Ancient Origins – Why is Malta so underrated by the Maltese?

When I was a teen, I was obsessed with archaeology, especially Egyptology. I used to borrow books from the public library explaining the processes of mummification according to the ‘Book of the Dead’, record culture shows like ‘La Macchina del Tempo‘ and ‘Il Filo di Arianna‘ on T.V, subscribed to magazines relating the latest theories, and researched stuff for hours on the net.

070610_ani

Needless to say, that passion never fizzled out. Unfortunately, I do not have as much time to dedicate to this subject as I had when I was a jobless student, however I do keep my ears pricked for interesting archaeological developments and finds all the same. Especially living in a country like Malta, which though is a tiny island, is so very rich in pre-historical artifacts and temples – which are well-known as being among the oldest known temples in the world. Our temples are even older than Stonehenge or the pyramids!

solstice-hor

A couple of days ago I discovered a very good website with articles on such cultural and historical artefacts, finds, explorations, and monuments from all over the globe. The website is called ‘Ancient Origins’- http://www.ancient-origins.net/searchall/malta

As one can see form the particular page I pasted, this site has a number of articles focusing on Malta’s international importance and its incredible historical aspect. Something which I feel that we, as Maltese, unfortunately do not give as much value to as we should.

images (2)

What is great about the website is that one can create an account, which works through a point-awarding system. What this means is that anyone with an account is awarded a number of points each time s/he comments on an article, gives a contribution, posts a message on a forum or shares an article on Facebook or Twitter, and with these points there are redeemable gifts and items one can get for free, like books, historical representations of statuettes, etc.

I’m really loving this page and have been hooked on it ever since I discovered it at the beginning of the week. There is so much to read and research on so many topics! I even found where series like ‘X-Files’ and ‘Supernatural’ (not to mention a number of epic fantasy novels) got their ideas from! Astounding!

download

Movie Review – Raise the Red Lantern – Spoilers

Movie Title: Raise the Red Lantern (1991)
Personal Grading: 4 Stars
Historical Timeline: 1920s
Location: China

518GS41YBFL

This film touched me and made quite an impression on me for various reasons. First of all, I love historical dramas, especially those which portray a non-European perspective. I love learning more about different cultures and customs, especially as these were lived in times past.

images (3)

Raise the Red Lantern focuses on the life of a nineteen year old girl Songlian who, pressured due to her family’s poverty and her father’s death, decides to become a rich man’s concubine. She is his fourth concubine in fact, and the whole film takes place in the ‘Master’s’ house. We never see the outside of the house after the film’s five minute introduction, and neither does the main character. Although the cast of the film is limited, this is very in-line with the story and plot-line, seeing as to how we experience life as the main character does. She is isolated, lonely, and cannot decide what is the reality or who is deceiving her. We never see the ‘Master’s’ face. This is very symbolical. In the 1920’s this was how society treated women – this was how concubines were expected to live – who the Master was, was not important. The women’s lives centered on his every whim and desire. The four concubines live togather in different sections of the vast beautiful house. Traditionally Chinese, their life is structured according to family ritual, and yet they still silently hate and compete with one another.

images (2)

The First mistress is old and her son is the Master’s heir and is always away. The second mistress, whom at first we think is kind and nice, is in reality a scorpion, egging on people against Songlian. The third concubine, still young and beautiful, had once been an opera singer, is very creative, and is secretly in love with a young doctor. The Master decides who is in favor by placing red lanterns in front of the ‘house’ belonging to the mistress who will pleasure him for the night. The chosen one gets a foot massage, chooses the menu for the following day, and crows in victory over the others.

The storyline is not complicated, yet has a certain horrific quality to it. Combine this to the fact that we know this is what really happened during this period in time, is the soul-crushing certainity of each of the mistresses that she will never get out of that house. Her body, her time, her life, belongs to the Master and is his to dispose of. This is blatantly obvious when he orders the killing of the Third Mistress, after she is discovered to be cheating on him. At the end, the main character is mentally and emotionally shattered, preferring the life of a mad recluse to that of a concubine forced to live life in constant rivalry in a world where there is really no escape.

images (1)

This film is very poignant and well executed. I do not think the casual movie-watcher will appreciate it, as it is quite slow-moving and full of Chinese rituals and traditions which are not all fully explained. I loved it since I am very interested in Asian cultures, and love anime, therefore having watched and read about these kind of traditions before. It is a very psychological film too. What is not said, is more important than what is actually uttered. A true gem of its kind.

large_srNCkJLTMO1bjpApUtGwyNmecPY

The film is based on the novel ‘Wives and Concubines’ by Su Tong.

