Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Egyptian Conquests

Previously in Herodotus

103. Thus doing he traversed the continent, until at last he passed over to Europe from Asia and subdued the Scythians and also the Thracians. These, I am of opinion, were the furthest people to which the Egyptian army came, for in their country the pillars are found to have been set up, but in the land beyond this they are no longer found. From this point he turned and began to go back; and when he came to the river Phasis, what happened then I cannot say for certain, whether the king Sesostris himself divided off a certain portion of his army and left the men there as settlers in the land, or whether some of his soldiers were wearied by his distant marches and remained by the river Phasis.

- Herodotus, Book II

More Information: Egypt, Herodotus's Book.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Sorry-I'm-Late Syndrome

If you live with someone with the "Sorry-I'm-Late Syndrome", you must resign yourself to never seeing the bride walk down the aisle, never seeing the opening moments of a movie, and never hearing the national anthem to a ball game.

- Erma Bombeck

More on Erma Bombeck

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Introduction 5

- Another installment in my series

Stories of the world during the time Winston Churchill lived in it: 1873 to 1965.

In addition to his individual qualities, there’s another reason why this blog will devote considerable space to Churchill’s immediate world and British affairs.

During this period of history Britain is the established, though fading superpower. The United
States is emerging. After World War I, it again turns inward. Russia fades in and out, too. In 1904 it is licked by the Japanese. After World War I, it is consumed by the Revolution. Only in World War II does both powers come into their own. Britain is down but under Churchill it is not out. During this period, the British Empire was the major influence on world history and Winston Churchill was the major influence on Britain’s.

This story begins with the Victorian Age at its height. Europe dominates the world. In the United States, Wild Bill Hickock, Billy the Kid, Bat Masterson, and Wyatt Earp roam.

It ends with the Space Age and Vietnam.

Franklin Roosevelt once told him, “It’s fun just being in the same century as you.” With a new century, we can no longer say that. It’s just fun. That’s the attitude behind this blog's series.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

From the Old Country Pol’s Stump Speech

- From the Good old days, when bosses ran machines and the ward healers handed out the dough –

OCP: And while I’m in the middle of my ballyhoo, remember friends the immortal words of Patrick Henry – “Give me Liberty or give me death!” All I’m saying to you is just gimme.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Age of Fish, 650 MYA - 400 MYA

It is surprising that the earliest microbes appeared just as the Earth was beginning the last fourth of it's 4.5 billion year existence.

In this period, the planet's atmosphere was poison; plants appeared toward the end and transformed the bare continents as well as the atmosphere. Plant photosynthesis takes in carbon monoxide and puts out oxygen.

Meanwhile, in the oceans, the microbes evolved into giant sea monsters, while others made their first tentative presence on the shores.

MYA = Million Years Ago
BYA = Billion Years Ago

Previous AgeMaster ListNext Age

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Egypt's Conquering Hero

Previously in Herodotus

101. As for the other kings, they could tell me of no great works which had been produced by them, and they said that they had no renown . . .

102. Therefore passing these by I shall make mention of the king who came after these, whose name was Sesostris. He (the priests said) first of all set out with ships of war from the Arabian gulf and subdued those who dwelt by the shores of the Erythraian Sea, until as he sailed he came to a sea which could no further be navigated by reason of shoals: then secondly, after he had returned to Egypt, according to the report of the priests he took a great army and marched over the continent, subduing every nation which stood in his way: and those of them whom he found valiant and fighting desperately for their freedom, in their lands he set up pillars which told by inscriptions his own name and the name of his country, and how he had subdued them by his power; but as to those of whose cities he obtained possession without fighting or with ease, on their pillars he inscribed words after the same tenor as he did for the nations which had shown themselves courageous, and in addition he drew upon them the hidden parts of a woman, desiring to signify by this that the people were cowards and effeminate.

- Herodotus, Book II

More Information: Egypt, Herodotus's Book.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Ultimate Motive of Your Life

Service must be the ultimate motive of your life. Your work is the way you perform the service. Success, happiness, and prosperity come from having served well.

- Larry Winget

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Introduction 4

- Another installment in my series

Stories of the world during the time Winston Churchill lived in it: 1873 to 1965.

