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Theatre of Hierapolis

Hierapolis, Phrygia, Turkey

206 CE

12,000 seats


The theatre at Hierapolis was built in the second century AD under the Roman Emperor Hadrian during a period of extensive rebuilding following a devastating earthquake in 60 AD. It was later renovated under Septimus Severus (193-211 AD). At this time, the scaenae frons was modified and decorated with elaborate limestone and marble carvings. Although the exterior is relatively unassuming as viewed from the front, the interior contains one of Anatolia’s most complete and best-preserved collection of Greco-Roman theatre decorations. In 343 AD the scaenae was renovated and the orchestra was altered so that it could hold aquatic displays. In the later years of the Roman Empire the orchestra was converted into a cellar. Renovation work since 1977 has restored many of the arches and a portion of the stage floor. Prior to this date, the stage as well as its arched support system lay in ruins. Recent archaeological evidence shows that the theatre was in use through the 5th and into the 6th century AD. In 532 AD the scaenae, which had been weakened by seismic activity, was repaired.

The signs as historical women

Aries: Jeanne d'Arc

Also known as the Maid of Orléans, Jeanne d’Arc (1412 - 1431) was a leader of french troops during the Hundred Years War. She came from a peasant family and could neither read nor write. When she was 12, it is said that she began hearing heavenly voices (one of them is said to have been the Archangel Michael), who told her to save her country. At this time, almost all of France was controlled by England. She went to Bourges to meet the dauphin, Charles VII, and when she left, she was the commander of the french troops. Her most famous battle was the Siege of Orléans, where the siege was lifted after only nine days. 1430 she was captured by Burgundians (allied with the english) and was burned at the stake on May 30th, 1431, at the age of 19. 

Taurus: Catherine the Great

Catherine the Great (1729 - 1796) was the Empress of Russia. She came to power after her husband, Peter III was assassinated. During her reign she expanded the Russian boundaries considerably and promoted education and Enlightenment - Russia grew larger and stronger than ever before. Russian borders spread as far as to the Black Sea and Central Europe. During her reign Russia became known as one of the great powers of Europe. She is the longest ruling female of Russia. 

Gemini: Nakano Takeko

Nakano Takeko (1847 - 1868) was a Japanese female warrior of the Aizu domain, who fought and died during the Boshin War. She was thoroughly trained in the martial and literary arts. During the Battle of Aizu, she fought with a naginata and was the leader of a group of female combatans who fought in the battle independently, as the senior Aizu retainers did not allow them to fight as an official part of the domain’s army.  While leading a charge against Imperial Japanese Army troops, she was fatally shot in the chest. Rather than let the enemy capture her head as a trophy, she asked her sister, to cut it off and have it buried. It was taken to Hōkai Temple and buried under a pine tree.

Cancer: Queen Christina of Sweden

Christina (1626 - 1689) was the Queen of Sweden, Grand Princess of Finland and Duchess of Estonia. She was the only surviving child of King Gustaf II Adolf, and when he died during the Battle of Lützen in the Thirty Years War, she became queen. However, she was only 6 years old when this happened. When she was born, she was believed to be a boy. When it was discovered that she was a girl, her father didn’t matter; he had become very closely attached to her. She was raised as a king, and her father made sure that she would inherit the throne when he died, even though she was a girl. Christina is remembered as being one of the most well educated women of the 1600s. She rejected the sexual role of a woman, and decided to never marry. In 1654 she abdicated, converted to Roman Catholicism (Sweden was a protestant country) and moved to Rome. 

Leo: Boudica

Boudica (dead 60-61 AD) was the Celtic war queen of the british tribe Iceni, who lead a major uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire. Her warriors successfully defeated the Roman Ninth Legion and destroyed the capital of Roman Britain. She was later captured by Roman soldiers, but instead of letting them kill her she is believed to have poisoned herself.

Virgo: Elizabeth I

Queen Elizabeth I (1533 - 1603) is remembered as one of the greatest monarchs to ever have ruled England (and Ireland). Her rule is known as “Englands golden age”. She is also known as the Virgin Queen or Good Queen Bess. She never married, nor had any children. Therefore, her death marked the end of the Tudor Era. When the Spanish Armada invaded England in 1588, Elizabeth defended her strength as a female leader, saying: “I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too.” 

