Tag Archives: history

British bombarment of Copenhagen 1802

British bombarment of Copenhagen 1802


The British had shelled the Danish capital before, in 1801, but the second onslaught was even more devastating. The Danes had repaired their city and their fleet in the meantime, but late in July 1807 the new British Foreign Secretary, George Canning, received intelligence that the Franco-Russian alliance signed at Tilsit had included a secret agreement to force Denmark and Sweden into Napoleon’s continental blockade of British trade.

Book review: The First Crusade: The Call from the East by Peter Frankopan

Book review: The First Crusade: The Call from the East by Peter Frankopan
Author: Peter Frankopan
Publisher: Bodley Head
Reviewed by: Norman Housley
Price (RRP): £20

Norman Housley has mixed feelings about the latest attempt to write a narrative of the First Crusade

Tudors at play

Tudors at play

Tudor England worked hard and played hard: “Sometimes their necks are broken, sometimes their backs, sometimes their legs, sometimes their arms” – not a description of some brutal medieval torture, but 16th century football. This sport was hugely popular, especially on occasions such as Shrove Tuesday and Ascension Day when entire villages played each other in ferocious all day encounters, the object being to capture a ball and bring it back to their own village.

János Hunyadi, 15th century Hungarian leader

János Hunyadi, 15th century Hungarian leader

János Hunyadi (c.1387 – 1456) was a 15th century Hungarian leader who was instrumental in repelling the Ottoman Turks. The son of a knight, he rose to the rank of general in the Hungarian army and served as governor of the Hungarian kingdom for six years. Hunyadi was born in Transylvania, in what is now Romania, around 1407. His father, Woyk, was a knight who had received Hunyadi castle (also in present-day Romania) from the king. This raised the family’s standing, and young János entered the knighthood.

The importance of the battle of Marathon

The importance of the battle of Marathon

“For if you agree with me that we should fight, you make your country free and your city the best in all of Greece. But if you choose not to fight, we will lose it all” (Herodotus 6.109)

So spoke the Athenian general Miltiades to his fellow general Callimachus, setting in motion one of the greatest military gambles in history. The date was 490 BC. The place was Marathon. The mission: to resist the invasion of the Persian army, the largest fighting force ancient Greece had ever seen.