He was one of the greatest writers of the century. His interest in painting led to close connections to the art world. Science, movies, sports, war -- his story touched all these areas.

Want a travel story? His escape from a South African prison and trip across the wilds of the continent established his reputation.

Want a crime story? As Home Secretary he oversaw Scotland Yard. Documentaries still show newsreel footage of him directing gun battles in London.

Want a love story? There’s his marriage, the topic of such movies as “The Gathering Storm” starring Albert Finney and Vanessa Redgrave. There’s also the abdication crisis when the king gave up his throne for the woman he loved. One man risked his career and his reputation for him: Churchill.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lord George Puts Audience in Aisle

- Another chestnut from the continuing sage of our noted playwright, Lord George Bernard Noel Shakespeare Coward –

Friend: So, was your play a hit?
LC: The last act had the audience rolling in the aisles. Well, some were rolling, a few just sat there in a daze rubbing their eyes, but most were just leaving.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Age of Geology, 4.6 BYA - 600 MYA

For 4 billion years, the most advanced form of life on Earth was single celled organisms. From the standpoint of life, this seems like a boring period but the planet was undergoing massive changes. The outer crust was settling; the atmosphere was forming; meteors (maybe even whole planets) crashed down from the sky. Mountains formed. Weather changed.

The greatest ice age in the planet's history occured. Ice and snow covered the entire planet. Then the climate warmed.

And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life.
-Genesis 1:20

MYA = Million Years Ago
BYA = Billion Years Ago

Previous AgeMaster ListNext Age

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Woman Pharoah

Previously in Herodotus

100. After this man [i.e. Egypt's first king - JL] the priests enumerated to me from a papyrus roll the names of other kings, three hundred and thirty in number; and in all these generations of men eighteen were Ethiopians, one was a woman, a native Egyptian, and the rest were men and of Egyptian race: and the name of the woman who reigned was the same as that of the Babylonian queen, namely Nitocris. Of her they said that desiring to take vengeance for her brother, whom the Egyptians had slain when he was their king and then, after having slain him, had given his kingdom to her,--desiring, I say, to take vengeance for him, she destroyed by craft many of the Egyptians. For she caused to be constructed a very large chamber under ground, and making as though she would handsel it but in her mind devising other things, she invited those of the Egyptians whom she knew to have had most part in the murder, and gave a great banquet. Then while they were feasting, she let in the river upon them by a secret conduit of large size. Of her they told no more than this, except that, when this had been accomplished, she threw herself into a room full of embers, in order that she might escape vengeance.

- Herodotus, Book II

More Information: Egypt, Herodotus's Book.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Egypt's First King

Previously in Herodotus

99. Hitherto my own observation and judgment and inquiry are the vouchers for that which I have said; but from this point onwards I am about to tell the history of Egypt according to that which I heard, to which will be added also something of that which I have myself seen.

Of Min, who first became king of Egypt, the priests said that on the one hand he banked off the site of Memphis from the river: for the whole stream of the river used to flow along by the sandy mountain-range on the side of Libya, but Min formed by embankments that bend of the river which lies to the South about a hundred furlongs above Memphis, and thus he dried up the old stream and conducted the river
so that it flowed in the middle between the mountains: and even now this bend of the Nile is by the Persians kept under very careful watch, that it may flow in the channel to which it is confined, and the bank is repaired every year; for if the river should break through and overflow in this direction, Memphis would be in danger of being overwhelmed by flood. When this Min, who first became king, had
made into dry land the part which was dammed off, on the one hand, I say, he founded in it that city which is now called Memphis; for Memphis too is in the narrow part of Egypt; and outside the city he dug round it on the North and West a lake communicating with the river, for the side towards the East is barred by the Nile itself. Then secondly he established in the city the temple of Hephaistos a great work and most worthy of mention.

- Herodotus, Book II

More Information: Egypt, Herodotus's Book.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Create a Clear Mental Picture of This

When you create a clear mental picture of where you are going in life, you become more positive, more motivated and more determined to make it a reality. You trigger your natural creativity and come up with idea after idea to help make your vision come true.