Libra: Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn (c. 1501 - 1536) was the second wife of King Henry VIII. Henry had wanted her to become his mistress during the 1520s, but she refused, telling him she had to become his wife first. In order to marry Anne, Henry had to get divorced from Catherine of Aragon. However, as the pope refused to acknowledge the divorce, Henry broke with the catholic church, making England a protestant country. Anne Boleyn married the king in 1533 and was crowned the Queen of England, and gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth, September 7th 1533. Henry VIII was mad at her for not giving birth to a son, and searched for a reason to get rid of her. 1536 Anne Boleyn was accused of adultery, incest and being a witch. She was found guilty, and on May 19th, 1536, she was beheaded. After her daughter was crowned as Queen Elizabeth I, Anne was venerated as a martyr and a heroine of the English Reformation.

Scorpio: Lyudmila Pavlichenko 

Lyudmila Pavlichenko (1916 - 1974) was an Ukrainian Soviet sniper during World War II. She is regarded as the most successful female sniper in history with 309 kills. In 1943 she was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union. During the war she was also known as Lady Death.

Sagittarius: Grace O’Malley

Grace O’Malley (1530 - 1603) was a female pirate and Irish queen in the 16th century. She  is sometimes known as “The Sea Queen of Connacht”.  She was apparently well-educated and was regarded by contemporaries as being exceptionally formidable and competent. Upon her father’s death she inherited his large shipping and trading business (a trade sometimes referred to as mere piracy). She once met Queen Elizabeth I of England, and refused to bow down before her, as Elizabeth didn’t recognize her as the Queen of Ireland.

Capricorn: Natalia Peshkova

Natalia Peshkova  joined the Russian Army when she was just 17, during World War II. She served as a combat medic, and spent three years at the front, accompanying wounded soldiers from the front to the hospital and fought diseases and starvation among the troops. As the war went on, Peshkova was promoted to Sergeant Major and after the war, she was awarded the Order of the Red Star for bravery.

Aquarius: Elizabeth Coleman

Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman (1892 - 1926) was the first female pilot of african american descent. She was an american civil aviator. She was denied pilot training in USA, so she learned french and went to France where she could become a pilot. She died in 1926, after flying an unsafe plane, which after ten minutes, unexpectedly went in for a dive and spun around. This lead to Coleman being thrown out of the plane at 610 m (2 100 ft), and she died instantly when she hit the ground.

Pisces: Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart (1897 - 1937) was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean and also the first woman to recieve a National Geographic Society gold medal. She was a pioneering female pilot, determined and independant, and a supporter of women’s rights. She disappeared in 1937 when she tried to fly around the globe, but she is to this day still remembered as a legend.

Trump’s Big Loss

The demise of the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act is hardly the end of the story. Donald Trump will not let this loss stand.

Since its inception in 2010, Republicans made the Affordable Care Act into a symbol of Obama-Clinton overreach – part of a supposed plot by liberal elites to expand government, burden the white working class, and transfer benefits to poor blacks and Latinos.

Ever the political opportunist, Trump poured his own poisonous salt into this conjured-up wound. Although he never really understood the Affordable Care Act, Trump used it to prey upon resentments of class, race, ethnicity, and religiosity that propelled him into the White House.

Repealing “Obamacare” has remained one of Trump’s central rallying cries to his increasingly angry base. “The question for every senator, Democrat or Republican, is whether they will side with Obamacare’s architects, which have been so destructive to our country, or with its forgotten victims,” Trump said last Monday, adding that any senator who failed to vote against it “is telling America that you are fine with the Obamacare nightmare.”

Now, having lost that fight, Trump will try to subvert the Act by delaying funding so some insurers won’t have time to participate, not enforcing the individual mandate so funding will be inadequate, not informing those who are eligible about when to sign up and how to do so, and looking the other way when states don’t comply.

But that’s not all. Trump doesn’t want his base to perceive him as a loser.

So be prepared for scorched-earth politics from the Oval Office, including more savage verbal attacks on Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, more baseless charges of voter fraud in the 2016 election, more specific threats to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, and further escalation of the culture wars.

Most Americans won’t be swayed by these pyrotechnics because they’ve become inured to our unhinged president.

