Like splinters of the true cross in medieval cathedrals, Greek archaeological sites linked to great historical figures keep on proliferating. A vast tomb unearthed in Amphipolis in 2014 was linked, by the excavators, to Hephaestion, the best friend of Alexander the Great, on thin or contradictory evidence. Now an even more sensational claim has been advanced for another northern Greek site, the ancient city of Stagira. Archaeologist Konstantinos Sismanidis, who has been digging at Stagira since 1990, announced on Thursday that he was “as certain as one can be” that a structure recently found there is the tomb of the philosopher Aristotle. Sismanidis admitted he had no “proof” but only “circumstantial evidence” to support the claim—a bizarrely tautological statement, since proof almost never exists in the case of classical tomb finds in this region. Almost 30 years after they were opened, two Macedonian chamber tombs near the Greek village of Vergina are still the subjects of … [Read more...] about Aristotle’s Tomb or Just a Tourist Site?
America’s great cities are coming back, albeit slowly, from the shock of the pandemic, and its divisive aftermath. But don’t expect them to fully recover their former status any time soon . Aristotle famously posited that the city “comes into being for the sake of living, but it exists for the sake of living well. ” In an era where fewer people must live in a city as a function of their employment, it’s an old lesson that cities desperately need to re-learn. Amid the rise of on-line work, along with increased violent crime discouraging people from returning to the trains and a fear of pestilence, the populations of downtowns in particular have dropped dramatically over the past two years —accelerating a longer-term trend in which large metropolitan areas have had a net loss of domestic migrants to smaller cities since 2015. As of 2022, the big cities are losing domestic migrants to more rural areas as well. As anyone walking in the largest downtowns can clearly see, the … [Read more...] about There’s One Simple Trick for Making America’s Post-Pandemic Cities Great Again
In the 19th century, American cereal tycoons and literary giants found themselves embroiled in a dietary spat. Sylvester Graham, Presbyterian minister and inspiration for the crackers he inspired, and his friends John Harvey Kellogg, of cornflakes fame, and physician William Alcott advocated for a biblically inspired vegetarian diet. Meanwhile, American author Walt Whitman wrote no fewer than 13 essays advocating for a “manly” all-meat diet. A few years earlier Herman Melville took a side swipe at vegetarianism in Bartleby, the Scrivener . And, somewhat awkwardly, twenty years later William Alcott’s child , the novelist Louisa May, wrote a satirical essay that was, in essence, a protracted subtweet trashing her father’s experimental vegan commune. You can imagine what Thanksgiving was like at their house: Bringing a Turkey would have been an act of war. Both sides of this Victorian debate recognized that there might, under certain circumstances, be something spiritual about … [Read more...] about Did God Create Us to Be Vegetarians?