Posts Tagged ‘Cleopatra’

Dear readers:  As a result of seeing “Cleopatra – The Exhibition” last week, I discovered a 1983 BBC series called “The Cleopatras”.

Cleopatra the exhibit

Last night, I located the YouTube videos.

It is an 8-episode production that supposedly covers all the Cleopatras [though it starts with the “love triangle” if mother Cleopatra II, daughter Cleopatra III, and Ptolemy VIII (aka Physcon/”Fatty”)].

The production clearly demonstrates that the worst enemy a Ptolemy had was another Ptolemy.

Clearly, it is not the same production quality of “I, Claudius”.  However, I thought it may amuse some of the history fans among my readers.



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Dear Readers: Please check out CANTO TALK (click here) from yesterday, in which we had a wonderful discussion about the famous Battle of Thermopylae with Deadliest Warrior’s Spartan expert and fellow SLOB, Barry Jacobsen. This was an engaging and entertaining analysis you can’t get just anywhere, and a big thanks to Slivio Canto Jr. for making it happen!!!

Barry was very proud of me: I managed to refrain from indulging in references to Egypt, except for an opener that cited Cleopatra. Silvio sent this really wonderful video of Cleopatra’s Bath that is a nice palate cleanser to a more learned discussion of the engagement between the Persians and the Spartans, as well as a refreshing way to cleanse the mind after dealing with the Democratic National Convention all week!

Yes, my baths are exactly like that! 🙂

Fortune smiled on me last night: I was busy chatting with Silvio and Barry instead of listening to President Obama. So, in order to get up to speed for today’s commentary, I turned to Tammy Bruce’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 public podcast version so I could last through the ordeal. Basically, it was a lot of blather without the spark of Bill Clinton’s address the previous night. In light of the today’s piss poor job figures (and I noted the press actually referencing the drop-out figures more today than ever), hanging his hat on the Bin Laden raid (seeSee a Navy Seal’s book, “No Easy Day”, for refutation of the White House assertions) and GM save (see Ford, the firm that did not get bailed out and is now more profitable) didn’t seem logical. Especially as there was no plan, no budget…no beef.

Via Instapundit: It looks like Gov. Sarah Palin was right, after all!   Obama’s plans did kill jobs!

In fact, B-Daddy fisks Obama’s speech and concludes that it is fantasy.    Since fantasy and hangovers were the theme in Charlotte this week, it makes sense for Beers with Demo to be heading to Vegas — but I digress!

I don’t care what kind of ginned-up, fake analytics the elite media palms off on us after this week, it is plain to see that the Democrats took a total bath during their convention.

Here is the evidence:

  • Via WC Varones: Idiocracy – Let’s Ban Profits!

(MUT Note – As an ancient Egypt expert, I can attest to the fact it is not a good idea to start a campaign harshing on Israel/Jews…but that’s another story for another day)

I would like to note that the Ulsterman Report details the backstage interaction between Clinton and Obama on the evening of Clinton’s much better received speech.  It confirms the origin of the gleam-in-the-eye that I noted.

Bill’s speech was double the time they gave him.  Had Obama waiting.  Kept the current POTUS waiting for almost an hour.   Handlers not happy.  Jarrett pissed.  They do that little shake at the end when Obama walks out.  Backstage, Bill says something like, “He wanted to break my hand.”  He’s laughing it off.  Knows what he wanted to do was done.  Obama storms off.  The two were all smiles onstage.  Backstage, they parted.  Bill’s getting congratulated and Obama is gone.  Told somebody, was a woman so assume Jarrett but didn’t ask for clarification, took Bill aside and was shaking her finger in his face for a moment.  Bill leaned down and whispered something to her and she walks off.  He goes back to smiling and the handshakes.  Classic Clinton.  The smiling assassin.  And what is the feedback  today?  That Obama’s speech was not as good as Clintons.  That he isn’t Clinton.  Look up the Bentsen reference.  That’s what we saw Clinton pull off this week.

Clint Eastwood’s empty chair routine is proving to be the iconic image, as I prophesied last week. Today, #Eastwooding continues as Clint says: “President Obama is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.”

All is proceeding as I have foreseen.
Truly, the Democrat’s poll numbers will be heading down the drain in short order.

MUT Notes:

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Dear Readers: Before I provide another round of Egypt-based updates, I would like to apologize to you all. It seems I may be indirectly responsible for another California Teacher Union money/power grab. This news, via Instapundit and Hot Air:

In Culver City, Calif., a local union wants to force unionization of — get this — parent volunteers at the local public schools. At several schools in the city, parents have banded together to form non-profit booster clubs to fundraise for and hire part-time teacher’s helpers, who also mostly come from the ranks of the parents themselves.

