Willian Dudley Foulke:

The translation of Paul the Deacon has just come, and I have already begun to read it. It is such a pleasure to have friends who do such things as you do! What a delightful old boy the Deacon was; and what an interesting maxture of fact and fable he wrote!

Paul the Deacon (c. 720s – 13 April probably 799), also known as Paulus Diaconus, Warnefred, Barnefridus and Cassinensis (i.e. "of Monte Cassino"), was a Benedictine monk and historian of the Lombards.


An ancestor named Leupichis entered Italy in the train of Alboin and received lands at or near Forum Julii (Cividale del Friuli). During an invasion the Avars swept off the five sons of this warrior into Pannonia, but one, his namesake, returned to Italy and restored the ruined fortunes of his house. The grandson of the younger Leupichis was Warnefrid, who by his wife Theodelinda became the father of Paul.

Born between 720 and 735 in Friuli in Italy to this possibly noble Lombard family, Paul received an exceptionally good education, probably at the court of the Lombard king Ratchis in Pavia, learning from a teacher named Flavian the rudiments of Greek. It is probable that he was secretary to the Lombard king Desiderius, a successor of Ratchis; it is certain that this king's daughter Adelperga was his pupil. After Adelperga had married Arichis II, duke of Benevento, Paul at her request wrote his continuation of Eutropius.

It is certain that he lived at the court of Benevento, possibly taking refuge when Pavia was taken by Charlemagne in 774; but his residence there may be much more probably dated to several years before that event. Soon he entered a monastery on Lake Como, and before 782 he had become a resident at the great Benedictine house of Monte Cassino, where he made the acquaintance of Charlemagne. About 776 his brother Arichis had been carried as a prisoner to Francia, and when five years later the Frankish king visited Rome, Paul successfully wrote to him on behalf of the captive.

His literary achievements attracted the notice of Charlemagne, and Paul became a potent factor in the Carolingian Renaissance. In 787 he returned to Italy and to Monte Cassino, where he died on April 13 in one of the years between 796 and 799. His surname Diaconus, shows that he took orders as a deacon; and some think he was a monk before the fall of the Lombard kingdom.


The chief work of Paul is his Historia Langobardorum. This incomplete history in six books was written after 787 and at any rate no later than 795/96, maybe at Montecassino. It covers the story of the Lombards from their legendary origins in the north in 'Scadinavia' and their subsequent migrations, notably to Italy in 568/9 to the death of King Liutprand in 744, and contains much information about the Byzantine empire, the Franks, and others. The story is told from the point of view of a Lombard and is especially valuable for the relations between the Franks and the Lombards. It begins:

The region of the north, in proportion as it is removed from the heat of the sun and is chilled with snow and frost, is so much the more healthful to the bodies of men and fitted for the propagation of nations, just as, on the other hand, every southern region, the nearer it is to the heat of the sun, the more it abounds in diseases and is less fitted for the bringing up of the human race.

Among his sources, Paul used the document called the Origo gentis Langobardorum, the Liber pontificalis, the lost history of Secundus of Trent, and the lost annals of Benevento; he made a free use of Bede, Gregory of Tours and Isidore of Seville.

Cognate with this work is Paul's Historia Romana, a continuation of the Breviarium of Eutropius. This was compiled between 766 and 771, at Benevento. The story runs that Paul advised Adelperga to read Eutropius. She did so, but complained that this Pagan writer said nothing about ecclesiastical affairs and stopped with the accession of the emperor Valens in 364; consequently Paul interwove extracts from the Scriptures, from the ecclesiastical historians and from other sources with Eutropius, and added six books, thus bringing the history down to 553. This work has value for its early historical presentation of the end of the Roman Empire in the West, although it was very popular during the Middle Ages. It has been edited by H Droysen and published in the Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Auctores antiquissimi, Band ii. (1879) as well as by A. Crivellucci, in Fonti per la storia d' Italia, n. 51 (1914).

