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Middle-east

RUMI

Later, much later, I discovered Rumi. He became my hero because he represented an Islam vastly different from the Islam we are presented with these days. He was born in Afghanistan, in the city of Balkh, in the 13th century. His father was already a great mystic. One day, he took to the pulpit of…


EVRIKLES II

When we last left Evrikles, Emperor Augustus, whom he served well, had rewarded him the island of Kythira as recompense for his efforts, making him the prince of the island. At that time, the territory of Kythira seemed constricting to Evrikles in every sense of the word. There wasn’t much of a future in Kythira…

EVRIKLES

I was searching with Fivos for an illustrious character that lived in Palaipolis during the Roman Era. “No one known,” he tells me. In fact, barely anything is known of the city’s history. The only character tied to the Roman Kythira was called Evrikles. It was at a time in Egypt when Cleopatra and Mark Anthony…

THE SHAH’S TREASURE

Back in the days of the Shah, every time went to Iran, I rushed over to the Melli Bank because I loved looking at the crown jewels on display there in a basement room. I would begin with the Throne of the Peacocks, which was not in fact the dismantled original, but instead a facsimile:…

THE MAHARAJAH OF GWALIOR AND THE BANDITS

Many decades ago, we had been the guests of the sumptuous Maharajah of Gwalior, government minister and huge personality. He had told us of his dacoits. They were the local bandits that occupied the savannah. They were organized in gangs, the most famous of the time lead by a woman, Phoolan Devi, which had been…

Exotic Royalty

Naser al-Din Shah belonged to the Qajar dynasty and ruled during the 19th century. Slowly, his country began to descend into chaos, caught between the competing pressures of England and Russia. He was a very open sovereign. He visited Europe and was well received, he knew how to please. Following the example of his predecessors, and…


The Third World

The newly liberated nations of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, in order to combat the growing influence of American and Soviet imperialism, moved little by little towards unification. Joining them over time were the dissident states of the Soviet Empire, such as Yugoslavia. This developed progressively, and took place because these nations were headed…

Aleppo

Having previously posted my memories of Palmyra, which has since been destroyed, I wish to do the same for Aleppo, a city I knew it all its glory, which is unfortunately succumbing to the same fate, progressively crumbling and collapsing before our eyes under the weight of civil war and bombs. The Souk of Aleppo…

Requiem for a Marvel

Extract from my diary, Palmyra, February 10, 2002. The ruins were charming last night, illuminated by the distant street lamps, but this morning they were beyond compare. I left at seven thirty, it was already broad daylight, and there I saw one of the most beautiful sights in my entire life. The columns of the…

The Cathars

Two centuries after the death of Christ, Mani, an exceptional magus and prophet, rose to prominence in Persia. He mixed the religion on his country, Zoroastrianism, with a fiery interpretation of Christianity. Mani himself would not end well, as the shah eventually had him executed, yet his followers would multiply. These faithful soon emigrated, reappearing in Asia Minor in…