european influence

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Okay. So because it has been specifically requested, an examination of Lotor’s sword. I’m sorry to anyone who was excited for this because it just… isn’t.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s a nice solid sword with smooth lines, good visual flow, not gaudy – actually it’s quite plain and practical. Almost militaristically utilitarian. 

Which in and of itself is interesting given all the fandom expectations for Lotor to be a something of a lavish, exceedingly vain, and impractical sort. That sword suggests a personality that runs quite the opposite, unlike the extremely detailed and fanciful swords his father conjures with a bayard. The Blades of Marmora have more detailing going on than Lotor does.

Aside from that though, there’s not much I can glean historically based on the sword. A backswept thick crossguard like that isn’t a terribly common sword design, and is seen more often in animation and video games than reality. 

Indian Khandas and Patissas have backswept crossguards a little similar that, but this sword lacks the telltale markers of the Kanda’s wide, flat-ended blade shape, single edged blade, the arching hook on the pommel butt, or the one-sided basket-hilt-inspired finger guard. The pre-17th century (pre-European influence) Patissas are closer with thier lack of finger guards and often a lack of hook with a short thick backswept crossguard, but it’s only a single point of similarity, and not a strong one since Lotor’s crossguard sweeps back with thick and heavy finger guards on both sides – which would restrict movement strangely on a double edged blade and is why this just isn’t a design that happens in real swords. Lotor’s sword also lacks the distinctive triangular hilt extension running up the center of the blade. It just doesn’t match too many vital key markers.

Similarly, some Chinese Jian/Longsword designs have backswept hilts, but that is the extent of the similarity, again, nothing else about it from blade shape on seems to match.

The apparent two-handed hilt grip also makes it a bad match for most east Asian swords. They’re usually one-handed, sometimes a hand and a half, but Lotor could clearly comfortably fit both hands on it.

In fact, if you ignore the odd crossguard entirely, the sword becomes a very basic, very nice-but-boring-and-generic European Longsword. The large hit and length puts it towards the “bastard” and “great” sword size, as is also suggested by the long ricasso (unsharpened section just above the hilt). The blade cross section seems to be a mix of a diamond and hexagonal form, and the hilt a standard diamond shaped pommel. 

By no means a bad sword design, it’s just, largely uninteresting from a historical and meta commentary perspective.

I’ll never forget the devasted expression in my English Language teacher’s face when I was 13 and asked her if she could help me get rid of my accent. She was a glorious, intelligent and tender woman and the first person to openly talk to me about how important it is to value our own culture over hegemomic european and north american influences, and how important it was to cultivate my identity as latina and to be proud of my accent, not ashamed

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The Cholitas Luchadoras: Indigenous Female Wrestlers of Bolivia - Eduardo Leal

A petite woman approaches the broad blue square of a wrestling ring. She climbs through the ropes with practiced, dainty poise and removes a bowler hat from atop her glossy black braids. Then she takes off her earrings and rings, unwraps a glittering shawl from her shoulders and raises her fist. It’s just another Sunday afternoon for Mery Llanos Saenz, 33, otherwise known as Juanita la Cariñosa, who wears typical cholita paceña dress — the bowler, tiered skirt and multitudes of petticoats commonly worn by Aymara Indian women in La Paz and El Alto — inside and outside the ring.

Facing an expectant crowd, Juanita la Cariñosa (Juanita the Affectionate), raises her arms and whips the spectators into cheers. Then she turns and throws herself into the air, her blue skirt fanning out around her, and collides with her opponent. They both plunge to the floor with a tremendous thump and shudder as the announcer roars, “No, it cannot be!” through a blasting, fuzzy speaker system.

Bolivian wrestling draws weekly crowds to a handful of venues in La Paz and El Alto.In [the country’s] arid western highlands, El Alto is a growing metropolis that attracts Aymara Indian migrants from the surrounding countryside. Llanos Saenz’s wrestling colleagues include the human flame, an Elvis-inspired wrestler and a scarecrow who dances to country music, but the stars of the show are the cholitas luchadoras — the fighting cholitas. The rise of the cholitas luchadoras over the past 10 years has mirrored the increased visibility and the growing social and economic power of cholitas in La Paz and El Alto. Cholitas are women who dress in European-influenced outfits that emerged under colonial rule, when indigenous people were forbidden to wear traditional clothes. Though they were once excluded from education and politics, today these women are visible everywhere from government offices to expensive boutiques, and the clothes are a sign of pride and identity.

