The Martyrdom of St. Maurice and the Theban Legion

Brandon over at Siris has a post upon on a saint story that I had not heard before (which isn’t saying much, there’s a huge number of saints and I don’t claim to be the world’s most well read about

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99 Years Ago: The Week The World Caught Fire

Certain historical events are remembered in terms of a single event which, in the course of minutes or hours, ushered in a new era. People who lived through Pearl Harbor could remember exactly where they were when they heard about

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Maybe World War One Generals Weren’t Idiots

I was interested to read this British opinion piece, making the case that British military leadership during the Great War was not the clutch of bumbling fools which has become the stereotype of the war. In 1928, following the sudden

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A Warning From History

We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. CS Lewis, The Abolition of Man     Too late for Bastille Day, but this reflection by Steven Hayward at Powerline on a book written by French historian Marc

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99 Years Ago Today: The Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and His Wife

On June 28th, 1914, the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian empire, fifty-year old Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated in Sarajevo by a 19-year-old Bosnian-Serb nationalist. The assassination began an at first slow-moving diplomatic crisis which would result a

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D-Day, History and Memory

Sixty-Nine years since D-Day.  In the first law firm I worked for in 1982 the Senior Partner had lost a son on Omaha Beach.  The man I was replacing had just been made a Judge, and still walked with a

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Easter and History

I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history. H.G.

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Bad History: Was the Persecution of Christians a Myth?

Donald McClarey has a well deserved barn-burner of a post up at The American Catholic about a new book entitled The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom out from University of Notre Dame theology professor

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The Myth of Candida Moss

Candida Moss, a Professor in the Theology Department of Notre Dame, no surprise there, has a political tract disguised as a work of history entitled The Myth of Persecution in which she contends that the early Christians greatly exaggerated their persecution

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History is Boring!

No, History is not boring, but it certainly is usually taught in a boring fashion.  The main culprits: 1. Badly Written Textbooks–Usually drafted by committees of fairly untalented hacks, they frequently make the reading of technical manuals seem exciting by

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Thaddeus Stevens: Film Portrayals

 “I repose in this quiet and secluded spot, not from any natural preference for solitude, but finding other cemeteries limited as to race, by charter rules, I have chosen this that I might illustrate in my death the principles which

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History and Legend

Ransom Stoddard: You’re not going to use the story, Mr. Scott? Maxwell Scott: No, sir. This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend. History tells us that George Washington as a boy did not cut

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Jefferson’s Jesus

In my previous post I may have given the impression that I was simply doing what I accused David Barton of doing, namely, cherrypicking quotes from Thomas Jefferson in order to paint him how I wished. So here are a

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The Crusades and Historical Ignorance

The above video is a salute to Rick Santorum, former candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, for understanding the essential nature of the Crusades as a defensive reaction to Islamic aggression.  In the video below we have a rather mindless

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Who Survived The Titanic: A Story of Chivalry Not Class

There’s something about the magnitude and timing of the sinking of the Titanic that makes it almost irresistible for people to turn it into a sort of fable. The sinking of the “unsinkable” ship, the largest ship of its kind

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Of Social Darwinists, Robber Barons and Libraries

Jonah Goldberg has a great column in which he takes apart the myth of the Social Darwinists. This raises the real problem with the AP’s analysis. It has the history exactly backwards. The topic was not popular in the 19th

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Brits Vote for Washington as Greatest Enemy

No, not our government, the general. (Though they’d be forgiven for thinking so based on some things this administration has done.) He’s one of our Founding Fathers, but according to the Brits, George Washington is public enemy #1. Our nation’s first president,

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Attack Ads 1796

Students at Williams College this year are taking part in an experimental course on the history of American presidents from Washington and Lincoln by producing political attack ads.  Go here for a report on this novel way of learning about

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Memoriae Positum

He leads for aye the advance, Hope’s forlorn-hopes that plant the desperate good For nobler Earths and days of manlier mood; James Russell Lowell Memoriae Positum, memory laid down.  The Latin phrase is a good short hand description of  what

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Why Most Academic Histories Today Are Rubbish

      As longtime readers of this blog know, I have a deep and abiding passion for history.  I lament the fact that most histories produced today by academic historians are usually politicized drek, often written in a jargon

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Howard Zinn, Neo-Confederate

While I disagree with him on a host of political issues, I follow Ta-Nehisi Coates’s blog at The Atlantic closely because of his consistently well written and fascinating posts on history and literature. Many of these are on the Civil

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The Facebook History of World War 2

Lest we get bogged down in the dark humor of what lousy candidates we have running for the nomination, here’s a little bit of non-election related dark humor for your Friday: The Facebook History of World War II: View the

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Was the Declaration of Independence Legal?

American and British lawyers squared off recently in a discussion over whether the Declaration of Independence was legal. The BBC reports as follows: On Tuesday night, while Republican candidates in Nevada were debating such American issues as nuclear waste disposal

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945th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings

Today, October 14 Anno Domini 2011, the Battle of Hastings occurred between the Anglo-Saxon King Harold and Duke William of Normandy. The following is an animated version of the Bayeux Tapestry [1]. King Harold had a depleted force of 5,000

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Te Deum, Triumphalism and History

Something for the weekend.  Te Deum (To God) sung by the Benedictine monks of Saint Maurice and Saint Maur.  A song sung by Catholics in moments of triumph and thanksgiving, it was probably written by Saint Nicetas in the late

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Over There

When I was 12 or so, my father picked up a newly released album of World War One music entitled, after the most famous American song of the war, Over There. It is now long out of print (though still

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Tolstoy’s Theory of History

I’ve been really enjoying listening to the unabridged War and Peace (I’m listening to a reading by Neville Jason) as a commuting book. It’s episodic enough to be good when listened to in half hour increments, and it’s good enough

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History and Rashomon

Akira Kurosawa’s 1950 masterpiece Rashomon in which a murder is told from four differing perspectives, including that of the ghost of the murdered man, details a problem that always plagues historians:   whenever you have more than one source for an event, they

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Considering American Exceptionalism

There has been discussion in the public square lately about American Exceptionalism. The term is one of those which, it seems, causes visceral reactions in many people, either positive or negative. Some immediately declare that the United States is one

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Ethnic Nationalism and the End of History

One of the ideas which has, perhaps more than any other, led to war and suffering in the modern age, is the idea that countries should have clear ethnic/national identities which define their borders. This is something that we in

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Rewinding Taxes to the Good Old Days

For decades, progressives tended to accuse conservatives of wanting to bring back the ’50s, but in recent years the shoe is on the other foot, with some prominent progressives saying they yearn for the good old days when unions were

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So many books! So little time!

So many books! So little time! And, unfortunately, not enough to afford them all. Erasmus’ motto, “When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes” worked during college, but is

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Captain Blood and History

I love history.  To me it is endlessly fascinating, the never ending chronicle of the triumphs and tragedies of mankind, filled with adventure, courage, cowardice, wisdom, folly and all those elements that make great novels.  I therefore find it  distressing

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