Sunday, December 24, 2017

New Article: Mistletoe, The Killer Of Gods

(Baldr and Nanna (by Friedrich Wilhelm Heine (1845-1921) over mistletoe, both [Public Domain] via Creative Commons and

Baldr (or Baldur), a Norse god of light and beauty, was loved by almost all of creation, from the divine Æsir all the way to the plants and stones of the earth. As such, when Baldr began to have dreams and premonitions of his own death, the Æsir held a council and decided to make everything in the world swear an oath to never harm Baldr, an oath that most living beings and elements would be more than willing to make.
According to The Prose Edda, a collection of Norse myths compiled by the powerful Icelandic leader, Snorri Sturluson (1179-1241), Baldr’s mother, Frigg, obtained promises from fire, water, metals, stones, plant life, animal wildlife, poisons and even diseases and viruses, all swearing that they would not harm her son. When all of the oaths were collected, Baldr was so invulnerable that the mighty gods, themselves, amused themselves by punching, throwing stones, shooting arrows, even striking or stabbing at Baldr, all to no effect. Baldr’s newfound defensive prowess was lauded and praised by the gods—well, all except one. Loki, the usual delinquent deity of Norse mythology, loathed Baldr’s invulnerability. Therefore, Loki began to investigate, hoping that, like Achilles, a vulnerable chink could be found in Baldr’s supernatural armor.

Continue reading to find out how Loki found and exploited Baldr's weakness in this tragic story, HERE.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

New Article: The Strategy Of The Decoy Camp—Alexios Komnenos Versus Nikephoros Basilakios

(Mashup of Madrid Skylitzes illustrations (medieval text about the Byzantine Empire), [Public Domain] via Creative Commons)

In the autumn of 1078, a young general (and future emperor) of the Byzantine Empire by the name of Alexios Komnenos handed a freshly captured rebel leader named Nikephoros Bryennios the Elder over to an agent of Emperor Nikephoros III Botaneiates (r. 1078-1081). In exchange for the prisoner, the agent of the emperor delivered a message for Alexios containing a new task set to him by the crown. Around the same time that Bryennios’ rebellion was crushed, another rebellion had erupted in the city of Dyrrakhion (modern Durrës, Albania), led by Nikephoros Basilakios—Alexios’ task was to hunt down this third Nikephoros (whom we will simply refer to as Basilakios) and put a stop to the rebellion.

Continue reading about how Alexios Komnenos outsmarted Basilakios, HERE

Thursday, December 14, 2017

New Biography: The Poetic Life of Edgar Allan Poe

(Édouard Manet  (1832–1883) depicting the fist lines of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven," [Public Domain] via Creative Commons).

Few authors have mastered channeling the dark, eerie and macabre nature of the world like the great poet and author, Edgar Allan Poe. Even in his earliest years, Poe was intimately aware of the frustrations and burdens that can plague a life cursed with misfortune. Nevertheless, he saw beauty in even the darkest of places, but he could also imagine chilling horrors erupting out of the sweetest and most docile of scenarios.

Continue reading about the life and works of Edgar Allan Poe, HERE.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

New Article: The Athenian-Aided Egyptian Rebellion of Inaros Against The Persian Empire

(Ships from page 364 of "Julius Caesar and the foundation of the Roman imperial system" (1894), [Public Domain] via Flickr)

The ancient Egyptians were not happy with their position as a subject nation ruled by Persian overlords. They rebelled during the reigns of Darius I (r. 522-486 BCE) and Xerxes I (r. 486-465 BCE), but were unsuccessful in both of those endeavors. When Xerxes was assassinated in 465 BCE, another leader incited the Egyptian people to once more rebel against Persian rule. This leader was named Inaros, a prince or king of Libyan descent who managed to rally most of Egypt behind him in a massive six-year war against an ancient superpower.

Continue reading more about the long war between Inaros and the Persian Empire, HERE