Monday, 16 December 2019

Roman Names: an introductory note

A Roman aristocrat of the 1st century B.C.; the "classical" period most studied as history, and whose version of Latin we are taught at school, would normally have three names. Prominent examples are Caius Julius Caesar, his assassin Marcus Junius Brutus, and the dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla.
   The first of these was the personal name, and would probably only be used when a boy was spoken to by his mother, or when as an adult was addressed in a fully formal manner.
   The second was the name of the tribe, or clan. Roman politics for many generations was dominated by a handful of great aristocratic clans, of which the Julii, Cornelii and Junii are examples.
   The third is known as the "cognomen". It was often a kind of nickname, perhaps dating from centuries earlier, in a form of latin that had become archaic, to distinguish between the different branches of the great clans. A cognomen would be inherited, and as a result some became quite comical. Thus "Caesar" meant "hairy", whereas Julius Caesar was bald. The cognomen of Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus meant "bronze-beard", whereas all Roman aristocrats of the classical period were cleanshaven. The famous orator and writer Marcus Tullius Cicero (who was not an aristocrat, but came from an obscure family of provincial gentry) bore a cognomen that literally meant "chickpea", probably indicating a prominent pimple or wart on the face! 
   An extra name, known as an agnomen, might also be awarded for some great military feat. At the end of the 3rd cetury B.C. the great general Publius Cornelius Scipio was awarded the agnomen of Africanus after his defeat of Hannibal at the battle of Zama.

   Things were confused by adoptions and consequent changes of name. The most famous came about when Caesar, who had no son to succeed him, named as his heir his sister's son, called Gaius Octavius. This young man changed his name, first to Octavianus, and then to Gaius Julius Caesar; and in 27 B.C. the Senate granted him the agnomen of Augustus. He is usually called the first Roman Emperor (1), though in fact he neither he nor his immediate successors ever acknowledged any such title.
   Augstus had no son, and his grandsons all died young, so for his military campaigns he relied upon his two stepsons, who came from the great aristocratic Claudii clan. They were the brothers Tiberius Claudius Nero Drusus (2) and Gaius Claudius Nero Drusus. After the death of Gaius, his son, another Gaius Claudius Nero Drusus, won significant victories on the Rhine frontier, and was granted the agnomen of Germanicus. His son acompanied the armies as a child, dressed in a miniature military uniform that caused the soldiers to give him the nickname Caligula ("Little boots") (3). The younger  brother of Germanicus, another Tiberius Claudius Nero Drusus (4), sent the legions to conquer Britain in 43 A.D., and was given the agnomen of Britannicus. He himself adopted as his heir his stepson, Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus (5), who duly changed his name to that of his stepfather.  

   Daughters would merely have a feminine version of their father's clan-name: thus Caesar's daughter was called Julia, Cicero's daughter was called Tullia, and so forth.

This proliferation of very similar names creates problems for historians, who therefore tend to settle on a single name for convenience. Thus Gnaeus Pompeius Maximus (the agnomen meaning "Greatest") is generally known as Pompey, and the five men indicated above by numerals are the first five Emperors, now known under the names of Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero. 

Sunday, 1 December 2019

150 Years Ago!

Report on an election of November 1869, from the "Shrewsbury Chronicle":-

"The proceedings of the day were devoid of much of the drunkenness and disorderly conduct which has, too frequently, been witnessed on such occasions. The cause of this undoubtedly was that the successful candidates put themselves forward otherwise than by the old system of bribery and "open" public houses. Another reason was that the polling places were not, as formerly, held at public houses, a mode of conducting an election which could not but tend to bad results"

In November 1794 the same newspaper published a report that "No intelligence whatever has now been received from the British Army since Tuesday." This never fails to raise a smile nowadays. It did of course mean "no information", though in fact the Flanders campaign, which it refers to, was exceptionally badly planned and executed, and convinced the future Duke of Wellington, who was present, of the need to take military matters much more seriously.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Where is this?

Where are these cities? (They are all in mainland Europe)












The correct answers are to be found amongst the following:-
Amsterdam - Antwerp - Athens - Arles - Avignon - Barcelona - Berlin - Bologna - Bratislava - Bruges - Bucharest - Copenhagen - Dubrovnik - Florence - Frankfurt - Geneva - Istambul - Krakow - Lisbon - Lyon - Madrid - Moscow - Palermo - Paris - Prague - Riga - Rome - Seville - St. Petersburg - Sofia - Tbilisi - Valetta - Venice - Vienna - Warsaw - Zagreb.

