six columns

Beyonce and Jay Z are pretty much the Queen and King of the celebrity world, so it comes as no surprise that the pair get special treatment by other stars as well as their loyal fans.

In fact, it has been reported that Harvey Weinstein restarted the entertainment at his pre-Oscars party after he learned that Bey and Jay had arrived late, consequently missing the beginning of the performance.The pair made a surprise appearance at the movie mogul’s annual Oscar bash on Saturday, but when they arrived Cynthia Erivo, Chris Jackson and Corbin Bleu were already in the middle of their ‘In The Heights’ musical theatre medley.The singers had been introduced by In The Heights’ creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and the New York Post’s Page Six column claim that Harvey asked the singers to start again.
Poking fun at Jay Z’s lateness, Weinstein quipped: “He’s got a good reason if you look at his wife.” Despite all of the fuss that their arrival triggered, it is thought that pregnant Beyonce and her hubby left the party after just 30 minutes, however, Weinstein may have had an ulterior motive for the couple to watch the performance as Jay Z is going to be one of the producers on the movie version of In The Heights, which The Weinstein Company are making..

The grocery store nearest my home will not stock pizza flavored Goldfish crackers. I’m resigned to that fact. Today I see this insult: six columns of saltine (AKA “unflavored”) Goldfish crackers. Disgusting. Who even buys those?

Look at that other affront to my taste and sensibility: they have two sizes of cheddar Goldfish, regular and baby. Small things are choking hazards for children. Take a small, tasty cracker and make it even smaller? That’s messed up. For adults the baby Goldfish simply take longer to eat the same amount. Stupid.

If I owned that store there would be HUGE changes. Well mostly I would just make sure to sell pizza flavored Goldfish crackers. I might want to see some vintage candy like Adams Sour Gum and Seven Up candy bars on the shelves too. Truly unpalatable food like S’mores Pop Tarts, beets, and shrimp flavored ramen would disappear.

Before the grocery store I stopped at Jo-Ann Fabrics. Earlier in the week I bought a heated bib to wear under my motorcycle jacket. With the weather we’ve had this year I am wondering if I will use it all summer. It was second-hand but never used. A strap to hold it in place was missing but I saved a lot of money. At Jo-Ann I bought some nylon webbing and needed a way to fasten it to the bib.

Bob, asking employee: You know those things little kids have to keep from losing mittens? Small metal clips with an elastic band? One clip on the coat, one on a mitten?

Employee, smiling: Yep. They’re called mitten clips. Aisle 15.

I don’t know why I thought mitten clips would be rare or hard to find. Perhaps because I haven’t since them since I was six-years-old. Jo-Ann has a lot of interesting stuff. I spent some extra time looking around.

Architecture (Part 8): Greco-Roman Temples

A Hellenistic Macedonian family ruled Egypt during the Ptolemaic Dynasty (305-30 BC).  Under their rule, a revival of Egyptian traditions & forms occurred, but with a change – instead of the temples’ previous “public majesty”, they were now darkened and mysterious.  Large building projects were carried out, temples were rebuilt or enlarged, and Egyptian religious beliefs were preserved by the foreigners.

The basic elements of temple construction & room arrangement were still used, with the pronaos and a free-standing central sanctuary (instead of against the back wall) added to them.  Under the later kings of this dynasty, the temples still provided a strong social function, serving as the town’s focus, and giving it administrative & economic value as well as spiritual value.

The Temple of Edfu was built from sandstone on the Nile’s west bank in Edfu, over a period of 180 years.  Its layout was complex, but streamlined.

Temple of Edfu.

Statues of Horus outside the entrance (close-up).

Stairways inside the pylons led to the roof.  The entrance led to a large courtyard, after which was the pronaos, hypostyle hall, small antechamber, and finally a free-standing sanctuary, surrounded by a corridor.

Decorative hieroglyphic texts state that the temple was built according to the ancient ideal, which re-emphasized its dedication to the cult.

Edfu was dedicated to Horus (the falcon god), and displays all the typical major temple elements: broken-lintel doorway (two partial lintels reach only a short way, with a large gap in the middle); elaborate column capitals; a screen wall across the hypostyle hall; and the roof was used for ritual.

A winged sun-disc over the pylon entrance represented Behdet, the creator & protector of the world.  The courtyard is flanked by colonnaded porticoes.  It gave an impressive public aspect to the temple, with elaborate, brightly-decorated capitals, and the large statue of Horus as a falcon at the back.

Courtyard (looking back to the pylons).

The pronaos was also called the Hall before the Great Seat”. This is the temple’s fore-hall (i.e. before the hypostyle hall).  It has three rows of six columns each.  The only light came in through a square aperture in the roof, thus emphasizing the transition between the physical & spiritual worlds.

Behind the first row of columns is a screen wall, to restrict the amount of light entering the pronaos.  This created an environment for cleansing before approaching the sanctuary.  The screen wall is made of thin stone, and is highly-decorated with images of the king & queen, cult themes, and mythological motifs, thus emphasizing the cult of the pharaoh.

In the courtyard, looking to the first row of columns.

Hypostyle hall.

The Temple of Hathor in the Dendera Temple Complex was built during the 00’s BC.  The columns supporting its hypostyle hall were crowned with 4-sided Hathor-head capitals.  The upper part of the capitals depicted the mammisi (birth house), which was identified with divine descent.  Hathor was the goddess of love.

