Thursday, June 21, 2018

New Article: The Battle For Delium In 424 BCE—Hillside Charges And Giant Flamethrowers


(Hoplite infantry on the Chigi Vase, assumed 7th century BCE, [Public Domain] via Creative Commons)

424 BCE was a momentous year in the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE). Up until that point, the two warring factions, led by Athens and Sparta, had been trading blows for years, and Athens seemed to be gaining a strong advantage. Yet, in 424 BCE, the Spartan side was able to regain a great deal of momentum and morale. The Athenian general and historian, Thucydides (c. 460-400), attributed this shift of power to two men—the Spartan general, Brasidas, and Pagondas of Thebes, the commander-in-chief of the Boeotian League armed forces.

Continue reading about the dramatic battle of Delium in chaotic year, 242 BCE, HERE

Thursday, June 14, 2018

New Biography: King Agis IV—The Post-Alexander King Of Sparta Who Wanted To Bring Sparta Back To Its Glory Days


(Lycurgus of Sparta, painted by Jacques-Louis David  (1748–1825), [Public Domain] via Creative Commons)

When a civilization begins to decline, those witnessing the fall start to question what went wrong. Was it abandoning traditional government, apostatizing from the ancestral religion, or was it a general degradation of morality that brought about the end? And when once-great powers find themselves without strength, they look to the past in search of the specialness that they had lost by the time of their present.

King Agis IV felt these emotions strongly. He took power in 244 or 243 BCE, allegedly at the young age of nineteen. Agis was a member of the Eurypontid line of Spartan kings, one of two co-ruling monarchies in Sparta. His co-king from the Agiad line was Leonidas II, who had been in power since 251 BCE. The two kings had vastly different visions for Sparta and their personalities were bound to clash. It was a classic sociopolitical conflict—the ongoing struggle between the revolutionary and the defender of the status quo.

Continue reading about the dramatic struggle between Agis IV and Leonidas II, HERE.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

New Biography: The Life Of Saint Patrick And Nennius’ Extravagant Statistics About His Career


Saint Patrick is credited with spreading the Christian religion into ancient Ireland in the 5th century. The traditionally-accepted account of his life follows the Confessio, a brief autobiography supposedly written by St. Patrick, himself. 

According to the Confessio, St. Patrick was the son of a Roman citizen named Calpurnius. His family had some wealth, as they lived in a home that could be described as a small villa, located in a settlement called Bannavem Taburniae, somewhere on mainland Britain. Patrick’s father, Calpunius, was a clergyman, as was Patrick’s grandfather before him. Yet, Patrick, like many preachers’ sons, confessed to having little to no interest in religion during his early years of life. 

Everything changed when Patrick reached the age of sixteen. In a twist of fate that would change the world, the secular-minded Patrick was taken captive by a band of Irish raiders. The young teen was taken back to Ireland, where he was forced to work in the pastures. In the Confessio, Patrick claimed to have been forced to watch over his captors’ animals for six long years.

Continue reading about the inspiring life of St. Patrick, HERE.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

New Article: The Action-Packed Battle Between Grettir The Strong And Twelve Berserkers

(A Viking Foray, sketched by John Charles Dollman  (1851-1934),  [Public Domain] via Creative Commons)

According to an anonymously-written book of historical fiction from 14th-century Iceland, a band of twelve Vikings silently landed their ship on the shore of Haramarsey, an island off the western coast of northern Norway. This scene was set around the years 1012 or 1013, when Norway was dominated by two powerful jarls, Eirik and Svein Hakonarson. The master of the island of Haramarsey, was a certain Thorfinn Karsson, a trusted advisor to the jarls. The twelve Vikings landed on the island while Thorfinn was away with most of his fighting force, meeting with the jarls in the Norwegian mainland. Therefore, Thorfinn's wife and daughter were left virtually defenseless on the island.

When the Vikings arrive in Haramarsey, a young wastrel of sixteen or seventeen years of age was the first person to spot them. The young man had been exiled from Iceland and was shipwrecked near Haramarsey. Thorfinn had allowed him to stay on the island and the young man accepted the offer. The stranded boy was a promising prospect-he was tall and immensely strong, with red hair and a freckled angular face. Yet, the youth was a notoriously free spirit, and he neither pledged loyalty to Thorfinn nor took up any jobs on the island. He mainly just loitered about and watched ships sail past. Luckily for the locals, he was lounging by the shore on the day when the Vikings arrived.
Continue reading about the action-packed encounter between young Grettir and the twelve berserkers, HERE.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

New Article: Emperor Nero Had His Own Mother Killed

(1st-century bust said to be of Agrippina the Younger, [Public Domain] via Creative Commons)

Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, the future Emperor Nero, was the son of Agrippina the Younger and Cnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus. As the great-nephew of the reigning emperor, Claudius (r. 41-54), the young man was royalty, but not very high on the list of imperial succession. This was especially true since Claudius had a son named Britannicus. Yet, Britannicus’ mother, Messalina, was executed after having an affair. At the time when Claudius became single, Agrippina the younger was a widow and, despite being the emperor’s niece, she caught Claudius’ eye. The two married in the year 49 and Claudius adopted her son, giving him the named Nero.

Continue reading about the fate of Nero's mother, Agrippina, HERE