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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 […]

The Dual Death of Harold II August 16, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
The Dual Death of Harold II

Beachcombing had an argument at dinner tonight about the Battle of Hastings and the fate of the Anglo-Saxon battle leader Harold (c. 1022-1066) and wants to get rid of his angst. Hastings, 1066, was, of course, the battle with which British history begins (or, according to a minority opinion, ends). William soon to be Conqueror (aka […]

The Soccer War of 1969 August 15, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Soccer War of 1969

Beachcombing, po-faced, has to note that most modern historians do not like to refer to the Soccer War of 1969 (La guerra del fútbol) as, well, ‘the Soccer War’. ‘The Hundred Hours War’ or better still ‘the Salvador–Honduras War’ is preferred with a lot of attendant Marxist bilge about poor Salvadoran peasants engaged in class conflict in Honduras. […]

Review: Off the Beaten Track in the Classics August 14, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Review: Off the Beaten Track in the Classics

Beachcombing has to go and prepare a birthday surprise for a beloved niece and so decided that, today, he would limit himself to a quick write up of one of his favourite ancient history books: Carl Kaeppel’s Off the Beaten Track in the Classics (Melbourne 1936). If the name does not excite you then the […]

Image: First light August 13, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Image: First light

Beachcombing has recently being putting together a series of photographs for his WIBT (‘Wish I’d been there’) series. He decided that he would open this series with an extraordinary shot from the Battle of Britain that teases him out of thought. Four Spitfires are taking off in the morning from an airfield: the early light and the […]

The Mystery of Hanno’s Fiery Streams August 12, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
The Mystery of Hanno's Fiery Streams

Regular readers will know that Beachcombing has visited the Voyage of Hanno before and that this text, written in Hellenistic Greek, purports to describe a Carthaginian expedition down the western coast of Africa in the early centuries B.C., in an age when good Mediterranean folk had as little to do with the sub-Saharan side of the continent […]

Unicorns in Sixteenth-Century Arabia? August 11, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
Unicorns in Sixteenth-Century Arabia?

And so we role the dice of history again and this time three words, interesting alone, delectable in combination, appear on the table: ‘Mecca’, ‘unicorn’ and ‘Varthema’. Beachcombing will begin with the least known of these words. Varthema, first name Ludovico (c. 1465-1517) was an explorer from Bologna who in the sixteenth century made his way into […]

Latin or Celtic Arthur? August 10, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Latin or Celtic Arthur?

Beachcombing has that distinctive ringing in his inner ear: the sure sign that he has an Arthurian post coming on. In fact, he is being drawn, ‘like a dog returning to its vomit’ (Prov 26, 11), to an early obsession of his, the origin of the name Arthur. First, for those lucky folks who do not […]

A Hitlerian Invisible Library August 9, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
A Hitlerian Invisible Library

            Many documents went missing as the Third Reich came crashing down in flames in 1945, documents that would be of the greatest interest to historians today. What, for example, would a modern museum pay for Hitler’s letters to Eva Braun or his letters, for that matter, to Himmler. Millions […]

Republic of Indian Stream August 8, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Republic of Indian Stream

          Beachcombing has an entire filing cabinet given over to the theme of ‘Forgotten Kingdoms’: a name that is fairly self explanatory, and that, in the last years, has come to include Forgotten Republics as well. This brings Beachcombing to one of the most unlikely and sparsely populated states of the past, the Republic […]

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