Monday, 21 October 2019

Considerations on Art

These sections ask a number of questions about art and aesthetics, most of which are unanswerable in any way that would be universally accepted! I use the word "Art"in its broadest possible sense, to include music (about which I know very little), poetry, etc.

1     1.Are there any absolute standards to determine what is “good” art? (or music, literature, etc) If so, how are these determined, and by whom? Is it, ultimately, anything more than a matter of fashion? It cannot be denied that standards of judgement appear to change radically over time, as each generation seeks to overturn the standards and norms of its predecessor.     Similarly, is “beauty” merely a matter of individual taste: or perhaps something that is learnt, and passed on through the prevailing culture? In past centuries in the West, it was considered that the Hellenistic tradition of what was beautiful was the only universally valid one, and anything that deviated from it could be considered “not beautiful”; but this would hardly be acceptable nowadays (why not?). If I say some work of art is “good”, am I ultimately saying anything deeper than “I like it”?

         2. Is everyone’s aesthetic judgement equally valid; or should it be accepted that some people have better cultural “taste” than the rest of us? If so, how, and why? Alternatively, is aesthetic value anything more than just popularity? Is there any way of proving that Shakespeare is “better” than some TV soap opera? Or is this just cultural snobbery? (Cynical assessment: “good art” means “admired by those who consider they have good taste”)
     3. What is “art” anyway? Can it be defined? If so, can some things be written off as “not art”? Is anything that is created by man “art”? A tree, for instance, may be considered “beautiful”, but it is not “art” because it has not been created (except possibly by God); but an exact painting of the same tree can be classed as “art” (and what about a photograph of it?). Can all human activities; e.g. a piece of skilled artisan work, or even a pleasing sporting performance; be classified as at least potentially “art”?

       4. Should the personality of the artist in any way affect the evaluation of his art? In other words, does it matter if a great artist is a wicked man? Many people see the two as incompatible, and accordingly try to either devalue the art or excuse the wickedness (the “intentional fallacy”) Example: Wagner's antisemitism

          5. Is there such a thing as “immoral art”? e.g. can a novel be disgusting, but well-written: can a movie be blatant propaganda, but brilliantly conceived and directed? Should these considerations affect our evaluation? (They often do!)

       6. What about fakes and forgeries? In these cases, are we really more concerned with the signature than the artwork? This will undoubtedly determine the price of the work in question, rather than any aesthetic considerations: but why should it? Is it a question of mere snobbery? (“I own a genuine Picasso!”)

.        7. How do we assess the “meaning” of any work of art? Does it matter if any “meaning” we give to it is actually quite different from what the artist intended? (the “affective fallacy”)

        Final point! It seems clear that from a very early point in human evolution, our remote ancestors felt a need to be creative: to paint pictures and play music; and presumably also to sing, dance and tell each other stories. Why? Probably this urge fulfils some biological/evolutionary purpose? Some birds and other animals behave in a similar way; apparently for the purpose of attracting mates. Does human creativity ultimately have its roots in something similar? Or, since we are a species that tends to live in herds, does it serve the purpose of fostering and reinforcing a sense of group-identity?

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Wales: A few days in Gower

Gower (not the Gower, we were informed) is a peninsula beyond Swansea on the south coast of Wales.

We stayed at Parc-le Breos, a country house hotel with enormous lawns, where housemartins zoomed around a few feet above the ground.

Just a mile away was a neolithic burial site, where the bones of at least 40 individuals have been excavated.

From the hotel it was less than half an hour's walk down to Three Cliffs Bay on the south coast.

A few miles to the west we found Oxwich Bay.

At the western end of the peninsula is a rock formation known as "Worm's Head" (a worm meaning a dragon), with the broad beach of Rhossili Bay alongside.

Gower is a maze of footpaths, with many banks of wildflowers. Alongside the main road out of Swansea, beds of wildflowers are ingeniously placed in the wide grass lawns.