Paul wrote at the request of Angilram, bishop of Metz (d. 791), a history of the bishops of Metz to 766, the first work of its kind north of the Alps. This Liber de episcopis Mettensibus has been recently edited and translated into English by Damien Kempf (Leuven, 2013). He also wrote many letters, verses and epitaphs, including those of Duke/Prince Arichis II of Benevento and of many members of the Carolingian family. Some of the letters are published with the Historia Langobardorum in the Monumenta; the poems and epitaphs edited by Ernst Dümmler will be found in the Poetae latini aevi carolini, Band i. (Berlin, 188f). Fresh material having come to light, a new edition of the poems (Die Gedichte des Paulus Diaconus) has been edited by Karl Neff (Munich, 1908), who denies, however, the attribution to Paul of the most famous poem in the collection, the Ut queant laxis, a hymn to St. John the Baptist, which Guido d'Arezzo fitted to a melody which had previously been used for Horace's Ode 4.11. From the initial syllables of the first verses of the resultant setting he then took the names of the first notes of the musical scale. Paul also wrote an epitome, which has survived, of Sextus Pompeius Festus' De significatu verborum. It was dedicated to Charlemagne.

While in Francia, Paul was requested by Charlemagne to compile a collection of homilies. He executed this after his return to Monte Cassino, and it was largely used in the Frankish churches. A life of Pope Gregory the Great has also been attributed to him, and he is credited with a Latin translation of the Greek Life of Saint Mary the Egyptian.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Temple of Diana: Midsummer

Summer Solstice
The summer solstice occurs when the tilt of a planet's semi-axis, in either the northern or the southern hemisphere, is most inclined toward the star (sun) that it orbits. Earth's maximum axial tilt toward the sun is 23° 26'. This happens twice each year, at which times the sun reaches its highest position in the sky as seen from the north or the south pole.

Midsummer is the period of time centered upon the summer solstice, and more specifically the European celebrations that accompany the actual solstice or take place on a day between June 21 and June 25 and the preceding evening. The exact dates vary between different cultures.

Diana (mythology)
In Roman mythology, Diana (lt. "heavenly" or "divine") was the goddess of the hunt, the moon and birthing, being associated with wild animals and woodland, and having the power to talk to and control animals. She was equated with the Greek goddess Artemis, though she had an independent origin in Italy. Diana was worshipped in ancient Roman religion and is revered in Roman Neopaganism and Stregheria. Dianic Wicca, a largely feminist form of the practice, is named for her. Diana was known to be the virgin goddess of childbirth and women. She was one of the three maiden goddesses, Diana, Minerva and Vesta, who swore never to marry.

Oak groves were especially sacred to her. According to mythology, Diana was born with her twin brother Apollo on the island of Delos, daughter of Jupiter and Latona. Diana made up a triad with two other Roman deities: Egeria the water nymph, her servant and assistant midwife; and Virbius, the woodland god.

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus (Latin: Ianus) is the god of beginnings and transitions, thence also of gates, doors, passages, endings and time. He is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past. The Romans named the month of January (Ianuarius) in his honor.

The stag or horned solar god, as well as the moon goddess, go clear back into the ancient world to proto-European peoples. Later manifestations (Etruscan, Greek, Roman, Norse, Celtic/Gaulish, Slavic, etc.) all merged, co-opted, or co-existed with this earlier culture.

[Music: Song #1: 'Ready to Fly' by Verman Williams; Song #2: Unknown]


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Francis of Assisi (1961) - complete film

Francis of Assisi (film) [Wikipedia]

Francis of Assisi is a 1961 DeLuxe CinemaScope film directed by Michael Curtiz, based on the novel The Joyful Beggar by Louis de Wohl. It was shot entirely in Italy. The film was not a box-office success. It starred Bradford Dillman in one of his few sympathetic leading film roles (he usually played a villainous character onscreen, despite having originated the role of Jamie in the original stage version of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night in 1956).

Two years after the release of Francis of Assisi, Dolores Hart, the 24-year-old actress who plays a nun in the film, became a real-life Roman Catholic nun at the Benedictine Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut.


Francis Bernadone (Bradford Dillman) is the son of a wealthy cloth merchant in Assisi, who gives up all his worldly goods to dedicate himself to God. Clare (Dolores Hart) is a young aristocratic woman who, according to the film, is so taken with St. Francis that she leaves her family and becomes a nun. By this time (1212 A.D.), St. Francis has a well-established reputation for his vows of poverty. The movie goes on to note miracles (such as the appearance of the stigmata on Francis's hands and feet) and other aspects of his life, up to and including his death on October 3, 1226.


