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Thoughts On And For A Structured Existence



“Walking The Walk With Dante” On The Camino De Santiago In Spain

raymond-meeks-on-the-camino-de-santiago-nyt-magazine On the last page inside the back cover of the New York Times Magazine, in Part 6 of “The Voyages Issue“, photographer Raymond Meeks walked the 500-mile road in Northwest Spain that for 1200 years been one of the great spiritual quests.

Dante, in Canto XXV of the The Paradiso, stated:

“…in the narrow sense, none is called a pilgrim
save him who is journeying towards the sanctuary
of St. James, or is returning.”

The monks of Cluny built monasteries along the trail with the new “pilgrim funds” that flowed after the discovery of the tomb of St. James, apostle to Jesus Christ, was discovered in 814.

“The Poem of the Cid”, written in the mid 12th Century, was a true story of a Castilian hero El Cid during the Reconquista of Spain from the Moors.

It was a sight to see the lances
rise and fall that day;
The shivered shields and riven mail,
to see how thick they lay;
The pennons that went in snow-white
come out a gory red;
The horses running riderless,
the riders lying dead;
While Moors call on Mohammed,
and ‘St. James!’ the Christians cry,
And sixty score of Moors and more
in narrow compass lie.”


“My Kingdom For A Nail”: How The Conquest Of The Veneti In Gaul Launched The Roman Empire

Julius Caesar (100 – 44 BC) completed the defeat of Gaul in 51 BC, extending Rome’s reach to the English Channel, creating the imperial foundation that launched the Roman Empire (27 BC – 395 AD).

Caesar wrote of battling the seafaring Celtic Veneti, whose fleet of superior, larger ships (with no oars) were made of heavy oak transoms fastened by long iron nails “the thickness of a thumb“. Only by slashing the halyards of the Veneti’s leather sails did he disable and defeat the enemy.

Hand-forged iron nails (10” and longer) revolutionized Roman shipbuilding (bigger warships and merchant fleets), fortified military camps (“Castra“), and siege engines. Military Engineering progressed steadily from each conquest, merging and perfecting innovations of other cultures on a scale that the world had never seen before. Size matters in world domination.

Rome’s insatiable need for iron ore demanded improved metallurgy,  conquest of distant territories, and the stable administration of mines in those lands, including Spain, Portugal, Austria, Britain, Egypt and Carthage (Tunisia).

Five Iron Nails from Roman Fortress of 83 AD  at Inchtuthil in Scotland excavated in 1960 photoA Roman Fortress in Britain (Scotland), dating to 83 AD, was excavated in 1952-65 and found to have 750,000 iron nails buried in a pit. Distant outposts used the same heavy hardware throughout the Empire.

“For the want of a nail”. Not this kingdom.


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