Thursday, July 27, 2017

New Biography: Gottfried Leibniz, The Tragic Genius Of The Early Enlightenment

(Portrait of Gottfried Leibniz by Christoph Bernhard Francke  (1660–1729), [Public Domain] via Creative Commons)

Education and Advancement
In 1646, one of the great Western minds was born in the city of Leipzig, within the Electorate of Saxony, in the Holy Roman Empire. The boy’s name was Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, and his path as an intellectual and an academic was seemingly set in stone from an early age. Leibniz’s father, Friedrich, was not only a professor of moral philosophy at the University of Leipzig, but was also the chairman of the university’s philosophy faculty. As a child, Gottfried Leibniz was undoubtedly influenced by the his father’s collection of books, as well as Friedrich Leibniz’s personal knowledge accumulated from years of academia.

In 1661, Gottfried Leibniz was accepted into the University of Leipzig, where he studies philosophy and law. He obtained his degree, and applied to be a doctoral candidate at Leipzig, yet the university declined his application. Most historians and observers cite Leibniz’s youth as a reason his application was refused. Nevertheless, he quickly shed any resentment or bitterness caused by the rejection and gained a doctorate elsewhere, at the University of Altdorf.

Continue reading about the life of this brilliant polymath, HERE.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

New Article: Origin Myths Of The Ancient Scythians

(Scythian gold comb housed in the Hermitage museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. [Public Domain] via Creative Commons)

The bulk of what is known about the Scythian people was recorded by the Greek historian, Herodotus, in the 5th century BCE. In more modern times, archaeologists have broadened the historical perspective on the Scythians by studying sites found within the territory of the ancient Scythian empire. From unearthed relics and artifacts, archeologists have found that the Scythians possessed bronze armor of Greek design and swords of Persian style, as well as ample gold, art and jewelry.

In book four of The Histories, Herodotus gave three possible scenarios that led to the creation of the Scythian people as he knew them in the 5th century BCE. Of the three possibilities that were recorded, Herodotus favored one about nomadic migration. In the model, the Scythian people moved from central Asia into Russia and Ukraine between the 8th and 7th centuries BCE, displacing the Cimmerians as they flooded into the region.

Although Herodotus favored the nomadic model mentioned above, that did not stop him from recoding two other interesting and entertaining Scythian creation myths. The two myths relayed to the reader by Herodotus differed greatly, but they had two great similarities. In both myths, three children played a great role in the story, with the youngest child always taking the most prominent role.

Continue reading abut the interesting Scythian creation myths recorded by Herodotus, HERE.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

New Article: Brunhild of Austrasia—The 6th-Century Kingmaker Of The Franks

(15th-century depiction of the marriage between King Sigebert I and Brunhild from the Grandes Chroniques de France, [Public Domain] via Creative Commons)

In 566 or 567 CE, King Athanagild of the Visigoths gave his two daughters in marriage to two powerful Frankish kings who also happened to be brothers. One daughter, named Galswintha, was married to King Chilperic I of Neustria, whose lands consisted of much of northern France, excluding Brittany. Athanagild’s other daughter, Brunhild, married King Sigebert I of Austrasia, ruling a domain spanning (in modern terms) from eastern France into Belgium, the Netherlands and western Germany. When these marriages were cemented, neither the Frankish nor Visigothic kings could have guessed just how influential one of these two women would become. Brunhild would prove to be a powerful kingmaker for several generations of Frankish monarchs.

  (Approximate map of the rise of Frankish Empire, from 481 to 814 (including Austrasia and Neustria), licensed as Creative Commons 1.0 (CC 1.0))

Continue reading about the impressive political career of Brunhild, HERE.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

New Article: The Gods Of Norse Mythology And Their Mead of Poetry And Knowledge

(Odin entertaining guests in Valhalla, by Emil Doepler  (1855–1922), [Public Domain] via Creative Commons)

According to the stories of Norse mythology, the gods in Asgard possessed vats of mead that turned the drinker into a poet or a scholar. Yet, the mead itself is not the best part of this interesting tale. Before the mead reached its final resting place in Asgard, the special brew underwent a tremendous journey from its creation to its acquisition by the Norse gods. It is a story that starts and ends with the Norse divinities, but in between, dwarves, giants and murder all make a showing.

Continue reading about this peculiar mead of the Norse gods and its gruesome tale of its creation, HERE.