The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary


The Crusading Pirates of Pisa

Pisa helped the maritime cities in Southern Italy to resist Saracen attacks.  As early as 828 Pisan vessels were raiding North Africa and in 871 they defended Salerno  Her ships fought them in Calabria in the 10th century and drove the infidels out of Reggio in Calabria.


Pisa: Early History

If the most popular legend of its founding had any validity, Pisa would have been originally a Greek colony, founded by people from Elis in the Peloponnesus, who named it after their own Pisa, the nearest town to the site of the Olympic Games. 


Wednesday’s Child: The Great American Eclipse

This Monday a great solar eclipse will cross the United States. It is the second such omen in the last decade, which is itself an omen, as one total eclipse so closely followed by another has not been seen in the country since its founding. Hence commentators are quoting the Book of Exodus: “And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign.”


Pisa, I: Prologue

In Pisa every year on the last Saturday in June, two groups of representatives from the different areas of the city meet at either end of the Ponte di Mezzo.  The representatives are dressed in Medieval garb and divided into two teams, one for the north side of the river, the other for the south.


Tuscan Communes, The Big Picture

The creation of the city-commune in Pisa, Lucca, Siena, and Florence would have enormous ramifications for the future of the Europe.  The institution of the commune is a more fundamental revolution than the establishment of the nation-state, and it will outlive the nation-state, in whose birth it played a significant part.

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