Filibuster in Antiquity

‘Filibustering’ refers to politicians holding endless speeches in parliament, touching upon all sorts of issues that are more or less off topic. The sole intention is to prevent the debate from being closed so that a vote can be called. As far as I know, we find the oldest known…

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Cyprus: Kourion

Kourion – Curium in Latin – was an important city state in Ancient Cyprus. It flourished during the Ptolemaic and Roman eras, until it was almost completely destroyed by two earthquakes in the fourth century CE. A rebuilt Kourion was an easy target for Arab raiders, who destroyed the city…

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Portugal: Batalha

On 22 October 1383, King Fernando I of Portugal died after a reign of sixteen years. His death effectively ended the House of Burgundy, which had ruled Portugal since the early twelfth century. The king had no male heir, just a daughter, Infanta Beatriz (1372-1408). She had been married off…

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The Republican Roman army

Rome began as a collection of villages on several hills near the river Tiber. Life there was neither comfortable, nor safe. War was always looming. Neighbouring tribes and cultures envied Rome for its favourable position on the Tiber, from which it controlled the salt trade in Central Italy. Rome itself…

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Rome: A fascist past

Walking through the streets of Rome, visitors are reminded of Italy’s dark, fascist past in many places. I am talking about Italy in the twenties, thirties and forties of the previous century, Benito Mussolini’s Italy. Sometimes the visitor is hardly aware that he or she is near or even on…

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Portugal: Santarém

Santarém is the capital of the Santarém District in the Ribatejo region in central Portugal. It is by no means a large city, with a population of about 30.000. Yet it has many interesting monuments and is definitely worth a visit. Just do not go there on a Monday or…

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Portugal: Tomar

The description of Tomar in our travel guide was particularly promising: a picturesque town in the shadow of a crusader castle and monastery perched on a hill. Since both the Convento de Christo and the Castelo dos Templários are listed as UNESCO World Heritage, we decided to take the car…

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