The local union — the Culver City Association of Classified Employees — is not OK with that kind of initiative. The union wants the parents to continue to fundraise, but to send the funds directly to the school district so the district can then hire union employees to fill the part-time positions.

Yes, money is the heart-and-soul of the bureau-strocracy of the California public employee unions. However, I personally know many conservative and independent-minded citizen activists who have become much more involved in school activities (e.g., setting up US Constitution Day Activities). Certainly, we can’t have our children learning anything other than union-approved statist template material!!!

I feel responsible, at lease indirectly. Last month, as part of Valentine’s Day week, I wanted to feature the romance tales of King Arthur. So, I arranged to have King Arthur, via Chivalry Today, to come down and give a lesson on the Western Martial Arts, valor, and history. Now, this doesn’t correspond progressive desire to feminize of our schools — but we have an awesome teacher who loves the legends of Camelot and is cool enough to allow me to set up this special program.

King Arthur with the Young Prince

The kids are still talking about how awesome this program was, a full month later.  Be sure to check out the series on the Age of Arthur being written by the Shrine’s Hero on the Deadliest Blogger site.

The, as if that indiscretion weren’t bad enough, last week I gave a lesson on the art of political cartooning. Now, I did make it politically “neutral”, had it reviewed by the teacher for acceptability, and entertained the kids with tales of how Egyptian pharaohs were insulted by the commoners in ancient versions of this art form. However, elites can’t be none too happy about some of the results:

Just when I thought I could not be even more disgusted with the California Teachers Unions, they go that extra mile to generate even more outrage.

Now, onto Egypt. This gem via Weasel Zippers – Egyptian Presidential Candidate Calls For The Implementation of Islamic Punishments: Execution, Crucifixion And Amputation of Opposite Hands And Feet…

Then, there is this bit:

Egypt: Thousands of Muslims attacked a Coptic church, and demanded the death of its pastor, who, along with “nearly 100 terrorized Copts sought refuge inside the church, while Muslim rioters were pelting the church with stones in an effort to break into the church, assault the Copts and torch the building.” They did this because a Christian girl who, according to Islamic law, automatically became a Muslim when her father converted to Islam, fled from her father and was rumored to be hiding in the church.

Finally, to end on a slightly more upbeat note: It looks like the “Cleopatra” starring Angelina Jolie is slated for 2013.

A bit more background. David Fincher (who recently directed “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”) will direct and states: My ‘Cleopatra’ Film With Angelina Jolie Won’t Be ‘Sword-and-Sandal Epic

He continued, “I’m not interested in a giant sword-and-sandal epic. We’ve seen scope; everyone knows we can fake that. That stuff doesn’t impress in the way that it did even 10 years ago. We expect that from Starz [now]. So that’s not the reason to do that. What is it about this character that has purchased this place in our history and imagination that is relatable today?”

“Cleopatra” will present the fabled Egyptian queen as a firm ruler and military tactician who embarks on a ruthless rise to power. She twice married her brothers, killing each of them as well as a sister. Romantic alliances with the much-older Roman honchos Julius Caesar and Marc Antony help her solidify power, but her dalliance with Antony undid both of them.

Good to know, though I do like sword-and-sandal epics. 🙂

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Dear Readers: I must admit, this has been a very unsettling Christmas for me. Why? On Christmas Eve, I came across this news story:

Egypt’s richest library goes up in smoke

Egypt has lost an important part of its cultural heritage after important manuscripts and up to 200,000 books were destroyed by fire in the building of the Egyptian Scientific Institute in Cairo.

A piece of Egypt’s “national treasure” and “rare history” is gone, the country’s prime minister said in his statement. State television reported that the fire damaged the whole building and all its collections. The total damage is yet to be determined.

The fire started on Saturday after protesters threw Molotov cocktails into the neighboring Shura Council building. The fire spread to the museum and although the flames were eventually extinguished, firefighters took a long time to arrive at the site and get the fire under control.
The fire destroyed or damaged rare maps and historical documents, including a first edition copy of the Description de l’Egypte, started under Napoleon Bonaparte by French scientists, which had been carefully stored and preserved for over 200 years.

The institute was established as L’Institute d’Egypte in August 1798 by Napoleon Bonaparte, and is considered to be the oldest one in Egypt. Its library held over 200,000 volumes including irreplaceable historic manuscripts.

A worker displays a page from the ancient document "Le Description de L'Egypt" salvaged from the ruins of the Scientific Institute of Egypt, December 19, 2011 (Reuters / Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

I am devastated. Napoleon brought in a large contingent of scientists to map Egypt, study its history, and open it to the West. The Rosetta Stone, and the subsequent decoding of the ancient Egyptian language, has unveiled a rich legacy of culture and wisdom that is the legacy of the entire human race.

