Category Archives: HISTORY

Egyptomania

Egyptomania


The fashion for “Egyptian” design that swept Europe after Bonaparte’s expedition was actually a revival of sorts. Europeans had drawn inspiration from the Nile at least since the fifth century B.C., when the Greek historian Herodotus wrote his famous account of the land that even then was seen as the fountainhead of ancient wisdom. 

Guelphs and Ghibellines

Guelphs and Ghibellines

Aristocratic factionalism, popular rebellions and the relationship between Italian and German culture all combined to ensure the long-term use of the terms ‘Guelph’ and ‘Ghibelline’. Welf, the family name of Bavaria’s dukes, and Waiblingen, the Staufer family’s castle in Swabia, may have been used as rallying cries during the Battle of Weinsberg (1140) fought during the German civil war that broke out when these two great dynasties competed for the imperial title.

The Officer’s Code of Honour in Russian Empire

The Officer’s Code of Honour in Russian Empire

The Russian army in 1914 was considerably larger than that of Germany at 5 million men against the 4.5 million of Germany. Even when the 3.35 million men of the Austro – Hungarian empire are included in the total, only war on a single front would give the Central Powers enough strength to attack Russia with any chance of success.

King John of England and the French invasion

King John of England and the French invasion

When Richard the Lionheart was killed by a crossbow bolt in France in April 1199, a French chronicler, no friend of the English monarch, wrote: “God visited the kingdom of the French, for King Richard died.” Richard had been a feared and victorious enemy of France, and few believed that his younger brother and successor, John, would be a match for the formidable and experienced French king Philip II, known as Augustus.

Medieval sense of humour

Medieval sense of humour

The passions of a violent society spill over into the sense of humour you will encounter. Yes, there is humour, lots of it, amid the violence and sexism. But whether you will find it funny is a quite a different matter. For example, here is a medieval joke. One merchant asks another, ‘Are you married?’ ‘I had three wives,’ the second merchant responds, ‘but all three hanged themselves from a tree in my garden.’ The first merchant retorts, ‘Pray, give me a cutting from this miraculous tree.’