History News Network | Infographic of the Week: The planet’s history of violence over 4,000 years in one simple map

Are you surprised or is it as you would have expected?

Source: History News Network | Infographic of the Week: The planet’s history of violence over 4,000 years in one simple map

A new ‘geography of violence’ map reveals where in the world major battles in the past 4,000 years have taken place.

The interactive journey through ‘every battle’ has been created not from historical records but from entries to Wikipedia.

It was created by a Dutch company LAB1100, a research and development firm established by Pim van Bree and Geert Kessels. Explore the map here.

They used Wikidata and DBpedia, which extracts…

Source: History News Network | Infographic of the Week: The planet’s history of violence over 4,000 years in one simple map

Five important history books of 2015. | If It Happened Yesterday, It’s History

I am usually not one to review books on this website, but I cannot let the year slip by without mentioning some of the books that have engaged me and stirred my imagination over the year. With hundreds of history titles published every year, I’m afraid I have to be picky about the history books I purchase and read. There simply just isn’t enough time to read new books and try to juggling the research and reading required for two blogs (that I run), plus the added distraction of work and family life. This list features those books published in 2015 that I have read. I hope you find, amongst the books listed below, something that interests you. Enjoy!

Great empires and war have a strong presence in this list for 2015. First of all, Mary Beard’s SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome (Profile Books Ltd) examines how Rome grew from a small village to a power that controlled vast territory from Britain to Syria. Though this is not just a history that covers 1,000 years of political intrigue and warfare. The mechanisms of Roman life, how Romans thought about themselves and I suppose almost everything you ever wanted to ask about ancient Rome is dotted throughout this book. I have read many books on Ancient Rome and this is definitely a gem. As one of the most renowned classicists, Mary Beard sifts through fact from fiction, as if…

Source: Five important history books of 2015. | If It Happened Yesterday, It’s History

Passports Were Once Considered Offensive—Perhaps They Still Are | Atlas Obscura

A passport is one of the most powerful documents you can possess. It is also one of the more socially and politically contentious.

The little leather-bound booklets serve to identify us, but they do so in stark, non-nuanced ways that don’t tell the full story of who we are—or may even distort it. They enable mobility but also restrict it, using something as arbitrary as nationality as the determining factor.

Our relationship with passports has always been complicated. For centuries prior to the introduction of the modern passport during World War I, travel documents were generally simple letters of introduction granting special access to society’s elite. They were required of some places, but not others. For a long time, up until the second half of the 19th century, it was legal for a person of any country to go to the French or Belgian consulate and obtain one of their passports for travel. It was a loosely regulated, seemingly…

Source: Passports Were Once Considered Offensive—Perhaps They Still Are | Atlas Obscura

Dandyfunk and Slumgullion (Guest Post 9)

The modern traveller is used to eating recognisable and safe food wherever he or she visits in the world. Even in the less visited countries no one is surprised to find there is a McDonalds or similar fast food outlet to feed them from more or less the same menu as in any British or North American city. Likewise the traveller expects clean hot and cold water and at least basic toilet facilities. Not so for the traveller in late Victorian and Edwardian times. Then, you needed a pretty strong constitution and accepted what sustenance and limited comforts were available.

One great traveller was C.J. Cutcliffe Hyne (1865-1944) who claimed to have travelled 400,000 miles. He struggled as a writer for some time, writing mainly…

Source: Dandyfunk and Slumgullion (Guest Post 9)

vintage everyday: Early 1900s in Color – 24 Incredible Color Photos of Ethnic Exotic from Around the World in the Early 20th Century

If you can track it down, there’s an excellent five-part BBC television series (2007) — Edwardians in Colour: The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn — featuring the photographer’s work.

Residents of Dahomey (now Benin), photographer Frederic Gadmer, 1920.

In 1909, at the very dawn of color photography, the French banker Albert Kahn set out to visually document every culture of the global human family. With the fortune he had amassed selling securities from South African diamond mines and illegal war bonds to the Japanese, Kahn financed a team of photographers to spread across the world taking pictures. Over the next two decades, these artists and ethnographers produced over 70,000 photos across 50 countries, from Ireland to India and…

Source: vintage everyday: Early 1900s in Color – 24 Incredible Color Photos of Ethnic Exotic from Around the World in the Early 20th Century

November 5 in Literary History: Guy Fawkes Night

Interesting Literature

The most significant events in the history of books on the 5th of November

‘Remember, remember, the Fifth of November’, as the old rhyme has it – and November the 5th tends to be associated with one particular historical event. But it was also the day of several notable literary birthdays and deathdays…

1605: Guy Fawkes Night comes into being when the Yorkshire revolutionary is caught red-handed underneath the Houses of Parliament. We all know the song: Remember, remember, the Fifth of November. But did it actually happen on the 5th of November? Fawkes was actually apprehended a few minutes before midnight, which means that ‘Guy Fawkes Night’ should probably be a day earlier. The illustration below right is by George Cruickshank for Harrison Ainsworth’s 1840 novel Guy Fawkes.

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World War II Erupts: Color Photos From the Invasion of Poland, 1939 | TIME

Captured Polish soldiers, 1939.

Captured Polish soldiers, 1939.

On Sept. 1, 1939, one week after Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact, more than a million German troops—along with 50,000 Slovakian soldiers—invaded Poland. Two weeks later, a half-million Russian troops attacked Poland from the east. After years of vague rumblings, explicit threats and open conjecture about the likelihood of a global conflict—in Europe, the Pacific and beyond—the Second World War had begun.

