Devizes Melting Pot

“Protection. Conservation. Restriction. Deep ecology. Give me deep technology any day. They don't scare me. "I'm damned if I'll crawl, my children's children crawl on the earth in some kind a fuckin' harmony with the environment. Yeah, till the next ice age or the next asteroid impact." (Moh Kohn, The Star Fraction)/ "This is the fight between God and the Devil. If His Grace is with God, he must join me, if he is for the Devil he must fight me. There is no third way" King Gustavus Adolphus

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Location: Devizes, Wiltshire, United Kingdom

University graduate, currently working as an Information Assistant for the NHS. Interested in politics, history, sci fi etc.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A Quote

A fav quote of mine from one of my all time fav books (The Star Fraction by Ken MacLeod)

'You know' Janis said thoughtfully 'people used to talk about the Breakthrough, the Singularity, when all the technological trends would take off and the whole world would change; AI, Nanotechnology, cell repair, uploading our minds to better bodies and living for ever yay! And it always almost happens but never quite: we get closer and closer but we never get there. Maybe we never get there because we're being stopped.'

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Later Roman Republic part 3

The Influence of the Greek East part 1

‘Captive Greece captured her savage conqueror and brought ‘artes’ to rustic Latium’ Horace

In Roman society there was a tradition of hostility to Greek influence as seen in the writings of Cato the Elder who was critical of Greek doctors, philosophers etc. Marius claimed he that he would not learn the language of a subject people, this was postering on both of theirs part, Cato wrote in Greek and Marius probably could understand the language.

Greek culture permeated all aspects of aristocratic life: Cicero quotes in Greek to friends in private letters.

General history paints the Romans as passive recipient of Greek culture but the reality was much more complex, a mixture of assimilation, adaptation and innovation.


a) Magna Graecia cities of S Italy
b) Traditionally Rome sent ambassadors to Athens in the 5th century BC to study her constitution. Real contact started in the 3rd century BC, flourished in the 2nd century BC and exploded in 1st century BC

War was another way the Romans were in contact with the Greek east, during the 2nd century BC there were a series of successful generals campaigning in Greece for example Flaminius, Marcus Fulvius Nobilior and Lucius Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus.

Even after the defeat of Macedon and Corinth, the wars still contiued - revolt of Aristonicus; Mithridatic wars (Sulla, Lucullus, Pompey), wealth, booty etc. but also ideas e.g. Sulla used the columns of the temple of Olympian Zeus in the reconstruction of the Capitoline, Pompey brought back drawings of the Mythilene theatre for his new theatre in Rome; Greek-style games (Marcus Fulvius)

Romans -> Greek East

- Official: embassies (e.g. Marius in 90s), administrative (provincial governors and staffs)
- Unofficial: study tours, education, ‘holidays’
A Senator in Egypt

Tebtunis Papyrus No. 33 (=Select Papyri, Vol. II, No. 416)
Adapted from LCL

Hermias to Horus, greeting. Below is a copy of the letter to Asclepiades. Take care thats it instructions are followed. Goodbye. Year 5, Xandicus 17, Mecheir 17.
To Asclepiades. Lucius Memmius, a Roman senator, who occupies a position of great dignity and honor, is sailing up from Alexandria to Arinoite Nome to see the sights. Let him be recieved with special magnificence: see to it that the guestchambers are prepared at the proper spots and the riverbank landing places to them completed, that the gifts mentioned below are presented to him at the landing place, and that the furniture of the gueschamber, the titbits for Petesuhus and the crocodiles, the conviences for viewing the Labyrinth, and the resquisite sacrificial offerings and supplies are provided, and in general take the greatest pains in everything to see that the vistor is satisfied and display the utmost zeal...[the rest is mutilated or lost.]