- Brian Tracy

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Age of Cosmology, 20 BYA - 4.6 BYA

Cosmology is the study of the origins of the universe. General opinion is that the universe started with a big bang. 100 years from now, who knows what general opinion will be then. As for when it, happened 20 billion years ago, 12 billion years ago or maybe some other time. We really need to be humble here.

Other stars began billions of years before the cosmic gasses in our neighborhood coalesced into our solar system. This period closes with the formation of planet Earth.

MYA = Million Years Ago
BYA = Billion Years Ago

Master List.Next Age

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Job Search in Ancient Rome

Marcus, deciding to leave the ranks of the unemployed, applied to the centurian for a position in the local police. That worthy, thinking that somewhere some village was being deprived of its idiot, nevertheless decided to ask the man a few questions.

"If you arrest two criminals and then you caputure two more, how many criminals will you take to jail?" "IIII", the man wrote down.

"If you are heading east and an informer tells you to turn up the street to your left, what direction will you be going?" "Around until he tells me to stop," the man wrote down.

"Who killed Julius Caesar?" he asked. "I don't know," the man wrote down.

The centurian looked at this and told the man to go home until he learned the answer. So, he did.

He stopped by his favorite tavern on the way and his friends asked him how it went. "Great!" he said. "My first day on the job and already I've got a murder case.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Introduction 3

- Another installment in my series

Stories of the world during the time Winston Churchill lived in it: 1873 to 1965.

This series is about that period just before that year of the divide. The man to anchor the story on is obvious.

In the 1890’s he was already famous in the fields of war, sports, and journalism. In the 1900’s he became one of the leading liberal reformers in the world. When World War I began, he was head of the British navy. When it ended, he was head of the British Army. In the Roaring Twenties he was head of the British treasury. In World War II he was one of “The Big Three” Allied leaders. In the Cold War he was Prime Minister and the world’s leading anti-Communist. He rounded out his career with the Nobel Prize in Literature.

He’s Winston Churchill.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Serbia Revolt Begins

Time: February 14, 1804
Place: Orasac, Serbia

This is Karadorde Petrovic aka “Black George”. He’s 33 years old and living in a turbulent time in a turbulent place.

Serbia is a Balkan country just SE of Austria. It is owned by the Ottoman Empire. The Empire owns all of the Balkans but it is in trouble.

Turk army leaders in the area (Dahis) have rebelled against the Sultan and have set up shop here and Bulgaria to the east. 11 years ago, the Sultan had tried to pacify the land with his first reform ferman (decree). He followed that up in 1795 with another reform bill. The Dahis ignore that along with the Sultan’s rule. In fact, their rule over the Serbs is harsher than ever.

The country is seething; their nobles plot action. But ten days ago, on February 4, 1804 the Dahis acted with a brutal plan of killings. This day is remembered by Serb historians as “The Massacre of the Serbian Knights”. But they missed one.

Black George and his men surprised the assassins sent to kill him. When the fight was over, he was alive. The assassins were dead.

Today, February 14, 1804 the remnants of Serbia’s leaders met at a small village of Orasac and elected the tough guy, Black George their leader. The fight for Serbian independence was on.

More information: Karadorde Petrovic, First Serb Uprising,

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Durant's "Our Oriental Heritage"

This is the first volume of a multi-volume series intended to cover the history of the world. After 40 years, the author got to the Age of Napoleon before old age stopped him.

I've had this set since I was a young man in the 1970's. It has been a treasure. I know I can borrow from the library but this is one of those sets that I want with me always.

The history goes lightly over politics and wars so that it can concentrate on art, culture, and everyday life. This represents a refreshing break from standard fare.

This volume covers the Middle East, India, and the Orient. It covers the entire history of those areas down to the middle of the 20th. century when the book was written. Future volumes concentrate on Western Civilization.

Durant brings a special style to this work. From his description of the invention of writing, here's an example:

An Egyptian legend relates that when the god Thoth revealed his discovery of the art of writing to King Thamos, the good King denounced it as an enemy of civilization. "Children and young people," protested the monarch, "who had hitherto been forced to apply themselves diligently to learn and retain whatever was taught them, would cease to apply themselves, and would neglect to excercise their memories."