Many say the word cholita comes from the Spanish word “cholo” (chola for females) - meaning mixed-race or, pejoratively, “halfbreed” or “civilised Indian”. But in this case it’s been appropriated as a badge of honour. The diminutive “ita”, frequently used in Spanish, is affectionate and means small.

In essence “cholos” refers to people of indigenous heritage who in many cases have some Spanish blood - known as “mestizos” - or at least who have adopted elements of Spanish dress, language or culture. Those who moved from rural peasant areas to the city - as many modern day cholitas and their ancestors did - were mocked as cholos attempting to move up the social scale.

The Rise and Fall of the Wassoulou (Mandinka) Empire, West Africa

The Wassoulou Empire was an African Empire that existed between 1294 and 1315 AH (1878-1898 CE) in modern Mali, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone.

The story of the rise and fall of the Wassoulou state is also the story of the rise and fall of its first and only ruler, a remarkable man named Samori Touré. Born to a Dyula Mandé family in the town of Mayambaladugu, in the year 1245 AH (1830 CE), he was the son of a fairly well-to-do merchant. Touré grew up in an African world that had long been aware of the European presence. Slave trading on the coasts had been going on for generations, though Europeans were yet to penetrate too far inland, and many still relied on their protectorates for extracting the wealth of Africa. Touré’s father probably had significant relationships with a variety of Europeans, both officials and civilians, as a merchant, and as a result, Touré had a familiarity with their ways of life, and particularly, their ways of bureaucracy, organization, and martial tradition, since many of the outposts and expeditions in the area would have been armed and defended by troops brought in from overseas.

In 1264 AH (1848 CE), an event happened that would change his life forever. At the time, Mayambaladugu and most of the surrounding Mandé and Fulani groups had just been subjugated by the authority of the Tocouleur Empire, often as client chiefdoms or states, and these vassal entities continued to fight intermittent wars with one another, often for loot, including slaves, and access to natural resources that could buy guns and equipment from Europeans, or influence at the new Tocouleur court. When he was eighteen, a man and probably taking some responsibility in his family’s mercantile business, his mother was seized in one of these raids by the powerful Cissé, another Mandé group. Determined to get her back, Samori Touré traveled deep into Cissé territory, to confront a man tradition names Séré-Burlay. In return for his mother’s safety, he struck an agreement with his mother’s captor: he would serve the Cissé as a warrior, so long as she remained safe. It is unkown how long Touré served in this capacity, though some traditions say for more than seven years, but however long he did, he was most likely an experienced veteran by the time he ended his service to the Cissé by escaping with his mother.

Seeking safety from the roused and potentially vengeful Cissé, Touré traveled to the towns of the Bérété Mandé, a group who had been longtime rivals of his former masters. There, again, he became a warrior, though now he began to rise through the ranks, charismatic and brave as he was, and with an extensive knowledge of his enemies and years of combat experience under his belt. By 1280 AH (1864 CE), he had a significant amount of men under his command, and was fighting for the Bérété somewhere along one of the Niger’s tributaries, probably the Milo River.

A final note on Touré’s early life, before the founding of the Wassoulou Empire is discussed: Touré was not born a Muslim, but converted sometime as a young man, possibly during his time with the Cissé, but it is impossible to be sure. Even African sources disagree on the exact dates, or how/why he converted. Regardless, by 1280 AH (1864 CE), he was a devout Sunni Muslim, and possibly a member of a Sufi brotherhood.

In 1280 AH (1864 CE), the Tocouleur Empire, which had conquered and subsumed the Mandé and Fulani states of Touré’s youth the year his mother had been kidnapped, collapsed. El Hadj Omar Tal, the Fulani founder and only ruler of the Tocouleur state, died, and though his heirs managed to hold onto some of the territory, their subjects proved entirely too powerful and eager for the potential spoils left by the great man’s death for their control. Dozens of factions broke off, and the region dissolved into chaos. As mentioned above, Touré was on what was probably the Milo River, and, as the Empire disintegrated around him, Touré took advantage of the situation to accomplish two things. The first was the testing of his warriors in serious battle. Trained with his own version of European military standards, adapted from the experiences and memories of his youth, and armed with firearms and the skill to use them, Touré was eager to see if his own theories about war would hold up in a conflict so much larger and more intense than the small-scale strife of his youth. The second goal was the creation of a new Sunni Muslim state, with Touré as the ruler.

