Eating habits of the Turkish soldier during the 16th century

There is one visible sign of this poverty: the frugality that has never failed to impress the northerner. The Fleming Busbecq, when in Anatolia, wrote in 1555, “I dare say that a man of our country spends more on food in one day than a Turk in twelve. . . . The Turks are so frugal and think so little of the pleasures of eating that if they have bread, salt, and some garlic or an onion and a kind of sour milk which they call yoghoort, they ask nothing more. They dilute this milk with very cold water and crumble breadinto it and take it when they are hot and thirsty .. • it is not only palatable and digestible, but also possesses an extraordinary power of quenching the thirst.’ This sobriety has often been noted as one of the great strengths of the Turkish soldier on campaign. He would be content with a little rice,ground meatdried in the sun, and bread coarsely cooked in the ashes of the camp fire.” The western soldier was more particular, example of the many Germans and Swiss.

Fernand Braudel, The Mediterranean  and the Mediterranean world in the age of Philip II,  Harper, pg 241, 1972.


Fernand Braudel on Syria

At the other, eastern end of the Mediterranean, Syria was another island, a halfway house between sea and desert, a source from which many things were to dow: men, techniques, empires, civilizations, and religions. It gave the Mediterranean the alphabet, the art of glassmaking, purple dyes for cloth, and the secrets of dry-farming in Phoenician times; it provided first Rome and then Byzantium with emperors; its ships ruled over the Phoenician sea, the first, or almost the first Mediterranean in history, and finally in 1516 -as in 634 – it was through its conquest of this vital region that triumphant Islam (Arabs in the seventh century, Turks in the sixteenth) reached the stage of history.
Fernand Braudel, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the age of Phillip II, 1949.

Albert Camus – Absolute justice versus absolute freedom – The Rebel

Absolute freedom is the right of the strongest to dominate. Therefore it prolongs the conflicts which profit by injustice. Absolute justice is achieved by the suppression of all contradiction: therefore it destroys
freedom. The revolution to achieve justice, through
freedom, ends by aligning them against one another.
Thus there exist in every revolution, once the class which dominated up to then has been liquidated, a stage in which it gives birth, itself, to a movement of rebellion which indicates its limits and announces its chances of failure. The revolution, first of all, proposes to satisfy the spirit of rebellion which has given rise to it; then it is compelled to deny it, the better to affirm itself. There is, it would seem, an ineradicable opposition between the movement of rebellion and the attainments of revolution.

Albert Camus on the terrorism from 140 years ago from The Rebel, Fastidious Assassins 

The Fastidious Assassins
In the year 1878 Russian terrorism was born. A very young girl, Vera Zassulich, on the day following the trial of one hundred and eighty-three Populists, the 24th of January, shot down General Trepov, the Governor of St. Petersburg. At her trial she was acquitted and then succeeded in escaping the police of the Czar. This revolver-shot unleashed a whole series of repressive actions and attempted assassinations, which kept pace with one another and which, it was already evident, could only be terminated by mutual exhaustion.
The same year a member of the People’s Will Party, Kravchinsky, stated the principles of terror in his pamphlet Death for Death. Consequences always follow principles. In Europe, attempts were made on the lives of the Emperor of Germany, the King of Italy, and the King of Spain. Again in 1878 Alexander II created, in the shape of the Okhrana, the most efficient weapon of State terrorism the world has ever seen. From then on, the nineteenth century abounds in murders, both in Russia and in the West. In 1879 there is a new attack on the King of Spain and an abortive attempt on the life of the Czar. In 1881 the Czar is murdered by terrorist members of the People’s Will. Sofia Perovskaia, Jeliabov, and their friends are hanged. In 1883 takes place the attempt on the life of the Emperor of Germany, whose assailant is beheaded with an ax. In 1887 there are the executions of the Chicago martyrs and the congress of Spanish anarchists at Valencia, where they issue the terrorist proclamation: “If society does not capitulate, vice and evil must perish, even if we must all perish with them.” In France the 1890’s mark the culminating- point of what is called propaganda by action. The exploits of Ravachol, Vaillant, and Henry are the prelude to Carnot’s assassination. In the year 189Z alone there are more than a thousand dynamite outrages in Europe, and in America almost five hundred. In 1898 the Empress Elisabeth of Austria is murdered. In 1901 the President of the United States, McKinley, is assassinated. In Russia, where the series of attempts against the lives of minor representatives of the regime had not ceased, the Organization for Combat of the Socialist Revolutionary Party comes into being in 1903 and unites the most outstanding personalities of Russian terrorism. The murders of Plehve by Sazonov and of the Grand Duke Sergei by Kaliayev, in 1905, mark the culminating-point of the thirty years’ apostolate of blood and terminate, for revolutionary religion, the age of martyrs.
Nihilism, intimately involved with a frustrated religious movement, thus culminates in terrorism. In the universe of total negation, these young disciples try, with bombs, and revolvers and also with the courage with which they walk to the gallows, to escape from contradiction and to create the values they lack.