Dueling as a Film Trope: Pretty Much Pop #109 Considers The Last Duel and Its Genre

In light of the release of The Last Duel (which you need­n’t have watched), we talk about the trope of the hon­or-resolv­ing duel in movies and TV. Mark and guest co-host Dylan Casey of The Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life are joined by Clif Mark, host of the Good in The­o­ry pod­cast who wrote his polit­i­cal the­sis and a 2018 Aeon arti­cle on the his­to­ry and log­ic of duel­ing.

Since we’re all phi­los­o­phy pod­cast­ers on this one (our enter­tain­ment pod­cast­er guest dropped out at the last minute), we bring in philoso­phers like Hegel and Niet­zsche in as need­ed, the cir­cle of eth­i­cal con­cern (who gets moral sta­tus and so is wor­thy to duel?), and of course the rel­e­vant class and gen­der cri­tiques.

We also touch on The Duelists (inci­den­tal­ly, Rid­ley Scot­t’s direct­ing debut, where The Last Duel is his lat­est), The Duelist and The Duel (two 2016 films), A Knight’s Tale, The Princess Bride, Dune, Hamil­ton, Bridger­ton, The Karate Kid, and more.

For more infor­ma­tion on the specter of duel­ing in pol­i­tics, read about Justin Trudeau and Trump/Biden.

Some arti­cles that fed our dis­cus­sion (in addi­tion to Clif’s “What Is Offen­sive”) include:

Fol­low Clif @Clifton_Mark.

This episode includes bonus dis­cus­sion you can access by sup­port­ing the pod­cast at patreon.com/prettymuchpop or by choos­ing a paid sub­scrip­tion through Apple Pod­casts. This pod­cast is part of the Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life pod­cast net­work.

Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast is the first pod­cast curat­ed by Open Cul­ture. Browse all Pret­ty Much Pop posts.

The Illustrated Version of “Alice’s Restaurant”: Watch Arlo Guthrie’s Thanksgiving Counterculture Classic

Alice’s Restau­rant. It’s now a Thanks­giv­ing clas­sic, and some­thing of a tra­di­tion around here. Record­ed in 1967, the 18+ minute coun­ter­cul­ture song recounts Arlo Guthrie’s real encounter with the law, start­ing on Thanks­giv­ing Day 1965. As the long song unfolds, we hear all about how a hip­pie-bat­ing police offi­cer, by the name of William “Obie” Oban­hein, arrest­ed Arlo for lit­ter­ing. (Cul­tur­al foot­note: Obie pre­vi­ous­ly posed for sev­er­al Nor­man Rock­well paint­ings, includ­ing the well-known paint­ing, “The Run­away,” that graced a 1958 cov­er of The Sat­ur­day Evening Post.) In fair­ly short order, Arlo pleads guilty to a mis­de­meanor charge, pays a $25 fine, and cleans up the thrash. But the sto­ry isn’t over. Not by a long shot. Lat­er, when Arlo (son of Woody Guthrie) gets called up for the draft, the pet­ty crime iron­i­cal­ly becomes a basis for dis­qual­i­fy­ing him from mil­i­tary ser­vice in the Viet­nam War. Guthrie recounts this with some bit­ter­ness as the song builds into a satir­i­cal protest against the war: “I’m sit­tin’ here on the Group W bench ’cause you want to know if I’m moral enough to join the Army, burn women, kids, hous­es and vil­lages after bein’ a lit­ter­bug.” And then we’re back to the cheery cho­rus again: “You can get any­thing you want, at Alice’s Restau­rant.”

We have fea­tured Guthrie’s clas­sic dur­ing past years. But, for this Thanks­giv­ing, we give you the illus­trat­ed ver­sion. Hap­py Thanks­giv­ing to every­one who plans to cel­e­brate the hol­i­day today.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

William S. Bur­roughs Reads His Sar­cas­tic “Thanks­giv­ing Prayer” in a 1988 Film By Gus Van Sant

Mar­i­lyn Monroe’s Hand­writ­ten Turkey-and-Stuff­ing Recipe

William Shat­ner Raps About How to Not Kill Your­self Deep Fry­ing a Turkey

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 13 Tips for What to Do with Your Left­over Thanks­giv­ing Turkey

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Jazz Virtuoso Oscar Peterson Gives Dick Cavett a Dazzling Piano Lesson (1979)