Of course we can only guess at the origins of this wonderful toy.

Elsewhere, he conveys a sense of time by saying that as many centuries seperated Herodotus from the makers of the pyramids as seperates us from him.

I guess, the ultimate charm of his books is how he blends in the elements of civilization to bring those long-ago people to life inside our imagination. This, is the ultimate praise I can give.

In the future, I shall attempt to summarize the rest of the books in this series.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Egypt's Annual Flood

Previously in Herodotus

97. When the Nile comes over the land, the cities alone are seen rising above the water, resembling more nearly than anything else the islands in the Agean sea; for the rest of Egypt becomes a sea and the cities alone rise above water. Accordingly, whenever this happens, they pass by water not now by the channels of the river but over the
midst of the plain: for example, as one sails up from Naucratis to Memphis the passage is then close by the pyramids, whereas the usual passage is not the same even here but goes by the point of the Delta and the city of Kercasoros; while if you sail over the plain to Naucratis from the sea and from Canobos, you will go by Anthylla and the city called after Archander.

- Herodotus, Book II

More Information: Egypt, Herodotus's Book.

Non-History Jack 3/9/10

Some of my recent stuff on other places:

Twitter eye-opener
Can Sam Sloan ever be respectable?
Foundations of Investment
What are Obama's goals in Space now?

are linked here. What I'm up to when I don't blog history.

and don't forget my first Youtube video ever!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Ford on Leadership

Business that grow by development and improvement do not die. But when a business ceases to be creative, when it believes that it has reached perfection and needs to do nothing but produce - no improvement, no development - it is done.

- Henry Ford

More on Ford

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Introduction 2

- Another installment in my series

Stories of the world during the time Winston Churchill lived in it: 1873 to 1965.


In that first batch of books was “The World of Captain John Smith” by Genevieve Foster. I asked, “What is this?” My mom answered, “He’s a little like Davy Crockett, isn’t he?”

It’s all these years later and I can’t forget that book. Foster was a famous children’s author in the forties and fifties. She wrote what she called “horizontal history.” She took a person’s life and then wrote stories from around the world during the time that person lived. The person served as an anchor on which she based a general history of the world during that lifetime.

Within a short period of time, I had read every one of her books that I could get my hands on. She’s largely forgotten now. Such a shame!

For all these years I’ve wondered why anybody else didn’t pick up on this approach to writing history. And why was this just for children?

1964 marked a divide for me. My interest in history led to the history that was currently happening on television and in the newspaper. I followed the election news avidly. The years since have been “current events” to me. I remember watching them on TV or reading about them as they happened. Before 1964 was “history."

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Peel's Crisis

This is Robert Peel, the Prime Minister of Great Britain. Today, January 22, he is at the height of his power. His Tories command the majority of Parliament. He rises to commence his speech announcing his switch from protectionist trade policies to free trade ones.

He gave a detailed examination of the specific bill that would trigger the switch: the repeal of the Corn Laws. Lord John Russell, the opposition Whig leader followed with another detailed exposition in support.

There was the specific bill of corn prices. There was the larger issue of Free Trade versus Protectionism. Then there was the still larger issue of leaders taking first one side of an issue and then another. Peel, like many pols before and since, did not feel he needed to address those larger matters.

Then a young upstart, Benjamin Disraeli rose.

Let men stand by the principle by which they rise, right or wrong. I make no exception. If they bewrong, they must retire to that shade of private life with which our present rulers have so often threatened us. . . . Do not then because you see a great personage giving up his opinions – do not cheer him on, do not give so ready a reward to political tergiversation. Above all maintain the line of demarcation between the parties, for it is only by maintaining the independence of party that you can maintain the integrity of public men and the power and influence of Parliament itself.

War had been declared.

More information: Robert Peel, Benjamin Disraeli, Corn Laws.

Monday, March 1, 2010

March Blog Carnival

March History Blog Carnival is up and using a Winter Olympics theme. Very creative!

Yes, I know. I missed it. Too busy with taxes to product much this month. (Sigh!)