The Week in History,

A roundup of the week’s historical events, collected from my Twitter ramblings and expanded with contemporary and near contemporary descriptions.

Issue 1.  Mon. 13 Feb 1503. Challenge of Barletta. 13 Feb 1692. Massacre of Glencoe. 14 Feb 1779. Death of Captain Cook. 15 Feb Destruction of the USS Maine. 17 Feb Official Opening of Tut’s Tomb.

Continue reading “The Week in History,”

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.

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Continue reading “Battlefields on Google Maps.”

An excerpt about the Boers from Conan Doyle’s History.

Great Quote by the writer of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle about the Boers, the bit at the bottom is priceless.

“Take a community of Dutchmen of the type of those who defended themselves for fifty years against all the power of Spain at a time when Spain was the greatest power in the world. Intermix with them a strain of those inflexible French Huguenots who gave up home and fortune and left their country for ever at the time of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. The product must obviously be one of the most rugged, virile, unconquerable races ever seen upon earth. Take this formidable people and train them for seven generations in constant warfare against savage men and ferocious beasts, in circumstances under which no weakling could survive, place them so that they acquire exceptional skill with weapons and in horsemanship, give them a country which is eminently suited to the tactics of the huntsman, the marksman, and the rider. Then, finally, put a finer temper upon their military qualities by a dour fatalistic Old Testament religion and an ardent and consuming patriotism. Combine all these qualities and all these impulses in one individual, and you have the modern Boer—the most formidable antagonist who ever crossed the path of Imperial Britain. Our military history has largely consisted in our conflicts with France, but Napoleon and all his veterans have never treated us so roughly as these hard-bitten farmers with their ancient theology and their inconveniently modern rifles.”

Excerpt From: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. “The Great Boer War

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

What’s in a Name? The Margherita Pizza.

Last night I had a Margherita Pizza for dinner. Yum. And I would like to simply state that I think that this dish is nothing short of Italian Brilliance, possibly that country’s greatest gift to Western Civilisation! Being a Pizza enthusiast I suddenly wondered what the deal with it was and why was it called Margherita?
I Hereby show you my findings.
Pizza in one form or another has been around for centuries, decended from simple MedIterranean flatbreads, the people of Naples had called their simple creations of yeast based bread and paste Pizza long before the thing we buy at the supermarket came along.
In its origional form I don’t think it sounds very appetising, but as time went on the Pizza’s of Naples, cooked by its poorer citizens became a tourist attraction and drew wealthier diners down into the sticks to sample their tasty creations, served by open air vendors, Pizza bakeries or by peddlers. Apparently it was a favourite in winter but it bares little resemblance to what we know as Pizza today. What changed? Well in 1889 the Royal cook Raffael Esposito made three special Pizza’s for the King and his consort Queen Margherita of Savoy. One was a completely new take on the traditional plain pizza, hitherto either topped with a tomato paste (since the 16th century-ish) anchovies or olive oil and presumably that mysterious red paste. It was a pizza made with tomato sauce, olive oil, green basil and Mozzarlla cheese, the vibrant colours on this pie created the illusion of the Italian flag and the Queen enjoyed it so much that not only did cheese become prevalent on all Pizza’s from then on but this favoured creation became known as “The Margherita Pizza” and according to the True Neapolitan Pizza Association, it and the Marinara are the “only” types of Pizza in the world.

Anybody hungry?
Later, Josh.