Pilgrims Were Great At Naming

William Brewster, senior clergyman and senior citizen of the Plymouth Colony, named his children Jonathan, Patience, Fear, Love, and Wrestling.

Weird But Wonderful

This weird, kind of amazing glass fish thingy just has to be shared. According to the Walters Art Museum, it dates to the Baroque period in Italy. At the base, "dolphins with entwined tails support the fish, while the wavy patterns on the base represent flowing water." The Milanese family of Sarachi was particularly famous for vessels in the shape of fishes. So they think the Sarachis made this one, probably around 1590 to 1600.

How Did Elizabeth I of England Use Art As Propoganda?

This video looks not at her more-famous life-size paintings, but her miniatures. How did she convey big political ideas with small portraits? Because no matter how she was being portrayed, Elizabeth I was always a political actor, and conveyed herself as such.

How Did Church Bell Ringing Become An Art?

Bells have been used in Europe since the early middle ages to call people to church services, mark the hours of the day, and sometimes convey signals or warnings. However "musical" bell ringing did not really begin until the 1500s or 1600s.

The first carillon, the array of bells housed in the tower of a church, was created in Flanders, Belgium, in the 1500s. It was slowly refined over decades until it became a huge musical instrument that just happened to be housed in a giant tower. Each bell could be run precisely as the ringer wished, using a system of levers and pedals. The new musical instrument proved popular, and carillons and their beautiful sound slowly spread across Europe.

Where Is The Mind Located?

Now we know the answer: the brain. But ancient humanity did not know. A number of famous thinkers have placed the mind in a number of places around the body

  • Aristotle: the heart. It is the center of the body and the first organ to be discerned in an embryo
  • Thomas Aquinas: the ventricles (empty spaces) of the brain. Being pure spirit, the mind lives in the empty parts of the body and survives beyond death.
  • Rene Descartes: the pineal gland.

India Has Been a Pluralistic Society for Centuries, Meaning Governing India Has Been Difficult for Centuries

Emperor Akbar ruled the Mughal Empire from 1556 to 1605. When he came to the throne, he confronted a problem that had plagued his predecessors: how to be a Muslim ruler over a majority-Hindu nation, that also had substantial numbers of various other religions including Buddhism and Jainism. He eventually came to believe that no religion could have pre-eminence. In fact, he was not even sure that any religion was "the truth" but were all humanity's imperfect interpretations. The logical conclusion is that all subjects of his empire should be free to practice whatever religion they wished.

Akbar began to hold conferences weekly, with wise men from all faiths (no known women, though). He would apply their wisdom to questions of state. He slowly took over spiritual leadership, even getting the Muslim clergy to pronounce a fatwa (judgement) that as emperor, Akbar could adjudicate any dispute between religious authorities -- even overruling the Qur'an if necessary for the public interest.

Legally, Akbar made two big changes. He abolished the hated tax levied on the Hindu majority, the jizya, the "contribution for not being put to death". He also created a private faith for the elite. It was not a new religion, per se. It was a kind of Sufi system for the rulers, with 10 cardinal virtues, the essence of which was promoting tolerance. Akbar combined aspects of different faiths, borrowing from all the religions of his empire, to create an ethical code that he wished his inner circle to follow. He called this the Din i-Ilahi, or "Worship of God." While it has been accused of being a pick-and-mix religion, Akbar did not proclaim it a religion, and he remained a Muslim all his life. The Din i-Ilahi died with Akbar in 1605, and the jizya was reintroduced by Akbar's great-grandson Aurangzeb in 1679.

Recent Historical Analyses Reveal More About Blackbeard's Early Life

Some tidbits that interested me:


  1. Blackbeard was born Edward Thache, son of a moneyed Englishman who brought his family to the Caribbean when Edward was 4 or 5 years old, to become a plantation owner. They owned slaves.
  2. Edward's mother Elizabeth died in 1699, and sometime around then, Edward had a daughter he named Elizabeth.
  3. By 1699, Edward Thache was working as a mariner, and he joined the British navy in April 1706.
  4. In late 1706, his father passed away, and Edward signed over his inherited estates to his stepmother, choosing life at sea over life as a planter
  5. Thache almost certainly fought in Queen Anne's War (1701 - 1714) and probably enjoyed the fighting, because when the war was over, he turned pirate

The Disputed Liancourt Rocks

In the middle of the Sea of Japan, about the equidistant from Japan and Korea, are two rocky islets. No larger than New York City's Grand Central Terminal, they do not even qualify as "islands." Yet the Liancourt Rocks — or Dokdo Islands or Takeshima Islands — are at the center of a diplomatic dispute between the two countries that goes back more than 300 years.

Getting to Dokdo — meaning ‘Solitary Island’ in Korean — involves two boat trips, each three hours long. And it is only accessible in the summer months. Yet patriotic South Koreans arrive in droves, taking selfies and playing music, enjoying the mostly-inaccessible rocks. Japan also claims the island, which they call Takeshima or 'Bamboo Island.' But Japanese tourists don't make the trip.

According to South Korea, Dokdo was recognized by Japan as Korean territory in 1696 following an altercation between Japanese and Korean fishermen. But, in 1905, despite allegedly being under formal jurisdiction of Korea’s Uldo county, the islets were annexed by Japan ahead of its occupation of the peninsula. Korea says the islands were "rightfully" restored after World War II. Japan disagrees. But neither have been willing to openly fight over the Liancourt Rocks. Instead, each side agrees to disagree, as a single South Korean fisherman remains on the rocks as its only permanent resident.

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    HISTORICAL NON-FICTION

    By Lillian Audette

    This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!

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