Monday, November 21, 2011

The Brontes:
An Appreciation Part A
Emily Bronte

Emily Bronte from a painting by
Branwell Bronte


It is rare when genius occurs in the same family and rarer still when it is the same type of genius. One of the most outstanding examples of the occurrence of similar genius in the same family is the Bronte sisters.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Another Napoleonic Fiasco
Napoleon and Russia
A Brief Note on Supply and Size

The French Invasion of and Retreat from Russia in 1812

In a previous posting I discussed the fiasco of Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt which ended with the French being trapped in Egypt and then expelled, with the loss of a bit over ½ of the expeditionary force.1 It is now approaching the 200 year anniversary of Napoleons invasion of Russia so here I will briefly discuss some myths associated with another Napoleonic fiasco, the invasion of Russia.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Politics and the
Warrior Queen

Carving of Bajlaj Chan K'awiil
King of Dos Pilas

One of the most surprising discoveries associated with the decipherment of Mayan Hieroglyphs has been the discovery of a whole previously unknown world of dynastic politics and intrigue. Perhaps the most convoluted involves the dynastic politics of the site of Dos Pilas.1

Sometime in the second quarter of the 7th century (625-650 C.E.) a man called Bajlaj Chan K’awiil become lord of the site of Dos Pilas. Now Dos Pilas is a small site, but the dynastic history which it participated in was not that of a minor site but that of a major power in the Mayan world.2

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Battle of Grand Coteau
A Note

Red River Cart

The Battle of Grand Coteau (Big Knife) was a small engagement between a Metis hunting party and a Sioux war band that occurred on July 14th and 15th of 1851.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The Emergence of Civilization
Part I 

Great Bath at Mohenjodaro
Indus Civilization c. 2300 B.C.E.

The emergence of Civilization is without a doubt one of the great mysteries of human history. We know far too little about the process by which civilization emerged and then spread. However let us first go through a few definitions.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

On the lighter Side

Winter In Toronto
Mid Ninteenth Century

The ghastly and rather interminable Canadian Winter is set to arrive here in Toronto shortly and so here are some thoughts about the arrival of our own Via Dolorosa here in the Great White North.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Diffusionistic Fantasies IIc
Thor Heyerdahl, Part Three

Sacred Sun stone (Intihuatani)
Machu Picchu Peru

In two previous postings I went through Thor Heyerdahl’s listing of reasons to believe that there was significant cultural diffusion between the Old and New World before Columbus. Here I will go through the last 14 items in Thor Heyerdahl’s list and then wrap up with a few conclusions.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Age of Justinian Part III
Samizdat Under Justinian
A Note

Map of Byzantine Empire under Justinian I

In two previous postings I discussed the reign of Justinian I1 Here I will discuss a rather interesting feature of the intellectual culture of the time period. The existence of an alternative dissenting intellectual culture / opposition to the official culture promulgated by the Imperial state and glorifying Justinian.