I saw where this was on on the Turner Classic Movies network, and found it on YouTube. I watched it today. If you're a Cisalpine, you should see it. Even with religion aside, it's part of our history.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Linda Evangelista: Supermodel

Linda Evangelista has been a famous "supermodel" for a long time now, having started her career in 1984; and has been featured on the cover of over 600 magazines. She was born in Ontario, Canada; of immigrant parents from Latium.

Linda Evangelista (from Wikipedia)

Born: May 10, 1965 (age 48); St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
Years active: 1984–1998 (retired), 2001–present
Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Hair color: Blonde
Eye color: Blue-green
Measurements: 86.5-61-89 (EU); 34-24-35 (US)
Weight: 55 kg (121 lbs)
Dress size: 36–38 (EU); 6 (US)
Manager: DNA Model Management Models 1 Agency

Linda Evangelista (born May 10, 1965) is a Canadian model. She has been featured on over 600 magazine covers. Evangelista is mostly known for being the longtime muse of photographer Steven Meisel, as well as coining the phrase "We don't wake up for less than $10,000 a day". She holds the record for her multiple appearances on the cover of Vogue Italia, all of which were photographed by Meisel.

Early years

Evangelista was born to Italian parents who emigrated to Canada and was raised in a working-class, traditional Roman Catholic family in St. Catharines, Ontario, near Niagara Falls, where she attended Denis Morris Catholic High School. Her father worked for General Motors and her mother, Marisa, was a bookkeeper. Evangelista began modelling when she was discovered by an agent from Elite Model Management at the 1978 Miss Teen Niagara beauty pageant.


Evangelista later moved to New York City and signed with Elite Model Management. She then moved to Paris to further her career. She worked extensively with fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh, who encouraged her to consider a short hair cut. Top hairdresser Julien Dy's cut her hair into what she described as "a bowl cut with sideburns". She cried during the haircut but it turned out to be the defining moment of her career.[citation needed]

Evangelista once said, "We don't wake up for less than $10,000 a day", (often misquoted as: "We don't get out of bed for less than..." or "I don't get out of bed for less than...") Spoken in Vogue (1990) to Jonathan van Meter.

In 2007, she signed a multiple-year exclusive contract with the cosmetics company L'Oreal Paris. It was announced in early 2008 that she would be featured in the Prada Fall 2008 campaign seen in magazines internationally.

She is signed to DNA Model Management in New York City, and Models 1 in London.

In June 2010, the New York Post reported that Evangelista will be the new face of Talbots.

Personal life

At the age of 22, Evangelista married Elite executive Gerald Marie. They were married from 1987 to 1993.

In 1999, she became pregnant by French football player Fabien Barthez. At 6 months pregnant, she delivered a stillborn baby. The couple then broke up and Evangelista left modelling for several years to recuperate.

On October 11, 2006, Evangelista gave birth to a boy, Augustin James, refusing to name his biological father, sparking rumours. While pregnant, she appeared on the August 2006 issue of Vogue. In late June 2011, Evangelista filed court papers that revealed her son was fathered by billionaire Frenchman François-Henri Pinault, by then the husband of actress Salma Hayek. After several court appearances aimed at establishing a child support agreement, on August 1, 2011, Evangelista formally filed for a child support order in Manhattan Family Court, seeking $46,000 in monthly child support from Pinault. It was reported that if granted, this amount "would probably be the largest support order in the history of the family court." A heavily-publicized child support trial began on May 3, 2012, and included testimony from both Pinault and Evangelista, with Evangelista's attorney claiming that Pinault had never supported the child. Several days into the trial, on May 7, 2012, Evangelista and Pinault reached an out-of-court settlement.


