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  • Chased into a Sicilian Hell May 30, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Chased into a Sicilian Hell

    This is a great supernatural stories from 18C England. The earliest version known to this blogger dates to 1793. Note that this is a much later version that claims to be based on actual records. Beach doesn’t believe that for a second. Ha! It is almost identical and entire passages word-for-word the same. An Account of Mr. […]

    The Last Italian Emirate March 13, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    The Last Italian Emirate

    From 1060-1091 Christian warriors, ‘Normans’, defeated the Islamic powers in Sicily and returned the island to the Catholic flock. For most historians this is the end of Arab civilization there, with the exception of some starbursts of Arab architecture and Arab art through the next two to three generations. However, there is one final Arab […]

    The Pirandello-Lenin Statue July 9, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Pirandello-Lenin Statue

    Beach has proud form in reporting stories of Lenin statues: including one in the United States and one (what spasm of Soviet insanity…) in Antarctica. However, he was thrilled to be recently sent this great story by LTM, to whom this post is respectfully dedicated. This letter appeared in the London Review of Books and […]

    The Buddha in Sicily? April 13, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    The Buddha in Sicily?

    The following appears in a Greek fragment of Empedocles (obit c. 430 B.C.), a Greek Sicilian and the grandfather or godfather of sophism. The problem is that we lack context. All that we know is that he is writing here to a disciple, Pausanias about an important and knowledgeable individual in the past. There was […]

    Majorana’s Mysterious Disappearance October 11, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Majorana's Mysterious Disappearance

    ***Dedicated to Cristiano and Mau*** Ettore Majorana (obit ?), a Sicilian who mysteriously disappeared in 1938, was an almost-genius in the field of theoretical physics: many of his ideas proved so insightful that they are still being explored today. The reminiscences of those who  worked with Majorana show that he was not only a remarkable […]

    The Bearded Princess December 17, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    The Bearded Princess

    A day of freedom: 77 exams graded, course readers prepared, translations refined, goodbyes given… It is all over, at least, until, in January, the whole merry dance begins again. In the meantime, Beachcombing thought that he would go back to an old love of his, some of the more unusual saints in the Christian pantheon. […]

    The Saint Who Became A Cat May 7, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval, Modern
    The Saint Who Became A Cat

    Beachcombing has previously looked at St Christopher a dog-headed saint. But what about St Agatha who can turn into a cat? First a little background. Agatha was a martyr saint from Catania, Sicily whose five-day festival each year in early February remains one of the highlights of civic life in the city and whose climax […]

    Painted Snowballs February 8, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Painted Snowballs

    For various reasons beginning with health and ending with this blog, passing through children, changing interests and daily walks in the woods Beachcombing has not sat down to write an academic article for two years. And when he thinks of the two or three pieces on his hard drive that just need some work and […]

    Celts in Ancient Sicily June 11, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Celts in Ancient Sicily

    Beachcombing has luxuriated for too long in the modern world. Indeed the last time he visited antiquity was in the company of some Indian merchants a long week ago. So he rushes back today to the clean, glistening marble of the ancients. The following passage comes from G.T. Griffith’s The Mercenaries of the Hellenistic World (London […]