Saturday, November 22, 2008

Two More Great Websites

I'm not what you'd call a history buff, but I do enjoy reading my fair share of that subject. Recent history, world history, ancient history, etc. To get my fix of information I generally begin my trek at a specific online location. It's a website that always ultimately leads me to other sources that enhance my knowledge of certain places, their peoples, their histories, and on.

That website is
The CIA World Factbook. Now, as the CIA is often politically motivated, you'd assume that such a site would be packed to capacity with dogma. But that's not the case. Not at all. As the title suggests, they're concerned pretty much with stating the facts. Just hard, cold facts. Yeah, you could argue that there's something of the political and philosophical in the organization having come to that conclusion, but there you are. For me, the CIA Factbook is a wonderful resource when I'm just beginning to do research on the history of just about any place on Earth.

Some decades back I stumbled upon the works of Robert Graves. Like most people, my first exposure to his fiction were his volumes concerning his fictionalised versions of the life of the Juli0-Claudian Roman Emperors, I, CLAUDIUS and CLAUDIUS THE GOD AND HIS WIFE MESSLINA. In his day, Graves was known to turn the literary world on its ear. He had no problems in shocking readers and critics and the general public. And his work has only grown in stature since it was first published.

Because of those novels on the machinations of those ancient royals, I became fascinated with the lives of many of the Roman emperors and began to read widely of them. One of the most convenient online sources for basic information about these crazy bastards is
The Throne of the Caesars. Here, you can glean the basics on the royals and the guys who tried and fell short of Imperial majesty. There's lots of politics here; much murder; high comedy; name it. Humans being...well...human. The purest form of the march of insanity and greed that mark us as one of the most fascinating species to travel down the biological rails toward extinction.

Julian. My favorite Roman emperor. Short-lived, tragic, but one of the best of the lot.

A few more links:

The only religious leader whose opinions and judgments I respect: Rabbi Michael Lerner.

And his organization, Tikkun.

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