Friday, May 31, 2013

Gallo-Italic languages

After the Romans conquered the Gallo-Alpine tribes, the slow process of linguistic Romanization of the languages began. Ancient family and village names were either translated or an Italian suffix was added on to the end (ini, oni, ucci, etti, etc.). In this way, a translated Sicilian name could be the same as a translated Piedmontese name. Still, after the fall of Rome, language shifted back to the natives languages and dialects. What we had in 1860 were the hybrid languages of Roman-Latin and the various Cisalpine dialects. Had cultural and linguistic Romanization not taken place, the Italian peninsula would be just like the Balkans today in terms of constituting entirely different languages and cultures.

If you look at the "linguistic map of Italy," and then look at the nations of 1860 (or any map between the fall of Rome and the Risorgimento, or even the regions today), it always closely matches! There is always the "northern nations," the "Roman state," and the "southern nations." All separated by different languages with local dialects. As Americans, we have a hard time comprehending the way Europe was socio-geographically over the centuries. I could move to Montana, a thousand miles away, tomorrow and instantly become a Montanan. That's what we're used to. I could move From the Bay Area to Maine, and probably fit in better than I do here, even though I have no knowledge of the state. That would be like going from Ireland to Belarus. The cultural-geographical scale, up until very recently, was entirely different.

Within many Italian provinces, there exists even different native dialects (ex. Brescia). Sometimes there are even two different language families, and in parts of the Tri-Veneto area there are three different deep-rooted languages spoken (Italian, Venetian, and Ladin), and it was once four when the German-Cimbrian language was alive. [I would consider the South Tyrol to be a different dynamic since it was wrongly acquired after World War II.]

Gallo-Italic languages (Wikipedia)

The Gallo-Italian or Gallo-Italic languages constitute the majority of northern Italian languages. Among them are are Piedmontese, Lombard, Emiliano-Romagnolo and Ligurian, although there is some doubt about the position of the latter due to its retention of final /o/.

The Gallo-Italian languages have characteristics both of the Gallo-Romance languages to the northwest (including French and Occitan) and the Italo-Romance languages to the south (including standard Italian). Examples of the former are the loss of all final vowels other than -a; the occurrence of lenition; the development of original /kt/ to /jt/ (and often later to /tʃ/); and the development of front-rounded vowels (e.g. the change of /u/ to /y/). Examples of the latter are the use of vowel changes to indicate plurals, in place of /s/; the widespread occurrence of metaphony of stressed vowels, triggered by original final /i/; and the development in some areas of /tʃ/ instead of /ts/ as the result of palatalization of original /k/ before e and i. As a result, there is some debate over the proper grouping of the Gallo-Italian languages. Most commonly, they are grouped with the Gallo-Romance languages, but some Italian linguists prefer to group them with the Italo-Romance languages.

Geographic distribution

Traditionally spoken in Northern Italy, Southern Switzerland, San Marino and Monaco, most Gallo-Italian languages have given way in everyday use to Standardized Italian. The vast majority of current speakers are bilingual with Italian. These languages are still spoken by immigrants in countries with Italian immigrant communities. Ligurian is formalised in Monaco as Monegasque.

The Venetian language is usually considered to belong to a different dialect community, while some publications place it among the Gallo-Italian languages.


Monday, April 29, 2013

'Il Trovatore' and 'La Traviata' by Giuseppe Verdi in Bay Area

Il Trovatore

Hear some of Verdi’s most melodious music including his exciting Anvil Chorus sung by Spanish gypsies.  It is full of dramatically powerful scenes: tales of flames at the stake, kidnapping and revenge master-minded by Azucena, the conniving gypsy woman; a mysterious troubadour and Leonora who loses her heart to him; the drama of war waged on a castle fortress; and two brothers separated at birth who unknowingly become mortal enemies. Set in Spain in the early 15th century, the story is told by three separate, intertwining sub-plots, rich with colorful history.

Check periodically for next showing

La Traviata

Experience the effervescent music and the heart-wrenching drama of La Traviata. A time of excess and excitement, of living for the moment and flaunting newfound freedoms creates the mood.  Verdi’s eternally popular opera, spins the tale of a conflicted courtesan, her devoted lover and his disapproving father.  Violetta dares to break society’s rules by allowing herself to love and be loved.

Coming in June


Sunday, March 17, 2013

'Rachel the Wicked' (an original new poem)

'Rachel the Wicked'

So many thought of you in a negative light,
As you so often did act without care.
Still for me, I chose to look deeper,
And saw a castle in the air.

