Tag Archives: 2015

Turks of 1071 and Today



Skip to Michael Attaleiates on Alparslan after the Battle of Manzikert

Published in six volumes between 1776 and 1788, Edward Gibbon’s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire tells the story of a thousand years and more, from before the founding of Constantinople in 330 till after its loss in 1453. Gibbon can be ridiculed for his title: a millenium is a long time to be in decline. The three thick volumes of the Penguin edition took me a long time to read, if not quite as long as Gibbon took to write. I was living in Ankara at the time, but I enjoyed being able to read Gibbon’s work also while visiting the three old imperial capitals: Istanbul, Rome, and Milan. Continue reading

Pictures

This entry features assorted photographs from recent months, along with my reasons for taking the photographs in the first place.

Devices for taking them

In a tweet there was a photograph of a crowd of excited people, all brandishing cellphones, except for this one old woman. Continue reading

Nicole at the Golden Horn

The setting was gorgeous. We were atop a hotel (and former convent) opposite the compound of the Italian Consulate—the Italian Embassy, in Ottoman times, before Mustafa Kemal founded the Turkish Republic and moved the capital to Ankara. We looked out over old trees. The street just below us was closed to cars; off to the right it became a stairway and a narrow passage up to İstiklâl Caddesi. Beyond the trees of the Consulate were the Golden Horn and Seraglio Point, with the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara beyond. As night fell, electric lights illuminated the Seraglio itself—Topkapı Palace—along with the Hagia Sophia.
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Thoreau by the Aegean

In a session of the 1986–7 senior laboratory at St John’s College in Santa Fe, for reasons that I do not recall, our tutor asked us students whether we had any heroes: for it was said that young people of the day no longer had heroes. None of the students at the table named a hero. I myself refrained from telling how I had once named a hero, when asked to do so in a high-school French class. This hero was the Buddha.

In recent times, I have listed my favorite writers as Somerset Maugham, Robert Pirsig, and R.G. Collingwood. I might add Charlotte Brontë and Mary Midgley to the list. I cannot add the Buddha, because he is not a writer. If my list were of writers and thinkers, I still could not add the Buddha: I cannot know him or any other thinker well enough, except through his own writing. But now I would add Henry David Thoreau. Continue reading

Joan Baez in Istanbul

While living in a group house in Washington in the 1990s, commuting by bicycle to the University of Maryland for my graduate studies in mathematics, I joined a discussion group of readers of the Monthly Review: An Independent Socialist Magazine. I suppose the group met as frequently as the magazine was published, though it could have been twice a month: I do not clearly recall. Neither do I recall just how I became involved with the group, though it must have been through a professor in my department who was a member. Continue reading

Impressionism

I went early to the office on Tuesday morning, June 17, 2015. On Harzemşah Sokağı in the Merkez (Center) Mahallesi of Şişli, I paused to note a cafe decorated with the Luncheon of the Boating Party. Continue reading

Teos

This is about a visit to the ruins of the ancient Ionian city of Teos. These ruins are in what is now the district of Seferihisar, in the province of İzmir, on the Aegean coast of Turkey. Continue reading

Visit to the Garbage Museum

You have got till the Second of April (2015) to visit the Garbage Museum. Details are available on pieces of trash at the museum: Continue reading

The Facebook Algorithm

I thank all of the friends who sent me birthday greetings on Facebook this year. [But see note at end.] One friend noted that I was not likely to see his birthday greeting, since I do not pay attention to Facebook these days. I usually do not pay attention; but since so many friends apparently continue to use that medium, I have not closed my account. I recently posted on Facebook a couple of photographs showing a friend from Washington who was visiting Istanbul. These photographs were “liked” by friends of that person or of me. Thus I suppose I used Facebook for its best purpose. Continue reading

Art on the Bosphorus

Here are photos from a Saturday (March 7, 2015) on the European side of the lower Bosphorus. I often go there, without a particular plan. Saturday was another cloudy day; but in Istanbul, in winter, one might wait weeks for a sunny day. No rain was forecast: that was enough reason to go out.

I first got the camera out at the Bezm-i Âlem Valide Sultan Camii, a.k.a. Dolmabahçe Mosque. The date at the door is 1851. Continue reading