Category Obscure History

Frangleterre: The Union That Could Have Been

In the run up to the British General Election on May 7th there has been a great deal of debate about Britain’s role within Europe and, more importantly, the European Union. Among Europhobes, the great threat is that the EU will evolve into a superstate, a United States of Europe. The idea of a united […]

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Coriolanus

Coriolanus, written by William Shakespeare in 1608, is the tragic story of the Roman General Caius Marcius Coriolanus. The story is one of a brilliant general who, after his greatest victory, takes up a career in politics. When he stands for the consular elections, his temperament and hostility to the plebian class earn him the […]

Numa Pompilius: Agent of the gods

At its height the Roman Empire was vast. It reached from northern England to the Sahara desert; from the straits of Gibraltar to Mesopotamia. We have inherited a great deal from the Romans including language, religion, science, and the remains of their gargantuan architecture. However, modern interest in Roman history is focussed primarily on the […]

Do Democracies Declare War On Each Other?

It is a truth universally expounded by advocates of democracy as a system of government that “democracies do not declare war on each other”. It is under this pretext, among others, that the Western World has advocated the spread of democracy to all corners of the world. Recently television in the UK aired an episode […]

Was Japan’s First Emperor a Chinese Refugee?

Emperor Jimmu (神武天皇 Jimmu-Tenno), whose name means “Divine Might” is the legendary founder of Japan’s Imperial House and a direct descendent of the Sun Goddess Amaterasu. His rule is said to have been between 660 and 585 BC. Today, Emperor Akihito can claim, through an unbroken line of succession, direct descent from Jimmu. Jimmu himself is […]

The Honjo Masamune: A Lost Japanese Treasure

The katana, or samurai sword, is famed throughout the world for being the perfection of sword design. It has become the symbol of the samurai class, and Japan as a whole, to the outside world. To the Japanese the katana is also a symbol of their culture and national pride. During the Meiji restoration at […]

Thomas Rainsborough: The Man Who Would Have Us All Level

“For really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he; and therefore truly, sir, I think it’s clear that every man that is to live under a government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that government; and I do think […]

What Happened to Oliver Cromwell’s Head?

On September 3rd 1658 a stately funeral was held at Westminster Abbey, the burial place of the Kings of England. However, this funeral was not for a king, it was for a regicide, the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell. Following the end of the Civil War and the execution of Charles I, Cromwell had been made […]

William Hiseland: The Super-Centenarian Soldier

One Sunday morning, on the 23rd of October, 1642, two armies of roughly 15,000 men each gathered on the field of Edgehill, outside the small village of Kineton (south Warwickshire, England). This was the first serious engagement of the English Civil War between those loyal to the king, Charles I, and those who sought to […]

Norway’s Explosive Contribution to the Battle of the Atlantic

Recently I was reading stories about the Norwegian resistance during the Nazi occupation of Norway in the Second World War. Many of the activities of the resistance were quite funny, borderline childish. For example there was one operation that involved coating condoms in itching powder before distributing them to German soldiers. The result of this […]