We visited two castles. Weobley castle, on the north coast, looking across the estuary to Llanelli, is more of a fortified manor-house than a serious castle. It was mostly the work of the de la Bere family in the 14th century 

In the late 15th century it was the home of Rhys ap Thomas, who in 1485 came out in support of Henry Tudor when he landed in Wales in his successful campaign to overthrow King Richard III. Rhys was rewarded by being made a Knight of the Garter. The family's rise to prominence was to be shortlived, for in 1531 his grandson, Rhys ap Gruffudd, was executed for treason and Weobley reverted to the Crown.

Oxwich castle, in the south-west of the peninsula, is in fact an Elizabethan mansion,whose defences are purely for show. It was built by Sir Rice Mansel and his son Edward, but had been abandoned by their descendants by the 1630s and fell into decay. 

Swansea (or Abertawe, to give it its Welsh name) has always been the principal town of the region. It was given its charter in the mid-12th century, and today in Swansea old and new sit side by side. 
Swansea castle was rebuilt and altered on many occasions; for although Gower came under Norman rule just a few decades after the Conquest, it was attacked and sometimes overrun by Welsh rebels right through to the 15th century.

We spent the only wet day of our visit in the National Waterfront Museum, which was largely devoted to the industrial history of the area, and was most interesting. This picture is a model of Richard Trevithick's steam locomotive. 

In conclusion, we enjoyed our stay to Gower,and would recommend it to other visitors.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Quiz: Pop Music of the 1960s

These questions are in roughly chronological order. They are based on the weekly British Top 30 hit parade, published in the "New Musical Express".


1. What was Elvis Presley's first top hit after leaving the army?

2. Who sang "Let's Twist Again" in 1962?

3. Jet Harris and Tony Meeham had a series of instrumental hits together in the early 1960s. Of what famous group had they previously been members?

4. The great surf anthem, "Surf City", was written by Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, but who recorded it?

5. What was the Beatles' first Number One hit?

6. Which group had a big hit with "You'll Never Walk Alone"?

7. Insert the London West End street names into "Dedicated Follower of Fashion" by the Kinks:- "They seek him here, they seek him there; In --- and ---".

8. In what year did Jimi Hendrix have a hit with "Hey Joe"?

9.Who "Heard it Through the Grapevine" in 1969?

10. In what year did Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones die?

Friday, 6 September 2019

Recent Reads: Mud and Stars; by Sara Wheeler

In this delightful book, Sara Wheeler follows in the footsteps of the great Russian authors from the “Golden Age” between the defeat of Napoleon and the end of the 19th century: Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Tolstoy and others less well known in the West. She discusses their lives and works and travels through Russia visiting the sites where they lived, including the north Caucasus and remote parts of Siberia; staying in the homes of local people and chatting to them, to build up a picture of life in Putin’s Russia today. This is interspersed with anecdotes about the difficulty of learning the Russian language, and instructions on the correct pronunciations of the writers’ names. I would unhesitatingly recommend it to anyone with even the slightest interest in the subject.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Fascism and Nazism

The word "fascist" tends to be used very loosely, and is often applied to the political Right in general. I would like therefore to attempt to explore the salient aspect of Fascism which distinguish it not only from Liberalism and Socialism, but also from traditional Conservatism.

   Fascism takes its name from the Fasces, an axe in a bundle of rods carried by the Roman lictors as a symbol of the authority of the magistrates. Fascism as a political movement began in Italy in the aftermath of the First World War, when Italians thought they had been badly let down in the postwar settlement, and there was an economic downturn and political instability. There appeared to be a danger of revolution, on the Russian Bolshevik model. Soon young men (many being ex-soldiers) were being organised into squads called "Fascisti di combattimento"), parading in uniforms of black shirts. Initially they were used as strike-breakers, but soon they began invading towns that were under Socialist control, beating up and expelling the councillors and taking over themselves. The police and the military stood by and did nothing.
   Mussolini had been a prominent socialist before the war; the editor of the main socialist newspaper. By now he had his own paper and had switched to become an extreme right-wing nationalist. He did not personally lead any of the Blackshirt outrages, but he provided them with propaganda, encouragement and direction through his journalism. If he had ordered them to halt their violence, it is questionable whether they would have taken any notice. When in autumn 1922 the Blackshirt squads marched on Rome to overthrow the government, Mussolini prudently remained behind in Milan, and only took the train to Rome when the government collapsed without firing a shot and the King summoned him to become Prime Minister. He then allowed the Blackshirts to parade through the capital and burn down the Socialist Party headquarters. When installed in government, Mussolini was initially cautious, and it was only a few years later that, probably under grassroots pressure from the Blackshirts, that he formally abolished Italian democracy and formed a one-party Fascist state. Even then, his dictatorship was comparatively mild by later standards.

