Saturday, January 31, 2015

Why we've Never Lived in Such Peaceful Times as Now

In The World Is Not Falling Apart published by Slate last month on 12/22/14, Steven Pinker and Andrew Mack argue that world violence is at a new low.  We've never had it so good.

All I can say to all of the historical data they present is, huh?  While actual violence may be at historic lows the threats of violence has never been higher. Examples:
  • North Korea has scrapped the armistace that ended the Korean war.  
  • Jihadists can and have struck at any time and anywhere.
  • Iran is moving rapidly towards nuclear weapons.
One could go on.  Historic trends up to now may be down but indications for the future are ominous.

Friday, January 30, 2015

France’s Wars: The Crusades 1096-1270

by Jack Le Moine

Did you ever notice that in almost every great war in history, France has been involved in some way? Here’s an example: the wars between Christians in Europe and Muslims in the Middle East for control of Palestine.

Summary: Amid much religious fervor, western Europe’s kingdoms and fiefdoms attack the Middle East in order to keep the Christian holy places accessible. Riches and glory motivate, too. Saracens counter-attack and drive the Christians out.

Background: Like Europe, the Muslim territories fought and competed against one another. In 1070 the Seljuk Turks took Jerusalem from the Saracens who had occupied it before. Where the older Saracens had welcomed Christian pilgrims and their money, the new conquerors discouraged them. This caused a wave of religious victimhood in Christian Europe not seen since the Roman persecutions 700 years before. After a half millennium of enduring invasions, the Christians were now less inclined towards peaceful non-violence.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Noah on the Flood

"Into everyone's life, a little rain must fall, but this is ridiculous."

    - Noah

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Venice Defeats Genoa

Featuring Henry Hallam

Introduction to Venice Defeats Genoa:
Henry Hallam (1777 – 1859) wrote View of the State of Europe During the Middle Ages from which this passage is taken.

During the Middle Age the Mediterranean Sea was Western Europe’s main connection with the rest of the world. The Italian city-states dominated the trade routes. Two cities were above the others. This is the story of how one of those two finally came out on top. And now, Henry Hallam.

Time: 1380
Place: Venice

The Grand Canal of Venice
circa 1760 by Francesco Guardi
Public domain image from Wikipedia.
Genoa did not stand alone in this war. A formidable confederacy was raised against Venice, which had given provocation to many enemies. Of this Francis Carrara, seignior of Padua, and the King of Hungary were the leaders. But the principal struggle was, as usual, upon the waves. During the winter of 1378 a Genoese fleet kept the sea, and ravaged the shores of Dalmatia. The Venetian armament had been weakened by an epidemic disease, and when Vittor Pisani, their admiral, gave battle to the enemy, he was compelled to fight with a hasty conscription of landsmen against the best sailors in the world.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Why Intaphrenes Was Executed

Previously in Herodotus

119. Upon this they showed themselves to the king and told the cause for which they had suffered this; and Darius, fearing that the six might have done this by common design, sent for each one separately and made trial of his inclinations, as to whether he approved of that which had been done: and when he was fully assured that Intaphrenes had not done this in combination with them, he took both Intaphrenes himself and his sons and all his kinsmen, being much disposed to believe that he was plotting insurrection against him with the help of his relations; and having seized them he put them in bonds as for execution. Then the wife of Intaphrenes, coming constantly to the doors of the king's court, wept and bewailed herself; and by doing this continually after the same manner she moved Darius to pity her. Accordingly he sent a messenger and said to her: "Woman, king Darius grants to thee to save from death one of thy kinsmen who are lying in bonds, whomsoever thou desirest of them all." She then, having considered with herself, answered thus: "If in truth the king grants me the life of one, I choose of them all my brother." Darius being informed of this, and marveling at her speech, sent and addressed her thus: "Woman, the king asks thee what was in thy mind, that thou didst leave thy husband and thy children to die, and didst choose thy brother to survive, seeing that he is surely less near to thee in blood than thy children, and less dear to thee than thy husband." She made answer: "O king, I might, if heaven willed, have another husband and other children, if I should lose these; but another brother I could by no means have, seeing that my father and my mother are no longer alive. This was in my mind when I said those words." To Darius then it seemed that the woman had spoken well, and he let go not only him for whose life she asked, but also the eldest of her sons because he was pleased with her: but all the others he slew. One therefore of the seven had perished immediately in the manner which has been related.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Solomon Also Builds His Palace

Featuring Henry Hart Milman

Previously on Solomon Builds the Great Temple. And now Henry Hart Milman.