Temple of Hathor.

Columns in the hypostyle hall.

The cornice was a projecting ornamental moulding, on along the top of pylons and temple walls.  It was a standard part of Egyptian decoration.  The earliest designs were simple mud-brick and reed, and later elaborate designs were of detailed cult symbolism, such as the striking cobra and sun-disc.  Cornices gave elegance to monumental structures.

Dick Van Dyke had accent help

Dick Van Dyke had a dialect coach “practically handcuffed” to him on the set of ‘Mary Poppins Returns’.


The 91-year-old actor faced much mockery for his British accent in the original movie - in which he played both Jack-of-all-trades Bert, and bank director Mr. Dawes Sr - and so producers are taking no chances with his cameo in the sequel.


He said: “They had a dialectician practically handcuffed to me, to make sure this time the dialect was right. I wasn’t a cockney this time, but they still wanted to make sure the accent was right.”


This time around, Dick appears in a scene with the old banker and “thoroughly enjoyed” his short stint filming.


He said: “This time I play his son, who is not a nice guy. I got to jump up on a desk and do a song-and-dance number, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”


The new movie will see Emily Blunt take over from Dame Julie Andrews as the magical nanny, and the screen veteran thinks she was the perfect choice for the role.


He told the New York Post newspaper’s Page Six column: I just got back from London, filming a cameo in the sequel for the new 'Mary Poppins.’ People say sequels don’t work, but the people behind it have their hearts in the right place. They insist it is not a sequel, it is an homage.


“Emily Blunt is a quite good Mary Poppins; she sings well. And they had re-created the original set of Cherry Tree Lane just perfectly that brought back a lot of memories.


"I was the only original member of the cast who is in it. It’s like bookends for me. And Lin-Manuel [Miranda], who plays the lamplighter, dances very well, I was impressed.”

@mrsgabrieltrickster and I got to talking about tracking writing progress so I thought I’d share a screen shot of what I do. Sorry it’s tiny.

Anyway. I keep a spreadsheet that I update daily; first column is the current date. Second column is for if I’m continuing a WIP, I put in the “starting” word count, and the next is for the “finished” word count - however many words I have by the end of the day. If I write a ficlet or something, I just change the second box to an equation (=wordcount1+wordcount2+wordcount3+etc.). The fourth column is pre set up to subtract column 2 from column 3, and thus show my cumulative word count change for the day.

Fifth column is number of pages I edited, rounded to the nearest half-page.

And last month I added column six, which is hours of artwork I did, if any.

Finally there’s a notes column where I put in shorthand that indicates what I was working on - so like the last couple weeks you can see (if you can read the tiny chickenscratch) that it’s mostly been my Cap RB, and before that it was DCJ editing.

Finally, at the bottom I have equations set up that total each month. The ones over on the right are all my monthly totals since I started keeping the sheet in October 2015, with this year since January on the bottom left. I personally find this helped because I tend to fall into a “YOU SUCK YOU DID SO MUCH MORE AT X MYTHICAL TIME IN THE PAST” and this helps ground me by showing me how much I ACTUALLY did (ie, April 2016, right after the baby was born, when I did nothing for an entire month…).

So…that’s how I keep track. :)

6

Forum of Nerva

Roma, Italy

85–97 AD

131 x 45 meters

The Forum of Nerva was the fourth and smallest of the imperial fora. Its construction was started by Emperor Domitian before the year 85 AD, but officially completed and opened by his successor, Nerva, in 97 AD, hence its official name. 

The layout of the Forum of Nerva was dictated by the existing space between pre-existing structures. The available space was long and narrow, and had outer walls made from blocks of lava stone peperino, covered with marble slabs, and decorated with projecting paired columns. The frieze in the entablature depicted the myth of Arachne and other reliefs depicting representations of the personifications of Roman provinces.

 Access to the forum was from the sides, with three openings on the Roman Forum side and a monumental entrance on the opposing side with an exedra porticata in the shape of a horseshoe. This entrance was called Porticus Absidata. The northern and southern ends of the forum were shaped as crescents, with a temple to Minerva (the patron deity of Domitian) at the western end, embedded into the northern crescent adjacent to the Porticus Absidata. The temple was built on a high podium, and had six Corinthian columns in front and three on the side. The back of the temple was hidden from the Forum by a wall. Near the opposite end, there may have been a temple dedicated to Janus. The underground Cloaca Maxima ran the length of the forum.

3

Seven Dials - Angel’s Fancy Dress - Kitty’s Alley

Just south of Shaftesbury Avenue before Covent Garden is a shopping district that takes its name from the seven roads that meet in its centre. In real life, the centre is marked by a column with six - not seven - sundials decorating it, rather than the horse and warrior statue that Bartimaeus and Queezle sit beneath.

The area was developed in the late 17th century, and originally only six roads were planned, hence the six dials, but the area soon became notorious for its slums and depravity. The original marker was removed in the 19th century - the current one is a 1980s reproduction to the original designs. It’s a great area for shopping, with lots of small, high-market boutiques, and “Matilda” plays at the the Cambridge Theatre on its east side.

The Caffe Nero at Seven Dials. Not as busy nor as cute as the Druid’s Cafe.

