Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Ten Strange Things John Calvin Banned in 16th Century Geneva

The Protestant leader and reformer, John Calvin (1509-1564), was exiled from France and found refuge in Geneva, Switzerland. Calvin took it upon himself to turn the city of Geneva into the Godliest community of his age. While the idea was noble and virtuous, Calvin's method of bringing his vision about could be considered extreme, and his punishments were sometimes brutal. 

Read more about what John Calvin banned in Geneva here at historybuff.com. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Skeletons From An Underground Skirmish In Dura-Europos

The astonishing archeological dig of Dura-Europos has just about anything you could ever want in a preserved ancient city. The old Roman city housed a mithraeum, a synagogue and a early Christian house-church, which can still be seen within the old city ruins. The foundations of buildings can be seen surrounded by remains of defensive walls and towers. The city, however, preserved even more history under the earth. Tower 19 contained a huge surprise for archeologists! Skeletons were found underground from when Roman defenders intercepted a sapping tunnel of the Sassanid army--the army which eventually conquered Dura-Europos in 256 C.E. When the two teams of tunnelers met, an unclear event occured, leaving 20 Romans dead, along with at least one Sassanid (whose skeleton is the photograph above). 

Read more about Dura-Europos here at historybuff.com.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A single horse led to the Byzantine Empire's massive defeat in the Battle of Achelous.

Byzantine commander, Leo Phokas 'the Elder' had the Battle of Achelous won. His opponent, Tsar Symeon of Bulgaria, was retreating and slowly withdrawing his men from the battlefield. How did a horse and water drastically change the battle, leading to Symeon's overwhelming victory over the Byzantine Empire?

Read more about this strange occurrence here in my article at warhistoryonline.com.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Kurdistan: A Nation Divided...Among Other Nations

The Kurds are the largest ethnic group without a nation to call their own. The Kurdish population is split between Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran, creating tensions in each of these countries. The Kurds have lived in their politically-unrecognized region of Kurdistan since Biblical times, serving, or ruling, many empires in the Middle East. When WWI ended, and new nations were carved out of the collapsed Ottoman empire, why was no Kurdistan created, and is there hope for a Kurdistan, today?

Read about Kurdistan's complex history here at warhistoryonline.com.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Did you know you graduated dressed as a clergyman?

No matter how much drinking and partying you did in college (unless you were expelled), you graduated emulating a 'man of the cloth.' While there are many connections between religion and universities, the cap and gown is one of the most visible traditions left over from the clerical origins of university. 

Read about how the cap and gown descended from religious garb here at historybuff.com and look at some pictures of famous religious figures wearing early versions of your graduation garb.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Why does Michelangelo's "The Moses" have horns?

If you travel to Rome, Italy, visit the church of San Pietro in Vicoli. There you can find Michelangelo's "The Moses" which astounds viewers, not only with its artistic mastery, but with its set of horns. There is actually a historical justification for the horns on "The Moses." The horns of Moses trace all the way back to St. Jerome in the year 405 C.E.

Read about why Moses had horns here at historybuff.com.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Viking Mercenaries of the Byzantine Empire: The Varangian Guard

The Byzantine Empire was the last remnant of the Roman Empire. Centered around Constantinople, the Byzanine Empire controlled Greece, Turkey, and much of the Middle East for much of its existence. Constantly at war, the Empire depended upon reliable mercenaries to keep enemies at bay. The Byzantine mercenaries of the most renown were the Varangian Guard. These guardsmen were of Scandinavian origin, featuring Rus, Norman, Anglo-Saxon, Swedish and Norwegian soldiers. The Varangian Guard became one of the Byzantine Emperor's most loyal and dependable military companies.

Read more about the Varangian Guard here at warhistoyonline.com.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Ancient Doaist philosopher, Chuang Tzu, used really strange character names.

Chuang Tzu was an ancient Daoist philosopher. His writings are filled to the brim with insight and wisdom, but teachings of humanity and morality are not all that you can find in his works. You will also discover an abundance of peculiar, bizarre and down-right funny names throughout his writings. Get ready to have an epiphany after reading about Shu-Shan No-Toes and Uncle Lack-Limb.

Learn of Chuang Tzu's unique style of naming here at historybuff.com.