Time: 953 BC from The Temple of Solomon - (The First Temple) by Lambert Dolphin
Place: Jerusalem

Though the chief magnificence of Solomon was lavished on the Temple of God, yet the sumptuous palaces which he erected for his own residence display an opulence and profusion which may vie with the older monarchs of Egypt or Assyria. The great palace stood in Jerusalem; it occupied thirteen years in building. A causeway bridged the deep ravine, and leading directly to the Temple, united the part either of Acra or Sion,on which the palace stood, with Mount Moriah.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Solomon Dedicates the Temple

Featuring Henry Hart Milman

Previously on Solomon Builds the Great Temple. And now Henry Hart Milman.

Time: 953 BC from The Temple of Solomon - (The First Temple) by Lambert Dolphin
Place: Jerusalem

The singers, as it drew near the gate, broke out in these words: “Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in.” It was answered from the other part of the choir, “Who is the King of Glory?” --the whole choir responded, “The Lord of Hosts, he is the King of Glory.”

When the procession arrived at the Holy Place, the gates flew open; when it reached the Holy of Holies, the veil was drawn back. The Ark took its place under the extended wings of the cherubim, which might seem to fold over, and receive it under their protection. At that instant all the trumpeters and singers were at once to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice, with the trumpets, and cymbals, and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying, “For he is good, for his mercy endureth forever”, the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God. Thus the Divinity took possession of his sacred edifice.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Climate Change Since the Ice Ages

cc-by-2.0 from Wikipedia
photo by Scott Ableman
My take on George Will's latest. His column was published 1/7/15 in the Washington Post.

Summary: The world's climate has changed a lot over recorded history and before.  These changes have impacted human civilization in major ways.

 And if climate Cassandras are as conscientious as they claim to be about weighing evidence, how do they accommodate historical evidence of enormously consequential episodes of climate change not produced by human activity?
In the Medieval Warm Period (800 - 1300) the Earth was warmer than anytime in the last 8,000 years.  Northern England had vinyards.  Then global cooling set in and human upheaval resulted.  Farmland had to be abandoned and people starved.

The Little Ice Age occured in the 17th. century.  1675 was known as "the year without a summer."  Lots of change.

The climate is changing because the climate is always changing.

My Views:
While he goes too far in places, (I doubt that the wars of the 1600's were caused by climate change), this does remind us that climate has changed in the past and the change has not been due to human causes.  The problem that ordinary folks like myself have is that with the large amount of emissions that present society puts into the air it is hard not to think that this would have some impact.  I wonder if global warming is a combination of human and natural causes.

George Will almost didn't make it as a syndicated columnist. His style was considered too erudite for a general audience.

Whatever one thinks of his views, read his work for use of language and for how he marshals facts and uses logic.

Here's his Wiki bio.

Electronic Painting

by Jack Le Moine

Must chemistry be the only delivery media for paintings? Since the beginnings of civilization humanity has hung artwork on walls of homes, businesses, galleries, and public places. Artists mixed different resins with chemicals with organics and whatever other stuff goes into the paints that get put onto walls, clays, stones, woods, canvases and whatever other stuff paints are applied to and that is the fine art of painting. Whew!

What do people buy when they buy a painting? The canvas, the paints applied thereto, and the wood frame around it, of course but are the materials the main part of the sales price of art? People buy the artist’s conception and execution and, let’s face it, into the artist’s reputation. Look, I own a Renoir!

