Reflections On Warwick Castle:
I’m looking at an article in the Guardian from last year about Warwick Castle. It says that the Castle built by William the Conqueror is now in the hands of Merlin Entertainments. It owns Legoland, Alton Towers, Sea Life Centers, and the London Eye. It claims that the place has been turned into a theme park. They claim there is an “adventure maze” as well as a comedy show telling the 1000 year history of the place in a half hour play. There are six history zones from a Viking ship to WW1 trenches. There is a swordsmanship workshop, a falconry display. There is piped medieval music in the garden. Stalls sell toy swords. Apparently they sell fast food, and you exit through the gift shop.
Obviously they have not altered the castle itself! I doubt if the British government would allow it. But there is something to be said for atmosphere. Too much honky-tonk takes away from appreciating your surroundings. At least they are sticking to historical exhibits in general.
One thing I like about Warwick Castle compared to Marksburg Castle along the Rhine in Germany is that it is more accessible. We tried to drive up to Marksburg but the road was too narrow. We got pushed over onto the shoulder of the road by a bus and Gary thought it was too dangerous to proceed. We admired it from below only. Warwick at least isn’t on top of a mountain! However, to judge by the reviews of the castle on Trip Advisor you would think there was some problem accessing the place anyway. Lots of tourists including Brits complain about the car park or parking lot. They claim it is too far away. They sound as if they should be like you and practice hiking 3 miles a day before they visit. Maybe they should take a tip from Disney World and build a mono rail! Or they should have a shuttle to pick you up in the parking lot and take you to the attraction.
Cheops Books LLC publishes historical thrillers such as Captive at the Berghof: Part 1 in German as well as Hitler’s Agent.
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The German Question In Literature:
You may have hit upon a very central conflict in European history. Germany was not largely occupied by the Romans and from the time of the Romans you have the “German question”. The Romans wrote about it themselves. There is a lost work by Pliny the Elder, the author of the Natural History, probably called the Germania, and I make much of this in one of my novels. His nephew, Pliny the Younger, wrote about the subject, too. And Pliny the Younger’s friend, Tacitus, wrote the only surviving work on the subject entitled the Germania for sure. Tacitus’s work was the subject of the fascinating audio book I listened to on the subject at the beginning of last year.
Tacitus’s Germania has been a subject of discussion for the past two thousand years. It is the earliest work we have on the habits and customs of the early pagan Germans which emphasizes their warlike qualities and the “German question”. The Romans themselves were scared of them. No wonder! During the ugly Battle of the Teutoburg Forest Roman legionaries were captured in wooden cages and burned alive in the forest, sacrificed to pagan gods.
Richard Wagner during the 19th century made much of this ancient and medieval heritage in his operas. Heinrich Himmler was later to try to seize upon this material as the “origin” of what he called the Nazi identity.
I have looked up various works on Roman Britain on Amazon and curiously enough the British archaeologists have all noted that the British attitude about Rome differs from the attitude of France and Germany, and this influences their attitude about the “German question”. In France they celebrate Vercingetorix from Caesar’s Gallic Wars. He is supposed to be a national hero in France. In Germany they celebrate Herman the German, or Arminius. In Britain they celebrate the Romans. As many have noted, Britain seems to take on the identity of Rome itself. It all comes from the days of the British Empire and Imperial Britain. Nobody else on the Continent has anything like this and so recently, too! They look dubiously upon rebels against Rome such as Vercingetorix and Arminius.
It has also been said that the British have a better attitude about preserving ruins than they do in Italy. So the Roman ruins in Britain are better preserved than their Italian counterparts. You can get a better feel for the Roman world there including all those villas and mosaic floors that are much talked about.
Cheops Books LLC has two upcoming works about the “German question”. The concern Roman Britain and the ancient Germans battling the Romans: Pliny: A Novel and Caesar’s Legions, both works in the Edward Ware Thrillers at War Series.
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Why The Merkel Election Isn’t Like Trump’s:
In the US when you get Trump elected President the election means Isolationism. Americans want to pull back from being involved in lots of international affairs. They want to cut back on immigration and make sure that they themselves have jobs and money before they invite anybody else in. But in America you can’t completely cut off immigration. The US is a country of immigrants. None of this is very deep or very serious or very old.