I'll never forget the tall brown-eyed Tuscan beauty,
Who left many a passerby in a momentary stun.
And whose long hair seemed to magically change color,
Dark in the dim, and blondish in the sun.

For me, I'll always know in my heart and mind,
No matter if I'm the only one who will believe.
That you possessed some sacred values and ethics,
Of which some of your critics lacked the character to even conceive.

My dream of you this week was entirely unexpected,
Including our mystical happy ending.
I know that it won't happen in this life,
But it was still precious, even in pretending.

In what vein should I remember you,
Now that its been a good many years since you decided to leave this world?
I proclaim here and now, as neither devil nor angel,
But rather as a matron spirit of fire and aspired dreams, waiting to be unfurled.



Friday, March 15, 2013

Celtic warriors - Italian Bagpipes - Cornamuse Italiane (Arriva la Piva)

The above video, and title, was from YouTube channel fabiovetro. Bagpipes may have been introduced by ancient Phoenician traders, but I have no information about "Italian bagpipes." Apparently there is some evidence of Celtic music having a similar sound in both the British Isles and in continental Europe.

When the ancient Germanic tribes came into Europe, they merged with ancient Alpine natives from Scotland to Asia Minor to produce the "Celtic cultures." The Italic tribes would have been one grouping of the "Alpines," at a time when much of Europe was covered in ice during the last glacial movement. Some of the imagery from this video is based on the Celtic Gaels and Britons, but some of it is based on the continental Celts (Gauls, Celtiberians, Hallstatts, Belgae, Cisalpines, etc.).


Thursday, March 14, 2013

First non-European Pope is of Cisalpine descent

Pope Francis (Wikipedia)

Pope Francis (Latin: Franciscus Ecclesiastical Latin: [franˈtʃiskus]; born Jorge Mario Bergoglio; 17 December 1936) is the 266th and current pope of the Catholic Church, elected on 13 March 2013. As such, he is both head of the Church and Sovereign of the Vatican City State.

A native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, he was ordained as a priest in 1969. In 1998 he became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, and in 2001 a cardinal. Following the resignation of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, on 28 February 2013, the conclave elected Bergoglio, who chose the papal name Francis in honour of Saint Francis of Assisi. He is both the first Jesuit pope and the first pope from the Americas. He is also the first pope from outside Europe since Pope Gregory III in the 8th century.

Early life

Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires, one of the five children of Mario José Bergoglio, a railway worker born in Portacomaro (Asti) in Italy's Piedmont region, and his wife Regina María Sivori, a housewife born in Buenos Aires to a family of northern Italian (Piedmontese-Genovese) origin. He graduated from a technical secondary school as a chemical technician and then, at the age of 21, decided to become a priest.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cisalpine IQ and human accomplishment: Part 1

Cassini-Huygens Mission to Saturn and Titan
An intelligence quotient, or IQ, is a score derived from one of several standardized tests designed to assess intelligence. 

Some can agree with it, disagree with it, but it remains as the current scientific method for accessing what's between our ears. Obviously someone could be immoral, amoral, evil, violent, twisted, perverted, a political zealot, an ideologue, a relative conformist, or just totally opposed to something normal or good.... and still have a high IQ.

I think, like anything else, it should be questioned. What is "intelligence?" Someone, for example, could attain advanced degrees due to having great memorizational ability; but they could be severely lacking in creative ability, problem solving skills, and sometimes even common "cause and effect" logic. Political figures are a good example of this. Still, IQ does tell us a lot. I wouldn't totally hang my hat on it, but it can be compared to global demographics, sources of technologies, and other factors; and it can at least be determined that IQ tells us much.

Quite frankly, the IQ of native Cisalpines is about 110... the highest in the world. Even then, that doesn't mean that every individual is up to that standard; nor does is mean that a Cisalpine society will always be the best. One good example of "a self-propelled milieu of ideas" (as opposed to an intercultural crossroads of ideas) is the early automobile industry; whereby urban industrial centers in north Italy, Germany, and Japan in particular were able to develop entrepreneurial-technological environments for development.

