Monday, January 31, 2005

The Mongol Hammer

This is related to the "Barbarians" post. The Mongol empire was the largest land empire in history. None has rivaled it before or since. Most of this land was conquered by its most superb ruler and its founder, Genghis Khan. Arguably he is the most influential military figure in history. Why? First, he completely altered the demography of his empire. Cities were burned and people were massacred. These are usually highly controversial. But is anything in history completely justified by pure good? Khan completely reshaped the civilizations under him. Whole peoples were moved. One of the most important movements was the speeding up of the Turkish movement to the west. Many other impacts can be listed, and I will touch on them later. These can be categorized as impacts of destruction. However, Genghis Khan also did two things that completely changed the ideas of the world of people in Europe, and brought them together in a rather violent way with the Eastern people. Most Europeans had hardly heard of the great civilizations to the east, they were often told those places were filled with heretics, except for Prester John, who I will again mention later. When the villagers of Russia, Poland, Hungary, etc. saw the waves of Mongol horsemen riding down upon them they knew nothing would be the same. In this moment they almost literally collided with great force with the East. Now the second one has to do with the unification of the Silk Route. Unfortunately, my time is very limited, I have to go now. Follow-up will probably come on Feb. 1. See you!

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Site News

I want to report some new additions to this site. First and most obvious is the Google Site-Flavored search engine, mine seems to have a few bugs in it, after all, it's still only in the develpment stage, still try it. On a less important note, I have decided to change my user name to Scriptor. I'm still not sure though, if anybody has sugestions, please comment here. Also, on the 28th of January I got my first comment, definitely a milestone. If anybody wants to check out this site check the comments for the Back with Barbarians post. See, don't be shy, you won't be the only one commenting any more. As for Jomama, thanks.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Back, with "Barbarians"

Hey, I'm finally back! I haven't had much time to work on this site lately. But now that I'm here, I will post up a quick general history blog. Also, I've decided to always keep a short header for every post, which will be news about the blog. I'm still working on the current historical news bit, it is hard to separate history from archaeology, in my opinion, historical finds are made in some indoors area by a guy studying all the materials provided by archaeology.

The "barbarians", have been some of the most feared and misunderstood people in history. The idea of hordes of screaming, bloody, and vicious warriors bearing down on you is rather intimidating. Unfortunately, the picture I just gave is inaccurate to the extreme. The only people who gave detailed written accounts of these people were often at war with them. Imagine trying to get unbiased info about the Soviet Union in a Western library and vice versa. If you really want to understand the groups of people who periodically attacked the "civilized" world, you either have to claw away all the bias and opinion of historical accounts, or get your sources directly from the traces and artifacts of these people. If you do that, you find that the "barbarians" were actually quite well developed ethnic groups who simply had to endure the hardships of lacking any luxuries of the "civilized" world. They were basically molded with hammers by the tough conditions surrounding them. For example, the Vikings of Scandinavia had to endure bitter cold and constant civil war and violence over limited resources. The Huns who came from the steppes to invade the Roman Empire lived on vast grass plains, constantly on the move to avoid using up resources. They had to fight for their food from the moment they could feed themselves. Still, if we study these and all the other so-called barbarians we see well-developed cultures with many customs and traditions. They had their own ideas about society, government, and individuals, which seem to us crude. That is because their is no need to build enormous government buildings and have complex legal systems if what you really have to do is live comfortably. Also, technologically, they were often as, if not more, superior than their "civilized" counterparts; well advanced in metallurgy, horsemanship, sea travel, or whatever else was important to them. Finally, I have nearly always believe that these people are the "custodians" of the world. When the Germanic and Hunnic tribes attacked Rome, the once-great empire was already in deep decay, with corruption, crime, and no real justice and order whatsoever, mainly caused by excessive luxury. The invading tribes brought to real, harsh world back to these spoiled brats. In fact, during the Middle Ages when the Mongol horses swept through Asia and into Europe, they encountered quite a few floundering countries whose leaders were spoiled and too extravagant, while a few brave soldiers tried to hopelessly resist the Mongols. When the conquests were finished these "savages" instituted astoundingly efficient government, making travel between Europe and Asia possible safely. In fact, Genghis Khan, their superb general and administrator, laid down a list of laws and rules, called the Yasa, very similar to a modern constitution. He even established freedom of religion. While it is true that these people often caused great destruction and cruelty, too many books, web sites, and people have already dwelt far too long on that. Since this topic is so huge, follow-ups will come. But in conclusion, I think we should all really study these people and see who they really were. We have a lot to learn from what they have taught us.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Blog Services and advice for "newbies" (like me)

