Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Military Orders: From the Twelfth to the Early Fourteenth Centuries, by Alan Forey


This book (without an image on Amazon) is a straightforward brief comparative study of the early Crusading orders, Templars, Hospitilars, Teutonic Knights, and a number of others.

On pages 47-8, I was quite taken by references to peoples and regions of northern Europe I'd never heard of:

Ungannia, Wierland, Warbolians, Warmia, Nattangia, and Bartia.

I found online references to all but the Warbolians.

I offer this list to you for your own amusement.

Image: Fearsome Templars.

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Carnivalesque XXXI

A blog carnival is a collection of recent posts with some kind of common trait. Carnivalesque is a long-running history carnival; Carnivalesque XXXI is about ancient and medieval history.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"We don't need those immigrants here"

Or do you?

As an immigrant and the descendent of immigrants, I was rather pleased to see this story about the consequences of one effort to get rid of them.

The Peutinger Map online


The Tabula Peutingeriana or Peutinger Map is a thirteenth-century reproduction of one of the wonders of Roman geographical scholarship, a map showing the world from Morocco, Spain and Thule (?) in the West to India and Sri Lanka in the East. The most remarkable part is the depiction of the main roads of the empire.

There are a number of reproductions of the Peutinger Map (including a decent one at Wikipedia) but now there is one really worth talking up: a "on-line real-size zoomable version" of the map at the Euratlas site. Go right over there and play with it.

The Euratlas site has all sorts of other useful maps, many of them historical, and a free membership gives you the ability to download some great stuff.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Emergency telephones at NU

The Vice-President Financial of Nipissing University, Vicky Payne-Mantha, has asked all faculty to express the institution's dismay at the recent vandalism of emergency telephones at the campus.

Please do your best to detect and discourage such behavior.

If you need any special motivation, the university is offering a reward for information leading to the identification and prosecution of such vandals.

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History Club at NU


An announcement from Jessica Parks and Kyra Knapp:

Our first History Pub is this Thursday upstairs at the Bull and Quench starting at 9pm, so we hope to see you there.

Also our first meeting was a success, thank you to those who were able to join us. We have decided to change the meeting time to 3:30 - 4:30 so more people can make it. Our next meeting is October 15.

Contact address: nipuhistoryclub @ hotmail.com

Image: a historical pub in Llannefydd, Wales.

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Beowulf movie

I neglected to give a link to the upcoming Beowulf movie. Once again, it seems kind of pointless to put an image here, when the link leads to two trailers and a TV spot.

Update: And here, Nekkid Beowulf (I love Matthew Gabriele's comment).

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Magna Carta for sale

There is one privately owned official copy -- that is, one issued by the English government and properly sealed -- of Magna Carta, the charter of liberties that stands at the head of the English tradition of responsible government. That copy's for sale. You probably can't afford it but you can read about it in the New York Times and examine it closely on an interactive web page.

Thanks to Scott Nokes for alerting me.

Image: the ones at the Times are better than anything I could do!

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Joseph Andrews (1977)

Joseph Andrews is an 18th century novel by Henry Fielding, who wrote Tom Jones, which was adapted into one of the best films ever made. This adaptation, too, is a lot of fun. Who could resist broad humor, great costumes, children kidnapped by gypsies, rich ladies lusting after their footmen, the Hellfire Club or something very like it, innocents abroad and abused, and a happy ending for just about everyone.

There are plenty of detailed period scenes, not just great houses and fancy carriages on the road. One great touch you might never expect: some of the action takes place in the fashionable spa of Bath. Not only does the movie show people soaking in the Roman baths, but all the streets are full of construction workers and equipment, building that spa (which was in fact done in the 18th century).

Must read the book.

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Phil Paine's Fourth Meditation on Democracy

Phil Paine writes about human evolution, bullying, modern communications, and democracy.

For the first two meditations, see here, and for the third, here.

Image: The Pink Protest organizers in Cambridge, Nova Scotia.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Nipissing University History Club meets Monday, September 24

This year's first meeting of the History Club at NU is Monday, September 24, 3-4 PM in room A 129. The club will meet every two weeks in this timeslot. If you want to contact the club officers, their address is: nipuhistoryclub AT hotmail.com.

The New Mamlukes?


The American blog Progressive Historians compares the prominent but secretive mercenary company Blackwater, whose activities in Iraq have been recently in the news, to the Mamlukes of old. Mamluke and Mamluke-like groups have come up in both my World History class and Ancient Civilizations. Is it a reasonable comparison? How about the "free companies" of the Hundred Years War as an analog?

