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Cauldron Stand from Cyprus

Cauldron Stand from Cyprus


History's Cauldron

Until the advent of Communist dictatorships in the Balkans, the region known as Macedonia was Europe’s Lebanon. Today the lid is coming off once again, offering a timely reminder of the destructive power of ethnic passions.

On a recent journey through the Balkan Peninsula, a place where I have lived and traveled widely, my trajectory took me ever southward, from the Yugoslav republic of Croatia into Old Serbia and finally into the Yugoslav republic of Macedonia. Macedonia—a name that I will use henceforth to designate not the Yugoslav republic but rather a larger and more amorphous geographic entity—has never really been what modern analysts would call a nation-state, and not since antiquity has it been a stable and independent polity. The boundaries of Macedonia stretch west to east from somewhere in Albania to somewhere in Bulgaria, and south to north from somewhere in northern Greece to somewhere in Yugoslavia. Macedonia is a place that is strangely difficult to define, where the landscape cannot merely be looked at but must be read, according to each racial and linguistic claim and each interpretation of history. The print is small, the sentences long and confused. Appropriately, this tract of land is where the tectonic plates of Africa, Asia, and Europe—plates shouldering peoples and religions that have historically been at odds—happen to collide.

Today the significance of Macedonia lies in several facts. It is, to begin with, where any epilogue to a break-up of Yugoslavia will be written Whereas the Yugoslav provinces of Serbia and Croatia are easily imaginable as nation-states, Macedonia represents a political no-man’s land where Serbian, Albanian, Bulgarian, and Greek ambitions vie with one another and with a nascent Macedonian nationalist movement. Second, the long, bloody history of ethnic and sectarian strife portends the likely future of Balkan politics in the last decade of the twentieth century. And third, Macedonia offers a clearer window than any other region of the Balkans onto the sources of strife in the area. Why are peoples pitted so relentlessly one against another? Why do hatreds run so deep?

Macedonia, the inspiration for the French word for “mixed salad” (macédoine), reflects the principal illness of the Balkans: conflicting dreams of lost imperial glory. What the Bulgarians and the Serbs have always demanded, Rebecca West noted in her book Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, is that with the retreat of the region’s longtime rulers, the Ottoman Turks, “the frontiers recognized when they came in should be re-established, in spite of the lapse of five centuries.” The same yearnings, one might add, apply to the Greeks.

Each nation harbors the dream that its borders will revert to those it boasted when the ancient empire it once possessed was at the zenith of expansion. Because Philip II of Macedon, a monarch with strong Greek ties, established de facto rule over much of present-day Greece in the fourth century B.C., the Greeks believe Macedonia to be theirs. Because the Bulgarians in the tenth century, under King Simeon and later King Samuel, and again in the thirteenth century, under King Ivan Assen II, extended the frontiers of Bulgaria all the way west to the Adriatic Sea, the Bulgarians believe Macedonia to be theirs. Because the Serbian King Stefan Dušan overran Macedonia in the fourteenth century, and was crowned Emperor and Autocrat of the Serbs and the Byzantines, the Bulgars and the Albanians, in the Macedonian city of Skopje, the Serbs believe Macedonia to be theirs. In the Balkans, history is not thought of as a chronological progression. It jumps around and moves in circles.

Macedonia’s mixed salad is plainly evident in Skopje, the capital of Yugoslav Macedonia. Minarets soar above silver domes and a ramble of bazaar stalls, emphasizing the lonely horizontalness of the plain on which the city resides. The Turkish residue is thick. Men in white skullcaps play backgammon and drink rose-hip tea. In the fifteenth-century Mosque of Mustapha Pasha thick carpets dispel a drizzly chill. In the nearby Church of St Dimitrios, an Eastern Orthodox church, the glass covering the icons refracts light in such a way that the saints’ faces appear alive and in motion. The stone bridge over the Vardar River, which flows through Skopje, is built on the Roman foundations that have withstood major earthquakes in A.D. 518, 1520, and 1963 (the last left 100,000 people homeless). The faces that cross over it could be Greek, Turkish, Serbian, Albanian, or Bulgarian. Beyond the bridge is “new Skopje, rising defiantly from the ruins of the 1963 earthquake: massive evocations of poured concrete that are already cracked and stained from damp. Graffiti is everywhere, and written not in a Slavic language but in a self-taught Clockwork Orange sort of English: bad endno future, mucky pup

Gane Todorovski, a poet who lives in Skopje, understands what all this is about:

The Vadar is mute. It swells and passes
carrying something or other day and night for centuries,
rolling filth, illusions, names
of extinct, outlived, rootless
trunks, stumps, destinies, empires, greatnesses,
carrying all, crushing all, rolling all
unstably, ignobly, without dignity.

Only the Turkish mosque, the smoke-blackened Orthodox church, and the Roman bridge stones appear to have solid foundations. Macedonia—whence Alexander the Great set out to conquer the world—is a historical and geographical reactor furnace. Here the ethnic hatreds released by the decline of the Ottoman Empire first exploded, hatreds that would permeate Europe and the Middle East.

Macedonia itself has not figured prominently in the headlines during most of the past half century. The ardor of its hatreds—among Muslim, Orthodox, Catholic, and Jew among Bulgar, Greek, Serb, and Turk—was abruptly, if temporarily, chilled by the advent of stern Communist regimes on the Balkan Peninsula after the Second World War. But as totalitarianism itself cools, the old animosities in the Balkans have begun to heat up. And while the dissension thus far has been most obvious in Yugoslavia, where Serbs and Croats have begun to undo one more part of the post-First World War peace settlement, it is in the transnational region of Macedonia that the full range of local distress can most vividly be glimpsed.

At the same time, ironically, Macedonia seems to mock human frailty with its sere and mysterious beauty. Ancient volcanoes, now dormant, block the winds that blow out of Central Asia. In autumn velvety shawls of maroon and sienna drape hillsides that fold down upon willow-braided streams. Along the coasts the landscape sparkles with Aegean clarity. “Macedonia is the country I have always seen between sleeping and waking,” Dame Rebecca wrote. From childhood, “when I was weary of the polace where I was, I wished it would turn into a town like Yaitse or … Bitoj or Ochrid.”

Last Days of Empire

The twentieth century began and could yet end with the names of such towns on the lips of people far away. John Reed, in The War in Eastern Europe (1916), wrote:

The Macedonian question has been the cause of every great European war for the last fifty years, and until that is settled there will be no more peace either in the Balkans or out of them. Macedonia is the most frightful mix-up of races ever imagined. Turks, Albanians, Serbs, Rumanians, Greeks, and Bulgarians live there side by side without mingling—and have so lived since the days of St. Paul.

Macedonia, according to Lord Kinross, taking up Reed’s theme, “was a projection in miniature of that loose but functioning organism” called the Ottoman Empire. It lay in the heart of the southern Balkans, in the region called “Turkey in Europe” at the turn of the century and known to the Turks themselves as “Rumeli,” a word handed down by the Byzantine Greeks and meaning “the land of the Romans.”

Turkey in Europe began cracking up in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, when Montenegrins, Serbs, and Greeks initiated bloody struggles for independence from the Ottoman Empire. However, it was Czar Alexander II’s war to liberate Bulgaria from Turkish occupation, begun in April of 1877, that lit the fuse of the Balkan powder keg. The Czar’s troops, joined by Romanian units and Bulgarian guerrillas, slugged their way to the top of the Shipka Pass, in central Bulgaria, and defeated a Turkish army. By December the Russians had occupied the Bulgarian capital, Sofia. By March, with Russian forces a short distance from Istanbul, Count Ignatiev, the Russian ambassador to the Turks, dictated to sultan Abdul-Hamid II the Treaty of San Stefano.