In America there is no core ethnic group like the Cherusci tribe from ancient Germany from whose ranks arose the traitor named Arminius who pretended to take on a Roman gloss when being educated at Caesar’s expense back in Rome. Then when he was “helping” to guide the Roman troops towards the Elbe River he and his fellow Germans fell upon the trusting dupes and slaughtered them. Germanicus appeared in 14AD, five years later, to seek revenge on the German tribes. But the Romans never again pushed toward the Elbe River. The line was drawn at the Rhine instead. This is terribly significant for western civilization and makes the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest one of the most important battles in history.
Merkel visited the site of the battle in 2009. Germany issued a stamp to celebrate 2000 years. Can you believe it? I bought one of these myself and put it up on my website under the novel in question.
There is a Hermann the German (Arminius’s German name) statue in Germany right now located on the A7 near Detmold. We unfortunately missed it. No one in Germany is talking about taking it down the way people here are trying to take down Robert E. Lee statues. No way! As has been pointed out the leader of the Alternative for Germany Party just used the word “volk”. He invoked the “volk”.
Merkel’s election echoes through the centuries. Trump’s does not.
Cheops Books LLC will publish a novel about the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest next year as part of the Edward Ware Thrillers at War Series.
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Merkel and May Should Listen to Trump
Angela Merkel and Mrs. May both have recently won re-election with very narrow margins that have required coalition forming. Last autumn Donald Trump was elected President by a much greater margin. The two ladies should listen to him in his message about immigration.
In Sunday’s German election for chancellor, Angela Merkel “won” but it will be her last term. Her center-right party, the Christian Democrats (CDU) (along with their sister party in Bavaria), had the worst showing since 1949, winning only 33% of the vote. The reason: Merkel’s decision in 2015 to open Germany’s borders wide to nearly a million refugees from Syria and other parts of the Middle East. Approximately one million Germans who had voted for the CDU in the last election decided to vote for the new anti-immigration, right-wing party, the Altenative for Germany (AfD), which received 13% of the vote, enough to surpass the 5% threshold for representation in the German Bundestag.
Sunday also saw Donald Trump announce his administration’s new travel restrictions, which will replace the Trump Administration’s original travel ban, as of October 18, 2017. Oral arguments on the original travel ban executive order are due to be heard by the United States Supreme Court on October 10, 2017.
Merkel’s vision of a super-cosmopolitan Europe that can easily handle the assimilation of millions of refugees from other parts of the world has been put on permanent hold. Meanwhile, Trump’s vision of the world – as he recently confirmed by his address to the UN General Assembly – as a collection of nation states who look out for their own interests – including by placing restrictions immigration – is on the rise.
The reason is obvious. Merkel’s vision is simply unrealistic. Neither Germany nor Europe’s other nation states, can digest unlimited immigration from countries that do not share the Western culture and values of Europe. Trump’s vision, on the other hand, allows the nation states of Europe and the rest of the world to maintain their singular identity and thereby thrive.
England, Germany, and America are all settings in the Edward Ware Thrillers at War novels published by Cheops Books LLC. Hitler’s Agent, book six of the series, will be published on October 15.
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Brexit Reminiscent of WW2:
Germany and England are always quarreling with each other. The Brexit negotiations are only the latest round. The British should sock it to the Germans.
Maybe the British government reflects the populace — extremely divided. Maybe it wouldn’t be possible to get any kind of unified government right now no matter what party is in control.
Why would May go to Florence to make a speech about Brexit? Why not make it in London at No 10 Downing Street and have it broadcast? US Presidents don’t run off to foreign countries to make speeches about the US. They make speeches about the US relationship with a foreign country when visiting that country such as Trump’s speech in Poland this past summer. Otherwise they make speeches either in the Oval Office or in some special location in the US chosen for that purpose. Before 100 years ago when Wilson attended the Paris Peace Conference it used to be considered improper for US Presidents to leave the country at all during their term of office. Even now US Presidents don’t leave the country for a vacation.