The author with his flat screen.
CC BY-SA 3.0 image by Jack Le Moine, CPA.
So, what if the delivery media for paintings were electronic instead of chemical? The major advantage of an electronic painting over an old-fashioned chemical one is that the electronic painting can show movement. The chief disadvantage will be energy consumption.

If the future of paintings is electronic, then landscapes can show trees swaying in the wind, ocean waves washing upon the beach, or clouds wafting over a meadow. The painting would be like a movie but with important differences:

  • Length - since they are not intended to be viewed at one sitting, an electronic painting could last many hours of screen time.
  • Activity – camera cuts can be few or even non-existent.
  • Subject – no story, no movie stars; most paintings and prints are landscapes. An electronic painting can consist of a camera pan of a meadow with a gurgling brook over a 24 hour period.
  • Activation – motion sensors could detect presence and turn the painting on and off for energy conservation.
  • Sound – soft background music can be turned on or off at the viewer’s choice. The silent era of movies may be due for a comeback.

The delivery devices will need to be plugged into a power source. Installers can run wires behind walls. To keep costs down the manufacturers should resist the urge to add features. These are the future version of canvases for paintings, not flat screen tv’s. Features should be limited to serving just that purpose.

Like chemistry based paintings, the electronic bases paintings of the future will be sold on the basis of the artwork incorporated on it rather than the canvas or the display device. An usb port would allow new art to be downloaded onto the device.

The biggest benefit of the electronic paintings of the future will be the great artwork that will be available to the masses.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Motivation for Success

“Bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.”

- Abraham Lincoln

More on Abraham Lincoln.

Picture: public domain from Wikipedia

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Building of the Temple

Featuring Henry Hart Milman

Previously on Solomon Builds the Great Temple. And now Henry Hart Milman.

Time: 953 BC from The Temple of Solomon - (The First Temple) by Lambert Dolphin
Place: Jerusalem

Josephus carries the whole building up to the height of the porch; but this is out of all credible proportion, making the height twice the length and six times the width. Along each side, and perhaps at the back of the main building, ran an aisle, divided into three stories of small chambers: the wall of the Temple being thicker at the bottom, left a rest to support the beams of these chambers, which were not let into the wall. These aisles, the chambers of which were appropriated as vestiaries, treasuries, and for other sacred purposes, seem to have reached about half way up the main wall of what we may call the nave and choir: the windows into the latter were probably above them; these were narrow, but widened inward.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

From the Extremities of Asia in the East to Europe in the West

Previously in Herodotus

112. Gum-mastich however, which the Arabians call ladanon, comes in a still more extraordinary manner; for though it is the most sweet-scented of all things, it comes in the most evil-scented thing, since it is found in the beards of he-goats, produced there like resin from wood: this is of use for the making of many perfumes, and the Arabians use it more than anything else as incense.

113. Let what we have said suffice with regard to spices; and from the land of Arabia there blows a scent of them most marvelously sweet. They have also two kinds of sheep which are worthy of admiration and are not found in any other land: the one kind has the tail long, not less than three cubits in length; and if one should allow these to drag these after them, they would have sores from their tails being worn away against the ground; but as it is, every one of the shepherds knows enough of carpentering to make little cars, which they tie under the tails, fastening the tail of each animal to a separate little car. The other kind of sheep has the tail broad, even as much as a cubit in breadth.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Martin Luther King Day, 2015

This may be the most political of all holidays with only one third of businesses taking the day off.  Given due regard to all sides, it does seem that with the Civil Rights revolution being so important to American History, a special day such as this one to commemorate and celebrate is needed.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Background of Israel's Temples

Featuring Henry Hart Milman

Previously on Solomon Builds the Great Temple. And now Henry Hart Milman.