From the Treaty of San Stefano rose the principality of Bulgaria, which, though nominally under Turkish suzerainty, was in fact a re-creation of the once-great medieval Bulgarian kingdom. It was to encompass not just present-day Bulgaria but most of geographical Macedonia besides. A delegation of Bulgarian bishops journeyed to San Stefano to thank the Russian forces personally for this gift. “To you [Czar Alexander] songs of praise will rise forever from the peaks of the Balkan range, from the valleys of Thrace and Macedonia.”

Odd as it may seem, this Russian-midwifed “Greater Bulgaria” fairly closely met the Wilsonian standard of national self-determination, decades before Woodrow Wilson began thinking about the map of Europe. The huge bulge of Greek Macedonia awarded to Bulgaria was at the time mainly inhabited by Bulgarians, although it also had significant Greek, Turkish, and Jewish minorities. In the rest of Macedonia, Bulgarian nationalism was far more advanced that any other nationalism (though this fact is today vehemently denied there). John Reed, from a vantage point much closer in time than my own, wrote,

The vast majority of the population of Macedonia are Bulgars. … They were the first people, when Macedonia was a Turkish province, to found national schools there, and when the Bulgarian Church revolted from the Greek Patriarch … the Turks allowed them to establish bishoprics, because it was so evident that Macedonia was Bulgarian.

Reed went on to explain that the Serbs and the Greeks built schools in Macedonia—and infiltrated the region with guerrillas—only later, as a reaction to rising Bulgarian nationalism.

Though expedient on ethnic grounds, the union of Macedonia and Bulgaria created a new and overpowering pro-Russian state in the Balkans which Great Britain, Germany, and, in particular, Germany’s ally Austria-Hungary (with its own Balkan holdings to defend) could not accept. In the view of these states the Treaty of San Stefano had to be amended. To that end the German Chancellor, Prince Otto von Bismarck-Schönhausen, convened a meeting in Berlin in June of 1878 to resolve this and other Great Power problems.

At the Congress of Berlin, Greater Bulgaria was dismembered. Most of Bulgaria’s northern half, between the Danube River and the Balkan Mountains, did get its freedom, as promised in the Treaty of San Stefano, though a section in the extreme northeast, by the Black Sea, in what is known as the Dobruja, was given to Romania. However, the southern half of Bulgaria, between the Balkan Mountains and the present-day Greek border, became a Turkish province, with local autonomy under a Bulgarian Orthodox Christian governor. And Macedonia itself was abandoned so direct Turkish rule, as if the Russian army had never stormed through Bulgaria and the Treaty of San Stefano had never existed.

The Russians did not leave Berlin unhappy. Bismarck compensated them for their client state’s loss of Macedonia with new lands, taken from the Romanians, in Bessarabia, and from the Turks, in northeastern Anatolia. The Treaty of Berlin also granted full independence to Russia’s Slavic allies, the Serbs. To compensate Hapsburg Austria-Hungary for this provocation, Bismarck arranged for Bosnia and Herzegovina, the provinces next door to Serbia, with a large Serbian population that also wanted independence, to be liberated from Ottoman rule—but only so that they could be handed over to the Hapsburgs, and ultimately provide the proximate cause of the First World War. Great Britain, for its part, received from the Turks the island of Cyprus.

In Macedonia the Treaty of Berlin led to an orgy of violence. The Sultan’s army, rather than being forced to evacuate under the terms of the Treaty of San Stefano could now rule with unfettered authority. Reports came from Ohrid of Turks raping and torturing young girls. In the village of Bistritsa they beat people and imprisoned them in pigsties for not paying the exorbitant Turkish taxes. In Skatsintsi, south of Skopje, Turkish soldiers gouged out the eyes and cut off the ears and nose of one Petur Lazov, keeping him in agony for several days before cutting off his head. Meanwhile, the advance of the Russian army through the newly liberated northern half of Bulgaria gave rise to an exodus of enraged ethnic Turks who, along with Muslim Bosnians fleeing the Hapsburg advance into Bosnia, poured into Macedonia, where they joined the Turkish army in terrorizing the Orthodox Christian population.

Local Orthodox priests, led by the Bishop of Ohrid, acted as front men to equip roving cheti, or bands of guerrillas, who in October of 1878 initiated a bloody uprising against the Turkish occupying force. Over the next half century the Macedonian guerrilla movement was to go through a series of radical permutations. Macedonia would become the well-spring not only of modern world war but also of modern political terrorism and clerical fanaticism.

The first Macedonian guerrilla uprising collapsed under Turkish whips and rifle butts in the suffocation cells of Bitola prison in 1881. Although the Turks were strong enough to crush a local insurgency, however, they could not prevent insurgents and propagandists from filtering into the area from outside.

The first to come were the Serbians. In 1881 Serbia grudgingly recognized Austria-Hungary’s occupation of Bosnia. In return Serbia received the blessing of the Hapsburg court to expand into Macedonia, as a bulwark against both the Ottoman Turks and the pro-Russian Bulgarians. In 1885 the southern half of Bulgaria was unified with the already independent northern half. Fearful that the Bulgarians might yet achieve their aim of a Greater Bulgaria, the Turks decided to encourage Serbian propaganda in Macedonia.

In 1897 the situation in the Balkans broke all bounds of complexity when an uprising on the island of Crete suddenly sparked a war between Greece and the Ottoman Empire. To prevent Bulgaria from joining forces with Greece, the Turkish Sultan suddenly reversed his policy in Macedonia. Rather than continue to help the Serbs contain the Bulgarians there, the Sultan gave Bulgaria’s Prince Ferdinand carte blanche to help the Serbs contain the Greeks.

Meanwhile, in Salonika, six conspirators had founded the Macedonian Revolutionary Organization on the ruins of the original cheti movement. They soon won converts in other Macedonian cities and towns, among them Gotsé Delchev, a twenty-two-year-old schoolteacher in the town of Štip, southeast of Skopje. To distinguish this indigenous movement from a Macedonian underground group in Sofia, the Macedonian Revolutionary Organization renamed itself the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization, or IMRO. IMRO spread rapidly during the 1890s, raising money through collections and occasional kidnappings of notables, whom they held for ransom.

By the turn of the century Macedonia was a cauldron of ethnic and sectarian violence. The absence of a viable central government and of a defining concept of what the region was and to whom it belonged permitted various outside powers—all soon to collapse as a result of what Macedonia would help unleash—to play out their rivalries there. “Two hundred and forty-five bands were in the moutains. Serbian and Bulgarian comitadjis, Greek andartes, Albanians and Vlachs, … all waging a terrorist war,” Leon Sciaky wrote in Farewell to Salonica. Christian militias fought Muslim ones, and one another as well. Bearded, bandoliered terrorists like Gotsé Delchev planted bombs at cafés and railway stations, murdered members of rival groups, conducted secret tribunals and executions, took hostages. When the twentieth century began, Macedonia was a place of atrocities and refugee camps about which people in the West had already become jaded and cynical. It represented a situation that could never be resolved, and one to which the newspaper correspondents paid far too much attention.

All this is today long past and forgotten—in the West, that is.

Judgment on Delchev

Gotsé Delchev’s thick handlebar moustache, sweep of jet-black hair, and grave black eyes to this day haunt the museums and government offices of Bulgarian and Yugoslav Macedonia, and Delchev’s case haunts Macedonia’s memory. Delchev was born in 1872 in a town belonging to the Ottoman Empire, north of Salonika, called Kukush by its Bulgarian inhabitants. On July 2, 1913, during the Second Balkan War, the townspeople fled before an invading Greek army, believing they would return in a few days, after Bulgarian forces drove the Greeks “into the Aegean.” The Greeks burnt Kukush to the ground, and its Bulgarian inhabitants never came back. The Greek town of Kilkís rose from the ashes—a place today dominated by a strip of fast-food restaurants. “Do not talk to me about Kilkís,” a red-faced Bulgarian diplomat in Greece told me a few years ago, at a time when experts dismissed Bulgaria as little more than a loyal Kremlin satellite. “You are from America and know nothing of these things. Know only that there is no Kilkís, only Kukush, and one day, after NATO and the Warsaw Pact are no more, there will be Kukush once again.”