Touré quickly won victories. His men were well-disciplined, and, as the war progressed, more and more heavily armed. In addition to captured weapons and a variety of improvised and locally-manufactured equipment, Touré also began to deal with the British in Sierra Leone, where they refused to offer him status as a full protectorate kingdom, but agreed to supply him with weapons in exchange for a promise not to deal with other colonial powers, particularly the French. Though the British did not supply him with heavy weapons or artillery, they did provide breach-loading weapons, and the know-how to repair them, as well as an enormous supply of ammunition. So armed and now with a veteran army at his back, Touré seized the Buré gold mines, on the Malian border, and with the hard currency and extensive territory his victories had won him, proclaimed himself Faama (Emir, roughly), of a new Wassoulou Empire, named after region on the modern Guinea-Mali border. The capitol was moved to the large town of Bissandugu in 1294 AH (1878 CE).

The next chapter of the Wassoulou Empire was marked by wars of conquest against weaker neighbors, rather than the earlier wars for survival in the cutthroat political climate left behind by the Tocouleur collapse. A major success came in 1297 AH (1881 CE), when Kankan, a major Dyula trading post on the Milo River fell, and the Empire reached its geographical zenith. Smaller states, particularly animist/indigenous African states, fell as well in the same period, and though, like many African rulers, Touré allowed many indigenous civil customs to continue unmolested, he began to style himself with Islamic titles, and likely sought out more formal religious training from Sufi’s and Marabouts, local Sunni leaders, during this period. Finally, he managed to secure alliances, with himself as the power-brokering party, with the Fulani states to the North, where Islam was the state religion.

In 1299 AH (1882 CE), Samori Touré launched a new campaign, this time dispatching his troops South, toward Cote d’Ivoire. There, they besieged the city of Keriera, hoping to use it as the launching point for a campaign as far as the coast. However, another major imperial power was operating to the south, and moving northwards from the Ivory Coast: France. In fact, the first contact between the Wassoulou Empire and the French was a brief engagement outside of Keriera, where a French force drove off Touré’s surprised troops, and then effectively replaced them, occupying the city. Touré, concerned but not desperate, renewed relations with the British and sent new emissaries to Liberia, where he hoped to strike another arms deal. He got what he was looking for in 1300 AH (1882-3 CE), purchasing repeating rifles from the British and Liberians, and setting up a corridor on which to move supplies between the coast and his interior centers of power, should the emerging conflict with the French escalate.

They did escalate. Skirmishes and Wassoulou raiding colored the next few years, and French colonial authorities, disturbed by what they perceived as a grave threat to ventures in the area, dispatched a Colonel Combes with an expeditionary force to take Buré, one of the main sources of cash for Touré and his Empire. However, the force was too small, and Combés was unfamiliar with the terrain and his enemy, and they were soundly defeated by the crack African forces, many of the leaders veterans of decades of campaigning. In Shawwal, 1308 AH (1891 CE), another French force was dispatched, this time to Kankan and lead by Louis Archinárd, another French Colonel. Touré, realizing he could not hold the walls against heavy French artillery, abandoned the city, but took his men into the field, hoping to defeat the French in the open. Though Touré managed to drive a few French columns back in 1308 AH (1891 CE), he was unable to significantly halt their advances, especially as more and more French troops were assigned to the region, transferred for the campaigns organized to destroy Touré and his neighbors. Another blow had come with the signing of the Brussels Conference Act of 1890, in which Europeans agreed to stop selling weapons to African rulers or armies, cutting Touré off from a valuable source of weapons.

In 1309 AH (1892 CE), French Colonel Húmbért attacked, seized and occupied Bissandugu and Buré, though Touré and his troops were, again, in the field, and, though defeated, the Faama was able to keep his troops intact, retreating across the Niger. Along the path of his retreat, Touré burned crops and destroyed as much of the infrastructure as he could, hoping to stall the French and possibly allow African disease to have some weakining effect on the advancing columns, though this strategy only bought a few seasons. The clashes with the French, from the first engagement with Colonel Combés to the seizure of Buré and Touré’s capital at Bissandugu, constitute what is now known as the First and Second Mandingo Wars. The third, and the deciding moment for the Wassoulou Empire, loomed, though it was delayed by the French conflicts with rulers in Mali and back along their tenuous zones of control to the coast.

