Writing Della: A Peek inside Deaf Education in the Gilded Age - Tue, 17 Oct 2017
Writing is always a risk. People say to “write what you know,” which is safe advice to be sure, but fiction will inevitably push these boundaries. For me, the history is what I know, so the history is where I start. But sometimes plot bunnies lead me down dangerous plot burrows. A few years ago, I was trying […] Read more...
The Road to Baguio - Sun, 08 Oct 2017
The opening scenes of Channel 4’s Indian Summers shows British families making the journey up the foothills of the Himalayas to Shimla, the Crown’s summer capital. There they will relax in the temperate climate: “dance and forget,” as one Indian observer says. “A hotbed of political, social and romantic intrigue set amid rolling hills,” the Guardian wrote, “no […] Read more...
The Early Modern Intelligencer
The Birkbeck Early Modern Society’s Final Event: A Message from Our President - Thu, 29 Jun 2017
Our next meeting takes place on Friday 7th July when Dr Stephen Brogan will be speaking on ‘From he to…
Playing and Playgoing in Early Modern England, Oxford, 23-24 June 2017 - Tue, 16 May 2017
Playing and Playgoing in Early Modern England The Queen’s College, Oxford, Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th June This interdisciplinary conference…
Cardinal Wolsey’s Today in History
The All Saints Flood of 1570 - Fri, 02 Nov 2012
Drawing: Hans Moser, Scheldt Flood, 1570(wiki)
As we look at the images of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast USA his week, here's a reminder of a devastating 16thC flood in Holland which took place this week in 1570. This was the All Saints' Flood (Allerheiligenvloed) which may have killed 20,000 in Holland and neighbouring countries, leaving many more thousands homeless.
In fact there are a series of All Saints' (Aller Heiligen) floods along the North Sea coasts of Holland, Belgium, and Germany, all taking place on or around 1st November, All Saints Day. Others took place in 1170, 1532, 1675 and most recently in 2006.
The 1570 flood took place at a critical point in the history of the Netherlands. Tax reforms had led to increasing dissatisfaction with the rule of the Spanish king Philip II and his governor, and the flood only compounded the general feelings of unrest.
By 1581 the Dutch Republic had been formed and the foundations were being laid for the Dutch golden age of exploration and influence. Although Elizabeth I of the England sent troops under Robert Dudey to assist the Dutch against the Spanish, England and Holland would end up in conflict as Dutch naval power grew in the 17thC.
How Greece lost her Marbles - Wed, 23 Mar 2011
photo: a decent view of the Parthenon without too much scaffolding (copyright the author)
On a recent trip to Athens, the cultural hot potato that is the Elgin Marbles was very much in play. Piles of leaflets at the entrance to the Acropolis make the case for the return of these treasures of the Parthenon (or stolen booty depending on your stance) from the British Museum to Athens.
A brief summary of the story:
From 1799 the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire in Constantinople was Thomas Bruce, Earl of Elgin. At this time the Ottomans were in charge of Athens, and in 1801 Elgin obtained permission (or so he claimed) to remove around half the existing sculptures from the Parthenon and other structures on the Acropolis. This his agents duly did and in by 1812 they had been shipped back to Blighty.
Although Elgin's motives were based on a love of antiquity (he had heard that some sculptures had previously been burnt to extract lime), a row broke out almost immediately, and has been running off and on for the 200 years since.
Arguments for keeping the marbles in the BM:
1. They are closer to my house (and for Londoners generally). OK, this might have held water when it took a week by sea to get to Athens, but that was before Easyjet & co.
2. The Greeks won't look after them. Pollution in Athens is less of an issue since the Olympics clean-up, and the fab new Acropolis Museum makes the BM look very last year. They even have a space ready.
3. It will set a precedent for returning stuff which will empty our museums. Well, you shouldn't have nicked it in the first place. See this site for more hot potatoes.
4. We built a nice gallery for them. Just move with the times and use it for a permanent exhibition of our best graffiti artists. The Athens galleries are full of light and a much better setting for the marbles.
That's my balanced opinion anyway.
History News Network
Trump, Mueller And The Ancient History Of Grants Of Immunity - Wed, 13 Dec 2017
As questions swirl over whether a sitting President can be indicted for a federal crime, the ancient and medieval history of providing political immunity to leaders, ambassadors, clerics and witnesses reveals a troubling past.
Documents show Gorbachev was assured US wouldn't expand NATO into Central and Eastern Europe - Wed, 13 Dec 2017
The documents show that multiple national leaders were considering and rejecting Central and Eastern European membership in NATO as of early 1990 and through 1991.