Progressive Historians is notable for providing detailed historical arguments more often than most political blogs. One would hope that would be the case.

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Epic (and) history

On Monday in the Medieval England course I will be discussing the Old English epic Beowulf as a source for early English life; on Tuesday I'll be discussing the Sumerian epic Gilgamesh for clues about early Mesopotamian culture. Coincidence? I guess, the courses were devised and first put on years apart. I don't think this conjunction has happened before.

I didn't assign reading for either lecture, but the ambitious among you can look up translations of each work on the Web.

For Gilgamesh, you may want to look at the section of the epic (one version thereof) where Gilgamesh fights Humbaba (Huwawa).

I've linked to the Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature, which is an attempt to make Sumerian literature, generally available in specialist editions stored in specialist libraries, move widely accessible, both in editions of the Sumerian texts, and in English translation. Since Sumerian is one of the most difficult of historic languages, this is a worthy enterprise.

For Beowulf, I found it harder to make a choice from the variety of on-line translations. So to give you an idea of the challenges of translating this poem, whose audience's expectations were so different from a modern one's, I include three links: to the opening of the poem, on great Danish kings of the past, translated by Tony Romano, to another version of the opening by somebody else (no back link!), and the section on Beowulf's battle with Grendel, translated by Sullivan and Murphy.

There are complete versions on the Web, too, but I'll leave that to the enthusiasts who want to know how the stories come out.

Image: Gilgamesh and Enkidu in superhuman combat.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

It is the death of history

That is the title of an article in the Independent (UK) on the destruction of Iraqi archaeology by home-grown looters and careless American occupiers. It's everyone for his/her self and nothing is sacred.

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Religion and politics today


In the Ancient Civilizations this week we talked about the close relationship between religion and politics in the earliest records of the Middle East. Someone quite rightly pointed out that religion and politics often go together now. So of course for the next few days religion and politics met my eye every time I looked at the Web. Here are two recent news items and a slightly older one I hadn't got around to.

According to this BBC story, Pope Benedict has refused to receive US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice in person because, among other things, she was the point person who publicly rejected Pope John Paul's concerns about US policy on Iraq in 2003. A few well-informed commentators recalled to mind an occasion when Joseph Stalin brushed off papal concerns with the scornful question, "How many divisions does he have?" The point being of course that Stalin and his Soviet Union are gone, while the papacy is still here.

Then there is the piece that a friend of mine alerted me to last month, about continuing Chinese efforts to suppress Tibetan identity. The Dalai Lama in exile is the heart and soul of Tibetan resistance so (according to Newsweek):

In one of history's more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is "an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation." By barring any Buddhist monk living outside China from seeking reincarnation, the law effectively gives Chinese authorities the power to choose the next Dalai Lama, whose soul, by tradition, is reborn as a new human to continue the work of relieving suffering.
"Absurd?" "Traditional" might be a better word. When you're talking about "absurd" and "history," you've got a lot to choose from -- especially when the subject is official reasons why you should shut up and do what you are told. The raising and toppling of monuments to former god-kings doesn't seem so far out by comparison, does it?

This last item, about the "House of Wisdom," gives me the creeps:

The U.S. military has introduced "religious enlightenment" and other education programs for Iraqi detainees, some of whom are as young as 11, Marine Maj. Gen. Douglas M. Stone, the commander of U.S. detention facilities in Iraq, said yesterday.

Stone said such efforts, aimed mainly at Iraqis who have been held for more than a year, are intended to "bend them back to our will" and are part of waging war in what he called "the battlefield of the mind." Most of the younger detainees are held in a facility that the military calls the "House of Wisdom."

The religious courses are led by Muslim clerics who "teach out of a moderate doctrine," Stone said, according to the transcript of a conference call he held from Baghdad with a group of defense bloggers. Such schooling "tears apart" the arguments of al-Qaeda, such as "Let's kill innocents," and helps to "bring some of the edge off" the detainees, he said.

Now normally I'd be happy to hear that Muslim moderates were engaging with young jihadis to talk some sense into them, and once upon a time the idea of a school for that purpose might have struck me as a positive development. That was before the setting up of the prison at Guantanamo and before the US military took over Saddam Hussein's torture chambers at Abu Ghraib. I have to be deeply suspicious of an institution meant to "bend them back to our will," (whose will, exactly?) and which has appropriated the name of a long-ago Baghdadi religious school to do so. What does this "battlefield of the mind" look like, anyway? What will we know about it in 20 years that we don't know now?