Kitty Jones first meets Mr. Pennyfeather at the Druid’s Cafe in The Golem’s Eye. There is a real cafe in Seven Dials, but it’s not as idyllic as the Druid’s: it’s a Caffe Nero, which is a national chain (and actually where your editors met for the first time!). One of the shops on the central square does feature laurel-wreath patterned mosaics, which could have provided inspiration for the plant-covered columns in the Druid’s Cafe.

Kitty’s route to Seven Dials

Before reaching the Cafe, Kitty is attacked by members of the Resistance in an alleyway behind a fancy dress shop. This correlates with Angels Fancy Dress on  Shaftesbury Avenue, just around the corner from Seven Dials. Angels is the oldest running fancy dress company in London, founded in the 18th century. However, the description of Kitty’s journey from Leicester Square to the Seven Dials from the books does not match up with the real layout of the streets themselves. Kitty is described as running up a “gentle slope” to get to Seven Dials, which means she had to be to the south of the Dials (the three southern dials having the so-described gentle slopes). Angel’s Fancy Dress is north of the Seven Dials, and would require Kitty to take an unnecessarily circuitous route if she were to cut behind it from Leicester Square station, which is at odds with her savviness of London streets. However, while Angel’s has been at its current location on Shaftesbury avenue since 1877, the business began as a family company based in the Seven Dials in 1840. It only moved to its current location a few decades later, once it had gained popularity. So it is possible that, in the odd, warped time-period during which the Trilogy is set, Kitty cut behind Angel’s in its original location, which presumably would have been on the southern side of the Seven Dials.

Angel’s Fancy Dress, incongruously to the north of Seven Dials.

An alley that cuts behind Angel’s, but about a block further north from Leicester Square station where Kitty starts her walk.

If we do go along with the idea Angel’s Fancy Dress being situated in its current location on Shaftesbury Avenue, then this is the most likely location for the alley where Kitty was attacked by the Resistance before meeting Mr. Pennyfeather. Stacey Street cuts behind Angel’s, and seems to be connected to a nearby theatre (I saw lots of props being carried around, and the few people hanging about were chatting about performance times).

However, it seems more likely - and matches up better with Kitty’s route from Leicester Square tube station - that the Angel’s Fancy Dress of Golem’s Eye was situated in its original location, which probably would have been to the south of the Seven Dials.

Tube stations: Leicester Square, Covent Garden

6

“Medics are just as courageous as a fighting man; they aren’t permitted to carry a weapon, yet when the lead’s flying, their job is to run toward the bullets, not away.”

The Band-Aid Bandits

Ed Pepping and Al Mampre met on the first day of boot camp at Camp Toccoa, Georgia. “No matter how crazy it got we always tried to keep a sense of humor, if you didn’t have a sense of humor, you were gone.” At Toccoa, they made catapults out of trees and tossed each other around to see how far a man could fly and one time a captain was set to be married and the night before the wedding, the medics anesthetized him, put his arm in a cast, and shaved off half his mustache.  They became instant friends and have stayed friends ever since. That’s more than 70 years of friendship. 

For D-Day, Pepping was originally assigned to the same plane of Lt. Meehan, but for some unknown reason he switched seat with another medic. Upon landing into Normandy Ed cracked his head on the ground, and blacked out. That same day, he made his way to a church in Angoville au Plein that was being used as an aid station and patched up as many casualties as he could. In tribute, the people from the church have never washed the bloodstains off those pews.  Outside Beaumont, when Lieutenant Colonel Billy Turner was killed, the advance of tanks stopped as Turner was at the front of the moving column. Pepping helped to pull Turner out so the tank column could move again. He received the bronze star for his action. According to military records, “Acting without regard for his own life or safety, he attempted to save the life of a battalion commander who had fallen critically wounded on top of the tank commander, not only halting the advance of the six-tank column, but making the whole column potential targets for destruction by the enemy as well. Although an agonizingly painful choice to make, Pepping’s actions allowed the tank column to advance again”

In Normandy Pepping was wounded in his leg and was not able to join the company in France, he was replaced by Ralph Spina. He then went AWOL from the hospital to rejoin Easy and he was with his unit for fifty one days. After that, Pepping was then sent to serve in general hospitals in England and in France. He later operated switchboard for trunk lines throughout France.

During the training one of the jobs for the medics was to make medical checks in the community in the Deep South; right before D-Day Mampre had an infection on his neck and missed the jump, Doc Roe took his place . Al first battle was Operation Market-Garden where another man collided with him on the jump down, Al back was badly hurt but he kept going anyway. Just before the troops reached Eindhoven, Lt. Bob Brewer was shot through the neck by a sniper and was presumed dead. Unconvinced, Al sprinted out to the field where Brewer lay, saw that he was still breathing, got some plasma out of his kit, and pumped it into Brewer’s vein although the men were still under fire. Another rifle cracked, and Al took one just above his boot line. The bullet peeled the flesh off his leg all the way down to the bone. Both the lieutenant and Al were helped to safety by some nearby Dutch civilians. Al healed up and rejoined the company in Bastogne; he remembers a joke he had with a German prisoner who spoke some English just to set the man at ease. “Hey, why don’t we change uniforms? Think about it: if I wear your German uniform they’ll send me to the States as a captive—then I’ll be home. If you wear my American uniform, we’re going to go to Germany, you know that, then you’ll be home.” The prisoner thought about it for a moment then smiled. “Ah, the hell with you,” he said. “I want to go to America. You can go to Germany.”