Delchev received his secondary education at a Bulgarian school in Salonika (now an all but completely Greek city, in Greece). Afterward he attended a military academy in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia. The rest of his short life he passed as a schoolteacher and a guerrilla and terrorist fighting to free Macedonia from the Ottoman Turks. He died on May 4, 1903, in a hail of Turkish gunfire, “cloak flung over his left shoulder, his white fez, wrapped in a bluish scarf, pulled down, and his gun slung across his left elbow,” in the words of a comrade. The skirmish occurred in the Bulgarian-inhabited village of Banitsa, now the Greek village of Karié. To Bulgarians this change changes nothing: “The land remembers every one, even the murdered unborn babies who have no names,” Mercia MacDermott, Delchev’s pro-Bulgarian biographer, wrote.

In 1923 Greek authorities agreed to transfer Delchev’s remains from Greece to Bulgaria, which has long regarded Delchev as a national hero. In 1946 Stalin, wanting to placate Tito, whose nation contains a large chunk of Macedonia (this was two years before Yugoslavia left the Warsaw Pact), forced the Bulgarian Communists to give up Delchev’s bones. Today Delchev’s tomb is in the courtyard of the seventeenth-century church of Sveti Spas in Skopje, under a fir tree, marked by a block of stone adorned with wreaths. The Bulgarians have never forgiven Stalin or the Russians for Delchev’s reburial.

“Do not tell me about Macedonia,” the Bulgarian diplomat I met in Greece told me. “There is no Macedonia. It is western Bulgaria. The language is eighty percent Bulgarian. But you don’t understand. You have no grasp of our problems. Gotsé Delchev was a Bulgarian. He was educated in Sofia. Bulgaria funded his guerrilla activities. He spoke a western-Bulgarian dialect. How could he be something that does not exist?” The diplomat handed me a copy of MacDermott’s biography of Delchev, along with a huge book in a blue jacket, titled Macedonia: Documents and Material, published by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and containing nearly a thousand pages of tiny print. I opened the book and read: “A survey of some of the key issues examined in this volume of documents about Macedonia convincingly shows that the Slav population in this region is Bulgarian. … This is the historical truth, reflected in a multitude of documents.”

“The Bulgarians are well-known falsifiers of documents around the world,” Orde Ivanovski, a state historian for the Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, explained when I met him in his office in Skopje. “What can you expect of Tartars?” It occurred to me that because the world’s media have tended to ignore the Balkans for so long, people there have not yet learned, as some Israelis and Arabs have, how to talk in code, so as not to offend Western sensibilities with their racial hatred. People speak more honestly in the Balkans than in the Middle East, and therefore more brutally.

Ivanovski went on: “The Bulgarians, you know, have specialized teams who invent books about Gotsé Delchev. They bribe foreign authors with cash and give them professorships in order to put their names on the covers of these books. I know that the Bulgarians are now buying up ad space in India to propagandize about Macedonia and Gotsé Delchev. How could Gotsé Delchev be Bulgarian? He was born in Macedonia. He spoke Macedonian, not Bulgarian. How could he be Bulgarian? He was a cosmopolitan he wanted a democratic commonwealth of nations, sort of what is emerging now in Central Europe. Chauvinism is poisoning the soul of humanity. We Macedonians”—he is speaking not only for Yugoslav Macedonians but for Macedonians everywhere—“hate no one and have no pretensions. We search in the darkness for a friend.” Ivanovski grabbed my forearm and handed me a biography of Delchev published by the Yugoslav Republic. “You must help us,” he pleaded.

If Delchev could rise from the grave, what would he call himself: a Macedonian or a Bulgarian? Experts agree that the Slavic language he spoke—the one spoken in Macedonia now—is closer to Bulgarian than to Serbian. But, especially after Tito’s break with Stalin, the Yugoslav government, encouraged by the Serbs, promoted the idea of Macedonia’s separate ethnic and linguistic identity, in order to sever any emotional links between the local population and the one next door in Bulgaria, whose government obeyed Moscow’s every order. When Delchev lived, there was no one to promote such a separate Macedonian identity.

On one thing only do the two sides agree: Delchev, certain facts be damned, was no terrorist. “He was an apostle,” Ivanovski said.

The Balkan Wars

Three months after Delchev’s death, on August 2, 1903, Macedonia exploded. IMRO began a new uprising on Ilinden, the feast day of St. Iliya, or Elijah. In Bulgarian Orthodox tradition Elijah is a transmutation of Perun, the pagan lord of lightning and stormy heavens, to whom the pre-Christian Slavs had sacrificed bulls and human beings. Church bells rang IMRO operatives cut Turkish telegraph wires and burned tax registers. In the town of Kruševo, high in the mountains of western Macedonia, 1,200 IMRO guerrillas proclaimed the Kruševo Republic. It lasted ten days, until 20,000 Turkish soldiers, supported by heavy artillery, overwhelmed the rebels in Kruševo. Forty of the rebels, rather than be taken alive, shot themselves in the mouth after kissing one another good-bye. Wild dogs and pigs devoured the corpses of townspeople killed by the Turks.

Everywhere it was the same. The two-month uprising cost the lives of 4,694 civilians and 994 IMRO guerrillas. Rape was endemic. Thirty thousand Orthodox Christian refugees fled from Macedonia into Bulgaria. A correspondent for the London Daily News at the scene, A. G. Hales, wrote in the October 21, 1903 edition, “I will try and tell this story coldly, calmly, dispassionately. … [one must] tone the horrors down, for in their nakedness they are unprintable.” In Western Europe there were public protests against the Turkish Sultanate. As a result of action by the British Prime Minister Arthur James Balfour, the Russian Czar Nicholas II, and the Hapsburg Emperor Franz Josef, an international peacekeeping force entered Macedonia in 1904.

“In Macedonia,” Lord Kinross wrote, “the sands were running out. No thinking Turk could fail to sense that the Empire was on the brink of disintegration.” It was no accident that the Young Turk Revolution that toppled the power of the Ottoman Sultanate originated in Macedonia: a young Turkish major, Enver, soon to be called Enver Pasha, stood on the balcony of the Olympos Palace Hotel, in Salonika, on July 24, 1908, and acknowledged the wild cheers of a multi-ethnic crowd by acclaiming “Liberty, equality, fraternity, justice.”

Kemal Atatürk, the father of modern Turkey, was also a Macedonian, born in 1881, in Salonika. Standing behind Enver on the balcony that historic day, Kemal immediately had doubts about the revolution. Other than forcing Sultan Abdul-Hamid to accept a liberal constitution, the officers led by Enver had no well-defined program. Much like Mikhail Gorbachev and his reformist allies in the Soviet Union, Enver and the other Young Turks were determined to preserve, albeit in a looser, more liberal form, the empire, which was threatened by a reactionary sultanate and its near-total resistance to change. But, as Kemal suspected, Enver and the Young Turks underestimated the force of the many long-repressed nationalisms in the Balkans. The Orthodox Christian nations wanted more than just constitutional safeguards within a Muslim-run confederation. “The Revolution,” Lord Kinross wrote, “far from arresting the disintegration of the Empire, as the Young Turks had hoped, at once accelerated it.”

