I.e. 'what character doesn't give, Salamanca (i.e. culture or study) won't provide'.

This is the motto of the town I've been at this last weekend, the old Salmantica (nowadays Salamanca), the oldest University in Spain (founded in 1218) and one of the oldest Universities around...

It's a very nice motto in a really beautiful stone city. Character can't be learned, and attitudes come from our fabric, not from our learning process (now we could discuss if the socialization process is a part of our fabric as a social animal or not, but we won't do so at the moment, uh?).

It was a very nice weekend, we celebrated lots of things in a single row: coming of Springtime (and Ostara), the officiality of Irish in the European Union, and St. Patrick's Day, the national day of Éire (with green t-shirts that had a huge patch with a seamrog and the sentences, in a very nice gaelic font faces "Tá Gaeilge Agam... Agus Tusa?", and "Lá 'le Pádraig" which roughly say in Irish: "I can speak Irish, and you?", and "The Day of Patrick's Festivity")...

I got a couple tons of pictures, I'll post some when I have them sorted and scaled, but there are tons around on the web, anyway... I also got a couple of books, in one of the many book stores of this Universitarian city:
  • one is a historical fiction novel written by Spanish writer Jesús Maeso de la Torre, Tartessos, which is about, um, well, the end of the Tartessos civilization (it was a very successful civilization sited in the south of the Iberia, around the Columns of Herakles and the Tyrian town Gadir, and it was swamped by Carthage in (or around) the VI BCE Century after Tyre started to lose strength in controlling its Lybian colony.)
  • Hic sunt Trivium, Quadrivium et novum Sexivium, a small book written in "latinam linguam macharronice", published by the Spanish University of University of Caesar Augusta (i.e. Zaragoza). It's a very nice book I found in a kind of rummage sale, flea marcket organized by the Hound Defense Association in Salamanca; they were getting some funds for their cause, and I felt happy to help them and get this very nice book in exchange... I hope they get their goals, it's a real shame what hunters do to their hounds when they don't require them anymore...

Great weather (freezy nights, but at least it was sunny days: yesterday it was snowing at sunset in Madrid!), great feeling (I usually get this when I'm in a primarily University-Town, you know it's like youth, culture and easy-goingness are harmoniouly coordinated in those towns...), the people was very nice, food excellent, the views great... I will certainly remember the visit!

Now, you've been travelling a bit around, alright, what more have you been doing, dear Excalibor? Well, I've been studying, Japanese to be more precise (well, a small pet peeve of mine since my tender youth, and I have recently got tired of reading subtitles while watching Bleach, which I certainly recommend if you have never read/watched it!). I've also been reading about the History of Turkey, about the Mongols and Chingis Khan, and my Irish classes are going well... Oh, yeah, my novel(s)?


I've re-read what I've written of Alaric: horrible writing, but very nice story so far (short, OK, but kind of nice anyway). I'm still feeling tempted by it... But the star of the moment is Revolt!, and about it... I will definitely leave the Persian wedding for a later time! It's horrible! I can't work out a believable dialogue between the bridegroom-wannabe and the father...

Thus I'll skip it and get down to the recuperation of the Ionian towns and nearby islands, the failed Thracian expedition of Mardonios's and the Second Expedition that will lead us to Marathon and the end of the first draft (pending some Yaunâ part and the damned wedding...)

I'll try to get to it ASAP, but studying and life in general gets in the middle, grrr...

Anyway, I'll let you know!


PS- happy Spring and happy Autumn! (depending on which hemisphere you are actually living!)



No, I'm not reading C. Iulius Caesar's De bello gallico, but Rex Warner's Imperial Caesar.

It's pretty interesting! Gaius Iulius has always been one of those historical personalities that irremediably attracts me and, at the same time, I absolutely repel. I am, after all, and despite my efforts to stay socioculturally and anthropologically neutral whe studying History, a product of my times.

When I think of the great heroes of the past, specially the military/political ones (not the only ones I hold dear in my heart, but we are talking about the greatest of them in impact, and let's face it, money makes the world go 'round), I find a mix of fascination and abomination that I find particularly confusing, but irresistible: Kūruš (Cyrus the Great), Dārayawauš (Darius I the Great), Bagābuxša (Prince Megabyzos), Perikles, Aléxandros (III of Makedonia, the Great), Hannibal (Barca of Carthage), Pyrros (of Epirus), C. Marius, L. Cornelius Sulla, Cn. Pompeius Magnus, C. Iulius Caesar, M. Aurelius Antoninus Augustus, Fl. Claudius Iulianus, Alaricus, Attila, Salahuddin Al-Ayyubi (Saladin), Chinggis Khan... All of them share an equal amount of brilliance and countless deaths.

When a modern author (or researcher) dives into such a personality (who was, invariable, a product of his time) I have found that they can fail absolutely, of make a wonderful job, in understanding the personality of the individual in his own time and circumstances. I found that in Gisbert Haefs' Hannibal, or Alexander books, in Gore Vidal's Julian, and I think I'm finding it in this book as well: a deeper connection between the superficiality of brilliance in battles and political maneuvers, and the personal circumstances that pushed them into a direction or another: even the biggest are helpless against the winds of Fate, and we assist to their triumphs and (almost invariably) ultimate demise with anticipation and--at least me--awe.

What do I think of C. Iulius Caesar? Well, I've read his most important books, and some of them with some intensity in parts (including the original latin), and I have read his life several times: the world is as it is today because of his. If we are forced to pick a few men and women that became capital, pivotal points in History, he would be one of the most important points (it's actually a very difficult question, because it's hard to separate cause from effect and new effects as they become causes, but I think we can all agree that, for one reason or another, C. Iulius Caesar was a pivotal point in ancient times, the same way Attila and Chingis Khan were in the middle age, or Napoleon in modern times...). At the same time he was the by-product of a long series of events that we can, ultimately, trace back to pre-History. Some things I can clearly and openly admire; others, however, make my heart feel crushed: I live different times (probably the cruelest, bloodiest times in all History so far)... But I think I can sort-of become a Roman (or a Gaul, or a...) of the Late Republic and like or dislike some things, but also understand him. And I think I'm gonna enjoy the book.

I'll let you know... :-)