Dionysus

Dionysus or Dionysos is the god of the grape-harvest, winemaking and wine, of fertility, orchards and fruit, vegetation, insanity, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, festivity and theatre in ancient Greek religion and myth.

He is also known as Bacchus (/ˈbækəs/ or /ˈbɑːkəs/; Greek: Βάκχος, Bákkhos), the name adopted by the Romans; the frenzy he induces is bakkheia. His thyrsus, sometimes wound with ivy and dripping with honey, is both a beneficent wand and a weapon used to destroy those who oppose his cult and the freedoms he represents. As Eleutherios ("the liberator"), his wine, music and ecstatic dance free his followers from self-conscious fear and care, and subvert the oppressive restraints of the powerful. Those who partake of his mysteries are believed to become possessed and empowered by the god himself.

In his religion, identical with or closely related to Orphism, Dionysus was believed to have been born from the union of Zeus and Persephone, and to have himself represented a chthonic or underworld aspect of Zeus. Many believed that he had been born twice, having been killed and reborn as the son of Zeus and the mortal Semele. In the Eleusinian Mysteries he was identified with Iacchus, the son (or, alternately, husband) of Demeter.

His origins are uncertain, and his cults took many forms; some are described by ancient sources as Thracian, others as Greek. Though most accounts say he was born in Thrace, traveled abroad, and arrived in Greece as a foreigner, evidence from the Mycenaean period of Greek history show that he is one of Greece's oldest attested gods. His attribute of "foreignness" as an arriving outsider-god may be inherent and essential to his cults, as he is a god of epiphany, sometimes called "the god that comes".

Wine played an important role in Greek culture, and the cult of Dionysus was the main religious focus surrounding its consumption. Wine, as well as the vines and grapes that produce it, were seen as not only a gift of the god, but a symbolic incarnation of him on earth. However, rather than being a god of drunkenness, as he was often stereotyped in the post-Classical era, the religion of Dionysus centered on the correct consumption of wine, which could ease suffering and bring joy, as well as inspire divine madness distinct from drunkenness. Performance art and drama were also central to his religion, and its festivals were the initial driving force behind the development of theatre. The cult of Dionysus is also a "cult of the souls"; his maenads feed the dead through blood-offerings, and he acts as a divine communicant between the living and the dead. He is sometimes categorised as a dying-and-rising god.

Dionysus is shown to be an Agriculture and Vegetation deity. His connection to wine, grape-harvest, orchards, and vegetation displays his role as a nature god. As the god of Viticulture and Grapes, he is connected to the growth and harvest of the fruit. In myth, he teaches the art of growing and cultivating the plant.

Continue reading

Defend the Realm - The Authorized History of MI5/MI5

Today we will examine the volume "Defend the Realm - The Authorized History of MI5" published in 2009 by Christopher Andrew.

Continue reading

Secret Service - The Making of the British Intelligence Community/Secret Intelligence Service

Today we will examine another book from my personal collection entitled "Secret Service - The Making of the British Intelligence Community" which was published in 1985 by Christopher Andrew.

Continue reading

The Secret World - A History of Intelligence/Christopher Andrew

For today's post, we will be performing research on a book in my personal collection entitled "The Secret World - A History of Intelligence" which was published in 2018 by Christopher Andrew.

Continue reading

History of Military Intelligence Division (United States)/Bruce Bidwell

For today's selection, we will be examining "History of the Military Intelligence Division, Department of the Army General Staff: 1775-1941". This volume was published in 1986 by Bruce Bidwell.

Continue reading

Bodyguard of Lies/Anthony Cave Brown

It's a fine day for research so let's jump in! Today's volume to be reviewed is "Bodyguard of Lies", published in 1975 by historian Anthony Cave Brown.

Continue reading

The Craft of Intelligence/Allen Dulles

Today we will examine the volume "The Craft of Intelligence" published in 1963 by a former Chief of the Central Intelligence Agency: Allen Dulles.

Continue reading

A System of Speculative Masonry/Salem Town

Today we will examine another book from my personal collection entitled "A System of Speculative Masonry" which was published in 1822 by Salem Town.