‘Reign’ has gone down the Drain! Beware SPOILERS

Two days ago, I finally finished watching Season 2 of ‘Reign’ – another ‘one of those’ semi-historical, yet fictional dramas on court life in baroque 14/15/16/17th century something. Now I admit, these kind of serieses are a guilty pleasure, even though I’m aware of the fact that the viewer is lucky if she actually gets 5% of actual historical material which really happened.

reign

Season 2 of ‘Reign’ however, was just too much. Apart from the awfully NON-HISTORICAL… not even REMOTELY SO (seriously, they were not even trying) clothes, which really emit a discortant screeching sound in my ears, seeing as to how I’m a Medieval re-enactor and costuming, at this point, is in my veins. So, apart from the fact that the queen and all her courtiers are dressed as if they are going to a Prom.

fd76675887254ca1cc0ae4969990101f

Apart from the blatant historical fibs (the King, for example, didn’t even have a bastard brother – and this guy plays a major role in the series). Apart from Mary’s inexpressive face, Kenna’s Indie get-ups which get weirder and weirder (wtf), the costumists’ disregard of headresses (they turn them into hairbands when they actually remember of their existence), and apart from the winding never-ending plot which sees the same five or six characters romancing, having sex with, and fighting with each other alternately.

images (1)

Seriously, WHAT’S WITH MARY ACCEPTING HER HUSBAND’S MISTRESS AND MOTHER OF HIS BASTARD-SON BACK AS ONE OF HER BEST FRIENDS??

images (2)

I say it again… SERIOUSLY?

images (3)

She even has a role as godmother to her husband’s bastard child! She’s just gotten raped and fakes everything is ok in order not to botch the baptism!!

4ad72bec6dc14afdca79b8c67da23047

Is this woman a martyr, a saint, or just a plain bloody pussy? That being said, do the writers of ‘Reign’ actually know the meaning of the word ‘realistic’? NO WOMAN would ever happily accept her husband’s one time mistress back in her life, her palace, her friendship, or her heart! Mary accepts her not only as part of her husband’s life, but as a member of her ‘posse’, one of her beloved ladies. She even helps her, tells Francis about the child, and tries to find her a wealthy husband!

images (5)

Throughout it all, I was like COME ON!! Do they really expect us to believe something like that could actually happen? Ok, maybe Mary was too good a person to let Lola die of the plague, she did not want to lie to her husband about the baby, and she did not want to leave Lola penniless… I can sort of get that… if I squeeze my eyes very tight and let my mind roam a bit… but taking her back as a best friend as if nothing had happened? Telling her all the realm’s secrets, even that she, the Queen was raped, when she told no one else in court apart from a very select few? Hugging and kissing her and smiling at her fondly?

images (4)

NO WAY

And it’s not that I’m hard-hearted, or jaded, or dont have any mercy. It’s that, this is totally unrealistic – NO ONE, not even Mother Theresa, would behave as though this ex-friend had never betrayed them, had never slept with her life-long partner and gotten a child, behind her back. NO ONE.

As such, I think I’m still going to watch Season 3 of ‘Reign’ since I started it, however my respect and enjoyment for the show has definitely gone a lot downhill.

adelaide-kane-toby-regbo-reign-cw-shoot-01

Curious? Wanna come too? Revealing ALL about next week ;-p

Have you ever been to France? Do you know of any great historical or picturesque places, and will you please comment and advise me if there is somewhere important in the area that I’m missing?

Finally, Monday is the BIG DAY. We’ll be going off to Southern France for a whole week! I’ve been looking forward to this for so long, and now that it’s finally here, I can’t begin to assimilate it. So, in order for me to gloss over the particulars (again) and for you to have an idea about where I’m going, I am going to list all the places we have researched, found on the map, inserted in the SatNav and in our day-by-day itinerary (because yes, that is how we roll). However do not think that everything is or will go as planned – we always seem to find ourselves in strange places, exploring stuff we had never heard about, and not just the things we planned.

                                                                      Monday

fort-saint-jean-marseille-1368907478

   Marseilles
Cathedrale de la Major
Le Fort Saint Jean
Abbaye Saint Victor
Notre Dame de la Garde
Musee des Beaux-Arts

Tuesday

lastours91

Chateau de Lastours
Medieval City of Carcassone
Chateau de Montsegur

Wednesday

orange

Caderousse
Orange
Ancient Roman Theatre
The Triumphal Arch of Orange
Chateau des Adhemar
Chateau de Suze-de-la-Rousse
Chateau de Grignan

Thursday

peyre

Fort de Salses
Chateau de Querbius
Chateau de Peyrepertuse
Beziers
Cathedrale Saint Nazaire

Friday

arles

Arles Amphitheatre
Abbaye Saine Pierre de Montmajour
Barbedal Aqueduct
Tarascon Chateau
Chateau des Baux de Provence
Chateau de Gordes

Saturday

rhine river

Catellum Aquae
Arena of Nimes
Valeinte’s Half-Day Cruise and Lunch on the Rhone River
Papal Palace
Rocher des Doms

Sunday

fontfroide2

Anywhere which takes our fancy
Abbaye de Fontfroide
St Fulcran Cathedral
Saint Michel de Grandmont Priory

Have I missed anything? I DO plan to visit Northern France, Paris, etc in future too :0)