History (Page 2)

Burning of the Knights Templar

Today’s post was inspired by a doctor’s visit when, in the waiting room, one patient abruptly informed another patient that Friday the 13th superstitions were based on the execution of the Templars. He also insisted most people don’t know that. Hasn’t everyone heard that story? Maybe it’s just a historyContinue Reading

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Bonnacon - Medieval monster that farts

Today’s page is dedicated to those fans who have wondered when I’m going to put up more bizarre historical art. About 300 years ago, some genius Japanese artist gave us He-Gassen, or “the fart war.”  I can’t make this up if I tried.  Not quite safe for work. And thenContinue Reading

The western world takes sanitation for granted, an inherent part of civilization. In truth, few places had anything even resembling sanitation until the 19th century. The Problem of Population Civilization is defined by urban living: large numbers of people living in relatively small spaces. As historical populations grew, cities grewContinue Reading

Thomas Cole's painting "Fall of Rome"

As a medievalist, 476 C.E. is arguably the beginning date of my time period, the Middle Ages. That is the date we normally give for the fall of the Western Roman Empire, although it is chosen somewhat arbitrarily, as Rome was not really functioning as an empire by that point.Continue Reading

Sainte Chapelle, gothic architecture

One of the things I deal with is the continuing use of the term Dark Age to describe the Middle Ages. It wasn’t that dark, at least not overall. It did get pretty ugly at the beginning, however, and it was definitely different from what came before it, which wasContinue Reading

This strange entity known as the Holy Roman Empire never fails to confuse students. Let’s start with what it isn’t: It’s not the Roman Empire. It’s not the Eastern or Western Roman Empires, into which the Roman Empire split in the fourth century C.E. (Western Roman Empire falls in 476Continue Reading

historical image of a hanging

Oklahoma is considering  legally preventing people from concealing themselves “in a public place by means of a robe, mask, or other disguise,” via a proposed law the media is nicknaming the “hoodie ban.”  This, of course, in the wake of the Treyvon Martin shooting, in which his wearing of aContinue Reading

The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and riffle their pockets for new vocabulary

You may have heard English is one of the harder world languages to learn as a second language. The problem is it borrows from too many sources, meaning our grammar and spelling rules are something like the Pirate Code from Pirates of the Caribbean: more like suggestions than actual rules.Continue Reading