A Very Good Sheep

The Mughal tradition of making portraits of strange or favorite animals was initiated by the fourth Mughal emperor, Jahangir (ruled 1605-1627) and was continued by both later Mughals and Rajput patrons. This study of a ram is from the reign of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (ruled 1628-1658), who you may know for building the Taj Mahal.

These Engagement Rings Know How To Bring The Drama

Although it can make two separate rings, they can also be conjoined, and worn as one ring. When separated, one can see the secret message on the inside of each ring. On the diamond ring is “QUOD DEUS CONIUNXIT.” On the ruby ring is “HOMO NON SEPARET.” Translated from Latin, it means "Whom God has joined together, let no man tear asunder."

Such conjoined rings, called gimmel rings, were popular in the 1600s in Europe. This particular example is from 1631 in Germany. Traditionally, the members of a newly betrothed couple would receive one hoop each. At the wedding ceremony, the two rings would be joined.

The First Chinese Globe Was Crafted By ... Jesuits?

  This is the earliest surviving Chinese globe, and dates from the early 1600s. It was not made by the Chinese, but by two European missionaries, Father Nicolo Longobardi and Manuel Dias – they actually signed the globe using Chinese versions of their names, Yang Ma-no and Long Hua-min. Both men introduced important Western geographical ideas into China, and the globe helped them to do this. The globe is inscribed with a number of complicated geographical and astronomical concepts. These include an explanation of the theories of latitude and longitude, and a description of the way eclipses of the sun and moon prove that the world is round.     The Chinese already had a long and esteemed map-making tradition. One inscription on the globe pays tribute to this by referring to terrestrial magnetism – the magnetic force that pulls a compass needle to the north. Chinese scientists were aware of this force about forty years before it was understood in Europe. Chinese maps traditionally showed China at the center of the world. They called China "the middle kingdom" for a reason. Far-away continents and countries were generally unknown, or downplayed. This globe does not downplay China, but simply puts it in context with other continents and countries.

This painting is entitled "A Formal Garden." Maybe that's how gardens look in Alice's Wonderland, but it doesn't look like the plants and gardens I'm used to seeing. Painted in 1766 by the Dutch painter Johannes Janson.

The Iroquois Confederacy


It is long, but it is good. I promise. The Iroquois Confederacy, or as they called themselves, the Hodenosaunee, were an important pre-Columbian society and government. In fact, their democratic system had strong influence on today's US Constitution. But it was also a family-based system. Which is definitely NOT what today's US government is based on.

The Cascading Mills of Folon and Picon

  The mills of Folon and Picon are a collection of 60 mills located on the slopes of Monte Campo do Couto, in the Spanish municipality of El Rosal, in the autonomous community of Galicia. The mills follow, one after the other down the slopes, all powered by the same water. The mills ground corn and wheat, and processed linen and wool, starting probably in the 1600s. None are still in operation. But they remain preserved, a piece of El Rosal's heritage.     The mills are built in two groups, as you can see in the pictures. The first group are the Folón Mills, 36 mills located on the slope of Folón over a stream which is also called Folón. Really inventive naming here, folks! The second group are the Picon Mills, 24 mills located nearby over the stream also called Picon.

Shakespeare May Have Annotated Book Passages Behind One Of His Famous Plays

A 16th-century book, with notes in the margins, may have been annotated by Shakespeare himself. The 1576 copy of François de Belleforest’s "Histoires Tragiques" has faded ink symbols next to six passages -- passages featuring a Danish prince who avenges his father's murder by his uncle, who cemented his stolen throne by marrying the prince's mother. Sound familiar? The "Histoires Tragiques" was already thought to have been one of Shakespeare's sources for Hamlet. This new find may have been the specific copy Shakespeare read!

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • >
  • Leave us a message

    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!

    Website design and coding by the Amalgama

    About us X