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Fifteenth-century European Knowledge of Australia? August 5, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
Fifteenth-century European Knowledge of Australia?

Here is one of these sources that Beachcombing just doesn’t know that to do with. It seems to show knowledge of southern Australia/ Antarctica being shared with a European in Java at the end of the fifteenth century. Perhaps this is not so extraordinary as, after all, knowledge is not discovery: and ‘knowledge’ here could […]

Leonardo’s Dream and the Kite July 24, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Leonardo's Dream and the Kite

Another case study from the historic dream series. This time the only dream to be recorded from Leonardo da Vinci’s snoozes. The record appears in  a notebook dating to c. 1504 replete with sketches and considerations of flight: This writing in such a distinct manner about the kite seems to be my destiny, because in […]

Fury and Cannibalism July 5, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Fury and Cannibalism

Cannibalism for most of us took place on ‘less happy (is)lands’ in less happy times, when neurologically-challenged Pacific folk loped from side to side suffering from Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease. Others might also recall occasional starving humans on boats, in plane wrecks or beseiged cities obliged to eat each other. But cannabilism does not, surely, figure in […]

Bishop Q June 27, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
Bishop Q

Today a curious Roman marble inscription from Terni in central Italy – not Rome as often reported – that probably dates from towards the end of the Empire, perhaps from the end of the fourth century (Olybrio = consul?). It is an inscription that is so unexpected that it is difficult to know where to […]

Jousting with Medieval Tanks June 16, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
Jousting with Medieval Tanks

  Leonardo da Vinci: what isn’t there to like? Beachcombing certainly has always found LdV much more entertaining company than the obnoxious and pitch-perfect Michelangelo. And as a tribute of sorts  Beachcombing thought that today he would share Leonardo’s attempt to build a tank four hundred years before the Cambrai front was swarming with them […]

Destroying Cassino June 9, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Destroying Cassino

There is a demolition expert in all of us. After all, who doesn’t enjoy seeing something large and complex being blasted to a million smithereens? Beachcombing, certainly, finds architectural snuff movies relaxing. In the hope then of soothing his readers – with the possible exception of medievalists whose blood will run icy cold – he […]

A Frightening Roman Cat May 25, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
A Frightening Roman Cat

***This post is dedicated to Invisible who sent the reference and the picture in*** Beachcombing was going to do a post on early parachutes today but he got caught up, instead, in a disturbing cat portrait and legend thanks to an email from Invisible. This nasty little moggy – look at it! – will simply […]

Vampire Mermaids and Migraines May 17, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
Vampire Mermaids and Migraines

A Roman charm from, of all places, Carnuntum in the Alps offers one of the earliest recorded cures for migraine. Written on a piece of silver (and badly eroded) it does not discourse on low-dairy diets or darkened rooms. Rather… Well, Beachcombing will quote from the translated Greek: ‘Antaura came out from the sea. She […]

Saving and Murdering in the Holocaust May 10, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Saving and Murdering in the Holocaust

Beachcombing noted in this place a month ago – death-dealer of Kovno – that an important new book on Germany’s wartime atrocities is coming out: Hitler’s Foreign Executioners: Europe’s Dirty Secret by Chris Hale. CH argues in this work that subject populations of the occupied territories often partook enthusiastically in the Final Solution or ‘Outdoor […]

Viking and Pirate Black Cats May 8, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
Viking and Pirate Black Cats

***This post is dedicated to BAY and Raspberry Beret*** Beachcombing would be the first to admit that he has been overdoing it with cats recently: this despite not even particularly caring for moggies, being much more a dog and tortoise person. But an email from BAY on Beach’s black cats – unlucky for some piece […]

The Underwear of Dictators’ Lovers April 12, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Underwear of Dictators' Lovers

Beachcombing is still reeling from his recent medical misfortunes and, to make matters worse, he has to catch a bus in about twenty five minutes. So yet again today he will be brief. But he had to share this brilliant catch sent in by Invisible, an important ally in the fight for the historically bizarre. […]

Sfiga! April 9, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
Sfiga!

The last couple of days have been tense for Beachcombing. After seven fabulous, tripping-the-light-fantastic months of having no new symptoms from the illness that was tearing him apart, he was hit – bang – by a ‘change’. Though in itself minor this symptom may be a sign of worse things to come and Beachcombing is, […]

Prospero the Etruscan and Lying Historians February 13, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Modern
Prospero the Etruscan and Lying Historians

Liars and history go together like a horse and carriage. Beachcombing gave a chance reference to Herodotus as ‘Father of Lies’ in yesterday’s post. ‘Pseudo-’ and ‘Mythic-History’, typically found in tribal societies, are porkies by modern standards. But most interestingly, at least for Beachcombing, are the scholars/antiquarians who betray the very rules that they claim themselves to […]

The Werewolf of Temesa January 25, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
The Werewolf of Temesa

A painfully short post tonight but Tiny Miss B is screaming next to the keyboard, Mrs B is out looking for a school for the elder daughter and Little Miss B is making the au pair’s life an inferno downstairs. So in dereliction of parental duty another part of the soon-to-end werewolf series: let’s hope […]

Image: Holy Adowa! January 22, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Image: Holy Adowa!

Memo to any budding generals: never invade Russia in the winter, never start a land war in Asia and, most relevant for today, never presume to colonise Ethiopia…Italy unfortunately never learnt this lesson. In 1935 the Italian invasion would mark the beginning of the end for Mussolini’s regime. While in 1896 an Italian attack ended in […]

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