Latin, Tom Wolfe, Crabs, Death, Film

Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

The Language Of The Roman Empire

Katherine McDonald | History Today | 11th November 2017

“Latin may be the language that we associate with the Roman Empire, but Rome grew from a tiny community in the middle of a culturally diverse peninsula into an empire that reached from Britain to Syria. Romans interacted with speakers of dozens of other languages and made them into fellow citizens. The Greek language also had a central place in Roman society, while Rome itself was a city of immigrants and slaves, many of whom brought their languages with them” (3,750 words)

Tom Wolfe

Ed Caesar | GQ | 3rd November 2012

By way of an obituary, a splendid profile from 2012. “Wolfe is as lean as a racing greyhound, wearing a chalk-white linen suit and a cerulean-blue shirt, a white pocket handkerchief with navy trim, leather spectator spat boots in black and white, cream socks and an ivory-coloured tie with tennis-racquet motif. He is in remarkable shape for a man of 81, and has, he tells me, nine books planned for the coming years. But something’s missing. As the years go by, he is waxing cranky” (4,350 words)

Last Days Of The Blue-Blood Harvest

Sarah Zhang | Atlantic | 9th May 2018

“Contemporary humans do not deliberately kill the horseshoe crabs — as did previous centuries of farmers catching them for fertilizer or fishermen using them as bait. Instead, they scrub the crabs clean, fold their hinged carapaces, and stick steel needles into a soft, weak spot, in order to draw blood. Horseshoe crab blood runs blue and opaque, like antifreeze mixed with milk. And for what exactly do humans need the blood? A sort of witchcraft, you might say, for it literally keeps people alive”

Die Like A Dog

Joseph Pierre | Aeon | 15th May 2018

Beloved pet dogs can enjoy a peaceful death, forestalling protracted suffering and pain. Why can’t we do the same for humans? “When we were dating in the years before we got married, my wife would often come home from a long day at work and say: ‘I killed my patient today’. This, I came to understand, was a kind of self-reproachful statement of defeat as well as a starkly factual statement that reflected how she’d actually administered the medications that ended a dog or cat’s life” (2,000 words)

When The Movies Went West

Gary Krist | Longreads | 15th May 2018

How Los Angeles became the capital of world cinema thanks to D.W. Griffith. “Griffith hated the New York winters. In mid-January 1910, halfway through the filming of a movie called The Newlyweds, Griffith was allowed to select a group of actors and crew and head cross-country. They reconvened at the Alexandria Hotel in Los Angeles. Their arrival went largely unnoticed, but it was, in retrospect, big news. Biograph had come west, and the epicenter of the nascent movie industry had come with it” (3,900 words)

Video of the day Tribute To Hiroshige

What to expect:

Woodblocks in order of appearance: Mitsuke; Yokkaichi; Sumidagawa no zu; Kanaya. By Pasquale D’Amico

Thought for the day

A clear conscience is the sure sign of a bad memory
Mark Twain

Podcast Catch a Kite | Ear Hustle

Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods answer questions about prison life, from inside San Quentin
(34m 43s)

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