From my diary

A previously unknown Temple of Mithras was discovered last week at Lucciana in Corsica, during road improvement work.  The location is somewhere near or in the Roman city of Mariana, itself founded by Gaius Marius.  The archaeology suggests a third century date.  The usual cult benches on either side are present, and three fragments of a tauroctony.  I’ve not found any pictures of that, however.  My notes on the find, from a Corsican newspaper site, are here.

Readers will have noticed that I have resumed working on the translation of the 10th century Arabic chronicle, the Annals of Eutychius, whose Arabic name was Sa`id ibn Bitriq.  I’m stuck at home in the poor weather, so I will probably do quite a bit more of this, as time permits.

I’ve continued to look at the Sudan as a possible travel destination, not least because it is 30 C out there right now.  But although the weather looks lovely, it seems clear that there is very little in Khartoum for the tourist; mysteriously so, considering its history.  Getting there involves a really long flight via Addis Ababa, or somewhere equally improbable.  Being there involves a tour of 8-9 days through the desert, which might well be a bit much for me.

I do like the Arab countries, but I do wish that it was possible to visit safely more of them. I also wish that they had better weather at this time of the year.  A week of sunshine would be just the thing!

My book-shredding activities have come to an end.  There are no more obvious candidates for conversion into PDF.  I am beginning to wonder whether all the series of trashy fantasy novels really need to be in paper form.  That said, I do worry about my eyes, when it comes to reading novels on a screen.  I notice that sitting all day looking at my phone screen is not good for them.  They may take up space, but the novels are better for me in paper form, and I can take them to bed with me.

Free speech online is becoming a distant memory, and the recent polls in the UK and US have led to a series of profoundly ill-advised initiatives (by the losers) to restrict it still further, and worse.  Indeed I have seen posts on Twitter by British police threatening to arrest any who dare express certain views.  It still seems incredible to me that this can happen in the land that gave us Sherlock Holmes. Yet there are certainly people in prison in Britain right now for no more serious crime than insulting some powerful woman.  Likewise even jobsworths in Human Resources departments surf the web, seeking to find out anything about us that might be “damaging”.  At the same time more and more information appears online about us.

In the light of this, it is wise for most of us to consider ways to reduce our online footprint.  This article offers a few suggestions.  I have long since renamed my Twitter account to something other than my name; and then created a new Twitter account with my name and with nothing in it, just to ensure nobody else does.  I don’t put my photograph on my social media accounts, preferring images like those above.

Mind how you go, people.


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