Jolly Ol' Tom Bombadil

asks for "some photos of San Sebastian." Voici~~~


  1. Oh, no doubt Athens City schools will block this one. There's a penis!

  2. Just for contrast, Sunday afternoon on the boardwalks in San Sebastian, Spain: Tourists and citizens walk along Zurriola Avenue.

    I share Lockwood's concern about all this. And I am afraid this pix too will just have to be "filtered" out (Is that the right word?) by Athens City Schools.

    I am curious what Jolly Ol'Tom Bombadil will say about this?

  3. Latest report from the Filter: it stays up. Er, the illustration, that is.

    The Filter is very evangelical around here, so it approves of religous material. But decidedly not Catholic or French, so there may be objections on those grounds.

  4. Umm...I am curious what QUINTY will say about this.

    Igor Mitoraj is a fascinating sculptor. The San Sebastian exhibition to which Nausicaa is referring took place two years ago. The majority of bronzes were displayed on the Promenade facing la playa de Zurriola, near the Kursaal (Congress Palace) and a few more in the city center, near the Theater. There is an eery quality to some of the sculptures---something to it that may remind one of the moai in the Easter Island.

  5. They say that Easter Island is the most extreme example of forest destruction in the Pacific, and among the most extreme in the world: the whole forest gone, and all of its tree species extinct:

    "Without the protection of sturdy trees and their roots, rain washed away topsoil. The land began to erode. Crops couldn't grow in these conditions. And now, there were even more Rapanui to sustain: Population peaked at 10,000."

    By some accounts, it is said that the Islanders turned against the moai:

    "Whether they blamed their ancestral deities for cursing their civilization or realized that over-development had been their demise, the Rapanui forsook the statues. They gouged out their eyes and toppled them. Some moai were decapitated: Rapanui arranged rocks where the neck of the moai landed to sever the huge heads from their bodies."

    Some claim that the Rapanui also turned against each other:

    "The ariki mau, head chief, had long governed the island, but now the Rapanui split into factions that fought for proprietary rights to still-fertile land. These factions were led by matato'a -- warrior leaders. Archaeological evidence shows that the spears and daggers, or mata'a, o­n the island were crafted during this dark hour. Others, defeated, crept into caves, where they spent the rest of their days.

    Still others turned to a new god for help: Makemake. They formed the Birdman Cult, which elected a Birdman as their leader for 12 moons. The Birdman, whom islanders believed was Makemake reincarnated, was chosen through a competition to find the first egg of the sooty tern. Competitors would race to the highest cliffs to procure the treasure. The title of Birdman ensured food for the cult leader's tribesmen. This was a contest no one wanted to lose: defeated competitors were expected to stab themselves repeatedly with spears."

    But those were a primitive people living outside the calming civilizing influence of Christendom and Greco-Roman culture. That is until the arrival of the Peruvian Slave traders in the 1860s, and, later on, the first Christian missionary, Eugene Eyraud, in 1867, who brought tuberculosis to the Island.

    The cult of Saint Sebastian is a product of Greco-Roman/Christian culture.

    Sebastian is the patron and protector saint of the city of Qormi (Malta), and is the patron saint of Caserta and Petilia Policastro (Italy) and, of course, San Sebastián (Spain) that Quinty told us he would be visiting during his trip to Europe:

    Like Saint George, Saint Sebastian is one of a class of military martyrs and soldier saints of the Early Christian Church, whose cults originated in the 4th century and culminated at the end of the Middle Ages, in the 14th and 15th centuries, both in the East and the West. Details of their martyrologies may provoke some skepticism among modern readers, but certain consistent patterns emerge that are revealing of Christian attitudes. Such a saint was an athleta Christi and a "Guardian of the heavens".

    As a protector from the Bubonic plague, Sebastian was formerly one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers (until the suppression of that cult in 1969). The connection of the martyr shot with arrows with the plague is not an intuitive one. In Greco-Roman myth, Apollo, the archer-god is the deliverer (and occasional sender too) of pestilence; the figure of Sebastian Christianizes this familiar literary trope. The chronicler Paul the Deacon relates that Rome was freed from a raging pestilence in 680, by the patronage of this saint.

    So perhaps, he'll come back into fashion. He might possibly be of some help with the current Swine influenza, or whatever pandemics the world might be struck with next. Or else, who knows, failing that, the statues of Saint Sebastian might well go the way of the moai. Cult followers can be fickle that way.

  6. Well...interesting as this has been, I am still hoping that Quinty will find the time to send us some pics from his trip to San Sebastian.

    In the meantime, here is a Live Cam from La Zurriola Beach facing Monte Urgull.

  7. Forget the pics! What about some tapas?