Napoleon’s researchers published Description de L’Egypte, which became a style guide for the early 1800’s. All the obelisks, pyramids, and sphinx that were created after its publication are derived from the excitement and wonder the French scientists were able to convey in these books.

Though it seems most of the Description de L’Egypte has been salvaged, I am still grieving. I have sensed this about modern Egypt: The moment that a majority of Egyptians forget that they are Egyptians, and subsume their history, national pride, and their unique cultural perspective to pure, radical, undiluted, medieval, fundamentalist Islam, they are lost. It seems my greatest fear has been realized.

It seems another great Egyptian library has been destroyed:

At least the Romans had the good taste not to celebrate.

For years, Dr. Zahi Hawass has been the spokesman for ancient Egypt, omnipresent in all the ancient Egypt specials I watch on cable. My thoughts immediately went to him. He wrote this: December 17, 2011: A Sad Day in My Life :

This is a sad day for all of us who love Egypt. No one can believe that the Egyptian Scientific Institute has been destroyed.

On December 17, 2011, I joined the many people who watched the disaster on television. I was horrified to see the library burning in front of my eyes. This day will never be forgotten by intellectuals, and indeed all who love learning, not only in Egypt, but all over the world.

I was terribly upset to see young people in front of the building rejoicing at what they had done. When I looked at their faces, I could see that the majority were people who had nothing to do with the Revolution. I saw one boy of about 12 who was asked why he was there. ….

The day after the Institute burned down, my dear friend Salah Montaser, a famous columnist who has a daily feature in the Al-Ahram newspaper, called me and told me that almost 90,000 books had been lost, containing over 300 years of our shared history. As we spoke, we both had tears in our eyes.

I find it very distressing that so many crooks, looters, and thieves have taken advantage of the Revolution to come out of their holes not only to rob and steal, but also to hurt all of us. I can see that many good people are silent, and many crooks have loud voices. … We should all stand firm in front of the crooks who have come out of their holes not only to destroy the revolution, but also to destroy Egypt.

A historian who is forced to watch the destruction of his country’s proud history is a tortured soul, indeed. A chilling take on this situation was offered in: Welcome to Cairostan

Those who burned the building and its artifacts meant to burn the era of logic, enlightenment, research and individualism.

This was a grave provocation against the whole of Western civilization, a desire to disconnect from science, research and modernity, while cynically using a Western means – that is, democracy – in order to take power.

One need not go all the way to blowing up the pyramids, as some of Egypt’s Salafis wish to do after they seized some 35% of the new parliament seats (alongside 40% of the Islamic brotherhood,) and there is no reason to go as far as Afghanistan, where the Taliban blew up the huge Buddha statues. The elimination of Egypt’s non-Muslim past is already here.

Anything that dates back to the Pharaohs, that is ancient, or that is Western is destined to be destroyed, and the mission has already been launched in the most symbolic manner: The outset of Egypt’s modern era, which the Salafis seek to erase, and in fact rewrite. This is a battle for writing the history of Egypt and of the Arab and Muslim world.

As many of you will recall, this year saw the passing of the quintessential Cleopatra — Elizabeth Taylor. The following scene from that movie was brought to mind when I first heard the news (and my title today is derived from it):

Cleopatra’s words to Caesar: But neither you nor any other barbarian has the right to destroy one human thought!

I can only pray Cleopatra’s spirit still resides in some brave Egyptians. God help us all if it has been burnt away.

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Dear Readers: Work concerns have prevented my regular posts. However, today, I had to express my profound sorrow at the passing of screen legend Elizabeth Taylor. She died this morning, age 79, surrounded by family. Requiescat in Pace, Cleopatra.

Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra (1961)

Taylor’s Cleopatra had real impact on my life, as I was born the same year that the movie was heavily played and promoted. My parents took me to see it as an infant, using the nearby drive-in theater (yes, I am THAT old). I swear my earliest memories are of men in togas and a woman in a gold dress! I have loved ancient Egypt all my life. “Cleopatra” was the first movie on TV that my parents allowed me to stay up late to watch. I have seen every movie version of Cleopatra (including one starring Sophia Loren). There is no one who has ever come close to Taylor for combining the elegance, intelligence, and passions that would have been been the hallmark of the original Cleopatra.

Without Taylor’s Cleopatra, I might not have developed my love for ancient Egypt that has guided me throughout my life. From one of her lines in that film:

“There has never been such a silence.”

My favorite scene from a cherished film:

UPDATE 1: I have come across a fabulous pictorial post highlighting Taylor’s life and style sense: HOLLYWOOD ICONS – ELIZABETH TAYLOR.

Anna Puna’s comments remind me of a quote from another iconic movie that comes to mind today: I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.

UPDATE 2: My blogging icon, the Anchoress, notes that Taylor could wear white well. I could not agree more!

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