This post will be for recognizing the services that are helping my blog and advice for other new Bloggers. First the advice. New Bloggers, have you ever gone to one of the more "successful" blogs and thought, what the heck makes this one so good? While trying to figure out the answer, have you ever believed that the first step is to compete with other blogs related to the genre of your blog? Start thinking again, competition will only make you waste precious time and energy trying to do everything by yourself. Besides spending way too much time looking up what you need, you also drain yourself in fighting the other blogs. It does not have to be that way. Now if your blog is related to something else than history then I advise you to find new Bloggers with blogs related to yours. Convince them that by cooperating you will get much farther. Some advantages are: you can act as sources for one another, supplying each other with information; you can also give each other suggestions and comments; third, you can join together and as one large group go up to one of the more established sites that relates to your blog and try to get at least links for each of your blogs to your site. A large voice will be better heard.
If your blog is related to history like mine, then first try to get in contact with me using the comments section below this post. Then we can do the things that I just listed as advantages. United we Stand.

As for the second part, the links here they are: Blogger Knowledge provides you with articles that can help you with all kinds of things you want to do with your blog. It also gives much advice in general and what is happening in the blogosphere. SiteMeter provides a free service which provides you with a link to a web page where you can access quantities of info about your visitors, as a preview, scroll down to the very bottom, look for a colorful cube. Finally, I just signed up for Simple Ads. This lets me make up my own ad campaigns and ads. Once your ad is accepted, it will post it on whichever other blog signed up matches the genre you selected. Also it puts some ads on your blog. Think of it as a way to help fellow bloggers. A preview of the ad is also at the bottom.

In general, follow my advice on joining other Bloggers and go these links. Also check up later on this posting, there could be more services attached.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Enter Rome

This is the first one of the stories. It is true that most of the information from here comes from legends and other stories passed down generations. I will use this story to present a little warming up to the setting. Again, anyone is welcome to post comments.

"Horses? Last horse I saw was a horsefly. I really do not know what you are talking about. Please, enlighten me further, you almost amuse me," the young man stepped back a few paces away from the huge angry mob in front of him.
"Shut up you blubbering, weasel snouted, mucus-sucking traitor! Don't try to fool me! I gave you three of my best stallion which you said you would cover them in gold plate. Now where are they?" yelled Bratas, a huge man who, when mad, had veins bulging out on his forehead the size of arrow shafts. Behind him was a group of over a dozen husslers and thugs the big man had gathered.
"Oh right, right, those horses. Well you see, they are rather weary now and don't like visitors. Especially visitors who they might recognise," replied the young man, stepping back further. He only did this to get closer to the woods nearby and away from the village in front.
"Don't you dare say that again, you already gave the same vile excuse a...a...uhh...uhhhhh...a lot of times!"the mob finally noticed the man's movement and started to advance.
"Speaking of time, it seems about time to feed the horses. If you all gentlemen would kindly let me, I must go to the stables now, quickly, wearing all that gold nearly starves them and I am late," with that the man sprinted off at top speed towards a small path in the dense forest.
Bratas stood for a while, not realising what was to be done, was the liar speaking the truth? Then one of his "friends" whispered, "sir, the stables are the other way," Bratas let off a tremendous roar so loud the leaves nearby nearly shook. Then he ran forward followed by the rest of his gang.

