Thursday, February 18, 2016

Death to the Middle Ages Knights

This early style handgun was the beginning of the end for the heavily armored knights.  It was fairly simple to use, somewhat inexpensive to produce and deadly at close range.  A hit would punch through most armor, giving common infantry a deadly way to deal with expensive knights. Cheap and fast to learn (hand gunners could be trained in weeks vs the five or more years it took to train a longbowman) were added bonuses.  Soon  armies would begin to rely on improved matchlocks that would take control of the battlefield. 

This heavier "hand cannon" gave the Middle Ages infantry brutal killing power, at close range.  The dawning of the age of gunpowder was at hand.  Warfare would never be the same.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Deadly Poem

Ring-a-Ring o'Rosies
A Pocket full of Posies
"A-tishoo! A-tishoo!"
We all fall Down!

A simple children's nursery rhyme with a much more sinister (although some sources point to other interpretations) meaning-the massive deaths from the Bubonic Plagues of the 14th to 17 centuries. 

Ring-a-Ring o'Rosies: represented the blotches and sores of the disease. 
A Pocket full of Posies: was the attempt to ward off the disease by smelling fresh herbs and fragrant flowers to counter the "poisonous vapours." *
"A-tishoo! A-tishoo!": the sneezing that took hold of the victim's in the final stage of the disease.
We all fall Down!: the sick drop dead.

(or is it-Modern revisionists doubt the story while many Old English historians believe it)

Results of the "Black Death" in the 14th century Europe are estimated to be in excess of 25 million in less than five years (1347-1352).  Thus the plague killed a third of the European population in general and more than fifty percent of the people of many communities such as the City of Venice.  So many died that the entire economy and social systems of Europe were radically changed.  The individual was now more valuable as their was often a great shortage of labor. The plague would continue to revisit Europe for the next three hundred years. At its height in the  outbreak of 1666, the pandemic was killing more than 5000 people a day just in London. The plague's last great Asian outbreak at the start of the 20th century killed over 10 million alone just in British Colonial India.  The disease is still found throughout the World today, but luckily for all it is treatable with modern medicine.

*The belief that sight and smells could carry and spread the disease led to another saying "Seeing the World through rose colored glasses."  Doctors and others would wear a mask that had rose colored glass eyepieces that they believed would  prevent them from getting the disease.  As an added protection the nose of the mask would be filled with herbs and sweet flowers to defeat the deadly vapours.  The concept that deadly diseases such as Yellow Fever, Cholera, Malaria and the like were transmitted by "Deadly Vapours" lasted into the early 20th century.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Justinian and Theodora-Greatest Rulers of the Eastern Roman Empire

Justinian I the Great, Emperor (527-565) of the Eastern Roman Empire, the most successful of the Emperors after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. His Justinian Code of Laws so revolutionized the legal system that the term "Code of Justice" is derived from his name.  He also had the largest domed cathedral in the World, the Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) built.

Empress (527-548) Theodora was one of the greatest female leaders of the Roman Empire. During the Nika Riots of 532, she is credited as being the power, through her personal courage and convincing arguments, that kept Justinian from abandoning the throne (at the cost of up to 30,000 rioters deaths).  Afterwards she was his most trusted advisor and with her support they reformed Constantinople and the Empire into a wonder of the World that would continue to keep alive the glories of the Romans for centuries to come. A strong supporter of the rights of women, she work tirelessly to improve their status and legal standing in the Empire.

Thailand Buddha

Buddha in the distance belies the size. 
94% of Thailand follows the Theravada school of Buddhism and it is a major aspect in the lives of the people of  the nation.

the golden reclining Buddha is a huge statue and very popular among tourists.

Statues of Buddha are everywhere in the country and are beautiful work of religious art.