In October of 1908 Bulgaria’s Ferdinand proclaimed his country’s complete independence (and himself King), which for a long time had been de facto but not de jure. The same week, the island of Crete (still part of Turkey) voted for union with Greece, and the Austrian Hapsburgs annexed the Turkish provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which they had been administering since the Congress of Berlin. (It was in retaliation that a Bosnian Serb later assassinated the Hapsburg Archduke and started the First World War.) The empire’s disintegration enraged fundamentalist Muslims within Turkey proper. In early 1909 army units revolted. Joined by turbaned masses shouting, “We want sharia [Islamic law],” they demanded a return to more-conservative rule. The Young Turks violently crushed this counterrevolution, and forced the Sultan into exile in Salonika. When the Sultan learned that he was being dispatched to the Macedonian city where the revolution against him had begun, he fell unconscious into the arms of a eunuch.

The retrogression of the Young Turks into killers more brutal and efficient than even the Sultan (as evidenced, for example, in the slaughter of some 1.5 million Turkish Armenians), together with the unwillingness of other nations to interfere, prompted Bulgaria, Serbia, and Greece to do what no one had thought possible: submerge their differences and form an alliance. The years 1909-1912 saw all these states build up their armies. In October of 1912 all three (along with Montenegro) declared war on the Ottoman Empire, their principal purpose being to liberate Macedonia. The First Balkan War ended with the dissolution of virtually all of Turkey in Europe. In Macedonia the Serbian army occupied Skopje, Stefan Dušan’s ancient capital, and the Greek army occupied Salonika. Bulgaria, though its army had overrun Turkish Thrace up to the gates of Istanbul, and had gained a foothold on the Aegean Sea, found itself virtually locked out of the very region that for decades it had been close to obtaining.

John Reed described how, in the aftermath of the First Balkan War, the Serbs and the Greeks tried to wipe out Bulgarian influence in Macedonia:

A thousand Greek and Serbian publicists began to fill the world with their shouting about the essentially Greek or Serbian character of the populations of their different spheres. The Serbs gave the unhappy Macedonians twenty-four hours to renounce their nationality and proclaim themselves Serbs, and the Greeks did the same. Refusal meant murder or expulsion. Greek and Serbian colonists were poured into the occupied country. … Bulgarian school-teachers were shot … Bulgarian priests given the choice of death or conversion. … The Greek newspapers began to talk about a Macedonia peopled entirely with Greeks—and they explained the fact that no one spoke Greek, by calling the people “Bulgarophone” Greeks. … The Greek army entered villages where no one spoke their language. “What do you mean by speaking Bulgarian?” cried the officers. “This is Greece and you must speak Greek.”

Meanwhile, in Bulgaria the government and people smoldered. At 1:00 A.M. on June 30, 1913, without any warning or declaration of war, the Bulgarian army crossed the Bregalnica, a Vardar tributary, and attacked the Serbian forces. The Second Balkan War had begun.

The battle lasted several days. The Serbs recovered the advantage in other battles Greek forces likewise prevailed against the Bulgarians. Then the Romanians joined the Serbian-Greek alliance and invaded Bulgaria from the north, in a campaign in which more men died of cholera than of bullet wounds. At the peace conference in August, in the Romanian capital of Bucharest, Bulgaria lost virtually everything: most of its Aegean coast, its gains in Thrace from the First Balkan War, and, worst of all, almost every square inch of Macedonia. Sofia, with its teeming encampments full of vengeful Bulgarian refugees from Macedonia, provided a foretaste of what Beirut would one day be like.

In the fall of 1915 Bulgaria entered the First World War on the side of the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary), in order to regain Macedonian territory from Serbia, which was aligned with the Triple Entente (Czarist Russia, Great Britain, and France). From 1916 until the armistice in 1918, trench warfare raged across the length and breadth of Macedonia, pitting the French, the Greeks, the Serbians, and British troops pulled back from Gallipoli against the Hapsburg and Bulgarian armies. For Bulgaria the First World War ended much as had the Second Balkan War, with most of Macedonia lost to the Serbs and the Greeks. Just as the disintegration of the Soviet empire under Gorbachev in this century’s last decade mirrors the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire under Enver Pasha in its first decade, the political tragedy of the Arab world in the second half of the twentieth century mirrors that of Bulgaria in the first half.

After losing two wars over Macedonia, King Ferdinand abdicated, in 1918. For the next twenty-five years, until the middle of the Second World War, his son, King Boris III, presided over a political system in Sofia riven by coups and other violent conspiracies, often connected to the loss of Macedonia. IMRO, further radicalized by the defeats of 1913 and 1918, became a terrorist state-within-a-state and, helped by its skull-and-crossbones insignia, a synonym in the outside world for hate and nihilism. Opium profits financed IMRO’s purchases of weaponry. With $20 the standard fee for an IMRO assassination, Bulgarian politicians walked around with trains of bodyguards.

By the 1930s Macedonian terrorists were hiring themselves out to other radical groups—in particular, to the Croatian Ustashe, whose chief paymaster was the Fascist dictator of Italy, Benito Mussolini. It was a Bulgarian Macedonian, nicknamed “Vlado the Chauffeur,” who in 1934 assassinated King Alexander of Yugoslavia.

The Second World War provided another sickening replay. As in the First, Bulgaria joined a German-led alliance against Yugoslavia in order to regain Macedonia. While German forces invaded Serbia from the north, Bulgarian troops invaded Macedonia from the east. Again, Serbian and Greek resistance forces, aided by the British, drove the Bulgarians back to the hated borders established in 1913, when the Second Balkan War ended.

At that point Communist totalitarianism settled over the Balkans and stopped history there until now. Nothing of all this, of course, has yet been resolved.

“Solon Is Ours”

During the Second World War, Bulgarian occupation troops in Macedonia worked alongside the Nazis. Enforced “Bulgarization” of the population repeated the savagery of the Serbiana nd Greek occupation troops of 1913. While King Boris’s regime helped save the Jews residing in Bulgaria proper, in Macedonia the Bulgarians collaborated in rounding them up for transport to death camps. State terrorism of this sort erased much of the pro-Bulgarian sympathy that had existed in Macedonia for decades, and forged a new Macedonian identity distinct from Macedonians’ various allegiances to Bulgaria and Greece, even as Yugoslav Macedonians, accustomed to thinking of themselves as autonomous, began to entertain ambitious dreams. They entertain them still. “Two thirds of Macedonia is under foreign occupation and still to be liberated,” explains Ante Popovski, a poet in Skopje. “The rest of Europe in 1989 achieved their national rights—but not yet the Macedonians in Greece and Bulgaria.”

During my last visit maps were thrust upon me depicting a leaf-shaped bulge of territory much larger than the present-day Yugoslav republic of Macedonia. Inside the thick black border lines of this ideal Macedonian state were a third of mainland Greece and all of the Greek island of Thasos, together called Aegean Macedonia a chunk of southwestern Bulgaria, called Pirin Macedonia after the Pirin Mountains there a slice of “Macedonian” land in Albania and what is considered the only liberated part of the country to date, Vardar Macedonia, named after the river, corresponding to Yugoslav Macedonia. I even heard claims that Istanbul is historically part of Macedonia.

A rediscovered “Macedonian” language is being promoted through new works of history and literature. The new Macedonian poetry is the usual stuff of nationalism:

As evening soots the gradual snow
Bird and beast are silent under the heavy firs. …
Space hides in its curvature
The unsuspected leap of a mountain lion
And tomorrow when the sun appears with his
Angry halo over an earth thawed and gurgling
The air, bloodied by spurs, will scream. …

On the walls near the Greek consulate in Skopje the graffiti reads, “Solon is ours!” “Solon” is the Macedonian word for Salonika, now Greece’s second largest city.

