Beowulf: History, Legend, and Mythology

Analyzing how historical, legendary, and mythological elements are woven through the text of Beowulf? Introduction Although acknowledged as a foundational work of English literature, the complicated and allusive style of the longest epic poem in Old English often intimidates teachers and students alike. This digital collection will help educators to read and teach the work[…]

The Impact of the Norman Conquest of England

The conquest saw the Norman elite replace that of the Anglo-Saxons. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction The Norman conquest of England, led by William the Conqueror (r. 1066-1087 CE) was achieved over a five-year period from 1066 CE to 1071 CE. Hard-fought battles, castle building, land redistribution, and scorched earth tactics ensured that the Normans were[…]

A Brief Biography of William the Conqueror

An accomplished diplomat, gifted military commander, and ruthless overlord. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction William the Conqueror (c. 1027-1087 CE), also known as William, Duke of Normandy and William the Bastard, led the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 CE when he defeated and killed his rival Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings. Crowned King[…]

The Heroic Cult of Agamemnon in Ancient Greece

Agamemnon received heroic worship from the establishment of the sanctuary at Amyklai along with his consort Kassandra, known locally as Alexandra. The Atrid Agamemnon received cult in two Peloponnesian towns, Mycenae and Amyklai, both of which claimed to have his grave. The conflicting reports about the location of his grave correspond to early variations in the literary[…]

Top 5 Oldest Universities Worldwide

Educational institutions that have a long history have always fascinated young aspiring learners. They have a great heritage, and many remain relevant and active until today. Such entities offer classical courses as well as many modern specialties. Studying in these universities might be challenging as is it requires great effort and dedication. However, it is[…]

Why Medieval Weapons Are Popular Among American Collectors

The medieval period is often described as the “time of ignorance and superstition”. The king, his knights, and people were very superstitious. Anything out of the ordinary would draw superstition. While superstition played a major role in the people’s lives of the medieval period, safety was always a concern. Only the soldiers, archers, and knights[…]

The Aviator’s Heart: A Brazilian Pilot in the Early 20th Century

It was the turn of the twentieth century, a golden age for inventors and tinkerers. Introduction Amidst hangars full of airplanes and aviation memorabilia, visitors to Brazil’s National Air and Space Museum encounter a much stranger object. It is a gold plated celestial globe, supported by a marble statue of an Icarus-like figure with its[…]

Inca Mummies

Incan mummies (mallki) which escaped looters have, in most cases, been excellently preserved. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction The Inca civilization of Peru, as with many other ancient Andean cultures, mummified many of their dead and buried them with valuable materials such as precious metal jewellery, fine pottery, and sumptuous textiles. Important mummies could also be[…]

The Medieval Garden of the Humble Administrator in Suzhou, China

Designed at human scale, Chinese gardens are meant to be comfortable, intriguing, and pleasing at every turn. Introduction Extensive gardens are recorded in China from the third century B.C.E. onward. The scholar’s garden is often considered the most complete expression of the Chinese garden, especially in the late Ming (1573-1644) and Qing dynasties (1616-1911). These[…]

Temujin: The Reign of Genghis Khan, 1206-1227

Genghis Khan built the foundations of an empire which would ultimately control one-fifth of the globe. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction Genghis Khan (aka Chinggis Khan, c. 1162/67-1227 CE) was the founder of the Mongol Empire (1206-1368 CE) which he would rule from 1206 until his death in 1227 CE. Born Temujin, he acquired the title[…]

The Rashtrakuta Dynasty of Medieval South India

By Saurav Ranjan Datta Introduction The Rashtrakuta Dynasty ruled parts of South India from the 8th to the 10th century CE. At its zenith, their kingdom included the modern state of Karnataka in its entirety along with parts of the current Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Their importance can be gauged from the[…]

Ten Hidden Ancient Treasures in Caria, Turkey

Caria was ruled by satraps who were subject to Cyrus the Great. Introduction Located at the crossroads of many ancient civilizations, Turkey is a haven for archaeology lovers. Over the centuries, a succession of empires and kingdoms – Hittite, Lydian, Persian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine and, finally, Ottoman – ruled over Anatolia. The country’s unique cultural[…]