The ostensible aim of Germany’s unprovoked assault, as publicly stated by Hitler and other prominent Nazi officials, was the pursuit of lebensraum—that is, territory deemed necessary for the expansion and survival of the Reich. But, of course, Hitler had no intention of ending his aggression at Poland’s borders, and instead was launching a…

Source: World War II Erupts: Color Photos From the Invasion of Poland, 1939 | TIME

Refugees, a different perspective

Russell Chapman

Seventy years ago, there were millions of European refugees after the second world war. After the first world war there were also millions of European refugees. After both wars, many went to the USA but that door is now closed to us if we ever find ourselves again in a similar situation. We are lucky to be born into a period of stability but this is not the long-term history of Europe. So I would suggest not being so judgemental of those who are trying to reach the relative stability of Europe from other parts of the world. History suggests we can find ourselves knocked out of our complacency and sense of stability very quickly. We are not masters of our destiny, history teaches us this.

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The Death of History

This post says everything I believe is wrong about history getting eradicated or so completely distorted that people never learn from the mistakes of the past. As my strap line says, ‘How can we improve our future if we don’t understand the past?’

History, as seen through my eyes.

I won’t need to cite any sources on this one, this is coming straight from my heart. History is dying right in front of our eyes. It pains me to see that people want to remove history simply because they don’t like it. Forget about the fact, for a second, that people have been taught a warped history about the Civil War, and focus on what this means in the big picture. NOT teaching about ALL aspects of history helps to remove the freedom of choice. Teaching about one aspect of something, that something being the North’s point of view only, removes your freedom of choice to choose.

Removing any bit of history is removing the truth from the minds of the people. The truth is what is being suppressed in the long run. Lies and deceit will reign supreme in a land where truth is removed based on personal…

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What Happened To Medieval Battlefields After the Fighting Was Over?

History Wench

It looks much like you’d expect: there was a lot of opportunistic looting after a battle. Sometimes, if the armour was old or broken, and the victorious army didn’t want to lug it home to recycle the materials, it might be left on the bodies. You see this at the graveyard from the Battle of Visby (1361), whose archaeological excavation found a number of bodies buried in old, outdated armour that apparently wasn’t worth saving. In some cases, the valuable pieces were chopped off the dead and carried away; the recently discovered Staffordshire hoard (7th century) contains bits of gold that were broken off swords, a helmet, and other things most likely looted from a battlefield, carried off to a crossroads, and buried for later recovery (this is the most recent interpretation, at least). Of course, the victors could upgrade their own equipment from those that had died. In fact, the 9th…

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Religious significance has the whip hand on the road


The Victorians — people of the age, not just those under the flag — were proudly aware that they did not know everything; though each and every day they grew to know more and more about the world. They knew how to put things together. They knew how to explore. They gloried in doing so.

This present day has no time for humility. Every blessed thing must have a trite explanation, if only to prove how superior are the know-it-all no-nothings — kids who left college unable to spell or subtract. There can never be too many ‘dark matter’ fumblings after explanation of the inexplicable for them.

Much history and most archaeology is Sherlock Holmes territory. In archaeology it’s about ‘this layer is on top of that layer, therefore…’, ‘marks in the ground here show this, whereas other marks show that…’ and so on. All fine deductive reasoning, a thought…

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The state of things

A good analysis of what has been and what state the world is in now.

Russell Chapman

The human-race is like a car which is rolling towards the edge of a cliff and instead of hitting the brakes we seem to be hitting the gas.

United Nations At the UN Headquarters, “let us beat our swords into ploughshares”

The vast majority of people just want to get on with their lives, wanting to raise their families in security both financially and physically, but we now live in a time when that is becoming harder and harder for more and more people. Society is becoming very deeply divided and tribal, politics,religion race and wealth are the dividing factors.

After World War 2, there was a period when things seemed to be going reasonably well. During that time we saw nations rebuilding themselves along with the fall of colonialism, businesses were booming and the quality of life was improving for the majority, medical care was made easily available, housing was easy…

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Happy International Women’s Day! | Saints, Sisters, and Sluts

Today, March 8, is celebrated as International Women’s Day across the world. As with many other holidays, it has evolved over time in its meaning and means of celebration. Initially, the day had a political purpose promoting the rights of women, particularly working women, demanding suffrage, and celebrating accomplishments. This is still true in many countries, although in some places the focus is simply an occasion to express love and appreciation of the women in our lives.

Maasai women rally for International Women’s Day in Tanzania in 2013, by Thomson Safaris (source)

Maasai women rally for International Women’s Day in Tanzania in 2013, by Thomson Safaris (source)

The earliest observance was in the United States on 28 February 1909 in remembrance of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union strike of 1908. The next year, at a women’s conference in Denmark, a proposal for an International Woman’s Day was put forth and agreed upon. Although no official date was decided at the time, on 19 March 1911 over a million people demonstrated across Europe promoting equal rights and suffrage for women.

The date for International Women’s Day wasn’t uniformly fixed as March 8 until…

via Happy International Women’s Day! | Saints, Sisters, and Sluts.

History Today column: Herodotus, Camden and the reclamation of history

Mathew Lyons

I have recently been reading Tom Holland’s superb new translation of Herodotus’ Histories. I am by no means an authority on classical writers, but I have always enjoyed Herodotus. He is so irrepressibly inquisitive and, in every sense, a pleasure to read. Holland has always been a fine writer, both in the clarity and subtlety of his intellect and the spare, evocative lucidity of his style. Reading the two together, as it were, has made me more aware than ever before of the exquisite tension between writer and translator.

I have also wondered why we still read Herodotus, aside from the gifts of the translators he attracts. It is partly a question of style, I think, partly of intellectual attitude and partly his distinctive collation of data. We are delighted when we believe him to be accurate; but accuracy is not a standard we demand of him. If we…

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