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Posts Tagged ‘Note’

The Battle of Poitiers

July 27th, 2012 Comments off


[Note: With all the current battles going on in the Middle East, here is a novel on one that took place a very long time ago.]

The Battle of Poitiers: Charles Martel and ‘Abd al-Rahman
Authored by Jurji Zaidan
Translated by William Granara
Published by CreateSpace, April 2, 2012
ISBN/EAN13: 0984843507 / 9780984843503

It is the year 732 AD. Ten years after the Arab conquest of Spain in 711AD, Emir Abd al-Rahman Governor of Spain, conquered and became Governor of southern France. He is moving northwards towards Poitiers to confront the Franks under Charles Martel and then overrun Rome and Constantinople and reach Damascus, the capital of the Islamic Empire. Will Europe be able to thwart the plan to bring Islam to the whole Mediterranean basin? As the armies of Abdel Rahman and Charles Martel confront each other at Poitiers, the future of Christendom in Europe depends on the outcome of this epic battle…

Romance and intrigue provide the central plot of this historical novel that are woven into the events culminating in the Battle of Poitiers. The beautiful Maryam is a woman of extraordinary honor and great courage who has fought in many battles. She has many suitors: Hani, Captain of the Arab Cavalry and Bustam his rival and Chieftain of a Berber Tribe. Last but not least Emir ‘Abd al-Rahman, is also enamored with her. A fast paced game of spies and counterspies is played out as the identity and true loyalties of many of the novel’s main characters, straddling both the Christian and Muslim worlds, is revealed — influencing the outcome of the Battle of Poitiers and the contest for Maryam’s heart…

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800th Post!

December 7th, 2009 Comments off

No substance here: just a note that since I started blogging in late January this makes my 800th post. A lot were short, links, or frivolous, some perhaps dumb and a few I hope brilliant, and I am not aiming for any records. (Meaning I’m not going to work through Christmas day or New Year’s just to hit 1000 by my first anniversary.)

But still. Neat landmark.


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Bury on Yemen

September 29th, 2009 Comments off

[Note: One of the early 19th century travelers to Yemen was the British birder G. Wyman Bury. His Arabia Infelix, or The Turks in Yamen (London: MacMillan, 1915) is a personal and informative account of his visit to the southern part of Yemen, especially Aden and its hinterlands. Near the end of his book, he discusses the political climate of his day, when Britain was firmly in control of Aden as part of its Indian Empire. Clearly biased in favor of his own British order, there is nevertheless a note of irony for a country which until this day has yet to attain stability.]

The Yameni is not fanatical. He has his own religious views, but realizes, from the sects into which his own people are divided, that there are at least two sides to every religious question.

He is a patriot ; and who, indeed, could help loving a country like the highlands of Yamen, in spite of past and present woes ? His patriotism, however, does not blind him to the fact that his local rulers have done and can do little for the welfare of his country. He would gladly throw off his present yoke for any change of government that promised more stability.

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Syrian Cuisine, Two Centuries Ago

August 24th, 2009 Comments off

[Note: The following account is by the English traveler William Wittman, who commented on the foods and crops he saw while passing through the Levant in what was then Syria. The spelling is that of the original, from a time when proof reading was a distant concern and spelling was a democratic venture. The picture above is from the original 1803 edition.

Wherever the land is susceptible of cultivation, and has not been neglected, it affords abundant crops of wheat, barley, Indian corn (dourra), tobacco, cotton, and other productions. Fruits and vegetables are in equal abundance. Among the former are pomegranates, figs, oranges, lemons, citrons of an uncommonly large size, melons, grapes, and olives. The melons are large, and have a delicious flavour; as have also the grapes. of which we partook so late as the month of December, when we found they still retained their exquisite flavour. I have already adverted to the uncommon size of the water-melons, many of which weight from twenty to thirty pounds. they are a great and valuable resource to the inhabitants, who are so passionately fond of them, that, during the summer months, they form a great part of their subsistence. Notwithstanding they are as cooling and refreshing, as grateful to the taste, I was surprised to see the natives eat them in such immoderate quantities, without experiencing any unpleasant consequences.

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