Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Ellicott City - Palermo

August 2, 2022 Peace and Good, I flew to Sicily this past Sunday for the dedication of a friary for the elderly friars in this province. It is very, very hot here in Palermo. Yesterday, the provincial, fr. Gaspare, took us to a few of the major sites for tourism. The first was the cave site where the patron saint of the city, St. Rosalia, stayed during her career as a hermit. Then, we went to the Cathedral of Montreal. The image of Christ the Pantocrator is famous for it was used in Fellini's scene in Brother Sun, Sister Moon. It is the building with the most extensive use of mosaic in the world. It was truly magnificent. Finally, we visited our church of St. Francis. I did not know that the friars has such a beautiful church here in Palermo. It was great. This evening we have the dedication of the friary. Then tomorrow one of the friars is taking me to the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento (on the southern coast of Sicily). It is one of the best collections of Greek temples in the world (for quite a bit of Sicily was settled by the Greeks in the 6th and 5th centuries BC. On the 5th, I will be flying back to Rome. I finished some reading and listening: Vindolanda by Adrian Goldsworthy I have read a number of Goldsworth’s history books on the Roman empire, and he is excellent. I thought that this book was going to be another history, but it turned out to be a novel about a group of Roman soldiers (from various backgrounds) fighting engagements in northern England during the early 2nd century AD. It was good to read this and know that the details were probably most accurate given the learning of the author. History’s Great Plagues by Christopher Fee This series of lectures through Learn25 was not quite what I expected. I thought it would be a history of the world’s greatest plagues, and it turned out to be a review of what literature said about those plagues. In a sense, this was even better. It explained certain reactions to the disasters and how they changed society. I have acquired a number of short courses by Christopher Fee, and I look forward to listerning to them. The Burning of the White House by Jane Hampton Cook During the War of 1812, the British landed troops and burned the capital city of Washington DC (at least the public buildings such as the White House and the Congress). This book portrays the British involved as well as the politicians on the American side such as President Madison and Representative King. It also gives an endearing portrait of Dolly Madison and her role in supporting her husband, the president. The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton This is the story of a train robbery in England during the Crimean War (and, in fact, it was the payroll of the soldiers fighting that war that was robbed from a train). The organizer of the robbery was a genius who take of every possibility, including what to do in the case that they were caught. The book is well written and quite interesting. The Tractate Middoth by M.R. James This is a short novella about an obscure book written in what seems to be Hebrew that has drawn the interest of various people, and which contains a secret about money that would never have been expected. Caesar: Life of a Colossus by Adrian Goldsworthy This is a masterful presentation on the history of Julius Caesar and his influence upon Rome and the world of his time. Goldsworthy is a good historian, and an excellent author. He sorts out fable from actual history, an especially important task given that many of the sources were written to push a particular agenda. I could easily recommend any of his books to anyone interested in the topic. Sherlock Holmes: Beyond the Elementary by James Krasner This is a short course by the Great Courses on the person of Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock Holmes stories, but especially on Holmes himself. The professor speaks of the personality of the character, who is at times almost appears to be a person on the authistic spectrum. He speaks of his relationship with Dr. Watson. The course is quite well done, and it was one of the free presentations from Audible. El Greco by Delphi Masters of Art This is a biography of El Greco, the Greek artist who ended up in Italy first and then especially in Spain. The author explains his artistic influences and how he used or rejected them. The book gives a catalog of most of the works attributed to El Greco. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


Post a Comment