However, by 1315 AH (1898 CE), Babemba Traoré, the ruler of the collapsing Kénédougou Empire to the North in Mali proper, was defeated by the French, who proceeded to incorporate most of Mali into the expanding territory of French West Africa. Touré, cut off from supplies in Liberia and Sierra Leone, now found himself virtually alone against the French, who moved their victorious armies back toward Wassoulou and the border, preparing for a final offensive, across the Niger and into what had once been the far Eastern edge of Touré’s Empire, now its only remaining area. Within a few months of the outbreak of hostilities in the Third Mandingo War, Touré was captured when a French unit attacked his troops, and was imprisoned. The French quickly moved in to the remaining Wassoulou towns, and formally dissolved the Empire in the ensuing months. Touré remained imprisoned by local French troops until the 23rd of Jumada al-Ula, 1317 CE (29 September 1899), when he was moved to exile in Gabon. He died of pneumonia there, at 70, in Safar, 1318 AH (June 1900 CE), and was buried at the Grand Masjid in Conakry, Guinea. Touré’s great-grandson, Ahmed Sékou Touré, would later become Guinea’s first President, when the country became independent of France more than half a century later.

Call out post/serious question aimed at all FullMetal Alchemist fanfic writers who actually have Ed Elric call Envy a “palm tree”!

the fuck makes you think Ed has ever seen a palm tree before?

Like a real palm tree. Not just photos of one.

I’m sure Amestris, with its clearly north-ish European influences and clear parallels to Germany, is just littered with palm trees.

Guys, Amestris is a land-locked country. Palm trees are largely coastal because coconuts like to fuck off across the ocean to somewhere else. Unless some horticulturist brought coconuts back from vacation and planted a few in the backyard, I don’t think Amestris has palm trees.

Too Young (Brendan Gallagher)

justapieceofsimstrash asked:

How about a Brendan Gallagher imagine? Maybe reader is his GF and she’s shorter than him & younger than him and he loves it? Thanks!!!

Word count: 1504

Warnings: There are a few mentions of alcohol and consumption of alcoholic beverages in this imagine. 

Author’s note: Honestly the gif just fits a certain part of this story perfectly omg

Originally posted by burakovsbae


The Montreal Canadiens liked to have fun.

Throughout the first three months of your relationship with Brendan Gallagher, you had found out all too well that hockey players and their wives/girlfriends were some of the craziest people you had ever met. It seemed like every night Brendan was invited out by Carey or P.K., even if it was just the boys hanging out at someone’s apartment. Somehow, much to your chagrin, the WAGs had found out your phone number, which meant that you were constantly getting texts asking you to go shopping or get coffee. Brendan swears that he didn’t give your number to any of the wives or girlfriends, but you always saw him smirk whenever your phone chimed and you groaned.

The leisure activity that the Canadiens liked to do the most, though, was go out for drinks. Every single weekend the team would either go out to a bar for drinks or they would gather at a teammate’s house for a BYOB (Bring your own booze) night. When the team went out, they almost always brought their wives and kids. They were fun nights, but there was only one problem.

You couldn’t drink.

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Der Ostereierbaum, a German tradition of decorating trees and bushes with Easter eggs. The tradition is centuries old - its exact origins have been lost but the egg is an ancient symbol of life worldwide. In Germany, eggs are hung on branches of outdoor trees and bushes or on cut branches inside. The custom is found mostly in Germany and Austria, even though other European countries and German-influenced places such as the Ukraine, Poland, Czech Rep, Hungary, and the Pennsylvania Dutch region of the United States have picked up the custom. Egg trees are also sometimes decorated on May Day, Whitsun, and the Summer Solstice. Other German Easter traditions include the dressing of public wells and fountains as Osterbrunnen (mostly Southern), Osterhasen and Ostereier (Easter Bunnies and Easter Eggs, everywhere), and Osterfeuer (Easter bonfires, mostly Northern).

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Gabriela Mistral (7 April 1889 – 10 January 1957) 

Born Lucila Godoy y Alcayaga, she was a Chilean poet-diplomat, educator and humanist. In 1945 she became the first Latin American author to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature, “for her lyric poetry which, inspired by powerful emotions, has made her name a symbol of the idealistic aspirations of the entire Latin American world”. Some central themes in her poems are nature, betrayal, love, a mother’s love, sorrow and recovery, travel, and Latin American identity as formed from a mixture of Native American and European influences. Her portrait also appears on the 5,000 Chilean peso bank note. (Wikipedia)

From our stacks: 1. Frontispiece from Gabriela Mistral (1889 - 1957). Washington, D. C.: Pan American Union, 1958.  2. Cover from Antología. Gabriela Mistral. (3.a Edición) Santiago de Chile: Zig-Zag, 1953.  3.Frontispiece from Selected Poems of Gabriela Mistral. Translated and Edited by Doris Dana. Woodcuts by Antonio Frasconi. Published for the Library of Congress By the Johns Hopkins Press / Baltimore, 1971.  4. Front matter detail from Ternura. Gabriela Mistral. Buenos Aires - México: Espasa Calpe Argentina, S. A., 1945.

anonymous asked:

what makes american witchcraft different than european witchcraft? is it just that your american?