Duke Elling­ton once called Oscar Peter­son the “Mahara­ja of the Key­board” for his vir­tu­os­i­ty and abil­i­ty to play any style with seem­ing ease, a skill he first began to learn as a clas­si­cal­ly trained child prodi­gy. Peter­son was intro­duced to Bach and Beethoven by his musi­cian father and old­er sis­ter Daisy, then drilled in rig­or­ous fin­ger exer­cis­es and giv­en six hours a day of prac­tice by his teacher, Hun­gar­i­an pianist Paul de Marky. “I only first real­ly heard jazz some­where between the ages of sev­en and 10,” said the Cana­di­an jazz great. “My old­er broth­er Fred, who was actu­al­ly a bet­ter pianist than I was, start­ed play­ing var­i­ous new tunes — well they were new for me, any­way…. Duke Elling­ton and Art Tatum, who fright­ened me to death with his tech­nique.”

Despite his own prodi­gious tal­ent, Peter­son found Tatum “intim­i­dat­ing,” he told Count Basie in a 1980 inter­view. He respond­ed to the fear by learn­ing how to play like Tatum, and like every­one else he admired, while adding his own melod­ic twists to stan­dards and orig­i­nals. At 14, he won a nation­al Cana­di­an music com­pe­ti­tion and left school to become a pro­fes­sion­al musi­cian.

He record­ed his first album in 1945 at age 20. “Since his ‘dis­cov­ery’ in 1947 by Nor­man Granz,” wrote Inter­na­tion­al Musi­cian in 2002, five years before the pianist’s death, “Peter­son has amassed an incred­i­ble lega­cy of record­ed work with Louis Arm­strong, Ella Fitzger­ald, Count Basie, Fred Astaire, Dizzy Gille­spie, Cole­man Hawkins, and Char­lie Park­er, among count­less oth­er greats.”

In the video at the top of the post from the Dick Cavett Show in 1979, Peter­son shows off his ele­gant tech­nique and demon­strates the “styl­is­tic trade­marks” of the greats he admired, and that oth­ers have heard expressed in his own style. He begins with his alba­tross, Tatum’s “stride piano,” a style that requires a good deal of left hand artic­u­la­tion and which, done right, can “put the rhythm sec­tion out of busi­ness,” Cavett jokes. Peter­son then shows off the “the two-fin­gered per­cus­sive­ness of Nat Cole,” the “lyric octave work of Erroll Gar­ner,” and dou­ble octave melody lines, a very dif­fi­cult two-hand maneu­ver.

It’s a daz­zling les­son that shows, in just a few short min­utes, why Peter­son became known for his “stun­ning vir­tu­os­i­ty as a soloist,” as one biog­ra­phy notes. In the video above, pro­duc­er and YouTube per­son­al­i­ty Rick Beato explains why he thinks Peter­son played the “Great­est Solo of All Time” in the 1974 ren­di­tion of “Boo­gie Blues Study” fur­ther up. As David Funk, who post­ed the Cavett video clip to YouTube, puts it, “What more can you say?” To under­stand why Louis Arm­strong called Peter­son “the man with four hands,” we sim­ply need to watch him play.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

How Music Unites Us All: Her­bie Han­cock & Kamasi Wash­ing­ton in Con­ver­sa­tion

Decon­struct­ing Ste­vie Wonder’s Ode to Jazz and His Hero Duke Elling­ton: A Great Break­down of “Sir Duke”

Jazz Decon­struct­ed: What Makes John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” So Ground­break­ing and Rad­i­cal?

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

Read 900+ Thanksgiving Books Free at the Internet Archive

On Thanks­giv­ing Day, Amer­i­cans make the (some­times ardu­ous) effort to gath­er for an enor­mous tra­di­tion­al meal and for many, a now equal­ly tra­di­tion­al view­ing of tele­vised foot­ball. But even when stretched to their max­i­mum length, these activ­i­ties occu­py only so many hours. What to do with the rest of the day? You might con­sid­er head­ing over to the Inter­net Archive and fill­ing it with some hol­i­day-appro­pri­ate read­ing. Last year that site’s librar­i­an Brew­ster Kahle tweet­ed a sug­ges­tion to “check out 700 Thanks­giv­ing books! (from delight­ful to dat­ed to a lit­tle weird)” in their online col­lec­tion, a col­lec­tion that has since risen to more than 900 dig­i­tized vol­umes.

There, espe­cial­ly if you sort by pop­u­lar­i­ty, you’ll find a wealth of Thanks­giv­ing-themed chil­dren’s books, from Wen­di Sil­vano’s Turkey Trou­ble and Mark Fear­ing’s The Great Thanks­giv­ing Escape to Charles Schulz’s A Char­lie Brown Thanks­giv­ing and Nor­man Brid­well’s Clif­ford’s Thanks­giv­ing Vis­it (whose tit­u­lar big red dog fea­tures at this very moment in his own major motion pic­ture).