The young man was a good runner, always practicing knowing that he often had to do this. This speed and Bratas's delay gave him a good start. Also, the big man was not the fittest man in Italy and his pride would not let him be anywhere else but at the front of his group.
A little further the young man found a horse tied to a tree. The road had widened and cleared a little and was suitable for riders and small chariots. "This will be a loss, but no matter, plenty of other big stupid village idiots around like Bratas," pulling out his dagger he quickly cut up the thin rope and slapped the horse a few times with his free hand to make it start galloping away.
While the horse raced along the path, the one who set it free went into the forest itself. He had followed this particular path before many times so he knew he could not get lost. Quickly he found a colossal tree behind which he hid. Behind him he heard Bratas and his men stop, seeing the tracks of the horses, and then run like crazy forward. A few of them decided to head back to get their own horses to follow. Soon they too came galloping back continuing on the road.
Now that he was safe, the young man sat for a little longer to rest. Then he got up and started walking through the maze of trees, bushes, ferns, shrubs, moss, vines, and broken wood. What seemed a long time passed, and finally the traveler came upon a tiny stream. There on the bank he lay down to give his worn feet a break. He wore leather shoes, which, although shielding against the dense foliage, also caused very painful rubbing with his soles. Thus they were taken off.
Despite being exhausted and worn out, the man would not sleep. There was still too much danger of being discovered by some random wanderer. After about an hour, he got up once again, put on his shoes, and jumped easily over the water. The forest in front of him was not so thick and clustered, but not quite a stroll in the park either. It was not long, though, until he came upon a rather wide road, big enough for five strong men to walk shoulder to shoulder. It also had rocks on the side to mark the borders. Now the walking was much easier and less painful, with little to disturb the man. After about five miles he suddenly came upon a sharp turn revealing a wooden gate and a guard.
"Halt, name thyself and state thy reason for entering the kingdom of Rome," said the guard, who was holding a spear in front of the young man.
Name, the young man thought, what was his name, he had used an uncountable lot in his long travels and "business transactions", well since this would be the end of all that, it would be good to make up his name for the last time, "Tradius, Tradius Pretorius, I wish to serve the king" he replied, remembering how these people used more than one word for their names. At the same time he quickly dug in a pocket and held a gold coin in his palm in front of him.
"Vinnius, you sluggard, open the gate and find a guide, we have an important visitor," while yelling this he quickly grabbed the coin and smiled greedily as he looked at it for a moment. Then he stashed it away in a pouch, "very important indeed."

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Beliefs and Opinions Statement

I know I should have done his earlier but this is what I have to say about my opinions regarding politics and history. I will never make any criticism on any nation, organization, company, religion, ethnic group, individual, faction or political party, or any other people based on their religious, political, or cultural beliefs. I will also do my very best to not let my personal opinions cause any leniency to any side whether in the present world or the past. The only criticism will be on misrepresentations of history, looting of archaeological artifacts or any support of it, destruction and/or warps of historical events or any other way the study of the past can be undermined.
I will also not let my opinions interfere with the information I am presenting. I believe that history should never be altered or warped by anybody for any reason. This will only lead to further disruption and may completely change what we know of the past. People can only learn the right lessons if they are studying the right history.
This only means I will not present opinions or biases, anyone may share their beliefs, values, and opinions in the comments section, I invite and encourage them to do this.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Roman Intro

I know I haven't put up a post in a long time. I've been trying to promote my blog around. You know, spread the word. Well, now I'm here. After two postings about the Middle Ages I want to devote some space to the Romans. The Romans were the people who basically hammered in the foundations of Western Civilization. Western laws, government, language, and culture are derived largely from these people. In honor of them I have decided to start a series of fictional stories related to the history of this Empire. The stories will start from the very beginning, when Rome was a mere village, through the wars to dominate the Italian peninsula, to the founding of the Senate, to the wars with Carthage, to the establishment of the Empire, through the Pax Romana, all the way to the fall of the Western Roman Empire. This will be in a series form, from the perspective of particular fictional people. My purpose is to let people see the Roman Empire through the eyes of a regular person. I will not give specific dates for the issues, they will not come out regularly. The first one will come out by Tuesday. I will spend the time until then telling people about it and researching.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Middle Ages has a bad name