Pirates in the Ancient Mediterranean

Piracy was engaged in by governments and was often considered a legitimate act of war. Introduction Piracy, defined as the act of attacking and robbing a ship or port by sea, had a long history in the ancient Mediterranean stretching from the time of the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten (r. 1353-1336 BCE) and throughout the Middle Ages (c. 476-1500 CE). Piracy in[…]

Grand Illusion: The Art of Theatrical Design in the 20th Century

Exploring visual elements that deepens our comprehension of another world across the footlights and under the proscenium. Introduction Transporting an audience from their time and place to an entirely different world—tucked under and behind the proscenium arch—is the task of the theatrical designer. The designer must invoke the magnificent and the intimate with scenery, costumes,[…]

Stagestruck!: Performing Arts Caricatures in the Early 20th Century

Celebrities of song, stage, and screen were transformed into popular icons of American culture. Introduction During the early twentieth century, performing arts caricature came of age as an art form in the United States as celebrities of song, stage, and screen were transformed into popular icons of American culture. Caricatures played a prominent role in[…]

Edmund Kean and New Theatrical Forms in the Early Nineteenth Century

Kean’s acting style reframed the relation between the British theatrical tradition, the actor’s stage performance, and audience reception. In a conventional sense, Edmund Kean’s London debut at Drury Lane theater on 26 January 1814 matters because it marked the arrival to the metropole of the man who would become the early nineteenth century’s most important actor. In[…]

Paper Theaters: The Home Entertainment of Yesteryear

In the nineteenth century, enterprising toy makers developed a novel way to bring theater into the home. In the Regency era (early 1800s), live theater was so popular that it regularly inspired riots. In 1809, when the Covent Garden Theater tried to raise ticket prices, audiences were so incensed that they revolted. For more than two months[…]

Plato’s Euthyphro: Piety, Pretension, and a Playwright’s Skill

In reading Plato as Plato-the-Philosopher, one misses the nuances of Plato-the-Artist. Introduction The Dialogues of the Greek philosopher Plato (l. 428/427-348-347 BCE) have exerted such an extraordinary influence over western thought and culture for the past 2,000 years that readers in the modern day frequently approach his works as philosophical icons. The Republic is routinely taught in college classes as the blueprint for[…]

Euripides’ ‘Bacchae’ in Its Historical Context

The Peloponnesian war had been dragging on for 25 years, and the military situation was getting progressively worse for the Athenians. Euripides in Macedonia The Bacchae,[1] as we know it, was first produced in Athens under the direction of Euripides’ son, also called Euripides, in perhaps 405 BC,[2] a year or two after his father’s[…]

A History of Fighting for the Right to Party on Sundays

How the struggle over blue laws changed American politics. Bergen County, New Jersey, is one of America’s great shopping meccas. Just across the Hudson River from New York City, its Paramus Park Mall, Garden State Plaza, and many box stores and outlet malls attract hundreds of thousands of customers each day. But not on Sunday.[…]

The Rabbi, the Telegram, and the Holocaust

Seventy-seven years ago, a telegram bearing a horrifying and unforgettable message reached America’s foremost Jewish leader. It revealed the first comprehensive details about the systematic mass murder that would come to be known as the Holocaust. The author of the fateful message was Gerhart Riegner, a 30 year-old attorney serving as the Geneva representative of the World Jewish[…]

Ancient Israelite Technology

Looking at ancient Israeli construction and architecture, writing, industrial tools, and weapons of war. Introduction Technology enabled ancient Israel, the Northern Kingdom excluding Judah, to be economically prosperous and establish itself as a major political power as early as the 10th century BCE, steadily growing until its destruction in 720 BCE. Some of the most important[…]

Gardens as Pleasurable Microcosms: Comparisons and Connections

Wealthy patrons, like kings and emperors, often commissioned prominent artists and architects to design their gardens. Introduction Art is designed for a great many purposes, but much art is also, if not exclusively, designed to provide and reflect a sense of pleasure. A palace might be intended to display the power and wealth of a[…]