Thursday, November 30, 2017

New Article: The United States Government Experimented With Camels In The 19th Century

(Army Camel Corp training at Menangle Park, c. 1916, [Public Domain] via Creative Commons). It's an Australian photo, but unfortunately, no decent pictures of the American Camel Corps could be found.

George H. Crosman is credited as the first man to suggest that camels could be a valuable asset if utilized by the U. S. military in dry, desert regions of the United States. He first brought up this point in 1836, when he was a lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He claimed that camels would be unaffected by America’s most arid climates, and would also require less feed or water than the horses and mules already used by the government. Despite these fair points, Lt. Crosman’s ideas were rejected and shelved by the United States for more than a decade.

Continue reading about the United States procurement and experimentation with camels in the 19th century, HERE.

Friday, November 17, 2017

New Article: Dwarves Made Most Of The Amazing Items Used By The Gods Of Norse Mythology

(Cropped painting of Thor by Mårten Eskil Winge (1825–1896), [Public Domain] via Creative Commons)

Interestingly, the gods of Norse mythology often had little-to-no innate power when compared to the divinities of other mythologies. At times, the band of deities led by the High One, Odin, seemed to be merely equivalents to Greek or Roman demigods. A prime example is that the immortality of the Norse gods did not occur naturally—to stay alive, the gods were said to eat magical apples of youth, tended by the goddess, Idunn. Also, the gods of Norse mythology were some of the most vulnerable and mortal deities ever worshipped; almost all of the major Norse gods were prophesied to die at Ragnarok. Yet, despite all of their handicaps and vulnerabilities, the Norse gods did become incredibly powerful. Curiously, however, the brilliant workmanship of the dwarves played a huge part in making this happen.

In Norse mythology, the dwarves were the go-to craftsmen for the gods. The great Icelandic chronicler of Norse mythology, Snorri Sturlusson (1179-1241), wrote about several of the magnificent items that the dwarves created for the gods. From tools, to weapons, to livestock, the dwarves could create it.

Read about some of the greatest masterpieces that the dwarves produced for the Norse gods, HERE.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Dualistic Reign of Ghazan Khan Of The Ilkhanate

(Depiction of Ghazan and Öljaitü. Jami' al-tawarikh, Rashid al-Din, image produced c. 15th century, [Public Domain] via Creative Commons)

The Mongolian-descended Mahmud Ghazan was born around 1271 and was raised by his grandfather (Abagha Khan, r. 1265-1282) and his father (Arghun Khan, r. 1284-1291) to be a follower of the Buddhist faith. When Abagha Khan died, his son, Teguder, became the new khan of the Ilkhanate. Yet, Teguder’s brother, Arghun successfully raised a large faction against the khan, with one of the main complaints being that Teguder had forsaken Buddhism for Islam. Arghun managed to overthrow Teguder and continued Buddhist dominance over the Mongolian-ruled Ilkhanate.

In 1284, Arghun Khan named his teenage son, Mahmud Ghazan, as the new viceroy or governor in charge of the Ilkhanate’s lands around the region of Persia. Ghazan remained in this post for about ten years, during the reigns of both his father, Arghun Khan, and his uncle, Gaykatu Khan (r. 1291-1295). During his post in Persia, Ghazan battled against a rival faction of Mongolians, known as the Chagatai Mongols, and also defeated a rebellion led by an officer named Nawruz. Even though the revolt was finally crushed in 1294, Nawruz’s life was spared. Interestingly, the rebel leader would play a significant role in Ghazan’s later rise to power.

Continue reading about this khan's reign and his two-sided rule, HERE.