What do you think?

"We're busting them down, we're making whole moderate compounds that didn't exist before."

Stone described a sort of religious insurgency that occurred at one detention facility on Sept. 2. "We had a compound of moderates for the first time overtake . . . extremists. It's never happened before. Found them, identified them, threw them up against the fence and shaved their frickin' beards off of them. . . . I mean, that is historic."

Gotta love that "religious enlightenment."

Image: A poster for the movie 300. I feel an inexorable pressure to see this flick.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Notice for students -- peer tutors needed

Student Affairs is looking for peer tutors:

Students who want tutors to help them are starting to pour into Student Affairs; unfortunately, for some reason, we are experiencing only a trickle of tutors applying as compared to the previous years' flood of applicants... We are asking you to please announce to your classes that this program exists and that students who did well in courses last year can receive payment (as well as good experience!) for tutoring other students. ... Please direct any interested students to Emily in Student Affairs.


This is a good way to get teaching experience before you apply to a Faculty of Education, here or anywhere else.


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Monday, September 17, 2007

Danger! Knowledge workers pay heed!


My NU students from last year will remember that I was in bad health then -- it was pretty obvious. At one point I could not sit, stand, or lie down without pain, which made it difficult to sleep, work or enjoy myself. You may imagine how debilitating that was.

My bad health was a product of three separate problems, which I won't detail. I have been treated for all, with some success, to the point that one of my colleagues today said I was in a "suspiciously" good humor. I like to think I'm normally like that, but who knows...

The reason for this blog post is to bring to the attention of students and colleagues -- all of whom are or hope to be "knowledge workers," and do or may sit for hours at a time -- to the terrible fate that awaits them if they don't take simple measures now. It's called "bad back." It should really be called "weak core muscles resulting from restricted activity."

On top of more exotic maladies I had just got too immobile, leaving my older and less flexible spine insufficiently supported by my too-weak torso and hip muscles. It crept up on me; I'm hardly the most sedentary person you know.

Since about January I've been doing yoga, following a TV program on "Channel One -- Body Mind and Spirit" (home also of programs on "The Other Side" and the newer but now infamous "Bollywood Workout") which spares me driving to an in-person class. The program is called Living Yoga and has done me a world of good; especially after I bought the two DVDs sold by the same teacher.

More recently I have been recommended the anti-pain program of Pete Egoscue. His on-line presence puts me off a bit, but his book Pain-free at your PC (in the NU library) is very sensible. His approach is based on the idea that modern conveniences allow people to adopt a more and more restrictive range of movement, with the result that muscle groups both get weak and fall out of balance. If the balance is corrected through simple exercise, and balance is maintained, the pain goes away without drugs, surgery, or expensive new furniture.

The Egoscue Method is entirely consistent with the yogic view of the body, and some of his exercises are very familiar, but he has a few non-yoga exercises that have done me a lot of good in a short time.

So there. I've done my duty. Please think about this issue before you have to think about it!

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Lessons in imposed democracy

Today's Washington Post has an interesting article by Shankar Vedantam entitled Lessons in Enforced Democracy (a title less accurate than the one I've chosen for this post). Vedantam has got hold of an unpublished study by Andrew Enterline and J. Michael Greig on the fate of democratic regimes imposed by foreign countries. (Unfortunately he doesn't say where this study will be published and whether it will be an article or a book. But I will keep an eye out.)

The study suggests that this usually works out badly because the countries on which democracy has been imposed lack the appropriate civic institutions. The traditional generation seems to be a turning point. Weak democracies with elections but no institutional infrastructure fail in large numbers in the first 30 years. Strong new democracies that reach 30 seem to have become very well established by that point.

I am tempted to say DUH! but really I'm pleased that this serious matter has appeared in a major American newspaper. It's an improvement over what often appears in the WP, not to speak of lesser forums like the discredited NYT. However, I wonder how much systematic thinking is behind the study. Here, for instance, is the study's recipe for success as reported by Vedantam:

...large occupation forces early on to stamp out nascent insurgencies; a clear message that occupation forces were willing to spend years to make democracy work; an ethnically homogenous population, where politics was less likely to splinter along sectarian lines; and finally, the good fortune to have neighbors that also were democratically minded, or at least neighbors who could be kept from interfering.


Is this just an ad hoc argument for a long-term US commitment to Iraq?

