Thursday, March 1, 2018

New Guest Article: 10+1 Life-Changing Quotes From Ancient Greece

(Plato’s Academy, by Raphael (1483–1520), [Public Domain] via Creative Commons)

Greece preserves one of the most ancient cultures and one of the most inspiring histories worldwide. Its history is made up of bloody wars and occupations, but also of people who, with their ideas, visions and ambitions, have shaped the course of the whole world. Most of them are considered to be philosophers and many of their ideas, point of view and world theories still inspire modern people. Although many of them did not actually write texts, their sayings were saved by their students. Recognized virtues, such as discipline, glory, honor, and the value of family and friendship, can be traced back to their insights, and still move and influence modern people's lives.

Continue reading about these life-changing quotes from the brightest minds of ancient Greece, HERE.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

New Biography / Article: The Greatly Endowed Plot Of Lü Buwei To End His Affair With The Mother Of A Chinese King

(Career of Xu Xianqing Huanji Tu 18, c. 1590s, [Public Domain] via Creative Commons)

Lü Buwei was a prominent minister of Qin during the decades before the kings of Qin formally became emperors. He began his career as a simple merchant, and, because of his keen mind for strategy and administration, his business was extremely profitable. Nevertheless, his career trajectory would dramatically change after a trip to the city of Handan, the capital of the state of Zhao.

While in Handan, Lü Buwei encountered a Qin nobleman being held there as a diplomatic hostage—the man’s name was Zichu. He was one of more than twenty sons fathered by Lord Anguo, who had become the crown prince of Qin around 267 BCE. As such, Zichu was a member of the Qin royal family, but he was still considered low enough in the succession to be given away by his king as a hostage to assure peace between Qin and Zhao. Nevertheless, with a potential heir to the kingdom of Qin at his fingertips, Lü Buwei decided to give up the life of a merchant for that of a politician.

Continue reading about the dramatic life of Lü Buwei and the bizarre story of his downfall, HERE.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

New Article: The Numidian Chief, Tacfarinas, And His Persistent Wars Against Rome

(Hannibal at Cannae, by Heinrich Leutemann (1824-1905), [Public Domain] via Creative Commons).

In the first two decades of the 1st century, a peculiar military leader named Tacfarinas asserted himself as a constant thorn in the side of the Roman Empire by unrelentingly threatening their interests in North Africa. Thankfully for us, the Roman historian and statesman, Tacitus (c. 56-117), kept fairly detailed records of Tacfarinas’ campaigns within his book, The Annals of Imperial Rome. Even though The Annals focused on the actions of the imperial family, especially Emperor Tiberius (r. 14-37), Tacfarinas’ name made numerous appearances in the pages, popping up each time he launched another invasion of Rome, which seemingly occurred every other year. So, even though Tacitus often sidelined describing Tacfarinas’ reign of terror in favor of discussing political maneuverings in Rome, a decent sketch of Tacfarinas’ life can be drawn from The Annals of Imperial Rome.

Tacfarinas was born in Numidia, and like many of Rome’s greatest threats, he began his career in the Roman military as an auxiliary soldier serving in North Africa. He eventually deserted from the Roman military and started a new life as a bandit. His ambitions, however, were too broad for common thievery. He gathered a large band of marauders and began to teach them Roman military discipline and tactics. Once he had gathered enough resources, he even equipped an elite core of his forces in Roman-styled weaponry and armor. Finally, Tacfarinas somehow maneuvered himself into becoming chief of the Musulamian tribe, a strong Numidian people known for their great warriors. With his newfound power, Tacfarinas was able to strike up a secret alliance between his own troops and other anti-Rome factions in North Africa. Along with Tacfarinas’ own bandits and Musulamian soldiers, the Cinithii tribe and dissidents from the Roman-aligned kingdoms of Mauretania and Garamantes also joined the growing coalition.

Continue reading about the persistent campaigns of Tacfarinas against the Roman Empire, HERE.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

New Biography: The Dramatic Life of Fan Ju, The Marquis Of Ying, And His Quirky, Bizarre Ascension To Power

Countless advisors, philosophers, generals and statesmen of all kinds found fortune and destruction while serving the plentiful warring kings of ancient China. One particular statesman named Fan Ju definitely can be ranked as having one of the quirkiest and bizarre ascensions to power. As an added bonus, unlike many of his contemporaries, Fan Ju’s story actually had a pleasant ending.

Most of the information on this interesting figure was left to us by Sima Qian (c. 145-90 BCE), a Grand Historian from the Han Dynasty who is often labeled as the father of Chinese history. According to the Grand Historian’s sources, Fan Ju was born in the kingdom of Wei. Even though his family had little wealth and influence, Fan Ju aspired to be an itinerate advisor to the kings of the age. Yet, despite his ambition, the young intellectual found that his low social status and his limited resources were obstacles barring him from entering the courts of the ancient Chinese kings. Facing reality, Fan Ju decided to start climbing the social ladder from the bottom, hoping to eventually reach the top.

Continue reading about the bizarre rise to power of Fan Ju, HERE.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

New Article: The Light Of The Moon Suppressed A Roman Army Mutiny In Pannonia

(Moon in front of a blueish background, [Public Domain] via

Shortly after the death of Augustus in 14 CE, the civilian soldiers in the three Roman legions stationed in Pannonia were incited into mutiny. Most of the known information about this event was recorded by two statesmen-historians of the Roman Empire, Tacitus (c. 56/57 – 117) and Cassius Dio (c. 163-235). Tacitus, perhaps the greatest orator of his time, gave the lengthier and more detailed account of the mutiny, but he was also known to take artistic license with some of his historical descriptions. Nevertheless, both historians claimed that the goal of the mutiny was to bring about military reforms, specifically a restriction of military service to 16 years, as well as an increase in pay from one sesterce a day to one denarius (4 sesterce) per day. Without these changes, the mutineers claimed that the excessively long period of military service, combined with the harsh discipline and severe punishments in the Roman Army, were simply unfair.

Continue reading about how the moon foiled a potentially dangerous mutiny in Pannonia, HERE.