Tag Archives: history

Early Tulips

Emirgan Korusu, 2016.03.12

Ayşe was still in Ankara, but I had seen rumors on Twitter that tulips were already blooming in Emirgan Korusu. The bulbs were being dowsed with ice water, lest the flowers be overblown for the Tulip Festival in April. Anyway, I wanted to get away from the crowds of Şişli and Beyoğlu. The morning was mostly sunny. Thus on Saturday, March 12, 2016, I headed out to Emirgan, repeating the trip that we had made the previous April. Continue reading

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

Art on the Bosphorus

Here are photos from a Saturday (March 7, 2015) spent on the European side of the lower Bosphorus. It is a place I seem now often to go, though I may not have a particular plan. Saturday was another cloudy day; but in Istanbul, in winter, one cannot wait indoors for a sunny day, or one might wait for weeks. No rain was forecast: that was enough reason to go out.

The first place where I got the camera out was the Bezm-i Âlem Valide Sultan Camii, otherwise known as the Dolmabahçe Mosque, dated 1851 at the door. Continue reading

Liberation

This article is based on quotations from three writers, of three different nationalities, who share a spirit with which I am in sympathy:

  1. “The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”
  2. “The real cycle you’re working on is the cycle called ‘yourself.’ ”
  3. “I thought that the democratic system was not only a form of government but a school of political experience coextensive with the nation.”

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Interview with Mustafa Kemal

Below are transcribed the words in the image above by the founder of the Turkish Republic.

When I first visited Istanbul, in 1998, I was too late to see old American cars used as dolmuşlar. Perhaps there were still a few around, but I did not see them. They had been described in a book published the previous year:

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Bosphorus Sky

This is about the morning of Thursday, December 18, 2014, a morning I spent by the Bosphorus, thinking mostly about poetry, and photographing the sky.

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The Istanbul Seaside

The original purpose of this article was to display and explain two photographs by me: one of a seaside park, the other of an abandoned car. I do this, and I talk about the stresses and compensations of the big city. I continue with the theme of Freedom from an earlier article of that name.

It is now early December in Istanbul, 2014. We have hardly seen the sun for weeks. Some rain falls almost every day. One has to learn to go out when one can. Last Saturday was cloudy, but dry, so we walked down to the Tophane-i Amire—the “Cannon Foundry Imperial.” The name is romantic, because it dates from Ottoman times, and because, like Koh-i-Noor, it is in a Persian grammatical form that is obsolete in Turkish. Today’s name of the cannon foundry would be Amire Tophane.
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Cosmopolitanism

A discussion elsewhere, provoked by the Israel–Gaza conflict, has moved me to recall one and then another article in Katrina vanden Heuvel, ed., The Nation, 1865-1990: Selections from the Independent Magazine of Politics and Culture (New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1990). As I recall, I ordered this anthology, having recently started subscribing to The Nation. I found the best way to read the anthology was backwards, thus starting with what I knew best.

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Having now transcribed passages from the anthology, I record them here also.

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Freedom

How do our thoughts age?

Having written recently that natural science was not history of nature, I looked back at Collingwood’s posthumous Principles of History for his arguments about this. I read his discussion of freedom as what distinguishes history from natural science. I recalled that his earlier writing was more concerned with removing distinctions than drawing them.

This is something that I investigate here. I occasionally encounter denials that we have free will. I find such denials bizarre; but evidently some people believe them, or at least believe they are worthy of consideration. I find Collingwood’s own account of freedom to be worthy of consideration. But then, considering this along with the rest of his œuvre, I have to conclude that everything is free. This conclusion is not really new to me; I drew such a conclusion as an adolescent. It may be a common thought. Wordsworth seems to have had such a thought, according to his Ode:

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NL V: “The Ambiguity of Feeling”

Index to this series

Feeling differs from thought. Thought is founded in feeling; thought is erected on feeling; thought needs feeling. Thought needs feelings that are strong enough to support it. But thought itself is not strong (or weak); it has (or can have) other properties, like precision and definiteness. Thought can be remembered and shared in a way that feeling cannot.

The New Leviathan is a work of thought. It might be said that a work of thought cannot properly explain feeling. Collingwood more or less says this in Chapter V, even in its very title: “The Ambiguity of Feeling.” Continue reading