Time: 953 BC from The Temple of Solomon - (The First Temple) by Lambert Dolphin
Place: Jerusalem

Solomon entered into a regular treaty, by which he bound himself to supply the Tyrians with large quantities of corn; receiving in return their timber, which was floated down to Joppa, and a large body of artificers. The timber was cut by his own subjects, of whom he raised a body of thirty thousand; ten thousand employed at a time, and relieving each other every month; so that to one month of labor they had two of rest. He raised two other corps, one of seventy thousand porters of burdens, the other of eighty thousand hewers of stone, who were employed in the quarries among the mountains. All these labors were thrown, not on the Israelites, but on the strangers who, chiefly of Canaanitish descent, had been permitted to inhabit the country.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Maps That Will Change Your View of the World

Here are some interesting maps comparing data in new, instructive and novel ways.

From BuzzFeed.
Shared from MI Laboratorio de Ideas.

This map shows the world from millions of years ago.  Tectonic plates move the continents around.  What if today's political boundaries were overlayed onto that age?  Dinosaurs come and get us!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Fate's Intersections

How many points were there in history that were decisive in determining how the world about us came to be the way it is? Many would be an answer but how many are at the very top in importance? I suggest these.
  1. The First Human
  2. Assyrians Turn from Jerusalem
  3. The Greeks Stop the Persian's Conquest of Their Homeland
  4. Roman Emperor Constantine Converts to Christianity
  5. Barbarian King Clovis Converts to Christianity
  6. Muslim Invasion of France Turned Back at Poitiers
  7. Gutenberg Brings Printing Press to Europe
  8. Lorenzo the Magnificent Energizes the Renaissance
  9. Columbus Discovers America
  10. China Outlaws International Commerce, Science Research and Development
  11. United States Declares Independence
  12. The Battle of Britain
  13. The Space Age
Some of these took place over time; some occured in moments.  A few comments on my list:

Who the first human was and when did he/she first exist is unknowable but we can infer from the surrounding evidence that at some point we must say, "this was a human".

While the introduction of the printing press was an important event, civilizastion would have gone the way of the Chinese and the Muslim World without the Renaissance and all that it did.

China's decisions curtailing extermal trade and exploration together with curtailing research negated a thousand years of decision points and progress and condemned it to the second rank of world civilizations until the closing decades of the 20th. century.

What will happen to the human race in the future depends largely upon decisions that will be made regarding space?  Humanity can be either a space-faring civilization or bound to just this one planet.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Gladstone Versus Disraeli

Once at a social gathering, Gladstone said to Disraeli, "I predict, Sir, that you will die either by hanging or of some vile disease". Disraeli replied, "That all depends, sir, upon whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Solomon’s Reign

Featuring Henry Hart Milman

Introduction to our series Solomon Builds the Great Temple:
Henry Hart Milman was an Anglican prelate and historian. This series is from his History of the Jews, published in 1829.

After all the tumultuous years from Moses and the exodus from Egypt, the wanderings in the desert, the conquest of Canaan, the struggles of the Judges, Saul and his time of troubles, David and his, Israel was at peace at last. The domain of the Hebrews was greater than at any other time, before or afterward. Now they began their next great task: the erection of a great shrine to enclose the sacred Ark of the Covenant. Honored in both history and fiction no human work of ancient or modern times has so impressed mankind as the building of Solomon's Temple. And now, Henry Hart Milman.

Time: 953 BC from The Temple of Solomon - (The First Temple) by Lambert Dolphin
Place: Jerusalem

Solomon succeeded to the Hebrew kingdom at the age of twenty. He was environed by designing, bold, and dangerous enemies. The pretensions of Adonijah still commanded a powerful party: Abiathar swayed the priesthood; Joab the army. The singular connection in public opinion between the title to the crown and the possession of the deceased monarch's harem is well understood.[1] Adonijah, in making request for Abishag, a youthful concubine taken by David in his old age, was considered as insidiously renewing his claims to the sovereignty. Solomon saw at once the wisdom of his father's dying admonition: he seized the opportunity of crushing all future opposition and all danger of a civil war. He caused Adonijah to be put to death; suspended Abiathar from his office, and banished him from Jerusalem: and though Joab fled to the altar, he commanded him to be slain for the two murders of which he had been guilty, those of Abner and Amasa. Shimei, another dangerous man, was commanded to reside in Jerusalem, on pain of death if he should quit the city. Three years afterward he was detected in a suspicious journey to Gath, on the Philistine border; and having violated the compact, he suffered the penalty.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Extremities of the Inhabited World

