Cleopatra Sleeps Siesta

Photograph — Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

Brother Hubert Koeppen, C.S.C. at St. Edward’s High School in Austin taught me to love history. Brother Francis Barrett, C.S.C did the same with American History. To this day I know my stuff but I also live what they taught me.

Brother Hubert in particular made every day of world history seem like he was telling us a story. These stories about the past seemed to have relevance to the present we were living. I remember one story in particular involving the Theban poet Pindar and Alexander (not yet the great)

The facts courtesy of Wikipedia are these:

Pindar’s house in Thebes became one of the city’s landmarks. Alexander the Great demolished the city as punishment for its resistance to Macedonian expansionism but he left the house intact out of gratitude for verses praising his ancestor, king Alexander I of Macedon.

The story that Brother Hubert told us was that Alexander went to Pindar’s house and found the poet taking a sunbath in his outdoor bathtub. Alexander told him who he was and how he had saved the house from demolition. It seems that Pindar said something like, Can you move out of the sun’s way sir. I am taking a sunbath.” Then Alexander said, “If I were not Alexander I would be you.”

In my two trips to London I could not help but thinking that at any moment I might not cross with the ghost of Julius Caesar. In Granada seeing the little lead coffins of the Catholic Kings (Ferdinand and Isabella) made them as real as Brother Hubert’s stories about them.

This Fujiroid peel negative (reversed in Photoshop) I immediately associated with the idea of Cleopatra having a nap.

Link to: Cleopatra Sleeps Siesta


Originally published at blog.alexwaterhousehayward.com.