The modernist architecture of the first half of the 20th century rejected ornamentation, tradition, and history itself. In the age of reason, science, and progress, “form follows function.” Buildings were bare structures of concrete, glass, and steel. If they were beautiful–and some were–that is a byproduct of their pragmatic purpose. Today, though, modernist architecture–like modernist art, literature, philosophy,and theology–has become dated, culturally-irrelevant, and old-fashioned. But now the historic preservation movement is adding relics of modernist architecture to the buildings it is trying to save. [Read more…]
In more medieval forensic archaeology, researchers have found the mummified heart of Richard the Lionheart (1157-1199), which had been buried separately from the rest of his body. Nothing is left of it but a brown powder, but tests show that he was NOT poisoned, as some have thought, and that the embalming methods used spices associated with the burial of Christ. King Richard I ruled England beginning in 1189 and was a hero of the Crusades. (See the heart after the jump.) [Read more…]
There were far more Nazi “camps” than anyone had realized, according to recent research, some 42,500 of them, including not just “concentration camps,” but centers for euthanasia, forced abortions, forced prostitution, and other components of Hitler’s eugenics machine. [Read more…]
You must read Rev. Joseph Abrahamson’s post on the origins and history of St. Valentine’s Day. It’s part of his series that we’ve often linked to on Christian holidays that are mistakenly claimed to have pagan origins. He shows that St. Valentine’s Day is not based on Roman festivals but on a day commemorating the death of a Christian martyr, though which of many saints with that name is a matter of some confusion. The question, though, is how this saint’s day became associated with love and romance.
It turns out that the connection comes from one of my favorite authors, Geoffrey Chaucer! [Read more…]
We blogged about how archeologists have discovered what they thought was the skeleton of King Richard III, the monarch who, according to Shakespeare’s play of the same name, murdered his way to the crown until he was killed at the Battle of Bosworth field (“a horse! My kingdom for a horse!”) by Henry, the Earl of Richmond, who would found the Tudor dynasty. Well, yesterday DNA evidence confirmed that the skeleton–with its curved spine (Shakespeare described him as a hunchback) and a skull that had been hacked by a sword–is, in fact, that of Richard III, the last of the Plantagenets. Not only that, facial reconstruction based on the skull showed his face, which is exactly that of a contemporary portrait of Richard. This has also sparked controversy about whether Shakespeare was a propagandist for the Tudors in making him such an over-the-top but extraordinarily interesting villain. Some say Richard was a good king after all. The details of the DNA research, my take on the controversy, and the pictures are after the jump. [Read more…]
When it comes to economic measures and economic prospects for the future, the United States is not in decline at all. So says a report cited by economics columnist Robert J. Samuelson (who, however, is not quite so optimistic). Then again, despite what some people assume, economics isn’t everything. Are we in cultural, intellectual, or political decline? [Read more…]