Mussolini's success led to a host of imitations, combining the key factors of quasi-military parades, street violence, extreme nationalist rhetoric and hatred of Socialism and Communism. Groups such as the Iron Guard in Romania, the Arrow Cross in Hungary, the Action Francaise and of course the Nazis in Germany attempted to follow his methods. The British Union of Fascists never made much impact, and were ruthlessly parodied by P. G. Wodehouse in "The Code of the Woosters" in the form of the would-be dictator Roderick Spode and his troop of Blackshorts (the supply of colouerd shirts having been exhausted). 

Fascism was not then the generalized term of abuse which we see nowadays. Indeed, Mussolini was admired by many in the Western democracies, on the grounds that he had saved Italy from Bolshevik revolution and restored order (the famous "made the trains run on time" argument). The British and French leaders accepted him as an equal partner and a potential force for stability. Many Conservatives, and Italian Catholics, had grave doubts about Mussolini's character and methods, but were prepared to overcome these doubts because of their much greater fear of revolution from the Left. Despite his earlier left-wing utterances, when in power Mussolini (and later Hitler) was careful not to upset the big businessmen and landowners; and negotiated the establishment of the Vatican City as an independent state by the Lateran Treaty.
   It was only in the later 1930s that this changed.

I have always seen Mussolini as essentially having the soul of a tabloid journalist; concerned principally with what would look good in the next day's headlines. So initiatives would be announced, striking pronouncements made and foreign policy adventures started; and if nothing much useful happened, it didn't matter, because soon new promises would be made and the old ones forgotten. Nevertheless, it is possible to detect a genuine Facsist ideology behind the headline-grabbing.
   The first aspect would have to be not just the acceptance but the glorification of violence. Mussolini proclaimed that fighting was not just a means to an end, but a good thing in itself: it provided an opportunity for the "natural leaders" to come to the fore and separated the weak from the strong, both individually and nationally. He always stated that he wished to prepare the Italian people for war, without ever setting out any definite target or aim for this aggression.
   Fascism differed from both classical Liberalism and from Marxism. Take the famous ideals of equality, freedom, justice and human rights, pointing towards a democratic system of government, as first set out by John Locke and summarised by Jefferson in the American Declaration of Independence. These have formed the basis of western democratic thought ever since. The Marxists also accept them as ideals; but argue that they cannot be fully achieved under capitalism. Fascism, however, rejects them entirely.
   Fascists would begin by denying the notion of equality. Humans, they would say, are not equal. Some are bigger and stronger than others, some are clever than others, some are more fitted to rule than others. Most people, let's face it, are mediocre. To treat everyone as equal is not only unjust, but also stupid. It is both natural and expedient that the strongest and the best should lead. A democratic political system serves only to give power to the mediocre masses. Instead government should be in the hands of the "natural leaders" who have the "will to power" and are strong enough to accept responsibility. This doctrine can be applied to nations and to races as well as to individuals: war leads to the strongest nations dominating the inferior ones and the lesser breeds, as is only right and proper. (Although Mussolini banged on endlessly about the glories of the Roman Empire, there was little specific racism in Italian Fascism, and it was only in the later 1930s, under the influence of Hitler, that he introduced antisemitic laws into Italy). If you wish to some up Fascist ideology in its simplest form; think of the school bully who says to smaller boys, "Get out of my way or I'll hit you!" What Fascism would allow the bully to say is, "I'm bigger than you, and therefore I'm more important than you, and so I have a right to hit you if I want to!"    