- Cicero and Pompey visited Posidonius in Rhodes

Greeks to Rome

- captives cf. Polybius
- philosophers, teachers; 155 BC Athenian embassy to Rome: Carneades, Diogenes, Critolaus; Panaetius, friend of Scipio Aemilianus and Laelius – lasting impact
- Cicero taught by Poseidonius and Phraedrus
- See Plutarch Cato, 22

Areas of interaction
- education overwhelmingly Greek inspired; first secondary schools in Latin did not appear until early 1st century BC
- Taught at primary and secondary level by Greek teachers. Syllabus overwhelmingly Greek or Greek inspired
- Designed for upper class public life with emphasis on oratory, rhetoric, philosophy; education at home complemented by travel abroad to university centres of the ancient world (Athens, Alexandria)

Art and architecture:

- Vast amount of objects d’art from the east: aid to gracious living and indication of status – ‘requisitioned’/plunder. Wide scale trade in luxury goods from the east.
- Houses combined the typical arrangement of Greek houses with traditional Roman arrangements
- Greek planning ideas and architectural adornments to Roman buildings: e.g. Pompey’s theatre designed on the lines of the theatre of Mytilene; Sulla used the columns of the temple of Olympian Zeus at Athens in the reconstruction of the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the Capitoline after the destruction by fire

Friday Cat Blogging



Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Roman Political Institutions part 2


1. ‘Parties’ and ‘policies’

Populares v. Optimates: see Cicero, In Defence of Sestius, 96 ff.

- not ‘conservatives’ and ‘socialist/labour’
- refers to how they achieve their aims:
-> Optimates: ‘ all good men’ – traditional methods:

‘…religious observances, the auspices, the powers of the magistrates, the authority of the Senate, the laws, ancestral customs, criminal and civil jurisdiction, credit,, our provinces, our allies, the prestige of our government, the army, the treasury’

- Populares – Cicero scathing:

‘For, in so large a body of citizens, there are great numbers of men who, either from fear of punishment, being conscious of their crimes, seek to cause revolution an changes of government; or who owing to a sort of inborn revolutionary madness, batten on civil discord and sedition; or who, on account of embarrassment in their finances prefer a general conflagration to their own ruin’

Populares defined by their methods – tribunate, popular assemblies, exploitation of immediate political problems of concern to the urban populace

2. ‘Pressure’ groups:

- Equites: Q. Cicero’s Guide ranks these as important for a campaign – financial, contracts, provinces; not averse to violence -> praetor killed in riots v. debt relief
- People; food, housing, employment
- Italians, rights
- Army: land

3. Clientele and Amicitiae

- Clientele: home – support campaign, followed patron etc. >< foreign clients also important -> prestige, Gracchus in Spain; Pompey
- Amicitiae: friendship – links with other leading families – marriages- for political benefit.
Municipalities: how you are seen and perceived is important

4. Oratory
5. Personal appearance in forum – ‘going round’  bribery

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Roman Political Institutions part 1

Polybius in the second century BC praised the Roman constution for its balance of monarchy, aristocracy and democracy. Theoretically in the Roman state the people were sovereign.

There were three organs of state; magistrates, assemblies and senate

Magistrates were from the aristocracy – Cursus honorum

There were a series of offices which were compulsory with clearly defined age limits giving a range of experiences; Military service, Quaestor (late 20s, early 30s), Tribune (plebeian only, looked after the people’s interests), Aedile (organised the games), Praetor (late 30s, early 40s), Consul (42 was earliest age you could take this office, 2 elected every year) -> censor (important office in that they sold public contracts and also kept the lists of the citizens, senate and equestrians – can become a very political office)

The Significance:

- Elected by the people - stand for office in person in Rome and as a private citizen (e.g. you cannot stand for consulship while holding the praetorship)
- Stratified by age – senior offices held by the senior (in age) politicians of Rome, imbues you with all the traditions of Rome by going through the Cursus Honorum. Government a conservative institution, no need for hot heads, experience key.
- Competitive (with contempories) higher offices: money, clientele and support needed from the people and the aristocracy. Senior offices dominated by same families again and again e.g. the Metelli
- Pyramidal structure -> increase in number of lower offices e.g. Number of quaestors increased between 133 and 44BC - 12->20->40, e.g. by Sulla, Caesar (for administrative purposes) only increased competition for higher offices
- rigid structure totally applied:

