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The Buddha Converts to Catholicism August 31, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
The Buddha Converts to Catholicism

Dream last night in which Beachcombing was forced to sit and write an exam by his (terrifying) secondary school science teacher. The subject? Krishna naturally. Taking this as an omen of sorts Beachcombing has determined that today he will delve into Eastern religion and tell the scandalous story of the Christian saint Josaphat and his […]

Review: First Light August 30, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Review: First Light

  Beachcombing confesses that he has gone a bit Battle-of-Britain mad in the past few weeks with several posts on ‘their finest hour’ and the RAF generally. His excuse? Well, this is, after all, the seventieth anniversary of the BoB and so he offers here another, a review of his favourite BoB book: First Light. First Light not only […]

In Search of Aristotle’s ‘On Comedy’ August 29, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
In Search of Aristotle's 'On Comedy'

            In 1928 that old grumpystiltskins K.K. Smith wrote that ‘Like many another Lost Atlantis the chapter on comedy which Aristotle may have written to conclude his analysis of Poetics has lured many a searcher into waters beyond his depths.’ And, mindful of the warning, Beachcombing straps on his Little […]

The Last ‘Battle’ of the Revenge August 28, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
The Last ‘Battle’ of the Revenge

                          Beachcombing is not a great one for anniversaries but for Flores, 31 August 1591, a naval ‘battle’ – if a fire-fight between a solitary ship, the Revenge, and three dozen enemy can be so called – he will make an exception. (Actually […]

Churchill’s Dream August 27, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Churchill’s Dream

                                        Beachcombing wanted to offer today an obscure bit of Churchilliana, ‘The Dream’, that, incredibly, has never been published on the internet. Whether or not it is the best thing that Churchill ever wrote is to […]

Madog: The Missing Trans-Atlantic Poem August 26, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Madog: The Missing Trans-Atlantic Poem

  Universal mourning in the Beachcombing household as (i) twelve hours on trains and in hospital beckons and, more importantly, (ii) the beloved Beachcombing babysitter has announced her intention to go to South Africa. Beachcombing spent several hours trying to convince the local South African consul that said babysitter was actually a terrorist threat but to […]

Numbers and the White Slave Trade August 25, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Numbers and the White Slave Trade

                          Numbers are hobgoblins in history, especially prior to the beginning of grown-up records in the late nineteenth century. How many people lived in Roman Britain? Well, in the last forty years estimates have ranged from a couple of hundred thousand to six million. […]

24 August 1940: The Night That Hitler Lost The War August 24, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
24 August 1940: The Night That Hitler Lost The War

                        The answer to the question of when the Third Reich doomed itself to extinction depends naturally on whom you ask. Some will tell you Germany’s failure to secure the Mediterranean in 1942 was crucial. Others will point to the invasion of the Soviet Union […]

Fasting Against God in Medieval Ireland August 23, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Fasting Against God in Medieval Ireland

        Beachcombing begins today with a reference to the medieval Irish belief – winningly surviving in parts of the Irish countryside to this day – that St Patrick not God would judge the Irish on the day of judgement. This makes for pretty awful theology, not least because St Patrick was expected […]

Women Drivers in Stalingrad August 22, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Women Drivers in Stalingrad

                            Beachcombing has already offered readers a series of his WIBT (‘wish I’d been there’) moments and couldn’t resist the following vignette that though unimportant in intention and outcome catches something of the Soviet Union in its worst years. Stalingrad in late […]

Centaurs in Deepest Arabia August 21, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Centaurs in Deepest Arabia

                  Phlegon of Tralles is not a Greek author of the first rank. Indeed, he rarely comes up in conversation among students of the ancient except for a reported remark concerning the death of Christ. But this small-time second-century writer, who was born in south-west Turkey and who lived […]

The Buddha in Viking Sweden August 20, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
The Buddha in Viking Sweden

                Beachcombing thought that today he would revisit a classic anomalous archaeological find: the Helgö Buddha. Knowing though his personal weaknesses, he first did some deep breathing exercises before the mirror repeating a score of times: ‘be nice about the Vikings’, ‘be nice about the Vikings’, ‘be nice […]

Biggles Meets the Sandman August 19, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Biggles Meets the Sandman

                    Beachcombing offers a post today on an unlikely WIBT meeting between two writers: T.E. Lawrence and W. E. Johns. Lawrence should need no introduction. He was a British lieutenant colonel who helped foment the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire (1916-1918). And with a self-publicising genius and an […]

Roman legionaries in Central Asia? August 18, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Roman legionaries in Central Asia?

                    Beachcombing has written before about Roman penetration into central Asia and even possible direct contacts between Rome and the Chinese Imperial court. Tonight he wants, instead, to look at a claim that Romans – it is argued legionaries – visited western Uzbekistan close to Afghanistan […]

The South Will Rise Again…in Brazil August 17, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
The South Will Rise Again...in Brazil

Carl Sandburg once wrote that the American Civil War was fought over a verb: ‘the Unites States IS’ or ‘the United States ARE’ and there can be no doubt which verb won. The South struggled with every nerve and muscle in its body. But, by 1865, the Confederate States had  lost and were dragged kicking […]

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