But there are also selec­tions for grown-up read­ers. Take, for exam­ple, Lau­rie Col­lier Hill­strom’s The Thanks­giv­ing Book: a Com­pan­ion to the Hol­i­day Cov­er­ing its His­to­ry, Lore, Tra­di­tions, Foods, and Sym­bols, Includ­ing Pri­ma­ry Sources, Poems, Prayers, Songs, Hymns, and Recipes: Sup­ple­ment­ed by a Chronol­o­gy, Bib­li­og­ra­phy with Web Sites, and Index — the length of whose title belies its pub­li­ca­tion in not the 19th cen­tu­ry, but 2008.

Or per­haps you’d pre­fer to accom­pa­ny the diges­tion of your Thanks­giv­ing feast with a hol­i­day-appro­pri­ate work of fic­tion. In that case your choic­es include Thanks­giv­ing Night by lit­er­ary exam­in­er of mod­ern fam­i­ly life Richard Bausch; Thank­less in Death by mur­der­ous-thriller pow­er­house J.D. Robb (alter-ego of pro­lif­ic romance nov­el­ist Nora Roberts); and even Tru­man Capote’s “The Thanks­giv­ing Vis­i­tor,” col­lect­ed in one vol­ume along with his sto­ries “A Christ­mas Mem­o­ry” and “One Christ­mas.” That last book will give you a head start on the rest of the hol­i­day sea­son to come, wher­ev­er in the world you may live. And if that hap­pens to be Cana­da, you can give your kids a head start on next year’s Cana­di­an Thanks­giv­ing while you’re at it. Enter the col­lec­tion here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Illus­trat­ed Ver­sion of “Alice’s Restau­rant”: Watch Arlo Guthrie’s Thanks­giv­ing Coun­ter­cul­ture Clas­sic

William S. Bur­roughs Reads His “Thanks­giv­ing Prayer” in a 1988 Film By Gus Van Sant

Bob Dylan’s Thanks­giv­ing Radio Show: A Playlist of 18 Delec­table Songs

Mar­i­lyn Monroe’s Hand­writ­ten Turkey-and-Stuff­ing Recipe

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 13 Tips for What to Do with Your Left­over Thanks­giv­ing Turkey

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

The Secrets of Beethoven’s Fifth, the World’s Most Famous Symphony

Revered by music lovers of tem­pera­ments as var­ied as Peanuts’ Schroed­er and A Clock­work Orange’s AlexLud­wig van Beethoven is one of the most cel­e­brat­ed com­posers in the West­ern clas­si­cal music canon.

Sym­pho­ny No. 5 in C minor is sure­ly one of his most rec­og­nized, and fre­quent­ly per­formed works, thanks in large part to its dra­mat­ic open­ing motif –


Music edu­ca­tor Hanako Sawa­da’s enter­tain­ing TED-Ed les­son, ani­mat­ed by Yael Reis­feld above, delves into the sto­ry behind this sym­pho­ny, “one of the most explo­sive pieces of music ever com­posed.”

Mid­dle and high school music teach­ers will be glad to know the cre­ators lean into the height­ened emo­tions of the piece, depict­ing the com­pos­er as a tor­tured genius whose pierc­ing gaze is bluer than Game of Thrones’ Night King.

Beethoven was already enjoy­ing a suc­cess­ful rep­u­ta­tion at the time of the symphony’s 1808 pre­miere, but not because he toiled in the ser­vice of reli­gion or wealthy patrons like his peers.

Instead, he was an ear­ly-19th cen­tu­ry bad ass, pri­or­i­tiz­ing self-expres­sion and pour­ing his emo­tions into com­po­si­tions he then sold to var­i­ous music pub­lish­ers.

With the Fifth, he real­ly shook off the rigid struc­tures of pre­vail­ing clas­si­cal norms, embrac­ing Roman­ti­cism in all its glo­ri­ous tur­moil.

The famous open­ing motif is repeat­ed to the point of obses­sion:

Through­out the piece, the motif is passed around the orches­tra like a whis­per, grad­u­al­ly reach­ing more and more instru­ments until it becomes a roar.

Besot­ted teenagers, well acquaint­ed with this feel­ing, are equipped with the inter­nal trom­bones, pic­co­los, and con­tra­bas­soons of the sort that make the piece even more urgent in feel.

