Link of the Day

A really fascinating (if tendentious and wokeish) article on how the original sounds of Hagia Sophia were recreated.

The full recordings are on YouTube.

What a gigantic civilizational loss. There’s a gaping hole in place of the way of interacting with the world expressed by this building, this music, and this faith.

10 thoughts on “Link of the Day

  1. Fascinating article and gorgeous recordings– truly spine tingling. Thanks for sharing! One question: what do you consider “woke” or politicized about the article? To me, it was refreshingly apolitical. It told a nice academic story of scholars who love their field, love learning, and helped create something beautiful.

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    1. Imagine if Christians occupied the Great Mosque of Mecca and very recently started using it as a church. Imagine if Muslims had to use science to be able to at least imagine what the muezzin’s call over the mosque might have sounded like. What would the article about that be like?

      This isn’t ancient history. Erdogan declared it a mosque recently. And we have so lost the pride in our culture that the article mentions the word “Christendom” once and the word “Christians” zero times.

      The article is only apolitical because Christians have lost something and it’s not supposed to be a big deal.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s not quite correct. The church was turned in to a mosque around 1450 and remained a mosque all the way until 1935 when the secular Turkish government converted into a museum. Then in 2018, Ergodan made it a mosque again. I believe that the loss of the secular museum is profound. But it’s not a Christian loss. It hasn’t been a Christian place of worship for centuries.

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        1. I visited Aya Sophia when it was still a museum and one of the things that makes the building so astounding is the interplay of Christian and Islamic influences: the minarets, the dome, the nave, the mihrab. It is neither purely a church nor purely a mosque but a fascinating blending of the two.

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          1. @ Casual Reader

            You call “the interplay of Christian and Islamic influences” astounding: as an Orthodox Christian AND a Westerner, I call it shocking, an unmitigated loss, spiritually and in terms of a crushed civilization. A church is a place for praising the Lord in, not the showcase for the “interplay” of anything you might be astounded by.

            Moreover, anyone looking at a great number of Islamic places of worship cannot fail to see that they were directly influenced by Byzantine architecture and savoir-faire in all respects, none excluded, which is understandable, since, as a nomadic people, Arabs had no tradition of permanent stone structures of supreme elegance as well as of engineering soundness.

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          1. “Turkey’s Eurovision song?”

            Turkey’s last Eurovision was 2012 and they haven’t been back since… so that’s another reason to hate Erdogan – as if more reasons were needed.

            In other Eurovision news Belarus has been kicked out of the organization that puts on Eurovision (after having their latest song, a musical blowjob to Lukashenka, excluded for being too political).

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        2. “hasn’t been a Christian place of worship for centuries”

          things just happen in this crazy old world…

          Compare rhetoric (by supposed Westerners) around Al-Andalus vs Constantinople… the former is treated like some kind of paradise lost (despite much of it being based on fraud*) while the latter is described in flat neutral terms. Something happened and now one of the most revered sites of Christianity is a mosque and it’s not supposed to mean anything.

          This is extremely Soviet approach to history.

          *a contentious point for many, but the archeological record does not support a lot of the popular narratives about Al-Andalus…

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  2. Since we are talking about holy sites, I decided to add 2 cents in the attempt to make discussion clearer, to separate between the participants general universal standards and the influence of their faith.

    What about Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, which is built on top of the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism? When Jews cannot visit the place or pray there, is it “shocking, an unmitigated loss, spiritually” ? If ,as some deeply religious Jews dream, a 3rd Temple is built there, won’t it be the same for Muslims? Or should Muslims stop complaining since they built this mosque over the stones of a Jewish “crushed civilization”?

    Btw, the question about the Temple is not as outlandish as it may seem to you:

    “July 2010
    A public opinion poll in Israel showed that 49% of Israelis want the Temple to be rebuilt, with 27% saying the government should make active steps towards such reconstruction.The poll was conducted by channel 99, the government-owned Knesset channel, in advance of the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av, on which Jews commemorate the destruction of both the first and second Temples, which stood at this site.”

    With growing numbers of Orthodox and national-religious Jews, this percentage will only rise.

    Should Muslims shut up since the land belongs to Jewish nation state so the third Temple sooner or later is a reality?

    Blood is still being spilled using this site (among other reasons) as an excuse.

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    1. Well, Muslims are definitely capable of standing up for their religion and culture. Too much so, but I’m not asking that we imitate them. I’m just saying, try to mention the name of the religion that produced all this music, literature, architecture, law, and human rights that we so appreciate.

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