Occasionally individuals get around the system

Scipio Aemilianus was elected consul although quaestor and in absentia (147 BC) – elected by the people to fight against Carthage
-> Pompey’s 1st command to fight against pirates and Mithridates -> held consulship without a colleague (exceptional circumstances require exception measures)
-> Marius was consul 7 times (5 consecutively – to fight the Germanic tribes)

These were not illegal seizures of power but were formal decisions of the people of Rome

These can be considered illegal seizes of power:

-> Sulla
-> Marius
-> Cinna

The Senate (political function)

1. Permanent council comprising magistrates 300>600 (Sulla)> 900+ (Caesar): ad lection -> from Sulla all quaestors automatically joined senate
2. Contempories saw senate as the most important organ of state - few formal powers: ‘consultative and advisory’. Even powers of finance and 'foreign policy' subject to ratification by the people

The People

1. Sovereign
2. No political offices
3. Decisions made by 3 assemblies

- Comitia curiata (30)
- Comitia tributa (35) > 30 rural tribes (aristocracy), 4 urban tribes, 1 Latin tribe
- Comitia centuriata (193)
- Democratic? – omits women, slaves and foreigners, senate has an edge over every process
-> advice of the senate
-> no rights of prior debate at meeting (although informal meetings took place – contio)
-> Group voting
-> Ranking on economic grounds
-> Order of voting, stopped when majority reached
-> Personal appearance in Rome
-> Dependent on who turned up and issues involved
>< Laws vs. bribery, use of force, secrete ballot etc.

4. Concilium plebis and tribunes: based on tribal organisation

- convened by tribunes
- alternative voting system
- use in controversial legislation
-> Democratic element?

- Tribunes brought an element of ‘accountability’ to gov thro’ legislation

-> courts for provincial corruption  equites, courts of enquiry to examine action of individual

Friday, February 17, 2006

Structure of Roman Society part 2

Aristocracy: morality

a. Aristocracy in decline?

- Polybius, Livy, Sallust emphasis the moral decline of the aristocracy
- Influence of the Greek east > greed, avarice, ambition (Sallust)
- Ejections from the senate: 70 BC 64 members ejected, Sallust ejected for immorality.

b. Moral catchwords describe the aristocracy: Optimates
c. Series of moral values guided public and private life: controlled actions and relationships

Virtus – winning personal pre-eminence and glory by doing great deeds on behalf of the state
Auctorutas – ‘authority’
Fides – good faith
Fama – reputation – good or bad e.g. Caesar divorced his wife because she was rumoured to of had an affair with Clodius (who had dressed up as a woman and infiltrated the female only Bona Dea, causing great scandal). Caesar’s wife had to be ‘above suspicion’; she was giving him a bad reputation.
Gloria – Cicero: ‘praise given to right actions and the reputation for great merits not merely by the testimony of the multitude but by the witness of all the best men’
Dignitas – prestige acquired exclusively by a senator’ (Caesar considered his dignitas more dear than life itself which led him to start another bout of civil war.)
‘I have been your commander for nine years; under my leadership, your efforts on Rome’s behalf have been crowned with good fortunes; you have won countless battles and have pacified the whole of Gaul and Germany. Now I ask you to defend my reputation (estimation) and standing (dignitas) against the assaults of my enemies.’
Caesar, Civil War, 1.7

d. Mons maiorum: tradition of ancestors

e. Public service and duty: no retirement; operated in 3 areas: epitaphs emphasise public office (gov), military achievement (army) and service to the gods (religious)

f. Competition a feature of Roman society and increased as more wealth flooded in from Rome's conquests.

g. Life was public: everything was used to project position: possessions, women etc. Competition total: oratory, public office, houses (Livius Drusus)

h. Luxury was both frowned upon if excessive but a necessary and important adjunct to the public life of the elite. If you have it, flaunt it. It could enhance dignitas and even assist in political success: e.g. house of Cn. Octavius helped bid for consulship.

i. Powerful even abroad

j. Reaction by senate. Checks introduced are inadequate: sumptuary legislation, law v. bribery, violence, corruption etc. (Various -> Caesar’s legislation as dictator). These laws become part of the competitive aspect of life.