In 1988 members of the local Macedonian community in Melbourne, Australia, rioted to protest a visit by the Greek President, Christos Sartzetakis. “We are surrounded by enemies,” a Macedonian Republic official raged at me, by way of justifying his people’s hatred of Greece and Bulgaria. “The Greeks say there is no Macedonian language. Then how come their consulate sign here in Skopje is written in Macedonian?”

Greece, for its part, according to a Greek consular official whom I visited in Skopje, does not permit anyone with a “Slavic” name who was born in northern Greece and now lives in Yugoslav Macedonia to visit Greece, even if he or she has relatives there. This means that many families have been separated for decades. The consular official explained, “They use Slavic place-names to identify their place of birth [for example, Kukush instead of Kilkís]. What’s the idea? These people could be engaging in Macedonian or Bulgarian propaganda on our territory.”

As I left the consulate, the Greek official gave me a 600-page book titled Macedonia: 4000 Years of Greek History and Civilization.

“I am born in Štip, during the Turkish slavery. My father was a pupil of Gotsé Delchev. I am a real Macedonian. I know what I am. I am a sparrow, not a Bulgarian, not an eagle of Serbia.” Metropolitan Mikhail raised his hand in the way of the Pantocrator (Christ the Almighty), whose stern image beautifies the dome of many an Orthodox church. Metropolitan Mikhail has ironed-back locks of white hair running down his neck. His eyes smolder. “We have some of Alexander in our blood, it is true. We have been crucified, like Jesus, on the cross of Balkan politics. That is Macedonian coffee you are drinking, not Turkish coffee or Greek coffee. Macedonia, not Serbia, is the true birthplace of the Renaissance. What is Gračanica compared to Ohrid? How can Giotto compare to our artists? Tell me, how can Giotto compare?”

Metropolitan Mikhail told me about his church. “You must have patience, young man. It is a long story.”

I will shorten it: The two ninth-century apostles who brought Christianity to the Slavs, Cyril and Methodius, were born in Salonika. (This makes them Greek, Bulgarian, or Macedonian, depending on your point of view. Metropolitan Mikhail is in no doubt over which they were.) Two disciples of Cyril and Methodius, Sveti (“Saint”) Kliment and Sveti Naum, taught at Ohrid, where the Macedonians, under King Simeon, founded an independent Orthodox patriarchate toward the end of the tenth century. When Stefan Dušan conquered Macedonia, in the fourteenth century, he sanctioned the independence of the Macedonian patriarchate. “But in 1767 the Turks abolished our patriarchate at Ohrid because we were organizing an uprising against the Sultan. Only in 1967 was an independent Macedonian Orthodox Church re-established. Why will the Serbs, the Greeks, and the Bulgarians not recognize our Church? Macedonia is where Slavic Christianity was born. We are better Christians than they. Tell me, why are we friendless?”

Zlatko Blajer, who, at the time of our interview, was the editor in chief of Vecher (“Evening”), a daily newspaper in Skopje, is one of perhaps thirty Jews remaining in the city from a population that numbered 3,795 before the Second World War. He sat against a mirror in a Skopje restaurant as we talked. His voice had an immaterial quality. He was one of the few people I met in Skopje who had no book to give me.

“This is the most volatile area of the Balkans. We are a weak, new nation surrounded by old enemies. For decades the Yugoslav federation has protected us. As Yugoslavia falls apart, Macedonia again becomes a power vacuum. We are a quiet Kosovo: Twenty-three percent of Macedonia’s population is actually Albanian, and their birth rate is much higher than Macedonians’. We face the same fate as the Serbs in their historical homeland. But we fear rising Serb nationalism, even though the Serbs are the only ones who can help us.

“At the end of the twentieth century we’re trying to separate inseparable strands, to divide this one from that one, because this one may be Macedonian and that one may be Bulgarian. Here the men sit back like the old men of Crete, talking about nationalism and hate while the women do all the work.”

Indeed, Macedonia is once again poised to erupt. Never in half a century has there been so much anger in Macedonia, as its people wake up from a Communist-imposed sleep to face 30 percent unemployment, towns and cities that are begrimed with pollution, phones that don’t work, mountains of garbage that aren’t collected, and alienating, space-age buildings—put up by Communist regimes in a crazed and hopeless attempt to erase the past—falling into ugly disrepair. The upshot of this anger is a nationalism that has little practical potential, because unlike the other old and well-established nations now arising from the ashes of Tito’s Yugoslavia—Croatia and Serbia, in particular—Yugoslav Macedonia is militarily, economically, and demographically weak compared with its neighbors.

Like Macedonia, these other nations are waking up from a Communist stupor to embrace dreams of lost glory. In Bulgaria, for instance, nationalism is steeply on the rise. For the moment it is directed against Bulgaria’s ethnic Turkish minority, which represents a demographic threat as well as a reminder of a hated colonial past. But travel for a while in Bulgaria, as I have often done, and you will be nagged by passionate monologues about a “Macedonia” that is really “western Bulgaria.” It may be only a matter of time before this grievance flares up.

Then there is Albania, whose continuing evolution away from what has long been the most brutal Communist system in Europe may have consequences that laterally fissure into Yugoslavia. This is because ethnic-Albanian riots and labor strikes against Serbian domination have been a feature of daily life in southern Yugoslavia for a decade now. But Albania, long a Stalinist police state, has provided little inspiration for its ethnic compatriots next door in Yugoslavia. A freer Albania, no matter how imperfect, would unleash aspirations for union between it and the parts of Old Serbia and Macedonia that are demographically dominated by ethnic Albanians. And because the Catholic Croats and Slovenes in the north of Yugoslavia want no part of the burden of defending Orthodox Christians in Serbia and Macedonia against Muslim Albanians, any increase in tensions will widen the already considerable gulf between the republics of northern Yugoslavia and those of the south.

Unable to stand on its own, like its more populous and historically grounded neighbor Serbia, Macedonia could implode under the pressures of Albanian nationalism from the west and Bulgarian nationalism from the east. And this is to say nothing of the pressures of Greek nationalism from the south. In Greece, Macedonia recently surfaced as a significant issue once again after the International Olympic Committee voted to award the Olympic Games in 1996, the hundredth anniversary of the first modern Olympics, to Atlanta, Georgia, instead of to Athens. In the wake of the IOC’s vote a Greek delegate to the committee, Lambis Nikolau, stated: “We were sold out by the Yugoslavs.” Once Belgrade’s own bid had been eliminated, in the first round of voting, all seven of Yugoslavia’s votes went to Melbourne and then, in the final round, to Atlanta. What Nikolau did not have to explain to his fellow Greeks was that Yugoslavia’s anti-Athens and pro-Melbourne stance was political. Yugoslavia sought to curry favor among Macedonians in the country with the most vocal community of Macedonian expatriates: Australia.

The various popular convulsions in the Balkans are inexorably converging on Macedonia, just as they were doing a century ago. It is a tragic yet fascinating development. Rarely has the very process of history been so transparent and cyclical. One cannot but wonder: What will Lebanon offer the student of history a hundred years from now?


Для показа рекламных объявлений Etsy по интересам используются технические решения сторонних компаний.

Мы привлекаем к этому партнеров по маркетингу и рекламе (которые могут располагать собранной ими самими информацией). Отказ не означает прекращения демонстрации рекламы Etsy или изменений в алгоритмах персонализации Etsy, но может привести к тому, что реклама будет повторяться чаще и станет менее актуальной. Подробнее в нашей Политике в отношении файлов Cookie и схожих технологий.


Hollow Square

The hollow square formation had its heyday during the firearm line formation period described above, but it originated in ancient times. It was used with great success by the 10,000 Greek mercenaries during their lengthy retreat from central Persia. under heavy attack and constant missile fire the Greeks formed a massive moving hollow square to protect their noncombatants and baggage. The heavy infantry repelled charges and allowed their long range skirmishers to fight back from the safety of the square.