Just wait until they get hold of Beethoven’s Immor­tal Beloved let­ters, writ­ten a few years after the sym­pho­ny, when the hear­ing loss he was wrestling with had pro­gressed to near total deaf­ness.

Whether or not it was the com­pos­er (and not his biog­ra­ph­er) who char­ac­ter­ized the cen­tral motif as the sound of “Fate knock­ing at the door,” it’s an apt, and riv­et­ing notion.

Take a quiz, par­tic­i­pate in a guid­ed dis­cus­sion, and cus­tomize Hanako Sawada’s les­son, “The Secrets of the World’s Most Famous Sym­pho­ny,” here.

Lis­ten to the sym­pho­ny in its entire­ty below.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Beethoven’s Unfin­ished Tenth Sym­pho­ny Gets Com­plet­ed by Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence: Hear How It Sounds

Did Beethoven Use a Bro­ken Metronome When Com­pos­ing His String Quar­tets? Sci­en­tists & Musi­cians Try to Solve the Cen­turies-Old Mys­tery

Watch Ani­mat­ed Scores of Beethoven’s 16 String Quar­tets: An Ear­ly Cel­e­bra­tion of the 250th Anniver­sary of His Birth

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine and author, most recent­ly, of Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday. 

In 1997, Wired Magazine Predicts 10 Things That Could Go Wrong in the 21st Century: “An Uncontrollable Plague,” Climate Crisis, Russia Becomes a Kleptocracy & More

Hydro­gen-pow­ered cars. Bio­log­i­cal, then quan­tum com­put­ing. Gene-ther­a­py can­cer treat­ments. An end to the War on Drugs. Reli­able auto­mat­ic trans­la­tion. The impend­ing end of the nation-state. Man set­ting foot on Mars. These are just a few of the devel­op­ments in store for our world by the year 2020 — or so, at any rate, pre­dicts “The Long Boom,” the cov­er sto­ry of a 1997 issue of Wired mag­a­zine, the offi­cial organ of 1990s tech­no-opti­mism. “We’re fac­ing 25 years of pros­per­i­ty, free­dom, and a bet­ter envi­ron­ment for the whole world,” declares the cov­er itself. “You got a prob­lem with that?”

Since the actu­al year 2020, this image has been smirk­ing­ly re-cir­cu­lat­ed as a prime exam­ple of blink­ered End-of-His­to­ry tri­umphal­ism. From the van­tage of 2021, it’s fair to say that the pre­dic­tions of the arti­cle’s authors Peter Schwartz and Peter Ley­den (who expand­ed their the­sis into a 2000 book) went wide of the mark.

But their vision of the 21st cen­tu­ry has­n’t proven ris­i­ble in every aspect: a ris­ing Chi­na, hybrid cars, video calls, and online gro­cery-shop­ping have become famil­iar enough hard­ly to mer­it com­ment, as has the inter­net’s sta­tus as “the main medi­um of the 21st cen­tu­ry.” And who among us would describe the cost of uni­ver­si­ty as any­thing but “absurd”?

Schwartz and Ley­den do allow for dark­er pos­si­bil­i­ties than their things-can-only-get-bet­ter rhetoric make it seem. Some of these they enu­mer­ate in a side­bar (remem­ber side­bars?) head­lined “Ten Sce­nario Spoil­ers.” Though not includ­ed in the arti­cle as archived on Wired’s web site, it has recent­ly been scanned and post­ed to social media, with viral results. A “new Cold War” between the U.S. and Chi­na; a “glob­al cli­mate change that, among oth­er things, dis­rupts the food sup­ply”; a “major rise in crime and ter­ror­ism forces the world to pull back in fear”; an “uncon­trol­lable plague — a mod­ern-day influen­za epi­dem­ic or its equiv­a­lent”: to one degree or anoth­er, every sin­gle one of these ten dire devel­op­ments seems in our time to have come to pass.