What do you mean that Britain can’t “keep the lights on” or “the food shelves stocked” without remaining in the EU. That is just what the anti-Brexit faction wants you to believe. Somehow Britain managed to keep the lights on and the food shelves stocked during WW2 even when they were fighting the Continent.
This is what May should do: Just say that we are leaving the EU as of March, 2019. Either you accede to our demands that Britain doesn’t have to pay any extra money to the EU and doesn’t have to have the European Court of Human Rights supervising anything or on that day the North Sea Trade with Germany will cease. She should NOT back off from that statement and when the time comes let Merkel do all the fancy dancing around to keep the North Sea Trade with England going. Merkel would come up with something, believe me, even if only to say that it will continue another five years in its present state while “we” continue to work things out. In other words May should not concede anything yet, nothing at all.
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Did Pliny’s House Look Like The Getty?
Pliny the Elder obviously lived in what we would call a Governor’s House in Roman Trier. What did such a place look like? None of the original Roman villas survives to this day intact, not in Trier, not in Italy, and not in Great Britain. In such places you don’t usually have more than a few standing columns or perhaps a floor full of mosaics to give you a clue of its former grandeur.
Probably the best example of such a villa nowadays exists in a place that Romans never visited and Romans never dreamed about. Such a villa has been painstakingly reconstructed on the California coast, land of dreams and elaborate reconstructions such as Disneyland and Hollywood.
It is no mere fantasy. In fact, it is an elaborate reconstruction of the villa of Calpurnius Piso, the father-in-law of Julius Caesar and father of Caesar’s last wife, Calpurnia, the one with the dreams and nightmares in Shakespeare’s play. It would be very similar to anything that Pliny would have owned. Both men were intellectuals of their day. Calpurnius Piso was a Stoic philosopher. Pliny the Elder was the author of the Natural History, the first of all encyclopedias in the western tradition.
This California villa was reconstructed by John Paul Getty, the billionaire who had a hobby of collecting Greek and Roman antiquities on a large scale. He wanted to build a place to house them. The Getty Villa opened in 1974. The Los Angeles Times interviewed John Paul Getty. Getty said: “It is fortunate that the United States has one ancient private building which is authentic in spirit. One could say go to Pompeii and Herculaneum and see Roman villas the way they are now — then go to Malibu and see the way they were in ancient times.”
Pliny also owned a villa on the seacoast along the Bay of Naples, so this comparision seems appropriate. It is inspirational to think that Pliny strolled through his peristylium and viewed the classical sculptures you find at the Getty.
Pliny the Elder is a character in two upcoming volumes of the Edward Ware Thriller Series: Old Faithful Plot and Pliny: A Novel.
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Pliny: A Novel Has A New Cover:
In Pliny: A Novel the grandson of the hero of Augustus: A Novel, Caius Antonius — who is also an ancestor of the hero of the Edward Ware Thriller Series, Colonel Sir Edward Ware — is working for Pliny the Elder in 79AD. Pliny is the Roman governor of Germany and is residing in Trier on the Moselle River. Suddenly a German warrior attacks the governor’s residence and throws a warning into his reflecting pond. It is payback time for the Romans. The Germans want revenge.
The Germans kicked the Romans out of their province in 9AD in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. But Germanicus returned five years later to make the Germans pay. What will happen next? That is up to Caius to discover, or the German warriors may push Pliny and the Romans out of Germany all together. This time they may even follow them all the way back to Italy in Pliny: A Novel, part 2 of Augustus: A Novel, coming soon from Cheops Books, LLC. It is the latest book in the Edward Ware Thriller Series.
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Has Pliny The Elder Been Re-Discovered?
In the early 1980s the excavation of Herculaneum, sister city to Pompeii, was excavated. A large group of skeletons was found in a boat shed facing the sea as if they were attempting to escape but ran out of time.
