"The Death of a Friend" by Tommy, from 2012’s Outer Space Adventurer
Outer Space Adventurer
9:48 pm |
August 25 2014
Silver Coin of Eucratides I of Bactria
(Source: The British Museum)
Eucratides I Megas reigned c. 170–145 BCE (which makes the above dating at least somewhat incorrect) in the Hellenistic kingdom of Bactria, now the modern Uzbekistan, and parts of Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan. The territory is firmly within the area that the Greco-Roman world would have considered the home of barbarians, and yet this kingdom seems to have been very advanced and prosperous. It is actually from this place, and from the reign of Eucratides I, that we have the largest gold coin ever struck in antiquity, a 20-stater piece which weighs 169.2 grams in solid gold.
This coin shows Eucraditdes in his traditional Bactrian hat, which makes these coins particularly easy to identify, despite the fact that we know relatively little about his reign (he wages some wars in an attempt to conquer India, but fails and is driven back into his kingdom). We do know that his reign ended in violence and civil war (he was apparently murdered by his own son in a brutal coup), though Bactrian kings of Greek origin (via Alexander the Great’s commanders) continued to hold control of the region until 10 BC.
9:47 pm |
August 25 2014
| 111 notes
"In Disguise (Manfred Remix)" by Dead Astronauts, from Dead Astronauts EP 2.0, available as a free digital download now.
Dead Astronauts EP 2.0
1:33 pm |
August 21 2014
十日町 新潟 / Tokamachi, Niigata Prefecture, 1957, 浅野喜市 / Asano Kiichi. (1914 - 1993)
9:48 pm |
August 20 2014
| 268 notes
Worms an einem regnerischen Herbsttag mit romantischem Lichteinfall / Worms on a rainy autumn day with a romantic light, Max Sinclair. 19th Century.
9:47 pm |
August 20 2014
| 74 notes
“The Genji warriors had already boarded the Heike boats, which were veering out of control because the sailors and helmsmen were lying in the bilge, slain by arrows and swords. The New Middle Counselor Tomomori went in a small craft to the Emperor’s ship. “We seemed to have reached the final extremity,” he said. “Jettison everything that might offend the eye.” He ran about from stem to stern tidying the ship with his own hands, sweeping, mopping, dusting.
“How is the battle going, Lord Middle Counselor? How are things going?” the ladies asked.
Tomomori uttered a sarcastic laugh. “You will be getting acquainted with some remarkable eastern warriors.”
“How can you joke at a time like this?” They all began to shriek and scream.
The Nun of Second Rank [Taira no Tokiki, the late Taira no Kiyomori’s wife], who had long ago decided on a course of action, draped her two dark-gray underrobes over her head, hitched up her divided skirt of glossed silk, tucked the Bead Strand under her arm and the Sword into her belt, and took the Emperor in her arms. “Although I am only a woman, I will not fall into enemy hands. I will go where His Majesty goes. Follow swiftly, you whose hearts are loyal to him.” She walked to the side of the ship.
The Emperor had turned eight that year, but seemed very grown up for his age. His face was radiantly beautiful, and his abundant black hair reached below his waist. “Where are you taking me, Grandmother?” he asked, with a puzzled look.
“She turned her face to the young sovereign, holding back her tears. “Don’t you understand? You became an Emperor because you obeyed the Ten Good Precepts in your last life, but now an evil karma holds you fast in its toils. Your good fortune has come to an end. Turn to the east and say goodbye to the Grand Shrine of Ise, then turn to the west and repeat the sacred name of Amida Buddha, so that he and his host may come to escort you to the Pure Land. This country is a land of sorrow; I am taking you to a happy realm called Paradise.”
His Majesty was wearing an olive-gray robe, and his hair was done up in a boy’s loops at the sides. With tears swimming in his eyes, he joined his tiny hands, knelt toward the east, and bade farewell to the Grand Shrine. Then he turned toward the west and recited the sacred name of Amida. The Nun snatched him up, said in a comforting voice, “There is a capital under the waves, too,” and entered the boundless depths. Ah, how sad that the spring breeze of impermanence should have scattered the august blossoms in an instant! Ah, how heartless that the wild waves of transmigration should have engulfed the jewel person! We are told of an imperial hall, Longevity by name, that was designed to be a long-standing imperial residence, and of a gate, Eternal Youth, through which old age was powerless to enter — yet now a sovereign less than ten years old had become debris at the bottom of the sea. Words cannot express the wretchedness of such a karma! A dragon above the clouds had descended to become a fish in the ocean depths. In the past, he had held sway over kin by blood and by marriage, with State Ministers and senior nobles on every side, dwelling as it were on the heights of Bonten’s lofty palace and within Taishaku’s Joyful-to-See City; now, alas, he went from shipboard life to instant death below the waves.”
Heike Monogatari, 11.9 “The Drowning of the Former Emperor”, tr. Helen Craig McCullough, (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1988), pgs. 376-8.
"There is a capital under the waves, too," has got to be one of the saddest sentences I’ve read this year.
2:39 pm |
August 19 2014
| 3 notes
Ferdinand Verbiest - Typus eclipsis lunae (1671)
This roll in fragile rice paper is the work of the Flemish Jesuit Ferdinand Verbiest, Imperial astronomer at the Astronomical Bureau in Beijing and responsible for the preparation of the lunar calendar. The roll shows the various stages of the lunar eclipse of March 25, 1671, in 17 drawings, one for each province.
society of jesus
9:10 am |
August 18 2014
| 5 notes