Hitler began as an imitator of Mussolini, with his brownshirted stormtroopers (S.A.) and campaigns of street violence in Munich. But in November 1923 his attempt to stage a coup there, Mussolini-style, was a complete failure. After he was released from a short prison sentence he realised he would have to adopt more constitutional means to take power; though he never renounced street violence. He came to power in January 1933 by a combination of electoral success, political intrigue and the threat of violence from the S.A. Very few in Germany could have anticipated what would follow.
   Hitler would have agreed with all the Fascist principles outlined above, but he had a clearer ideology and more precise aims. He did not identify with the German state (of which he only became a citizen in 1932), but with the German race. 
   Race was central to his outlook: the superiority of the German race and hence their rightful demand to rule the inferior ones. This especially applied to the Russians and other Slavic races to the east. Hitler's national circumstances were diferent: whereas Italy had been on the winning side in the war, Germany had lost. How could it possibly be that the superior German race had been defeated? Only if Germany had been betrayed by internal enemies; notably, in his mind, by Marxists and Jews. They must therefore be eliminated, both in revenge and to prevent any repetition of their treachery.
   The Jews loomed large in Hitler's mental world. He saw them as infiltrating all aspects of life in Germany, and in other countries too. Comparisions were drawn with rats, or maggots, or plague-germs. Exactly when, or why, Hitler became so aggressively antisemitic is not known. He was not alone in having these ideas, either in Germany or throughout Europe, though he expressed them with far more violence than most.
   Antisemitism is quite different from other forms of racism. Racist attacks on Blacks, Pakistanis, Irish or others usually portray them as mentally inferior to white people: little better than animals; but racist attacks on Jews suggest they are cunning, manipulative, and unscrupulous with money. Take the case of the classic antisemitic work, "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion"; produced by the Tsarist secret police early in the 20th century. It purports to be a document in which Jewish leaders discuss their plans to take over the world. It was soon exposed as a crude forgery. But consider: postulating a Jamaican or an Irish plot to take over the world would simply be laughable, but a Jewish plot to take over the world would at least be worth considering. Antisemitism expresses the fear that Jews might be cleverer than us. How else could they have risen to dominate finance, culture, government?  
   19th century antisemitism had a persistent anti-capitalist tone, but after the First World War it tookon a new face. Many of the most prominent of the Russian revolutionaries had been Jewish (Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev and others), and so was Rosa Luxemburg and other leaders of the failed left-wing revolutions in Germany after 1918. It occurred to Hitler, as a great revelation, that capitalism and communism were just opposite sides of the same coin: both part of the great Jewish conspiracy for world domination. In a famous speech as late as January 1939 he said that the financiers of Wall Street were in league with the commisars of the Kremlin; and that unless they were stopped, it would be the death of all civilisation.
   Hitler's attack on Russia in summer 1941 was therefore intended as the climax of his career. All his most deeply-held beliefs pointed towards it. The Slavs were an inferior race, led by Jewish communists, and for the good of humanity they must be crushed and the vast natural resources of Russia taken for the use of the superior race. The extermination of the Jews of Europe began at exactly the same time. No historian has ever found a directive from Hitler to initiate the Holocaust, and maybe no such document ever existed; but it is surely the case that such a major policy could not have begun without at least verbal instructions from the Fuhrer. 

As well as the notorious rant against the Jews in Book 1 of "Mein Kampf", Hitler had some interesting things to say about democracy at the start of Book 2. He asked why, if democracy was such a great system, there were no democratic armies or democratic companies? The strongest structure, he argued, was of hierarchical command. Thus, in an army, the generals decided strategy, the junior officers provided local leadership, the sergeants imposed discipline, and the rank and file did as they were told. Successful businesses were organised in a similar manner. It was significant, he argued, that this was actually how the Soviet Union was run, despite all the propaganda about "the workers' state". The purpose of any political system was to ensure that power was in the hands of the best leaders; and democracy was clearly failing to achieve this.   

Mussolini was openly contemptuous of Hitler when he met him for the first time in 1934. In that year he acted to deter a Nazi coup in Austria, which led Britain and France to see him as a useful check on Hitler's ambitions. But then he involved Italy in entirely unnecessary adventures, in Abyssinia and Spain and Albania, which are hard to view as anything other than mere headline-grabbers. As these increasingly alienated him from his Western friends, he instead hitched his wagon to Hitler's star. He signally failed to take action against Hitler's Anschluss with Austria in 1938, and joined the Axis alliance and the Anti-Comintern pact. He also passed pointless anti-Jewish laws.
   In a final belated act of sanity, Mussolini declared Italy neutral when war broke out in 1939, but a year later, with France about to collapse before the German offensive, he could not resist joining in. His intervention was disastrous for Italy, and at best dubiously helpful for Hitler. 

In 1945 Mussolini was shot by partizans and his body was strung upside down in Milan. It is tempting to say that it was no more than he deserved.