Just how they may have been planning to escape is knowledge provided to us by the writings of an ancient Rome author named Pliny the Younger who wrote our only surviving eyewitness account of the Vesuvius eruption. He claimed that his more famous uncle, Pliny the Elder, was going to rescue these unfortunate escapees. How so? Pliny the Elder was the admiral of a Roman fleet stationed at Misenum, north of Naples, on August 24, 79AD, the day Vesuvius erupted. His nephew says he was curious to observe the volcano erupting from close up. He had wide ranging scientific interests and was the author of Pliny’s Natural History, the first encyclopedia in western history. Supposedly he had gotten word from friends that they needed to be resuced and he took off with his fleet to rescue them, leaving his teenage nephew behind to write for the ages.
Now Italian scientists are trying to date and identify the remains of a man found in such a rescue boat and hope they have discovered Pliny the Elder himself. It sounds far fetched but interesting nevertheless. It would be nice to have a reconstructed drawing of Pliny based on his skeleton since no sculpture portraits survive from antiquity.
Pliny the Elder and his family are the subjects of two historical thrillers which Cheops Books LLC is about to publish. The Roman statesman and scientist appears in Old Faithful Plot and Vesuvius Plot. In Old Faithful Plot Pliny is the subject of a time tunnel manhunt on the part of Adolf Hitler. The dictator thinks that the ancient Roman threatens the German people. In Vesuvius Plot as the governor of Germany Pliny must fight off the hordes of German tribes.
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Did Hurricane Irma Strike St. Simons Island, Georgia?
How did your ex mother in law get to Fort Myers, Florida? Is she retired? You say you don’t know why they didn’t leave. I would have been out of there as soon as the storm was even mentioned or forecast.
Believe it or not we drove through Fort Myers once on the way back and forth to Sanibel/Captiva which are barrier islands right off shore from Fort Myers. Captiva Island in particular was so small that any storm surge at all would immediately make it disappear. You could see from shore to shore and easily walk the distance on that island. At the narrowest point the island was only 100 feet wide or so. All the buildings there were built up on piles so the storm surge would go underneath them. I remember being in a grocery store like that where your bags were lowered down on a dumb waiter to the parking lot level and put in your car.
My own grandmother, Doris Benner, the one I used as a model for Dora Benley, owned a condo in Sarasota, Florida, but that was high rise. My great-grandmother, the model for Etta May for in fact her name was Etta May, had a house in Sarasota.
Have you heard what happened to your ex mother-in-law? This morning all I hear is that Jacksonville, Florida on the Atlantic Coast was flooded with a storm surge bigger than any since Hurricane Dora in 1964. I also visited Jacksonville. We stayed at the Ponte Vedra Resort outside town on the beach. Jacksonsville looked like an old industrial city somehow in the South. It is near St. Augustine where the Spanish settled hundreds of years ago.
It is also very close by to St Simons Island, Georgia, the setting for Dark 1 and Dark 2 of my Dark Series, the one that was originally published by Scholastic UK. It is soon to be republished by Cheops Books, LLC.
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Cunard Is A Very English Ship
On the contrary though Cunard is owned by Carnival it is still managed and run independently from England. There is an office in Liverpool still. I saw it with my own eyes. The British are still in charge of making up the sailing schedule. If you call the reservations office in Long Beach, California they are always telling you that they take orders from England and have to wait for England to announce the schedule, the pricing, the new rules, etc. When you are onboard it feels like a very British ship. More of the passengers are British than any other nationality. Americans are in a minority. The captain is British. The entertainment director is British. The crew are British from the British Merchant Marine even if the staff is largely from the Phillipines and from Eastern Europe.
There is a speaker series aboard the Cunard ship, Queen Mary 2. Most all the speakers are British, too. And what isn’t British is clearly Anglo. For instance they had a speakers series this summer on WW2 and were giving discounts to passengers who could show they were veterans but only if you were a veteran in: 1)British army 2)Canadian army 3)Australian army 4)American army. They are very aware of the Germans being aboard and have a separate speakers’ series for the Germans. I’ve heard jokes about the Germans, too. If Americans were running the show I don’t think they would be so aware of the Germans. They would assume that everybody aboard spoke English and the Germans would become invisible.
Cunard is the cruise line that figures in the Edward Ware Thrillers at War Series. See it in Captive at the Berghof parts 1 and 2.
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