“We’re still on the front edge of the great glob­al boom,” we’re remind­ed in the piece’s con­clu­sion. “A hell of a lot of things could go wrong.” You don’t say. Yet for all of the 21st-cen­tu­ry trou­bles that few rid­ing the wave of first-dot-com-boom utopi­anism would have cred­it­ed, we today run the risk of see­ing our world as too dystopi­an. Now as then, “the vast array of prob­lems to solve and the sheer mag­ni­tude of the changes that need to take place are enough to make any glob­al orga­ni­za­tion give up, any nation back down, any rea­son­able per­son curl up in a ball.” We could use a fresh infu­sion of what Schwartz and Ley­den frame as the boom’s key ingre­di­ent: Amer­i­can opti­mism. “Amer­i­cans don’t under­stand lim­its. They have bound­less con­fi­dence in their abil­i­ty to solve prob­lems. And they have an amaz­ing capac­i­ty to think they real­ly can change the world.” In that par­tic­u­lar sense, per­haps we all should become Amer­i­cans after all.

via Red­dit

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Pio­neer­ing Sci-Fi Author William Gib­son Pre­dicts in 1997 How the Inter­net Will Change Our World

Why 1999 Was the Year of Dystopi­an Office Movies: What The Matrix, Fight Club, Amer­i­can Beau­ty, Office Space & Being John Malkovich Shared in Com­mon

In 1926, Niko­la Tes­la Pre­dicts the World of 2026

Futur­ist from 1901 Describes the World of 2001: Opera by Tele­phone, Free Col­lege & Pneu­mat­ic Tubes Aplen­ty

From the Annals of Opti­mism: The News­pa­per Indus­try in 1981 Imag­ines its Dig­i­tal Future

167 Pieces of Life & Work Advice from Kevin Kel­ly, Found­ing Edi­tor of Wired Mag­a­zine & The Whole Earth Review

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

Legendary DJ John Peel Makes a List of His 20 Favorite Albums

Image by Zetkin, via Wiki­me­dia Com­mons

Before there were influ­encers, there was John Peel. The BBC radio DJ and jour­ney­man music writer’s tastes helped define lis­ten­ing habits for gen­er­a­tions — from his ear­ly cham­pi­oning of Pink Floyd and Cap­tain Beef­heart to his ear­ly cham­pi­oning of The Smiths and Nir­vana, to… well, most every­thing he played, wrote about and record­ed in his leg­endary John Peel ses­sions from the 1960s until his death in 2004.

For some­one with such influ­ence, Peel had a sin­gu­lar­ly hum­ble atti­tude about his own impor­tance and that of music tastemak­ers gen­er­al­ly. In a 1970 inter­view for Radio Times, “Peel plays down the role of DJs as celebri­ties,” notes the John Peel Wiki, “and is quot­ed as say­ing among oth­er things, ‘Some disc jock­eys don’t realise the essen­tial insignif­i­cance of their role.’”

His was an atti­tude shared by few in the music busi­ness. One per­son who comes to mind, pro­duc­er and musi­cian Steve Albi­ni — an ear­ly cham­pi­on of too many bands to name — likes to sim­i­lar­ly exempt him­self from the process, treat­ing his opin­ions about music as inci­den­tal to the vital expe­ri­ence of mak­ing music itself. In an inter­view the year after Peel’s death, Albi­ni rumi­nat­ed on this qual­i­ty in Peel:

Before he died, John Peel said some­thing that I thought was real­ly pro­found. He said when he gets a record from some­body and he does­n’t like it, he assumes that it’s his prob­lem and that the band would not have made that record if there was­n’t some­thing valu­able about it.

Of course, John Peel had his opin­ions about music — once say­ing in 1978, for exam­ple, that he wished the Rolling Stones had bro­ken up in 1965. He even had his opin­ions about Steve Albi­ni, whose bru­tal three-piece 80s band Big Black ranked at num­ber 15 for their Songs About Fuc&ing on a list Peel made of his 20 favorite albums. The list, below, should be read with all kinds of caveats.

In no way would Peel ever assert that these 20 records are the “20 best” of any­thing. These are the albums that rose to the top for him, for rea­sons he declined to spec­i­fy, at a par­tic­u­lar point in time 1997 when The Guardian asked him for his opin­ion. Peel him­self found these exer­cis­es “ter­ri­bly self-indul­gent” notes Jon Den­nis in brief com­men­tary on each album on the list. Nar­row­ing down one’s favorites was a par­tic­u­lar­ly painful expe­ri­ence for some­one who lis­tened to so much music, and Peel did­n’t val­ue his own tastes over those of his lis­ten­ers.

For exam­ple, in his “Fes­tive 50,” a fifty-song roundup of his lis­ten­ers’ top three songs of the year each Christ­mas, Peel resist­ed the urge to insert his picks and coun­ter­bal­ance what he saw as an over­abun­dance of “white boys with gui­tars.” (Peel was a big pro­mot­er of reg­gae bands like Misty in Roots, who come in at num­ber 5 below, as well as var­i­ous oth­er world musics on his radio show.) He admit­ted that com­ing up with his three top songs in any giv­en year was close to impos­si­ble: “I could­n’t get any few­er than a list of 250.”