One thing that makes me wonder is this paragraph from the article:

Enterline and Greig said there is one large exception to their finding: India, with its myriad internal divisions, but which still has become a strong democracy. Civic culture and a strong desire for representative government undoubtedly play a role in whether stable democracies emerge, Greig said -- meaning that Iraq might yet defy the odds.


Indian democracy is a remarkable achievement, but perhaps success there indicates that civic institutions are far more important than ethnic homogeneity. After all, neither the USA nor Canada has ever had any such thing. There's always been some new wave of immigration to mix things up. Political science has known for years that having a tradition of British justice and an independent judiciary gave freed British colonies a better head start on stability than colonies of other countries. In the partition, the Republic of India got the vast bulk of the institutional inheritance of the Raj, while Pakistan just got the army. Even so, the Pakistani judicial system has shown itself recently the biggest organized force for reform.

The Vedantam article cites the problems that the Philippines have had maintaining democracy after independence from American rule; it might be interesting to compare American-imposed institutions in the Philippines to British ones in India, at a detailed level of analysis.

While we are wishing, what about a good study of Spain -- model backward Fascist state to model European democracy in less than a generation? All while suffering from domestic terrorism! Long-established democratic countries -- you know who you are -- should bow their heads in shame in the face of this example.

Update: Thanks to Will McLean, I now have a link to the Enterline and Grieg paper. Alas, the briefest of looks makes me question the analytical judgment of the authors. To term the 19th century democratization of Canada and New Zealand cases "imposed democracy" similar to the cases of Germany and Japan and now Iraq shows a profound ignorance of the internal dynamics of Canada and New Zealand in that era.

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Strutting their stuff


Some people think that Iraq's problems can be solved by partition. Having studied and taught the post-World War II partitions, I have my severe doubts.

Perhaps the most dangerous partition of that time still in effect, Israel/Palestine apart, is the partition of British India into India and Pakistan (and Bangladesh). These two important countries face each other with nuclear weapons and a large store of resentment. However, as this article from the LA Times shows, partition can have its humorous and even artistic results.

The article quotes an Indian as saying if it were a cricket competition, things wouldn't be quite so lighthearted. But when I was in Delhi in April 2005, I found many Indians generously impressed by the way Pakistan won an important series. It was apparently brilliant, but I had to take other people's word for that.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Medieval paintings the same as photographs?


Students in my Thursday afternoon seminar for World History may find this post amusing.
Of course, they may remember that I argued that even photographs aren't like photographs. If you mean, literal depictions of uncontestable reality.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

The Coutumes De Beauvaisis of Philippe De Beaumanoir, trans. by Akehurst

Last month I decided that I needed to see what this book, a summary of legal doctrine and procedure in one north French province, said about warfare. When I got hold of this translation of Beaumanoir's Customs of the Beauvaisis I found that I couldn't put it down. Legal texts of any era are not usually my favorite reading, but this had so much personality. I probably ended up reading two thirds of this heavy tome, without complaint.

One warning: given the scholarly debates around the terms vassal and fief I found it rather unfortunate that the translator was not absolutely clear what Old French terms he was translating when he used these English words.

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Beef and Liberty by Ben Rogers

A friend lent me this book with an enthusiastic recommendation, and I'm glad he did. Anyone who wonders about the origin of John Bull, or why Jack Aubery's sailors play the song "Roast Beef of Old England" before battle will enjoy this book. Likewise those who might want to know more about the comparative development of national cuisine in England and France, or the great era of the English satirical cartoon. Enjoyable and informative both.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

That Beautiful Somewhere on DVD

About the time I came to Nipissing University, about 15 years ago, another prof here, Bill Plumstead, wrote a novel set in Northern Ontario, Loon. Somehow I put off reading it for about a decade, but when I finally got around to it, I loved the book. When I went to congratulate Bill on his accomplishment, I found him sitting in his office contemplating a movie version.

Well, the movie version, That Beautiful Somewhere, has been made and despite the fact that it is in some ways quite different than Loon, I liked the movie a great deal. It had me on the edge of my seat by the end.

Only a few of my readers got any chance at all to see it in the theater. But in this modern age, small but good movies have another way of worming their way into your hearts. Bill tells me that the DVD version will be released in Canada and the US as of September 25th. He goes on to say: For myself, I add: maybe you'd like the book, too, if you can find it..

Orders can be placed through Amazon.ca in Canada (saving a few bucks) and Amazon.com in the USA. The Canadian version includes an interview with Roy Dupuis where he talks about his interests in films and his environmental work with the Rivers Foundation (saving Quebec Rivers from corporate harnessing and exploitation), which he is virtually the biggest financial contributor of. It's a wonderful interview.