Ed Pepping came home in December 1945. He studied business and technology and became a draftsman for NASA’s Apollo Program, helping to send men to the moon. He married and had three children, he also received the Army’s Legion of Merit medal and is a holder of the Combat Medic and Combat Infantry Badges. Pepping felt that he let his unit down for being knocked out after 15 days in Normandy and did not keep in touch with the men of Easy Company. He only got involved again after the Emmy Awards reunion in 2002.

Al Mampre came home from the war in September 1945 with two purple hearts and a broze star, married his childhood sweetheart Virginia and studied at UCLA and the University of Chicago. He worked as a psychologist and for International Harvester in their training department. The Mampres had three children together. He retired in 1978.

Oh I was a daredevil kind of guy and I thought [paratropeers] that’s where the action would be” Mampre said.

10

Main portal of the church of San Francisco, Lima (Unidentified architect, 1673).

The church of San Francisco is probably the masterpiece of limeño Baroque architecture, built after the collapse of the previous building en 1656. The building of the new church took several years to complete, beginning in 1657, when the first stone was laid, and lasting until 1673 when the temple was finally consecrated by the bishop of Cusco Manuel de Mollinedo y Angulo.

Although the design of the church belongs to Portuguese architect Constantino de Vasconcelos, and its construction was undertook by Manuel de Escobar, - one of the main architects and alarifes active in Lima during the seventeenth century- the author of the main portal remains unknown. Due to its similarities with contemporary retablos , specially with Asencio de Salas’ retablo of the Immaculate Conception in Lima Cathedral, it is assumed that its author was an ensamblador, although his identity is unknown.

This baroque portal is one of the largest in Lima, being three stories high, built in stone and brick. The first story consists of a group of six columns on each side of the arched door, with two larger columns in front of two pairs of smaller columns, a common arrangement in mid-seventeenth century retablos. The columns have Corinthian capitals over a fluted shaft with its lower third section carved with a helicoidal pattern. This feature, and also the female draped heads in the upper part of the shafts, are also usual in contemporary retablos. The shorter set of columns support a small entablature, while the bigger pair of columns support the larger entablature that separates the first story from the second, with similar female draped heads adorning the frieze. 

In the middle section, the entablature breaks to give place to the main niche in the second story, embraced by the arms of the open cornice produced by the breaking of the entablature. Four fluted corinthian columns, with the lower third of their shafts with an amelcochado (zigzag) pattern, compose the second story of the portal, making space between them to three arched niches: in the main niche stands the statue of the Immaculate Conception and the other two contain the statues of Saint Francis and Saint Dominic.The second story is notably narrower than the first, with curious stone lanterns in its outer edges.The four columns previously described support an entablature that arches over the main niche.

The third story is made out of brick covered with plaster, painted in such a way that it resembles stonework. It consists of a large oval window - which gives light to the choir of the church - surrounded with broken cornices, webbed volutes and short fluted pilasters with bracket capitals that support an arched cornice.

One interesting feature of the portal is the presence, under the main niche, of the Pope´s symbols carved in stone: the pontifical tiara and Saint Peter´s keys. The reason for their presence in the portal is this: since the franciscans have a vow of poverty and the building of the church had cost a fortune (an estimate of over two million pesos), the Pope declared it of his property, not the franciscans`, thus avoiding the inconsistency between the order´s vow and the wealth of the church. Pope Clemente X gave the church of San Francisco the same privileges that the Archibasilica of Saint John of Letran, seat of the Pope in Rome, and ordered the carving of his symbols in the portal. In exchange, the franciscans had to make an annual donation of one pound of white wax to show its submission to the Archibasilica.


All photos by the author (2014).

The Arbiter's Grounds

The Gerudo Desert once held a prison built to hold the worst criminals this land has ever known… The criminals who were sentenced to death were sent directly to the underworld by a cursed mirror that was kept in the prison… Now that prison is condemned, and even the road leading to the desert is impassable. This desert at world’s end… It still holds the cursed mirror and the malice of the doomed inmates…” –Auru, Twilight Princess

Soaring over the scarred face of the desert are six crested pillars which crown a structure created for judgment and execution.  Towering to lofty heights, and visible for miles, these pillars glorify the sacred history of Hyrule.  Bearing the elemental medallions of the Six Sages and the Royal Crest of the Family of Hyrule, they are a sign of dominion over others, and of the hegemony of the Hylian civilization.  As with so many ancient cultures, great victories provided momentum for the construction of architectural monuments—as well as the cultural appropriation of that fallen society.  For the Arbiter’s Grounds is not a structured whole, built in one time by one people, but a repurposed edifice in which the styles and traditions of those who came before have been allowed to live on, though in different light and to different ends.  

From afar, this is quite possibly the most striking complex in all of Hyrule.  Its monumentality is a direct derivation of Egyptian and Roman models, which also gives it the distinct markings of empire.  This is not the first time that the Hylian civilization has been likened to Rome, as there are a great many parallels between the two, both historically and architecturally.  But even though it is familiarly Western in nature, confusion and doubt plagues this location.  

