Mediterranean Winter: The Pleasures of History and Landscape in Tunisia, Sicily, Dalmatia, and the Peloponnese

By Robert D. Kaplan

“Artful and clever . . . . Kaplan's e-book has made its personal mark. . . i'm able to consider the experience of an unique and undying a part of the world.”
— Bob Hoover, Pittsburg Post-Gazette

“[Kaplan] is helping the far away previous resonate this day. . . . [He] teaches classes which are informative and concise.” –The Washington put up ebook World

“A author of outstanding mind and keenness . . . with a perfectly lucid means of touching on background as a dwelling thing.” –San Francisco Chronicle

“Erudite and intrepid. . . . [Kaplan] is a deft advisor to at any place he chooses to steer you.” –The long island Times

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A drooping appendage to the mainland that is helping shape Syracuse’s nice Harbor, Ortygia is an island lower than a mile lengthy and half of one mile vast, separated from the town right by way of a slim channel spanned by means of a bridge. hardly ever have I been to a spot so immediately likeable: a toy city of low constructions the place you'll see virtually from one finish to the opposite, consecrated through the odor of fish and brine, and the hiss of the ocean. Ortygia boasts the singular characteristic of a great harbor: that feeling of excellent safeguard whereas you could pay attention all hell holiday unfastened within sight. Of all of the areas i've been in Sicily, Ortygia has replaced the least. Hemmed in by way of water, its streets preserve the coziness of a small local. Even now, quite in wintry weather, it keeps nonetheless the atmosphere of a sleepy, seedy island village. The sun-drenched stone structures seize you with their chemical colours flickering off the water within the harbor: the runny reds of iodine and vermouth; the blues and yellows of cobalt and tangerines. The elliptical and mullioned home windows have been like such a lot of tremendous eyes and smiling faces. Black cobblestones coated the streets; espaliers the rooftops. The curved iron balustrades strike a cord in me of a Wallace Stevens poem approximately how a barber’s paintings lasts yet a moment—these balustrades have been just like the most interesting curls preserved all the time. Syracuse and its environs, at their top within the past due 5th century B. C. , constituted a city-state of a number of hundred thousand population, maybe the biggest within the classical international. based in 733 B. C. through colonists from Corinth, attracted via a fertile valley, a sheltered harbor, and a close-by island with a freshwater spring, Greek Syracuse remained self reliant for over years, till 212 B. C. , while it fell to the Romans within the moment Punic battle. Syracuse’s historical past opponents that of Athens itself in richness, as though the total list of the Byzantine or Ottoman Empire have been squeezed into one city in Sicily. Syracuse’s greatness started whilst Gelon transferred the seat of his energy the following from Gela, after which, with assistance from Akragas, defeated the Carthaginians in 480 B. C. at Himera. This was once the 1st heavy blow to Punic status. It ushered in a time of prosperity that ended in the development of temples and a port complicated. Gelon used to be succeeded by means of his brother, Hieron I, who patronized the writers Pindar and Aeschylus. It was once in Syracuse the place Aeschylus wrote Prometheus certain prior to passing his ultimate years in Gela. Hieron was once succeeded by means of one other brother, Thrasybulus, a tyrant so merciless that his dying used to be nonetheless being celebrated centuries later. Such tyrants equipped Syracuse right into a energy that aroused the worry of Athens. the end result used to be the Athenian invasion of Sicily, chronicled via Thucydides, which culminated within the destruction of Athens’ fleet in Syracuse’s harbor in 413 B. C. even though positive, Syracuse were weakened seriously via its battle with Athens. This weak point led Carthage to invade Sicily. Dionysius I, who governed from 405 to 367 B. C. , outfitted the siege partitions round the urban that secure it in the course of 4 next wars.

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