This is another really good question, and one that deserves more than a five minute answer! 

The short answer is yes, American folk craft is very different than European folk craft. High/ceremonial magic is more similar between the two; there are still differences there, but they’re less pronounced. For the sake of speaking to what I know, I’ll just be talking about folk craft/”traditional” craft here. Read more after the cut:

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anonymous asked:

Since you brought up Eastern European Influenced Whitestone forever ago, "Roma people in Kosovo believed that vampires were invisible to most people, but could be seen by a twin brother and sister born on a Saturday who wore their clothes inside out. Likewise, a settlement could be protected by finding twins who could also see the vampire outdoors at night, who would have to flee immediately after they spotted it."

lmao. vex, vax, you’re hired

mmmMMMM KAY but au where vex&vax really are hired to hunt vampires what an aesthetic™ that would be

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Novo Mundo, in english New World (2016) tv series

In 1817, the archduchess of Austria, Maria Leopoldina is coming to Brazil to wed the prince Dom Pedro, son of king João VI
Fictional characters will also take part in the series, mainly the Portuguese teacher of Leopoldina, Anna Millman and the decadent actor, Joaquim Martinho.
New World will retract the construction of nowadays Brazil and the european, native and african influence in it’s culture. The tv show will be set during the last six years of João VI ruling in Brazil (1817-1822)

anonymous asked:

HC: When Romano started living with Alfred and a lot of European influence made its way over, I always image that Romano would try to get him out of the house and ignites the curiosity in culture that's seen when Kiku lives with him. On the topic of Romano, every time Italian immigration is at its height in a certain country I picture him as the one who moves to the country for a while, and working for/with the other countries, in a sense removing that "he's disliked by other countries" stigma.

This actually has a lot of evidence! When Lithuanian immigration was at it’s height during the roaring 20′s, Lithuania lived with and worked for America.

America himself has shown a lot of interest in other cultures too! With Japan, but with also Lithuania when Toris worked for him! It makes sense bc as an American, we are very intrigued by other cultures! That’s why we’re always touring places and annoying the hell out of your people. 

An Open Letter to JK Rowling

To the beloved queen of the Harry Potter Universe:

Let me begin by first thanking you for being an inspiration to your millions (if not billions) of readers. Your writing has touched souls across the world, perhaps even saved lives. You have captured the essence of what it means to be human: to have a little bit of light and dark in every one of us. And while we might begin a little biased towards one side or another, it is ultimately our choices and the power of love that define us. We choose who we become, and you have single-handedly whispered that powerful truth into the minds and hearts of countless strangers you will likely never meet. I am one of them, for your universe is truly magical.

But with such accomplishments in mind, I’d like to ask you one thing.

Please stop.

I don’t mean stop writing, forever, because that would cruelly deprive the world of the continuation of your magic that you still have so much to give. But I’d like you to take a step back, stop, and breathe.

As I am loathe to do on sleepless nights, I turned to the newest update on Pottermore, excited to immerse myself again in the Potter-universe, but with a distinctly American twist. Ilvermorny, an intriguing name, seemed a promising treasure trove of new secrets to discover.

The possibilities were endless - the spoilers about the house names seemed to point towards Native American folklore. Would we learn about the magical traditions of the Cherokee or the Apache? Perhaps they would open up a whole new world of creating magic – without the European influence of wands, perhaps their magic would be channeled through sacred stones that had been carefully carved and treated. How could they cast spells through their ritual song and dance? How might they view “No-Majs” differently from European cultural norms? What if instead of disdain, they held the utmost respect for non-magicals – for those people had to be the most imaginative to invent ways to go about their daily lives where magic could not ease their paths?

But while well-written and certainly heart-tugging, I was simply left with another sour-cream-white traumatic orphan sob story (not to trivialize whites, orphans, or tragedies that numerous people face) that was eerily reminiscent to Harry’s orphaned past and defeat of a dark wizard through the power of love.

And I get it, Jo. It’s a theme with you – that despite the thousands of obstacles people face, love and tenacity conquer all.

But why couldn’t we have had wandless healing, channeled through song, dance, and herbology? Why couldn’t we have learned how to identify the magic thrumming in the soil, stones, trees, and animals around us? Why couldn’t we have learned how the Native Americans sought balance in dark and light magic, and performed magic that no European had ever encountered before?

