jump to navigation

The Battle of the Somme in London August 4, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Battle of the Somme in London

                  Britain historically – before that dread day in 1973 when the United Kingdom signed the Treaty of Rome – prided itself on its splendid isolation. But simple geography meant that Britain was far closer to Continental Europe than Japan, say, was to Asia. And no amount of […]

Victorian Poacher Sparks Will o’ the Wisp Scare August 3, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Victorian Poacher Sparks Will o' the Wisp Scare

        About six weeks ago Beachcombing gave space to a Victorian gamekeeper’s description of a Will o’ the Wisp (or something similar) seen in a wood one night. Tonight Beachcombing gives, instead, an account from the other side of the tracks. A poacher whose tricks might explain several nineteenth-century accounts of floating lights […]

A Column of Burning Snakes August 2, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Modern
A Column of Burning Snakes

                Beachcombing has before him on his desk a volume from Frazer’s Golden Bough, perhaps the most famous work of comparative mythology ever written. In it Frazer quotes from Athenaeum (1869) concerning a difficult to forget and cruel bonfire. At Luchon in the Pyrenees on Midsummer Eve: a […]

Beachcombed 2 August 1, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Beachcombed
Beachcombed 2

    Dear Readers,                                                                  End of July 2010 Beachcombing wanted to thank all those who have written in with solutions or suggestions or witticisms in the last thirty days. He has taken care to include comments under individual posts but he particularly wants to give space and honour here to the emails relating to seven titles. follow the links […]

Bat-men and New York, 1835 July 31, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Bat-men and New York, 1835

                Beachcombing alluded in a recent post to the danger of misinformation in a world that had less instantaneous communications than our own. After all, if Beachcombing flies from London to Washington DC today and asserts, on arrival, that the French island of Corsica has sunk beneath the […]

Russian Roulette Before the Pistol July 30, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Russian Roulette Before the Pistol

              Beachcombing has never played Russian roulette. But he can think of plenty of people – mainly fictional – who have from some gentlemen in the Deer Hunter, to the hero of Royal Flash, to an all too factual bored teenage Graham Greene – though Greene’s experimentation with loaded […]

Shakespeare’s Lost Letters July 29, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Shakespeare's Lost Letters

                    There are several of Shakespeare’s works that are lost. For example, his plays Cardenio (written with Fletcher) and Love’s Labour Won both appear to have disappeared down the plug hole of time. And to these we should perhaps add a collection of Shakespearean letters that perhaps made […]

False Armistice: the Cable that Lied to a Nation July 28, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
False Armistice: the Cable that Lied to a Nation

          A story of misplaced joy with, Beachcombing promises, no elephants. In a world of instant communication it is all too easy to forget how long it once took to get a message from one side of the world to another. Think of the months needed for a seventeenth-century Spanish governor in […]

Review: War Elephants July 27, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
Review: War Elephants

                    Beachcombing is bringing Elephant Week, ‘the freakish fringe history of the largest land mammal’, to a close with a review of an outstanding recent publication War Elephants by John M. Kistler (Nebraska 2007). In this work the author covers the history of pachyderms on three continents – Africa, […]

Elephants and Burning Pigs July 26, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Elephants and Burning Pigs

                A challenge. Your army is spread across the plain when rumbling into sight come not only two hundred enemy cavalry and a thousand hoplites but, unexpectedly, thirty mounted elephants that seem very, very angry – they have been made drunk before battle according to custom. As your horse […]

The Last Elephant Charge in History? July 25, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval, Modern
The Last Elephant Charge in History?

                                                  Beachcombing has had several very useful emails from readers on the last cavalry charge in history. So many useful emails, indeed, that he has decided to risk repetition and ask […]

An Elephant Invades Italy in 1936 July 24, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary
An Elephant Invades Italy in 1936

                                Night four of Beachcombing’s Elephant week extravaganza is taken up by Richard Halliburton’s attempt to cross the Alps in 1936 on the back of an African elephant. Halliburton, a fun kind of fellow, managed to hire (and insure!) an […]

Elephants in Eighth-century Honduras? July 23, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Elephants in Eighth-century Honduras?

                                                                For the third night of Elephant Week, ‘the freakish fringe history of the largest land mammal’, Beachcombing wants to share a remarkable series of images […]

Mongol elephants in America? July 22, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Mongol elephants in America?

For the second article of Elephant Week Beachcombing thought that he would introduce one of his favourite early nineteenth-century books. Just let the title wash over you… John Ranking’s Historical researches on the conquest of Peru, Mexico, Bogota, Natchez, and Talomeco in the thirteenth century by the Mongols, accompanied with elephants: and the local agreement of […]

Execution by Elephant July 21, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval, Modern
Execution by Elephant

                                            And so begins Elephant Week – for the next seven evenings an article will be given over to the freakish fringe history of the largest land mammal. First of all, this extraordinary passage from the […]

Page 96 of 100« First...102030...9495969798...Last »