jump to navigation
  • An Ancient Count of St Germain February 11, 2018

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    An Ancient Count of St Germain

    If you want to write a wacko book about humanoid lizards and immortals with kilts and poor sword etiquette living among us this might just be the passage for you. Beach’s reading from today is from Herodotus (‘I never disappoint’) of Halicarnassus and the hero is one Aristeas (seventh century BC), known among the Greeks […]

    Were There Really Arrow Storms? February 10, 2018

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
    Were There Really Arrow Storms?

    There are a number of antique and medieval references to massive numbers of arrows creating arrow storms in battles. Some readers will remember, for example the arrows blotting out the sun at Thermopylae: ‘Good, we shall fight in the shade etc’. But did these arrow storms really take place? Just how many arrows could an […]

    Islam: a Warlike Religion? November 29, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval, Modern
    Islam: a Warlike Religion?

    As part of Europe’s culture wars and as part of the continuing ‘War on Terror’ we in the west are constantly talking about Islam. Among these debates there is the question of Islam’s supposedly violent nature. Unlikely couplings of bearded prophet types and bespectacled intellectuals discuss lines from the Koran. There are even surreal exchanges where […]

    The Half Million Club: Biggest Ancient and Medieval Cities November 11, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
    The Half Million Club: Biggest Ancient and Medieval Cities

    The half million club is a select group of nine human settlements that managed to break the half million population mark in Antiquity or in the Middle Ages: the biggest cities around before the discovery of the New World. To give some sorts of limit to this exercise six chronological moments have been chosen at […]

    Sphinx Dream November 5, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Sphinx Dream

    It is one of the earliest dreams recorded in history. Very approximately 1400 BC an Egyptian prince, Menkheperure, was riding out by the pyramids. We know this with some exactitude because Menkheperure later had the events of that memorable day written out in stone (pictured above). After some hunting, Menkheperure decided to shelter from the […]

    Leprosy Spell October 22, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Leprosy Spell

    Location: Roman Italy where leprosy is well documented. This is one of these ancient treatments that is presented as science but reeks of magic. Aim: limit progression of leprosy Ingredients: bugs, fire, earthenware pot, linen cloth, rose leaves, salt, vinegar and water. Method: (i) Gather some insects in. These should be cantharides (spanish fly, fat […]

    Mermaid Monday: Creepy Mermaid Writes September 11, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Mermaid Monday: Creepy Mermaid Writes

    It is the single most important mermaid sighting of them all, because it is the Babylonian creation myth (or part of the same). Our source is Berossus, a Chaldean historian, writing in the Greek tradition of history: a Herodotus wannabe, in the third century B.C. In one of the surviving fragments of his book (which […]

    Super Swimmer Shoots Arrow Down September 8, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Super Swimmer Shoots Arrow Down

    Here is a remarkable feat of arms recorded as a poem on an inscription, put up in AD 118 on the banks of the Danube by a Roman soldier, Soranus. Given that this is a public statement of the feat, we can assume that it actually happened. This is I, once the best known of […]

    Review: A Cabinet of Byzantine Curiosities August 30, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
    Review: A Cabinet of Byzantine Curiosities

    Anthony Kaldellis, A Cabinet of Byzantine Curiosities: Strange Tales and Surprising Facts from History’s Most Orthodox Empire (OUP 2017) Between about 1880 and 1960 British and American publishers occasionally brought out curiosity books in small print runs by capable people. These books were on delightful but inconsequential subjects: the eccentricities of Chinese court etiquette; descriptions of […]

    Myths of Twentieth-Century History August 6, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
    Myths of Twentieth-Century History

    Seven twentieth century myths follow. Any other contributions or angry rebuttals, drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com Great War: A Disaster Waiting to Happen, 1914 The Great War was going to happen sooner or later because two countries, Germany and France, wanted it. However, the consensus that the Great War would have inevitably led to the ‘breaking […]

    Buried Standing Up July 22, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval, Modern
    Buried Standing Up

    In the rusty old filing cabinet that provides fodder for this blog there is somewhere a file on men being buried upright. However, Beach has failed to find said file for the last three years, so despairing he hands the problem over to his readers. Famous or not so famous people from history who decided […]

    Lost Book on Magical Chameleons May 14, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Lost Book on Magical Chameleons

    This blog has long championed the lost books of antiquity and the middle ages. But there have been few greater tragedies for the bizarrist, surely, than the disappearance of an early Greek volume entitled On the Power and the Nature of the Chameleon. The chameleon is to be found through large part of the Mediterranean […]

    Greek Hot Air Balloon? May 7, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Greek Hot Air Balloon?

    This little tale appears in a vaguely sceptical Aulus Gellius, whose Attic Nights provides some very enjoyable reading for those wishing to travel back into the ancient world. that which Archytas the Pythagorean [obit 347 BC] is said to have devised and accomplished ought to seem no less marvellous, but yet not wholly absurd. For […]

    Index Biography #41: Prize a book April 30, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Index Biography #41: Prize a book

    ***Stephen C got this*** Scroll down for the answer*** The Index Biography is a quiz pioneered by this blog and introduced in a previous post. The creator must find a biography of a famous individual from history, they must turn to the index and write down eight peripheral facts about the individual’s life. We offered up […]

    Chasing Off Demons in Roman Slovenia April 6, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Chasing Off Demons in Roman Slovenia

    Beach is coming back to the Battle of the Frigidus in 394, by all means click the link if you need to refresh your memory. As Theodosius is bringing his army up to fight Eugenius’s army something rather strange is described by the historian Rufinus. But the pagans [Eugenius’ army], who are always giving fresh […]

    Page 1 of 2512345...1020...Last »