There’s no particular reason to put online this drawing by Graham Sumner, except for the best reason of all: that I like it. What you see is the Roman naval base at Velsen, just west of Amsterdam, which was in use during the reign of the emperor Tiberius. It is almost certainly identical to the fort named Flevum mentioned by Tacitus. You can read more about it here, or in Edge of Empire.
You can order Edge of Empirehere.
In the years that followed 1940 most of mainland Europe was occupying by German forces. Many of the German soldiers forming part of this occupying force stayed for years. On the battlefields of the old Western Front, German serviceman whose fathers had no doubt been veterans of the Great War often toured sites and with a pocket camera recorded their journeys in the same pilgrims past and present did.
This photograph was taken by a German soldier in 1943 and shows Caterpillar Valley Cemetery near Longueval on the Somme. Many wonder what the cemeteries looked like during the occupation and it is clear from this image that this was a site being well maintained; many Imperial War Graves Commission gardeners had stayed behind in 1940 and were still doing their pre-war work. In some cases local French people were carrying on with the task. The Germans appear to have let the work…
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JRR Tolkien was always unhappy that the native Englisc king, Harold Godwinsson lost against the foreigner and usurper, William of Normandy at Hastings. So what he did, is he took the Anglo-Saxons of yore and equipped them with the weapon that the Normans used to great effect at Hastings; The Horse – Thus creating the Rohirrim of Rohan!
“What’s a philosopher?’ said Brutha.
Someone who’s bright enough to find a job with no heavy lifting,’ said a voice in his head.”
― Terry Pratchett, Small Gods
“Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one.”
― Terry Pratchett
“Cutangle: While I’m still confused and uncertain, it’s on a much higher plane, d’you see, and at least I know I’m bewildered about the really fundamental and important facts of the universe.
Treatle: I hadn’t looked at it like that, but you’re absolutely right. He’s really pushed back the boundaries of ignorance.
They both savoured the strange warm glow of being much more ignorant than ordinary people, who were only ignorant of ordinary things.”
― Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites
“Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying ‘End-of-the-World…
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Did you hear the one about the sailors who landed on an island, built a campfire and then got blown sky-high by a geyser? No? How about the sailors who landed on an island, built a campfire and then the whole island did a deep-dive, taking them with it?
These are just a couple of tales that made the rounds in the middle ages and both are based on the misconception that whales like to float at the surface of the water and so accumulate sand on their backs; sailors in turn mistake the whales for islands and when they make camp, may either find themselves unceremoniously caught up in the whale’s blow-hole eruption or, more commonly, they make a campfire and when it gets too hot, it startles the whale into diving into the depths, taking the sailors with it to their deaths.
Another commonly-told story about the whale…
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In ancient Rome, prominent individuals could fall victim to the ultimate punishment of damnatio memoriae, a curse on their memory by senatorial decree. One famous victim was the short-lived emperor Geta (r. 211), whose statues were smashed and whose name was removed from inscriptions and documents after he had been murdered by his brother and co-ruler, Caracalla. Even a tondo from Egypt, showing the imperial family in happier days, sports a conspicuous gap where the face of the young ruler used to be.
• Friedrich Vittinghoff, Der Staatsfeind in der römischen Kaiserzeit. Untersuchungen zur „damnatio memoriae“ (Berlin 1936)
• Eric Varner, Mutilation and Transformation: Damnatio Memoriae and Roman Imperial Portraiture (Leiden – Boston 2004)
• Harriet I. Flower, The Art of Forgetting: Disgrace and Oblivion in Roman Political Culture (Chapel Hill, NC 2006)
• Florian Krüpe, Die Damnatio memoriae. Über die Vernichtung von Erinnerung. Eine Fallstudie zu Publius…
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Come all you fangirls and other assorted kiddies, gather around. Let Vemundr Karl tell you a little story regarding Thor and Loki…
Loki is the son of the giants Fárbauti and Laufey (Seen in Marvel’s Thor movie as main ice giant/evil bastard), and is the brother of Helblindi and Býleistr. Noted transgenderal shapeshifter and has some control over fire and air in some sources.
By the jötunn (ice giant) Angrboða, Loki is the father of Hel (placed by Odin as ruler of Helheim/Niflhel), the wolf Fenrir (who kills Odin at the Ragnarok), and the world serpent Jörmungandr (who kills Thor at the Ragnarok).
By his wife Sigyn, Loki is the father of Nari/Narfi whose intestines are used to bind him until the Ragnarok.
By the stallion Svaðilfari, Loki is the mother – giving birth in the form of a mare – to the eight-legged grey horse Sleipnir, who symbolically resembles a funerary bier and is ridden by Odin.
Odin’s blood-brother and NO relation to Thor (only in Marvel Comics is he Thor’s brother). Leader of the legions of jotnar and denizens of Helheim at the Ragnarok.
Fears Thor more than any of the other Gods.
Kills and is killed by Heimdallr at the Ragnarok.