The Roman commander Crassus would also employ the square at the battle of Carrhae, but it failed in this instance as the enemy Parthians had an ample stockpile of arrows to wear down the legionaries from afar. The square seems to have been occasionally utilized by Asian armies as well, often to repel cavalry charges.

In the age of the Napoleonic wars the hollow square developed into a highly flexible formation. Soldiers formed an infantry square almost always in response to cavalry charges. Cavalry during the Napoleonic wars could be especially deadly, being armed with handguns, but also with lances and sabres and had the speed to close on a formation quickly.

Cavalry couldn’t hope to do much of anything against a well-formed infantry square.

Infantry squares were organized in groups of 500 to 1,000, sometimes more, with sides being at least two men deep. Corners were reinforced and occasionally stuck out to provide enfilading fire, though this was not common. The square sometimes held supplies or provided reinforcements, but the internal space was vital as the lines had to be able to flex to absorb cavalry charges.

Battlefields could feature multiple hollow squares supporting each other and armies with skilled officers could actually make these squares mobile and use them offensively, making them static only to hold up against charges when needed. At the battle of Waterloo, some hollow squares were able to stand up to almost a dozen separate cavalry charges. The only downside was that a broken square was often a disaster, leaving the infantry vulnerable from all sides and likely to lower the morale of nearby squares. It was very rare for a square to reform after one or more sides collapsed.

After the Napoleonic wars the square was still used occasionally, but more in the way the ancients utilized it, for overall protection. Large, often rectangular formations were used during colonial wars against warriors armed with less advanced weapons. The square allowed a unit to be almost completely enveloped by an enemy, but still able to keep composure and use its firepower to the maximum.

A battalion of the U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps demonstrating the hollow square formation used in the event of a street riot, 1918.

The hollow square became redundant with the adoption of more rapid firing weapons. One of its last successful uses was by a small U.S. cavalry detachment of 87 men, who were ambushed by 400 Cheyanne cavalry. After forming a hollow infantry square and placing their horses in the center, the men marched on a fighting retreat for eight miles until the Cheyenne gave up and withdrew. Hollow squares can still be used in certain situations, such as the protection of the wounded during riots or in the case of ambushed units.

It seems likely that the three tactics and formations discussed above will remain part of warfare in the future.


Witchcraft Terms and Tools – Cauldron

A cauldron in general is a large metal pot or kettle for cooking and/or boiling over an open fire, with a large mouth and often with an arc-shaped hanger. Traditionally, it was made from cast iron, and rests on three legs. Although the cauldron has largely fallen out of use in the industrialized world as a cooking vessel, a more common association in Western culture is its use in witchcraft (witches traditionally prepare their potions in a cauldron), a cliché popularized by various fictions, including Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth” and other more modern fantastic fiction.

In modern Wicca, however, the cauldron is still regularly used. It can be placed in a sacred or ritual circle and used to burn items during a ritual, to hold the ingredients necessary for a spell or incantation, for scrying in water, as a container for making brews and potions, or to provide a vessel in which transmutation, germination and transformations may occur. It is a symbol of the womb of the Goddess, and of rebirth, as it was in ancient British Celtic religion, and is therefore sacred to the Goddess.

In some traditions of Wicca which incorporate aspects of Celtic mythology, the cauldron is associated with the goddess Cerridwen. Celtic legend also tells of a cauldron used by warring armies, in which dead warriors could be placed and returned to life, although lacking the power of speech (and possibly lacking souls, like golem). These warriors could go back into battle


Cast Iron Cauldron

Cast iron cooking vessels have been around since the middle ages, and have taken many different forms over the years. Among the oldest of these forms is the cast iron cauldron, which is similar to a modern stock pot, but with a rounded bottom. Beyond these two basic shapes cast iron cookware comes in hundreds of different configurations, from skillets and fry pans to griddles, Dutch Ovens, muffin pans, and many other shapes.

Lodge Logic Pre-Seasoned 15 Inch Cast-Iron Skillet

Another feature of CI cookware that makes it desirable, is the even heating that the heavy metal provides. Because the mass of iron readily absorbs and spreads heat, food is cooked evenly. Aluminum pans and thin steel pans transfer heat rather than absorb and radiate it, so most of the heat from the burner goes immediately into the food. From a cold start, lightweight aluminum pans may heat up faster than cast iron and initially cook faster, but they will also burn foods faster and if the project involves repeatedly cooking a dish, such as making pancakes or half-a-dozen grilled cheese sandwiches, cast iron will be much easier and better to cook on than any aluminum or steel pan. When you are cooking over an open fire, this ability to heat up a bit slower and cook more evenly means less risk of burning a pan of cornbread or a fresh caught trout dinner.

Small Plain Cast Iron Cauldron

Cast iron is also economical. While aluminum cookware often appears cheaper, the truth becomes evident when you consider that an aluminum pan will be worn out in a decade, but good CI will be around many times that long. Aluminum pans simply cannot compete in the long run because they are built only for the short run, as products that are designed to be replaced when styles change.

Speaking of styles, cast iron cookware comes in hundreds of different shapes, designs, sizes and even colors. Yes, some CI cookware is now made with and enamel exterior coating to give the pots and pans decorator colors.

Lodge Color Enameled Cast-Iron 6-Quart Dutch Oven, Island Spice Red

There are a lot of reasons to choose cast iron, durability, economy, and even heating. But, some people just choose it because they like tradition. There is something about using a pan that belonged to a grandparent, or even using a new pan to try to replicate grandma’s recipes for cornbread. It is something that speaks of home, town and family. It is something that has been a part of us for generations.


The Lone Cypress in Pebble Beach is perhaps the most photographed tree in North America. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times) More photos

By Christopher Reynolds

Reporting from PEBBLE BEACH, Calif.

You’ve seen the Lone Cypress. It stands along famously scenic 17-Mile Drive, raked by wind, swaddled in fog, clinging to its wave-lashed granite pedestal like God’s own advertisement for rugged individualism.

It may be 250 years old. It might be the most photographed tree in North America. It sits alongside one of the world’s most beautiful (and expensive) golf courses. It’s a marketing tool, a registered trademark, a Western icon.

David Potigian, owner of Gallery Sur in Carmel, explained it to me this way: This tree is to the Monterey Peninsula what the pyramids are to Egypt, what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. No wonder its keepers are hoping it will last 100 more years.

But let’s face it: This is one spindly old conifer, small for its species, scarred by a long-ago arson. For more than 65 years, half-hidden steel cables have held the tree in place.

If you pay the $9.75 per car to cruise 17-Mile Drive (which is private property, part of the 5,300-acre Pebble Beach resort), you will see the Lone Cypress and behold the spectacular collision of land, sea, golf and wealth that is Pebble Beach. But you won’t get within 40 feet of the tree. Chances are you’ll be joined by a few other tourists. Maybe a tour bus too.

This is the challenge of a classic postcard destination. Like many travelers, I’m drawn to these places — the Lone Cypress, Yosemite’s Half Dome and Monument Valley, for instance. Yet when I arrive, I don’t want a warmed-over experience. I want a jolt of discovery.

Even if you haven’t read Don DeLillo’s novel “White Noise,” you have felt like the character in it who gazes upon tourists as they gaze upon the most-photographed barn in America. “No one sees the barn,” he says. “Once you’ve seen the signs about the barn, it becomes impossible to see the barn.”

I want to see that barn — or, in this case, that lonely tree. I’ve seen plenty of Lone Cypress images, but never stood before the genuine article and stared. When you finally get to such a place, you want to spot something that will draw you closer or transform your perspective. You want to understand what’s changed and what hasn’t since that first postcard photographer rolled up in his Ford, or maybe his Packard. And you want to know what waits beyond the edge of the postcard view.