Germany--which has a slightly lower average IQ (about 105) than true Cisalpines--still maintains a higher standard of living, a slightly higher inherent technological ingenuity, and better infrastructure. What is interesting is that the German-speaking countries, which are of Alpine and Germanic stock; and the Cisalpine regions, which are of true-Mediterranean and Alpine stock with Germanic admixture.... have gotten the best technological results in Europe. Again, this does not guarantee a better society or even a higher standard of living.

Etruscan ruins
Still, this south-central European ingenuity and IQ is higher than the more Teutonic or Norse countries; or anywhere else in Europe for that matter. It seems to shatter the idea of a Mediterranean or Teutonic basis for human accomplishment. The ancient true-Mediterraneans led the world in every area of human endeavor; yet in recent centuries the more advanced societies have become much more oriented toward generally northern/western Europe or their colonies. However, despite these realities, this Transalpine/Cisalpine creativity and ingenuity--at least in the area of science and technology--remains a driving force in the world.

There are endless theories and quagmires regarding the comparing of collective or demographic IQs, so I think I will just avoid that part of it mainly due to the endless complexities and layers of bias. Suffice to say, IQ tells us a lot, but not everything. I think that an individual could have a high IQ and not be nearly as successful as a cunning person with an average IQ. I like to think that creativity and logic carry a little more weight than cold intelligence and ruthless cunning. Actually, it's all mixed together; but it's helpful to assess ourselves.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Gauls and Langobards drank mead: Part 2

Mead was covered here on an older post entitled 'Seeking a taste of the past? Get thee to a meadery' from a 2004 San Francisco Chronicle article. It's remarkable that wine is such a big part of local culture and industry, and yet mead is hardly known; especially considering its long history. In colder climates where wine was difficult to cultivate, they produced mead. It's associated with the Vikings in particular.

The website GotMead.com was designed to help promote the market and culture of mead... also known as "honey wine." Just searching around on the subject, I can see some of the local meaderies from the SF Chronicle article above are mentioned often. If you're close to a Bev and More, then finding a good honey wine shouldn't be any problem.

The Viking heritage website ScandinavianAggression.com features a section about Viking-themed meads and meaderies. The following is from that main page...

Viking Brews and Booze

When it comes to drinking, no one can top the Vikings. No one. Which is why it is only appropriate that some modern day beverages are dedicated solely to Viking glory. In one of my more samaritan moods, I decided to compile a list of those drinks here, which is broken down into the following categories:

Barley Brews

Honey Brews

Distilled Options

Fruity Booze

Viking Booze Burial Mound

And a few short notes on the listings:

—First, everything is broken down by type of beverage as indicated in the submenu above (and also in the menu on the right-hand column), then alphabetically by title of brewery/distillery/etc. as indicated.

—Second, most of these beverages are, by some sick joke of the norns, rather hard to find, and I have not yet succeeded at apprehending most of them myself at the local booze stores. Fy fan!

—Third, I hope to keep this list as complete as possible. If you know of any appropriate beverages not listed here, please let me know! My email is on the FÅQ page. I can also be reached on facebook and myspace.

Happy browsing and drinking. Skål!



If the Greeks and Romans drank wine, then the Vikings and Gauls drank mead. I don't necessarily know that there is any type of really interesting documentary on the history of mead, as it was just part of the scenery.. part of those cultures. It was sold and traded on the market just like any other product. Even before Roman expansion, the Gauls had a system of roads that linked various tribal settlements, and even to Celtic nations outside of Gaul. They traded with Celtiberians, Vikings, Etruscans, Germans, Bohemians, and probably Greeks, Slavs, and Phoenicians. I can imagine that a good northern mead, perhaps produced by ancient Belgian-Celts, would have been a good sell at a trade-market along the southern coast of Gaul. Actually, mead can be produced even more readily in warmer climates.

Somewhere about 1300 A.D., the Italian voyager Marco Polo (1254-1324) returned from the Spice Islands with sugar cane. This inexpensive source of sugar became dominant and honey went underground - well almost. The tradition of mead was sustained in the monasteries of Europe. The need for ceremonial candles made of beeswax necessitated managed bee colonies and surplus honey was used to make mead, which was enjoyed by the monks in their more secular moments. [from medovina.com]