Why couldn’t we have had a narrative about the European colonization of the Americas, where Native Americans had to run to the most isolated parts of the continent, ward their homes with heavy enchantments, and struggle to brew new potions to battle the horrible, foreign, diseases that came with it? Why couldn’t we have seen a population learn from each school of magic, mixing in perfect harmony? Classes could include Transfiguration, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Charms, and Herbology, but with Amulet Creation, Harmonic Healing, Ritual Spell-casting, and Elemental Charms?

Let’s have an openly LGBTQ+ character, not a closeted Dumbledore that is only confirmed after publication and book sales. Let’s investigate the Native American gender and sexuality identities - take a new perspective on what it means to be human. Let’s deal with income inequality in a whole new light - two friends from opposing worlds who constantly find themselves reevaluating what they know to be true. Add some more strong female characters - I want to feel the subtle condescension, passive aggressiveness, and glass ceilings as we watch them struggle through their careers. Let’s see the post traumatic stress of the entire generation that fought a war as children. Let’s have canon (confirmed before, not after the fact), strong, and compelling people of color in your writing, where the characters’ names aren’t two surnames (Cho Chang… really?) and as dimensional as the sad pancake on which someone sat.

When you write your next installments about the other schools in Brazil, in Africa, in Japan, I want you to do some serious research. I want you to try, at least try, to understand and explore the cultural beauty that you’ve allowed yourself the freedom to pioneer. I want to hear about family, not blood-prejudice in Japan, and how honor and a history of ancestors in warring states still hold onto that enmity today. I want you to detail the families that were ripped apart in Africa by the slave trade, and the inventive magical ways that different tribes avoided detection. I want to see the conflict between magic and the religion that Portuguese colonists began to impose on the indigenous people in Brazil, and how somehow they were able to reconcile that religious-magical barrier. I want you to treat each culture with respect instead of white-washing, and even if you don’t get it quite right and you come under fire, you will know in your heart that you tried to understand and that you will learn so much more from what people say is different to your outlook.

You deal with so much prejudice in your books, in gruesome detail outlining the harm it causes to all. Unintentionally or no, are you really doing much better when you maintain the same, incredibly British storyline and try to apply it to other places?

Perhaps this is harsh of me. Perhaps this perfect cultural melting pot is too idealistically American of me, as it will never be the same to tell a story that you have not experienced yourself. But instead of more of the same, why can’t you try?

Stretch yourself, Ms. Rowling. I want you to challenge the world you created, for there is so much possibility and so much room to grow. I want you to challenge your own rules, explore and pioneer and learn because that’s another fundamental truth that Hermione Granger not only knows, but epitomizes. You’ve become too comfortable in your own universe, writing installments that are really just repurposed storylines with characters of different names. Instead of wasting your time taking swipes at Donald Trump on Twitter, grow your universe. It’s time to upend it, throw it in the wash, and look at it again with a new perspective.

So please stop. Why don’t you stop writing for a little bit, and try listening? There are so many interesting and different stories for you to tell.

With much love from a faithful fan,

AW

I really enjoy drawing kinda 20th century military uniforms with less European influence like er
well simply put in that last commission wip you can see the good old samurai armor on top of the Japanese officer uniform
I like imagining what military uniforms would look like if they had not been influenced so much by European dicking around with their countries of origin
that’s also why I like the 19th century, you still had a lot of that around (notably in Asia)

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The architecture of #Palestine during the British Mandate

New ‘Social Construction’ exhibit at the Israel Museum explores the European influence on the evolution of Israel’s modernist visual heritage.

“Social Construction,” a new exhibit at the #Israel Museum in #Jerusalem running through December 31, 2016, puts a spotlight on the “white architecture” that early 20th century European modernists imported to pre-state Palestine – and the social values this style reflects.

Curator Oren Sagiv gathered roughly 40 analytical and interpretive drawings together with more than 60 archival photographs of some of the iconic architectural projects built between 1930 and 1940 during the time of the British Mandate.

The Bialik School in Tel Aviv was built in the 1930s by Yaacov Shiffman (Ben Sira). Photo from the Kalter Collection

Of course, Tel Aviv is nicknamed the White City for its unrivalled abundance of these simple white, rounded buildings designed in what is known as the Bauhaus or International style. But they’re found in large numbers also in Jerusalem and #Haifa.

This classic #Bauhaus building at 65 Hovavei Tzion Street in Tel Aviv was built in 1935 by Pinchas Hit (Philip Huett). Photo from the Kalter Collection

The 1930 May Cinema in #Haifa was done by Yehuda Lilienfeld. Photo from the Kalter #Collection

“Social Construction” shows how the development of these urban centers “emerged from the influence of international modernism while forming a unique architectural language inspired by the ambitions to establish a new state and to create a new social order,” according to the museum.