Video: Chris Reynolds at Pebble Beach

The Lone Cypress is oft-photographed, but is there still something to be seen in it?

These stories are my stab at that. This is the start of a series in which photographer Mark Boster and I revisit iconic Western destinations.

So, Cupressus macrocarpa, the Monterey Cypress. Once you reach Pebble Beach, about 325 miles north of Los Angeles, you enter 17-Mile Drive, pay the booth attendant, then head past well-tended fairways, sprawling estates and coastal open space to stop No. 16.

On your way, remind yourself that as a species the Monterey Cypress naturally occurs no place on Earth but around Pebble Beach and Point Lobos. Every one of these natives is a rarity.

At No. 16, you find about two dozen parking spaces lining the two-lane road. Above the surf, rocks and foliage, there’s a wooden observation deck, and nearby there’s a fenced private home that has stood within 200 feet of the tree for about half a century. (It was a woman in this home, Frances Larkey, who saw the flames and called authorities when an unknown arsonist set the tree afire in 1984.) And out there on the rock, there’s the Lone Cypress.

Some tourists shrug and stay two minutes. Some make out and stay 20.

La Bicyclette is a traditional French bistro and pizzeria with fresh bread and amazing French toast. ( Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times ) More photos

Above and below sea level, it’s a rich coastline. Elsewhere along 17-Mile Drive, you can stroll the beach at Point Joe, prowl the tree skeletons at Pescadero Point and take in the wide panorama at Cypress Point (which closes April 1-June 1 for seal-pupping season).

If you prefer to do your coastal rambling on foot without golf courses and private estates, it’s only a few miles south to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve ($10 a car). If you ask Kim Weston, grandson of famed photographer Edward Weston and a longtime Carmel local, Point Lobos beats Pebble Beach hands-down as a place to prowl with a camera.

So did I see the tree anew? Not exactly. We visited it morning, noon and night, watched tourists ebb and flow, chartered a boat to see it from the ocean. More than ever, I have a soft spot for that singular figure on the rock. But the best minute of the trip — the travel moment that felt fresh, enduring and uniquely rooted in this corner of the world — occurred just up the road.

I’d rented a bike. The sun was low, and I was meandering north from the Lone Cypress toward Point Joe. Ahead, 17-Mile Drive, nearly empty, gently rose, fell and curved.

I began to sense a deepening connection, began to feel as if I’d finally wedged myself between the landscape and everything else. A chilly breeze. Squawks and barks from Bird Rock. Orange sky. I have no picture to show of that happy, unobstructed moment, but I have the moment all the same.

Timeline: The life of the Lone Cypress

A look at key dates in the history of Pebble Beach’s famous tree along 17-Mile Drive.

Before 1813, experts think: A Monterey cypress seedling takes root on a chunk of granite on the Monterey Peninsula.

1880: Railroad magnates Charles Crocker, Leland Stanford, Collis Huntington and Mark Hopkins want to lure more Americans west. Through their Pacific Improvement Co., they open the Hotel del Monte, a grand resort on the dramatic coastline near Monterey. The following June, they open a path for horse-drawn carriages and call it 17-Mile Drive.

1889: Correspondent R. Fitch, writing in the Monterey Cypress newspaper, reports that “a solitary tree has sunk its roots in the crevices of the wave-washed rock, and defies the battle of the elements that rage about it during the storms of winter.”

1897: The nine-hole Del Monte Golf Course, first venue of its kind on the peninsula, opens and soon expands to 18 holes.

A present-day photograph of the Lone Cypress contrasted with an image taken in the early 20th century. (Color image: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times. Black and white image featured in Monterey’s Hotel del Monte, by Julie Cain. Reprinted with permission from the publisher, www.arcadiapublishing.com)

1901: The Pacific Improvement Co. starts charging 25 cents for passage on 17-Mile Drive. Highlights include the Ostrich Tree (downed by a storm in 1916) and the Witch Tree (downed in the 1960s). The Lone Cypress is seen at Midway Point.

1919: Samuel F.B. Morse (a distant relative of the Morse Code inventor of the same name) buys the resort, which now includes a hotel, a lodge and two golf courses. On stock certificates, Morse includes an image of the Lone Cypress, which becomes a company trademark through the decades.

1941: Photos show the cypress’ rock has been shored up by stonemasonry.

1948: The U.S. Navy, which leased the Hotel del Monte during World War II, buys the hotel. (It’s now the Naval Postgraduate School.) Photos show the Lone Cypress is now supported by steel cables, but tourists can walk up to the tree and picnic.

A group of riders amble down a trail along 17-Mile Drive. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times) More photos

1969: The tree is fenced off to protect its roots. Morse dies at 83, having built the resort into a promised land for golfers. Its ownership will change several times during the next 30 years, and the Del Monte imprint will fade as new management emphasizes the Pebble Beach name.

1999: A group, including Peter Ueberroth and Clint Eastwood, buys Pebble Beach Co. from Japanese owners.

2012: An upstart cypress begins creeping out of the Lone Cypress’ rock base, raising hopes of renewal for the landmark. Then comes a storm. The upstart is obliterated the Lone Cypress remains.

2013: Pebble Beach Co. now operates three hotels, four golf courses, a spa, a beach and tennis club, an equestrian center and 17-Mile Drive. Neal Hotelling, the company’s director of licensing and unofficial historian, notes that a Monterey cypress in ideal conditions can last 500 years. As for the Lone Cypress: “We certainly suspect it will continue to live a good while. I would hope at least another 100 years.” The company has no plan for when the tree dies, Hotelling said, except that “we think the trademark will live on even if the tree doesn’t.”

Source: Pebble Beach Co.

Spellbinding Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

The Old Veteran cypress adds gravitas to an already breathtaking landscape at Point Lobos reserve. Get there early and enjoy the trails, tide pools and more.

The Old Veteran clings to a cliff in Point Lobos. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times) More photos

If the Lone Cypress stands for persistence, beauty and grace amid adversity, its distant cousin, the Old Veteran cypress of Point Lobos, stands for a grittier sort of staying power.

The Old Veteran hunkers down on a cliff top, its trunk bleached nearly white, roots groping the air, branches splayed by the wind. If Van Gogh had painted a Monterey cypress, this is what you’d get.

From the tree’s girth, you’d guess it’s centuries older than the Lone Cypress (which is estimated at 200 to 300 years). But who really knows? Whatever its age, it adds gravitas to the already spellbinding landscape of Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, three miles south of Carmel.

Succulents grow in a rock at Point Lobos. ( Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times ) More photos

For any traveler who can leave the car behind and do a little scrambling among the rocks and tide pools, Point Lobos is where you want to be.

But you want to get there soon after the opening (8 a.m. daily), because it can get crowded. Once the reserve’s 150 or so parking spots fill, the rangers go to a one-in, one-out system.

Just like the coastline along 17-Mile Drive, Point Lobos was home in the 19th century to dozens of Chinese immigrant fishing families that gathered abalone, urchin and other species. (Japanese and Portuguese immigrants worked the area too.) Unlike 17-Mile Drive, Point Lobos is public property, having been owned by the state since the 1930s. Admission is $10 a car, 25 cents more than the tab for 17-Mile Drive. Many visitors dodge that cost by parking along Highway 1 and walking in.

Besides Old Veteran (which is part of the 1.4-mile North Shore Trail between Whalers Cove and Sea Lion Point), the reserve includes the Cypress Grove Trail and tide pools at Weston Beach. There’s also a Chinese fishermen’s cabin that’s been converted into a cultural museum at Whalers Cove. Two coves are open to scuba and free divers.

