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TomGriffin
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On the Trinity (Latin: De Trinitate) is a theological work by St Augustine, written in the early 5th century CE. In offering a philosophical defence of the Christian doctrine of the trinity, Augustine makes a number of arguments whose significance goes beyond their apologetic purpose. His arguments against skepticism in this and other works have often been seen as a precursor to those of Descartes. Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Tom's Learning Notes
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The Song of Roland (French: Chanson de Roland) is an old French epic poem, probably written in the late eleventh or early twelfth century. Traditionally attributed to a poet named Turoldus or Turold, it is the most famous example of the chanson de geste genre and the earliest surviving major work of French literature. Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2019 at Tom's Learning Notes
A quick look at the numbers for a parliamentary move to block no deal, expected tomorrow. My conclusion is that if Tory rebels turn out in the numbers anticipated, the Government will need a substantial Labour rebellion to stave off defeat. The situation is fluid, but there doesn't seem to be much sign of that so far. It's no wonder that the Government is resorting to threats of deselections and an early election. Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2019 at The Green Ribbon
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The Nibelungenlied (German: Das Nibelungenlied) or Song of the Nibelungs is a middle high German poem whose anonymous author may have written in the early 13th century, drawing on much older oral traditions which are paralleled in Scandinavian literature, and which dimly reflects events from the 5th and 6th century. Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2019 at Tom's Learning Notes
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Parzival by Wolfram Von Eschenbach is a Middle High German Romance completed in the early thirteenth century. reworking material from Chrétien de Troyes earlier Perceval, Von Eschenbach recounts Parzival's adventures at the court of King Arthur, and his pursuit of the Holy Grail, inspired by his love for Queen Condwiramurs. Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2019 at Tom's Learning Notes
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Yvain, the Knight of the Lion (French: Yvain ou le Chevalier au Lion) is an Old French romance, composed by Chrétien de Troyes in the late twelfth century. Widely considered the greatest of his Arthurian romances, it is the only one based on a historical figure, Owain mab Urien, son of the ruler of the sixth century Welsh kingdom of Rheged. How much de Troyes drew from earlier Celtic traditions is a matter of some controversy. Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2019 at Tom's Learning Notes
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The Pharsalia or On the Civil War (Latin: De Bello Civili) is an epic by the Roman poet Lucan (39-65 CE) recounting the conflict between Julius Caesar and Pompey. It consists of ten books, of which the last appears to be incomplete, breaking off during Caesar's campaign in Egypt.Lucan strongly favours the republican side and the poem has been seen as a riposte to the Augustan propaganda of Virgil's Aeneid. Lucan's stoicism is reflected in his portrayal of Cato, and in his avoidance of divine intervention as a plot device. Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2019 at Tom's Learning Notes
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Don Quixote is a Spanish novel by Miguel de Cervantes, published in two volumes in 1605 and 16015. It is one of the most highly regarded novels ever written, and its satire of earlier prose romances influenced the realism of the developing form.The title character is an elderly Castilian gentlemen who is driven out of his wits by his reading of chivalric romances, and embarks on a series of picarasque adventures, accompanied by the more worldly Sancho Panza. The work has been subjected to many interpretations. Some suggest that like the earlier picaresque genre, it reflects the breakdown of feudalism and the emergence of commercial society. Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2019 at Tom's Learning Notes
We now have a definite answer to the question raised in my previous post: is Johnny Mercer a non-executive director at Crucial Academy? Mercer was appointed as a director on 3 June 2019.Curiously, this is nine months after he registered the £85,000 a year directorship with the Commons authorities, and a month after I queried why this directorship didn't appear in Companies House filings. Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2019 at The Green Ribbon
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The Decameron is a collection of stories by Giovanni Boccaccio, probably completed around 1353. It is set during the Black Death in Florence some years before, following a group of seven women and three men who flee the city for a deserted villa, passing the time by telling each other a series of tales over ten days.This provides the occasion for a hundred stories, drawn from a variety of sources, in what would be one of the most influential uses of the frame-story device in Western literature. Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2019 at Tom's Learning Notes
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Orlando Furioso (English: The Rage of Roland) is an Italian epic poem by Ludovico Ariosto, published between 1516 and 1532. It is a contuation of Boiardo's Orlando Innamorato, and continues its adaptation of legendary matter from the Matter of France, recounting the sturggle between Charlemagne's paladins and the saracens. It's popularity, and wide influence in European literature, largely eclipsed that of the earlier work. Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2019 at Tom's Learning Notes
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Jerusalem Delivered (Italian: Gerusalemme Liberata) by Torquato Tasso is an epic poem published in 1581, recounting a almost completely fictionalised version of the first crusade. One of the few quasi-historical characters is the knight Tancredi, who corresponds to the Italo-Norman crusader Tancred, Prince of Galilee.The work enjoyed immediate and lasting success, in part because of its contemporary resonances at a time of conflict between Western European powers and the Ottoman Empire. It has frequently provided a subject for the visual arts and literary adaptations.Jerusalem Delivere Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2019 at Tom's Learning Notes
