Abstract Strings.


Acknowledgements are for the people they mention, they are a private moment between the writer of a book and someone they feel helped them get there. Perhaps that is why we might sometimes take scan over them to see if we recognise a name or catch an anecdote, but as readers often don’t give this section allot of attention. Therefore you’d think that after playing an infinitesimal part in helping Andrea Zuvich’s A Year in Stuart Britain get to bookshelves (I actually saw it on a shelf a few days back) I might have checked the acknowledgements to see if I got thanked. Well happily for everyone who thought “Hey anyone who does that is a real narcissist”, I didn’t do that. When the book arrived, I did what I normally do; I smiled at the kind and elegant dedication and did not look for my name anywhere else in it.
Many is the time I’ve briefly scanned these little chapters of generosity and gratefulness, noting names I recognise, finding interest in the strings that can connect us, generally perusing the lists of abstract names, meaningless to me yet each representing a moment in time for the author, and sometimes wondering who I would include in an acknowledgement section, then the daydream becomes more elaborate, subplots appear, the communists are chasing a defector… and I lose half a day. Moving on.
I had picked up Andrea’s “A Year” (yeah we history bloggers use first names), to pick out an entry for September. I read with interest a letter by the Earl of Argyle to the Duke of Lauderdale entitled Cessations from 1665. Bearing in mind my assistance to the author occurred early this year, and the book arrived a few months back I suddenly realised that I should have checked the acknowledgments, why? I don’t know.
My now you should have guessed that my name is in this book, to say that I’m touched, doesn’t really cover it. Because I never thought my last minute helping hand would have merited inclusion and after reading the personalised autograph I never thought to look. But if she is anything, the 17th Century Lady is a generous lady. Therefore I have written this, not specifically to yell in delight about becoming one of those abstract strings I mentioned earlier, but to congratulate Andrea on her book, and to say in reply to her generous vote of thanks; Not at all, it was a great pleasure to help.


A review of A Year in the Life of Stuart Britain will appear here very soon. But until then take it from me, it’s a good read.


Follow Historyland On YouTube.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s my pleasure to announce that Historyland has now posted its first video on YouTube. Yes after 5 years of blogging I’m finally branching out to you guys with audio visual technology.

Anyway, if any of you guys are plugged into the Tube, I’d really appreciate your support over there. https://youtu.be/J4u-wp140o4 So all subscribes, likes and comments will be gratefully recieved by me.

see you soon for another adventure in Historyland.


Amphipolis Roundup.

The mysterious remains of an Alexandrian VIP will undergo laboratory tests to establish gender, age & likely identity.
Excavations on the large, high status tomb at Kasta near Amphipolis in North Eastern Greece has been going on since its discovery in 2012 and its penetration in August 2014. Since then more and more ancient treasures have been unearthed, hinting at who was buried inside.
The world has watched fascinated as the greatest archeological find of the 21st century (so far we hope) unfolds. So far theories of the occupant has ranged from Alexander the Great himself, to his mother, to one of his generals have kept pros and laymen alike guessing. It has been a bumpy ride, and this positive result has not never been assured.
As of 21 October Diggers hit dirt wall after excavating the 3rd Chamber. The subsequent effort to break through and preserve the floor delays the discovery of the Fourth ChAmber. Thus far excavations have cost €600,000 from ministry’s of culture, Macedonia and Thrace.
The discovery of Female headed Sphinx’ “Guarding” the tomb, apart from the high degree of skill and care so far in evidence, confirms this burial is a high profile one. Theories of a Royal inhabitant or at least one of Alexander’s Generals are highly likely.
On the 29th official statements didn’t rule out the discovery of a 4th chamber, but the outlook was dubious.
Then on 3rd November the Daily Mail was reporting a breakthrough. A secret vault had been discovered beneath room 3 reinvigorating the search and bringing back hope of finding the burial chamber.
The excavations made international news once more yesterday after diggers hit the jackpot, finding a grave with skeletal remains still inside, once secured in a now rotted wooden coffin. We now await developments.
Greek Culture Minister Costas Tasoulas has since held a press conference at the Amphipolis Museum on Saturday, November 22, at 1 p.m and Archaeologist Katerina Peristeri has presented the results of the excavation on Saturday Nov 29 at 11 a.m. However on Monday the 17th of November the Greek Culture Ministry has announced that it could take up to 8 months for results of the scientific examination to be presented.