The Later Roman Republic part 2

Structure of Roman Society part 1

Roman society was very stratified, the factors invovled were:

a. Wealth >< poor, unabridged gap
b. Freedom: free > slave: concepts of freedom: dirty professions
c. Citizenship: privileges and protection
d. Division; not just snobbery -> enshrined in law:- Italians -> Social War; wealth limits for strata e.g. Comitia Centuriata – century decided by on property qualifications

2. Upper Classes

a. Senate: 300<600<900 landed aristocracy; political (only the Senate), social, economic(Equestrians) elite >< debarred from commerce/trade theoretically

* Exclusive? -> Patricians, plebeians, novi hominess (new man): not exclusive but controlled inclusion: between Cato and Marius only 4 novi hominess reached the consulship; Cicero boasted he was 1st in living memory >* Homogenous and equal? -> patricians and plebeians: in LR importance was nobilis v not; competitive -> alliances

200 BC-107 BC – 29 consuls elected from families who had no consuls in their family

100 BC-64 BC – 11 consuls elected from families with no connection to the consulship.

b.Equites: origins in military organisation

-> Non political wing of aristocracy/business classes: empire -> growth of wealth, public contracts

-> Important political pressure group: 122 BC extortion courts recognises them: act with/v senate depending on interests involved

-> Shares some values: sons of senators; land owning; wealthy (400 000HS); yet Cicero could speak of a clear distinction between himself and his friend Atticus.

-> Constantly renewed with new members – assimilation to ‘business classes’

3. People: free citizens: voting rights, legal protection, army service
4. Intermediate levels

- non-citizens freemen: Latin rights, Italians, foreigners
- women, children: no rights
- freedmen: vote but not hold office or join army
- slaves
- all enjoyed differing status and relationships with each other

Friday Cat Blogging



Thursday Night With Friends

Gem, Sarah and Emma


Gem and Emma

Sarah, Emma and Me

Thursday, February 16, 2006

This Palestinian Child not stupid , He just shows his anger at Israeli Occupation

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Childhood in Palestine

Im going to the school ,,,, No you are terrorist

israeli soldier try to shoot palestinian student ..

The Later Roman Republic part 1

The Later Roman Republic has always been one of my favourite topics to do with Roman History, it is a period of history filled with violence, intrigue and change. It contains such diverse characters such as Marius, Sulla, Pompey, Caesar, Cicero, Cato the Younger et al.

It was a period which saw rapid change with territorial expansions e.g. 133 BC there was 6 provinces by 44 BC an additional 12 or so had been added, spread of Roman/Italian traders e.g. Cirta, Asia and the increase in wealth and reputation of certain Roman senators e.g. triumphs of Lucullus and Pompey.

Politica life also saw change where there had been limited horizons in 133 BC, by 44BC the Mediterranean was a Roman basin, the Populus Romanus changed with the influx of Italians, there was a polarization of politics which saw more violence in the Roman Republic while the Equites became an economic and political pressure group.

The Roman economy saw a influx of wealth, which created new problems for the Republic as the competition natually increased as the rewards got bigger and bigger which helped contribute to the civil wars which raged on during the 1st Century BC.

Society also saw a transition with the decline of Patrican class and the rise of Plebian aristocracy for example the dominance of the Metelli and their client Marius (whose army reforms made the Roman army a political tool but I shall blog about that another time), this rise was linked to a declining birth rate, ongoing wars and the proscriptions under Sulla.

