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  • A Roman Emperor in Second-Century China? July 16, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    A Roman Emperor in Second-Century China?

                  Classicists and Sinologists (experts on all things Chinese) spent much energy in the nineteenth and early twentieth century demonstrating that there had been contacts between the two greatest Empires of antiquity, the Chinese and the Roman. They succeeded to their own satisfaction and even came up with ‘evidence’ […]

    A Fifteenth-Century Interest in Scandinavian Plague Rats July 15, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    A Fifteenth-Century Interest in Scandinavian Plague Rats

                              The Bubonic plague was around a long time before, in 1897, scientists finally discovered what caused the illness: disease-carrying fleas on the backs of rats. Then having taken over five hundred years to work out the plague in scientific terms: these same genius […]

    A Head Turn that Ruined the Twentieth Century July 14, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    A Head Turn that Ruined the Twentieth Century

                        If you want to rewrite the history of Western Europe in the 1920s then you could do a lot worse than get rid of ‘the Roman Lawmaker’, Benito Mussolini. Just imagine – as Beachcombing has often done – the overweight dictator dropping dead in 1926, ‘Year […]

    Genocide on the Isle of Wight? July 13, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Genocide on the Isle of Wight?

                Beachcombing has noted before the refusal of archaeologists to face up to some of the bloodier customs of our ancestors. And what better example of this than the way that most archaeologists looking away on coming across any evidence of mass killings or human sacrifice in Dark Age Britain? Indeed, despite there being […]

    Adult Breast-Feeding in the Renaissance and Early Modern World July 12, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    Adult Breast-Feeding in the Renaissance and Early Modern World

                                          Beachcombing has been wasting his summer looking at Early Modern diet fads. Several have appealed to him, but certainly the one that clamoured most urgently for his attention was the belief that human breast milk was […]

    New Theory for Vesuvius, 79 AD July 11, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    New Theory for Vesuvius, 79 AD

                      Beachcombing once spent a happy two hours being given electric shocks in an academic hospital in Naples (long story…), the experience leaving him with great fondness for the Frederick II University of that city. So much so, indeed, that he thought that he would give some publicity […]

    Death by Celluloid July 10, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Death by Celluloid

                        When Beachcombing thinks of dying for your art wannabe poets from the 1890s come to mind, starving or being tiresomely consumptive in garrets in Paris or Berlin or Rome. However, Beachcombing does have a couple of examples in his files of men and women dying […]

    Medieval Sex: The Good Salvation Guide July 9, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Medieval Sex: The Good Salvation Guide

                        The sex theme continues as Beachcombing can confirm the pregnancy of Mrs B. His wife is suffering from crippling morning (afternoon and night) sickness and little Miss B is proving more and more raucous, especially when her mother is at her worst. In celebration then of procreation and the ways in which it can […]

    The Karma Sutra of the Ancient Mediterranean July 8, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    The Karma Sutra of the Ancient Mediterranean

                    If there is a heaven then Beachcombing hopes that, past the brass-band podium and the daisy strewn park, there will be a public Library of Lost Books, stocked with the works of antiquity and the middle ages that inconsiderate ancestors forgot to hand down to us. And, […]

    Cat Murder in Early Modern Ypres July 7, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Cat Murder in Early Modern Ypres

                    Beachcombing has a great interest in the barbarous customs of our ancestors that, rather against the canons of good taste, have survived into modern times. A fine example of this is the Kattenstoet festival in Ypres or, as an English-speaker might have it, the cat-killing festival. Traditionally […]

    Review: The Sledge Patrol July 6, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Review: The Sledge Patrol

                                                  Beachcombing has been delighted at the volume of correspondence for his story about Kurt the last combatant of the third Reich. Kurt though was only one of several score warriors in ‘the […]

    Did Hitler and Lenin Play Chess Together in 1909? July 5, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Did Hitler and Lenin Play Chess Together in 1909?

    Chess is sometimes called the ‘Game of Kings’. In modern times, at least, it would be truer though to call it the ‘Game of Dictators’. Such unsavoury individuals as Lenin, Napoleon, Fidel Castro, Colonel Gadaffi and the appalling Che Guevara – coming soon to a dress or a tee-shirt near you – all enjoyed the […]

    Mad Coin-Burying Halliday July 4, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Modern
    Mad Coin-Burying Halliday

                Beachcombing has noted, over the years, with great and punctilious interest, objects and people that archaeologists and historians have found in places where they almost certainly should not have been. Buddha statues in Viking Denmark, Viking weapons in pre Colonial Minnesota, American Indians in Europe… Some of these may be […]

    A Mystery Animal in Ancient Africa July 3, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    A Mystery Animal in Ancient Africa

    Beachcombing has been fascinated by the Voyage of Hanno since he was in short classicist pants. For this text, written in Hellenistic Greek, purports to describe a Carthaginian expedition down the western coast of Africa in the early centuries B.C., at a time when good Mediterranean folk had as little to do with the sub-Saharan side of the continent […]

    Nineteenth-Century Witchcraft in Hebden Bridge July 2, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Nineteenth-Century Witchcraft in Hebden Bridge

                    The British town of Hebden Bridge is to be found deep in the South Pennines. The town itself is merely quaint – it has, Beachcombing seems to remember, cobbles. But the countryside thereabouts is the stuff of Xanadu. Indeed, over-travelled Beachcombing is of the opinion that Hebden Bridge’s wooded valleys are Masada at dawn, […]

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