Continue reading

The Secret Sentry: The Untold History of the National Security Agency/Matthew Aid

For today's post, we will be performing research on a book in my personal collection entitled "The Secret Sentry: The Untold History of the National Security Agency" which was published in 2009 by Matthew Aid.

Continue reading

Carnivore (software)

Carnivore, later renamed DCS1000, was a system implemented by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that was designed to monitor email and electronic communications. It used a customizable packet sniffer that could monitor all of a target user's Internet traffic. Carnivore was implemented in October 1997. By 2005 it had been replaced with improved commercial software.

Continue reading

Project Megiddo

Project Megiddo was a report researched and written by the United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation under Director Louis Freeh. Released on October 20, 1999, the report named followers of white supremacy, Christian Identity, the militia movement, Black Hebrew Israelites, and apocalyptic cults as potential terrorists who might become violent in reaction to the new millennium.

Continue reading

Order of the Crescent

The Imperial Order of the Crescent (in Ottoman Turkish Hilal Nişanı) was a chivalric order of the Ottoman Empire.

Continue reading

Roman Curia

The Roman Curia comprises the administrative institutions of the Holy See and the central body through which the affairs of the Catholic Church are conducted. It acts in the Pope's name and with his authority for the good and for the service of the particular churches and provides the central organization for the church to advance its objectives.

The structure and organization of responsibilities within the Curia are at present regulated by the apostolic constitution Pastor bonus, issued by Pope John Paul II on 28 June 1988, which Pope Francis has decided to revise.

Other bodies that play an administrative or consulting role in ecclesial affairs are sometimes mistakenly identified with the Curia, such as the Synod of Bishops and regional conferences of bishops. Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote in 2015 that "the Synod of Bishops is not a part of the Roman Curia in the strict sense: it is the expression of the collegiality of bishops in communion with the Pope and under his direction. The Roman Curia instead aids the Pope in the exercise of his primacy over all the Churches."

Continue reading

Itō Hirobumi

Prince Itō Hirobumi (伊藤 博文, 16 October 1841 – 26 October 1909, born Hayashi Risuke and also known as Hirofumi, Hakubun and briefly during his youth as Itō Shunsuke) was a Japanese politician, Prime Minister and preeminent member of the Meiji oligarchy. A London-educated samurai of the Chōshū Domain and leader of the early Meiji Restoration government, he chaired the bureau which drafted the Meiji Constitution in the 1880s. Looking to the West for inspiration, Itō rejected the United States Constitution as too liberal and the Spanish Restoration as too despotic. He instead drew on British and German models, particularly the Prussian Constitution of 1850. Dissatisfied with the prominent role of Christianity in European legal traditions, he substituted references to the more traditionally Japanese concept of kokutai or "national polity", which became the constitutional justification for imperial authority.

In 1885, he became Japan's first Prime Minister, an office his constitutional bureau had introduced. He went on to hold the position four times, becoming one of the longest serving PMs in Japanese history, and wielded considerable power even out of office as a member of Japan's genrō and occasional President of the Emperor's Privy Council. A monarchist, Itō favoured a large, bureaucratic government and opposed the formation of political parties. His third term in government was ended by the consolidation of the opposition into the Kenseitō party in 1898, prompting him to found the Rikken Seiyūkai party in response. He resigned his fourth and final ministry in 1901 after growing weary of party politics.

Itō's foreign policy was ambitious. He strengthened diplomatic ties with Western powers including Germany, the United States and especially the United Kingdom. In Asia he oversaw the First Sino-Japanese War and negotiated Chinese surrender on terms aggressively favourable to Japan, including the annexation of Taiwan and the release of Korea from the Chinese Imperial tribute system. Itō sought to avoid a Russo-Japanese War through the policy of Man-Kan kōkan – surrendering Manchuria to the Russian sphere of influence in exchange for the acceptance of Japanese hegemony in Korea. A diplomatic tour of the United States and Europe brought him to Saint Petersburg in November 1901, where he was unable to find compromise on this matter with Russian authorities. Soon the government of Katsura Tarō elected to abandon the pursuit of Man-Kan kōkan, and tensions with Russia continued to escalate towards war.

