Category Archives: HISTORY

Kievan Russia: The introduction of Christianity

Kievan Russia: The introduction of Christianity


So little is known about Kievan Russia that it has been easy to surround it with the glamour of mystery and opulence. It is true that Russian life, to the extent that any generalizations about it have meaning, centered in Kiev for centuries; it was in fact more than three and a half centuries between the advent of the Scandinavian Varangians and the far more important, enduring and fateful inundation of all Russia by the great Mongol conquests of the 12th century.

Dissolution of the Monasteries in England: 1536-1541

Dissolution of the Monasteries in England: 1536-1541

In 1534, Thomas Cromwell began his Visitation of the Monasteries. The official aim of these visits was to view the character of those running it. Unofficially, however, his other purpose was to value the properties they ran, and to take inventory of their assets. The reason for this was because at around this time, the state’s treasuries were already running low, and Henry VIII needed a new source of revenues.

The rise of Athens

The rise of Athens

It was only in the 6th century BC that Athens began the startling development that was to carry it to the centre of the european stage in social reform, industry and art.  There is a suggestion that the enterprising island of Aegina, just offshore in the Saronic Gulf, had actually blocked trade from Athens. But the city had no colonies until, in 620 BC, there were set up in the Dardanelles. These were later to give her control over the important trade timber, grain and metals from the Black Sea.

Black gold: The triumph of oil

Black gold: The triumph of oil

Yet within the single lifetime of some of its oldest inhabitants today, Europe has undergone an astonishing transformation, a transformation largely wrought by a different resource – oil. The vagaries of supply of that resource from inside and outside Europe have literally changed the history of the world.

Forest, deer parks and hunting in the time of chivalry

Forest, deer parks and hunting in the time of chivalry

Like the inclusion of crenellations, the creation of a deer park required a license from the Crown. The ownership of hunting land or the right to hunt within it was as much a symbol of noble status as the fortified dwelling or heraldic arms. Vast tracts of land, by the late 12th century maybe as much as a third of southern England, were set aside for hunting.