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Shakespeare’s First Anne October 29, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Shakespeare's First Anne

Earlier this year we publicised that famous inventor of the compass, Flavio Gioia, who never, in fact, existed. Today, we offer a parallel tale from English literature: the story of Shakespeare’s first love. We refer here not to that hated appendage, Anne Hathaway, who married the bard after he got her pregnant and eventually got […]

Mythic Lines at the Alamo October 19, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Mythic Lines at the Alamo

***Dedicated to Paul Caspar/ Paul Kaspar of Santiago de Compostela and Austin Fame*** The Battle or more accurately the Siege of the Alamo took place in 1836, as a small band of irregulars, English- and Spanish-speaking, resisted a Mexican attempt to re-impose the Supreme Government’s rule in the territory that was to become Texas. Of […]

A Phantom Inventor: Flavio Gioia October 5, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
A Phantom Inventor: Flavio Gioia

Who invented the compass? The Chinese, of course. Sometime between 800 and 1000 that people began to use their lodestones to navigate at sea. But the compass also appears in Europe in the eleventh or twelfth centuries and do we have a case of borrowing (from the far orient, as with playing cards) or independent […]

The Queen of Cuba, Mermaids and a Far-Swimming Slave October 2, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
The Queen of Cuba, Mermaids and a Far-Swimming Slave

***Thanks to Invisible for the gem below*** 7 August 1871 this appeared in the Brooklyn Eagle, having apparently been excerpted from the Richmond Dispatch. The story’s title was Saved by Mermaids: A Story which Lacks Confirmation, one way of being polite about an enjoyable farrago. Apologies ahead of time for the racist tone of parts […]

Child Sacrifice in Carthage September 27, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Child Sacrifice in Carthage

Beach is getting dangerously topical. First, there was the discovery of Richard III’s bent body, next to Jesus’s wife and now an old obsession of his, Carthaginian child sacrifice is breezing through the newspapers. In fact, the right of the ancient Carthaginians to sacrifice their children has just, it seems, been outlawed by some Pittsburgh […]

Hell Fire and Death Bed Cobblers September 26, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Hell Fire and Death Bed Cobblers

***Thanks to Tom W*** Beach has lived through a couple of death bed scenes and what he remembers most from those dreadful occasions is the immense sense of peace. But in history, it seems, there is anything but peace in the final minutes of life. Indeed, the most extraordinary things are always happening to the dying. […]

Long-Knife Victims September 24, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Long-Knife Victims

Beach has several times over the years enjoyed the nonsense that historians spout about numbers. How many people lived in Roman Britain. How many witches were dragged to the stake in the burning years. How many Christians were sold in the slave markets of northern Africa in modern times? The sheer range of numbers is […]

Jesus Christ and Naked Men September 23, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Jesus Christ and Naked Men

All the fuss about Jesus’ wife the other day, put Beach in mind of an earlier controversial Biblical find, one that is, in many ways, more exciting. In 1958 a (then) young Biblical scholar Morton Smith (obit 1991) was working in the library of the Monastery of Mar Saba on the West Bank when he […]

Christ’s Wife September 21, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Christ's Wife

***Thanks to Larry, Amanda, Southern Man and PJ*** The news came in yesterday afternoon courtesy of three or four emails sent in by readers. The email line: ‘Breaking News Alert: Ancient papyrus suggests Jesus was married’. Wth! Beach spilt his Bacardi and Rum all over his keyboard and walked around the room in a stupor. […]

English King Discovered Under Carpark September 13, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
English King Discovered Under Carpark

***Dedicated to Roundj*** Beach does his very best not to be topical on this blog. But the news coming from Leicester (UK) yesterday is hard to ignore. At the end of August archaeologists began to dig in a car park there in search of the body of Richard III, the last English king to die […]

Negosanu and the Countess September 7, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
 Negosanu and the Countess

The following story relates to events in the late nineteenth century. It is about a place that Beach has visited from time to time; though no one, he is sad to report, has ever asked to feel his muscles there. The hero is a huge gypsy from Romania: Negosanu. Let’s hope that the tale is […]

Ireland the Great and White Man’s Land August 28, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
http://www.nicolaasart.com/art_series_deep_blue_above.php

Beachcombing woke up this morning with Vikings on his mind – a migraine coming? – and so thought that he would visit one of his favourite northern stories/legends/cobblers: Great Ireland. The reference appears in Landnámabók the thirteenth-century ‘ancestral’ codex of Iceland. How much is history and how much is legend in the Landnámabók is much […]

Capital Punishment Cobblers August 19, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Capital Punishment Cobblers

A cute little story from France a country which seems to attract a lot of urban myths around judicial execution: the majesty of the guillotine? Many years ago, a celebrated French physician, author of an excellent work on the effects of Imagination, wished to combine theory with practice, in order to confirm the truth of […]

Two Red Letter Books August 14, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
Two Red Letter Books

Here is a little historical puzzle: This account comes from northern Scotland. The least dilapidated of the chapels was dedicated to St Regulus, and there is a tradition that at the Reformation, a valuable historical record belonging to it, the work probably of some literary monk or hermit, was carried away to France by the […]

The Mythic Mountain Treasure August 12, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
The Mythic Mountain Treasure

***Dedicated to Leif who passed this on*** Internet connection spluttering back and Beach rushes out this fabulous story that has just been sent in. Perhaps the best thing he had read all August. It comes from Jacob Reineggs (obit 1793) who visited Georgia in the late eighteenth century. West of Gergete, near the centre of […]

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