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Posts from the ‘History’ Category

Brunch in Boston with a Side of History

The restaurant I’m recommending for “Best Brunch in Boston” actually has only average to above average food.  The dim sum at Empire Garden is good and certainly satisfying, but I really want you to go there because of the unbelievably beautiful and historic dining room.

Empire Garden Chinese Restaurant, Boston

Empire Garden Chinese Restaurant, Boston (photo: Wikimedia)

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A Day on Cape Cod

Maybe its because I’m really ready for Spring, but I’ve been thinking a lot about summer in Cape Cod.  After 3 years in New England, I only got to the Cape this past year, and even then for only a day.  Like a lot of the coastal US, the communities along the Cape were filled with summer cottages, ice cream shops, fish fry stands and eclectic craft shops.  Everything seemed to exude the relaxation and fun of a summer vacation destination.  I enjoyed exploring the extensive windswept beaches, the sea-side trails and a chance to take in the crashing waves.  Cape Cod has had a rough winter with damaging wind and high tides.  Hopefully the erosion has been minimal and the beaches are still there waiting for Spring too.

Nauset Lighthouse Beach along the Eastern coast of Cape Cod:

Nauset Beach, Cape Cod Read more

Recycled Stone – Christianized Art in Athens

While this practice seems unthinkable today, across the Mediterranean, ancient Greek and Roman structures were salvaged for building materials in subsequent centuries.  Given the prevalence of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, pagan buildings were at best a curiosity.  The Parthenon in Rome is said to have only survived because it was converted into a church.

The Pentelic marble used to construct ancient Athens proved to be too alluring for Byzantine builders.  You can see blatant example of stone theft in the piece-meal construction of the 13th century Panagia Gorgoepikoos Church in Athens.  While the materials were stolen, the care with which pieces were selected and incorporated suggests some appreciation for classical art.

Panagia Gorgoepikoos, Athens

13th Century Panagia Gorgoepikoos (The Madonna who Quickly Hears) Church, Athens (Image adapted from the web)

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The Isenheim Altarpiece – Art for the Ill

I enjoyed last week’s virtual visit to the incredible Ghent Altarpiece but it got me thinking about other major church pieces I would like to see in person.  While this may not be the most intuitive work of art to bring up, I have always been impressed by the suffering, twisted and tortured Cruxification of the Isenheim Altarpiece now in the Alsatian city of Colmer, France.

Matthias Grunewald, Isenheim altarpiece in situ, Colmar, France

Isenheim altarpiece in situ at the Musee d’Unterlinden, Colmar, France

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Spielberg gets an A+ in History

Abraham Lincoln

I would imagine it is incredibly difficult to create historical fiction about legendary figures and there are few that loom as large as Abraham Lincoln in American history.  Since everyone knows of him, the modern storyteller has a duty to accurate present the facts without over dramatization or moralization – Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter not withstanding.  With an interest in history (and of Oscar contenders with high caliber acting), I saw Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln this weekend and loved it!  Besides the excellent production, script and cast, I was amazed by some of the historical tidbits that may have blown past viewers.  As unbelievable as it sounds, the major plot elements are essentially all historically accurate, but it was the look of the film and the historical details that really made the movie for me. Read more

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