As Link approaches, weaving through Bokoblin fortifications and entrenchments, it becomes plain that they are recent inhabitants, building around previously-molded walls and gateways.  These uncompleted buildings that lie before the Grounds yield no information, although they likely were not a part of the original structure.  The rooms-that-would-have-been are no more than shells, with empty windows and indecipherable script different from both the Gerudo and Hylian alphabets.  If the English translation holds true, and this was a place of judgment, perhaps these buildings would have eventually held prisoners awaiting trial or execution.  The windows are relatively high, and quite thin, but, then again, the layout of the complex makes little sense if its purpose was to be a prison.  Even before we come to the actual building, there are seemingly meaningless ruins built without apparent reason.  Like all desert construction, though, time and sand have accumulated around them, seeking to erase them from the earth. 

The ascent to the main gateway is notable for several reasons.  This axial approach, so popular in the Egypt of antiquity, is also employed in this place, consisting of a large stair flanked by free-standing Doric columns.  Doric columns, of all the classified orders, are the first and oldest major order, identified by their fluting, their simple capitals, and their bulk and thickness.  They are the least ornate, yet monumental in austerity.  

The columns along this pathway were likely not part of the original building, as they follow the Hylian (read: Western) tradition; rather, they were likely added as an afterthought, after the Hylians either conquered or discovered this structure.  They are of the same style as those found in Lanayru Province, as seen in the Grecian amphitheater crowning the cliffs of Lake Hylia.  And based upon their looks, they are likely of the same era.  Perhaps the centuries preceding this Age of Twilight were fraught with imperialism and expansion of territory.  In fact, the use of the Royal Crest in such overabundance gives the air of forced-perception, as if those in power wished for their dominance to be known without doubt.  Within the dungeon, the crest ostentatiously adorns nearly every single room.  And not only this, but the coliseum astride the entire complex, with its six immense columns, unambiguously displays all the signs of triumphal architecture.  This building has perhaps been conquered, its previous function obliterated, and its cultural heritage relegated to a place of inferiority.  After the treachery of Ganondorf, himself a Gerudo, perhaps vengeance was taken and a culture destroyed.  It was then given over to the Six Sages, and while it was in their charge, a comprehensive architectural undertaking was begun to assert the superiority of the Hylian civilization.  And this is just a humble theory, yet its implications are anything but.  If so, then the beloved Princess and Hero by nature of their involvement with the kingdom are complicit in cultural and religious genocide.  However, the genocide was not complete.  Remnants of the Gerudo culture can be seen throughout the Arbiter’s Grounds in their script and unique goddess statues.  Unlike the attempted erasure of the Egyptian queen Hatshepsut by her successors Thutmose III and Amenhotep II, the existence of the Gerudo has been allowed to endure.

Another possible explanation is one more benign.  It is also equally as likely, as we truly have no knowledge of the history of certain epochs, the Hylians simply discovered these ruins and built atop them—the seeming overuse of their royal/religious symbol (for it is indeed religious, bearing the sacred Triforce and Loftwing) was only to give the derelict structure a new, solid identity.  

The gateway is in the style of New Egypt.  This particular design takes its name from Greek, and is called a pylon gate.  Structurally, it consists of two tapering towers topped with a cornice joined by a slightly-lowered section which rests above the entrance.  Designs such as this were archetypal in Egypt, in that most structures were of a post-and-lintel scheme with few openings, the focus being on stability.  Temples such as these are splendidly preserved at places such as Edfu, a famous temple from the Ptolemaic period dedicated to Horus.  The basic shape of this style of gate is derived (or is at least reflective of) from the hieroglyph akhet, or horizon; it is considered to be the sun rising up from behind two hills, a metaphor for rebirth.  Beginning here, and echoing throughout the temple, are doorways unique to this dungeon.  They are fragmented lintels, broken into different parts, across which streams a stringcourse bearing the six medallions of the Sages.  These symbols are found nearly everywhere within the Grounds, encircling the ruins and making known the powerful presence of the Sages.

The Temple of Horus at Edfu

The heiroglyph akhet - horizon and rebirth

As the ancient Egyptians were the pioneers of the early column (considered to be first used in the stepped pyramid complex of Djoser built during the 27th century BCE), it is fitting that this complex is so full of them, both free-standing and engaged.  And like a crypt or mortuary temple, the ceilings vary in this complex from the spaciously high to the claustrophobically low.  It remains unsurprising that the construction materials of this building, then, are what we would expect.  The angularity of the cornices and walls is shaped of some combination of sandstone and limestone, which further vary in color—tan to darker brown and several shades within that spectrum.  Peculiar glyphs and scripts run along the bases and capitals of columns, and these are inscrutable; the only scripts to be understood within are those of the Gerudo and Hylians.  But, once again, no chains of words or letters herein mean anything whatsoever.  As the Gerudo script is read left to right, and has a rather simple alphabet, the translations are simple yet unfulfilling.  

Here the script reads ‘wawuzu’ on repeat; the markings above and below are not part of any Hyrulean alphabet we presently know of

But even if the possibilities for cultural richness and historical significance were overlooked, the atmosphere is perfectly set for a dungeon of this theme.  Dim lighting, large swathes of darkness that mask pits of sand and traps, and the strange epigraphy upon the walls all give the appearance of a tomb opening itself up to human exploration for the first time in thousands of years.  As far as we know, Link is the first person to wander through these halls in recent centuries.  In a Howard Carter like moment, the veil is pulled back to reveal a past splendor untouched for years.  

