Photographer Maurizio Pignotti, 46, spends all night in freezing temperatures painstakingly shooting the breathtaking crystal-clear stars. He uses a technique where he merges together anywhere between 80 and 450 shots to create what he describes as a “rainbow of stars”. Space-lover Maurizio, captures the star trails on the borders of the Adriatic Sea – including the Sibillini Mountains National Park, the Conero National Park, and the Gargano National Park.
The truth is, everyone likes to look down on someone. If your favorites are all avant-garde writers who throw in Sanskrit and German, you can look down on everyone. If your favorites are all Oprah Book Club books, you can at least look down on mystery readers. Mystery readers have sci-fi readers. Sci-fi can look down on fantasy. And yes, fantasy readers have their own snobbishness. I’ll bet this, though: in a hundred years, people will be writing a lot more dissertations on Harry Potter than on John Updike. Look, Charles Dickens wrote popular fiction. Shakespeare wrote popular fiction - until he wrote his sonnets, desperate to show the literati of his day that he was real artist. Edgar Allan Poe tied himself in knots because no one realized he was a genius. The core of the problem is how we want to define “literature”. The Latin root simply means “letters”. Those letters are either delivered - they connect with an audience - or they don’t. For some, that audience is a few thousand college professors and some critics. For others, its twenty million women desperate for romance in their lives. Those connections happen because the books successfully communicate something real about the human experience. Sure, there are trashy books that do really well, but that’s because there are trashy facets of humanity. What people value in their books - and thus what they count as literature - really tells you more about them than it does about the book.
As incandescent as was her personality, Cleopatra was every bit Caesar’s equal as a coolheaded, clear-eyed pragmatist, though what passed on his part as strategy would be remembered on hers as manipulation.
Cleopatra: A Life, by Stacy Schiff
This line encompasses so much about the historiography of Cleopatra – and not only Cleopatra, but countless women throughout history who’ve done the same thing/s as the men around them and had it painted negatively. Cleopatra and Caesar largely met as equals in terms of social standing, and despite the three-decade age difference, it is consistently Cleopatra blamed for seduction against poor helpless Caesar. She saw in Caesar a means to secure her throne, and she took it, in so many more ways than just her sexuality – she offered him soldiers, money, etc, in return for his support against those who would depose and kill her (you know, her family). It was Caesar who lingered for months in Egypt after the civil war was over, Caesar who had far less to lose; Egypt remained a location important in Roman affairs, and having an ally on the throne as opposed to someone hostile was super important, especially given the number of resources (without Egyptian grain, Rome could literally starve). Theirs was a largely mutual beneficial relationship at the time, regardless of the level of intimacy that would develop. Both parties brought something to the table.
And that’s literally only the start of her story as queen in her own right, the strategies she wove, the people she worked with, before she even hit the age of twenty-two. (via tiny-librarian)