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Orlando Innamorato (English: Orlando in Love) by Matteo Maria Boiardo is an incomplete epic poem publish in Italian between 1483 and 1495. It chronicles the adventures of Orlando, a romanticised version of legendary Carolingian hero Roland, and particularly his pursuit of the beautiful Angelica. The work had a powerful influence on later Italian poets, notably Ariosto, who wrote the sequel Orlando Furioso, and Tasso, who borrowed elements for his Gerusalemme Liberata. Ariosto's success overshadowed Boiardo's original to such an extent that it was almost completely lost until its rediscovery in the nineteenth century. Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2019 at Tom's Learning Notes
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The Faerie Queene is an epic poem by Edmund Spenser in six books, of which the first three were published in 1590, with the rest appearing in 1596. Spenser drew on Arthurian legend and contemporary Italian epic to create a poem celebrating the court of Elizabeth I, who appears in the form of the Faerie Queene herself, Gloriana, whose knights pursue a series of quests with strong allegorical elements. Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2019 at Tom's Learning Notes
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The Canterbury Tales is a collection of 24 stories by Geoffrey Chaucer written between 1387 and 1400. The frame story of a pilgrimage from London to Canterbury allows Chaucer to depict a cross-section of late feudal society through the pen-portraits of the travellers in the General Prologue. The Tales may be incomplete, and although 30 pilgrims are introduced, only 24 tell a tale in the course of the narrative. Among the most famous is that of the Wife of Bath, whose implications for medieval views on women has long been debated. Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2019 at Tom's Learning Notes
The Conservative MP for Plymouth Moor View has been in the news a lot lately as a key backbench hold-out on Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement, one who has accused the Tory whips of seeking to dig up dirt on him... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2019 at The Green Ribbon
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Paradise Lost is an epic poem by John Milton, originally published in 1667 in ten books, with a second edition in twelve books following in 1667. It tells the story of Satan's fall from heaven and the temptation of Adam and Eve. Blake wrote of Milton that 'he was of the Devil's party without knowing it' because of his portrayal of Satan as a charismatic antihero. Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2019 at Tom's Learning Notes
The Brexit Party has today announced former property developer Ben Habib as a candidate for the European elections. At the launch event, Habib argued for keeping a no deal Brexit on the table.Habib's involvement is an intriguing data point for those who think a influential fraction of Brexit supporters are driven by an appetite for cheap assets. Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2019 at The Green Ribbon
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Areopagitica is a 1644 polemical essay by the poet John Milton arguing for freedom of the press. Written early in the English Civil War, at a moment when Parliament had broken the authority of Charles I's controls on publishing, it was unsuccessful in dissuading the dominant Presbyterian faction from instituting its own censorship. It nevertheless became a formative influence on later arguments for freedom of speech in the liberal tradition. Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2019 at Tom's Learning Notes
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The Brief Lives by John Aubrey (1626-1697) are a collection of short biographies of his contemporaries, chosen on eclectic grounds which allowed for the inclusion of personal friends as well as prominent figures from science, philosophy, the arts, politics and high society. Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2019 at Tom's Learning Notes
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Gulliver's Travels is a 1726 work by Jonathan Swift, now most often read in versions adapted for children, but originally a sharp satire of contemperary Europe. Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2019 at Tom's Learning Notes
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The Chronographia (Greek: Χρονογραφία) by Michael Psellos is a history of the Byzantine Empire in the century from 976 CE by Michael Psellos, who was himself an active courtier and political advisor during the latter part of this period. His chief interest is in the character of individual rulers, which he considers in fourteen biographies of individual emperors and empresses, from Basil II 'The Bulgar-Slayer' to Michael VII Doukas. Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2019 at Tom's Learning Notes
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The Alexiad (Greek: Ἀλεξιάς) by Anna Comnena, is a history of the Byzantine Empire during the reign of her father Alexios I Comnenus from 1048-1118. Written in around 1148, it is significant as an important source for the period leading up to the First Crusade, and as one of the earliest historical works by by a woman. Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2019 at Tom's Learning Notes
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The Critique of Pure Reason (German: Kritik der reinen Vernunft), often known as the First Critique is a 1781 work by Immanuel Kant. It is a foundational text of modern Western philosophy, proposing a 'Copernican turn' in the approach to central questions posed by previous thinkers. Rather than assuming that the mind must conform to its objects, Kant posited that objects must conform to our minds. Objects must conform to the conditions of possible experience to be experienced at all, and so we can know that they will conform to them, but that knowledge does not extend beyond our experience, to things as they are in themselves, limiting our ability to many traditional metaphysical claims. Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2019 at Tom's Learning Notes
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Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous is a 1713 philosophical work by George Berkeley, written as a dialogue in which the characters discuss the metaphysical ideas which Berkeley had previously propounded to some criticism in A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge.The two characters are given Greek names which reflect their respective commitments. Hylas is named after the Greek word for matter and takes a materialist position. Philonous, 'lover of mind', defends an idealist position, which is largely Berkeley's own. Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2019 at Tom's Learning Notes