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By Periklis Deligiannis

Russian-speaking combatants gather ammunition from the place of crash of a Ukrainian fighter aircraft.

Many of us remember the classic book “Clash of Civilizations” (1996) of Samuel Huntington, the main successor to the geopolitical school of the British historian Arnold Toynbee, and his remarks on the bipartition of the cultural identity of Ukraine and Turkey, which is dramatically verified for both of them in the last twelve months. Yet Turkey, despite the dramatic events taking place in the country during the last year, does not wobble as much as Ukraine.
Let’s see how things have developed for the Ukrainian crisis and then some scenarios on its solution. The terms of the recent agreement were not really implemented and the Ukraine is possibly moving towards a more violent confrontation. The “big players” (Russia, U.S., E.U. and China) are rather cautious preferring keep waiting, except the rapid Russian annexation of Crimea.
The Western media have probably overstated the financial dependence of Russia from the Western economies, although the American financial reprisals on her have already been felt in the country. Neither Russia can seriously threaten the U.S. in retaliation, but can push to a certain extent the European Union using energy reprisals. Of course the latter did not have any serious problems of energy supply before the energy agreements with Russia, but it now appears to depend a lot on the inexhaustible Russian gas resources, especially Germany, France and the other Northern European nations.
The Ukrainian crisis is the outcome of the constant attempts of the U.S. and the E.U. to penetrate a geopolitical region which Russia considers exclusively her own since at least 1793. However it seems that they have not anticipated the extent of the internal struggle in Ukraine.

What are the reasons of the current embarrassment of the “major geopolitical players”?





ukraineΡωσόφωνοι  μάχιμοι συγκεντρώνουν πυρομαχικά από τον τόπο πρόσκρουσης ενός κατεστραμμένου μαχητικού αεροσκάφους της Ουκρανίας.

Αρκετοί θυμόμαστε το κλασσικό πλέον βιβλίο «Σύγκρουση των Πολιτισμών» (1996) του Σάμιουελ Χάντινγκτον, κύριου συνεχιστή της σχολής γεωπολιτικής αντίληψης του Βρετανού ιστορικού Αρνολντ Τόυνμπη, και τις επισημάνσεις του για τον «διχασμό πολιτισμικής ταυτότητας» Ουκρανίας και Τουρκίας οι οποίες επαληθεύονται δραματικά κατά τους τελευταίους δώδεκα μήνες. Ωστόσο η Τουρκία παρά τα δραματικά γεγονότα του τελευταίου χρόνου, δεν κλυδωνίζεται τόσο όσο η Ουκρανία.
Ας δούμε πως έχουν διαμορφωθεί τα πράγματα για την ουκρανική κρίση και στη συνέχεια κάποια σενάρια επίλυσης της. Οι όροι της πρόσφατης συμφωνίας δεν εφαρμόσθηκαν και η Ουκρανία βαδίζει προς μία βιαιότερη αντιπαράθεση. Οι «μεγάλοι παίκτες» (Ρωσία, ΗΠΑ, ΕΕ και Κίνα) τηρούν μάλλον στάση αναμονής με εξαίρεση την ταχεία ρωσική προσάρτηση της Κριμαίας.
Τα δυτικά ΜΜΕ έχουν μάλλον υπερτονίσει την όποια οικονομική εξάρτηση της Ρωσίας από τα δυτικά κεφάλαια, παρότι τα αμερικανικά οικονομικά αντίποινα έχουν ήδη γίνει αισθητά στη χώρα. Ούτε η Ρωσία μπορεί βέβαια να απειλήσει σοβαρά τις ΗΠΑ με αντίποινα, αλλά μπορεί να πιέσει έως ένα βαθμό την ΕΕ. Η τελευταία επιβίωνε βέβαια και πριν τις ενεργειακές συμφωνίες με τη Ρωσία αλλά φαίνεται ότι έχει στηρίξει αρκετά στους ανεξάντλητους ρωσικούς ενεργειακούς πόρους, κυρίως η Γερμανία και οι περιγερμανικές χώρες.
Η ουκρανική κρίση προέκυψε από τη σταθερή προσπάθεια των ΗΠΑ και ΕΕ να διεισδύσουν σε ένα γεωπολιτικό χώρο τον οποίο η Ρωσία θεωρεί αποκλειστικό της τουλάχιστον από το 1793. Όμως φαίνεται πως δεν είχαν προβλέψει την έκταση που θα έπαιρνε η εσωτερική αντιπαράθεση στην Ουκρανία.
Που οφείλεται η τωρινή αμηχανία των «μεγάλων γεωπολιτικών παικτών»;

Συνεχεια αναγνωσης

THE SELINUNTIAN WARS of the 6th cent.BC.


By  Periklis Deligiannis

segestaA pure Greek-type temple in Segesta (main temple of the city).


In 580 BC the Selinuntians finally resigned from claiming the disputed land from Gela (in which land, Acragas was founded) in exchange for aid by Dorian settlers coming from Rhodes and the Anatolian Greek colony Cnidos (Knidos), who arrived in western Sicily through Gela. Pentathlos, the leader of the Rhodian and Cnidian colonists, was a Cnidian like most of his men.

