Saturday, January 21, 2012

Defiling Gore About the Altars

On the other hand, Prof. MacMullen points out that visitors to temple precincts in the Roman empire were apt to encounter less pleasing sights and smells:
[Christians] pointed with elaborate repugnance to "the pollution around the idols, the disgusting smell and smoke of sacrifices, the defiling gore about the altars and the taint of blood from the offerings.  Did they overstate the case?  It was a pagan who described "the priest himself [who] stands there all bloody and like an ogre carves and pulls out entrails and extracts the heart and pours the blood about the altar."  It is clear that the great bulk of meat . . . eaten in the ancient world had been butchered in temple precincts, most of which, ill-supplied with water, could not be swashed down easily, accumulated ugly piles of offal in corners, and supported not only flies but stray mongrels as well.
The Christian criticism quoted by Prof. MacMullen is from the Life of Gregory Thaumaturgos (the Wonderworker) by Gregory of Nyssa.  The "pagan" quoted is the satirist Lucian's De sacrificiis.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Storm of War

I have read a number of one-volume histories of World War II, and I had sworn them off, but this video interview of the author sorely tempts me to add Andrew Roberts's The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War to the list.  Thirty-eight minutes, but well worth your time.

Sunday, January 08, 2012


Last May I ventured down to Longview, Texas for a wedding.  After some excellent barbecue at Carter's Bar-B-Que, I drove over to the Gregg County Courthouse and took some photos of the monument to the Confederate soldier standing on the front lawn.

Flash forward to later last year, when I received an email requesting permission to use one of the photos on the cover of the December 2011 issue of the United Daughters of the Confederacy Magazine.  The issue is now out, and the result is shown above.
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