Picture Credit for most of these photos: http://potatofactory.tumblr.com/tagged/twilight-princess

The main hall is the first capacious room, and although it is the nexus of several distinct passages within this dungeon, its primary focus is its axial nature leading to the deeper temple.  The pathway is sunken below the other floor tiles, and lined with humanoid shapes with no discernible appearance.  Whether this was intentional or the result of the wear of time is not known, but this kind of ambiguity can be as terrifying as clearly malevolent statues.  (Further on in the Arbiter’s Grounds is a funerary statue of some fallen hero or lord.  He stands alone in his chamber, and this statue may very well act as a home for the ka, an aspect of the Egyptian conceptualization of the human soul.)  Stone outcroppings high up on the wall are etched with markings depicting some creature of bone, and the circular relief below the chandelier is also curious.  Its scripts mean nothing, and the strange, violent shapes are cryptic.  Most noticeable is the staircase at the far end of the room.  Only here in this chamber are the sigils of the Royal Family, although here they are everywhere.  They alight upon the torches, the portcullis, and upon the lintel of the great doorway.  They are so clearly newer additions to the older preexisting stonework of the stairs and columns.  That this doorway is the only one carrying such insignia is not surprising.  This is the passageway that leads to the heart of the temple, and from there to the Hylian construct atop this older structure—the coliseum and Mirror Chamber built to house the instrument used in exiling those deemed dangerous by the Royal Family to the netherworld of the twilight.  

Carved upon the plaque before the statue is the Royal Insignia, meaning that this is a Hylian lord buried in a rather distinct way, or that the monument has been defaced - further diminishing the older culture

(Also interesting are the steps that can be activated by the pulling of a chain.  They differ in color, size, and style from the other stone surrounding them, and were likely added after the Hylian re-appropriation of this location as a means of concealing certain passages into the lower crypts.  The mechanisms within this dungeon, regardless of those who designed them, are truly confusing.  The chandeliers that, based upon positioning, reveal or block passageways, rotating rooms, and spinner tracks all reveal a civilization of great mechanical understanding.)

Echoing the wall reliefs of ancient Egypt, this temple has few walls that do not bear some form of carving or hieroglyph.  One of the most used motifs throughout this area can be subdivided into two distinct sections that are mirror images on repeat—without individuality or change.  They rest at eye level throughout the complex, and are separated in their AB AB AB scheme by curved carvings not dissimilar from ancient Gerudo.  Both styles of panels are similar at the utmost level, in that there are two curved lines probably representing clouds in the sky and a series of cuneiform-like tally marks directly below them.  Perhaps this is an early representation of the rain.  Below this, however, the panels become distinct.  In what I term the A (or chaos) panel, there are three houses smoldering, as made clear by the pillars of smoke rising from their rooftops.  And below this is the clear shape of some monstrous creature, thought by some to be Ganon.  Its horns, hooked shoulders, and clawed hands all distinguish it as something bent on sowing discord.  The subsequent B (or order) panel carries the same sky, but instead of houses burning, it shows three orderly towers standing proudly and untouched.  And below this, or in front of it if these reliefs are meant to show perspective, is some form of protector spirit carrying a shield.  

There are many other variants of panels in this crypt, although all are equally perplexing.  Another prominent series takes the form of a being of flame holding a staff, and yet another appears to be a serpent and trident. Those pictured above are found in the dungeon’s boss room; the Gerudo is in no order, and it is interspersed with non-alphabetic markings.  In the center of the sunken panels are large eyes with curvilinear etchings filling in the extra space.  Needless to say, the crest of the Royal Family is also found here, ensconced by the Sage Medallions and a string of Hylian.

The first portion of this structure is represented by the Poes, those souls who linger long after death.  They and many other undead creatures contribute to the sepulchral feel of this place, and my guess is that they act as guards, perhaps having been buried alive as tributes and a vanguard to escort certain souls to the far realm.  Even in the second area of the dungeon are they present.  This second section is focused upon the Spinner, which seems to have connotations reaching far beyond its functionality.  The room preceding the Spinner chamber has no lighting, and its circular layout perfectly draws the focus to a strange and uninviting spectacle.  In the center of the room, an immense, runic sword lies embedded in the ground, and is sealed by means of an unknown magic.  When these bonds are violated, the creature once sealed erupts from its prison.  After his defeat, a gate opens, and the Spinner room is accessed.  And this chamber is not of particular interest apart from the large golden symbol upon the wall over the treasure chest; it represents both the Spinner and the sun, life-giving source of energy and origin of the element of fire.  

Yet deeper into this site is a truly colossal room with no discernible function.  Spinner tracks crisscross the air, circling around columns and flanking the walls.  The walls of the room are recessed, allowing sand to spill onto the ground where it is immediately swallowed up.  Several statues are present here, and they are derivations of the Goddess of the Sand seen previously in the Spirit Temple from Ocarina of Time.  These Goddesses vary greatly in posture, some sitting cross-legged, and some standing upright.  Both variants are encircled by a large and threatening snake, and both offer fire in their outstretched hands.  These statues are clearly antiquated, and appear to predate the markings left by the Hylians.  In some way, these represent the heritage of the desert of Hyrule; and this does not mean that this was a temple of the Gerudo, or that it was itself the Spirit Temple.  It simply means that its architects and engineers knew something of the history of the region and wished to pay homage to it in terms of stone and space.  