Ancient writers such as Livy, Sallust, Polybius emphasised the moral decline of the aristocracy and attributed this to the influence of the Greek east > greed, avarice, ambition.

Degeneracy of the aristocracy and decline of religion more than anything was emphasized by Augustus for the ‘fall of the republic'.


MPs overturn terror laws defeat

Terror threat: The great deception

New Abu Ghraib abuse photos anger Arabs

More snaps from Abu Ghraib

New Abu Ghraib Photos Released

Abu Ghraib: More Pictures

Baghdad violence leaves 10 dead

Israeli troops kill Palestinian boy

A Palestinian teenager with learning difficulties has been shot dead by Israeli troops during clashes near the northern West Bank city of Jenin.

Palestinian security forces said Israeli soldiers shot and killed Mujahid Samadi, a retarded 15-year-old Palestinian boy who was carrying a toy gun, on Wednesday.

Words cannot begin to describe how disgusted I am today.

With Blair wanting to curb our rights (check out my brother's post on why it is a bad idea and why the West gets the Islamic world wrong), new photos from Abu Gharib, ongoing deaths in Iraq and Israeli soldiers shooting a Palestinian teenager with learning diffuculties.

How did we reach such a revolting ammoral state?

Sometimes I feel like ancient writers such as Sallust who bemoned the decline of the Roman Republic, they saw the decline began with the defeat of both Carthage and Corinth, without an external enemy to fight they believed the Romans grew complacent and were 'corrupted' by the luxuries of the Greek east.

Moving on a bit one could argue watching America at the moment is like seeing the Roman Empire decline all over again.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Final Lot Of Photos From My Paternal Grandparents Diamond Wedding Anniversary Party

Seity with her Mum and Dad (my brother)

My mum

Relatives, friends etc.

More Photos From My Paternal Grandparents Diamond Wedding Anniversary Party

My Grandad giving a speech

My Dad (by the mic) and his two brothers

Me (again)

Cards etc.

The Cake

My father and his brother (My Uncle)

My Paternal Grandparents Diamond Wedding Anniversary Party

My maternal grandparents

Me, my mum, my sister and my brother

Julie - Seity's mum


My Nan and Grandad dancing

Sunday Seity Blogging

Friday, February 10, 2006

Friday George and Heidi Blogging

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Childhood Memory ((my village`s massacre ))
Nahaleen - Bethlehem- Palestine

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I will never forget that day, it was very frightful day, 13 April 1989,I was 10 years old then.
My village was in a war situation as about 100 Israeli soldiers came to my small quiet village and started to shooting every thing on the land ,every thing has blood even the fly, they came to kill the people ,, to kill the children ,, they want us to leave the village , they want us to die , they want us to cry , they came without human feelings ,, they came as savage animals without heart , just"born to kill" .

Most people were sleeping that time, before that day (12 April ) about 5 soldiers came to the village and called the girls on the street some bad words to provoke the people in the village, they know our traditions good(( the girls are red line)) so none allowed to insult them or call them by shameful words , they were trying to heat up the situation, preparing for something hidden! , soldiers were from worst division called ( police border ) or in Hebrew language ( meshmar gvol ) and they hate every thing called Palestinian , on 13 April at 3.30 AM they enter the village with all their weapons , just to kill and started to shoot on homes, on people, and on animals, and they shot my home and I still have the bullets , at that morning my mother tried to hide me into the wardrobe to save me and my family were fully upset about my uncle who slept out with his friend . My grand mother prayed too much that day for god to save the people from Israeli soldiers,
when they ran out of supplies, another Israeli division called(disciplinary soldiers) came to the village to talk over with police border to leave the village, but they refused then (disciplinary soldiers) got mad and said you have no bullets now and we will not give you any , see how the village is now ?!you killed many people and there are many more wounded ,finally they leave , but they stopped on my village street to arrest the wounded,my village was astounded because 6 people have been killed, one of them is my friend, called subhi and about 30 people wounded and 15 of animals were killed too, I cried too much that day , why they killed my friend?! what he did for them?! , I still remember his face, his shaggy hair , his smile, his eyes , and I will never forget him..

