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  • The Poison Duel 4#: The Medical Origins of the Poison Duel? September 23, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    The Poison Duel 4#: The Medical Origins of the Poison Duel?

    The earliest nineteenth-century poison duel seems to have been that almost fought in 1821 in Virginia. However, there are pre-nineteenth-century records and strangely they concern doctors. The earliest record anywhere that Beach has been able to dig up was an alleged reference in the Iranian poet Nizami (obit 1209). Nizami in one poem (Treasury of […]

    The Longest Sentry Duty August 17, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Longest Sentry Duty

    Beachcombing is not a huge fan of Bismarck (what’s there to like?), but his memoirs have some great passages. This story is one of those WIBT (Wish I’d Been There) moments and relates to a visit to St Petersburg in 1859. If Beach had read this at second hand he would have pressed the ‘legend’ […]

    Image: Napoleon’s Lost Sword February 2, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Image: Napoleon's Lost Sword

      This image is unfortunately not a photograph, but German text-book fodder from the early part of the nineteenth century. Yet it captures perfectly one of the most painful encounters in modern history. 2 September 1870 the French army, goaded foolishly into a war with little Prussia, surrendered at Sedan and the balance of power […]