After the defeat of Stallord in a chamber that is truly magnificent in terms of stonework, access is granted to the Mirror Chamber above, wherein Link is told the tragic history of this place.  Flanked by the large-order columns outside the circle of stone is the coliseum.  The Colosseum of Rome is perhaps one of the best known works of the Roman Empire.  It is named so for its location beside the erstwhile Colossus of Nero—a large statue at the entrance to what was once Nero’s villa.  It was built upon his site both for its location as well as more politically-minded reasons.  Vespasian reclaimed the land held by the defeated emperor and gave it to the people, in a rather philanthropic gesture that is completely at odds with some of the events that took place within the walls of the Colosseum.  Architecturally, this building is a fantastic example of the Roman use of concrete, arches, and vaulting.  A system of barrel vaults made of concrete holds up the seating area; the use of concrete and necessary buttressing allowed for structural support while still affording open areas for passage.  The exterior travertine (a type of limestone) wall, which is roughly sixteen stories tall, consists of four bands.  The lower three are arcades of the Tuscan, Ionic, and Corinthian orders, while the topmost houses Corinthian pilasters.  This aesthetically-pleasing façade also affords all the structural and supportive benefits of Roman arches.  

The inner and outer walls here have been vivesected as to show the various parts and construction techniques of the structure

The coliseum atop the Arbiter’s Grounds is nearly identical to its more famous cousin.  Whereas the Roman equivalent has four distinct sections, each of a different architectural order, this coliseum has only three.  Its encircling arcades are thicker than those of the Colosseum, and the arches are separated by highly-angular engaged columns.  The cornices separating each level form distinct overhangs and the utmost cornice projects far over the others, giving some shelter to the colonnaded walkway that wraps its way around to the entrance.  

Finally, the grandeur of the Mirror Chamber presents itself.  Inside the well-defined, spacious bounds of the exterior coliseum, sands have crept across the floor toward a vast standing statue of the Goddess of the Sand.  Like the other depictions of this Goddess, she wears a strange headdress and is proffering fire in both of her hands.  And, interestingly, with this statue, unlike all the others, the technology of the Spinner is built directly into her sacred serpent as it winds upward to the Spinner wheel upon her headdress.  Activating this device drives the statue into the ground while subsequently unearthing an immense shard of ebon rock and the pedestal upon which rests the shattered Mirror of Twilight.  But all is not as Midna and Link had foreseen.  As is told to us, the Mirror has been broken, but not by the rightful ruler of that realm, and therefore its fragmentation was incomplete.  The Mirror had long been under the guardianship of the Sages, until their folly led to the destruction of one of their own (from the six crests above the coliseum, we see that the medallion of water has been destroyed, echoing the death of the Sage of Water) and the impartial and ineffective banishment of Ganondorf to the Realm of Twilight.  But, one thing is curious.  This structure may have existed in the years surrounding the events of Ocarina of Time, and obviously served the dual functions of both a prison and sanctuary for the Sages, wherein they could dispense judgment and mete out sentences.  (It also is not known if this was the original structure which housed the Mirror, or if it was later relocated here.)  However, clearly this location has fallen into disrepair, both architecturally and in term of its inhabitants.  If it once held sacred functions for Hylians or those that came before, they have been swallowed up by the malice of the forsaken inmates once held within.  

 Why then do the Sages linger here?

If Auru’s words hold truth, and the history of this place is one of torture and damnation akin to the atmosphere of the Shadow Temple, then it should come as no surprise that it has been reclaimed by the damned.  And if we view this location through the sociohistorical lens of Hylian hegemony, its environs also reflect the death of a culture.  The history surrounding the Arbiter’s Grounds is unclear at best, and we are left with precious little to inform us; a tenuous history, the symbols of a culture long dead, the recent additions of the Hylian Royal Family, and the stated function all coalesce in a structure hidden at the edges of the world—a prison outside the collective mind of Hyrule’s citizenry subject only to the whims of the powerful and forbidden to outside influence.  It is medievalism systemized, and an embodiment of the worst of the Dark Ages.   

Addendum:

Referring to the strange magic that sealed the Death Sword away, it is potentially a form of amulet or talisman from Japan known as Ofuda. Found in Shinto shrines, they consist primarily of strips of cloth, paper, or metal.  The name of a kami, of the multifarious Shinto spirits, is inscribed onto the material strip, and its purpose is protection from harm.

(Additionally, and I know not if this holds significance, the name of Death Sword in Japanese translates to Gobera (or Gobela, depending on the romanization), which appears to be some form of name or title.)

A Second Addition:

Strangely, Spinner paths can be found elsewhere in Hyrule, specifically in mountain paths near to the Bridge of Eldin.  They often lead nowhere, or simply facilitate movement over enemies.  I do not know what to make of this, but it appears the engineers of the Arbiter’s Grounds were more prolific than previously imagined, or Hylian architects built upon older designs found buried in the desert.

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Rock n’ Roll has got into such a weird thing now because um…so many people analyze it. They are reviewing one song taking six columns you know. The sociological meaning, the religious meaning, the political meaning, and then what I personally think. It seems to be too much appreciation from the older generation as far as I can make out. You can’t get rid of them at concerts!

Ala Mhigo Chronology of the 6th Astral Era

(Cuz why not?)

Original post here


Year 10:   Survivors of the Sixth Umbral Calamity form small communities in Gyr Abania, descending into conflict over the area’s limited resources. Many flee Abalathia entirely as the floodwaters recede.

Year 1135:   Anshelm Cotter unifies the military might of Gyr Abania’s warring clans and builds a citadel on the shores of an eastern lake, marking the birth of the city-state of Ala Mhigo.