Previously in Herodotus

106. It seems indeed that the extremities of the inhabited world had allotted to them by nature the fairest things, just as it was the lot of Hellas to have its seasons far more fairly tempered than other lands: for first, India is the most distant of inhabited lands towards the East, as I have said a little above, and in this land not only the animals, birds as well as four-footed beasts, are much larger than in other places (except the horses, which are surpassed by those of Media called Nessaian), but also there is gold in abundance there, some got by digging, some brought down by rivers, and some carried off as I explained just now: and there also the trees which grow wild produce wool which surpasses in beauty and excellence that from sheep, and the Indians wear clothing obtained from these trees.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Napoleon, “Man of Destiny”

Featuring Sir Walter Scott

Previously on Napoleon’s First Campaign. And now Sir Walter Scott.

Time: 1796
Place: Northern Italy

Crossing the Bridge at Arcole.
In reality Napoleon was behind his lines.
Public domain image from Wikipedia.
Thus Fortune, in the course of a campaign of scarce a month, placed her favorite in full possession of the desired road to Italy, by command of the mountain-passes, which had been invaded and conquered with so much military skill. He had gained three battles over forces far superior to his own; inflicted on the enemy a loss of twenty-five thousand men in killed, wounded, and prisoners; taken eighty pieces of cannon, and twenty-one stands of colors; reduced to inaction the Austrian army; almost annihilated that of Sardinia; and stood in full communication with France upon the eastern side of the Alps, with Italy lying open before him, as if to invite his invasion. But it was not even with such laurels, and with facilities which now presented themselves for the accomplishment of new and more important victories upon a larger scale, and with more magnificent results, that the career of Bonaparte's earliest campaign was to be closed. The head of the royal house of Savoy, if not one of the most powerful, still one of the most distinguished in Europe, was to have the melancholy experience, that he had encountered with the "Man of Destiny," as he was afterward proudly called, who, for a time, had power, in the emphatic phrase of Scripture, "to bind kings with chains, and nobles with fetters of iron."

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Napoleon Advances to the Piedmont Capital

Featuring Sir Walter Scott

Previously on Napoleon’s First Campaign. And now Sir Walter Scott.

Time: 1796
Place: Northern Italy

Crossing the Bridge at Arcole.
In reality Napoleon was behind his lines.
Public domain image from Wikipedia.
Bonaparte in person came up; and seeing the necessity of dislodging the enemy from his strong post, ordered three successive attacks to be made on the castle. Joubert, at the head of one of the attacking columns, had actually, with six or seven others, made his way into the outworks, when he was struck down by a wound in the head. General Banal and Adjutant-General Quenin fell, each at the head of the column which he commanded; and Bonaparte was compelled to leave the obstinate Provera in possession of the castle for the night. The morning of the 14th brought a different scene. Contenting himself with blockading the castle of Cossaria, Bonaparte now gave battle to General Colli, who made every effort to relieve it. These attempts were all in vain. He was defeated and cut off from Beaulieu; he retired as well as he could upon Ceva, leaving to his fate the brave General Provera, who was compelled to surrender at discretion.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Reconquest of Spain

This short monograph from the Library of Congress by Charles Julian Bishko is just 33 pages long.  A little more in depth than a blog but less than a full length book.  This is from Volume 3 of the University of Wisconsin's series on the Crusades.

This complements yesterday's post.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Another How the Internet Began

Every so often we like to resurrect a post from the blog’s past. This one is from April 2, 2011. If you like the below, explore other past articles in this blog.  Author is unknown.

A revelation with an Incredibly Big Message (IBM):

Well, you might have thought that you knew how the Internet started, but here's the TRUE story ....