Athena Promachos1

A beautiful reenactment of Archaic Greek hoplites by the Spanish Historical Association Athena Promakhos (copyright: Anna Belen Rubio). Note the double crest of two snakes facing each other on the Corinthian helmet of the hoplite on front, and his arm-protector with the sculpted emblem of  Gorgo (gorgonion). The same gorgonion emblem  is depicted in his Argive shield.  The two snakes facing each other are sculpted in his bell-type cuirass as well.  In the Orient, the hoplites were known as brazen (bronze) warriors.  The Siciliot and Italiot Greek warriors did not differ from those of mainland Greece.

The Selinuntians used the Cnidian and Rhodian reinforcements in their ongoing war against the Elymians and the Phoenicians. They helped them to establish a new Greek colony at Cape Lilybaion (Latin Lilybaeum), just 10 kilometers south of Motya. They were trying to establish a new Doric power against Motya (the main Punic colony on the island) and Carthage, while they would deal with the subjugation of Segesta which resisted stubbornly their expansion. The Selinuntians, Cnidians and Rhodians joined forces against the Elymi, Sicilian-Phoenicians and Carthaginians.




By Periklis Deligiannis


Aerial view of the archaeological site of Selinus (Selinunte).

During the period when the ancient Greeks were colonizing the eastern coast of Sicily (late 8th century BC), the Phoenicians kept their own emporia (commercial stations) in the western part of the island. It seems that Panormos (modern Sicilian capital Palermo) was the oldest Phoenician colony. Motya was founded around 700 BC by the Phoenicians of Carthage. Her location was very strategic and well protected, having been founded on an island near the Sicilian coast. Simultaneously, the Carthaginians founded the emporia  of Mazara and Macara on the southwestern coast, whose Phoenician origin has been verified by their Canaanite names and by archeology. Macara was probably founded on the site of a former Minoan ‘emporion’ or naval base, because the Greeks called the town ‘Minoa’ and later ‘Heraclea Minoa’ (or just ‘Heraclea’). Some archaeologists have theorized that the subsequent town of Thermae Himeraiae, which was founded by the Carthaginians after the destruction of the nearby Greek city Himera (late 5th century BC), was in reality a Phoenician colony that existed before the foundation of the latter. According to this hypothesis, when the Greeks founded Himera, they drove off the Phoenicians from Thermae but when the Carthaginians destroyed Himera, they refounded the old Punic colony.





Italian lightly  armed warrior (by Peter Connolly), the main type of lightly armed  Italian warriors who attacked Cumae in 524 BC. Especially for the peoples of the Apennines, the central mountain range of the Italian peninsula, this was the main combatant type. These hardy and stubborn warriors, mainly Oscan and Southern Umbrian, caused great problems in Rome in the coming centuries. The depicted warrior has a native Italian helmet with a Greek-type plume. He bears a protection plate on his neck and a pactorale – a circular disk to protect his chest. He holds two spears – one heavier and one lighter. He also has a Greek-type sword (copyright: Peter Connolly).


By  Periklis    Deligiannis


In 745 BC, the Euboean Greek settlers who had colonized years ago, the small island  Pithekousai off  coast of the  Bay  of  Naples  in  Italy, founded  Cumae  (Cyme  in  Greek,  Cumae  in  Latin) on the opposite coast. Cumae was the first ‘official’ Greek colony in the Italian peninsula. Pithekousai was actually the first, but ‘unofficial’ colony in Italy. Cumae took its name from the Euboean Cyme, rather as a neutral compromise between Chalkidean and Eretrian settlers, the most numerous among the Euboeans. Chalkis and Eretria were the most powerful city-states of the large island Euboea in the Aegean Sea.

Soon Cumae, enhanced by new colonists from Chalcis, Eretria, the Euboean Cyme, Tanagra (Boeotia), Cirinthos (Euboea) and Oropia (Boeotia), expanded in the fertile land of the Phlegraian Fields to the north. Later, further more Greek colonists arrived in Cumae from Magna Graecia, Samos etc. founding subsidiary colonies and thereby increasing the extent of the Cumaean territory. Among the Cumaean colonies, Neapolis (modern Naples) would become the most important. In other cases, the Greeks settled in existing villages o f  the  indigenous Ausones, turning them into Greek colonies, as it happened in Pompeii, Heraklion (Herculaneum), etc. Thus the boundaries of the Cumaean territory were approaching fast  the river Volturnus, but soon they were confined by a powerful enemy: the Etruscans (or  Tyrrhenians  as the Greeks used to call them), the people of Etruria (modern Tuscany), mostly of Anatolian origins (from Lydia, Asia Minor).

The competition between the Greeks and the Etruscans was older enough. The mythographer Palaifatos (“On Unbelievers”) assures that the sea monster Scylla, which Odysseus encountered on his wanderings (“Odyssey”), represented the danger facing the Greek merchant ships in the Strait of Messina, from the Etruscan pirates.

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