The Japan–Korea Treaty of 1905 made Itō the first Japanese Resident-General of Korea. He initially supported the sovereignty of the indigenous Joseon monarchy as a Protectorate under Japan, but he eventually accepted and agreed with the increasingly powerful Imperial Japanese Army, which favoured the total annexation of Korea, resigning his position as Resident-General and taking a new position as the President of the Privy Council of Japan in 1909. Four months later, Itō was assassinated by Korean-independence activist and nationalist An Jung-geun in Manchuria. The annexation process was formalised by another treaty the following year after Ito's death. Through his daughter Ikuko, Itō was the father-in-law of politician, intellectual and author Suematsu Kenchō.

Continue reading

Pope Benedict XV

Pope Benedict XV (Latin: Benedictus XV; Italian: Benedetto XV), born Giacomo Paolo Giovanni Battista della Chiesa (Italian: [ˈdʒa:komo ˈpa:olo dʒoˈvanni batˈtista della ˈkjɛ:za]; 21 November 1854 – 22 January 1922), was head of the Catholic Church from 1914 until his death in 1922. His pontificate was largely overshadowed by World War I and its political, social, and humanitarian consequences in Europe.

Between 1846 and 1903, the Catholic Church had experienced two of its longest pontificates in history up to that point. Together Pius IX and Leo XIII ruled for a total of 57 years. In 1914, the College of Cardinals chose della Chiesa at the relatively young age of 59 at the outbreak of World War I, which he labeled "the suicide of civilized Europe". The war and its consequences were the main focus of Benedict XV. He immediately declared the neutrality of the Holy See and attempted from that perspective to mediate peace in 1916 and 1917. Both sides rejected his initiatives. German Protestants rejected any "Papal Peace" as insulting. The French politician Georges Clemenceau regarded the Vatican initiative as being anti-French. Having failed with diplomatic initiatives, Benedict XV focused on humanitarian efforts to lessen the impacts of the war, such as attending prisoners of war, the exchange of wounded soldiers and food deliveries to needy populations in Europe. After the war, he repaired the difficult relations with France, which re-established relations with the Vatican in 1921. During his pontificate, relations with Italy improved as well, as Benedict XV now permitted Catholic politicians led by Don Luigi Sturzo to participate in national Italian politics.

In 1917, Benedict XV promulgated the Code of Canon Law which was released on May 27, the creation of which he had prepared with Pietro Gasparri and Eugenio Pacelli (future Pope Pius XII) during the pontificate of Pope Pius X. The new Code of Canon Law is considered to have stimulated religious life and activities throughout the Church. He named Pietro Gasparri to be his Cardinal Secretary of State and personally consecrated Nuncio Eugenio Pacelli (the future Pope Pius XII) on 13 May 1917 as Archbishop. World War I caused great damage to Catholic missions throughout the world. Benedict XV revitalized these activities, asking in Maximum illud for Catholics throughout the world to participate. For that, he has been referred to as the "Pope of Missions". His last concern was the emerging persecution of the Catholic Church in Soviet Russia and the famine there after the revolution. Benedict XV was devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary and authorized the Feast of Mary, Mediatrix of all Graces.

After seven years in office, Pope Benedict XV died on 22 January 1922 after battling pneumonia since the start of that month. He was buried in the grottos of Saint Peter's Basilica. With his diplomatic skills and his openness towards modern society, "he gained respect for himself and the papacy."

Continue reading

Five-Percent Nation

The Five-Percent Nation, sometimes referred to as the Nation of Gods and Earths (NGE/NOGE) or the Five Percenters, is a movement founded in 1964 in the Harlem section of the borough of Manhattan, New York City, by Allah the Father, who was previously known as Clarence 13X and, before that, Clarence Edward Smith.

Clarence Edward Smith was born February 22, 1928, in Danville, Virginia. In 1952, Smith was inducted into the United States Army where his service in the Korean War and Japan earned him honors and medals, including the Korean Service Medal with one Bronze Service Star. Upon his honorable discharge from the military in 1960 Smith began visiting the Nation of Islam's (NOI) Temple No. 7, where he was captivated by the speeches of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X). Smith joined the Nation of Islam and was renamed Clarence 13X, in accordance with the NOI's customs.