If you’re a photographer choosing between Pebble Beach and Point Lobos, “Point Lobos is a far superior place to make creations and do solid, honest work,” said Kim Weston, a photographer whose grandfather, Edward Weston, shot extensively at Point Lobos. “What I like to do is come in the winter when it’s stormy and no one’s out here. It’s an amazing piece of land.”

Kim Weston: The trees remind us of our heroic self

Kim Weston of photography’s Weston clan finally turns his camera on the landmark. But admire just that one Monterey cypress? They’re all ‘magnificently beautiful,’ he says.

Of course we love Monterey cypress trees, said Kim Weston. They remind us of our heroic selves.

“They’re standing out there on the headlands,” said Weston, the third generation of one of America’s most famous families of photographers. “They’re battling nature, and they survive in very, very harsh conditions. And they’re sort of tortured in a way.…

“I think that metaphor resonates with artists and poets as well as the ordinary tour bus of 400 Japanese with cameras.”

Weston, who photographs mostly nudes and landscapes, lives with his wife and son in Wildcat Canyon, Carmel, just up the hill from Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.

His grandfather was photography pioneer Edward Weston. His father was acclaimed photographer Cole Weston, and his uncle was the equally acclaimed Brett Weston.

His son, Zach, recently started shooting nudes and landscapes.

Such a locally rooted, landscape-loving family must feel an intimate connection to the most-photographed cypress ever, right?

Wrong. As with earlier Westons, Kim prefers the trees and rocks of Point Lobos, which has its own stand of Monterey cypress.

Kim Weston talks about the works of his father, Cole, and uncle Brett as he sits on the rocks at Weston Beach, named after his grandfather, in Point Lobos. ( Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times ) More photos

Even though he teaches photography workshops locally and internationally, he had never shot the Lone Cypress. When Times photographer Mark Boster and I took him along on a fishing boat to check out seaside angles of the landmark, he took a few shots. But clearly, he’s not interested in confining his admiration to just one cypress.

“Some of them even in their dead state are magnificently beautiful just for their twisted form,” Weston said. “It still makes them an object beautiful to photograph, beautiful to paint, beautiful to write about.”


6. The World&rsquos Oldest Wine Is Cypriot

The world&rsquos oldest named wine is Cypriot: Originally called mana &mdash the Greek word for &ldquomother&rdquo &mdash and referenced by Greek poets in 800 BC, the sweet red was christened commandaria during the Crusades after the headquarters of the Knights Templar, and the name stuck. It&rsquos made from sun dried grapes that grow in vineyards on the southern foothills of the Troodos Mountains, not far from the port city of Limassol (Lemesos in Greek) where the Cypus Wine Company, or KEO, is based. While commandaria is principally a dessert wine, there are great wines of many varietals throughout the island, and it&rsquos fun to visit the small wineries in the Troodos or in the equally scenic hilly areas behind Paphos.

Image courtesy of Vasilikon Winery.


Lillehammer 1994

The “wow” moment came when Stein Gruben ski jumped into the stadium while holding the Olympic torch. He was actually the understudy, pushed into duty after the man who was supposed to have the starring role crashed in practice. The lighting of the cauldron was done by Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway, the most recent non-athlete to light the cauldron. But he certainly had Olympic ties. His father, King Harald V, represented Norway in sailing at the 1964, 1968 and 1972 Olympic Games while his grandfather, King Olav V, won sailing gold at Amsterdam 1928.


The Moral Geography of Othello

The concept of geography plays a major role in Shakespeare's Othello, as it does in many of his plays. Caught between the two markedly different locales of Venice and Cyprus, the events of the script give proof to the old adage that "people change places, and places change people." Such characters as Othello, Desdemona, and Iago are forever transformed by their journey through these disparate worlds, just as these dramatic places are permanently altered by the characters' presence.

One of these locations, Venice, was the crown jewel of sixteenth-century Italy. A major Mediterranean seaport and center of commerce, it was also home to the incredible richness of literature, painting, architecture, music, and all the other art forms that flourished during the Italian Renaissance. At the same time, it symbolized the depths of political intrigue, decadence, and moral depravity that were unfortunately typical of Italy during the same time period. Characterized, on one hand, by Baldassare Castiglione's The Courtier (1528), a testament to the importance of civilized, courtly demeanor, it also produced Niccolo Machiavelli's The Prince (1514), a cynical, pragmatic, amoral treatise on the uses and abuses of political power. Polluted by prostitution and other social ills, Venice was an over-civilized, licentious, ingrown society that carried with it the potential for its own destruction.

The other, Cyprus, a fortified outpost on the edge of Christian territory, is a very different world than Venice. Infinitely more barbarous, it is a bastion of male power where Desdemona, alone and isolated from her Venetian support system, is vulnerable to the machinations of a highly skilled manipulator like Iago. This is a savage, warlike milieu in which such admirable military virtues as quick decision making and an inflated sense of honor work strongly against Othello and his bride. Ironically, Cyprus was also revered as the birthplace of Venus Aphrodite, the goddess of love, who was reputedly born in ocean foam and washed ashore near Nicosia. Inspired by this amorous deity, Cyprus provides the perfect location for Iago to convince Othello of his wife's sexual infidelity.

Because of this geographical dichotomy between Venice and Cyprus, Othello and Desdemona move from an urbane, civilized, and somewhat depraved Italian city-state to a barren military encampment whose claustrophobic confines intensify Iago's unrelenting psychological assault. Also conspiring against the lovers is Othello's naivete concerning the subtle charms of Venetian ladies. Like the city itself, Desdemona carries with her the seeds of her own demise. Transplanted into the new terrain of Cyprus, her innocent sophistication confirms her as a "cunning whore of Venice" (4.2.87). In the same fashion, after the Turkish fleet is destroyed by storm, Othello becomes that perfect oxymoron, a miles amores or "soldier of love," whose warlike nature is dangerously out of place on an island devoted to Venus.

The physical geography of Othello is underscored by a deeper, more symbolic moral geography in which the characters Iago and Desdemona fight over the soul of the hero. Torn between these two extremes—the evil of Iago and the goodness of Desdemona—Othello undergoes a "psychomachia" or "soul struggle," during which his mind slowly degenerates into murderous passion. As Bernard Spivack argues in Shakespeare and the Allegory of Evil, Iago descends from the medieval Vice character, whose role in such well-known morality plays as Mankind and The Castle of Perseverance was to beguile the hero into acts of depravity that would eventually endanger his immortal soul. In these early plays, as in Othello itself, evil starts with a tiny seedling of doubt or jealousy, then proliferates into a forest of trees until the moral landscape of the play is choked with sin.

The physical and moral geography of Othello is supported by a vast number of important themes and images that help bring currency and realism to the play's symbolic landscape. Chief among these are the relatively small cast of characters, the compressed storyline, the lack of a sub-plot, and the vivid contemporary setting: The Turks attacked Cyprus in 1570, approximately thirty-three years before Shakespeare's play was written and first produced. An additional topical influence was the fact that the newly crowned King James I of England was fascinated with Turkish history, while his wife, Queen Anne, once asked Ben Jonson to write a play about Moors (The Masque of Blackness) in which she played a role in "dusky" makeup.

Enlivened by such other significant topics as contemporary racism, the uses of verbal and psychological poison, the changing roles of women, the lust for revenge, images of foreignness, the tempest on sea and in Othello's mind, the isolation of an island universe, the reversion to brutish behavior, and the ironic importance of the handkerchief, Shakespeare's play takes us on a geographic and psychological journey into the wilderness of the human heart. If we truly give ourselves over to the mystical experience of theatre, we can become one with Othello—navigating through the landscape of the play, alternately seduced by good and evil—and thereby change the world we live in as it inexorably changes us.


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