History (Page 3)

The world is full of symbols, even if we don’t consciously consider them such. A symbol is something that represents something else through common agreement rather than anything inherent in its nature. In America, a red octagon is strongly associated with “Stop,” as is a red light. In other contexts,Continue Reading

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17th century notice punishing Christmas celebrants 5 shillings

For a long time, I often abbreviated Christianity and Christmas to Xtianity and Xmas in class for no better reason than it was quicker. Then, one day, I had a student complain the spelling was anti-Christian. This student had been a semester-long pain in the ass (accusing me of workingContinue Reading

Every semester a student asks me this question: how long did people live in ancient times? Was it really only 35 years? General life expectancy across the world for most of history was, indeed 35. However, “life expectancy” is a terribly imprecise term, giving the impression that any particular personContinue Reading

Laoise Murray as the Lady Elizabeth and Sarah Bolger as the Lady Mary in The Tudors

I spent my junior year of college at Lancaster University in Britain, which was fabulous for someone going into medieval English history. One of my courses covered Elizabethan England.  (Yes, I understand that’s not medieval.) The professor was particularly notable not just because he was American teaching English history inContinue Reading

Scotland's Facebook post

Yesterday, Scotland voted 55/45 to remain within the United Kingdom rather than separating off into an independent state that hasn’t existed since 1707. Friction on the matter has existed pretty much forever.  The Scottish see themselves as having a different culture than the English, although as someone living in theContinue Reading

Child at 9/11 rememberance

This semester, I am teaching Religions in America at UW-Oshkosh. Rather than simply being a survey course of religions, the course specifically addresses how these religions manifest in and interact with American culture. I debated long and hard whether or not I would cover Islam on Sept 11. I don’tContinue Reading

Image from http://random-anb.blogspot.com

Although there is some debate as to the specific month and day of the eruption, August 24 is the most common one given as the start of the Mt. Vesuvius eruption in 79 CE.  The disaster buried the nearby cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum and caused one of the highestContinue Reading