• fr
  • en

Strange


Strange quirks of history

The Court of Rudolph II and Rabbi Loew

When speaking of magic and magicians, we must look to 16th century Prague. Emperor Rudolph II, the nephew of Charles V, had chosen Prague from amongst all the capitals of his kingdoms to be his residence. At the time, Prague was still a medieval city. The famous Charles IV Bridge that spans the Moldau, covered…

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…

Mithra

When the Orient arrived at the gates of Rome, it brought with it a rather discrete deity. This god was born to a virgin on the 25th of December. He was frequently represented as an infant, seated upon the knee of his mother before a group of kneeling wise kings who offered gifts. He was…

Razoumovska

The patron of the epoch who built the grandest palaces was without a doubt Catherine II of Russia. With unlimited resources at her disposal, she could build colossal homes, grander than all the palaces of Europe. In fact, Catherine was only imitating her predecessor, Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, daughter of Peter the Great. The latter was…

The Venieri Nun

Kythira, it was my friend Fivos who helped me discover it. As well as Kiria Eleni Harou, who recounted its many stories. Some of them were well known, others were buried deep in the collective memory of the island, but the most enchanting were the histories of Hora, the capital of the island, where she had been a schoolteacher….

The Witches’ Well, Gleichenberg, Styria, Austria

Count Trauttmansdorff was presiding over a case of witchcraft, in the great hall of his fortress at Gleichenberg. We may imagine the scene: the Renaissance chairs, the rough medieval masonry, the rich tapestries hanging suspended from rings set in the walls, the narrow windows, the torchlight glimmering on dark wood. One corner of the room was…

Initiation

It was fifteen or twenty years ago. We took the desert road from Cairo to Alexandria, then turned left and continued along the sea until Mersa Matruh, the famous port used by Queen Cleopatra and General Rommel alike. From there, the road turns right, through the desert to the oasis of Siwa, some 200 miles…

Cassandra, La Rocca di Soragna, Parma, Italy

Late one evening, Gian Franco, the Prince of Soragna’s trusty maître d’hôtel retired early to his bedroom on the second floor of the castle of La Rocca di Soragna. There was little work for him to do because the prince and his family were away at their château in Burgundy, inherited from some French ancestor….

Tomb

The location of Alexander the Great’s remains continues to be one of the great mysteries of history. One that has passionately occupied the minds of generations of experts. According to some, Alexander was ultimately buried in Siwa. I couldn’t miss seeing this site, my hero’s resting place. Since visiting, my opinion had crystallized. – – – –…