I add: maybe you'd like the book, too, if you can find it.


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Other things I'm interested in

Although the major subject of this blog is "early [pre-railway] history," and providing my students with extra material is a priority, sometimes I comment on more recent events.

I've written and researched the world history of democracy, and so I can hardly be indifferent to democratic issues in my own country. One recent issue has been the question kicked around in the last few days: whether veiled women can vote in Canadian elections without showing their faces. The idea that it might be possible to vote veiled has provoked some hostile comment, notably from the Prime Minister. The Chief Electoral Officer of the country points out, though, that he has no legal power to require unveiling and if Parliament doesn't like it, only it can change the law.

I have conflicting feelings about veiling but it occurs to me that in many parts of the world, including this one, veiled Muslim women are quickly becoming an easy target, easier even than thin women (who must be anorexic) or even fat women. Are veiled women victims? If so, "blame the victim" seems to be awfully popular. (It may be a case of "blame the Muslim," but somehow it looks a little more like "blame the woman.")

Thanks to Chet Scoville for discussing this issue in his blog, The Vanity Press, in two recent posts, this one and this one. I particularly liked this historical allusion:

It's worth remembering that until the end of the nineteenth century, we did not have a secret ballot. In those days, people (well, men) voted by standing on a platform and openly declaring their allegiance -- and often fighting off gangs of the other party's thugs while they did so. It was called "the manly art of voting." Alexander MacKenzie introduced the secret ballot, and did away with all that. The "manly art of voting" was all about being required to show your face when you voted, and it was barbaric. There's nothing particularly wonderful, or, as far as I can see, anything urgent, about requiring citizens to show their faces when they vote -- especially not when most will anyway.

I don't always agree with Chet but boy he's interesting and passionate. See his recent postings for more hot stuff.

And who could forget September 11th (which I discuss both in World History and History of Islamic Civilization)?

Well, I went through all of this September 11th without anyone mentioning the six-year-old tragedy to my face. Online I did see some thoughtful reflections; but none as thoughtful as this post from driftglass which was called Sunday Mornin' Coming Down but might have been entitled The Better Universe and This One. Once again it brought home to me what a squalid era, morally and intellectually we live in.

Image: Read this.

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Meet the new Dean of Arts and Science -- over lunch

You are invited to attend the first of 2007-08's
Nipissing University Research Lunches
Food For Thought


Next Wednesday, September 19th Time: 12:30 – 1:30pm

Room: A222G (same room as last year)

Speaker: Dr. Doug Parker, Dean Arts & Science (Interim)

What might make you feel good, may not be good for you: Think twice before you click on 'send'

BY referring to Robert Barnes' two versions of "A Supplication vnto Henry VIII," the first published in 1531, the second in 1534, I discuss how the contexts of composition--in this case in particular the political and religious contexts--profoundly influence both the content and tone of discourse, especially polemical discourse. In addition, I show how Barnes' commitment to both Lutheran theology and his strident antipapalism--a commitment that teeters on the edge of zealotry--lead him in the first edition of "A`Supplication" to ignore context altogether, and how, in the second edition he attempts to temper his stridency by taking account of a complex political and religious world in which his writing is, perforce, embedded. Given the complexity and dangers of the world in which he lives--complexities and dangers that he chose to ignore in the first edition of "A` Supplication"--Barnes is "haunted" by the memory of his first version of this tract and attempts to mitigate its influence by publishing a much more politic version in 1534.

A Lunch is provided.

Free books

NU students, faculty and staff with an interest in history -- I have a box full of free books outside my office at H-312. Please help yourselves.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ronald Wright book is in the campus shop

I've been notified that the Ronald Wright book, A Short History of Progress, is now available in the Campus Shop.

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Viking burials in the news



I'd guess many of my readers have already heard about this, but I have to remark on the fact that Viking burials made the international news twice on September 10th. When was the last time that happened.

Students in Medieval England may be interested in the ship found under a pub car park (or a pub patio according to other accounts) in Merseyside in NW England. How it got there is still uncertain; so far archaeologists don't think it was put there as part of a funeral rite, as in some other cases. But the find is exciting anyway, because the ship is buried in bacteria-free blue clay and the wooden hull is well preserved. An interesting twist on the story is that is the second time this ship's been found. Back in the 30s there was digging going on in the pub basement and the workers discovered the ship. Their boss kept the find a secret to keep the archaeologists from getting in his way. It was the son of that builder who recently let the cat out of the bag.

