Happiness & Fulfillment

There are ten methods for meditating on the world, begins one scroll in the 1,300-year-old collection of Tang-dynasty sutras from Xian, China, that can lead us to happiness and fulfillment. I realize that sounds like the opening of a New Age piffle book, but the sutras were actually discovered in a cave near a Buddhist monastery, in the far western region of China, in 1900. The … (more–>)

The Soviet Machiavelli

I’ve written a new piece for my Municipal Machiavelli blog about the late (1982) Mikhail Suslov, the “Soviet Machiavelli.” You can read it here: www.ianchadwick.com/machiavelli/the-soviet-machiavelli/ Suslov was the power behind the Soviet throne; in fact behind several thrones. From joining the Party in 1921, he rose to the top echelon. He was appointed National Party Secretary by Stalin in 1946, joined the the politburo in 1952, and finally … (more–>)

My Grandfathers’ War

One hundred years ago World War I began, a war that started as a clash in a tiny, almost unknown Balkan state and blossomed into a violent, gruesome war that spread across Europe, the Middle East and reached into Africa and Asia. Within a few years, tens of millions would be dead, the political face of the world changed and almost all of the great royal … (more–>)

Neolithic site dig uncovers sophisticated structures

A Neolithic site in the Orkney Islands shows our ancestors had sophisticated building skills more than 5,000 years ago. According to a story in The Scotsman, A groundbreaking excavation of a 5,000-year-old temple complex in Orkney has uncovered evidence to suggest that prehistoric people were a great deal more sophisticated than previously thought. The archaeological dig at the Ness of Brodgar, which is still in its … (more–>)

Lawrence in Arabia

I recall with some vividness seeing David Lean’s masterpiece film, Lawrence of Arabia, when it was first shown in Canadian theatres. I was 12 and utterly astounded by the movie. Not simply the great, sprawling, adventurous tale that meandered through 220 minutes (plus the intermission), but by the incredible scenery. It was a world totally alien from my cultivated, manicured suburbia: wild, dangerous, exotic. And stunningly beautiful. … (more–>)

A Cup of Dragon Well

Legend has it that, in the Qing Dynasty, Qianlong (1711-1799 CE), the grandson of the Emperor Kangxi, went on a holiday to the West Lake district, in the Hangzhou area of Zhejiang province, China. He stopped at the Hu Gong Temple, nestled under the Lion Peak Mountain (Shi Feng Shan). There, he was presented by the monks with a cup of green tea made from the … (more–>)

The Hollow Crown: Henry V

As I started to watch the last film in the Hollow Crown series, I wasn’t sure whether Tom Hiddleston was up to playing the iconic role in Shakespeare’s most patriotic (and jingoistic) play. I thought Hiddleston’s Prince Hal in Henry IV had just a little too much of Loki – and maybe the bully – in it for me to see him as a majestic king. … (more–>)

Lost Shakespeare play found?

Cardenio. Written by William Shakespeare. Based on an episode in Miguel Cervantes’ novel, Don Quixote. The novel was translated from Spanish into English in 1612. The play was known once, but lost. Performed by the King’s Men in 1613, the same year Shakespeare penned Henry VIII, or All is True and The Two Noble Kinsmen. Performed before June 29th, the day the Globe theatre burned down … (more–>)

Tudor politics: Elizabeth’s struggle

David Starkey’s book, Elizabeth: the Struggle for the Throne, is the best book I’ve read on the period of Elizabeth’s life between the death of Henry VIII and her own coronation. It gives a clear, richly detailled picture of the machinations, the politics and the society that she lived in during the 25 years before she became monarch – 1533 to 1558. And what a life … (more–>)

Machiavelli and the Elizabethans

In 1555, Bishop Stephen Gardiner wrote a treatise to King Phillip II of Spain, in which he borrowed (aka plagiarized) extensively from Machiavelli’s The Prince and The Discourses. Gardiner did not credit Machiavelli or attribute any of his quotes, but rather copied some of Machiavelli’s content verbatim or very closely. This was less than two decades after Machiavelli’s works had been first printed, and before Pope … (more–>)

Reading Thucydides at last

Somewhere on one of my bookshelves, is an old Penguin paperback copy of History of The Peloponnesian War by Thucydides. It’s a bit worn, pages lightly yellowed, glue a little brittle. It’s been sitting on the shelf, stacked with many other paperbacks, piled two deep, floor to ceiling, for the past two decades and more. It’s never been read, not completely. I read the introduction, maybe some … (more–>)

The Mac celebrates 30 years

A recent article on Gizmodo shows off some previously unseen (or perhaps just forgotten) footage of a young Steve Jobs unveiling the Macintosh computer, back on January 30, 1984. Thirty years ago, this week. Seems like forever ago. But I remember it, and reasonably well. I remember where I was living then, what I was working on, and who I was with (I’m still with her…) … (more–>)

For want of a nail…

Bought a book at Loblaws (of all places) this week, one by Harry Turtledove: The Big Switch. It’s one of his many alternative history novels, about what might have happened if things had happened a certain way – a different way from what actually transpired – in the opening years of World War Two. He’s written several in this vein and they’ve all been generally well … (more–>)

The Music of the Templars

For the past 25 years, I have had a mysterious page in Latin, held in a cheap picture frame, and stored in a closet for many years. It’s a two-sided page from a book, printed in black and red letters. I bought it at a used-book store in Toronto back when I lived there and frequented such stores. I rediscovered it last week when cleaning out … (more–>)

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