In her review of scholarly discourse involving Loki, scholar Stefanie von Schnurbein (2000) comments that; “Loki, the outsider in the Northern Germanic pantheon, confounds not only his fellow deities and chronicler Snorri Sturluson [referring to the Prose Edda] but has occasioned as much quarrel among his interpreters. Hardly a monography, article, or encyclopedic entry does not begin with the reference to Loki as a staggeringly complex, confusing, and ambivalent figure who has been the catalyst of countless unresolved scholarly controversies and has elicited more problems than solutions”
Thor is the son of Odin and the personified earth, Fjörgyn (not Frigga as in the Marvel Comics) and has numerous brothers.
He is the husband of the golden-haired goddess Sif (brunette in Marvel Comics) and is also the lover of the jötunn (ice giant) Járnsaxa.
He is generally described as fierce-eyed, red-haired and red-bearded and father to Thrud, Magni and Modi.
Also, Thor does not get his power from Mjölnir (“crusher” – his hammer) but from his belt Megingjörð, and cannot wield Mjölnir without the special iron gloves, Járngreipr. He also owns the staff Gríðarvölr. Thor has two human servants, Þjálfi and Röskva, rides in a cart or chariot pulled by two goats, Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr (that he eats and resurrects), and is ascribed three dwellings: Bilskirnir, Þrúðheimr, and Þrúðvangr.
Known as the warder of earth and protector of mankind.
Kills and is killed by Jormungandr’s poison at the Ragnarok.
You are welcome
(c) 2010 Greg Mele, Chicago Swordplay Guild
While Filippo Vadi’s De arte gladiatoria dimicandi differs in the main very little from the work of Fiore dei Liberi in terms of technique, the assertion that Vadi’s work does not differ in method of communication is simply incorrect. The true originality of the De arte gladiatoria dimicandi stands in the sixteen introductory chapters that come before the illustrated leaves. These elegantly written verse chapters constitute the center of Vadi’s work and detail the main principles of swordmanship. They also mark a notable difference in the pedagogical method of the manuscript itself from all three of the dei Liberi texts.
Dei Liberi’s Fior di Battaglia are experiential manuscripts. In the Getty and Pierpoint Morgan manuscripts, the author clearly describes the various guards, attacks and mechanics of the individual techniques. Each illustration follows in a logical sequence, so that a technique is followed…
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Amanda Crum writing in WebProNews reports that –
News out of France concerning Prehistoric cave drawings that were animated by torch-light is taking the art history world by storm, and has overwhelmed this artist to the point of awe.
The cave drawings were found by archaeologist Marc Azema and French artist Florent Rivere, who suggest that Palaeolithic artists who lived as long as 30,000 years ago used animation effects on cave walls, which explains the multiple heads and limbs on animals in the drawings. The images look superimposed until flickering torch-light is passed over them, giving them movement and creating a brief animation.
“Lascaux is the cave with the greatest number of cases of split-action movement by superimposition of successive images. Some 20 animals, principally horses, have the head, legs or tail multiplied,” Azéma said.
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“Other animals become sated with venereal pleasures,” Pliny the Elder remarked in his Natural History; “man hardly knows any satiety”. As a case in point, he told a story about Messalina, the wife of the Roman Emperor Claudius, who challenged a prostitute to a contest in sexual stamina, “and outdid her, after continuous intercourse, night and day, at the twenty-fifth embrace”.
The historian Tacitus and the biographer Suetonius tell similar tales about the empress’s rampant sexual behaviour, portraying a woman who was completely out of the control of her imperial husband. Messalina was eventually executed after Claudius found out that she had married another man and was plotting to overthrow him… At least, that is the story preserved in the ancient sources. Whatever the truth may have been, Messalina was certainly described in the blackest terms possible by male authors who abhorred independent-minded women with desires of their own.
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When archaeologists talk about the Celts, they are usually referring to the Hallstatt and La Tène civilizations: the Iron Age cultures of the people living in Central Europe between, say, 850 and 50 BCE. Right now, there are two exhibitions in Stuttgart about the Celts, together called “Die Welt der Kelten”.
The first exhibition, “Kostbarkeiten der Kunst”, is in the Altes Schloβ. I liked it, even though I profoundly hate it when objects are left in the half-dark, just being beautiful in poorly-illuminated rooms. The quality of the information – important questions like “is this art?” were not ignored – offered sufficient compensation. Moreover, this exhibition is important. The idea is still alive that the Celts were making primitive imitations of classical art. The fact that Paul Jacobsthal’s Early Celtic Art, which was published in 1944, is still a standard work, proves that the subject…
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The death of Ludwig van Beethoven on 26 March 1827 followed a prolonged illness. It was witnessed by his sister-in-law and by his close friend Anselm Hüttenbrenner, who provided a vivid description of the event. Beethoven’s funeral was held three days later, and the procession was witnessed by a large crowd. He was buried in the cemetery at Währing, although his remains were moved in 1888 to Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof.
Hüttenbrenner’s account has been used to ascribe motivations of resistance and anger to Beethoven in his final moments. Beethoven’s last words, and the exact cause of Beethoven’s death have also been the subject of some disagreement.
Beethoven suffered declining health throughout the last years of his life, including the so-called “Late period” when he produced some of his most admired work. The last work he was able to complete was the substitute final movement of the String Quartet No…
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