In ancient Israel, it came to pass that a trader by the name of Abraham Com did take unto himself a young wife by the name of Dot. And Dot Com was a comely woman, broad of shoulder and long of leg. Indeed, she was often called Amazon Dot Com.

And she said unto Abraham, her husband: "Why dost thou travel so far from town to town with thy goods when thou canst trade without ever leaving thy tent?"

And Abraham did look at her - as though she were several saddle bags short of a camel load, but simply said: "How, dear?" And Dot replied: "I will place drums in all the towns and drums in between to send messages saying what you have for sale, and they will reply telling you who hath the best price.

And the sale can be made on the drums and delivery made by Uriah's Pony Stable (UPS)."

Abraham thought long and decided he would let Dot have her way with the drums. And the drums rang out and were an immediate success. Abraham sold all the goods he had at the top price, without ever having to move from his tent. To prevent neighboring countries from overhearing what the drums were saying, Dot devised a system that only she and the drummers knew. It was called Must Send Drum Over Sound (MSDOS), and she also developed a language to transmit ideas and pictures - Hebrew To The People (HTTP)

But this success did arouse envy. A man named Maccabia did secrete himself inside Abraham's drum and began to siphon off some of Abraham's business. But he was soon discovered, arrested and prosecuted - for insider trading.

And the young men did take to Dot Com's trading as doth the greedy horsefly take to camel dung. They were called Nomadic Ecclesiastical Rich Dominican Sybarites, or NERDS.

And lo, the land was so feverish with joy at the new riches and the deafening sound of drums that no one noticed that the real riches were going to that enterprising drum dealer, Brother William of Gates, who bought off every drum maker in the land. And indeed did insist on drums to be made that would work only with Brother Gates' drumheads and drumsticks. And Dot did say: "Oh, Abraham, what we have started is being taken over by others." And Abraham looked out over the Bay of Ezekiel, or eBay as it came to be known.

He said: "We need a name that reflects what we are." And Dot replied: "Young Ambitious Hebrew Owner Operators." "YAHOO," said Abraham. And because it was Dot's idea, they named it YAHOO Dot Com.

Abraham's cousin, Joshua, being the young Gregarious Energetic Educated Kid (GEEK) that he was, soon started using Dot's drums to locate things around the countryside. It soon became known as God's Own Official Guide to Locating Everything (GOOGLE).

And that is how it all began.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

How Not to Build a Reputation

Ford in 1919.
“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.”

- Henry Ford, founder, Ford Motor Company

More on Henry Ford.

Picture: public domain from Wikipedia

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Napoleon’s First Victory

Featuring Sir Walter Scott

Previously on Napoleon’s First Campaign. And now Sir Walter Scott.

Time: 1796
Place: Northern Italy

Crossing the Bridge at Arcole.
In reality Napoleon was behind his lines.
Public domain image from Wikipedia.
At the head of his left wing, Beaulieu himself moved from Novi upon Voltri, a small town nine miles west of Genoa, for the protection of that ancient city, whose independence and neutrality were like to be held in little reverence. Thus it appears, that while the French were endeavoring to penetrate into Italy by an advance from Sardinia by the way of Genoa, their line of march was threatened by three armies of Austro-Sardinians, descending from the skirts of the Alps, and menacing to attack their flank. But, though a skilful disposition, Beaulieu's had, from the very mountainous character of the country, the great disadvantage of wanting connection between the three separate divisions; neither, if needful, could they be easily united on any point desired, while the lower line, on which the French moved, permitted constant communication and cooperation.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Epiphany, 2015

This is the traditional day that the three wise men came to worship Jesus.  Some scholars believe that Jesus was already a small boy then they arrived.  Whatever the circumstances, this story has great importance to both the historian and the theologian.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Napoleon Plans to Invade Italy

Featuring Sir Walter Scott

Previously on Napoleon’s First Campaign. And now Sir Walter Scott.

