Thursday, June 15, 2017

Did The Crusader Bohemond Escape The Middle East By Pretending To Be A Corpse? The Byzantine Emperor’s Daughter Believed He Did

 (Bohemond of Antioch by Merry-Joseph Blondel  (1781–1853), [Public Domain] via Creative Commons)

When Pope Urban II announced the First Crusade in 1095, the Norman noble, Bohemond (1050/58-1109 CE), quickly grasped at the opportunity. Of all of the crusader lords that partook in the armed pilgrimage, his motives are among the clearest. As his half-brother seized the great majority of the family’s lands and assets, Bohemond saw the crusades as an unequalled opportunity to amass land, gold and glory. Plus, the spiritual rewards and absolution of sins promised by the pope were also gladly welcomed.

The crusader coalition made their way to the Holy Lands by a route through the Byzantine Empire, which controlled most of the Balkans and much of western Anatolia at that time. To gain safe passage through the Byzantine territory, the crusaders made a costly deal with the emperor, Alexios I Komnenos—the crusaders swore that they would hand over all the lands to the emperor that they captured which were former imperial provinces. Unfortunately for the crusaders, the Byzantine Empire was the surviving remnant of the Roman Empire, which meant that Emperor Alexios claimed as his own almost everything that was captured during the First Crusade.

Continue reading about the interesting rumors about Bohemond's escape from the Middle East after he captured Antioch during the First Crusade, HERE.

New Biography: The Talented Princess Of The Byzantine Empire And Her Impressive Book Of History

(Portrait of the Princess Anna Komnene, unknown artist or date, via Ancient Origins and Pinterest)

Anna Komnene (1083-1153 CE) was an extraordinary woman. She was an erudite scholar of multiple intellectual fields and a cunning political schemer who is believed to have attempted to climb to ultimate power in the Byzantine Empire. Yet, her greatest claim to fame resulted from her ambitious history, The Alexiad, which detailed the military and diplomatic accomplishments of her father, Emperor Alexios I Komnenos, the emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 1081-1118 CE.

Continue reading about the life of the astute princess of the Byzantine Empire, ANna Komnene, HERE.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

New Article: There Was An Incredible Amount Of Military Technological Advancement In the Decades Leading Up To World War I

(75mm pack howitzer M1920, c. 1921 [Public Domain] via Creative Commons)

By the end of the 19th century, into the early 20th century, the weapons of warfare were evolving at an alarming rate. Guns, explosives and machines were becoming increasingly more lightweight, powerful and exponentially more deadly. The tragedy of the situation was that very few people knew just how devastating many of these new weapons would be when a major war broke out. True, there were many wars in the years before World War One— such as the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871), the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), the Boer Wars (1880-1881 and 1889-1902), the Spanish-American War (1898), and the Ruso-Japanese War (1904-1905). Yet, in these wars, countries often remained doubtful about the new weaponry in their arsenals, and were still in a phase of experimentation and implementation. By the start of WWI in 1914, however, most major powers had adopted the latest guns, artillery, explosives, ships and planes, resulting in a Great War the likes of which the world had never before seen.

Continue reading some of the devastating military inventions that came about in the decades prior to WWI, HERE.