Carthāgō dēlenda est. ~ Cato (via Wikipedia)
The sirens beckon. I am lost in the ancient world. A re-discovery of sorts. I spent the last 6 years or so not wanting to think too much about the Middle East. I'd had enough, for a lot of reasons. Looking back I think the main reasons were burnout (an overused term, sorry) and cynicism. The practical manifestation was not going anywhere near hummus or shwarma for a long time. Thankfully that's receding. I'd get on a plane to Tangier tomorrow...and complain the entire time about the miseries of flying in 2021.
My head has been in the Mediterranean all day. It started with an article in the New York Times about the port of Piraeus becoming Athens' new hot spot. The article had me scrambling for my copy of Thucydides, but now I'm not sure I had a copy of Thucydides. Do you ever do that? Let something completely distract you from the task at hand? I've looked at all my books twice. I'll probably find it tomorrow or remember that I gave it away.
I've been to Piraeus, but only for a few hours. Work trip. Didn't get to see any of it. I read the New York Times article, and it had me dreaming of opening a bar, bookstore, or a small hotel there. I wonder if articles about trendy locations in the New York Times have a cost / interest effect. I've long thought that it would be a savvy (and likely gentrifying) move to buy property near a newly announced Whole Foods. I wonder how an investor would do with a New York Times Trendy Location Strategy. Not quite as dramatic as "When there's blood in the streets, buy real estate."
In looking high and low for this book on the Peloponnesian War that I may or may not have had, I've lost focus. Thinking about the ancient port of Piraeus got me thinking about the ancient military harbor in Carthage. I think there were similarities, but now I'm not sure. I visited the Carthage site in Tunis, but you've got to use your imagination to picture what it must have looked like in the days of the Barcas. You can see a possible rendering of it in the following image from Richard Miles' "Carthage Must Be Destroyed". (I like to provide links to books; that links to my affiliate page at Bookshop. If someone buys the book through that link, I'll get a small commission. If you're interested, just get a copy at the library.)
Seems like a lifetime ago, living in Tunis. I wouldn't say I lived there very well. I'm looking at that image above and several history books thinking how lucky I was to have lived there. I want to look back on that time and remember a version of me that was keenly aware of how lucky I was to live there, and who took advantage of every spare moment to explore. Holy shit, I am in Carthage!
Unfortunately, that version of me doesn't exist. Sure, I had my moments. I'd seek out Roman ruins, ancient cities, and battle sites. Heck, I spent several hours searching for a remnant of the Battle of Thapsus. No luck, but I must have been close. The highlight was taking an overnight ferry from Rome to Tunis. The trip was miserable, but it had a great payoff - sailing into Carthage at dawn. My own re-enactment of the Punic Wars (after a sleepless night).
This post has gotten away from me. I had something in mind when I started it earlier today, but I've lost the thread.
I'll close with something that makes sense. Charles Mudede wrote about a recent visit to Vancouver, and it's fantastic.
Addendum: Just saw that Chuck's zine is posted at The Concern. Chuck, looks great! Neat little site, too. Addendum x2: Dangerous little site haha. I could spend a lot of money there.