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

St. Mary & St. Nicholas, Beaumaris, Anglesey

Beaumaris, on the island of Anglesey, is famous for its magnificent castle, but also boasts this very fine church, which dates from the 13th century.

The finest feature of the church is the tomb of William Bulkeley (died 1490) and his wife.

In the unreformed Parliament prior to 1842, Anglesey returned one M.P., and Beaumaris another, and Bulkeley family dominated these.

The church has some fine misericords, 

    and an 18th century brass commemorating those patrons who donated money to help the poor of the parish. It includes the name of "Tabora the Black", presumably a former slave.

In the porch is this most unusual object.

It is the stone sarcophagus of Joan, the illegitimate daughter of King John, who was married to Llewelyn ap Jorwerth, Prince of North Wales. She died in 1237. In the inscription placed above the sarcophagus, Lord Bulkeley records how in 1808 he discovered it being used as a horse-trough, and rescued it.
   He placed it in the church "to excite serious meditations on the transitory nature of all subluminary distinctions": an interesting reversion to the pre-Copernican view of the universe, where the imperfect earth lies at the centre, surrounded by the sphere of the moon, beyond which are the eternal and unchanging heavens.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

A day in Gozo

The island of Gozo lies a short distance north of Malta. The soil has more clay than Malta, so it retains water better and the island is greener and less arid.
We took the ferry across from the port of Cirkewwa to Mgarr, in the south-east of Gozo

From where we were taken on a one-day tour of the island. There was obviously a great deal that we didn't see, but there was plenty to encourage later visits.

Gozo, like Malta, has amazing structures built in the Neolithic period. In Gozo we were shown the Ggantija temples, erected between 3600 and 3000 B.C., which makes them older than Stonehenge. They consist of walls of enormous megaliths, within which are altars of softer stone cut into slabs.


The interior was once plastered and painted. It appears that cattle were sacrificed here. Some centuries later, the temples were abandoned and forgotten, and only rediscovered in the early 19th century. They were named "Ggantija" in the local belief that only giants could have built such massive structures!

Gozo and Malta were occupied by the Arabs for several centuries, before being conquered by the Norman Kingdom of Sicily in the 12th century. Eventually the islands came under the rule of Spain.     With the rise of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire in the early16th century, the islands came under great pressure. In 1522 the ferocious Arab corsair Dragut devastated Gozo, carrying away all the people he could catch as slaves.

The Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, commonly known as the Hospitallers, were an order of fighting monks established in the aftermath of the First Crusade. When the crusader states were finally destroyed, they established themselves at Rhodes, from where their galleys wreaked havoc on Turkish shipping. Infuriated by this, the great Sultan, Sulemain the Magnificent, resolved to destroy them, but the Knights put up such a stout defence that in 1522, after several months of siege, the survivors were allowed to retire in good order. They were homeless for a while; but then in 1530 the Emperor Charles V granted the Malta and Gozo, in return for the annula tribute of a falcon (as in the legendary movie, "The Maltese Falcon"). From their new home, the Knights continued to annoy the Turks, but were able to survive, just, the great Turkish attack of 1565 (I will describe this in a later post) 

The chief city of Gozo, in the centre of the island, is nowadays known as Victoria, in memory of the British queen, who visited and loved the place. It consists of a citadel, strongly fortified by the Knights after the great siege by the Turks in 1565, within which there is a cathedral and other buildings 

Below the citadel is a town called Rabat, which is simply the Arabic word for a suburb

We saw this piece of scratched graffiti, showing a ship of this period.

   From the citadel, there is a panoramic view of almost the whole of the island.

The Knights also first built this public wash-house, on the road from Rabat to Xlendi.

Dwejra is on the western coast of Gozo. Here we find the "Inland Sea"; a crater into which the sea flows through a fissure in the cliff. Little boats ferry visitors through this to the open water.

The cliffs inside have colourful lichens, which unfortunately didn't come out well on my pictures.

Also at Dwejra is the "Fungus Rock", where the Knights discovered a rare plant believed to have marvellous medicinal properties, and which they therefore had guarded to prevent any unauthorised access. (It is actually not a fungus at all, but a parasitic plant). The other famous sight here; the "Azure Window", a spectacular natural rock arch; sadly collapsed into the sea in 2017.

We stopped for lunch at Xlendi, a pleasant little bay.

In conclusion, Gozo is well worth a visit!