But that’s not the point. The rantings are intended to shore up Trump’s “base” – the third of the country that continues to support him, who still believe they’re “victims” of Obamacare, who are willing to believe Trump himself is the victim of a liberal conspiracy to unseat him.  

Trump wants his base to become increasingly angry and politically mobilized so they’ll continue to exert an outsized influence on the Republican Party.

There is a deeper danger here. As Harvard political scientist Archon Fung has argued, stable democracies require that citizens be committed to the rule of law even if they fail to achieve their preferred policies.

Settling our differences through ballots and agreed-upon processes rather than through force is what separates democracy from authoritarianism.

But Donald Trump has never been committed to the rule of law. For him, it’s all about winning. If he can’t win through established democratic processes, he’ll mobilize his base to change them. 

Trump is already demanding that Mitch McConnell and senate Republicans obliterate the filibuster, thereby allowing anything to be passed with a bare majority.

On Saturday he tweeted “Republican Senate must get rid of 60 vote NOW!” adding the filibuster “allows 8 Dems to control country,” and “Republicans in the Senate will NEVER win if they don’t go to a 51 vote majority NOW. They look like fools and are just wasting time.”

What’s particularly worrisome about Trump’s attack on the processes of our democracy is that the assault comes at a time when the percentage of Americans who regard the other party as a fundamental threat is growing.

In 2014 – even before Trump’s incendiary presidential campaign – 35 percent of Republicans saw the Democratic Party as a “threat to the nation’s well being” and 27 percent of Democrats regarded Republicans the same way, according to the Pew Research Center.

Those percentages are undoubtedly higher today. If Trump has his way, they’ll be higher still. 

Anyone who regards the other party as a threat to the nation’s well being is less apt to accept outcomes in which the other is perceived to prevail – whether it’s a decision not to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or a special counsel’s conclusion that Trump did in fact collude with Russians, or even the outcome of the next presidential election.

As a practical matter, when large numbers of citizens aren’t willing to accept such outcomes, we’re no longer part of the same democracy.

I fear this is where Trump intends to take his followers, along with as much of the Republican Party as he can: Toward a rejection of political outcomes they regard as illegitimate and therefore a rejection of democracy as we know it. 

That way, Trump will always win.

Babe I'm Gonna Leave You
Led Zeppelin
Babe I'm Gonna Leave You

One of Led Zeppelin’s greatest songs is also an excellent rendition of The Plebs’ (Anne Bredon) original late 50s hit. The song was further covered by Joan Baez (in the early 60s) before Zeppelin added their touch to it.

PLACES BEHIND THE FACES

Some brief but interesting background info about the cites where the following English models come from, as knowledge is also beautiful…

Doncaster is in Yorkshire, an was founded about 1,900 years ago, beside a Roman fort. Candy factories opened in the 1800s, an a castle is nearby. In fact the famous chocolate biscuit-bar Kit-Kat was invented locally.

London is the capital of the United Kingdom, as was founded in 43 A.D as an international trading city - which it still is today, 2000 years later. It became the capital of England after the anglo-saxons reclaimed it in 927.

Kent is a county founded by the Jute anglo-saxon tribe and the Cantuci - a Celtic tribe from over 3000 years ago. Queen Anne Boleyn was born here. Kent is known as the garden county an has castle an a major seaport. Link

Liverpool was the worlds first truly international city, as its docks catered for global shipping on a grand scale. The Beatles pop-band originated here as did other bands. Two premiership football clubs are based here.

Sheffield is where modern steel production was founded in the 1800s, with stainless steel being invented here in 1771. Silverware is still made here. In this city originated famous bands like the Human League an Def Leppard.

Bath is a quaint city, which was named after a volcanic spring that was harnessed into a giant public bath house in 60 AD by the Roman empire. This city is considered very picturesque with quaint buildings an streets.

Essex was founded by the eastern Saxons over 1600 years ago. It is the home of Fords European research center, an the band Depeche Mode. The county has a modern city feel to it in the west an countryside to the east.

The “Newcastle” part of the hometown derives from it being the location of a ‘new castle’ in the 12th century. The “Lyme” section refers to the Forest of Lyme that covered the area with lime trees in the medieval period.

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