Daily Archives: April 8, 2020

I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 25-31 March 2020


Suleiman the Magnificent (Wikimedia)

Fifteen Minute History Last year I did a U3A mini-course on the Ottoman Empire, and I listened to a very detailed series called “Empires of History – the Ottoman Series” that ran out of puff long before the Ottoman empire did. It was rather disconcerting listening to a podcast where the narrator pronounced “Anatolia” as Anna-toll-ee and pronounced “cavalry” as “Calvary”. But these two podcasts, called simply enough “History of the Ottoman Empire” are done by fair dinkum historians, and they’re detailed enough without being too detailed. Episode 26 is Part 1, talking about the rise of the Ottoman empire and Episode 27 is Part 2, where Barbara Petzen describes the concept of ‘fall’ in empire history, particularly in relation to the Ottoman Empire

And on a related, but not the same, topic, there is Carter Vaughn Findley, Humanities Distinguished Professor in the Department of History at the Ohio State University, in Episode 31: Who are the Turks?who points out that it is mainly language that unites ‘the Turks’, who are not one racial group at all. Which is a bit inconvenient for Turkish nationalists like Erdogan.

Boyer Lectures (ABC). I’m listening to the three-part 2019 Boyer Lectures, given by Rachel Perkins. She has a beautiful speaking voice, and as you might expect from the Boyer Lectures, these are beautifully crafted. Her lectures, subtitled ‘The End of the Silence’ refer back to the very first Boyer Lecture given by William Stanner, who spoke of the Great Australia Silence.  In Episode 1 she talks about the genesis of the Uluru statement, and in Episode 2 about the succession of previous attempts to have an Aboriginal ‘voice’.  (It makes me so cross: “tell us what you want” says the government, and then as soon as they do, in clear terms, the government says “well, not that”.) Episode 3  returns to the Uluru statement, and its call for a Makarrata Commission, and truth-telling about the Frontier Wars and the fundamental untruth that lies under European colonization.  Very good.

History Listen (ABC) Another oldie from November 2019, The Brazen Women of Silent Film features two different stories. The first is of Annette Kellerman, the swimmer and film star, who actually appeared nude in a 1916 movie. She could hold her breath for over three minutes! See also the excellent NFSA online exhibition “Annette Kellerman: Australia’s Fearless Mermaid.”  The second feature is about the McDonagh Sisters: Isabel, Phyllis and Paulette who formed their own film company and used Drummoyne House, which they were then running as an aged care hostel, as the setting for many of their films. I’d never heard of them, I must admit.

My non-trip in the time of coronavirus #4: Lima Peru

Well, we should have been in Lima by now. I’m very glad that we’re not there now. But in good news, it looks like Nan, whose blog I have been following at Le Chou Fou is finally making it home to America.  She hopes.

But let’s pretend that we are there in a non-coronavirus world. No doubt I would be keen to see the Plaza Mayor. All Spanish-founded cities have a very similar ‘old centre’ because in 1523 King Charles I of Spain mandated the Procedures for the creation of cities in the New World with a square plaza, surrounded by a grid. As with other such plazas, it was originally called the Plaza de Armas and it had a church, and a government building. Apparently, if there was an attack, this square would be the place of refuge, and guns would be supplied from here.

The Plaza Major (Plaza de Armas) in Lima was founded by the conquistador Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535. It has a cathedral, a government palace, the archbishop’s palace, the municipal palace….you get the picture.

Apparently Pizarro himself carried the first log for the construction of the Cathedral on his shoulders. The first Cathedral was a rather primitive, adobe building  and it was rebuilt several times due to earthquakes.  Pizarro’s tomb is in the Cathedral today.

When Peru proclaimed its independence in 1821 , Jose de San Martin paraded around the plaza with the new flag. Before then, the square had been used for executions, a bull ring and as the site for the Inquisition.

Actually, a lot of the buildings in the plaza are quite recent, built to replicate colonial buildings. The Archbishop’s Palace of Lima was completed in 1922, the Government Palace was finished in 1938 and the Municipal Palace was completed in 1944. I feel cheated.

Let me check out the Archbishops Palace.

And let’s go into the Government Palace.

There’s lots of changing of the guard and marching around.  (Don’t bother watching the whole 3 minutes. Nothing happens)

Wow. It looks very deserted and shut-down now. (The man is saying that they should have shut down earlier).

Perhaps I’m better off at home. I don’t like the look of those guns.