here is the link and you can see the video but General Mitzna didnt say the truth in the report which you will see . 1989: Six killed in West Bank village raid


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

prophet mohammad`s cartoons

(( you have all your right to say whatever you want ,, but its not your right to insult people))

Last September Jyllands-Posten, a Danish conservative daily, published twelve cartoons of Prophet Muhammad. The cartoons were the paper’s response to a Danish author’s complaint that he could not find an artist who would be willing to draw illustrations for a book on the life of Prophet Mohammad. The paper ran twelve cartoons, in all of which the Prophet was depicted in derogatory ways. One cartoonist portrayed him as an apparent terrorist with a bomb-shaped turban, and in another he appears above the clouds warning the apparent martyrs that heaven had ran out of virgins.

im not disagree about free speach ,, but this cartoons insulted most moslims people in the world ,, so it will be big problem , and i think ( bin ladin ) is playing with his beard and looking at norway map , then it will be biggest problem if he kill more victims people , i hope that moslims will not be angry more and norway goverment will say sorry .


Monday, February 06, 2006

Topic of the Moment

Cartoon conflicts

To describe the clash over the Danish depictions of the prophet as one between freedom and dogma will only fan the flames, says Tariq Ramadan

Danish embassy in Tehran attacked

Danish paper rejected Jesus cartoons

New protests erupt in cartoon row

I have mixed feelings on this, on one hand I think free speech is essential for any democracy but at the same time it should not be used so one can behave like an arsehole.

The Danish Newspaper didn't think before the cartoons were published and now its snowballed, it is out of their control. This cartoon also taps into the frustrated feelings muslims have when they see negative portrayals of them from the western media, this frustration allows religious extremists to manipulate the mob for their own ulterior motives.

Many complex reasons and there is no satisfactory answer.

I think the whole cartoon argument only benefits extremists on all sides.

Once again the ordinary people get royally fucked.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Friday Heidi and George Blogging

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Blair faces new Iraq war claims

Bush told Blair we're going to war, memo reveals

· PM backed invasion despite illegality warnings
· Plan to disguise US jets as UN planes
· Bush: postwar violence unlikely

This does not suprise me at all.

Blair will do anything to justify an illegal act like the Iraq War, he convinces himself that he is right, which is why if Bush does decide to invade Iran (which he won't due to having neither the manpower or cash), Blair would find some way to 'jusify it' due to being spineless.

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Sixth Level of Hell - The City of Dis!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Moderate
Level 2 (Lustful)Moderate
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Moderate
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)High
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)High
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Extreme
Level 7 (Violent)Moderate
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Moderate
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Moderate

Take the Dante's Inferno Test

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A Really Nice Photo of Me and the Girls

(L-R) Sarah, Me, Emma and Gem


The milestone they dreaded

The number of British soldiers killed in Iraq reached the landmark figure of 100 yesterday. As another family grieves, others speak out against the war

Vigils to mark 100th Iraq death

Blast hits Baghdad

This war contiues its downward spiral of death and misery.

What has the war exactly achieved? I'm still fuzzy on the details, cause it seems to me all we have done is help create a Shia theoracy and create more disorder in the Middle East.

I must admit I am pretty disgusted today with my government, even more than I usually am.

The contiual support for this ammoral fucked up war really pisses me off as well.

On a brighter note Blair and his government suffered defeats with its religious hatred legislation.

Seems nothing is going right for Blair at the moment.

Not that will make a difference to Blair, he believes in so much in his own self-righteousness, he is determined to push ahead with reforms.

Across the pond Bush delivered, his State of the Union yesterday.

Bubble boy really hasn't a clue about the outside world, he has been so cosseted his whole life that he can't take criticisms.