I have been looking on the Internet recently and it's really amazing how many people are referring to the Middle Ages in the wrong way. There have been way too many times when I see stuff about degenerating to the Middle Ages, or keeping us in the Middle Ages. Obviously, most schools are educating people about the Middle Ages based on what the people in the next age, the Renaissance said. Even the term Middle Ages is not very accurate. Forget all the ideas of bad kings, evil witches, huge monsters, and virtually no hope for humanity. Just throw away all that thought about this period that have anything to do with beautiful castles, pretty damsels in distress, gallant lone princes riding out to kill the evil kidnapper. Before you start talking about the Medieval times, just research. Make sure you go to good sources from valid authors. It is time to rethink this time period. Time to study this time itself rather than what people wrote about it a hundred years later.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Medieval Truth

As my first actual posting on history, I want to start by tackling one of the biggest historical fallacies of our time. Way too many of us believe that the medieval ages were a dark gloomy time when human progress was nonexistent, war and destruction was everywhere, and the whole world was made up of isolated little kingdoms. All of this is what the guys in the Renaissance want you to believe. In fact, much of the world was enormously ahead in terms of technology and the Arts. In China they were already using block printing, developing new military ideas, and exploring many parts of the world. In the Middle East the progress done by the Greeks and Romans was continued. Great advances were being made in medicine, astronomy, literature, mathematics, and philosophy. Also, in these two regions, vast empires were forming, empires that would often come in touch with each other, causing enormous amounts of knowledge and materials being exchanged. Up too the eleventh century Europe was still a rather isolated place. It was still recovering from the destruction of the Roman Empire and numerous invasions by foreigners. A brief glimpse of light did appear with Charlemagne in France, but it disappeared after his death. The First Crusade changed all of that. Despite the fact of the brutal killings of many people this event changed Europe for ever. It was the first time when the West came into a major confrontation with the East. The knights who returned to Europe brought with them all kinds of curious and exotic goods and ideas. This sparked great interest and soon large-scale trade began between Europe and the East. This led to the rise of the Italian trading cities. These cities began to explore more of the world. As they began to interact with the peoples of the East and increased their trade with them the wealth of the Italian merchants increased. These wealthy families wanted something to spend all that money on so they began to look around. First they started hiring painters, sculptors, and musicians to make beautiful pieces of work. Slowly their hunger for art and soon knowledge increased. As they continued to finance these artists another group of people emerged. These people's tastes of ancient culture was sparked by the recent events. Soon, with the help of the Italian merchants, they started to dive into the works of the Ancients, the Greeks and the Romans. It is in this way that the Renaissance was starting.

This little article here is probably very rough, I have been feeling a bit pressured to get it published as soon as possible. I promise to add more postings that will expand and refine on some of the topics in this passage.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Tsunami relief links

Since the earthquake and tsunami disaster in South-east Asia is such a big event, I believe that I should do at least something to help. Here are a few links that you can use to help out the people devastated in the region. I was born in Bangladesh, a country around that area, it was mostly spared. Still, a few people have died and there was major flooding. Some of my relatives' houses had water in them.

After all, this is history.

Red Cross
World Food Programme

First scrolls

Hi! Welcome to my blog. This is the first posting I have done to this blog. Actually, it's my first blog too. Anyway, I need to say what this is 'bout. I like history, it's important. If nobody cares about it then we are doomed to repeat the mistakes we've done before. In here I will post up all kinds of info about the past. This could include new findings, old facts, info about people of the past, and so on. I'm also going to devote at least a part of this page to telling the truth about myths that we all too often believe about the past. My goal is to create a site that posts information about the top stories in history and up-to-date data on this topic in general.