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Tunis

Tunis is the capital and largest city of Tunisia. The greater metropolitan area of Tunis referred to as "Grand Tunis", has about 2,700,000 inhabitants, making it the third-largest city in the Maghreb region and the sixteenth-largest in the Arab world. Situated on a large Mediterranean Sea gulf, behind the Lake of Tunis and the port of La Goulette, the city extends along the coastal plain and the hills that surround it. At its core lies its ancient medina, a World Heritage Site. East of the medina through the Sea Gate begins the modern city, or Ville Nouvelle, traversed by the grand Avenue Habib Bourguiba, where the colonial-era buildings provide a clear contrast to smaller, older structures. Further east by the sea lie the suburbs of Carthage, La Marsa, Sidi Bou Said; as the capital city of the country, Tunis is the focus of Tunisian political and administrative life. It has two cultural centres, as well as a municipal theatre, used by international theatre groups and a summer festival, the International Festival of Carthage, held in July.

Tunis is the transcription of the Arabic name تونس which can be pronounced as "Tūnus", "Tūnas", or "Tūnis". All three variations were mentioned by the Greek-Syrian geographer al-Rumi Yaqout in his Mu'jam al-Bûldan. Different explanations exist for the origin of the name Tunis; some scholars relate it to the Phoenician goddess Tanith, as many ancient cities were named after patron deities. Some scholars claim that it originated from Tynes, mentioned by Diodorus Siculus and Polybius in the course of descriptions of a location resembling present-day Al-Kasbah. Another possibility is that it was derived from the Berber verbal root ens which means "to lie down" or "to pass the night". Given the variations of the precise meaning over time and space, the term Tunis can mean "camp at night", "camp", or "stop". There are some mentions in ancient Roman sources of such names of nearby towns as Tuniza, Thunusuda and Thunisa; as all of these Berber villages were situated on Roman roads, they undoubtedly served as rest-stations or stops.

The historical study of Carthage is problematic. Because its culture and records were destroyed by the Romans at the end of the Third Punic War few Carthaginian primary historical sources survive. While there are a few ancient translations of Punic texts into Greek and Latin, as well as inscriptions on monuments and buildings discovered in Northwest Africa, the main sources are Greek and Roman historians, including Livy, Appian, Cornelius Nepos, Silius Italicus, Dio Cassius, Herodotus; these writers belonged to peoples in competition, in conflict, with Carthage. Greek cities contended with Carthage over Sicily, the Romans fought three wars against Carthage. Not their accounts of Carthage are hostile. Tunis was a Berber settlement; the existence of the town is attested by sources dating from the 4th century BC. Situated on a hill, Tunis served as an excellent point from which the comings and goings of naval and caravan traffic to and from Carthage could be observed. Tunis was one of the first towns in the region to fall under Carthaginian control, in the centuries that followed Tunis was mentioned in the military histories associated with Carthage.

Thus, during Agathocles' expedition, which landed at Cape Bon in 310 BC, Tunis changed hands on various occasions. During the Mercenary War, it is possible that Tunis served as a center for the native population of the area, that its population was composed of peasants and craftsmen. Compared to the ancient ruins of Carthage, the ruins of ancient Tunis are not as large. According to Strabo, it was destroyed by the Romans in 146 BC during the Third Punic War. Both Tunis and Carthage were destroyed; the city is mentioned in the Tabula Peutingeriana as Thuni. In the system of Roman roads for the Roman province of Africa, Tunis had the title of mutatio. Tunis Romanized, was eventually Christianized and became the seat of a bishop. However, Tunis remained modestly sized compared to Carthage during this time; the modern city of Tunis was settled by Arab Muslim troops, around the 7th century AD. The medina of Tunis, the oldest section of the city, dates from this period, during which the region was conquered by the Umayyad emir Hasan ibn al-Nu'man al-Ghasani.

The city had the natural advantage of coastal access, via the Mediterranean, to the major ports of southern Europe. Early on, Tunis played a military role. From the beginning of the 8th century Tunis was the chef-lieu of the area: it became the Arabs' naval base in the western Mediterranean Sea, took on considerable military importance. Under the Aghlabids, the people of Tunis revolted numerous times, but the city benefited from economic improvements and became the second most important in the kingdom, it was the national capital, from the end of the reign of Ibrahim II in 902, until 909 when control over Ifriqiy

The Song of the Merchant Kalashnikov

A Song about Tsar Ivan Vasilyevich, the Young Oprichnik, the Valorous Merchant Kalashnikov abbreviated as The Song of the Merchant Kalashnikov, is a poem by Mikhail Lermontov written in 1837 and first published in 1838. The plot of the poem is set during Oprichnina times. Rhythmically, Kalashnikov is patterned after the Russian folk epic, its most famous scene describes a fistfight between the protagonists and oprichnik Kiribeevich. The first scene of the poem describes a banquet at the Tsar's palace. Ivan The Terrible is watching his Boyars and Oprichniki and notices that the young Oprichnik named Kiribeevich doesn't eat or drink anything and doesn't seem to enjoy the feast; when asked for a reason, Kiribeevich tells the Tsar that he fell in love with a girl named Alyona Dmitrievna. Ivan wants to help his favorite Oprichnik to organize the wedding and gives him expensive jewelry to be gifted to his future bride, but Kiribeevich doesn't mention the fact that Alyona Dmitrievna is married to a merchant named Stepan Kalashnikov.

Late in the evening of the same day, Alyona Dmitrievna, her clothes ripped, comes to her house and tells Stepan that Kiribeevich abused her when she was on her way home from the church. Kalashnikov decides to defend the honor of his family and to avenge his wife by fighting the Oprichnik in a fistfight; the fistfight is held the next morning, with the Tsar attending. Kiribeevich, being considered the best fighter, calls anyone to no one dares. Kalashikov comes and accepts the challenge. Allegorically, the merchant makes Oprichnik understand who he is and why he wants to fight Kiribeevich, much to latter's concern. Before fighting, Kiribeevich bows to Ivan The Terrible. Kalashnikov first bows to the Tsar to Kremlin and churches, - to all the Russian people; the fistfight begins. Kiribeevich strikes his opponent in his chest so hard that merchant's copper crucifix bent and entered Kalashnikov's flesh, but the merchant strikes back, hitting Oprichnik in his temple and thus killing him. Such actions were prohibited by Russian law, the violator was to be executed.

Furious, Ivan IV asks Kalashnikov. Being a novice fighter, Kalashnikov could refer to his lack of experience, but instead he confesses that he had done it voluntarily and agrees to the death penalty; the Tsar, amazed by the merchant's sincerity, fulfills his last wish: to take care of his family. The Merchant Kalashnikov - opera by Anton Rubinstein Song About the Merchant Kalashnikov - 1909 Russian film directed by Vasily Goncharov Full text of The Song of the Merchant Kalashnikov in the original Russian Full text of The Song of the Merchant Kalashnikov in English translation

Melanthera tenuifolia

Melanthera tenuifolia is a rare species of flowering plant in the aster family known by the common names Waianae Range nehe and slender-leaf nehe. It is endemic to Hawaii, it is limited to the Waianae Range of Oahu. There are 10 occurrences for a total population between 3,000 individuals. Melanthera tenuifolia is perennial herb produces daisylike yellow flower heads and dissected, lacy-looking leaves, it is federally listed as an endangered species of the United States. The main threat to the species is the loss and degradation of its habitat caused by feral ungulates, non-native plants, fire. Biota of Oahu Endemic flora of Hawaii USDA Plants Profile for Melanthera tenuifolia