Time: 1796
Place: Northern Italy

Crossing the Bridge at Arcole.
In reality Napoleon was behind his lines.
Public domain image from Wikipedia.
The forces which Bonaparte had under his command were between fifty and sixty thousand good troops, having, many of them, been brought from the Spanish campaign in consequence of the peace with that country; but very indifferently provided with clothing, and suffering from the hardships they had endured in those mountains, barren and cold regions. The cavalry, in particular, were in very poor order; but the nature of their new field of action not admitting of their being much employed, rendered this of less consequence. The misery of the French army, until these Alpine campaigns were victoriously closed by the armistice of Cherasco, could, according to Bonaparte's authority, scarce bear description. The officers for several years had received no more than eight livres a month (twenty-pence sterling a week) in name of pay, and staff-officers had not among them a single horse. Berthier preserved, as a curiosity, an order dated on the day of the victory of Albenga, which munificently conferred a gratuity of three louis d'ors upon every general of division. Among the generals to whom this donation was rendered acceptable by their wants were, or might have been, many whose names became afterward the praise and dread of war. Augereau, Masséna, Serrurier, Joubert, Lannes, and Murat, all generals of the first consideration, served under Bonaparte in the Italian campaign.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Napoleon Takes Command

Featuring Sir Walter Scott

Introduction to our series Napoleon’s First Campaign:
This story begins with a man newly made a general with his first command. France is broke; the southern army is starving. It is told by one of the most celebrated writers of all time. This is from The Life of Napoleon Buonaparte written in 1827. And now, Sir Walter Scott.

Time: 1796
Place: Northern Italy

Crossing the Bridge at Arcole.
In reality Napoleon was behind his lines.
Public domain image from Wikipedia.
Napoleon has himself observed that no country in the world is more distinctly marked out by its natural boundaries than Italy. The Alps seem a barrier erected by nature herself, on which she has inscribed in gigantic characters "Here let ambition be staid." Yet this tremendous circumvallation of mountains, as it could not prevent the ancient Romans from breaking out to desolate the world, so it has been in like manner found, ever since the days of Hannibal, unequal to protect Italy herself from invasion. The French nation, in the times of which we treat, spoke indeed of the Alps as a natural boundary, so far as to authorize them to claim all which lay on the western side of these mountains, as naturally pertaining to their dominions; but they never deigned to respect them as such when the question respected their invading, on their own part, the territories of other states which lay on or beyond the formidable frontier. They assumed the law of natural limits as an unchallengeable rule when it made in favor of France, but never allowed it to be quoted against her interest.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Major Elections Coming in 2015

2015 is an off year election in the USA but abroad there are major elections scheduled that will affect us all.

This is from Suffragio.

Friday, January 2, 2015

France's Wars: The Vikings 793 -1066

by Jack Le Moine

Did you ever notice that in almost every great war in history, France has been involved in some way? Here’s an example: the Vikings raids on the coasts of Europe leads to conquest and the establishment of the French duchy of Normandy and from that, the conquest of England.

Summary: The peoples of Scandinavia achieved naval supremacy over the seas around Europe and across the northern Atlantic to America. They raided, conquered and settled the coastal areas of those lands.

Background: The Dark Age was on. Unable to mount a naval effort, Europe and Russia lay vulnerable to attack by sea. The Scandinavian countries developed the ultimate in naval warfare for this age, the longboat. With the means to attack at hand, desire followed. Early raids brought back slaves and wealth. Out of the cold of the remote north, the Vikings emerged.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's Day, 2015

Happy New Year from History Moments.
A new year and here’s our plans for this blog.  A lot of our stuff we publish can be located in as text files or some other e-book file.  We make these files accessible by organizing the material and publishing it as episodes.  Think of this approach like watching a TV miniseries.

Specific Plans:
Herodotus will be continued to the end of Book IV.
French Wars series will be concluded this year.
Other original articles using the you-are-there approach shall appear.
Other things of note going on in history will be brought to your attention
Expect something each day.

A website to organize the series will appear, too.
Labels shall be organized to distinguish between permanent categories and labels for specific series and miniseries.