Friday, October 02, 2015

Alexander the Great from the program "In Our Time"

BBC's Radio 4's In Our Time's latest episode is a good overview of Alexander the Great with scholars Paul Cartledge, Clare College, U of Cambridge, Diana Spencer of the U of Birmingham and Rachael Mairs of the U of Reading. 35 minutes in there's a mention of proskynesis (obeisance or worship) which Alexander introduced as a result of his Asian campaign: a practice that alarmed his Macedonian soldiers.

The Magnanimous Alexander

Veronese's painting of 1565–1567 represents the widow and daughters of the conquered Persian emperor Darius (defeated at Issus in 333 BCE), who beg on their knees for mercy from Alexander the Great. From the point of the viewer, we, like they, mistake Alexander’s friend Hephaestion for the Greek conqueror. 

One account is given by Diodorus Siculus, Histories Book 18, 37,5:

So at daybreak, the king took with him the most valued of his Friends, Hephaestion, and came to the women. They both were dressed alike, but Hephaestion was taller and more handsome. Sisyngambris took him for the king and did him obeisance. As the others present made signs to her and pointed to Alexander with their hands she was embarrassed by her mistake, but made a new start and did obeisance to Alexander. 6 He, however, cut in and said, "Never mind, Mother. For actually he too is Alexander."74 By thus addressing the aged woman as "Mother," with this kindliest of terms he gave the promise of coming benefactions to those who had been wretched a moment before. Assuring Sisyngambris that she would be his second mother he immediately ratified in action what he had just promised orally.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Talk-blocking, manstanding resistant strategies

Sheryl Sandberg has some excellent strategies for dealing with talk-blocking, manstanding etc.

  • no-interruption policy while people have the floor
  • resist interrupters by saying something like "Wait, let her finish!"
  • support your female colleagues
  • give credit where credit is due
  • practice assertive body language and voice
  • support institutions with women in power

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Pope's speech to congress

Here's the link to the Pope's address to Congress. It's a courageous prophetic voice.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Good coverage of the Papal visit to the US

It's not easy to find good commentary on the Papal visit to the US but one voice to listen for is that of Jean-Pierre Ruiz, Professor at St John's University here in NYC.

See for example this radio interview.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Amma Syncletica: Logoi (unfinished)

  • In the beginning, there is struggle and a lot of work for those who come near to God. But after that, there is indescribable joy. It is just like building a fire: at first it’s smoky and your eyes water, but later you get the desired result. Thus we ought to light the divine fire in ourselves with tears and effort.
    – Amma Syncletica
    from ‘Desert Sayings’ quoted in How Shall We Live by Joan Chittister, OSB.

  • Amma Syncletica said, "There are many who live in the mountains and behave as if they were in the town; they are wasting their time. It is possible to be a solitary in one's mind while living in a crowd; and it is possible for those who are solitaries to live in the crowd of their own thoughts."

Saturday, September 19, 2015

If you have spent any amount of time attending church, it’s likely that you have encountered a church bully. It is even more likely that you have come across church bullies if you have been involved with church leadership. Of course, bullies are everywhere in the world, and are not limited to churches. Bullying is hot button issue these days, and bullying is something many people are trying to draw attention to so that it can be eliminated. Yet still, bullying can be hard to identify. It isn’t just the big kid on the playground stealing lunch money. Bullying can be psychological, emotional and physical.
Image Source -
Image Source –
Church bullies have a special advantage, though. Most church people have been taught to be nice and kind, to refrain from stirring the pot or rocking the boat. Church bullies know that often people will not stand up to them, and that they can get away with just about anything.

Friday, May 15, 2015

May 18th St Paul's Chapel 6.30pm - 8.30pm book launch of The Nation's First Monument and the Origins of the American Memorial Tradition

06:30 pm to 08:30 pm, May 18, 2015
  • St. Paul's Chapel
Trinity Wall Street invites you to celebrate the launch of "The Nation’s First Monument and the Origins of the American Memorial Tradition," by Sally Webster. Dr. Webster will deliver an informal talk at 7pm. Light refreshments will be served. Please RSVP by May 15
or call 212.602.0746.
Sally Webster is Professor Emerita of American Art at Lehman College and the Graduate Center, CUNY. An authority on historic murals and monuments, her latest book, "The Nation’s First Monument and the Origins of the American Memorial Tradition," was published in April 2015. She is also the author of "Eve’s Daughter/Modern Woman: A Mural by Mary Cassatt" and an essay in the forthcoming Blackwell Companion to Public Art. Professor Webster
is a writer-in-residence in New York Public Library’s Wertheim Study.