Year 1150:   A system of tolls is enacted, to be collected from merchants travelling through Ala Mhigo and Gyr Abania in return for safe passage between Eorzea and the Near East.

Year 1154:   Ala Mhigan pikemen drive out the invading Hyuran nomads from northern Othard, and tales of their courage and martial prowess resound across Eorzea.

Year 1179:   Ul'dah enlists the services of Ala Mhigan mercenaries, and the soldiers of fortune swell their ranks as the kingdom besieges Sil'dih.

Year 1190:   With the expansion of maritime trade, the number of Ul'dahn merchants taking the land-based eastern trade routes begins to decline, and Ala Mhigo struggles to sustain itself on the meager tolls.

Year 1313:   Sharlayan enlists the service of Ala Mhigan mercenaries to subdue the beasts that roam the hinterlands and ensure the safety of their outpost.

Year 1353:   Ala Mhigan mercenaries are contracted by Ul'dah in the sultanate’s effort to purge the city of the undead droves.

Year 1466:   King Manfred abruptly asserts his sovereign right to the East Shroud, dispatching General Gylbarde and his men across the Velodyna River to seize Gridanian territory. This incursion marks the outbreak of the Autumn War.

General Gylbarde ambushes the Gridanian troops en route to Finesand, surrounding and spilling the blood of the Gridanian column with six thousand men

General Gylbarde thrice deflects the desperate advances of Commander Osbern. In addition to capturing Osbern and scores of his officers, Gylbarde’s army also seizes possession of Claustrum, the Seedseers’ legendary staff. The First Battle of Tinolqa concludes with a decisive Ala Mhigan victory.

Year 1539:   The Darklight Raiders, a mercenary group under the command of Gerbald the Red, eradicate an enormous poisonous snake in the Aurum Vale, earning themselves fame and fortune.

Year 1544:   The Darklight Raiders fail in an attempt to purge Cutter’s Cry of the chimera that lurks in its depths. The mercenary group is effectively disbanded as most of its members are slain.

Year 1546:   Theodoric the First ascends the throne as king of Ala Mhigo.

The conflict between King Theodoric and the Fist of Rhalgr intensifies. In the name of quelling the insurrection, the king leads a vast army to the site of the monkhood’s main temple, razing it to the ground and massacring its disciples.

At nineteen, Raubahn Aldynn is ordered to suppress an angry mob as an officer of the Ala Mhigan army. He earns wide renown when he succeeds in the task without spilling a drop of blood.

Year 1554:   Raubahn is assigned to the border forces as the XIVth Legion closes in. He and his comrades undertake a series of diversionary maneuvers which succeed in keeping the imperial forces at bay.

Raubahn makes short work of an imperial magitek contingent in a border skirmish, toying with the enemy, and is promoted to a position of high command for his deeds. His impressive accomplishments on the field of battle earn him further trust and acclaim among his men.

Year 1556:   Raubahn is struck by an imperial sniper, suffering grievous wounds. Withdrawing from the frontlines, he returns to his home village in the mountains of Gyr Abania to convalesce.

Year 1557:  The people of Ala Mhigo revolt against the tyrannical King Theodoric. The kingsguard is complicit in the uprising, ignoring their liege’s orders and opening the gates of the palace to the revolutionaries.

Seizing the opportunity amidst confusion and political upheaval, the XIVth Legion subjugates and annexes Ala Mhigo with little resistance.

Still nursing his wounds, Raubahn leaves Gyr Abania at twenty and four to wander the realm.

Year 1559:   Raubahn, now twenty and seven, arrives in the Sultanate only to be mistaken for an imperial spy. He is imprisoned by the Brass Blades and forced to fight in the gladiator pits.

Year 1571:   The Archons of the Circle of Knowing infiltrate occupied Gyr Abania in an attempt to assist those Ala Mhigans who seek asylum abroad, but many lives are lost when the Garleans catch wind of the defection

Year 1572:   The city states of Limsa Lominsa, Ul'dah and Gridania form their Grand Companies. Subsequent events leading up to and in the aftermath of the Seventh Umbral Calamity are detailed in Memories of the Calamity.

so since the bone structure of a seal’s pectoral flipper:

is essentially homologous to a human hand thanks to shared mammalian evolutionary ancestry, and consequently still resemble “fingers” in anatomy, i’ve just had the thought that seal-form ford should probably have flippers with six distinct columns of phalanges

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Ancient Worlds - BBC Two

Episode 6 “City of Man, City of God”

The Temple of Jupiter Baal, in Baalbek.

The Phoenician city of Baalbek was known as Heliopolis (the city of the Sun) during the Hellenistic period.

The city became an important religious center during Greco-Roman times and it was one of the largest sanctuaries in the Roman Empire.

The greatest temple of the city was sacred to Jupiter Baal, (Heliopolitan Zeus), identified with the Sun. The Jupiter worshipped there was also understood to be Baal-Hadad, a local storm deity who had been honoured for centuries. The temple was constructed during the 1st century AD (completed circa 60 AD) on top of a podium and foundations presumably from a previous ancient temple. The temple had more than 50 Corinthian columns, 20 meters high, but today only six columns remain standing.

Baalbek, with its colossal structures, is one of the finest and most impressive examples of Imperial Roman architecture.

Baalbek, Lebanon