1. Cap­tain Beef­heart & The Mag­ic Band: Trout Mask Repli­ca (1969)
2. Vel­vet Under­ground: The Vel­vet Under­ground and Nico (1967)
3. Ramones: The Ramones (1976)
4. Pulp: Dif­fer­ent Class (1995)
5. Misty In Roots: Live At Counter Euro­vi­sion 79 (1979)
6. Nir­vana: Nev­er­mind (1991)
7. Smiths: The Smiths (1984)
8. Neil Young: Arc Weld (1991)
9. Jimi Hen­drix Expe­ri­ence: Are You Expe­ri­enced? (1967)
10. Wawali Bonané: Enzen­zé
11. Pink Floyd: Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (1967)
12. Dread­zone: Sec­ond Light (1995)
13. Four Broth­ers: Mako­roko­to (1988)
14. Dave Clarke: Dave Archive One (1996)
15. Big Black: Songs About Fuck­ing (1987)
16. PJ Har­vey: Dry (1992)
17. Richard & Lin­da Thomp­son: I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (1974)
18. Elas­ti­ca: Elas­ti­ca (1995)
19. Hole: Live Through This (1994)
20. Rolling Stones: The Rolling Stones (1964)

Relat­ed Con­tent:

An Archive of 1,000 “Peel Ses­sions” Avail­able Online: Hear David Bowie, Bob Mar­ley, Elvis Costel­lo & Oth­ers Play in the Stu­dio of Leg­endary BBC DJ John Peel

Hear a 9‑Hour Trib­ute to John Peel: A Col­lec­tion of His Best “Peel Ses­sions”

Stream 935 Songs That Appeared in “The John Peel Fes­tive 50” from 1976 to 2004: The Best Songs of the Year, as Select­ed by the Beloved DJ’s Lis­ten­ers

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

Elegant 2,000-Year-Old Roman Shoe Found in a Well

When the Romans pushed their way north into the Ger­man provinces, they built (cir­ca 90 AD) The Saal­burg, a fort that pro­tect­ed the bound­ary between the Roman Empire and the Ger­man­ic trib­al ter­ri­to­ries. At its peak, 2,000 peo­ple lived in the fort and the attached vil­lage. It remained active until around 260 AD.

Some­where dur­ing the 19th cen­tu­ry, The Saal­burg was redis­cov­ered and exca­vat­ed, then lat­er ful­ly recon­struct­ed. It’s now a UNESCO World Her­itage site and hous­es the Saal­burg Muse­um, which con­tains many Roman relics, includ­ing a 2,000 year old shoe, appar­ent­ly found in a local well.

If you think the Ital­ians have mas­tered the craft of mak­ing shoes, well, they don’t have much on their ances­tors. Accord­ing to the site Romans Across Europe, the Romans  “were the orig­i­na­tors of the entire-foot-encas­ing shoe.” The site con­tin­ues:

There was a wide vari­ety of shoes and san­dals for men and women. Most were con­struct­ed like mil­i­tary cali­gae, with a one-piece upper nailed between lay­ers of the sole. Many had large open-work areas made by cut­ting or punch­ing cir­cles, tri­an­gles, squares, ovals, etc. in rows or grid-like pat­terns. Oth­ers were more enclosed, hav­ing only holes for the laces. Some very dain­ty women’s and children’s shoes still had thick nailed soles.

The image above, which puts all of the Roman’s shoe-mak­ing skill on dis­play, comes to us via Red­dit and imgur.

Note: An ear­li­er ver­sion of this post appeared on our site in July 2016.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Ancient Romans First Com­mit­ted the Sar­to­r­i­al Crime of Wear­ing Socks with San­dals, Archae­o­log­i­cal Evi­dence Sug­gests

A Huge Scale Mod­el Show­ing Ancient Rome at Its Archi­tec­tur­al Peak (Built Between 1933 and 1937)

A Map Show­ing How the Ancient Romans Envi­sioned the World in 40 AD

Rome Reborn: Take a Vir­tu­al Tour of Ancient Rome, Cir­ca 320 C.E.

Free Cours­es in Ancient His­to­ry, Lit­er­a­ture & Phi­los­o­phy

Watch the Destruc­tion of Pom­peii by Mount Vesu­vius, Re-Cre­at­ed with Com­put­er Ani­ma­tion (79 AD)

The His­to­ry of Rome in 179 Pod­casts

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.