You'll be hearing more about this over the next few years as the slow processes of investigation and preservation play out. I wonder how this will affect business at the Railway Inn?

The second burial is not a new one. In fact the story's about the exhumation of two women's bodies from the famous Oseberg ship in Norway. These bodies were found a long time ago (19th century) and reburied in an aluminum casket in 1948 to wait for future forensic technology. Now we are in the era of CSI, and scientists are seeing what they can learn. One point of particular interest is whether the older and younger women buried there were related. Some speculate that the younger woman may have been a slave killed to accompany her mistress to the other side. Such things are documented from pagan Viking times.

Image: The Gokstad ship as restored in Oslo.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

I mean, not everyone is Eratosthenes


The LA (US?) housing bubble creates a great historically-aware remark. From the LA Times, a blog discussion about whether realtors are in DeNile.

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

A sample -- Tuareg music and the medieval help desk

If you are a new student of mine, greetings. You may want to look at the previous entry for a longer introduction to this weblog.

This post is a short sample of the kind of things I like to include in it. It so happens that neither item originates with me, but both come from other historical scholars. I stumbled across these gems without hardly trying.

First, from Patahistory, is a YouTube clip, about 18 minutes long, about some Tuareg musicians from the country of Mali who are well known both for their music and their past political activities. This appeals to me because (1) all music from Mali has a strong effect on me and (2) it's a brilliant example of how diverse human life is today, and how common themes tie it together. As a fan of and teacher of world history, I'm always reminding myself that those people in Mali (for instance) are as representative of humanity in the 21st century as I am. Note how one fellow says that the heart of the Tuareg is in the Sahara with the camels, and another insists that they don't want to be restricted to the desert. They want and need good medicine and good communication as much as anyone else. Well said.

Per Omnia Saecula, a new blog, entertains us with another YouTube offering, this one on the Medieval Help Desk. I usually don't include joke posts (as opposed to amusing ones) but this is awfully good fun.


Friday, September 07, 2007

Welcome students!

I just met some of you yesterday, and I'll see the rest of you on Monday and Tuesday, so I guess it is time to say a few words about this blog.

Muhlberger's Early History was created as an informal addition to my courses at Nipissing University, though in the past year and a half it's grown to be a bit more than that (like most journals do). I try, however, to keep my students foremost in my thoughts as I add to it. Here's what you can expect to find here:

1. Those pesky but sometimes useful and interesting announcements that are constantly coming my way: "Please announce this to your classes." That's not a very efficient way to get the information across. It's better to do this:

I am writing to invite you to attend and participate in the 2nd Annual Welcome Pow Wow scheduled for Friday, September 14, 2007 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. It will be held outside the main cafeteria next to the pond (rain out location: Robert J. Surtees Athletic Centre).

The Aboriginal Learning Unit (ALU) of Canadore College and Aboriginal Services and Programs of Nipissing University are hosting this event to welcome students back to campus. As well, it is an opportunity for the campus community to participate in a social activity rooted in First Nation traditions.

Students, faculty and staff are invited to attend and participate in an event with traditional drumming, singing, dancing and food. Traditional drummers, singers and dancers (some of whom are our students) will be participating and you, the campus community are invited to join us.
2. Another kind of material is information directly related to the course material that occurrs to me during lecture or is just too long or tangential to fit into the scheduled class time. A great deal of it is in the news; you may be surprised how often history hits the various media outlets. Also there are plenty of well-informed people contributing short, medium and long pieces about subjects of historical interest.

Most of this material will be about "early history" since my specialty is medieval history and most of my teaching concerns the pre-railroad era (my personal definition of early, at least in a teaching context); however, since I sometimes teach right up the present (Islamic Civilization, this year's History of the Modern World), and have an interest in the world-wide history of democracy, recent events will creep in.

3. Finally, there will be more than a few entries that concern philosophical, historical, and political issues, either my thoughts or those of others on the web that I find interesting (not just those I agree with). I try to limit this material to avoid producing an unfocused personal blog, but on the other hand what use is a blog if it doesn't contribute occasionally to the Great Conversation?

Enough for now: To show you how this blog can be useful to you, I'm linking from here to the on-line lectures for HIST 2055 and HIST 3425 , so those of you who come here will see these resources just a little before everyone else.

Ancient History Lectures (still keyed to dates in 2000-1, I'm afraid; will fix.)

Medieval England Lectures (still says HIST 2425, a former course number for it; keyed to 2004-5.)

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