As a member of the Nation of Islam, Clarence 13X was an avid student of Malcolm X and NOI literature and lessons. He also became a member of the Fruit of Islam. In 1963, Clarence 13X began teaching his NOI students that the Black man (collectively) was the "Original Man" and "God," and he "rejected" the Nation of Islam's doctrine that its light-skinned founder, Wallace Fard Muhammad, was Allah. Between 1963–1964 Clarence 13X left the Nation of Islam, renamed himself Allah, and founded what is known as the Five-Percent Nation or Nation of Gods and Earths. Five Percenters called him "The Father" because "many of them were the products of broken homes and this was the only father they knew." Thus, Allah also became known as Allah the Father or Father Allah.

Members of the group call themselves Allah's Five Percenters, which reflects the concept that ten percent of the people in the world know the truth of existence, and those elites and their agents opt to keep eighty-five percent of the world in ignorance and under their controlling thumb; the remaining five percent are those who know the truth and are determined to enlighten the eighty-five percent.

The Nation of Gods and Earths teaches that Black people are the original people of the planet Earth, and therefore they are the fathers ("Gods") and mothers ("Earths") of civilization. The Nation teaches that Supreme Mathematics and Supreme Alphabet, a set of principles created by Allah the Father, is the key to understanding humankind's relationship to the universe. The Nation does not believe in a god but instead teaches a form of Apotheosis, that the Asiatic Blackman is God and his proper name is "Allah", the Arabic word for "God".

Five Percenters have culture-specific names for certain cities. The New York City areas of Harlem ("Mecca") and Brooklyn ("Medina") were named after notable Islamic cities by members of the organization. Other areas include Detroit ("D-Mecca"), New Jersey ("New Jerusalem"), Chicago ("C-Medina"), Queens ("the Desert"), Connecticut ("New Heaven"), St. Louis ("Saudi"), Seattle ("Morocco"), New Rochelle ("Now Rule"), Dallas ("Sudan"), Baltimore ("Born Mecca"), Atlanta ("Allah's Garden"), and Milwaukee ("Cream City").

Continue reading

Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights is a novel by Emily Brontë published in 1847 under her pseudonym "Ellis Bell". Brontë's only finished novel, it was written between October 1845 and June 1846. Wuthering Heights and Anne Brontë's Agnes Grey were accepted by publisher Thomas Newby before the success of their sister Charlotte's novel Jane Eyre. After Emily's death, Charlotte edited the manuscript of Wuthering Heights and arranged for the edited version to be published as a posthumous second edition in 1850.

Although Wuthering Heights is now a classic of English literature, contemporaneous reviews were deeply polarised; it was controversial because of its unusually stark depiction of mental and physical cruelty, and it challenged strict Victorian ideals regarding religious hypocrisy, morality, social classes and gender inequality. The novel also explores the effects of envy, nostalgia, pessimism and resentment. The English poet and painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti, although an admirer of the book, referred to it as "A fiend of a book – an incredible monster  [...] The action is laid in hell, – only it seems places and people have English names there."

Wuthering Heights contains elements of gothic fiction, and the moorland setting is a significant aspect of the drama. The novel has inspired many adaptations, including film, radio and television dramatisations; a musical; a ballet; operas, and a song by Kate Bush.

Continue reading

Gould's Pocket Pronouncing Medical Dictionary/George M. Gould

For today's post, we will be performing research on a book in my personal collection entitled "Gould's Pronouncing Medical Dictionary" which was published in 1947 by George M Gould.

Continue reading

Geschichte des dreißigjährigen Kriegs/Friedrich Schiller

For today's post, we will be performing research on a book in my personal collection entitled "Geschichte des dreißigjährigen Kriegs" or "The Thirty Years War" which was published around 1780 by Friedrich Schiller.

Continue reading

This Perfect Day

This Perfect Day is a science fiction novel by American writer Ira Levin, about a technocratic dystopia. Levin won a Prometheus Award in 1992 for this novel. This Perfect Day is one of two Levin novels yet to be adapted to film (the other being Son of Rosemary, the sequel to Rosemary's Baby).

Continue reading