Thursday, May 17, 2018

New Article: How An Old Man Allegedly Helped Create The Han Dynasty By Dropping A Shoe

(Painting of Zhang Liang and Huang Shigong, [Public Domain] via Creative Commons)

Zhang Liang was from a prominent family that served one of the feudal kingdoms that was eventually toppled by the Qin Dynasty (c. 221-206 BCE). Even after the Zhang family found itself under Qin rule, they still had wealth—Zhang Liang reportedly had the means to fund a staff of 300 servants. Yet, Zhang Liang was too patriotic to appreciate being able to keep his wealth under the new regime. Instead, he decided to spend his remaining family fortune on bankrolling a band of rebels to resist the Qin rulers.
According to the ancient historian, Sima Qian (c. 145-90 BCE), Zhang Liang and his band of dissidents tried to assassinate the First Emperor of Qin, Shihuangdi, in 218 BCE. They hunted down the emperor’s carriage train while he was touring the east. The rebels set up an ambush and Zhang Liang gave his strongest recruit an enormous iron bludgeon with which to lead the attack. As the rebels had planned, the emperor’s entourage rolled into the trap. When the time was right, the assassins charged toward the wagons and successfully smashed their way into one of the regal carriages. Luck, however, was not on the side of the rebels that day. They made the unsalvageable mistake of attacking the wrong carriage. Instead of discovering the vulnerable emperor inside, the rebels found only startled attendants. The mistake gave the guards enough time to rally to the defense of their emperor. With their plan foiled, the rebels scattered and went into hiding. Zhang Liang assumed an alias and settled down in Xiapei. While there, he spent much of his time pacing around the local embankments. 
Continue reading about the peculiar encounter that Zhang Liang had with an odd old man in Xiapei, HERE.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

New Article: The Otter’s Ransom—A Norse Tale Of A Dragon And Cursed Gold

(Sigurd and Fafnir, c. 1906, painted by Hermann Hendrich (–1931), [Public Domain] via Creative Commons)

A certain tale from Norse mythology, which has come to be known as “The Otter’s Ransom,” has had a great deal of influence on writers of the fantasy genre. One such visionary who drew inspiration from the tale was J. R. R. Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. “The Otter’s Ransom” was featured in the 13th-century Saga of the Volsungs, a book about the Volsung family, with the most notable sections of the text being about Sigurd the dragon-slayer. Snorri Sturluson (c. 1179-1241), the greatest of the medieval Icelandic scholars, also recorded the tale in his own work, The Prose Edda.

Read about the exciting tale origin tale of the Norse serpent, Fafnir, HERE

Monday, May 7, 2018

New Article: Seven Strange Character Names From The Ancient Philospoher And Theologian, Chuang Tzu

(7 sages of the bamboo grove Wittig collection painting 16, c. prior to the 19th century, [Public Domain] via Creative Commons)
 
Get to the Point
The ancient Daoist philosopher, Chuang Tzu, was one of the most brilliantly witty thinkers of his day, and his work still is influential. He was one of the most important figures of early Daoism, with only Laozi, the founder that religion, consistently ranked above him. Chuang Tzu’s insight into the world we live in will leave a lasting impression on anyone who reads his work, but some particulars about his writing may cause a stray giggle here and there; the names of the characters in his stories can be very peculiar. This article uses the version of Chuang Tzu’s work translated by Burton Watson. Whether Chuang Tzu’s names are a result of the English translation, or a tool to convey meaning, is unclear, but the latter is the likeliest option. Here are seven of Chuang Tzu’s strangest names, starting with the most tame and ending with the most bizarre.

Read about the humorous names created by Chuang Tzu, HERE.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

New Guest Article: 16+1 Dark And Vicious Ancient Greek Deities

(Guest Article)


As well as being talented and innovative in science and philosophy, the ancient Greeks were also a very religious and devout people. They believed in many gods and deities. Many of these could be kind and fair, but the deities were also frequently evil, wrathful and merciless. Many of them were considered to be daemonic winged spirits, malevolent or benevolent, who, along with their lord, Hades, spread terror, panic, misery, unluckiness, disaster, violence and suspicion among their victims.

16. Ate

 (Thetis and other deities dipping Achilles in the River Styx, by Donato Creti (1671–1749), [Public Domain] via Creative Commons)

Ate was the personification and deity of damage, devastation, delusion, mischief and infatuation. According to Hesiod, she was the daughter of Eris (strife), while according to Homer her father was Zeus. She led people in the path of destruction and was responsible for corrupted minds and recklessness of people, as well as for the results of such acts. She led not only mortals, but also gods in divergence and irresponsibility, blurring their minds and inducing catastrophe. After every accident caused by Ate, the Litai (prayers) came in to deal with it.


Continue reading about all of these dark and vicious deities, HERE.