After the considerable excitement the discovery has stirred up the laboratory findings will be eagerly anticipated by the archaeological, historical community. No one wants to commit themselves yet but confidence is high that the scientific analysis will answer questions.

Facts gathered from the Greek Reporter. International business times UK. Daily Mail. BBC. Euro News, Archeology.org.

Thought I’d just do a quick tally… As you do.

Say What?

I’m usually the sort of guy who is very irritated by people who correct my spelling. However on the other hand I’m also kind of happy that someone was kind enough to point out an error that I missed. Usually I can tell whether someone is being kind or snide, but this post is not about bad grammar or spelling, it’s about pronunciation. A not too distantly related subject but it’s specific to two words in particular. Normally I would not bother to write about such nit pick’s but in this case I am going to be dealing with foreign words, and so I feel justified in saying that we need to get them right when we say them. Plus these are two of my bugbears so TADAH! A ranting we shall go.

English speaking nations have a notorious reputation for “Barbarising” phrases of other nations, but the treatment of the word Guerrilla, Spanish for “Little War” is a particularly amusing one. For as you no doubt know it is popularly pronounced as if it was referring to the Greatest of the Apes. From TV newscasters to series’ and movies it is pronounced Gorilla, making it seem as if the phrase has more to do with the secretive nature of an endangered African animal than the strategy of Spanish insurgents. So just for the sake of sanity I’d like to set the record straight.
Gorilla: A large African Ape with great strength and intelligence, feeds on green leaves and lives in family groups lead by a dominant male called a silverback, pronounced as it is spelled.
Guerrilla: A type of low level but widespread insurgency usually conducted on a popular level, focused on hit and run attacks on an enemy’s weak points. Pronounced Gerr-ee-ya. With a hard G and usually a nice Spanish roll to the R’s if possible. At least that’s what I try to “Ape”.

My next one is a little more pedantic, and maybe I should be ashamed of myself for being picky, but it is the truth that you cannot watch any documentary about Samurai without hearing the word Bushido. And yes you’ve guessed it, most of the time English and American presenters are usually guilty of pronouncing it wrong. The word means “Way of the Warrior” and refers to the code by which a Samurai of feudal Japan conducted himself, interestingly enough Samurai is Japanese for (Servant).
The usual mistake when people pronounce this word is to lengthen it and overstate it, Boosheedo is usually what you hear but It’s actually quite a fast word and is pronounced Bushy-Doe. Yes it does conjure up an image of a verdant female deer but it’s true, honest.

Right then. That’s my little rant over with. It’s just a few things that bug me but never usually point out, and what’s a blog for if you can’t vent a little know and again.

See you next time.


Resembling Jackson

While I was looking for a suitable picture of Thomas Stonewall Jackson to tweet, I came across one of him when he a young officer in the United States Army. Looking at it I was struck by the resemblance he shared with the Actor David Hedison who starred in, among other things, the popular TV series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Judge for yourself but if I had been a producer back in the day I would have instantly grabbed him to play Young Jackson in a movie, or later in a mini series if he grew a beard. I think they look quite alike. Continue reading “Resembling Jackson”

Dinner at Pliny’s.

Ever wonder what a well off Roman might dine on during the 1st Century AD?
In one of his many letters Pliny the Younger details a rather high end dinner, while at the same time ticking off a friend for not appearing to eat it. Bad show! Since Pliny had gone to some expense to provide food and entertainment for the dinner party, no small feat, for Pliny was not a man who enjoyed excesses, the least Septitius Clarus could have done was put in an appearance. Continue reading “Dinner at Pliny’s.”

Battlefields on Google Maps.

Battlefields on Google Maps.

 One of the most fun aspects of the technology afforded us by Google maps is its street view ability. It’s very useful for planning trips, and many other things besides, because of Street view I was able to give accurate directions through a major city because I have a more than passing acquaintance with the layout of the roads from the Belgian border from Charleoi to Brussels I was able to drive (within the parameters of Street View’s roaming) around the battlefield of Waterloo.

 Now I’m not saying that this cyber walk replaces actual feet on the ground investigation but for those who want a basic look at terrain and contour, even colour and weather to a point, this is could be the best gadget to come into a History enthusiast’s hands since you put down your last book, all you need is a map from a history book and an interent connection, so here’s a post that will tell you how I used it recently.


Continue reading “Battlefields on Google Maps.”