A peek into “Social Construction” at the Israel Museum. Photo: courtesy

“The influx of immigration to Palestine following the Russian Revolution of 1905 and the concurrent political upheavals in eastern Europe brought a generation of architects who embraced modernism as a new beginning.”

Architectural plans for The Casino, a landmark building on the Bat Galim promenade of Haifa built in 1934 by Alfred Goldberg. Photo courtesy of the #Israel #Museum

Located in the museum’s new Palevsky Design Pavilion, “Social Construction” draws on the research of Israeli architects Ada Karmi-Melamede and Dan Price, co-authors of Architecture in Palestine During the British mandate, 1917-1948. An English translation of the book was published as a companion to the exhibition.

Make a language for a group of Indo-Europeans who migrated to modern-day China early in history.  An Indo-European language heavily influenced by Chinese languages and using hanzi.  Perhaps based on Tocharian, or, if you want it to be sufficiently different, a separate migration.

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May 27th 1703: St. Petersburg founded

On this day in 1703, the Russian city of St. Petersburg was founded by Tsar Peter the Great. Peter became sole tsar of Rusia in 1696 - after a period of joint-rule - and spearheaded massive reforms. These reforms sought to ‘modernise’ Russia and emulate Western European states, influenced by The Enlightenment. His reign was also a period of great imperial expansion for Russia, as wars with Persia, the Ottoman Empire, and Sweden secured territoral gains. The defeat of Sweden in the Great Northern War handed control of Sweden’s eastern possessions to Russia, giving Peter the direct access to the Baltic sea he so coveted. On May 27th 1703, Peter confirmed Russia’s expanded empire by laying the foundation stone for the Peter Paul fortress, thus establishing St. Petersburg. The foundation of the city demonstrated that Russia was now a major European power. Construction soon began on the new city in earnest, with Peter personally overseeing the gruelling project which ultimately caused the deaths of thousands of serf labourers. St. Petersburg was officially designated the new Russian capital - moving away from Moscow - in 1712. Peter the Great ruled until his death in 1725, by which point he was known as ‘emperor’ as opposed to ‘tsar’. Upon his death, the throne went to Peter’s widow Catherine, who ruled as empress for two years.

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Watchmen, COPRA and the Originality Found in Remixing Comics
Michel Fiffe’s COPRA is a remixed masterpiece, treading the same ground as Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen before it.

The medium of comic books has a long history of pastiche and tribute. It’s just part of its language — a man holding a car over his head, smashing it into rocks while passers-by run in terror; a silhouette leaping through the air in front of a bolt of lightning; a figure swinging through a city skyline with someone tucked under their right arm. These are all images that can be enjoyed on their own merits, even if the reader has zero understanding of their further meaning, but when you have a familiarity with their origins, it changes how you enjoy them. Read enough comics, and you pick up on these iconic images. If you know what the cover of Fantastic Four #1 looks like, for example, you’ll easily be able to pick out when another artist riffs on it.

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It’s an exchange that goes both ways, of course; there are books that require a pre-existing knowledge on the reader’s behalf. Superman: Red Son is a good example of this. You need to understand the canon and mythology of both Superman and the DC Universe to fully get what is being subverted. The significance of Superman landing in Soviet-controlled territory instead of Kansas means nothing if you don’t know why crash-landing in Smallville is so important to his character. It’s a “What If” but you need to understand what the “what” is first to get the significance of the “If.”

Michel Fiffe’s series COPRA is a good example of how to reference pre-existing comics without being weighed down with the baggage of those characters. Taking a quick glance at COPRA, the first response most well read comic readers have is that it’s a fan-tribute to the 1980s Suicide Squad run created by John Ostrander, Kim Yale and Luke McDonnell. Which is fair; characters and designs from that run are taken wholesale and reinterpreted to fit Fiffe’s needs. It even shares a narrative premise: Copra is a super-powered mercenary squad used for black-ops missions, some of which may be suicidal. It’s easy to call it fan-fiction, but then you run into the argument that anything not made by their original creator/s is also considered fan-fiction.

COPRA is an homage, but it isn’t defined or constrained by its homage. There’s an old quote by film director Jim Jarmusch that goes like this:

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. […] Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it.”

COPRA exists in this idea of authenticity and unoriginality. Fiffe wears his influences on his sleeve, and makes no effort to hide where his characters are taken from. It’s a series that could’ve easily collapsed under it’s own weight, bruising your sides as it nudges you while asking if you get the reference. But it doesn’t. Instead, Fiffe transforms these characters into something that transcends their original form.

The way Fiffe uses DC and Marvel characters as the foundation for his ideas is similar to what Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons did with pre-existing characters when making Watchmen. Moore’s original pitch for the series was to craft a story around the various Charlton Comics characters that had just been purchased by DC Comics in the mid-80s. Editor Dick Giordano was a fan of the concept, but didn’t feel comfortable with what Moore wanted to do with these characters. Or, as Moore puts it, “DC realized their expensive characters would end up either dead or dysfunctional.” So he made some changes. Peacemaker became The Comedian, Blue Beetle became Nite Owl, Captain Atom became Dr. Manhattan, and so on.

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The characters of Watchmen aren’t “original” in the sense that they’re based on pre-existing ones, but you can read Watchmen without knowing what that Charlton connection is. They’re repurposed and transformed into something that extends past their original form. They’re homage, but they also exist on their own. COPRA operates in a similar manner. There are references to Suicide Squad — and even other comic properties, such as Dr. Strange — but they never obscure the comic’s overall readability. At no point does COPRA feel like you’re having an inside baseball conversation.

COPRA #17 is drawn in a style reminiscent of Steve Ditko’s work and focuses on Rax, a character based on Ditko’s Rac Shade. What’s great about this issue is that you don’t need to know this connection to enjoy and understand what’s happening. The comic exists both as an individual entity and a work of homage, and it’s with that combination of the unique and pastiche that COPRA approaches Suicide Squad. Sure, there’s a character that looks like Shade The Changing Man, but he’s not Shade The Changing Man.

One of the more recent examples of this is the recent DC series Omega Men, which used a consistent nine-panel grid layout as a direct allusion to the page layout of Watchmen, right down to the final panel of every issue being blacked out with a quote in white text. It’s a nice reference, but it doesn’t detract from your reading of the book. Understanding this homage isn’t essential to understanding Omega Men.

What Fiffe gets with COPRA is something he wouldn’t be afforded had he been making an actual Suicide Squad comic for DC: complete autonomy. If he wants to add characters from non-DC properties, he can do that. If he wants to experiment with his art style and make have issues act as a tribute to a specific artist’s style, he can do that, too. If he wants to kill off a character, he can. When a character does die, their death resonates on a deeper level than their mainstream counterpart because they don’t have an in-built resurrection clause. You can kill Deadshot in Suicide Squad, and as sad as that death may be it also comes with the fan’s assumed knowledge that death is never permanent. If you kill Lloyd in COPRA, that would feel so much more final.

It’s the same autonomy Moore and Dave Gibbons had when creating Watchmen with their own characters: “We started to mutate the characters, and I began to realize the changes allowed me so much more freedom.” Charlton’s Peacemaker can’t be a nihilistic sociopath, but the Comedian can be. Peter Cannon can’t destroy Manhattan for the greater good of humanity, but Ozymandias can.

The closest relative to COPRA is Image Comics’ recently concluded Prophet. Based on a character created by Rob Liefeld, Brandon Graham and his army of collaborators took this extreme ’90s artifact and transformed him into something completely different. I’ve never read an issue of the pre-2012 Prophet — and I probably never will — but that doesn’t change how much I enjoyed the latest series (which was a lot). Graham was given Liefeld’s blessing to do whatever he wanted with these characters, which he did by transforming Prophet into a bizarre, European-influenced sci-fi series.

COPRA is a lot of things. It’s an exploration of violence and revenge, and how they affect people behind and between the crosshairs. It’s a love letter to artists like Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby and Frank Miller. It’s an experiment of what one can be done with the superhero genre, both narratively and artistically. At one point, Fiffe introduces a character that moves so fast that he’s rendered with lead pencil scribbling instead of the solid inks and colors of everyone else. It’s a pastiche of various series and characters that Fiffe clearly holds dear to his heart, especially the Ostrander/Yale/ McDonnell Suicide Squad. But most importantly, it’s Michel Fiffe’s book, and Fiffe’s alone.

One of Japan’s “Red Seal Ships” in the early 1600s. The red seal was the permit, given by the Tokugawa government, allowing the ship to trade overseas. The ships would often employ Chinese, Portuguese, or Dutch pilots, and traded throughout southeast Asia. The system came to an end in the 1630s, when the rulers of Japan decided that foreign influence (especially European Christian missionaries) was harming Japan and that it was illegal for Japanese citizens to travel to other countries.